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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, Nov 4, 2015

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THE UKIAH POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORTS that a 17-year-old girl was grabbed by an unknown assailant while jogging about 5pm Monday afternoon in the 200 block of Highland Drive. She was able to fight off her assailant and he disappeared into nearby woods. Police described the man as Latino, about 5-feet, 11-inches tall, with brown eyes, medium build and pock marks on his face. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with a ripped pocket. The Press Democrat described Highland Drive as "a neighborhood that is considered one of Ukiah’s best and safest. Parents bring their children to the neighborhood on Halloween to trick or treat. But it’s also adjacent to a wooded area, where transients recently have been seen. Marijuana cultivation also has been known to take place in the hills, with traffic increases noted during the fall."

The PD undermines "best and safest" with bums and dope farms in the woods lining the street of Ukiah's best and safest neighborhood. But wait; I thought the safest neighborhood in the County seat was that gated compound where Charlie Mannon, primary owner of the Bank of Mendocino, holes up. Anyway, the mope in Monday’s assault is wanted on suspicion of felony assault with intent to commit a sex offense and attempted kidnapping. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Ukiah Police Department at 707-463-6262.

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WILLITS WATER may look and taste bad but so far it hasn't killed anyone. And, with the town's new wells, there's plenty of it. Ms. Leier's assertion that “Most people take it for granted that Willits water is not safe to drink, and perhaps not even to bathe in.” A Willits reader points out that when the water was bad-tasting in 2013 it was because of an algae bloom, and it was not brown. "I remember being at the taqueria the first time I heard of it, when a customer returned a plastic glass of water, complaining about the taste. And then experiencing it at home. It was nasty, no doubt, and moldy-tasting: Safeway bottled water shelves were half-empty for some time (doesn’t that indicate that, most of the time, people do use city water?) The water does get brown sometimes, and when Willits failed a water standards test in 2013 the California Department of Public Health sent a couple of staffers to Willits to assure the city council that there was no threat to the community, 'unless high levels of haloacetic acid continued over time’.”

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NO SIGN OF ASHA KREIMER, 26, the young Australian woman last seen at the Rollerville Cafe near Point Arena about 9:30am on Friday, September 21st. She had been driven there by her boyfriend, Jamai Gayle, 33.

Asha2

ASHA was seen by people at the Lighthouse Point Resort talking on her cellphone at the time her boyfriend said he'd last seen her. She was described as distraught. Then she disappeared.

THE BOYFRIEND, however, said he had her cellphone at home in Albion, and it is said by her mother that the last two calls on Asha's phone had been deleted. So whose cell was she speaking on in the parking lot when she disappeared?

Asha & Jamai, from Gayle's facebook photo collection, date unknown
Asha & Jamai, from Gayle's facebook photo collection, date unknown

WHEN ASHA's childhood girlfriend returned to Rollerville Café to get a coffee at around 2pm, she made no mention of her missing friend. No one in the restaurant was alerted to the fact that the young woman was missing until the boyfriend returned at 5:30 to say that he's looked for her without success.

ASHA's jacket was found between Rollerville and the ocean down Lighthouse Road. The bluffs are very rugged and steep there. If the young woman had thrown herself over the side it is likely her remains would have turned up by now. (But not always. The Pacific has been known to carry its victims many miles in both directions.)

TWO DAYS after Asha went missing, a man described as "quite out of it," presumably the boyfriend, Mr. Gayle, posted fliers in the Rollerville area which had no contact number on them. The posters just said MISSING and her name ASHA, with a BIG picture of her on about 2' x 1' photo stock paper.

THIS SAME MAN, name unknown, was seen digging along the tree row on Lighthouse Road "where the orange mold grows on the fence and in the trees," the day the "out of it" man appeared with the posters without a contact number.

IT TOOK another couple days for an updated poster with a contact number on it to be distributed. The boyfriend had shown up for three consecutive days after Asha's disappearance, asking folks in the parking lot of Rollerville if they'd seen her. Asha's childhood friend apparently returned to Australia soon after Asha's disappearance.

* * *

PALACE HOTEL

Judge suggests mediation for city. Teleconference with lawyers scheduled for Nov. 16

by Justine Fredericksen

At a hearing in Mendocino County Superior Court Monday, no ruling on whether it would be appropriate to have a receiver take over work on the Palace Hotel was issued, and instead the judge assigned to the case suggested strongly that both sides consider mediation.

“Receivership is an extraordinary, harsh and last-ditch remedy,” said Judge Leslie C. Nichols, who is retired but sits in on certain cases when an out-of-county judge is requested, adding that less drastic remedies, specifically working with a mediator, might still be an option in this case.

“Globally, I agree with the (City of Ukiah), if the conditions as described by the city (in 2011) still exist,” Nichols said, referring to the resolution prepared four years ago that describes the building at 272 North State Street as a public nuisance because of many health and safety code violations.

“Those findings were authoritative and were never appealed, but is (the building) a nuisance today?” Nichols continued, explaining that work has been completed in the years since, and the city might want to consider filing an amendment to the original petition that speaks to the current conditions of the building.

Interior of Palace Hotel, pre-rehab
Interior of Palace Hotel, pre-rehab

Nichols began the hearing by saying that while he “took judicial notice of all the documents” he was requested to, which he noted included “59 pages of objections,” he did not inspect the building himself, and asked counsel for both parties if either would prefer that he did.

Scott Huber, an attorney hired to present the city’s case alongside City Attorney David Rapport, said the city’s preference would be that the judge do inspect the building, and Rob Epstein, the attorney representing Palace Hotel owner Eladia Laines, said hard hats and other safety gear were available if the judge decided to do just that.

However, after declaring that he would prefer the tour include just him and the attorneys, Nichols asked the courtroom if there were any members of the public present who would insist on being there. When two members of the press raised their hands, Nichols said he would not take a tour.

“This case is document-rich, and the burden of the proof falls on the city,” Nichols said, explaining that while the city describes its efforts to revive the building as “exhaustive” and Laines as “uncooperative,” he narrowed down the issues to two safety concerns: the risk of damage and injury because of fire and/or earthquakes the building poses.

Nichols pointed out that while Laines and her former partners likely purchased the building in 1989 with the best of intentions and full of hope, it was “bought at a tax auction, so even before she bought it, it was already in trouble.”

And while the city and Laines have different perspectives about what has transpired in the 25 years since, Nichols noted that it seemed obvious that neither the city nor Laines wants to see it torn down, and that many others in the community are hoping “it can be made, once again, into a palace.”

Before the end of the hearing, Nichols met with the attorneys in his chambers, then announced he had scheduled a telephone conference with both sides on Nov. 16 at 8:30 a.m. to see how they wanted to proceed: with the city’s petition as it stands, with an amended petition, or with mediation.

“The judge is being cautious, which is good, that is what you want,” said Mark Adams, who is the receiver the city will request that the court appoint when and if the time comes.

When asked if Adams had done a cost analysis on a potential rehabilitation of the building, Adams associate Gerard Keena said they prefer to wait until they are appointed before doing that work. Keena did say that in at least one major respect the building presents far less challenges than other buildings he’s working on, as the Palace Hotel has no tenants who would need to be relocated.

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JERRY BROWN DECLARES EMERGENCY FOR DYING TREES

(but does it include trees killed by MRC/imazapyr?)

by David Siders

Lamenting “the worst epidemic of tree mortality” in the state’s modern history, Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday sought federal aid to remove dead trees from California forests and called for more controlled burns to reduce the risk of wildfire.

The declaration, including a controversial exemption from environmental reviews, comes amid California’s ongoing drought and a bark beetle infestation that has killed millions of trees weakened by lack of water.

Brown said the die-off exacerbates the risk of wildfires and the threat of erosion. He ordered state agencies to remove dead or dying trees from high-hazard areas and said his administration will work with federal authorities to expand controlled burns.

Brown is also seeking to increase the number of days tree waste can be burned, while ordering the California Public Utilities Commission to expedite contracts for bioenergy facilities that use forest products from high-hazard zones.

The order includes an exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act for efforts to remove dead or dying trees, alarming some environmentalists.

“CEQA requires agencies to tell the public what they’re doing, and to try to lessen the environmental damage of their projects,” said Kevin Bundy, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity.

Bundy said Brown should be using his executive authority in a “more restrained fashion than this seems to represent.”

In a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack requesting assistance, Brown said California “is facing the worst epidemic of tree mortality in modern history.”

“Tree mortality across California’s forests is putting lives and critical infrastructure at risk,” he wrote, “greatly increasing already dangerous wildfire conditions and exacerbating threats posed by falling trees.”

(Courtesy, the Sacramento Bee)

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THE GOOD NEWS FROM MRC

http://www.hrcllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Company-News_Asset-Purchase_BMertz_10-30-15.pdf

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THE ANNOTATED CHARLIE CRAWFORD

ON OCTOBER 31, 2015 at approximately 5:30 PM, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a report of a man, later identified as Charlie Crawford, 28, of Reno, acting strangely in the downtown area of Covelo. Crawford was described by witnesses as possibly being under the influence of some type of drug.

(He sure as shit was.)

Crawford
Crawford

Crawford was reported to have entered Keith's Market speaking to employees and customers in a confused and rambling manner. Crawford was also described as being aggressive and confrontational.

(Hey, mofos, did you know Willows was just over the hill?)

Crawford was contacted by a Keith's Market employee about the disturbance he was causing. Crawford responded by threatened to harm the employee.

(Come and get me, fucknuts.)

As Crawford made the threat, he brandished a broken wooden mop handle with a sharp end, motioning toward the employee in a stabbing movement. Crawford subsequently climbed onto the roof of Keith's Market.

(Want some-a this, bitch?)

Crawford climbed down off the roof and went across the street to the Redwood Market where he attempted to walk away with an item from the store.

(Hey! How come nobody cared if I was on the roof across the street?)

When the clerk, a 56 year old male, attempted to keep Crawford from walking away with the item, Crawford punched the clerk once in the face.

(Tough guy like me, the punk shoulda gone down.)

The clerk called out for help and at least two customers responded to assist him. The customers restrained Crawford for several minutes as another employee called 911.

(And missed an opportunity to give ol' Crawford a few instructive, ah, messages.)

When Crawford appeared to relax, the customers relinquished their hold on him and Crawford fled on foot.

(Never let a tweeker go.)

The clerk suffered only minor injuries that did not require medical attention.

(Crawford can't hit.)

Deputies searched for Crawford on the evening of October 31, 2015 but were unable to locate him successfully.

(Natch)

On November 1, 2015 the search for Crawford resumed and he was located at approximately 1:00 PM walking on Barnes Lane in Covelo.

(Of course.)

Crawford was arrested for robbery, criminal threats and brandishing a weapon.

(Public Defender Linda Thompson gets him the death penalty.)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, November 3, 2015

Burton, Collins, Earsley, Hensley
Burton, Collins, Earsley, Hensley

DONNA BURTON, Redwood Valley. Drunk in public.

ANTONIO COLLINS, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

CONOR EARSLEY, Hidden Valley/Ukiah. DUI.

CHARLES HENSLEY, Ukiah. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)

Hood, Miller, Rupert, Schuler
Hood, Miller, Rupert, Schuler

JEFFRY HOOD, Eureka/Ukiah. DUI.

ANGEL MILLER, Ukiah. Aggravated assault with intent to commit mayham, rape, sodomy, oral copulation, etc.), attempt to commit crimes.

LEE RUPERT, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public.

JAKE SCHULER, Willits. Burglary, conspiracy.

Smith, Treppa, Winter
Smith, Treppa, Winter

TERESA SMITH, Willits. Grand theft, under influence, paraphernalia.

LANCE TREPPA, Ukiah. Receiving stolen property, community supervision violation.

JOHN WINTER, Ukiah. Parole violation, community supervision violation.

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REX GRESSETT ON FORT BRAGG POLITICS

At the last Fort Bragg city council meeting I apparently called Scott Dietz our esteemed councilman a criminal. The following day he confronted me with this at the public works committee meeting, which I was barely attending while looking into the process of video taping all committee meetings. I was just there. Surely I said quasi criminal, I sputtered. No, he told me, criminal. Now here I was on the spot. Had Dietz been criminal in his new job as councilman or merely irresponsible and reprehensible? Clearly his motive in the Hotel deal was to circumvent the clear intention of California law, but all acknowledge that he did it carefully and within the loopholes especially constructed in the law by its authors. I refer to the Brown act. The wise men that wrote the act, while almost protecting the most basic rights of democratic freedom, restrained themselves and ensured the survival of politicians as a species by the insertion of such massive loopholes that the loopholes are actually larger than the law itself.

Scott used that advantage to bite off a cold million for the city incumbency without telling a soul outside a little cabal. And these clever negotiators passed on an indefensible IRS deduction of 2 million on a million dollar sale to to the sellers. Like any good government deal, it made everyone happy.

Not withstanding the painful defect of giant loopholes, the Brown Act remains the monument , such as we have, to California's requirement of public disclosure; it flatly states in plain language that doing the public's business in secret, though always convenient to public officials, is contrary to their instructions and their mandate from the people that hired them. The people.

Councilman Dietz did only meet with one other councilman, which is not a majority and which exempts him on that matter from immediate prosecution. He met the Mayor in great excitement and repeatedly to set up the deal they were probably too busy to tell anybody else about . Of course they and the city manager sent emails. But we would not have these emails if it were not for the courage of a whistle blower in high office in Fort Bragg who left her job after having made those emails public. We know from them that Scott Dietz and the city manager and the mayor and others were in a flurry of behind the scenes negotiation. That is not illegal but making the deal permanent before releasing it to the press or the public is.

While they were doing this other California cities were loaning money to central district hotels, as indeed Fort Bragg had done in the past on this very property. Hotels generate that all important bed tax and damn well bring in other business. Fort Bragg's Old Coast Hotel was a popular landmark and a historic property on top of all that. Turning it into a social services center that generated no taxes and that brought a frankly transient population into the economic heart of the city where they truly did not of their own initiative tend to be, worked a sort of magic on the people of the city but not until they finally found out. It was not pretty

But before that, when it was all nice and dark and quiet, Scott Dietz and the mayor did not worry about any of those confusing economic arguments or tax implications. The legal point is that they did not allow you or even any other councilman to worry about them either or even know about them. Neither did they inform the press or any other person outside of their cabal. Is that criminal? It is damn sure sneaky. But sneaky is technically not criminal. It would have prosecutable if and only if there had been if one other city councilman in on this exciting and perfect deal. But the rest of the city council allegedly found out when the people did four days before they cast the vote. But of course they were all aware of it.

Taken all in all, the whole Old Coast Hotel deal was an elegant scheme to take both the federal government and the state government to the cleaners at the same time. When I call them criminal it is because I know damn well that all counilmen knew about the deal from the get go and therefore they actually did behave in a criminal manner. They just couldn't pass it up. They were still mad and said so about having to "give back," as they put it, the two million for the merge project that the town hated with fierce unanimity. This was really a slicker deal. It would make up for the hurt the lost two million had left among the council. This deal was much better. It had the immense advantage of being behind the public's back. True, it was a bit complicated but it was lucrative to the city and their friends. It generated over a million in cash to the special friends of the city and hundreds of thousands in extra money to pass around to the social service industry folks , of whom there is a thriving community .The pill pushers and misery misers and poverty pimps were available instantly to provide apparently spontaneous public support for what the day before was widely acknowledged to be a wholly villainous agency called by many, Hostility House. Four days after an innocuous fictitious business names announcement the social services movement showed up. Town hall was packed and a vote was taken with promptitude. When the smoke cleared, Presto , the Carines had gotten a two million dollar check from the IRS , the city had a check for million and some change from the state.

I have written about the resistance of the people of the city to this deal many times over the months as the city administration fought back at every junction against community activism and protest. The community kept pushing and the city management adopted a strategy to deliberately drag it out, create obstacles, make absurd objections and otherwise delay. Probably people are tired of the whole thing and of course that was the conscious intention of city government. An election seems at last on the horizon, and I think that after the delays and obstacles that the city has placed in the way of this election that public indignation may be greater and not less. This week, as soon as the County accepts a flawless and massive petition which they will certainly have to do, the election will officially begin formally and we will see if the media blackout continues to prevail. Or if the people contrive somehow to provide their own mechanism of discourse that the Advocate will not give them.

But let us acknowledge the effectiveness of these studied and obstructive delays and foot dragging by the city administration. So far they have indeed prevailed to drag matters out, and for all of that time the Old Coast Hotel is operating as a social center. Delay by the city is backed up by a media blackout by our only truly local media source the Fort Bragg Advocate. This newspaper, in careful coordination with the city hall cabal, have imposed a local media blackout on community resistance to the Ortner takeover of the Old Coast Hotel. They print nothing from the opposition to the deal while printing anything and everything from the city government. The advocate is frankly a propaganda tool of Linda Ruffing.They admit it, and they dont care. They are owned by a hedge fund in New York and are friends with city manager Ruffing. They don’t know you. They have no more integrity or honesty than any other shoddy organ of propaganda in all of the dismal history of censorship. I say to the Advocate shame. this deliberate news blackout is unAmerican, it is unethical, it is deliberate and it is at the bottom of our problems as a town with our city government. some day this truly egregious civic misgovernment will be known and when it is the editorial policy and crude censorship of the Advocate will also be exposed. In Fort Bragg only the AVA continues to honestly cover the true story. You, dear reader, if you live in Fort Bragg have only this paper and the chat rooms from which to discover the subversion of public interests by your own local government.

Any way I guess Scott is actually right about this, it is not actually illegal to be sneaky, although in California law there is the strong implication that public officials owe a greater ethical obligation and are expected to not be overtly sneaky. But loophole are loopholes, and I guess that I have to admit it — Scot Dietz is not technically a criminal. If I had the misjudgement to think that he was criminal just because he deceived and misled the people and did a secret real estate deal with a two million dollar phony deduction to the seller, If I was willing to do that, frankly he did not know what I would not do. He was equally amazed that I had the idea he would profit from this alleged criminality. Bullshit, ( I thought but did not say ) you love the strokes you get, the special treatment, that’s all it is for you a chance to be the big deal that you always suspected that you weren't and against every expectation of yours turned out to be. I hate to put it like that, but really what a lot of strutting for no work. Dare the public anticipate even a minor effort? One dissenting vote perhaps? Propose something.

Yes, I would say you are using the office for profit. You don't steal directly but if you don't do anything at all except posture as an elitist, and from that posture casually torpedo every notion of public disclosure or transparency. Sorry, I just do not consider that responsible. Government transparency is a general public right. You owe it to us. Fight against transparency and you serve the interests of the incumbency and those who pay their way. There is a class of people in our county that likes that, rewards it, and to me that fairly counts as criminal. If not criminal it is at least shameful. In exchange you get to be a the focal point of a socio/political elite and you have found that you can use that access and prestige to pad your income, This is not illegal either and I would not care if you would do some work. But I have noted with dismay that in your term of office you have not done anything except posture. You have not proposed anything, suggested anything or said anything. It is true that our pal Scott Dietz is very excited over the pork that is coming down ( has come down actually ) from CBDG for Bainbridge Park infrastructure. He expects the voter to believe that he had anything to do with getting that money. And they probably will.

But that is showbiz, and the truth is that Scott Dietz has done nothing at all except systematically degrade the dignity of the office and manifest a flagrant disregard for ethical probity. Is that criminal? I guess not.

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HOPLAND BASEBALL

Castro
Castro

ON OCTOBER 30, 2015 at approximately 10:15 AM the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was dispatched to a report of an assault with a deadly weapon in the 13000 block of South Highway 101 in Hopland, California. Upon arrival Deputies found a subject identified as Martin Castellanos Castro, 49, of Hopland, walking around in a parking lot of a local business. Deputies detained Castro and subsequently contacted a 49 year-old adult male victim who indicated that he had been assaulted by Castro with a large rock. The adult male indicated that he was walking in front of a local business when he observed Castro coming from around the building. Castro was yelling at the adult male and began to follow him. The adult male did not understand what Castro was yelling and the adult male continued past the business into a dirt parking lot. The adult male could hear that Castro was closing the distance on him so he turned around to defend himself. The adult male stated Castro was approximately 6 feet away when he threw a baseball size rock at him striking him in the right upper chest causing pain to the chest and numbness to his right hand. Deputies placed Castro under arrest for an assault with a deadly weapon charge and booked him into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $35,000 bail.

(Sheriff’s Press Release)

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THE BOX

I got a birthday present

that made me feel so fine

It was my secret boy-cave

I went there all the time

But people laughed and told me

To wear pants, shoes and socks

Which made me think and ever since

I’ve thought outside the box

— Jim Gibbons

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RUSSIAN RIVER CLEAN UP: BEFORE WINTER RAINS?

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/4701445-181/russian-river-cleanup-in-guerneville

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ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

I have a personal angle on this conversation, having been raised by left-wing University intellectuals. That’s not quite the same thing as having been suckled by wolves in the forest, but close enough.

I’ve seen everything Kunstler discussed about blacks and proper English, and much much more. I have a slightly different perspective on where it came from, however. As with most things, there are many factors.

One critical factor that is rarely discussed is the evolution of Higher Education as a business concern. Before the GI Bill and the Baby Boom, college was something about 5% of Americans experienced. When college education was added to the GI Bill, the number of college students exploded. There weren’t nearly enough colleges or faculty to serve the need. Colleges went on a huge building boom, and started cranking out faculty to teach the huge demographic wave of college students. There is an incredible number of colleges that were inaugurated between 1960 and 1970.

Then, of course, the Vietnam War happened, and combined with Civil Rights and all the other social ferment, a radical environment developed on campus. This was not popular with those who had always felt that a college education should have remained the province of those who could pay for it, and select and suitably grateful poor but very bright token scholarship students.

Long story short, the demographic “pig” passed through the “python” by the mid-70s. Colleges faced very sharp drops in attendance. Many closed, and many facing bankruptcy turned to vocational education, and whatever else they could think of to stave off bankruptcy and closure.

That’s when the Business types took over. They turned college into a requirement for employment, offering vocational programs that students would have to pay for, eliminating on-the-job-training as an expense for employers. A Business-Higher Ed partnership developed.

At that point, the attitude became that students were now consumers, and “The Customer Is Always Right.” So we saw the rise of Identity Politics on campus, with all the women’s studies, black studies, and everything else people like to point at, with some merit.

Academic rigor went out the window in the effort to attract and keep students, and more particularly, their guaranteed Federal loan money.

College has always been a time for passionate but inexperienced and callow young people to get all het up about something. That’s good. That’s been hard-wired into human development for a reason. The purpose of college was for older, more educated and experienced faculty to harness that energy and guide it.

Unfortunately, young people push back against constraints, and college Executives are unwilling to let a dollar on the table go away. So professors who insisted on Academic rigor in these “Identity Politics” programs were shunted aside. The concept of “Freedom of Thought” meant that every thought was exactly equal in merit, just as corporate ownership of media has encouraged as well. The goal is not to educate or inform, but to not alienate any potential customers.

The effect on campus culture has been like the old joke about hippies, “He opened up his mind and his brains fell out.”

There’s certainly an element of rampant “Political Correctness” and professional grievance-seeking. But that’s not new, and not unique to academe. What has given such nonsense free reign in academe is the need to register as many students, and their debt-production capabilities, and to never let a dollar slip away.

When it comes to language issues, gender obfuscation, racial grievance-seeking, and downright nonsense, it’s far worse than your personal example. You’re correct, and so much more. But in looking for causes, look no further than the glorified Marketing Executives now running Higher Ed.

* * *

GlennaBlakeGLENNA BLAKE

I am so sad to have to share that our dear friend and colleague, Glenna Blake, passed away Saturday Night, with family at her side. I can’t imagine MTA or this community without her. We’ll miss her amazing ability to organize anything and everything, her sense of style, her laugh and, most of all, her friendship.

Glenna represented MTA amazingly well for almost 22 years and demonstrated the highest level of community involvement.

Dan Baxter, 
General Manager, Mendocino Transit Authority

* * *

WITH TWO STATE AGENCIES — Fish and Wildlife and State Water — taking hard looks at Fort Bragg's water plans, Fort Bragg may have to re-think the town's water supply:

http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/applications/petitions/2014/25418draft.pdf

* * *

WESTERN STATES PETROLEUM ASSOCIATION SPENT RECORD $6.75 MILLION IN THIRD QUARTER 2015

by Dan Bacher

The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying group in Sacramento, set a new record for spending in one quarter when it spent an amazing $6,750,666.60 lobbying state officials in the third quarter of 2015 against Senate Bill 350, Senate Bill 32 and other environmental bills it opposed.

The latest lobbying expenditures contrast with the second quarter of 2015, when the group spent $1,398,403.48 and the first quarter, when the organization spent $1,141,037.53.

The money the group spent lobbying from July 1 to October 31, along with the millions spent by Chevron and other companies, enabled the oil industry to gut or defeat every bill in the Legislature that it opposed in the last legislative session.

The total spent by the oil industry in the third quarter was an unprecedented $11 million to oppose Senate Bill 350, a climate change/ renewable energy bill, noted Susan Frank of Clean Energy California.

Because of the strong opposition to the bill by Big Oil and corporate Democrats that receive big donations from the oil industry, the bill's sponsors removed a key provision mandating a 50 percent reduction in petroleum usage.

Frank also pointed out that "out-of-state oil companies" spent $10 million in 1 year to kill AB32, which was made into a two-year bill because of oil industry opposition.

What did the oil companies spend? Exxon dumped approximately $414,000 in the third quarter, just under double the $223,000 it had deployed earlier. Valero spent $582,000 in the third quarter, up from the $48,000 it had spent earlier in 2015.

"Combined with the $5.4 million that oil companies that lobbied on SB 350 reported spending earlier in the year, the new figures bring the industry’s total influence outlay for 2015 to $16.1 million," the Sacramento Bee reported (http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article42348678.html#storylink =cpy)

There is no doubt that $16.1 million is a heck of a lot of money to spend lobbying in three quarters — and this spending was highly effective in producing the desired results.

To understand the power of Big Oil in California, it's essential to look at the spending by the oil industry this year in contrast with previous years. Last year the Western States Petroleum Association spent a record $8.9 million on lobbying, double what it spent in the previous year. In the first six months of 2015, the oil industry spent $6.2 million to lobby state officials, including $2,529,240 spent by the Western States Petroleum Association alone.

Yet in the first three quarters of 2015, WSPA spent $9,290,106 total, a record for money spent in three quarters. That already exceeds the record $8.9 million the group spent last year.

When the figures for the fourth quarter are released in early 2016, the WSPA will undoubtedly set an outrageously high new record for money spent in one year to lobby legislators and other state officials.

WSPA filed the lobbying report with the California Secretary of State's Office at 2:23:12 PM today: http://cal-access.sos.ca.gov/Lobbying/Employers/Detail.aspx?id=1147195&view=activity&session=2015

In spite of false claims by the mainstream media and state officials that California is a "green" state, Big Oil has come to dominate environmental politics in California. WSPA and Big Oil wields its influence not just by spending its money on lobbying, but by dumping millions and millions of dollars into election campaigns, creating Astroturf groups and getting its officials and friends on state regulatory panels.

Big Oil spent a total of $266 million influencing California politics from 2005 to 2014, according to an analysis of California Secretary of State data by StopFoolingCA.org, an online and social media public education and awareness campaign that highlights oil companies’ efforts to “mislead and confuse Californians.” The industry spent $112 million of this money on lobbying and the other $154 million on political campaigns. (http://www.eastbayexpress.com/SevenDays/archives/2015/07/29/californias-biggest-secret-oil-industry-capture-of-the-regulatory-apparatus )

The mainstream media has done a poor job to date covering the connections between fracking and other extreme oil extraction and Big Oil money and power in Sacramento. In fact, because of the neglect of this story by the LA Times, Sacramento Bee and others, two of my investigative pieces exposing Big Oil's dumping of fracking wastewater and oil industry money and power are cited in Project Censored's #2 Story: "Oil Industry Illegally Dumps Fracking Wastewater," in the "Censored 2016" book that has just been published: http://www.projectcensored.org/oil-industry-illegally-dumps-fracking-wastewater/

You won't see mainstream media coverage either of how the Los Angeles Times and the California Resources Corporation, an Occidental Petroleum spinoff, recently teamed up to create "Powering California," a Big Oil propaganda campaign website.

Clean Energy California broke the story on their twitter page when they published an October 27 tweet from Western States Petroleum Association President Catherine Reheis-Boyd promoting the new site.

Reheis-Boyd tweeted, "Learn how California's #energy industry is quietly elevating the middle class & improving our quality of life: http://poweringcalifornia.com/ "

The Powering California website, produced by a supposedly "independent" department of the Los Angeles Times, proclaims: "California oil and natural gas mean growth. They mean jobs. And, Californians need ample, affordable and reliable energy to thrive – to power our homes, farms, businesses and schools, fuel our cars, and produce products that we need and use every day."

Media Matters and the LA Weekly have written interesting articles on this collaborative effort between Big Oil and the Times, although both fall short of telling the bigger story — the capture of the regulatory apparatus and the corporate media in California by the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the oil industry and other corporate interests for many years, something I have written article after article about.

Of course, you won't see any mention either by the Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee or other corporate media outlets of how the same Reheis- Boyd, the WSPA President, chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create questionable "marine protected areas" in Southern California from 2009 to 2012 — and served on the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast or North Coast from 2004 to 2012.

No did the reporters and editors from these publications mention how Reheis-Boyd and other members of the task forces oversaw the creation of questionable "marine protected areas" that fail to protect the ocean from pollution, fracking, offshore oil drilling, military testing, corporate aquaculture and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and gathering.

The greenwashing by state officials and corporate "environmental" NGOs of a big oil lobbyist's leadership role in what passes for "marine protection" in California is one of the most disgusting political scandals of modern California politics, one that reveals the Big Lie behind the myth that California is a "green state." It demonstrates the oily, toxic core of the body politic in the "Golden State."

For more information, go to: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/10/31/18779478.php)

* * *

PUTTIN' ON THE RITZ

Have you seen the well-to-do

Upon Lennox Avenue

On that famous thoroughfare

With their noses in the air?

 

High hats and narrow collars

White spats and fifteen dollars

Spending every dime

For a wonderful time

 

If you're blue

And you don't know where to go to

Why don't you go where Harlem flits

Puttin' on the Ritz

Spangled Gowns upon the bevy of

High browns from down the levy

All misfits

Puttin' on the Ritz

 

That's where each and every lulu-belle goes

Every Thursday evening with her swell beaus

Rubbin' elbows

 

Come with me and we'll attend their jubilee

And see them spend

Their last two bits

Puttin' on the Ritz

 

(Boys, look at that man puttin' on that Ritz)

(You look at him, I can't)

 

If you're blue

And you don't know where to go to

Why don't you go where Harlem flits

Puttin' on the Ritz

Spangled Gowns upon the bevy of

High browns from down the levy

All misfits

Puttin' on that certain Ritz

 

That's where each and every lulu-belle goes

Every Thursday evening with her swell beaus

Rubbin' elbows

 

Come with me and we'll attend their jubilee

And see them spend

Their last two bits

Puttin' on the Ritz

 

Come with me and we'll attend their jubilee

And see them spend

Their last two bits

Puttin' on the Ritz

— Irving Berlin

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66km3m_UE_k

* * *

ASSEMBLYMEMBER WOOD, as Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on the Rural Digital Divide, held a hearing in Sacramento on October 27th. (See the attached agenda and 2 informational documents). The hearing can be viewed online — <http://www.calchannel.com/recent-archive/> http://www.calchannel.com/recent-archive/. He will be conducting another hearing on December 15th which will be followed by a public meeting in the district, yet to be scheduled. Additionally, he has been asked to be a panelist by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, key advisor to the White House on technology and telecom policy matters. That will take place on November 17th. Here is the link to the link to the federal register notice: <http://www.ntia.doc.gov/federal-register-notice/2015/notice-california-broa dband-workshop> http://www.ntia.doc.gov/federal-register-notice/2015/notice-california-broadband-workshop.

Hope to see you on Friday,

Diann Simmons
Administrative Coordinator
Broadband Alliance of Mendocino County

* * *

PREPARATION FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES

A group discussion of life and end-of-life. Please join us on Sunday, November 8th at 4:30 p.m. at Lauren’s Restaurant, 14211 Highway 128, Boonville for Conversations about Mortality

This month’s gathering will focus on two areas: First, discussions about our personal reasons for coming to these meetings and how our needs can be met.

Secondly, having conversations about mortality with our family and friends.

Upcoming meetings:

December 13th Hospice Representatives. January 10th Community Resources- presentations from local representatives.

(Susan Bridge-Mount)

* * *

LADY CARDS SEEK FIRST WIN AGAINST AV SINCE 2009 
IT'S 'JUDGEMENT DAY' TODAY AT MENDOCINO HIGH

MendoVball

The Mendocino Lady Cardinals will attempt to do something they haven't done since November 22, 2008 (when they edged them for the title) — beat Anderson Valley in volleyball.
 It's been a long losing streak against the Boonville team — 15 straight matches. But the Cardinals have come REAL close in the past year, losing 3-2 TWICE to the Panthers after going out to 2-0 leads in their match only to lose three straight sets (Oct. 2nd, 2014 in Mendo & October 8, 2015 in Boonville).
From 2009 to October 29, 2013 the Cards lost 12 straight matches, winning only TWO sets during that particular streak! Ouch.
 Here's Mendocino's record against Anderson Valley for the past decade:

10/08/2015 3-2 (L)

10/29/2014 3-0 (L)

10/02/2014 3-2 (L)

10/29/2013 3-1 (L)

10/03/2013 3-0 (L)

10/23/2012 3-0 (L)

09/27/2012 3-0 (L)

11/16/2011 3-0 (L)

10/24/2011 3-0 (L)

09/29/2011 3-0 (L)

11/02/2010 3-1 (L)

10/08/2010 3-0 (L)

11/14/2009 3-0 (L)

11/03/2009 3-0 (L)

10/09/2009 3-0 (L)

11/22/2008 3-2 (W)

10/14/2008 3-1 (W)

11/08/2007 3-0 (W)

10/16/2007 3-1 (W)

09/26/2006 3-0 (L)

10/20/2005 3-0 (L)

09/27/2005 3-0 (L)

MSP is confident the streak will end today and we'll be on hand to "livestream" the match. But we recommend you be there in person. It should be a grand day. 
ONE MORE THING
 If the Lady Cards upset the Panthers they would both be tied for first place — which would mean they'd have to play again FRIDAY. In Boonville to determine playoff seeding.
 This year, due to a larger school population (over 200 students) MENDO will play 
in Division FIVE, not Division 6 where they usually compete. They'll be in Division 5 this year & next. AV remains in Division 6. 
And the game is in Boonville because AV drew a lower "tie-breaking" than MENDO.
 MSP PHOTOS--The Mendocino Cardinal varsity extended THEIR winning streak over Point Arena to 15 matches last week in the Carole McDonell gym last week.

(Courtesy, MendocinoSportsPlus)

* * *

UPDATE: MENDO BREAKS THE LOSING STREAK, BEAT AV 3-2 IN 5 SETS

MENDO VARSITY & JV SWEEP ANDERSON VALLEY TONIGHT
It took six years and 15 matches but Mendocino is once again NCL Champion. Both Anderson Valley and Mendocino finish @ 10-1 and are co-champs. The Mendocino JV volleyball team, according to coach Dan Dickson, "Mendo JV won the league having beaten AV twice, split matches with PA who lost to AV 2 times. That one loss being the only league match loss of the season."

(Courtesy, MendocinoSportsPlus)

* * *

NOT QUITE

I asked the climate,

"What might you harm?"

The climate said:

"Unpredictable, guts, and charm."

— Craig Louis Stehr

* * *

HELL'S DINER

Friend -- 

I think it's time we met. Come have dinner with me.

 Connecting with supporters is my favorite part of campaigning. Our dinner will be fun, relaxing, and most importantly, delicious:

Thanks,

Hillary

 

8 Comments

  1. BB Grace November 4, 2015

    RE: THE ANNOTATED CHARLIE CRAWFORD

    (Kudos AVA; I spit out my coffee LOL reading THE ANNOTATED CHARLIE CRAWFORD)

    RE: REX GRESSETT ON FORT BRAGG POLITICS

    Run Rex Run!

    RE: WESTERN STATES PETROLEUM ASSOCIATION SPENT RECORD $6.75 MILLION IN THIRD QUARTER 2015

    By comparison to what the US spends on endless wars keeping Americans buying Mid-East oil rather than seriously developing or allowing Americans to be oil independent with alternative energies:

    US Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq to Cost $6 trillion | Global …
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-wars-in-afghanistan-iraq-to-cost…/5350789

    Global cost of war reaches $14 trillion, says report – Telegraph
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk › … › Middle East › Syria

    Anti-war might as well have been brought to us by BP and ARCO, which I’m sure invests in keeping America hooked (as in addicted and needing rehab) on Mid East oil.

    Have a nice commuter day.

  2. Judy Valadao November 4, 2015

    What we know is Turner and Deitz both gave their approval (100% in support of) the Old Coast Hotel deal before the public knew about it. Does it violate the Brown Act? Technically no, but then again they knew Cimolino would have to recuse himself so there would only be 4 council members voting on the deal. Does that fact make a difference when looking into a violation of the Brown Act?

    • BB Grace November 4, 2015

      I believe that it’s the Bagley-Keene Act https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bagley-Keene_Act

      The Bagley-Keene Act of 1967, officially known as the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act, implements a provision of the California Constitution which declares that “the meetings of public bodies and the writings of public officials and agencies shall be open to public scrutiny”, and explicitly mandates open meetings for California State agencies, boards, and commissions. The act facilitates accountability and transparency of government activities and protects the rights of citizens to participate in State government deliberations. Similarly, California’s Brown Act of 1953 protects citizen rights with regard to open meetings at the county and local government level.

      The act also reaffirms, “The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.”

  3. Jeff Costello November 4, 2015

    re The real lyrics to Puttin’ on the Ritz – the censored (more recent popular) versions are a bit more pleasant to consider, and don’t lead to speculation about a Jewish immigrant mocking black culture in Harlem. But Irving Berlin was quick to see the “real” pre-PC America.

  4. Jim Updegraff November 4, 2015

    Scott Dietz: If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and sounds like a duck it must be a duck (c——l)

  5. Jim Updegraff November 4, 2015

    Dan Bacher: So what’s new? Our legislature has always been for sale to the highest bidder.

  6. Alice Chouteau November 4, 2015

    Deitz announced at the first CC meeting in Jan. on the OCH deal, that more letters had been sent from from supporters than from the opposition, proof that the town was in favor of the city’s back room deal. A citizen checked the dates on this correspondence and noted that they had been sent in December, BEFORE the public had been informed. Ooops!
    I haven’t attended every CC meeting since his election, so may have missed something brilliant, but the only bright idea Deitz presented at a CC meeting was that we should erect a sign labeling Fort Bragg’s historic area ‘Old Town’.
    Another burst of Deitz energy occurred at the meeting following last years election, in which Turner came in third, with fewer votes by far than Peters, winner, and Cimolino in second place. Traditionally, the candidate with most votes is chosen mayor. Deitz was on his feet, nominating Turner, before the apeaker could complete her introduction to the nomination , usurping any chance of Peters being rightfully chosen.
    Legal? Probably, but not what most consider ethical. Viewing the tape of this event, it seemed rehearsed and choreographed to me.
    Thanks, Rex, for another excellent report.
    A. chouteau

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