- Ethics Training
- Movie Reviews
- Critiquing Glenda
- Coastal Trail
- Caltrans Cleanup
- Honda v Lycra
- Combat Liberalism
- Three Gents
- Catch of the Day
- Police Fundraisers
- Radio Technicians
- Future Skills
- Sicilian Psyche
- Shamanic Drumming
- Love Stinks
- No TPP
- Opinion Oligopoly
- Public Records Access
DEPARTMENT OF UNINTENTIONAL HUMOR with this intro: The Midnight Rambler will be hosting a training on the Brown Act and Ethics - a short course in irony will be offered at no extra charge.
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I am pleased to announce that Douglas Losak, Interim County Counsel will be hosting a training on the Brown Act and Ethics on March 19, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. at the Administration Building, located at 501 Low Gap Road, Ukiah. If you are interested, please register by e-mailing me with your name, entity and phone number. Please see the attached flyer. Mr. Losak will also be hosting a training of the same next week on Monday, February 2, 2015 @ 4:00 p.m. at the Mendocino Community Center in Mendocino. There are only a limited number of seats available, so please contact me as soon as possible if you are interested in this option.
Thank you. Julie Chapman, Legal Services Supervisor
Mendocino County Counsel Office
501 Low Gap Road, Rm 1030, Ukiah, CA 95482
Telephone (707) 234-6885 Fax (707) 463-4592
AMERICAN SNIPER. It's pretty good watched as a movie-movie, not the whizz-bang celebration of the military that Sarah Palin and the Fox News cretins see as a realistic, and only occasionally cringe-making look at the futile war on the Mohammedans that our “leadership” says is necessary to prevent them from attacking Ukiah. Anyway, the acting is very good and you get the sniper portrayed as the super-straight tough guy he is, although in real life he was something of a windbag, lying on national tv about beating up Jesse Ventura in a bar fight. (Ventura won a libel lawsuit against the estate of the late Chris Kyle last year.) In real life, a deranged ex-Marine the sniper was trying to help shot the sniper to death at a Texas rifle range.
BIRDMAN, the most pretentious movie I've seen since Last Day at Marienbad and Hiroshima Mon Amour is soooooo bad it is, natch, up for Academy Awards. A movie star gets old and nobody on the street recognizes him? Boo hoo. (Better confess that I could only handle about 15 minutes of Birdman before I sprinted for the exit, but I'm sure it didn't get any better.) The Awards show, as always, will be little more than filmic confirmation that we've achieved Full Decadence. The only non-documentary movies I saw all year that were really good were Nebraska and Boyhood. Movie art these days seems pretty much confined to the HBO-like channels. Breaking Bad and The Wire were beyond good.
A Reader Writes:
Re: Planning commission meeting—Fort Bragg
I have read your work for many years on a regular basis, and usually admired it. But I must say, this article about a very important local matter seems very shallow and biased. You failed to mention some salient points brought forth that support the need for an EIR, like the negative input from the California Dept. Of Fish and Wildlife, of the fact that the mitigation report casually mentions that the mall project could violate the Fort Bragg Clean Air Act of 2012.
You are quite defensive of the developers just because they're from an old local family, which has absolutely no bearing on this project. They no longer live here. They are responsible for the embarrassingly ugly strip mall in town, and for the Boatyard, which tho not visible from the highways, is of undistinguished design, and significantly impacted the town town by drawing away several shop owners beginning the string of empty stores in the heart of town.
All the mitigation in the world doesn't make this project desirable on any level. The Grocery Outlet is reported to take 86% of its profits out of town, pays workers hired as part time to avoid benefits minimum wage, offers mostly bulk food products, and could seriously hurt our established, mostly locally owner groceries in town.
Shopping malls are closing all over the country. See deadmalls.com. The mall way of life is becoming extinct as shopper use the internet instead, and people want more viable small town living. You might want to read Happy City about the latest concepts of urban planning.
The City changed its boundaries in order to re-zone the area commercial, and began creating the kind of urban sprawl condemned by modern urban planners as unattractive and economically detrimental. They also wanted to gain control away from the Coastal Commission, which would not have allowed this kind of development. The tax revenues generated by these projects is being used to pay Marie Jones a high salary to write biased mitigation reports, and to obtain grants for more dubious projects, as well as to pay an expensive San Francisco law firm to protect the council from reprisals by the taxpayers and to sit in at all public meetings to further this Mayor's goals.
Mayor Turner has been in office for 12 years, making decisions with as little input from the citizenry as possible, and giving as little notification of proposed projects as possible, so that opponents are kept in the dark. The local people may have been too rowdy, but they have just cause. The Planning Commission is entirely appointed, by the city council, not elected, and has generally rubber stamped everything the council wants without serious debate.
If you watch the taped meeting of the council last Monday night, you will hear the mayor, on the defensive, explaining that once elected, he is anointed to be the decision maker without regard for the opinions of the electorate, even when it's a majority here. We are sick and tired of his arrogance, some even questioning the legality of his re-election, since he was declared to have lost the last election, and four days later pulled out 40 votes. This council has paid no heed to the voters message of No Confidence, continuing to proceed in pursuing detrimental projects that will affect us all long into the future.
So please, please, do some research, and write a fair and balanced article about what's happening here. We lack a real newspaper, as the Advocate and Mendocino Beacon are corporate properties, and support any and all development, including chains, that will provide ad revenues.
Thanks, Alice Chouteau, Fort Bragg
CITY OF FORT BRAGG ANNOUNCES "SOFT" OPENING OF NEW COASTAL TRAIL at the west end of Elm Street adjacent to Glass Beach on Saturday Jan. 31, 2015
DID ANYONE NOTICE?
FOR DAVE GURNEY FROM THE GANG AT THE AVA
Kumbaya, my Lord, kumbaya;
Kumbaya, my Lord, kumbaya;
Kumbaya, my Lord, kumbaya;
Oh, Lord, kumbaya.
Someone's cryin', Lord, kumbaya;
Someone's cryin', Lord, kumbaya;
Someone's cryin', Lord, kumbaya;
Oh, Lord, kumbaya.
Someone's singin', Lord, kumbaya;
Someone's singin', Lord, kumbaya;
Someone's singin', Lord, kumbaya;
Oh, Lord, kumbaya.
Kumbaya, my Lord, kumbaya;
Kumbaya, my Lord, kumbaya;
Kumbaya, my Lord, kumbaya;
Oh, Lord, kumbaya.
WILLITS BYPASS CLEANUP begins to transition to reconstruction.
Most of the debris from last week’s falsework collapse have been removed, including debris from the creek. Caltrans and resource agency staff have agreed upon a plan to rehabilitate the creek, and that work will begin soon.
This weekend, reconstruction will begin by removing the two columns next to the creek which were damaged during the collapse. After the columns are removed, the foundation will be inspected to determine if it will need to be repaired, or removed and rebuilt.
(Caltrans Press Release)
CAR CRASHES INTO FIVE CYCLISTS outside of Hopland
Thank you so much for having the courage to utter the L word in print. Such moments are what make the AVA such a beacon of accuracy, honesty, and humor with a strong, precise bite in journalism so very rare in other media, in these dimming, teetering United States and elsewhere. The late, astonishingly talented Coast cartoonist, musician, and all-around prize-winning Human, John Chamberlin used to sport a small button on his lapel which said, ‘Combat Liberalism.’ If one had doubted that liberals even had an -ism, such doubt was briskly whisked away seeing the reactions to that little button by those proudly self-anointed as liberals. It was so sweet to watch John gleefully trash so much liberal pretension with just a tiny button. More than once, after one of these little episodes, he'd laugh, wink, finish his beer, and go back to his drawingboard with an added spring to his step.
Lately, I've come to regard liberals as a kind of judas goat outfit, with a long history of making way for Empire. Though they weren't called liberal back then, I can see them slogging ashore in North America with their immaculate intentions and scriptures to prove it, convincing, living evidence that these pale, diseased, and heavily armed newcomers were perhaps deranged but basically 'alright' anyway...the first wave, softening up the locals for the real onslaught. And we can see how rosey that's turning out, with modern ‘advances' creating crises solvable only by those we 'advanced’ have labeled ‘backward,’ and blowing those ‘primitives’ away like so very many leaves in the wind.
Yet again, thanks to you and all the Crew at the AVA.
Rick Weddle, Hawaii
ED NOTE: The phrase “Combat Liberalism” comes from Chairman Mao's Little Red Book and goes back conceptually to Lenin and the Bolsheviks, I believe, whose primary opposition were Russian liberals (real ones) organized as Mensheviks. Lenin's, and especially Stalin's, solution was to simply murder libs, a strong temptation here in Mendocino County but premature as a political strategy. The problem with American liberals, among whom I number myself, is that they comprise the Democratic Party, meaning they are economic reactionaries and warmongers exactly like the Republicans. Good libs are people like Ralph Nader, Jim Hightower, Molly Ivins, Norman Solomon, etc. At the present time, there is no political party for good libs. A Hillary-Bush presidential election will, hopefully, destroy both parties.
WILLIAM FLUBACHER, MARIO PALACIO & DYLAN SWARTOUT have filed similarly unspecified civil rights claims against the County. The claims will be addressed on the Board of Supervisors’ consent agenda for their February 3, 2015 meeting. All three claims are recommended for denial. Mr. Flubacher alleges his rights were violated by Deputy Woida. Mr. Palacio offers no particular particulars, and Mr. Swartout says the County owes him $10 million. All three claimants have had recent encounters with local law enforcement, which we presume have something to do with their civil rights violation allegations:
“On May 16, 2014, at about noon Ukiah Police responded to WalMart, at 1155 Airport Park Boulevard, for a shoplifter. Officers learned 26 year old William Howard Flubacher of Little River was seen buying a cellular telephone, then exiting the store without paying for a shirt he was wearing or an electronic device he had in his cart. Flubacher was detained by store employees, and taken into custody by Ukiah Police for shoplifting. Flubacher was found to possess $1000 cash in his wallet, and a vial with heroin inside. Flubacher had additional heroin hidden amongst additional cash he had hidden inside his hat. Flubacher had less than a gram of methamphetamine on his person, and cash hidden in each shoe. Flubacher had items commonly used to smoke heroin, and recordations indicative of drug sales. Over $6000 cash was removed from Flubacher’s body and subsequently seized pursuant to state asset seizure laws. Flubacher was charged with shoplifting and possessing heroin for sale. (Ukiah PD Press Release)
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On July 5, 2014 around 8:30pm deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were patrolling the Covelo area when they encountered Mario Palacio, 48, of Covelo who was riding a bicycle on Howard Street near Highway 162. Deputies were aware Palacios was currently a fugitive from the State of Oklahoma and had a warrant for his arrest for felony charges. Those charges stemmed from Palacio failing to appear on an automobile burglary charge in that state. Deputies contacted Palacio and arrested him for the outstanding warrant. A search of Palacio's person revealed a commercial quantity of methamphetamine which was packaged for sale. Palacio was arrested for possession and transportation of methamphetamine for sale. Palacio was booked into the Mendocino County Jail for possession of methamphetamine for sales, and transportation of methamphetamine and is currently held on $50,000.00 bail.
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On March 14, 2014 at approximately 2:43am, Fort Bragg Police Officers requested the presence of Mendocino County Sheriff Deputies for an investigation into a domestic related physical assault that occurred within the Sheriff’s jurisdiction. Deputies responded to the intersection of South Street and Franklin Street where contact was made with Fort Bragg Police Officers and the female victim. Deputies spoke to the victim and learned that on 03/13/2014 at approximately 9:48 P.M., the victim's ex-boyfriend, Dylan Swartout, 42, of Fort Bragg, became enraged with the victim and punched her in the head, while both where consuming alcohol beneath the Hare Creek Bridge (18000 block of North Highway 1, Fort Bragg). The victim had visible injury to the side of her face that was consistent with an assault. At approximately 5:30 A.M., Deputies located and contacted Swartout beneath the Hare Creek Bridge and placed him under arrest and took him into custody without incident. Swartout was ultimately transported to the Mendocino County Jail and booked for Corporal Injury to Domestic Partner with bail set at $25,000. (Sheriff’s Press Release)
On May 26, 2014 at approximately 5:51pm, Mendocino County Sheriff Deputies were dispatched to the 18000 block of Old Coast Highway, Fort Bragg, to a reported burglary which just occurred. Minutes later, deputies received a second call for service from a neighboring resident, who reported observing a suspicious male subject carrying a flat screen television to a separate residence in the area. Sheriff Deputies began searching the area where the subject had last been observed. Deputies subsequently contacted a resident in the area who stated Dylan Swartout, 42, of Fort Bragg had just dropped off a television, DVD movies, a CD player, a DVD player and speakers at the residence. Sheriff’s Deputies recovered the property and took it to the victim of the reported burglary, Mr. Richard Jones, 74, of Fort Bragg. The victim reported he was inside his residence when he had heard a noise coming from the area of his garage. Upon opening the door, he encountered a male subject who fled out of a side door. The victim positively identified all the property deputies recovered and provided them with a detailed description of the suspect. A short time later, Sheriff Deputies located Swartout less than a quarter of a mile from the burglarized residence. Swartout was detained and the victim was requested to respond to the location to confirm Swartout’s involvement. The victim identified Swartout as the subject he encountered in his garage. Swartout was placed under arrest for Burglary and transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he was held in lieu of $50,000 bail.
CATCH OF THE DAY, Jan 30, 2015
KELLI ADAMS, Boonville. Under influence of controlled substance, probation revocation.
JAMES ANDERSON, Willits. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)
YECENIA BUENROSTRO, Ukiah. DUI.
JACOB DE LOS SANTOS, Redwood Valley. Assault, battery, battery of police officer, assault on police officer, vandalism, resisting arrest, escape, disturbing the peace, drunk in public.
FERNANDO JOAQUIN, Covelo. Probation revocation.
STEVEN LAWSON, Ukiah/Willits. Petty theft, vandalism, theft of vehicle, under influence of controlled substance, resisting arrest, possession of drug paraphernalia.
STEVEN LEARD, Ukiah. Possession of controlled substance/drug paraphernalia/drugs while armed, resisting arrest, probation revocation.
TRAVIS MOORE, Fort Bragg. Vandalism, ex-felon with firearm.
DONOVAN PALMER, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
ERIC ROBERTS, Ukiah. Possession of controlled substance, probation revocation.
MICHAEL ROCANELLA, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
MATTHEW STURGES, Talmage. Assault with deadly weapon not firearm.
EDWARD VALDEZ SR., Vehicle theft.
RYAN WADE, Laytonville. Probation revocation.
ANTHONY WILBURN, Covelo. Probation revocation.
JANICE ZEHER, Ukiah. Possession of meth for sale and drug paraphernalia.
NEW FOUNDATION Will Raise Private Donations to Support Mendocino County Law Enforcement
Location: Barra's Winery
Date: February 8, 2015
A diverse group of Mendocino County residents has incorporated a non-profit charitable foundation to raise funds to support local law enforcement. The Mendocino Public Safety Foundation will send out its first fund-raising mailer this week to thousands of households and businesses. “We’re in this for the long-run,” said Jim Eddie, the Foundation’s Chairman. “Government funding for our sheriff and police has fallen to an unacceptable level and it is likely to get worse rather than better. It’s time for private donors to step up and contribute to protect public safety,” said Eddie. The Foundation plans to work closely with the sheriff and city police departments to get the most impact from private assistance. Donations will be passed on as grants to the sheriff and the three city police departments to pay for critical equipment and supplies. One example is helping law enforcement acquire and keep police dogs, which can greatly increase the effectiveness and security of peace officers. Sheriff Tom Allman said, “I am thrilled to work alongside so many people who are striving to help law enforcement provide public safety throughout our county. It’s exciting to know that 100% of all the contributions will stay right here in Mendocino County.”
The Foundation is modeled on dozens of similar non-profits around the U.S. Depending on individual tax status, private donations of this kind are deductible from federal and state income taxes, and the Foundation has been recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity. The Foundation will encourage supporters to become members who will contribute every year, and both households and businesses will receive recognition of their donations. While no fund-raising target has been established, Eddie expects the Foundation’s income will grow steadily as the public recognizes that its safety depends on maintaining law enforcement resources. The Foundation’s Board of Directors is headed by Jim Eddie of Potter Valley, chairman, Ross Liberty of Ukiah, president, and Don J. Miller of Fort Bragg, vice president. The 7-member Board is supported by an advisory committee of 14 people from all over the county. The sheriff and 3 city police chiefs will be ex-officio advisors to the Board. Generous support for the Foundation's organizational costs has been donated by Savings Bank of Mendocino, Factory Pipe, Selzer Realty and numerous individuals. The Foundation can be contacted through its website, ProtectMendocino.org, or at P.O. Box 123, Ukiah.
(Sheriff Office Press Release)
SMOKE SIGNALS FOR MENDO
Speaking as one who's first love is electronics, I think the good people of Mendocino have been handed an opportunity by the fates.
KZYX is experiencing problems with radios that it uses to get the signal from the studio to the tower. Noted in the UDJ article is that people that can fix these things are rare and expensive, due to federal licensing requirements.
By implementing an educational focus on radio electronics, many local students, as well as the community as a whole, would benefit from these high paying jobs. The FCC licensing hurdle is one easily cleared with coursework at the Community College level.
Radio electronics has taken a back seat to digital electronics in recent decades. This has created an open niche. Hilly Mendo could flood the market with highly trained, fully certified, Class 1 Technicians.
Also noted in the news item was that trees may have grown to interfere with the path of the signal. Skill with a chain sharpening file may be part of solving the current problems, as well. Woodsmen have my total respect.
I used to ride around East LA on my bicycle looking for the big antenna, then knock on the door. Most times the full tour ensued. They had electronics.
It is just a passion of mine. I am distressed though, to see so many young folks in the cannabis business, passionately pursuing it as though it were a career path.
I love cannabis, nearly as much as I love electronics. But pot farming is a tough row to hoe. It is called agriculture. The first time I harvested a one-pound cannabis plant pales in comparison to the first time I used calculus to solve a problem at my job, and got paid for it.
Jay Bergstrom, Forest Ranch
DO YOU WANT TO EAT FOOD in the years ahead? Better make sure you live in a part of the country where small-scale farming and backyard gardening is possible because the General Mills Agri-Biz GMO Cheerios model will be folding its big tent along with its financing agents in the debt Ponzi banking system.
* * *
Do you want to be an educated person, that is, someone capable of comprehending reality and functioning within its demands? In the USA, that means you must learn how to speak and write English correctly, especially if you are in a “low performing” ethnic minority group. If you can’t conjugate verbs, you will have a hard time distinguishing the past, the present, and the future in your daily activities. Among other things, you’ll be incapable of showing up on time. And that, of course, is only the beginning. It’s that simple. These abilities used to be the result of an eighth-grade education in the United States. We would be lucky to get back to that high standard, and our knucklehead fantasies about universal access to community college be damned. It’s only a new layer in the current racket that pretends to be education.
— James Kunstler
by Franklin Graham
Margaret and I are planning a trip to Sicily. It is an itch that just would not go away. It is not out of curiosity about the Mafia or Sicilian cuisine. Nor is it from reading Homer or Cicero, arcane though that may sound. As archeologists (retired), you can understand the source of the itch.
I read something that brings this itch into clearer focus. That Summer in Sicily, by Marlena De Blasi (2009) provides a rare glimpse into the psyche of Sicily. She captures something of the feeling that I have for Mendocino County. Marlena is having a drink with the Signora who has opened her home (Donnafugata, more a Palazzo than a house) to the occasional visitor. The place reeks of myth and ritual. After all Enna, the general setting, is the birthplace of the Demeter cult, mother of agriculture and childbirth. Here, Pluto grabbed Demeter’s daughter, Persephone, and dragged her down to Hades to be his wife. The inhabitants trace their ancestry to the Bronze Age and some, especially the women, still practice remnant rituals of that era. We’ll be there on Good Friday for the medieval Holy Week processions marking the crucifixion of Christ.
On the last night staying at Donnafugata, Marlena is shown a copy of The New York Times Magazine, which is over 25 years old. As expected, Marlena laughs and is reproved by Tosca, the Signora.
“What do you think has changed in twenty-five years or so? I found the journal to be well written back then when someone or other left it behind. I thought it set things out rather nicely, addressing the events of the day, which are, of course, the same events of this day. …. Even if its theater and its motives are being played out in a different geography, there’s still war, isn’t there? Still avidity and hate and violence and fear. Poverty and righteousness are still thriving. As are revolution and arrogance and lies.”
Well, there it is. If I want to get a grasp on what is going on in Mendocino County, I can just as well get the sense of it whether reading this week’s AVA or one from 25 years ago. The same politics continue to poison the so-called “American Dream.” The same “Perps” crowd the weekly court docket. The same “wing nuts” crowd the local so-called radio station. Rituals? We’ve got them in spades, somewhere out there in the remote recesses of the county. We’ve even had our share of mini-Plutos hauling off innocents for their perverted ends. And, of course, there is a resident “mother earth” or two who will chant and dance, divine and whine. Still, it is good to know how same we are to such atavistic urges as Sicily provides.
CALLING ALL SHAMANIACS
Hello Friends of the Caretakers Garden!
I hope that you can join us for an evening of exploring the Shamanic Drum Journey at the gardens. I've attached a flyer that gives a general description of the group. Please RSVP if you intend to participate. Further details will be sent the week of the group to those who've RSVP'd. Also please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions. I look forward to Journeying with those of you who feel called to attend!
Much Love, Heather, 707.357.5869
@ the Ukiah Library (for teens)
Friday, February 13th 1pm – 4:30 pm
Teens (13-19) are invited to Love Stinks at the Ukiah Library this Friday the 13th to graffiti romance novel cover images, share break-up book playlists, duct-tape broken hearts and black roses, and write blackout break-up poems. Best of all – you can hang out in the teen space and lament breakup woes. Snacks and drinks will be provided.
Sponsored by Friends of the Ukiah Valley Library & District Teens. Follow District Teens on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ukiahlibrarydistrictteens to stay informed about teen events at the library.
NAFTA WAS BAD ENOUGH
TPP= NAFTA on steroids.
Republicans in Congress want to work with the Obama administration to fast-track the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is the largest—and worst—trade deal you've never heard of, having been devised in secret by representatives of some of the world's largest corporations. It's so big and has the potential to do so much damage, it's been likened to "NAFTA on steroids."
Watch this short video to see what I mean:
P.S. Once you've watched the video, please join the growing chorus of Americans who are saying no to fast track and the TPP by adding your name to this petition from Larry Cohen, president of the Communication Workers of America.
MAINSTREAM MEDIA: WHO GETS ON AND WHO DOES NOT
25 People Who Should Be
by Ralph Nader
Over the years, discussions about whom the mainstream media gives voice to and whom it excludes are far too general. Editors bristle at the notion that they are anything but fair and objective. Sure, they concede that reporters miss stories, but appearances of bias or censorship, they say, are more likely due to laziness.
Well, let’s climb down the abstraction ladder and make some observations. William Kristol, an editor at The Weekly Standard, and Newt Gingrich, long retired as Speaker of the House of Representatives (apart from his 2012 presidential campaign), have received in the past 15 years more national newspaper ink and more television exposure over more media outlets than all of the following public intellectuals, advocates and writers whom work on very important national subjects, put together.
- Robert Fellmeth is a law professor and prolific author. He is arguably the nation’s leading specialist and litigator on legal protections for children.
- Karen Ferguson, Esq. is the head of the Pension Rights Center in Washington, DC, the only public interest group on pensions and retirement security since the mid-Seventies. She is also a co-author of Pensions in Crisis.
- Jim Hightower is a former Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, author, advocate for progressive agendas nationwide and editor of The Hightower Lowdown publication, which has a circulation of twice that of Mr. Kristol’s The Weekly Standard.
- Edgar Cahn, who with Jean Cahn conceived and lobbied through Congress the National Legal Services Program for the poor, founded the Antioch School of Law and is the most creative, hands-on expert on poverty in the US and how to enlist the poor in ending it. He is a prolific author, including the groundbreaking Time Dollars, which he co-authored.
- S. David Freeman, energy expert extraordinaire, is an engineer and lawyer who ran three major public utilities: the New York Power Authority, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. He also stopped the construction of some nuclear power plants while chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority, and served as an advisor to Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Jerry Brown.
- Professor Rena Steinzor, corporate crime specialist, is the President of the Center for Progressive Reform, a large group of academic experts on regulation and de-regulation. She is the author of the new book Why Not Jail? and a specialist in regulatory matters.
- Paul Hawken, industrialist, is widely published on the nexus between industry and ecology and the economic and environmental necessity of conversion to a green economy. His book, The Ecology of Commerce, inspired the leadership of Ray Anderson, the CEO of Interface Global at the time, in breaking new ground in combining pollution reduction and corporate efficiencies. He was named by Esquire magazine as one of the best 100 People of a Generation.
- Joel Rogers is a law professor at the University of Wisconsin where he serves as director of Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS), a nonpartisan social change organization. Rogers is a frequent author and consultant on national labor issues and public economic policies. He is extremely knowledgeable and articulate on politics and democratic reforms and is the founder of ALICE, a foil to corporate-backed ALEC.
- Tom Devine of the Government Accountability Project is a top expert on whistleblower rights, disclosures and the role of the judiciary in this regular front-burner subject. He is the author of The Corporate Whistleblower’s Survivor Guide.
- Robert McChesney has written numerous books on the old and new media, including his 2014 title Digital Disconnect.
- Bill Black is a former government official in the Justice Department, author and law professor. Black is a leading expert on corporate crime, corruption, negotiated settlements and obstructions to reform–topics in the news every day.
- Lori Wallach, director of Global Trade Watch, specializes in the trade agreements NAFTA, GATT, and the politics of the forthcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership before Congress and should be the go-to person on this important topic.
- Danielle Brian is the Executive Director of the Project On Government Oversight(POGO) where she focuses on both the big picture of national security and intricacies of topics including military contracts and the Pentagon budget.
- Colman McCarthy has been a long-standing peace advocate, who started the Center for Teaching Peace that inspired high schools and colleges across the nation to adopt peace-related courses. Through his prolific articles, he has repeatedly made the case that waging peace trumps waging war for our national and global security again and again.
- Robert McIntyre, director of Citizens for Tax Justice, is the leading expert on unfair tax breaks, tax havens and the overall dysfunction of our tax system. He is a leading go-to for reporters searching for specific company and industry data, but rarely makes national TV or print media.
- Lois Gibbs got her start in community activism protecting her hometown, Love Canal. Her movement grew to become the country’s largest grassroots anti-toxic movement with hundreds of neighborhood groups working to protect their families from the silent violence of toxic chemicals. She founded and directs the Center for Health, Environment & Justice.
- Patrick Burns is the Co-Director of the Taxpayers Against Fraud Educational Fund, which applies knowledge of experts and whistleblowers to enforce federal and state False Claims Acts.
- Tom Geoghegan is a nationally recognized labor union specialist and author of Which Side Are You On and his latest Only One Thing Can Save Us. Few can speak so knowledgeably, as a scholar and practitioner, to give workers a collective voice vis-à-vis multinational corporations.
- Shelly Krimsky, a long-time Tufts University professor, is a historical and contemporary specialist on science, ethics, conflicts of interest and the deceptions and perils of genetically modified food. He is the co-editor of The GMO Deception.
- Ramsey Clark, former attorney general under President Lyndon Johnson, has devoted decades on conflict prevention, conflict resolution and opposing criminal wars of aggression.
- Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein are scholars and practicing physicians who have taught at Harvard Medical School and have written pioneering reports on the failures of the health care system and the need for full Medicare for all.
- Ted Postol, a MIT engineering professor, is by far the leading technical critic of the over $7 billion a year Ballistic Missile Defense program.
- Amory Lovins and Peter Bradford both decry fossil fuels and nuclear energy in favor of solar renewables and efficient technologies, and reject the “all of the above” policy of Washington. Lovins is a physicist, author and consultant to utilities and government agencies and Bradford is a former member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
- Arthur Rosenfeld, a prominent Berkeley physicist and advisor to state and federal governments, is the nation’s leading specialist on massive energy conservation opportunities.
- Jerry Mander of the International Forum on Globalization, a former advertising executive, has become an incisive published critic of globalized economies and what new technology is doing to damage localism.
The above knowledgeable, thoughtful, articulate Americans, mostly blocked out of the mainstream media and, for the most part, national public television and national public radio, demonstrate the media’s obsession with the tedious punditry of the well-connected corporatist and militaristic “opinion oligopoly” in Washington and New York. It is always the same old talking heads uttering the predictably same old oligarchic commentary.
It is the independent media, such as the Pacifica stations, community radio and sometimes C-Span that search for people who know the realities and reforms that resonate so often with majoritarian opinion and the public’s well-being.
People own the public airwaves. Shouldn’t they be pressing for broader and deeper uses of their property on television and radio?
(Ralph Nader’s latest book is: Unstoppable: the Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.)
LEE HOWARD’S January 20 request that the Board of Supervisors streamline their Public Records Act response policy so that ordinary requests need not be processed through the County Counsel’s office seems to have produced results.
* * *
Board Meeting Agenda for February 3, 2015
Board Agenda #5(c)
Department Resource/Contact: Douglas Losak
Agenda Title: Discussion And Possible Direction Regarding The Process For Responding To Public Records Act Requests
Summary Of Request: There has been a significant increase in the number and complexity of Public Records Act (PRA) requests over the past few years. Because of this, and the fact that the County needs to ensure compliance with the PRA, as well as applicable laws relating to privacy and exemptions, the Board is being asked to review and discuss the process associated with PRA that ensures compliance with all applicable laws with a minimal amount of disruption to the work being performed by County employees. There has never been a need for a County policy on PRA. Past practice has been to provide information to the public under the direction of County Counsel and the department. Complex or questionable PRAs continue to be referred to County Counsel. The County Counsel’s Office will offer a refresher training to all departments and representatives on the various aspects of the California Public Records Act after today’s discussion by the Board of Supervisors.
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Public Records Act Process/Procedure (Draft)
The following is a written documentation of the County’s practices regarding Public Records Act requests. The majority of departments have been following this procedure historically. However, in order to better serve the public, it is helpful to ensure everybody is using consistent processes.
- Ask that all PRA requests be put in writing. If the person is unwilling/unable to do so, the employee who is handling the request should put it in writing and confirm with the person making the request that it is accurate.
- The date the County department receiving the request needs to be on the request.
- For those departments that respond to Public Records Act requests daily or near daily and/or for those documents that the department knows are public records, not exempt from disclosure and do not have any information that is required to be redacted, provide a copy to the person requesting the document, or let them view them, whatever is their preference.
- If the department provides any documents as a result of a Public Records Act request, scan all documents that were provided and then save the files according to the records retention policy.
- If the request is for documents you are not sure are public records, or not sure if they are exempt from disclosure, or you know to contain information that is required to be redacted, immediately send a copy of the Public Records Act request to County Counsel's office. We will work with you in determining what documents are required to be provided and what if any information is required to be redacted from the documents prior to them being provided.
- A couple of points to remember when you receive a PRA request: (1) Generally, we have ten days to respond to the request. This does not mean we have to provide the documents within ten days, but we must identify how many documents we have that are responsive and the basis for withholding any documents, or redacting any information; (2) A 14-day extension of time is available under specific circumstances (please see the County Counsel's office before invoking the 14-day extension of time); (3) In most cases, we can only charge the cost of copying documents. This is the amount set forth in the fee schedule for your department; (4) In very specific circumstances, we can charge for gathering information kept in electronic format; (5) The person requesting the information is entitled to the information in whatever format we have it; (6) We are not required to, and should not, create a document in response to a PRA request; (7) We are not required, nor should we, answer questions in response to a PRA request. If a Department Head wants to answer specific questions, he or she is of course entitled do so; however, it should be in response to questions, and made clear that it is not being done in response to a PRA request. We are required to assist the public in identifying records that are responsive to their request. Example: Ms. P comes in and says she is looking for A, and then ask for document X, but we know the information she is looking for is in document, Z, we need to tell her that and ask if she want Z instead.