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Mendocino County Today: Sunday, Dec 14, 2014

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NO OFFICIAL IDENTIFICATION YET, but the man found dead Friday in his Point Arena trailer home was Bill Elmore, described by one person who knew him as “a really good painter/artist who hung his paintings at the post office and Arena Rx frequently. He was quiet, kind, an intellectual, active in his community, and seen almost every day checking his mail in Point Arena, or driving down to the Pier to look at the surf. Bill was about 70-75 years old maybe. As they say about trailers, they have aluminum wiring, and it’s not about ‘if’ they catch fire, but ‘when’.”

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Dec 13, 2014

Alvarez, Arriaga, Carbone
Alvarez, Arriaga, Carbone


MARIC ARRIAGA, Ukiah. Domestic battery, resisting arrest, possession of controlled substance, vandalism, probation revocation.

THERESA CARBONE, Ukiah. DUI, Driving without valid license, fugitive from justice.

Ceja, Ford, Gebreegziabher
Ceja, Ford, Gebreegziabher

RODOLFO CEJA III, Ukiah. DUI, pot possession for sale, driving without valid license, failure to appear.

KAILA FORD, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

YONAS GEBREEGZIABHER, Ukiah. Rental for distribution of controlled substance.

Hesherton, Jones, Krauth
Hesherton, Jones, Krauth

HEART HESHERTON, Ukiah. DUI-Drugs. Large capacity magazine.

VINCENT JONES, Talmage. Under influence of controlled substance, resisting arrest, evasion.

JENNIFER KRAUTH, Potter Valley. Under influence of controlled substance.

Stanton, Syfert, Yoakum, Zaccaria
Stanton, Syfert, Yoakum, Zaccaria

RANDY STANTON, Ukiah. Robbery.

JOHN SYFERT III, Redwood Valley. Probation revocation.

PAUL YOAKUM, Westport. Domestic assault, mayhem.

DIANE ZACCARIA, Ukiah. Under influence of controlled substance, probation revocation.

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LakeMendoLevelLake Mendo has an official “water supply pool capacity” of 68,400 acre-feet. And “Current water supply pool storage” (as of Saturday, Dec 12) is about 45,000 acre-feet, or two-thirds of capacity. If we're reading the government’s plumbing jargon correctly, about half of what's coming in is being released at present.

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WILLITS, Calif. (KGO) -- Caltrans' troubled Willits Bypass project is now two years behind and getting a lot more expensive, $65 million more so far.

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PREDICTION: The Niners bounce back big time on Sunday against Seattle. Kap runs wild. Niners by 10.

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“Oil deflation may lead to widespread bankruptcies and defaults for various non-financial companies, which will in turn precipitate financial instability events in banks tied to those companies. The collapse of financial assets associated with oil could also have a further ‘chain effect’ on other forms of financial assets, thus spreading the financial instability to other credit markets.”

(The Economic Consequences of Global Oil Deflation, Jack Rasmus, CounterPunch)

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To the Editor:

To: Calpella County Water District, Millview County Water District, Redwood Valley County Water District, Willow County Water District

The Employers Council of Mendocino (ECMC) is generally opposed to the use of joint powers agreements by local government agencies. We encourage you to oppose aggressively the formation of any JPA. A better alternative and perhaps a more affordable method of governance may be a contracted services approach.

JPAs are simply another layer of government bureaucracy and cost. There is an inherent weaknesses with public accountability and accessibility to resolve issues, problems with gaining accessibility to records and information, and difficulty when necessary to dissolving non-functioning and/or an obsolete JPA.

The public has elected you to represent them for many purposes, including your oath and responsibility for safeguarding the public trust and water district assets. As an elected official, we know you are working to defend them from any opportunity to add another layer of government bureaucracy and cost to the dedicated system of government that you represent. A JPA will add another layer of bureaucracy and some unknown cost to the district and its customers.

As you know, a JPA has an inherent weakness like all government agencies to resolve concerns. As its directors are not elected, a JPA is an additional layer of bureaucracy between you, as an elected official, and your want to resolve concerns as soon as possible at the most affordable cost. When you work to resolve issues and citizen concerns, be aware that you may have difficulty gaining accessibility to records and information because a JPA is another layer of government. Ultimately, if you, individually or collectively, should find it necessary to dissolve a non-functioning and/or obsolete JPA you may have to receive the unanimous support of all the elected officials who make up the JPA - do you think that is possible within the political environment of water issues in Mendocino County and the Ukiah Valley?

John Mayfield, Chairman Employers Council of Mendocino County, Ukiah

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To the Editor:

Free To Live Or Die: That's my idea of a slogan for Hospice of Ukiah. I have been a Hospice of Ukiah client for seven years; first as I was about to die from two incurable cancers and then, when for reasons known only the Creator, I didn't.

I was surprised how many people, including medical professionals, don't know we have superior hospice services right here in Ukiah.

Face it. We is all gonna die!

Hospice helps us and our families do it with dignity while taking tremendous burdens off our loved ones and costs absolutely zilch forever. And if you're lucky like me, you switch from dying status to palliative care; fancy words for the nurse coming regularly to your home to see if you're eating your Wheaties, getting proper care and meds and shoot the breeze on how her piglets and posies are doing. So listen up. Call or email. 462-4038;, visit the thrift shop at 401 S. State or Kicking in a few bucks wouldn't hurt either.

M Lee Wachs, Talmage

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I cover my heart, turn from the wind

Button my coat, here comes the storm again

What can I do but to trust in Him

'Cause I know the deeper my faith runs

The stronger I become

And the thunder, it may shake me

But I always know that

After the rain

You can look to the sky again

The clouds will give way

To the light of the sun

After the rain

You know that you've made it through

And you'll finally see the joy from the pain

After the rain

Everyone needs, everyone hurts

Everyone feels the weight of the world sometimes

But don't let the wind sweep your heart away

'Cause even the roughest waters cleanse

So when they come again

Let them serve as a reminder

You can always know that

After the rain

You can look to the sky again

The clouds will give way

To the light of the sun

After the rain

You know that you've made it through

And you'll finally see the joy from the pain

After the rain

Can't you see the hand of Jesus

Reaching out for you?

You never have to face the storm alone

After the rain

You can look to the sky again

The clouds will give way

To the light of the sun

(Light of the sun)

After the rain

Cause you know that you've made it through

And you'll finally see the joy from the pain

Well, after the rain

You know that you made it

(Look to the sky again)

You know that you made it

(After the rain)

Hold on to the light

(To the light of the sun)

After the rain

You know that you made it

(I know)

You know that you made it

(So hold on, hold on)

After the rain

You know that you made it

(Look to the sky again)

You know that you made it

(Bow down and pray)

To the light of the sun

After the rain
(After the rain)

You know that you made it

(Know that you made it)

You know that you made it.

: Oliver Kall, Sven DeMar

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I live in a mostly non-white working-class city, Richmond, CA, where we have instituted an authentic community-policing program. Violent crime continues to decrease; this last year down by 70% over about 6 years. How does it work?
 Basically the police are on duty 24/7 and know who the 100 or so big trouble-makers are. These trouble-makers know they’re being watched (as do the non-criminal citizens) so the bad guys and gals watch their behavior. The non-criminals feel secure that the cops are there to help - unlike Oakland where the cops have the usual, paranoid system of coming into neighborhoods after something bad is happening; and avoiding those neighborhoods for the most part so the bad guys do their dirty work with more impunity. 
It’s not perfect but it’s far from the parasitic and sick relationship many city police forces engage in with the populace. Now we have the Israeli police/military establishment teaching cops in the U.S. how to better intimidate the public. Think leaving Brown’s body on the street 4 hours was an anomaly? No - typical Mafia-type intimidation/terrorism tactic.
 We had a city sponsored demonstration here in which youth, general public and the police participated, as a memorial for Brown and Garner. No unrest in our town, unlike the neighboring ones.

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Lyrics by Grumpy Grampa (to the tune of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas)

I’m so tired of Christmas

Same thing every year

Jingle bells and Santa’s elves

And Rudolf the Reindeer


I’m so tired of Christmas

Can’t wait till it’s through

All the hype just makes me gripe

And shopping makes me blue


Please don’t buy me presents

I’ll do the same for you

We can say that Santa came

And gave us both the flu


If I last till Christmas

Tell you where I’ll be

Either in a loony bin

Or a beach in Waikiki

— Jim Gibbons

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BETSY CAWN PROVIDES a useful guide to that famously unknown secret layer of government, LAFCO:

A Mendocino LAFCo story -- tucked away in this announcement

…affords the public an opportunity to "watch the sausage being made" through what are believed to be "independent" processes, but in reality are driven by the influences of the legislative bodies whose "representatives" are from the Board of Supervisors, City Councils, and (if the Commission has so chosen) members of independent special district boards of directors. Key to the "public" process are two appointed "members of the public -- at large." We the taxpayers foot the bill for all of them, especially the contracted "staff" -- which by 2000 changes to the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Act (Government Code §56000, et sequentia) includes a theoretically "independent" attorney.

In the first decade of the 21st Century, rural LAFCos had ample time and authority to develop baseline information about essential public services and their shortcomings to stem the tide of popular expansion schemes. Real development of land owner/voter participation in critical decisions has been shortchanged, always according to the "letter of the law," of course. But a continuum of studies that provide necessary evaluation of capacities prior to the introduction of patch-work quilt decisions should have been the work product of this publicly funded, state-mandated oversight body for all of the districts in each LAFCo's juridiction, by 2008.

The real paying public knows little about how a "Municipal Service Review" is conducted, how the information is validated and "analyzed," and how costs of service are determined. I don't know about Mendocino County, but in Lake County, the absence of written policies that ensure "sustainable" management of natural resources and sound public services allows selective amnesia and worse among our LAFCo members who then return to their jobs as County Supervisors or City Council Members with hardly a care for LAFCo's "findings."

Further, there are no legal requirements to heed LAFCo's "determinations" anyway (it's like the Grand Jury Report, no teeth), unless the people who are paying for public services follow up with the agencies LAFCo oversees. Kudos to all of you in Anderson Valley and much of Mendocino who are directly engaged in your local service provider agencies -- more power to you.

Betsy Cawn, Upper Lake

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by Margi Gomez

In the wake of the lumber boom of the late 1800s that swept the North Coast, numerous saloons sprang up in Mendocino and other Mendocino County towns. A Saturday night spent leaning on the bar was often the sum total of the social life for the hard-working loggers who came to Mendocino and the other towns that dotted the coast. Stories abound of Mendocino County's wild and woolly days before Prohibition, when thirsty loggers streamed into town for a night on the town. Many of these saloons catered to their clients according to their origin. According to documents archived by the Mendocino Historical Research, Inc. and Kelley House Museum, there were Scandinavian, Italian, Irish, Portuguese, German, among others, along with "American" saloons, with mixed nationalities.

Silas Osborn and Frederick Heldt, also known as Dutch Fred, opened the first saloon in Mendocino sometime between 1855 and 1860 on West Main Street. Unschooled men who were unable to read or write, it was said that they kept a whiskey glass under the counter for each of their customers, dropping beans into the appropriate glass each time a drink was ordered. Dutch Fred was also said to prey on his clients who were in the habit of carrying twenty-dollar gold pieces in their shoes. Dutch Fred would get the men drunk and at the first opportunity exchange the gold for lead slugs of the same size.

A German native by the name of William ("Billy") Grotz first opened his bar at the corner of Lansing and Ukiah streets in May of 1895, moving the business to another location on West Main Street in 1899, according to Kelley House documents. Billy made the news in 1904 when, according to the Mendocino Beacon, "His saloon license was refused by the Board of Supervisors, and the refusal will stay in effect until lewd women cease frequenting the place and making it unpleasant for citizens."

October of 1870 saw a great fire in Mendocino, which wiped out many of the early businesses, but plentiful redwood and willing hands soon brought the saloons back in droves. No fewer than twenty-eight saloons have been documented between 1855 and 1907 in the town of Mendocino alone. Drink was not the only attraction, of course. A turn-of-the-century map shows nine saloons, along with three hotels with bars. In addition to these were the "fast" houses, which housed the women who were often imported by the big lumber companies to entertain the bachelor workers of the time. These popular places were marked on local maps as FBH, or "fashionable boarding house." In most cases, the saloon would operate on the bottom floor of the establishment, with "lodging" upstairs.

Another practice links the oldest profession in the world with the logging camps that were common in the hills above the coast. On Saturday mornings the lumber bosses would run special "whiskey trains" into the towns, to guarantee their hard workers "relief from their bodily urges," and give the boys a place to spend their hard-earned paychecks. By Sunday afternoon the money would be spent, the hangover would begin to fade, and they would be headed back for another week in the woods.

Naturally there is relatively little written about the madams of these establishments, and even less about the common "ladies of the night." Kelley House members Katy Tahja and Martin Simpson have been researching the saloons and nightlife of early Mendocino, and both agree that details about these "soiled doves" are few and far between. "If you had anything to do with this process the last thing you wanted to do was to draw attention to it," Katy explains. "But on one level, it was condoned. A good logging crew was hard to find. You wanted to keep the boys happy so they wouldn't wander off."

Katy relates a story that she discovered in the Mendocino Beacon about a local prostitute, who, along with her many charms, had the distinction of weighing over three hundred pounds. "One evening," Katy says, "while town father Nathaniel Kent was at a lodge meeting, the inebriated but determined woman stole Nathaniel's horse and wagon. Nathaniel, spotting the theft from the lodge window, shouted for a constable, and followed by his enthusiastic lodge brothers and various assorted onlookers, took off at a run after her."

They did eventually catch up with her, but then were faced with a dilemma. None of the vehicles available to the town constable were capacious enough to carry the opulent lady. Eventually the mischievous whore was brought to justice in the mail compartment of the auto coach, the springs of which broke on the way back to Mendocino. Her girlfriends back in Mendocino provided the money to spring her from jail. "Although she was pardoned by the generous Mr. Kent, her fine included the cost of the repair to the coach," Katy laughs.

Katy says that although there were the usual abuses, in many cases women who chose a life of prostitution did so willingly. "Of course it was a sad place for a woman facing old age. But if you had good looks and little standing in society, what were your options? You could be a seamstress going blind over your work, or you could be a laundress up to your elbows in soapsuds all day. With this life, you had your own money, which you were encouraged to spend on clothes, jewelry, perfume—fun stuff. Plus you were taken care of, if you worked for a good madam, you had access to medical care. And you often got to see the world. In some cases the lumber barons would ship the girls around, from San Francisco right on up the West Coast."

Martin adds, "Much of the time they were looking for husbands, and more often than not, they found them!" He goes on, "Once they were married, they could join the church and play a more accepted role in society. Or, in some cases, they continued as prostitutes even after they were married, making ends meet during the winter, when their logger husbands were rained out of the woods."

Martin explains that, in his experience in historical research, "You only find out about the prostitutes or the madams when they get hauled in to the judge." He thinks he may have discovered a women "active in the trade" who went by the whimsical name of Cinderella Wallace. Cinderella arrived in the rough and tumble Mendocino in 1865, at the tender age of twenty. She was said to have few women friends, and to have preferred the company of men. She was known for her rough language, and was apparently comfortable walking alone at night. There is one story that relates a trick that she played on a drunkard who sang and carried on as he crossed the Evergreen Cemetery, disturbing her night after night. One moonlit night, covered by a sheet, Cinderella hid in a freshly dug grave in the cemetery, jumping out at the man and scaring him so that, according to the Mendocino Beacon of the day, "his cries could be heard all the way to Furytown (east Mendocino)."

The Dragon Lady was another such "lady of the night," who was said to have had the first "mobile" den of iniquity in Mendocino, arranging for her trysts in the back of her automobile. A madam named "Pretty Pearl" Peck ran her business behind Billy Grotz' saloon. One story recorded in the Mendocino Beacon recalls the day a house of ill repute caught fire, and the women were heard shouting randy comments at the brave men battling the blaze below. The ladies of the town were reported to have remarked that it would have been better to let it burn.

One of the most interesting of the "fashionable boarding houses" was on an offshore rock near Ten Mile River (north of) Fort Bragg, which customers accessed by way of a long wooden bridge over the freezing waters. Drunken men repeatedly fell and met their death in freezing waters during the wee hours of the morning, so that Fort Bragg city fathers eventually dynamited the bridge.

As more women and then children began to inhabit Mendocino along with the workingman bachelors, tensions began to grow. Prohibition in the form of "local option" [liquor elections] began to be a force in the county, with "dry days" enforcement beginning in Mendocino in 1909, over ten years before national Prohibition went into effect with the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Meetings were held and debate raged, both officially in community meeting halls such as the Oddfellows Hall, and in the street where the question frequently pitted neighbor against neighbor. The incorporated areas of the county were permitted to hold "wet or dry" elections, with Fort Bragg, Ukiah, and Willits voting "wet." It is believed that Point Arena, (with a population of 476 and boasting nine saloons), incorporated in 1908 in order to escape the onerous eventuality of a "dry vote" in the rest of the county. Liquor licensing became a popular way of raise local revenues, and by 1913 there were thirteen bars flourishing in Fort Bragg, with twenty-two in Ukiah and eleven in Willits. Meanwhile, Mendocino newspaper headlines declared, "Ban on Saloons Will Last for All Time!" and "Mendocino To Have One Giant Party as 14 Saloons Dispense with their Stock of Liquid Refreshments!"

Those in the Mendocino area who refused to give up their Saturday night drinking sprees were forced to hitch up horse and buggy for the long haul to Fort Bragg or Point Arena. It was said that, however tipsy, a man could always get home as long as he could find his horse. The crisis inspired a number of songs, like this lively tune, sung to the tune of "It's a Long Way to Tipperary"

‘It's A Long Way To Point Arena’

It's a long way to Point Arena,

It's a long long way to go,

It's a long way to Point Arena

Where the beer and whiskey flows.

Goodbye to beer and whiskey, 

Goodbye to rum and rye, 

It's a long way to Point Arena, 

Since Mendocino went dry.

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In a remembrance by Herman Fayal, Fernance Lemos who had run a popular saloon frequented by the Portuguese community, was said to have announced before his saloon closed, "Well boys, I've got fifty gallons of wine in the back room. I can't sell it so you might as well drink it."

"They started drinking in the afternoon and then left to get something to eat, and returned to finish the fifty gallons." Herman said, "I was sick for a week."

Most Mendocino saloonkeepers adapted to the new temperance law, with former saloons becoming respectable businesses of all kinds. Fen Clyma's saloon became a pool hall, Granskog's Eagle Saloon became a garage, and Billy Grotz sold out to Mr. De Grazia, who manufactured sausage and bologna. Fernance Lemos decided to go into the grocery business. Frank Mendosa, who had barely had time to- get his saloon and "chop house" on a paying basis before the law passed, turned the building into a general store, which still thrives today.

An Encouraging Outlook:

Today will decide whether Mendocino and the several other incorporated towns and communities in the county that have taken up the fight against the saloon are to be freed from its baleful influence not whether they must become its chattels for a further period of time.

The outlook is more encouraging than it was last year, and we believe when the votes are counted tonight they will show that the precincts that voted dry last year have gone dry again by increased majorities and that a number of new precincts have been placed in the dry column.

One thing is certain—that this movement will never stop until its purpose has been accomplished. It is worldwide in extent and is making great forward strides each year.

The saloon man makes nothing by trying to prolong the saloon's days. The quicker he accepts the situation and takes up a legitimate line of trade or business the better it will be for him and for all concerned. He suffers from its demoralizing influence as well as his patron, and it is pretty sure to number him one of its victims in the end.

An editorial in A.A. Heeser's Mendocino Beacon, June 25, 1910.

Although many saloon owners followed this sage advice, others who were attracted to the obvious profit in illegal liquor began to flout the law, building up a secret list of customers up and down the coast form Greenwood/Elk to Caspar. Bootlegger or "blind piggers" as they were known, often used the hotels, which had officially closed their bars, to peddle their illicit wares. Former saloon owner Billy Grotz was arrested repeatedly for bootlegging. Katy Tahja notes that, "The fact that Prohibition came to the Mendocino Coast a full ten years before it reached the rest of the country made for some very colorful cops-and-outlaws scenarios." The January 24, 1914 Mendocino Beacon illustrates this point:

Two truckloads of booze of various kinds, taken in recent 'blind pig' raids was taken by Sheriff Byrnes and dumped over the bluff into the bay.

The day was a gloomy one. The wind blew in fierce gusts and the rain fell in torrents as the Sheriff and his assistants, breaking in the heads of casks, and smashing whole cases of bottles at once, threw over the high bank into the waters of the bay gallons and gallons of booze of all colors and smells.

An order such as might come from a dozen distilleries and breweries combined filled the air, and a group of interested spectators were drenched by liquor which the fierce gusts of wind blew upon them.

Some of the respectable and temperate citizens who were present must have had a time of it explaining to their wives that night how it was that the smelled so strong of liquor.

And rumor hath it that ever since Saturday all the fish in Mendocino bay have been pickled. However we do not vouch for the accuracy of this statement.

The last of the old time saloons in Mendocino and the only one still operating as a bar is Dick's Place on Main Street. In 1936, well after the end of Prohibition, former woodsman Richard ("Dick") Cecchi bought the building from Anton Lemos, who had been operating a barbershop there. The old time atmosphere at Dick's Place has drawn locals and visitors alike ever since.

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Postscript: From an Interview with former Fifth District Supervisor Joe Scaramella

“There were brothels in many areas of Mendocino County in the early part of the century. There was only the one in Point Arena in the early 1900s. Most communities had at least one. There was one in Navarro. Mendocino. There was a famous one in Ukiah. And in Fort Bragg of course. I always had a high regard for the inhabitants of the brothels as a kid because they were right next door to us in Point Arena. One of them had a weeping willow tree outside. They'd put a parrot out on it, squawking, squawking. All of a sudden the parrot disappeared. Gone. So the lady was frantic trying to find it. We were nearby, so she got us to try to help her. So when we brought back the parrot she gave us five dollars. Wow! That was great! I went to my father and said, ‘Look what I just made!’ He said, ‘Give that to me.’ And he grabbed it. So I thought they were pretty good people. They gave me five dollars for catching the bird.”

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Trapped in a System Where Nothing Changes

by Tariq Ali

‘We live in a post-racial society,’ Obama enthused, referring to his own victory, soon after entering the White House. It sounded hollow at the time, though many wanted to believe it. Nobody does today. Not even Toni Morrison. But the response of tens of thousands of young US citizens to the recent outrages in Ferguson, Cleveland and New York is much more important and interesting than the vapours being emitted in DC.

There is a vital energy to these protests. The scale, speed and intelligence of the protesters took the country by surprise. In New York they emerged unannounced at different locations avoiding the pitched battle scenario in Berkeley, created by the Bay Area cops whose penchant for rioting at the first possible opportunity is well known. Two miles outside Ferguson, white supremacists torched a black church while cops maintained order in the city. There is police-state talk of making the use of phone cameras illegal in these situations. In other words, mass arrests.

In Chicago, medicine and law students came out and lay down on the ground. It’s hardly a secret that they tend to be among the more conservative students on campus, eclipsed only by the engineering faculty and lavishly funded business studies departments. Their solidarity with the victims of state brutality against African-Americans is an impressive sight. Might it be more than a one-off?

Radical politics in the US was badly derailed by the destroyed hopes and betrayed illusions of the early Obama years (not a few of those who occupied squares in the 99 per cent movement voted to give him a second term, despite the wars and drones and a refusal to hold Bush, Cheney and gang responsible for manufactured lies and torture). Has the worm finally turned or will we see a similar outpouring of joy for Hillary Clinton, led this time by deluded feminists? If a mixed-race president could not move towards a post-racial society, what chance is there of another warmongering Clinton (with dodgy positions on almost everything including abortion rights) paving the way towards post-patriarchy? We need a break and perhaps this generation will provide one. Perhaps.

Dozens of black Americans have been killed by cops in recent years without exciting similar outrage. Most of the traditional black leaders capitulated without shame to the Obama White House. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are two of the better known names, the latter now trying to hustle a quick march on DC to regain at least one credential. The black caucus in Congress is loyal to White House and Wall Street alike. A similar situation exists for the rest of the country. People feel unrepresented. The anger over the recent deaths reflects, I think, a growing disgust with a system in which nothing changes regardless of who is elected.

The torture revelations, too, are bound to have an effect. The worst aspects are still hidden from public view, but it’s been going on for a long time. In 1975 the former CIA operative Philip Agee broke with his employers and published Inside the Company, an account of unremitting torture in South America. In Vietnam, US marines would disembowel one prisoner to scare another into revealing locations. We still do not have a full account of the way women prisoners were humiliated and tortured in Iraq. And everything since 9/11 happened with the collusion of the EU. Tony Blair, Jack Straw, David Miliband were all aware of what they had sanctioned. As were their French, German and Italian counterparts. The East Europeans, too, were more than happy to serve their new masters.

Perhaps the students and others protesting in America now will spark off something new and permanent to challenge the system on many levels. I hope.

(Tariq Ali is the author of The Obama Syndrome (Verso).)

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THE CHOMSKY QUOTE in last week’s paper spurs me to re-send the interview I did with him a while ago. Please re-read his answer to the question about Israel/Palestine. When the interview ran in Malibu Magazine, Chomsky's take on Israel/Palestine elicited some outrage, usually a good reason to run something.

— Very Best, Denis Rouse.


ROUSE: “Your well documented position on this issue raises another question, and please forgive me if this seems harshly put, How is it possible that a people who were loaded into boxcars by a fascist regime not long ago can commit the same atrocity upon their neighbors, the Palestinians? What needs preface here is that we share Russian Jewish immigrant heritage. Your father was a Hebrew scholar. I went to temple with my grandfather wearing his tallis as a boy; I went to Hebrew school for a while. My parents were proud of Israel. They went there in the 50s to plant a tree. I can’t help but wonder how they would react to the foregoing were they still here.”

CHOMSKY: “An old friend of mine, who died recently, was an Israeli who was a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto and Bergen-Belsen. He managed to escape and got to Israel. He became Israel’s leading human rights activist for Palestinians, for women’s rights and other things and his view was, Look, this kind of thing shouldn’t happen to anybody, not just this shouldn’t happen to me. But unfortunately that’s not the general attitude. And in fact it’s worse among those who didn’t undergo the suffering. So it takes the American Jewish community, which I grew up in, we didn’t undergo the suffering, but these are the people taking the most rabid position your question poses. There are some things they don’t bother looking at. Like how come, simple question, after the war was over, there were still a large number of survivors, not huge, most of them were killed, but there were survivors and they were living in concentration camps the Truman administration investigated and found that the people living in the camps were essentially living under the same conditions as under the Nazis except there weren’t any death chambers; how come they’re not here? I mean, if asked, half the population of Europe would have come here if they had a choice. If you had offered the choice to people in the concentration camps where do you think they would have wanted to go? Well, they weren’t offered that choice for a lot of reasons but one reason is the American Jewish community didn’t want them; the whole American community didn’t want them, either being anti-Semitic, anti-refugee and so on. There were a couple of immigration bills trying to get through but the American Jewish community just didn’t lobby for them. The only ones who lobbied for it was the American Council for Judaism, which is anti-Zionist. They did lobby for bringing in Jewish refugees. But the main American Jewish community, the people I was old enough to be part of at the time, they just didn’t want them here. They wanted to send them to Palestine. And what happened in the concentration camps is not pretty. The Zionist emissaries from Palestine essentially took over the camps and controlled them. And they used a lot of pressure like control of food and other things to coerce them into going to Palestine. The reason was they had a principle that able-bodied men and women had to be shipped off to Palestine, as good human material, mainly as cannon fodder for the coming war, not their choice. And the American Jewish community cooperated. So if we want to think about the victims, it’s always a good idea to look in the mirror. How come we didn’t try to help them? I mean there’s talk about why the allies didn’t do something about Auschwitz. Why didn’t we do anything when we could?”

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by Dan Bacher

Leaked documents provided to Northwest Public Radio, Business Week and other media outlets have exposed a campaign by the Western States Petroleum Association to fund and coordinate a network of “Astroturf” groups to oppose environmental laws and local campaigns against fracking in California, Washington and Oregon.

This network was revealed in a PowerPoint presentation from a Nov. 11 presentation to the Washington Research Council, given by Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) and former Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called “marine protected areas” in Southern California.

“The Powerpoint deck details a plan to throttle AB 32 (also known as the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006) and steps to thwart low carbon fuel standards (known as LCFS) in California, Oregon, and Washington State,” revealed Stop Fooling California, an online and social media public education and awareness campaign that highlights oil companies’ efforts to mislead and confuse Californians. “Northwest Public Radio appears to have been the first to confirm the authenticity of the deck, which Bloomberg Businessweek did as well, with WSPA spokesman Tupper Hull.” (

Specifically, the PowerPoint deck from a presentation by WSPA President Catherine Reheis-Boyd lays out the construction of what environmentalists contend is an elaborate ‘Astroturf' campaign by WSPA, the the oldest petroleum trade association in the United States and the most powerful corporate lobbying organization in Sacramento.

"Astroturfing" is the practice, used often by powerful corporate interests, of masking the sponsors of a message or organization to make it appear as though it originates from and is supported by grassroots participant(s).

“Groups with names such as Oregon Climate Change Campaign, Washington Consumers for Sound Fuel Policy, and AB 32 Implementation Group are made to look and sound like grassroots citizen-activists while promoting oil industry priorities and actually working against the implementation of AB 32,” Stop Fooling California explained.

A review of the documents ( confirms the claims by Stop Fooling California. The most controversial slide (9) shows a large circle with a smaller circle labeled "WSPA" in the center, surrounded by circles representing the organization's “coalitions and campaigns." These include the Californians for Energy Independence, Californians Against Higher Oil Taxes, Concerned Mineral Owners of California, Kern Citizens for Energy, and “Local Hydraulic Fracturing Campaigns,” all described as “upstream" groups.

The slide also features what the organization describes as “downstream” groups, including the California Drivers Alliance, Fed Up at The Pump, Californians Against Higher Taxes, Save Our Jobs, Washington Consumers for Sound Fuel Policy, AB 32 Implementation Group, Tank the Tax, Oregonians for Sound Fuel Policy, Californians for Affordable & Reliable Energy, Fueling California and California Fuel Facts.

That’s a total of 16 "Astroturf" groups and campaigns orchestrated and funded by WSPA and its allies!

In the same slide, Reheis-Boyd discloses:

“In 2014, WSPA has activated a significant numbers of campaigns and coalitions that have contributed to WSPA’s advocacy goals and continue to respond to aggressive anti-oil initiatives in the West.

Each campaign was structured to address specific state and local issues and provide an excellent opportunity for the petroleum industry to educate consumers and voters in all of WSPA’s five Western States.

WSPA has also invested in several coalitions that are best suited to drive consumer and grassroots messages for regulators and policy makers.”

The PowerPoint presentation also features a series of slides (3-8), entitled “the Worst of Times,” showing photos of activists at a variety of locations protesting against the Keystone Pipeline, against oil trains, for a fracking ban, and demanding climate justice. Photos of Bill McKibben of and Tom Steyer, billionaire philanthropist, are also included.

The rest of the slides (10 through 31) focus on the “Climate Change Campaigns” by WSPA in California, Oregon and Washington.

Reheis-Boyd responded to media exposure of the WSPA Astroturf campaign by claiming that the PowerPoint presentation wasn't really a "leaked" document - and then touted the organization's "transparency," just like she and her fellow "marine guardians" touted the alleged "transparency" of the MLPA Initiative process that she oversaw.

"I find it fascinating that a handful of gullible news reporters have been convinced this was a 'leaked' document that reveals WSPA’s secret formula for world domination," she claimed.

"The truth is, the presentation in question was given to a public gathering and provided to individuals who requested it – a regular transparent practice we employ at WSPA. The fact we are engaged in partnerships with a large array of business and consumer coalitions isn’t a secret to anyone familiar with our active engagement on behalf of our members in all of the states for which are responsible," the oil industry lobbyist contended.

Unfortunately, not one of the “reporters” who has covered the WSPA “Astroturf” scandal mentioned the even bigger scandal of how the same oil industry lobbyist who delivered the PowerPoint presentation oversaw the creation of fake “marine protected areas” in Southern California, in collaboration with state officials and corporate “environmental” NGOs. (

In one of the most overt conflicts of interest in California history, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, not only chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create fake “marine protected areas” on the South Coast, but “served” on the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast from 2004 to 2012. (

Not only did she sit on the state task forces, but she also "serves" on a federal marine protected area panel.

In her role as “marine guardian,” Reheis Boyd and other members of the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force created a “network” of so-called “marine protected areas” that fail to protect the ocean from fracking, offshore oil drilling, pollution, corporate aquaculture, military testing and all human impacts other than fishing and gathering.

After hearing from dozens of speakers at task force meeting on November 11, 2009, Reheis-Boyd and the other panel members selected a controversial plan that would close fishing and gathering in many areas, including waters off Laguna Beach and Point Dume, but do nothing to stop pollution, fracking, oil drilling, military testing or other insults to the ocean in Southern California waters.

"We're not going to make everyone happy, but this has to be done," panel Chairwoman Catherine Reheis-Boyd told the LA Times in an interview before the vote. "It's agony to weigh the environmental goals against people's livelihoods, especially here in Southern California, where the urban/ocean interface is greater than anywhere else in the nation."

“It's not perfect, but it's something we hope we can live with,” said Reheis-Boyd, according to Sign on San Diego the same day. (

Now not only are we forced to “live with” these fake “marine protected areas,” but we are forced to "live with" the increasingly prominent role that Reheis-Boyd and the oil industry plays in California politics. Reheis-Boyd's rise to power was helped tremendously by the greenwashing of her position on the task forces by Brown and Schwarzenegger administration officials and representatives of corporate "environmental" NGOs, who continually gushed that the corrupt process was "open, transparent and inclusive."

The creation of Astroturf groups and the hijacking by the oil industry of what passes for “marine protection” in California take place in the context of the increasing money and influence the Western States Petroleum Association and the oil industry wields over state, federal and local government officials.

The oil industry has spent over $70 million on lobbyists in California since January 2009, including record amounts of money spent during the third quarter of 2014, according to a recent report written by Will Barrett, the Senior Policy Analyst for the American Lung Association in California. (

WSPA, the most powerful corporate lobbying organization in Sacramento, topped the oil industry spending with a total of $31,179,039 spent on lobbying since January 1, 2009. Chevron was second in lobbying expenses with a total of $15,542,565 spent during the same period.

From July 1 to September 30 alone, the oil industry spent an unprecedented $7.1 million lobbying elected officials in California “with a major focus on getting oil companies out of a major clean air regulation,” said Barrett.

And this doesn’t include spending on ballot measures or the recent election, including Chevron spending $3 million (unsuccessfully!) to elect “their” candidates to the Richmond City Council. Big Oil also dumped $7.6 million into defeating a measure calling for a fracking ban in Santa Barbara County and nearly $2 million into an unsuccessful campaign to defeat a measure banning fracking and other extreme oil extraction techniques in San Benito County.

People need to understand that the millions Chevron and other oil companies have spent on lobbying, campaign contributions and setting up “Astroturf” groups promoting the oil industry agenda are small change to Big Oil. The five big oil companies – BP, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, Exxon Mobil and Shell – made a combined total of $93 billion in profits last year. Big Oil’s estimated profits in 2014 to date are over $88 billion.


  1. Jim Armstrong December 14, 2014

    Believe it or not, the Army Corps of Engineers does not have a clear notion of the actual inflow to Lake Mendocino.
    It is able to measure the outflow and uses that along with the lake level to guess at the inflow.
    They ignore a very accurate gauge operated by the USGS and reported at:
    This flow, on the East Fork of the Russian River at its confluence with Cold Creek accounts for 95-100% of the total depending on the time of year.

    Currently, so to speak, the inflow is about 6 times the outflow and during the storm was about 450 times it.

  2. Rick Weddle December 14, 2014

    re: Corps of Engineers…
    If you want a pretty good idea of how the Corps works and why, in some detail, in case after case, check out ‘Dams and Other Disasters; A Century of the Army Corps of Engineers in Public Works,’ by Arthur E. Morgan, first head of the TVA. Page after page of unbelievable engineering stuff in layfolk terms, and deep insights into the systemic dysfunction of the Corps, which insists on blundering along until catastrophe strikes, then changes their tune to lie about the real, safe engineering being THEIR Big Idea to start with. Time. After. Time.

  3. Jim Armstrong December 15, 2014

    When talk of raising Coyote Dam started a few years ago, the Grand Poobah of the C of E out of San Francisco came to Ukiah and offered up the biggest string of BS and misunderstanding I ever saw.
    He concluded that the Corps, who designed, built and has run the dam for 50 years, needed 5 million dollars to study the idea.

    • Rick Weddle December 15, 2014

      Yes. Picture the Corps as Bluecoats from an old John Wayne-style movie; they take all the pioneers’ money, deliver nada or worse, and circle the wagons to isolate, disengage, and disenfranchise the public. This arrangement preserves the Corps’ dominion over Huge Swaths of our world, offers ‘our’ lawmakers retirement careers with the Corps as civilian consultants and advocates, and fences off the whole ball of snakes from any noticeable public scrutiny.
      West Point was established as a MILITARY engineering school modeled on the Napoleonic model of martinet horseshit, and has stayed studiously splinted in their thinking and performance ever since. One of the most expensive parts of ‘our’ government, and, as it turns out USUALLY, the most dangerous and incompetent and opaque bunch of ‘engineers’ you might dream up.

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