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Mendocino County Today: Monday, Oct 20, 2014

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To the Anderson Valley Community

This evening, I met with Cindy Arbanovella, Logan McGhan and Jessica McIninch to discuss the recent events at the AVHC and to see how we could take this opportunity to make substantial changes in the organization in order to meet the mission statement of the AVHC which is to provide excellent and affordable health care to the people Anderson Valley.

First of all, I want to thank all the community members for their remarkable show of support for the providers at the AVHC. This support is a major factor in why we have all chosen to live here [to] provide healthcare in this community. I want to say that I understand that the Board of Directors of the AVHC has been under a lot of pressure lately and I would like to give them a chance to reevaluate the direction that the Health Center has been heading in. The Board Members are community members who have volunteered their time to the Health Center and Community and deserve this opportunity.

The Board will be meeting in closed session on Tuesday evening to discuss the events of the past week as well as make certain decisions regarding the running of the Health Center. I believe that it is in the best interest of the entire community to allow them this opportunity and therefore I would encourage people NOT to demonstrate on Monday morning at the Health Center and to postpone the proposed community meeting until after the Board has a chance to meet and present their plan to the community, either after their closed session or at their next Board meeting which is scheduled on Monday, October 27. At that meeting, Cindy, Logan, Jessica and I will be presenting to the board our vision of where the health center needs to go in order to continue to be responsive to the needs of our community. I encourage all interested people to attend the meeting on October 27.

I hope that you will join me in this effort to take a thoughtful break and allow decisions to be made in a spirit of cooperation and for the benefit of the Anderson Valley community.

Thank you all for your support and friendship,

Mark Apfel

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STILL NO CONFIRMATION of a site and time for a planned community meeting to get Dr. McGhan reinstated at the Anderson Valley Health Center. McGhan, a new hire (late August), was fired Friday evening by the Center's newly installed "executive director," Shannon Spiller. So far, from what we've been able to learn from insiders, Spiller fired McGhan on her own authority. The Health Center's board except, perhaps, for board chair Ric Bonner, was informed of McGhan's dismissal after the fact.

Dr. Logan McGhan
Dr. Logan McGhan

McGHAN'S firing seems to have begun with Spiller when she and McGhan disagreed about, of all things, Spiller's insistence on a dress code. Spiller objected to McGhan's jeans. (Jeans and suspenders amount to formal dress in the Anderson Valley, a mostly agricultural area.) Another area of disagreement was Spiller's mistaken opinion that McGhan, and other medical personnel, could not exam children with only a parent present. Spiller seems to have mistakenly thought the law required doctors to see children with someone in addition to the parent on hand.

THE SHOWDOWN between McGhan and Spiller occurred when McGhan e-mailed complaints about administration of the Boonville clinic to Dr. David Gorchoff, the $100k-plus consultant formally listed as Chief Medical Officer. Gorchoff does not see patients. Gorchoff e-mailed Spiller and a couple of days later she fired McGhan who, incidentally, is solidly supported by staff at the Boonville facility. There are indications that a significant segment of the staff may walk out in support of McGhan if he isn't immediately reinstated.

Dr. Gorchoff

IT'S CLEAR, and it's been clear for months now, that people distant from Anderson Valley are making decisions, all of them destructive, about the Anderson Valley Health Center. We have three administrators based in Gualala at the Redwood Coast Medical Center, led by Diane Agee, who are clearly hostile to the Boonville clinic. Then we have this Gorchoff character pulling down an enormous annual stipend for doing whatever invisible tasks he does from wherever he's based, which is not anywhere near the Anderson Valley or even in Mendocino County.

SPILLER, GORCHOFF, AGEE, & TURNER have to go. They are killing the Anderson Valley Health Center, and one has to wonder what kind of shape the Gualala facility is in with these people in charge of it.

DR. McGHAN wrote the following letter to AV Health Center board chairman Ric Bonner, but McGhan was fired before he could mail it:

Dear Ric,

I hope this find[s] you and your family well. I realize I have been here only a short time, but I have some serious concerns about the clinic and its future that I would like to bring to your attention. There exists an utter lack of administrational [administrative] organization, communication, and leadership combined with blatant and open disrespect of all medical staff on a level that I have never witnessed before.

I've worked in many clinics, with many different organizations, some bad, some good, none perfect. However, the AVHC currently is far and beyond the most frustrating place I've ever set foot in. The clinic morale is on the floor. Since my arrival the CMO and the CEO had been extremely evasive and condescending toward me. I have been hovered over, nitpicked, called insubordinate, and have had several shouting matches with Shannon [Spiller] in the past weeks. In all of these encounters she has been completely out of line and proven to be wrong, having to apologize afterwards. I have spoken in group and individually with the entire staff and it is my conclusion that I am receiving the best treatment of anyone at the clinic. There is no clinical manager; there is no designated referral staff (which is ridiculous as this job requires one person to constantly follow up on all our communications with consultants. It is currently being done ad hoc by Medical Assistants who literally have well over 50 other assignments to do beforehand.) The medical assistants are lost, threatening to quit constantly. There is no nurse most of the time as Shannon has her in the high school on most days (after firing the last one who sounded fairly competent). All the while, the Chief Operating Officer (who should be in constant contact with the mid-levels and who should also have some medical credential), the CEO and the CMO hide in their office all day only to emerge to harass the staff and retreat. I have brought all these concerns since my arrival to Shannon [Spiller] and David [Gorchoff] and feel I have been lied to at every turn. There are no working computers in the exam rooms which I have mentioned continuously and was told many times that they had something on order which they lied about. Eight weeks in, I still have no computer.

I was actively recruited against joining [i.e., told not to take a position at] the Anderson Valley Health Center by Diane Agee (who was on hand throughout most of the negotiations) and David Turner repeatedly asked me to join the Redwood Coast Medical Clinic saying the Anderson Valley Health Center would not work out most likely in the future. As I am now told, Diane Agee threatens the entire staff and their licenses upon leaving the clinic, and seems to have left Shannon in her stead as her surrogate. Shannon, as a physician's assistant, has absolutely ZERO qualifications for her position as director or leader. And [Dr.] David [Gorchoff] is the only rural family medicine medical director who takes no part in patient care and has no desire to do so. As a result he has no idea of the myriad of problems facing the medical assistants and providers on a daily basis. He responds to these concerns with only more obfuscation. He is likewise often unavailable during his two weeks in the Pacific each month and has been constantly terrorizing the other providers during the few days he is actually present.

I love the Anderson Valley, the medical staff and everyone I've come to meet here. It is my desire to stay here for the rest of my life. However, the aforementioned problems are actively burning the last remaining trust of the staff and the community. After much deliberation I have come to the conclusion that I cannot continue to work at the Anderson Valley Health Center while Shannon Spiller and David Gorchoff remain on staff.

Please call when you get the opportunity.

— Logan James McGhan, MD

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October 20, 2014

Community of Anderson Valley:

It is with great disappointment that I inform you of my resignation from the position of Family Nurse Practitioner at the Anderson Valley Health Center, effective today. I have worked at the health center in my current role since August of 2007. I have served generations of families in Anderson Valley, from newborns to patients in their 90s. I've shared my patients' struggles and successes, and they have watched me lay down roots in this community and start a family. I have tried to serve our patients to the best of my ability.

I can no longer work for an administration that does not respect or value its employees. The recent termination of Dr. Logan McGhan was yet another rash decision made by AVHC administration without discussion or negotiation. It was not too different from what occurred with Stephanie Long, RN, who was hired after searching for qualified RNs for almost a year and then forced to leave after only a few months. It was also similar to the firing of Kathy Corral, who had served the community well for over a decade. But it took 3 years to find a full-time doctor who not only was qualified to work at AVHC, but also was interested in becoming an active part of our community. It is completely unacceptable to me that AVHC could terminate Dr. McGhan in what amounts to a temper-tantrum after so much public praise over his skills and talents.

Meanwhile, AVHC has only one RN on staff, Michelle Ambrois, who only works part-time at the clinic as she has been directed to spend most of her time working in the schools. This puts excess pressure on the medical assistants to fill Michelle's role and as well as for the providers to work without a nurse. At the same time, I've repeatedly witnessed AVHC administration micromanaging employees to the extent that it interferes with their ability to perform regular tasks, including: requiring medical assistants to complete daily duty check-lists; interrupting Dr. McGhan while with patients to make sure he was doing his job; and, for the first time in my seven years at the clinic, enforcing a dress-code on the providers, a matter of trivial significance compared to the pressing systemic problems AVHC management has made zero progress solving.

I hope that AVHC can find a way to bring back Dr. McGhan and restore our faith in its administration's intentions, but at this time I cannot work at the Anderson Valley Health Center.


Cindy Arbanovella, FNP

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JUST IN...KATHY COX AND CLAUDIA JIMENEZ have been appointed to the Health Center board.

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Shannon Spiller
Shannon Spiller

A READER WRITES: You got Logan's letter. That should give everyone a great deal to think about. Upcoming, medical staff meeting today, no results known to me. Possible demonstration of support tomorrow morning at 9:00, but no organization, so probably won't happen (need a younger crew to effectively demonstrate; it probably won't work if people have to staple their protest signs to their walkers). Supposedly an emergency board meeting at the AVHC at 5:30 tomorrow, unknown if open or closed session. Plans in the works for a Community meeting, maybe at the fairgrounds, but not approved, should be confirmed before press time. Immediate agenda: rehire Logan, reinstate Mark as Medcial Director, fire Spiller, fire Gorchoff. Formulate board personnel policy for dissent channel and whistleblower immunity. Long range agenda (mine): get accurate, public financial data, make board perform duties required by Cal. Corporations Code and Federal HRSA grant recipient mandates, and adopt policy for voluntary compliance with California Open Meeting/Open Records Laws. Actually, I think it may be essential to get rid of the whole board, but there is no mechanism to do that and if anyone out there can provide legal guidance to the Community they would be doing a great service.

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Dear Ric Bonner and Members of the Board,

I am writing to express my strong support for the clinic’s medical staff. I have been seen by Mark and Cindy over the years. They are both good clinicians, respectful and professional in their treatment of patients. I do not want to lose them. Especially now — after being diagnosed with a serious medical condition — a time in your life when more than ever you want to be cared for by professionals who you know and trust. I have not had occasion to see Logan, but I trust Cindy when she tells me that he is a good doctor and a good fit for the clinic and community.

The professionalism of the staff is so great that in four visits to the clinic over the past month, I would never have guessed as a patient that morale was as low as it is. The only problem apparent to me was the one with the IT system, which never worked correctly while I was there. Nor did either Judy Nelson (before or after she retired) or Cindy – who are both personal friends – ever start a conversation with me about the problems at the clinic. However, in response to my questions about how they were and about how the clinic was, they did answer that Diane Agee was very hard to work with and did not treat the medical staff respectfully.

When Shannon was hired, they were briefly hopeful that working conditions would improve. But my inquires were soon being answered with “she does not have the management skills needed to run the clinic.”

And then Logan was fired. I have read Logan’s letter to you and although stated in language stronger than either Cindy or Judy used, it says the same things that they have been saying to me.

I have helped to administer three federal education grants and I know how difficult it is to meet their expectations and benchmarks in a community this size. The Fed’s one size fits all approach doesn’t fit us. But it is possible to work with it and with the feds. We can and must find administrators able to both administer the grant and work with the staff.

The medical staff is the heart of the clinic. If they can work with each other, but the management can not work with them, it is time for you, the Board, to find new managers, not to fire medical staff and in doing so create a work environment that is so hostile that other staff are thinking about leaving.

I am sure you realize that if the clinic were a membership based non-profit, we the patient-members would recall the Board. As a self-selecting board there is no legal mandate for you to resign, but I am asking you individually and collectively to consider if there is an ethical one.

Sincerely Yours,

Diane Paget, Boonville

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Comment: I met Logan recently and very much liked him. I agree that we need a community meeting and action from the community to reverse these gratuitously cruel actions by the Board. Perhaps at the meeting we can demand that the board begin to act in a responsible manner or resign.

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Comment: The proposed community meeting agenda deals with what we want to see happen — our requests for Board action. I'd like to see a second part of the agenda that deals with strategy and action -- what we are going to do if the Board does not respond to our requests in a timely way.

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Comment: The board and the management have constantly maintained a wish to hire staff. To this end RN Stephanie was hired in June (when Mark was terminated as Medical Director) and management made mistakes on her contract that basically gave her five days pay for less work. They then went "OOOOPS" and lowered the salary, which Stephanie accepted. They then basically gave Stephanie the ultimatum to work 5 days or quit. Since Stephanie didn't wish to engage in long legal battles, which she would have won, she left, leaving the AVHC understaffed again.

Now comes the firing of Dr. McGhan. How does it help staffing the clinic, staff morale, and service to the community, to consistently undermine the staff itself by firing qualified health professionals? The current staff that remains has to be thinking "Am I next?"

And why does the board, the only entity with any power over management, not only do nothing, but say nothing? As a community, it is clear that we feel deeply about saving our clinic. It seems reasonable to ask for a board and clinic management that acts in the interest of the continued success of the clinic. While grants are important, having and keeping qualified professionals to serve the community is also very important. No one can be seen with no one to see them. This is not happening. The actions of board and management could well lead to the resignation of remaining staff — and who would blame the staff? Certainly not the community which shows vigorous and deep commitment to supporting our clinic both by caring about the staff and giving as generously as possible when we are asked to financially support it.

What is going on?

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STILL no specific information on that horrific accident Friday night in Fort Bragg that killed a young mother and injured her 7-month-old infant. The baby was airlifted to Oakland and will survive. The suspect's vehicle smashed into a room at the Beachcomber Motel where the woman and child were staying.

Beachcomber Motel
Beachcomber Motel

Michael Bradford Bitney, 56, of Fort Mohave, Arizona has been arrested by Fort Bragg Police for vehicular manslaughter in commission of an unlawful act with gross negligence; hit and run; and simple battery. Bitney is being held at the Mendocino County Jail on $55,000 bail.


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CATCH OF THE DAY, October 18, 2014

Alvarez, Barajas, B.Hernandez, C.Hernandez-McCoy
Alvarez, Barajas, B.Hernandez, C.Hernandez-McCoy

EDUARDO ALVAREZ, Ukiah. Hit & Run, robbery.

FRANCISCO BARAJAS, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

BUD HERNANDEZ, Hopland. Drunk in public.


Johnson, Kenyon, Moses
Johnson, Kenyon, Moses

JUNIOR JOHNSON, Ukiah. Probation violation.

DOUGLAS KENYON, Willits. Court order violation.

STEVEN MOSES, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

Patten, Renaud, Sellar, Sperling, Topolskyi
Patten, Renaud, Sellar, Sperling, Topolskyi

THOMAS PATTEN, Fort Bragg. DUI, driving without a license.

KORBIN RENAUD, Campbell/Fort Bragg. Drunk in public.

RODGER SELLARS, Ukiah. Domestic battery (2x).

CHARLES SPERLING, Willits. Pot possession for sale, probation revocation.

DMYTRO TOPOLSKYI, Brooklyn/Redwood Valley. DUI.

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"Local Republicans Making Last Push For County Votes" [photo and caption courtesy Mike McFarland]
"Local Republicans Making Last Push For County Votes" [photo and caption courtesy Mike McFarland]
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Why "progressives" are called that is beyond me. Read up on the history of "progressives." They are, and always have been, a bunch of self-righteous, intellectual snobs who think they know what's best for society. Back in the early 1900s, they were advocating the elimination of the "inferior races" by forced sterilization of blacks and other racial minorities. They were the ones who gave us Prohibition and banned drugs such as marijuana. Later on, they were the ones who gave us the "war on poverty" with its destructive "entitlement" programs that, for decades, have done nothing but foster the very conditions they were intended to eradicate. "Progressives" don't operate from logic and experience; they operate from theories cooked up by ivory-tower "intellectuals" who think they know how the world "should" work. However, the world continues to operate the way it operates -- and although the "progressives" have been proven wrong again and again, still they refuse to admit that they are wrong, and instead blame the failure of their "policies" on anything and everything but the fundamental flaws in their "thinking." "Progressives"? No, they should be called what they really are. Spiro Agnew -- much maligned at the time -- nailed it perfectly when he called them "an elite corps of impudent snobs."

ED NOTE: This is quite a blast and, of course, comes with only a hint of misapplied historical context and this loon gives himself away with his respectful reference to an adjudicated crook, Spiro Agnew. The eugenics nuts may have called themselves progressives but only as it applied to their lunatic theories. They were mostly of the master race school. When the term 'progressive' was first applied in the upper Midwest it generally applied to economic policies aimed at a populist, farm-based beatback of the power of banks and railroads, but has lately become interchangeable with 'liberal' which, in turn, and almost certainly in this guy's reading, has become interchangeable with 'socialist.' In Mendocino County, I'd say 'progressive' is what a shamefaced, but right-minded liberal calls himself when he's loathe to be associated with the Democratic Party. The way we look at political terms here at the AVA, cynosure of precise definitions, is this way: Tea Party — soft fascism; Republicans — corporate stooges and miscellaneous C students, only occasionally in touch with political realities; Socialists — there aren't any; Communists — there's one we know of in Sonoma County but he votes lib-lab; Anarchist — suburban neo-hippies who like to break windows outside their own neighborhoods; Democrat — low down, grasping, infuriatingly smug co-conspirators with mainstream Republicans in the corporate-high finance destruction of the country, different from Republicans only on dope and sex issues.

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FLOODGATE FARM is hosting a salad and permaculture class Sunday October 19, meeting at the West Road/Redwood Valley Exit 557 off of US 101 (8 miles N of Ukiah) at 12:45; we will depart at 12:55 sharp to the farm about 5 miles away up on Laughlin Peak. This is a chance to learn how to grow and harvest most of the 50 ingredients used in our salad mix, and to see some of our berms, swales, hugelbeds and biodiverse plantings. The class will conclude with a potluck. We are at 707-272-1688. Hope to see you!

Bill and Jaye

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by Emily Hobelmann

Trim scenes — the settings in which harvested marijuana plants are processed for consumption — vary greatly. Variables include the size of the harvest, the method for processing the harvest (machine- or hand-trimming), the accommodations/work space, the quality/type of weed and the attitudes/skill sets of the trimmer(s).

Some farmers dry their fresh-cut cannabis at the grow site out in the boonies, then bring the dried, untrimmed weed to their house full of trimmers in town. Other farmers have trimmers work right there at the property where the weed was grown. Some trimmers bring totes or contractor bags full of dried, untrimmed weed to their own homes, so they can trim weed in their living rooms, in front of the TV.

Just like trim scenes, trimmers themselves run the gamut too, from professional crews to trim tourists with varying levels of experience to locally-based solo operators that go from scene to scene, wherever they can find good work.

Trimming weed is tedious work, my trimmer friends tell me, and success as a trimmer requires focus, patience, perseverance, good connections and knowledge of tricks of the trade. Plus, there is etiquette involved. One could write a book on trim scene etiquette. Just the other day, someone told me, “I want to write a book on trim scene etiquette.”

For example:

Don’t assume that meals are going to be provided at the trim scene. If you are unsure about the food supply or if you have special dietary needs, then bring grub for yourself.

Don’t assume sleeping accommodations will be provided either. If you are going to be at a trim scene on the hill for days on end, then bring adequate camping gear, just in case.

You might want to bring your own scissors, scissors-cleaning apparatus, gloves and apron too. Bring whatever tools you need to do your job comfortably.

Don’t “cherry pick.” Trimmers generally get paid by weight, $200 a pound is standard. Cherry picking trimmers pick only the biggest, heaviest colas to trim, leaving the small buds and the larf (airy buds) for others to deal with. Check out the poster insert in the newest Savage Henry Magazine Harvest Issue to get an idea of how people feel about cherry pickers.

Don’t help yourself to weed or trim because you think nobody is going to notice it’s gone. If you want weed so bad, ask the farmer or trim boss for some nugs. They will probably hook you up.

* * *

A cannabis harvest might go like this: Plants are chopped down and dried, with leaves and buds still attached to the stalks. Trimmers then remove the dried buds from the stems and either hand-trim or machine-trim them to remove excess leaf material. The excess leaf material (trim) is used somehow, maybe for making hash, and the buds are ready for smokeage.

Or, a harvest might go like this: Plants are chopped down. Then the plants are “bucked down,” meaning big outer leaves (the fan leaves) are snipped off the branch; then the buds are snipped off the branch into a container of some sort. The wet buds are machine-processed to remove excess leaf material. Then the buds are dried.

Here are some photos from a trim scene that fits scenario #2: A crew of people assembled at a full-sun outdoor grow site to cut down then buck down plants for the machine. The wet buds were machine-processed, then dried in hanging mesh drying racks. The machine collected the trim, which the farmer will put to use at a later date.


I have to say, the machine’s trim job looks pretty damn good. It’s quick and the buds have a consistent appearance. But check out the photo of nugs in my palm. Some of the stems look chewed up. A buyer with a discerning eye will know that this weed was machine-trimmed — that is, if this farmer chooses to market this weed as-is, with no further processing by hand.

This particular machine, the T4 Twister, processed small to fairly large buds with no problem at all, but I doubt a farmer would want to process prize colas with it. And this machine is noisy, but again, it’s quick. The people bucking the plants down had a hard time keeping up with it.

The farmers are stoked. One of them told me that an advantage of this machine is that it can help deter theft. The crew only handles wet weed. By the time the trimmed flowers are dry and weighed up in pounds, the crew is long gone. At this scene, the majority of the crew didn’t even go near the drying racks; only the two machine operators were placing the trimmed up buds in the racks.

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Do other farmers love trim machines? Apparently so. Trim Scene Solutions in Southern Humboldt does a bustling business in selling and renting both wet and dry trim machines. Yesterday, TSS employee Orion Magpie told me that the T4 Twister and the Triminator are especially popular. He said they can’t seem to keep either in stock this season.

According to Magpie, a lot of people are new to the machines, so their rental program is popular too because it gives people a chance to try the machines without having to commit to a purchase. (The T4 Twister sells for $6,900.) You can rent a Trimpro Rotor at TSS for $300 a day with a $1,200 deposit. Or you can rent a T2 Twister (a larger version of the T4) for $1,000 per day with a $9,500 deposit. Lots of machines, lots of options, broad price range.

* * *

Industrial agriculture is highly mechanized. So as cannabis becomes legal, more mainstream and mass-produced, will human trimmers become obsolete? Maybe not entirely. After all, you can’t beat the precision of hand trimming. Plus, people are needed to prep the plants for machine-processing. Ultimately, it’s up to farmers to determine what works best for their scenes.

* * *


There is nothing romantic about a massive earthquake. Given the choice, avoid it. Nobody is untouched. You may laugh, you may cry, you may congratulate yourself on your luck, but you are emotionally drained. At 5:03pm, Sandy Walker and I were standing in a long line for beers. A minute later we were reeling and hanging on to one another for support. "Earthquake!" I hollered. In the crowd's sudden silence you could hear the old concrete structure grinding away, its steel bones bending but not, thankfully, breaking. The floor rippled and shook for what seemed like 30 seconds. The terrified young women behind the beer counter stood rooted under swaying signs. They were statues with bulging eyes, holding empty glasses. Candlestick slowly settled back into place. There was an instant babble of excited talk. The guy at the head of the line pounded on the counter and complained, "Hey, what about our beers?" His remark seemed like a return to normality, but in retrospect it had a surreal quality.

— Herb Caen, October 19 1989

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Many suggestions

And documents written.

Many directions

For the end that was given.

They gave us

Pieces of silver and pieces of gold.

Tell me,

Who'll pay reparations on my soul?


Many fine speeches (oh yeah)

From the White House desk (uh huh)

Written on the cue cards

That were never really there. Yes,

But the heat and the summer were there

And the freezing winter's cold. Now

Tell me,

Who'll pay reparations on my soul?


Call my brother a junkie 'cause he ain't got no job (no job, no job).

Told my old man to leave me when times got hard (so hard).

Told my mother she got to carry me all by herself.

And now that I want to be a man (be a man) who can depend on no one else (oh yeah).

What about the red man

Who met you at the coast?

You never dig sharing;

Always had to have the most.

And what about Mississippi,

The boundary of old?

Tell me,

Who'll pay reparations on my soul?


Call my brother a junkie 'cause he ain't got no job

Told my old man to leave me when times got hard (so hard).

Told my mother she got to carry me all by herself.

Wanna be a man that can depend on no one else (oh yeah).

What about the red man,

Who met you at the coast?

You never dig sharing;

Always had to have the most.

And what about Mississippi,

The boundaries of old?

Tell me,

Who'll pay reparations on my soul?


Many fine speeches (oh yeah)

From the White House desk (uh huh)

Written on the cue cards

That were never really there. Yes,

But the heat and the summer were there

And the freezing winter's cold.

Tell me,

Who'll pay reparations on my soul?

Who'll pay reparations,

‘Cause I don't dig segregation, but I

can't get integration

I got to take it to the United Nations,

Someone to help me away from this nation.

Tell me,

Who'll pay reparations on my soul?

— Gil Scott Heron

* * *

TWO SOUTHERN BELLES, one of whom was from Texas, were seated on the porch swing of a large white-pillared mansion talking. The first woman, who was not from Texas, said, "When my first child was born, my husband had this beautiful mansion built for me."

"That's nice," commented the lady from Texas.

"When my second child was born," the first woman continued, "he bought me that fine Cadillac automobile you see parked in the drive."

Again, the lady from Texas commented, "That's nice."

"Then, when my third child was born," boasted the first woman, "he bought me this very exquisite diamond and emerald bracelet."

Once more, the lady from Texas commented, "That's nice."

"What did your husband buy for you when you had your first child?" asked the first woman.

"My husband sent me to charm school," answered the lady from Texas.

"Charm school!" exclaimed the first woman. "Land sakes, child, what on earth for?"

"So that instead of saying 'who gives a shit,' I learned to say 'That's nice!'" replied the lady from Texas.

* * *


Top contributors to water bond donated over $8 million 

by Dan Bacher

The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) revealed on October 17 that Aera Energy LLC, a company jointly owned by affiliates of Shell and ExxonMobil, has contributed $250,000 to the Yes on Proposition 1 and 2 campaign.

The total of money donated by top contributors for Governor Brown Prop. 1 and 2 campaign has risen to $8,026,015 to date, according to the FPPC. (

Aera Energy LLC is one of California's largest oil and gas producers, accounting for nearly 25 percent of the state's production, according to the company’s website. (

“Formed in June 1997 and jointly owned by affiliates of Shell and ExxonMobil, we are operated as a stand-alone company through our own board of managers,” the website stated.

“We are industry leaders that specialize in tapping heavy oil and other unconventional light reservoirs. With headquarters in Bakersfield, most of our production is centered in the San Joaquin Valley. We also have oil field operations in Ventura and Monterey counties. Aera produces about 131,000 barrels of oil and 36 million cubic feet of natural gas each day and has proved oil and gas reserves equivalent to approximately 712 million barrels of oil,” the website said.

Opponents of Proposition 1 say Governor Jerry Brown’s $7.5 billion water bond is an expensive and unfair taxpayer giveaway to special interests, including Big Oil and Big Ag, that won’t solve the drought or help secure California's water future. They see the latest contribution as one of many by powerful corporate interests to pay for slick campaign ads to trick the voters into approving the controversial measure.

The Con argument in the California Progressive Voter Guide states: “It allocates over $3.6 billion, without oversight by the legislature, to build dams and pay for water transfers for corporate agribusiness. Prop 1 with interest will cost CA taxpayers $14.4 billion or $360 million per year for 40 years out of our State’s general fund, money that could be used for other needs like education and healthcare."

It’s hard not to see the irony of a big oil company contributing $250,000 to a campaign for a water bond that allocates $900 million for alleged “groundwater sustainability” less than two weeks after the Center for Biological Diversity released state documents revealing that almost 3 billion gallons of oil industry wastewater were illegally dumped into Central California aquifers that supply drinking water and irrigation water for farms.

The documents also reveal that Central Valley Regional Water Quality Board testing found high levels of arsenic, thallium and nitrates, contaminants sometimes found in oil industry wastewater, in water-supply wells near these waste-disposal operations.

The bond money includes $800 million for prevention and clean up of groundwater pollution and $100 million for local plans and projects to manage groundwater. So is the oil industry backing the bond so that the taxpayers will foot the bill, rather than Big Oil, for the clean up of water in aquifers contaminated by fracking wastewater filled with toxic chemicals?

Billionaires and corporate agribusiness fund Water Bond campaign

Corporate agribusiness interests, the largest users of federal and state water project water exported through the Delta pumping facilities, have donated a total of $850,000 to the Yes on Prop. 1 campaign. The California Farm Bureau Federation contributed $250,000 and the Western Growers Service Association donated $250,000, as listed on the FPPC site.

Stewart Resnick, the Beverly Hills agribusiness tycoon, owner of Paramount Farms and largest orchard fruit grower in the world, contributed $150,000 and the California Cotton Alliance contributed $200,000 to the Yes on Prop. 1 campaign, but their donations are listed on the FPPC website because they were under $250,000.

For an excellent, in depth article on the Resnicks, pleased read, "Water, Money, Taxes, Campaigns, and the Bond: The Resnick Farming Story," by Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla and various associates at:

Resnick and his wife, Lynda, have been instrumental in promoting campaigns to eviscerate Endangered Species Act protections for Central Valley Chinook salmon and Delta smelt populations and to build the fish-killing peripheral tunnels - and have made millions off resellling environmental water to the public. On October 2, Prop. 1 opponents held a "mock reception" outside the Resnick mansion in Beverly Hills to expose the Resnicks, who stand to benefit from the two dams funded by the latest state water bond. (

The largest individual donor in the Yes on Prop. 1 campaign is Sean Parker, who has contributed $1 million to the campaign to date. Parker is an entrepreneur and venture capitalist who cofounded the file-sharing computer service Napster and served as the first president of the social networking website Facebook. He also cofounded Plaxo, Causes, and Airtime. As of September, 2014, Parker's net worth was estimated to be $3.1 billion, according to Wiikipedia.

Also noteworthy is the $1.5 million collectively donated to Prop. 1 by four members of the Fisher family that owns the controversial Gap stores, notorious for employing sweatshop labor in the Third World, and Mendocino Redwood Company. Doris F. Fisher contributed $499,000, John J. Fisher $351,000, Robert J. Fisher $400,000 and William S. Fisher $250,000.

In contrast to the $8,026,015 in donations to the Prop. 1 and 2 campaigns listed on the FPPC website, the FPPC states, “No committee opposing this ballot measure raised enough money to reach the reporting threshold."

The Vote NO on Prop. 1 campaign had raised a total of $71,000 and has spent $41,036 as of October 6, 2014, according to Ballotpedia (,_Water_Bond_(2014_)

From Governor Moonbeam to Big Oil Brown

The contribution of $250,000 from Aera Energy LLC to Governor Jerry Brown’s campaign to pass the water bond is no surprise, since Brown is a strong supporter of Big Oil and the expansion of the environmentally destructive practice of fracking in California.

Leaders of environmental organizations, Indian Tribes and fishing groups strongly criticized Brown for signing Senator Fran Pavley’s Senate Bill 4, the green light for fracking bill that clears the path for expanded fracking in California, in September 2013. The bill made California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review of fracking permits optional and prevented the imposition of a moratorium on fracking for 15 months.

The bill "undermines existing environmental law and leaves Californians unprotected from fracking and other dangerous and extreme fossil fuel extraction techniques," according to a statement from Californians Against Fracking, a statewide coalition of over 100 organizations calling for a moratorium on fracking. For more information on the legislation’s many flaws, go to: ttp://

Big Oil strongly supported the amended version of Senate Bill 4 that Brown signed. Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association and former chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force for the South Coast, praised the governor’s signing of Senate Bill 4 for creating “an environmental platform on which California can look toward the opportunity to responsibly develop the enormous potential energy resource contained in the Monterey Shale formation.”


Brown signed that bill after receiving at least $2,014,570.22 from fossil fuel interests since his race for Attorney General in 2006, according to Oil Change International.

In the 2014 election cycle, four oil companies had contributed a total of $161,000 to the Brown campaign as of March 1, 2014. Occidental Petroleum has given $27,200, the maximum legally allowed. Edison and Chevron have both contributed $27,200 twice, once for the primary election and another for the general election. Phillips 66 has nearly maxed out with a $25,000 contribution. (

Fossil fuel industry contributions in the 2010 Governor’s race were $198,451.22.

Proposition 30, one of the Governor’s signature policy initiatives in 2012, was also heavily funded by Big Oil. The oil and gas companies contributed over $1,118,418 to the campaign, including $500,000 from Occidental Petroleum and $125,000 from Aera Energy.

In addition, fossil fuel industry interests have donated $355,000 to Brown’s two Oakland charter schools since 2006. In 2013 alone, Occidental Petroleum gave The Oakland Military Institute $150,000 at Brown’s behest.

Top Contributors to Propositions 1 and 2

Below is the list of the top contributors to Propositions 1 (and 2) from the FPPC:

Proposition 001 - AB1471 Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014.

A contributor whose name is marked with an asterisk made a contribution to a committee that simultaneously supported or opposed more than one statewide ballot measure on the November 4, 2014 ballot. Because of this it is not possible to determine the amount of the contribution that was spent specifically on the campaign for any particular measure. In these cases the contributions are listed for every ballot measure the committee has been formed to support or oppose. This results in the same contribution appearing multiple times – once for each ballot measure the committee supports or opposes.


1 Brown for Governor 2014* - $1,879,765

2 Sean Parker* - $1,000,000

3 California Alliance for Jobs - Rebuild California Committee* - $521,250

4 California Hospitals Committee on Issues, Sponsored by California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems* - $500,000

5 Doris Fisher* - $499,000

6 L. John Doerr* - $475,000

7 Laborers Pacific Southwest Regional Organizing Coalition - Issues PAC* - $400,000

8 Robert Fisher* - $400,000

9 John Fisher* - $351,000

10 Western Growers Service Corporation* - $250,000

11 Northern California Carpenters Regional Council Issues PAC* - $250,000

12 Reed Hastings* - $250,000

13 California American Council of Engineering Companies Issues Fund* - $250,000

14 Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters Issues Committee (including contributions from Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters Legislative Improvement Committee)* - $250,000

15 California Farm Bureau Federation* - $250,000

16 William Fisher* - $250,000

17 Aera Energy LLC* NEW $250,000

Total from top contributors $8,026,015


No committee opposing this ballot measure raised enough money to reach the reporting threshold.

* * *


John Sakowicz moves his show, "All About Money" to Mendocino County's true community radio station, all-volunteer, KMEC, this Monday at 1:00 PM, Pacific Time. The show will air weekly at this time slot.

Our guest for our inaugural show is Russ Tice, who was the very first whistleblower at the NSA. Tice gives very few interviews, so we are proud to have him on the air for our inaugural show at KMEC.


KMEC, located at the Mendocino Environmental Center, is heard throughout the Ukiah Valley. Our shows also stream live from the web at the above website. Our shows will be archived at KMEC's website.

We also soon hope to be Skyping with our guests and creating a Youtube channel for our shows. Our shows will also air on Channel 65 in Mendocino County.

We further hope to create a channel for our shows at Blog Talk Radio.

Taken together, "All About Money"" will be a media platform that will include a live broadcast, Internet radio, Internet television, archives, podcasts, links to other media and link to a blog.

Our production team includes Ed Nieves, Sid Cooperrider, Govinda Dalton, and others. "All About Money" at KMEC is a team effort.


Russell D. Tice (born 1961) is a former intelligence analyst for the United States Air Force, Office of Naval Intelligence, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and National Security Agency (NSA).

In December, 2005, Tice helped spark a national controversy over claims that the NSA and the DIA were engaged in unlawful and unconstitutional wiretaps on American citizens. He later admitted that he was one of the sources for the 2005 New York Times reporting on the wiretapping activities. After speaking publicly about the need for legislation to protect whistleblowers, Tice received national attention as the first NSA-whistleblower in May 2005 before William Binney, Thomas Andrews Drake, Mark Klein, Thomas Tamm, and Edward Snowden came forward.

Tice was dismissed by the NSA in May 2005, just days after publicly urging Congress to pass stronger protections for federal intelligence agency whistleblowers facing retaliation, and claiming that whistleblowers were being punished.

In December 2005, Tice alleged that both (NSA) and the DIA were engaged in unlawful and unconstitutional conduct against the American people, sparking a national controversy. Tice stated that the activities involved the Director of the NSA, the Deputies Chief of Staff for Air and Space Operations, and the U.S. Secretary of Defense, and were conducted via very highly sensitive intelligence programs and operations known as special access programs (SAP), more commonly referred to as "black world" programs, or "black ops". Tice was a technical intelligence specialist dealing with SAP programs and operations at both NSA and DIA.

On December 16, the New York Times revealed that the NSA was engaged in a clandestine eavesdropping program that bypassed the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. Media reports on January 10, 2006, indicated Tice was a source of the Times leak, which revealed that, under the direction of the White House and without requisite court orders, the NSA has been intercepting international communications to and from points within the United States.

Fast forwarding to 2013, on the heels of the first Edward Snowden NSA disclosures in 2013, Tice was asked during an interview on All In With Chris Hayes, "What was your experience in trying to blow the whistle from inside the NSA? And does it make you understand why Snowden might have done what he did?"

Tice replied:

"Oh, absolutely. I learned the hard way, you cannot trust any of the internal supposed mechanisms that are there at NSA for oversight. At the NSA chain of command, the NSA Inspector General's office, even at the DOD Inspector General, I found was basically putting a knife in my own back."

Tice continued, "The Whistleblower Protection Act does not apply to the intelligence community. They're exempt from it. And most people in the intelligence community, they don't realize that. So, you can't even go to the Office of Special Counsel because they're exempt from that, too, and the merit system protection board."

Tice summed up, "So even if you use the whistleblower- intelligence community's Whistleblower Protection Act, the only thing that it gives you is the right to go to Congress. But it does and it doesn't - it doesn't have any teeth there to protect you against retribution from the agency that you're reporting abuse on."

Asked in June 2013 by The Guardian to comment on the early revelations about phone data collection by the NSA, Tice said: "What is going on is much larger and more systemic than anything anyone has ever suspected or imagined ... I figured it would probably be about 2015 [before the NSA had] the computer capacity ... to collect all digital communications word for word ... But I think I'm wrong. I think they have it right now."

Later during the summer of 2013 Tice alleged that during his employment with the NSA, the agency had a program that targeted the phone and computer conversations, word for word, members of Congress, the Supreme Court, Admirals and Generals, and that the NSA had wiretapped Barack Obama while he was a Senate candidate, saying he had seen and held papers ordering such actions.

Tice claimed the surveillance extended to lawyers and law firms, judges (one of whom, Samuel Alito "is now sitting on the Supreme Court ... two are former FISA court judges").

Other surveillance targeted State Department officials, people "in the executive service that were part of the White House", antiwar groups, US companies and banking and financial firms that do international business, NGOs and humanitarian groups such as the Red Cross, and antiwar civil rights groups.

In his opinion, this "wide-ranging' surveillance could offer intelligence agencies 'unthinkable power to blackmail their opponents."

Tice said he was "worried that the intelligence community now has sway over almost everything that is going on in Washington". Tice gave an example in an interview with the Russia Today TV Network, saying "I noticed that the intelligence community is not being hit with the sequester budget cuts... Is there some kind of leverage that is being placed on our three branches of government to make sure that the intelligence community gets everything that they want, including money? In other words, is the intelligence community running this country, not our government."

Tice raises an interesting question: Is the U.S. government being blackmailed by the NSA? Is Obama being blackmailed by the NSA?


The book, "Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War", by James Risen of the New York Times was released last week on October 14, 2014. The government has demanded he identify a confidential source under threat of imprisonment.

Risen then appeared on “Democracy Now!” See:

See also a fine article by Norman Solomon : “Risen’s New Book Exposes Corrupt Zealotry of ‘U.S. War on Terror".

Finally, Tice just wrote the piece “In Response to the Government’s Lynching of James Risen,” which criticizes Risen for not including more information in his original piece, but still calls him a true “American hero.”



  1. Bill Pilgriml October 20, 2014

    RE: “Progressives,” etc. Typical resentful bloviating by a frustrated right-winger whose wristwatch always reads: 1952. Notice how he scrupulously avoids any reference to the early struggles of Labor, or the reforms that helped move the US out of the Gilded Age.
    The reference to eugenics is a straw-dog. Hey dude, let’s talk about all the conservatives who quietly supported Hitler and the Fascists, ay? It’s well documented.
    I’m a card-carrying member of a new party: The Vanguard (no relation to Lenin’s time.)
    Our motto: “Neither Left nor Right but In Front!”

    • Harvey Reading October 20, 2014

      The conservatives and business sector in general were not quiet at all in their support for fascism … and neither is the single party, with democrap and rethuglican wings, of today. They just use different words, like globalism, free trade agreements, compassionate interventions, democracy, etc. The sad part is that we commoners are swallowing their lies, hook line, and sinker, as though we won’t be happy until we have returned to an authoriarian, feudal existance,

    • Bill Pilgriml October 20, 2014

      Editor: Regarding your working definition of Democrat, let me add “cowardly” and “craven.”

  2. Harvey Reading October 20, 2014

    Amazing how marijuana buds look almost identical to broccoli. Until I read the text, I could have sworn the two bottom photos were of trimmed broccoli … Truth is, I’m still not convinced, though, I’ll be the first to admit that I have never observed marijuana growing and processlng.

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