- Anne Shapiro
- AV/Mendo Basketball
- Dollar Store Lawsuit
- Animal Shelter Controversy
- Screw Jobs
- American Fascists
- Cannon's Pistol
- KSFO Jingle
- Pension Debt
- Ukiah Council
- Chow Convicted
- County YouTube
- Yesterday's Catch
- Please Cover
- Weight Management
- Planning Agenda
- Mein Trumpf
- Koch Platform
- Voter Rights
- Festival Success
- Third World Economy
THE WOMAN whose body washed ashore just north of Fort Bragg has been identified as Anne Shapiro, 33, of Little River. The cause of death, according to Captain Greg Van Patten of the Sheriff's Department, remains under investigation as “suspicious.”
MS. SHAPIRO had been reported as missing to the Willits Police department earlier that morning. She is said to have been suffering from mental illness.
THE ANDERSON VALLEY PANTHERS BOYS VARSITY BASKETBALL team won Friday's home opener league game against long-time rival Mendocino by a score of 52-45, coming back to win the game after being behind at half-time. (For game details and videos go to mendocinosportsplus on facebook.)
Last night's scores...
Boys Varsity: AV 52, Mendo 45
Girls Varsity: AV 22, Mendo 42
Boys JV: AV 42, Mendo 28
Girls JV: AV 51, Mendo 18
REDWOOD VALLEY MARKET OWNERS file suit against Mendocino County over County’s waiver of Dollar Store’s environmental review requirement.
ANIMAL SHELTER BLUES
Supes Try To Get In Front Of Animal Shelter Privatization Dispute
(Ed note: The CEO report to which Supervisor McCowen refers in the following exchange has not been released as of Friday evening.)
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January 5, 2016, Board of Supervisors Meeting—
Supervisor Dan Hamburg: “Rumors are flying fast and furious. I think that the sooner that we have a chance to address what is really going on at the animal shelter, the better. Because the two sides are becoming more and more entrenched.”
Supervisor McCowen: “There are only two sides?”
Hamburg: “The two sides that I've been most aware of are, one, whether the county continues to operate the shelter through HHSA or whether we contract out. Those seem to be the two sides. The war is being fought on social media. It's not very civil at this point. It's a serious matter.”
McCowen: “I think we've all been hearing from the public on this issue and I agree we ought to put out more information. I don't think a press release is necessary. ... I think next week's CEO report will go into some detail on this issue. I think people will come to learn that they should pay more attention to the CEO report because there is a lot of very pertinent and timely information in there. I would also suggest because part of what I've been hearing from the public, they don't like the thought that an agenda could get published and the next Tuesday the board might take final action on what is a very serious issue. People care deeply about it. We should consider since we are activating standing committees that once staff has determined on a recommended course of action, roll it out in the appropriate standing committee which gives an opportunity for wider dissemination of the information and a bigger community conversation before it then does come to the board and the public. The standing committee may or may not make a recommendation, it may just take input and forward things on to the full board. But that would allow for wider public participation and discussion on this issue which I think is essential.”
Angelo: “I think it would be a great start for the Health and Human Services standing committee to start with the animal shelter.”
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THE CONTROVERSY RAGING on Facebook re the County Animal Shelter (in Ukiah) boils down to those who think Shelter boss Sage Mountainfire is doing a great job and those who think Sage needs to retreat permanently to her mountain fire.
WHEN THE ISSUE reached the Board of Supes, direction was given to do an RFP — request for proposal — to see who might be interested in running the Shelter. Petaluma Animal Shelter reps, backed by Mark and Linda Mountanos, were present to say they would be happy to apply.
BOTH SIDES of the Mountain, so to speak, casually slandered the Sheriff as they framed the discussion as saving the shelter from law enforcement although there was no proposal to turn Shelter management over to the Sheriff. (The Sheriff already runs Animal Control, separate from the shelter.)
"DON'T let the Sheriff run the shelter, he will euthanize all the animals." Etc. In the anthromorph context, Sheriff Allman would probably prefer to euthanize the animal people rather than dogs and cats, but the Sheriff calmly pointed out that he would do whatever the Supes directed him to do. He said he would like to institute a dog grooming training program for female inmates and use inmates in other capacities at the Shelter. He would also seek to reduce the euthanasia rate. As is often the case, the Sheriff was the only person present with practical, helpful proposals. In the end the Board gave direction inviting a Request For Proposal, knowing that the Petaluma contingent was ready to step in.
ANY PROPOSAL for the Shelter is received by the Animal Advocates as comparable to throwing a human child to a pack of pit bulls. The animal advocates tend to be locked into emotional positions that are immune to facts and logic — and part of the facts and logic seem to show that there are real problems with the way the shelter is run.
THE UPSHOT is that any recommendation will first go to the Health and Human Services Agency standing committee and then on to the full board — so it will not be on an agenda for a decision until at least the second Board meeting in February. Yes, the shelter is within HHSA and Stacey Cryer would love to have someone else (the Sheriff, PAS, the 50 doctors who signed the MH letter, anyone) be responsible for it.
RECOMMENDED VIEWING: Can't say enough about Netflix's important documentary, “Making a Murderer,” a careful step-by-step account of one of the worst legal system screw jobs you will see. Turned down by HBO and PBS, “Making a Murderer” has made a huge splash because everyone who sees it is shocked that the two men, the younger developmentally disabled and the other barely able to defend himself, could be convicted and put away for life on obviously planted evidence. Two young women, Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, spent years assembling this absolutely brilliant and shocking film.
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HERE IN MENDOCINO COUNTY, the top three screw jobs we've seen over thirty-plus years covering Mendo crime are the John Dalton case; People vs. Mark Sprinkle; and the utterly deplorable life without job Public Defender Linda Thompson did on Tai Abreu. We've linked summaries of each of the three. All three guys are still in prison.
THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE is an HBO series based on the novel of the same name by Phillip K. Dick. Wonderfully acted, it's based on an assumption that the Germans and the Japanese won World War Two, splitting the United States into two jurisdictions with a "neutral zone" between them. The Japanese get the West Coast, making their headquarters in San Francisco, while the Germans take over the East Coast with the Big Apple converted to an adjunct of the Reich. Americans, at least a tiny portion of them, carry out a futile guerrilla war against both fascist powers, perhaps confirming the author's pessimistic opinion that most people in the grim circumstance of a foreign occupation would simply hunker down and try to stay out of the way, more or less like the French did under the Nazi occupation.
THE FASCIST IMPULSE in this country at this time is pretty much confined to Fox News and three Republican candidates for president — Trump; Cruz; Rubio. Carson is nuts, Kasich irrelevant, Bush looks and acts like the confused assistant vicar in a Masterpiece Theater production. Rubio's a smart, sinister little bastard who really is dangerous and will probably be the Republican candidate because he's slick enough to conceal his deep dish authoritarianism.
I'VE ALWAYS THOUGHT that when we get fascism its front person is much more likely to be somebody like the Clintons backed up by a charismatic general. Trump is too wacky to bring off fascism. Unlike Trump, the great fascisti, Mussolini and Hitler, were, in their way, intellectuals with definite plans, while the Japanese were medieval royalists with a high tech capacity. I can't imagine Americans getting into line like the evil ones did during World War Two.
YOUR BELOVED Boonville newspaper is probably too sanguine about America's capacity for the full fascist monte but we think Americans are too anarchistic, too ungovernable to ever lurch into full goose step mode. Fox News, Trump and the rest of it are just stupid and nasty and too all-round incompetent to bring it off even if they wanted to, for which there is no evidence that they do. Besides which, well, that's enough pessimism for now, but it Won't Happen Here because a lot of are oligarchs are libs.
WHAT'S going to happen here — please take notes — is a financial meltdown against a backdrop of ecological disaster. How that plays out no one can predict, but I'm glad I live in Boonville.
RONALD CANNON, a member of the Mendocino County Museum Advisory Board from Potter Valley has filed a claim against Mendocino County alleging that the County owes him $375 because “a reproduction of an 1860 Remington revolver on loan to the [County] Museum [in Willits] was stolen sometime between June and September of 2015.”
These long-barrelled pistols were beautes. Standard issue for civil war Union soldiers. We found this reproduction for sale on line for $306:
SOUND OF THE CITY (KSFO, 50s-60s)
(photo by Annie Kalantarian)
COUNTY PENSION DEBT — DROWNING IN RED INK
Mendocino County continues to borrow against the future as pension payouts exceed income. Pension financing seems a matter of smoke and mirrors — especially in these times of recessions, globalization and shifting economies.
The smoke and mirrors kick in when investments pay less than expected. When the rate of return on a pension investment portfolio is set, the pension plans then consider money the pension failed to earn as “deferred” future income. This makes pension fund reports look pretty rosy even when drowning in red ink.
This process is so magic most of us cannot believe it, because it is so different than what happens in the “real” world.
If I conducted my personal finances this way, I could “predict” my annual income will be $100,000 for the next 20 years. When I look at my 2015 W-2 and discover that I only made $25,000; I subtract my real earnings from my prediction and add the $75,000 difference to my “deferred” income pile.
If I go to the bank in 2016 to get a loan, I would tell them I expect to earn $175,000 in 2016 (my $100,000 per year prediction plus the $75,000 in “deferred” income from 2015).
While this won’t work with my bank, it seems to work with our Board of Supervisors.
Continuing the pension analogy, in 2016, I still only make $25,000. This means I now have $75,000 in deferred income from 2015 and $75,000 in 2016, which I add to my 2017 income projection. This means my 2017 predicted income goes to $250,000.
While pensions spread deferred income over a much longer time frame, the 2008 financial melt down had more of an impact than routine pension plan adjustments have been able to handle.
When the markets crashed, the value of the county investment portfolio dropped and did not recover until mid 2012. Despite the losses, the county pension fund has “banked” nearly $55 million in mythical deferred income, which causes the situation to look rosier than it truly is.
Alas, the situation is even more troubling.
The county’s pension plan predicted a constant rise in the county’s investment portfolio. The county had about $355 million invested in June 2008, sufficient to fund 94.5 percent of its pension liabilities.
The plan assumed levels of income from investments plus employee and county contributions would allow it to pay pensioners and to build the county’s investment portfolio. This model assumed the portfolio would reach $610 million by June 2015. This did not happen.
The county now has $428 million not $610 million in its portfolio as of June 2015 which will only cover 70 percent of its pension liabilities. The county must pay its employee’s future pensions whether covered by the county investment portfolio or not.
Since 2008, county has tweaked the pension plan assumptions but these changes have done little to address the huge hole created by the recession. In 2015, the county pension fund paid out $2.5 million more than it took in. This was after the county adjusted its expected rate of return on investments from 7.75 to 7.25 percent in 2014. The actual 2015 return was 3.02 percent.
Even if we are foolish enough to think the mythical $55 million in “deferred” income will ever show up, it falls far short of stemming the $182 million in red ink. And that shortfall is growing.
It is time for the Board of Supervisors to face this issue head on and stop hiding behind accounting smoke and mirrors.
Linda Williams, Editor—The Willits News
(Courtesy, the Willits News)
UKIAH CITY COUNCIL: NEW MEMBERS REFLECT ON YEAR
by Justine Frederiksen
After completing their first year on the Ukiah City Council, the three newest members described their experience so far as ultimately productive, though definitely not without its frustrations.
Jim Brown, Kevin Doble and Maureen Mulheren were all elected to the City Council in November of 2014 after expressing dissatisfaction during their campaigns with certain actions of the previous council, in particular the perceived lack of progress with the long empty Palace Hotel.
“What a frustrating problem,” Brown said of the building, which has largely languished since it was bought at a tax auction in 1990 by Marin County resident Eladia Laines and her former partners. “Besides Costco, that is the topic that most people who stop you in the grocery store want to talk about.”
The previous council for years delayed voting on whether to declare the building a nuisance and allow the city’s Public Works Department to take over fixing the structure’s code violations, but within two months of the three new members taking their seats, the City Council took a significant new step.
In January 2015, the board voted to give city staff the power to seek appointment of a receiver to take over the job of rehabilitating the building from Laines, who would retain ownership if a receiver were hired.
However, when a hearing was finally held about 10 months later in Mendocino County Superior Court regarding a potential receivership, the judge appointed to hear the case strongly advised the city to seek mediation instead.
“I think the city has taken the steps necessary to try and resolve the Palace Hotel issue; but, unfortunately, the judge has forced us into mediation,” Brown said. “I really don’t think the owner has the ability to resolve the Palace Hotel issue on her own, and the city is prepared to move forward, and we’re giving it our best shot. We probably should have filed a petition for receivership years ago, and we could have moved this along at a little faster pace. But we’re going at the only pace we can.”
“I definitely have a better understanding of why this has been an issue for so long,” said Doble of the former hotel, adding however that he does feel “progress is being made.”
Mulheren said she also believed “we’ve absolutely made progress,” though she admitted that “it’s a little hard to tell that just by looking at the outside of the building. I think the community spoke loud and clear during the election that they want something done with the Palace Hotel, (but) this won’t happen overnight. It is my hope that through the court-ordered mediation we can work with the owner and her attorneys to put the past issues behind us and move forward with making this building an asset to our community.”
Asked what they learned about the city’s operations that surprised them the most, the new council members said they were surprised to learn just how complicated and multi-faceted even the most straightforward-seeming task can be for the city to complete.
“I learned that the city functions much better than how I thought it did in the past,” Brown said. “The average person probably doesn’t realize how complicated it is to run a city, and most people aren’t really familiar with all of the rules and regulations the city has to jump through to get what many people consider to be the simplest task completed. That can be really frustrating.”
“I’ve learned that there is a pace to making progress,” Doble said. “It has to be understood that no matter what you want to see get done, there are still limited resources and we have to continuously balance those resources and adjust priorities to meet the service needs of the community.”
Doble said he, however, was “not surprised by the level of hard work and dedication that all of the city’s employees continuously show day in and day out,” but that he was “surprised by the resignation of former City Manager Jane Chambers.”
Mulheren said what surprised her the most about being on the council is that no matter how much she actively seeks input from residents, whether it be on Facebook, by attending as many community events as possible or by hosting monthly face-to-face conversations, “as much as I’m out there, it’s really only the same 10 people that are talking. One of my goals was really to try to get more of a community response before decisions are made so that we can all understand why some things happen within the city instead of looking back and disagreeing with the decision, (because) it’s easy to watch from the ‘cheap seats’ and throw stones without knowing all of the inner workings of the city and government in general. I’m hoping that next year more people will really be inclined to reach out to me to ask questions and give me feedback.”
Brown said he felt this coming year will be even more productive for the council and the city.
“We’re working pretty well together,” Brown said of the council. “I think we respect each other’s opinions and we can talk to each other, and we have made some real positive progress, particularly with the budget process, which was a huge step in the right direction. We also now have a pretty proactive city manager who really cares about Ukiah, and the city workforce is a pretty loyal group. They’re probably the city’s best asset.”
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
SNITCHES BRING DOWN SHRIMP BOY
On Friday a jury convicted Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow on 162 charges of racketeering and murder after a lengthy federal investigation into the Chinatown district of San Francisco. Prosecutors said that Chow ordered the killing of the head of a Chinese fraternal order, which he then took over. Investigators said that Chow used that organization as a front for drug trafficking, money laundering, and the sale of stolen cigarettes and alcohol. Chow testified that he did not arrange his predecessor's death, but did admit he dealt drugs and was involved with a street gang. However, Chow testified, he had changed his ways after he started meditating.
COUNTY EXPANDS ACCESS TO PUBLIC MEETINGS, INCLUDING THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS; MENDOCINO ACCESS TELEVISON INTENDS TO DISSOLVE
As the County continues to upgrade its information technology infrastructure and provide more transparency in its operations, live streaming of the Board of Supervisors meetings is now provided through the County website. Proceedings of the Board of Supervisors and other public bodies have historically been broadcast on the local Public Access Channel and through Mendocino Access Television’s (MATV) website. The meetings will continue to be available through local cable programming, however now they are also available through YouTube’s new live streaming service. The video is available nearly immediately in a video archive through YouTube’s service. The “Mendocino County” YouTube channel is available by clicking the “Live Video” tab on the Board of Supervisors’ website (www.co.mendocino.ca.us/bos) or at www.youtube.com.
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[(Ed note: We looked all over at www.co.mendocino.ca.us/bos and could not find any “live video” tab. (Maybe it is only there during live meetings.) However,
does seem to work.]
* * *
County Information Services is now responsible for video production of meetings previously handled by MATV, including the Board of Supervisors, Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO), and Mendocino Council of Governments (MCOG).
Additionally, for the first time beginning in February, access to Mendocino County Planning Commission and Civil Service Commission meetings will be provided to the public through live streaming and video archives on the County’s website and through the new YouTube channel.
The County has contracted with MATV since 2012 to be the provider of access to public meetings and other local programming. On November 4, 2015, the County received written notice of MATV’s intent to dissolve the organization as of December 31, 2015. Based on this notice the County immediately began taking steps to ensure public access to Board of Supervisor’s meetings continued, as well as maintaining the public’s access to Public Education and Government (PEG) services.
As of January 1, 2016, the County took responsibility for the video production and recording of Board of Supervisors and other public meetings which are under the Board’s purview. MATV had agreed to delay its dissolution in order to provide an orderly transition of service to another entity. To ensure that there is no interruption of services, the Executive Office has contracted with Mr. John Glasco to assist the County with the transition of PEG services from MATV. Mr. Glasco is a long-time local public access provider who brings with him the historical knowledge of public access, as well as the ability to assist the County with the continued and future public access needs of our citizens. The County envisions a future agreement with a new non-profit service provider for the County and other local government entities, and anticipates the preparation of a joint RFP in mid-2016 which would include other interested parties such as the City of Ukiah and the City of Fort Bragg.
For more information, please contact the Mendocino County Executive Office at (707) 463-4441.
Carmel J. Angelo, Chief Executive Officer
[ED NOTE: Mr. Glasco is a competent video manager. He set up Mendocino Access TV in the first place and was subsequently replaced by Erica Cooperrider as MATV honcho via a Supes appointment (for reasons that were never clear) where, only a couple of years after Ms. Cooperrider took over, MATV dissolved. We’re glad to see that Mr. Glasco is back.]
CATCH OF THE DAY, January 8, 2016
JOHN BOLTON IV, Willits. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)
CYNTHIA DOMINGUEZ, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
KAREN ESPINOSA-MARTINEZ, Ukiah. Drunk in public, resisting, probation revocation.
SALVADOR GOMEZ, Elk. Court order violation.
CATHY GRAHAM, Redwood Valley. Possession of meth, honey oil extraction, pot cultivation/possession for sale, child endangerment.
JEFFREY HOCHADEL, Salem, Ohio/Ukiah. DUI.
TAMMY INCLAN, Arcata/Ukiah. Obtaining prescription fraudulently, failure to appear.
RAFAEL MATA JR., Ukiah. Petty theft, failure to appear.
WHITNEE PIERCE, Eureka/Ukiah. Burglary.
SHANNON SCOTT, Willits. Failure to appear.
ERIC SPARKMAN, Willits. Drunk in public.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
All these people turning up with nothing but the clothes on their backs, if even that, need a lot of stuff, right? Food, shelter, clothes, all manner of belongings?
We, who’ve been here (wherever we find ourselves) longer than the newcomers, haven’t created such a huge surplus that we can just take in these newcomers and meet all their needs out of what we’ve got on hand, can we?
So there’s plenty of work for everyone to do, obviously.
If our system has gotten so screwed up that we can’t figure out how to put people to work, who need work, and need to convert that work into the materials of survival, what’s the real problem here?
Is it the people? Is it what they need to survive? Or is it a system that doesn’t seem to be working to achieve any of the goals for which we rely on our system?
The problem isn’t the obfuscation, the fudged statistics, or even the illogical notion that somehow a large proportion of a society can be on “The Dole” for any period of time. The problem is a system that simultaneously can’t find anything for people to do, while being unable to provide them with the things people need. At that point, what the hell is the point at all?
Have we created a system that does nothing but create abstract debt obligations? Have we then held those abstract notions to be more important that real, physical needs? When the abstractions and the realities have come into conflict, have we chosen for the abstractions time and time again? And when our devotion to abstractions puts us in a position where multitudes have to die so a tiny group can sit around and be served, have we not rebelled against such an offensive and evil way of thinking and behaving and ordering our world?
I’m not worried about people moving from place to place. I’m worried about crazy people, valuing abstract nonsense above physical reality, and what those crazy people might start doing in the name of a made-up and failed way of seeing the world.
HEALTHY WEIGHT MANAGEMENT CLASS
A free eight-week healthy weight management class taught by nutrition educator Petra Schulte will be offered at Mendocino Coast Clinic in the west wing conference room at 205 South Street, Fort Bragg starting Tuesday, January 19 from 3:30-5:30 PM. To register for this free class, call 937-4704. Funding provided by the Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency Public Health with funding from the California Department of Public Health's Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Branch.
THE PLANNING COMMISSION'S JANUARY 21, 2016 AGENDA is now available at the Department of Planning and Building Services web page:
DEATH PENALTY STATS
Amnesty International recently released statistics by country of the number of executions during the period between 2007 and 2012. The United States with 220 executions was in 5th place with only China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq executing more persons. It is a disgrace that the United States is one of the top five countries in executions. Further, of the top 10 countries in executions the only Christian country was the United States. Also, it is the only G7 country to still execute people. In the United States the majority of the executions were in southern states and a significant number of those executed were African Americans. Currently about 105 countries have abolished the death penalty in other countries executions such as Japan executions are very rare. Currently in the United states 32 states and the U. S. government have the death penalty. The majority of the Supreme Court apparently does not consider the death penalty to be contrary to the 8th Amendment. In California we have about 750 persons including 20 women on death row.
Currently, executions were put on a hold by a Federal Court because of flaws in the state's execution process. The current hold is pending judicial review of a new execution chamber and new methodologies in executing prisoners. Because California's death penalty was enacted through the voter initiative process, the only way to amend it is through a voter approved ballot measure. A pro death penalty group will begin this year seeking signatures for an initiative that will make significant changes for the purpose of expediting the appeal process. There are other changes including that death row inmates must work and pay victim restitution.
In peace and love,
Jim Updegraff, Sacramento
MEIN TRUMPF MAKES A STOP IN VERMONT
by Ron Jacobs
Thankfully, the temperature in Vermont on Thursday January 7th, 2016 was warmer than the single digit weather that greeted the earlier part of the week. Sure, it was only around freezing, but in Vermont that’s a warm winter day.
The center of Burlington, Vermont’s downtown is a six or seven block pedestrian mall with cross streets. The pedestrian mall runs north to south and is named Church Street (a common street name in New England towns.) When my buddy and I got off the city bus at the north end of Church Street, a small crowd of union members and anarchists was gathering. I spoke with a few friends in the crowd before we headed south to the other end of the pedestrian mall. This is where the Flynn Theatre is. That is the venue Trump spoke at. The street the theatre is on — Main Street — was closed off for a block with police cars and barricades. The barricades also ran down both sides of the street, meaning the street itself was empty in that block except for numerous police from various agencies. The anti-Trump protesters were kept on the north side of the barricades, while the people hoping to get into the Trump event were on the south side. At this time the protester number perhaps 200; the line for the Trump attendees was about 2000. After fifteen minutes or so, my buddy went to get a cup of coffee and I headed back up to the top of Church Street. The crowd there had grown to about one hundred. We marched down the pedestrian mall, with many folks chanting anti-Trump and anti-fascist slogans. It took perhaps twenty-five minutes to meet up with the crowd at the south end of the mall opposite the Flynn Theatre. Our arrival swelled the growing crowd to around five hundred.
As the afternoon turned into evening, the temperature dropped below freezing, the protesting crowd continued to grow and the Trump supporters grew more boisterous. By 6 PM, the anti-Trump crowd was well over a thousand in number. Their chants were loud and referenced Trump’s racism and sexism, while also supporting immigrants and refugees. Across the street, Trump supporters responded with a couple oldies but goodies of the right wing crowd: “USA!USA! and “Get a Job!” Burlington city officials looked out of their offices in City Hall where a large hand-lettered sign in the windows read “Refugees welcome here.” The two crowds were substantially different in makeup. The protesters were about equally mixed in terms of gender and their ages ranged from a large number of high school and college aged youth to many gray and white haired folks with a fair smattering of those in between. Although it was mostly white skinned (like Vermont) the numbers of African-Americans, Latino and Asian people was much larger than that of those waiting in the mostly white male line to see Trump. Indeed, there could have been ten non-white folks in the crowd of protesters and that would have been more than those waiting to see Trump. As it later turned out, at least two of the African-Americans waiting to see Trump got thrown out for protesting him.
Many of the protesters carried hand-made signs. Popular slogans were No Hate in my State and Love conquers hate. My favorite, though was the one that simply read, “Mein Trumpf.” My favorite chant of the night was “Donald Trump you’re a liar/We wanna set your wig on fire.” When the line of those waiting to see Trump began to move, it became apparent that anyone wearing Bernie Sanders paraphernalia was being refused entrance. In addition, Trump security forces were questioning folks as to whether or not they supported Trump. If they answered in the negative, they were also tossed. Some of those not supporting Trump objected to this treatment and were threatened with arrest. Whether or not they would have been arrested was not tested. Despite these precautions by Trump’s brownshirts, a couple dozen anti-Trump supporters got in. Most got tossed over the course of the speech when they heckled the lout. After leaving, several indicated that the theatre was not completely full, despite Trump’s campaign giving away 20,000 tickets online.
Outside, the crowd fluctuated in size. I would guess that at its peak there were more than a thousand people protesting Trump’s presence. Many held candles, some chanted and shouted, some played music and danced, while most hung out in the cold, talking it up with others, occasionally joining in on the chants or the dancing, and enjoying the scene. A socialist friend of mine called it a festival of protest. I thought he described it perfectly. By 8:00 PM, the crowd was beginning to dwindle. I had to catch a bus and left the area around 8:30 PM. There were still several hundred protesters.
As I walked away, I noticed a young woman arguing with the father of a young girl on the crowd’s edge. The girl, who looked about twelve or thirteen, was holding a handwritten Trump sign. The father said he supported Trump because he was afraid for his daughter. ISIS and criminal migrants topped his list of fears. The young woman argued that she thought respect for other people’s religion and ethnicity was a better way to fight fear than the hatred Trump identifies with. The argument was spirited but not threatening to either of the young females. The crowd was chanting “Another world is possible” to the beat of a snare drum. There was a group of high school girls on the bus making fun of a guy wearing a Trump button who told them he was a nazi. This happened while they were standing in line to get in to the speech. When they got to the front of the line, they were asked if they supported Trump. They said no and were told they could not enter.
In our celebrity focused culture, getting people to focus on Trump’s politics and not his loutish behavior is a challenge, even among leftists. The discussions prior to the protests in Burlington included the suggestion to just ignore him. After all, we are told that he hates being ignored. While that might seem to make sense, I found it necessary to remind folks that one cannot ignore his politics. Instead, they must be challenged in every arena possible, including on the streets of every town he decides to speak in. Ignoring a wannabe fascist can easily be seen as weakness, not strength. These types of moral protest assume that people like Trump might actually have doubts as to the correctness of their views. The truth is, they don’t.
The Trump campaign reminds me of other campaigns I have observed in my lifetime: Ronald Reagan, the George Bush’s, and Richard Nixon’s. However, the one it most closely resembles is the 1968 and 1972 campaigns of Alabama’s George Wallace. Both campaigns were racist to the core and played on the fear of the working class white fear of a Black nation. His contempt for what he called the pinheads in DC was merely a cover for the anger southern white racists felt for the recent spate of laws passed by the federal government making racial segregation illegal. Despite the fact that the white power structure is still in command in the US South, along with the rest of the nation, politicians like Wallace and Trump know that they can manipulate white US residents’ fear of the Other to their advantage. Although Trump is not as overtly racist when it comes to African-Americans as Wallace was, this is only because he knows it wouldn’t play as well as it did fifty years ago. However, believe me, many of his supporters, advisors and donors are just as racist as Wallace’s were, if not more so. In order to hook in more mainstream voters, however, Trump plays on more current fears: Latin American immigrants and Muslims. By playing on these fears, Trump and his campaign can bring folks who might otherwise be turned off by the support he receives from nazis, klansmen and other white supremacist into his protofascist campaign, thereby opening these Middle Americans to the extremist politics of those extremist supporters.
Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE KOCH BROTHERS AGAIN
Here is some insight on the Kochs from Bernie Sanders:
It is not widely known that David Koch once ran for Vice President of the United States of America on the Libertarian Party ticket because he believed Ronald Reagan was much too liberal. And he ran on a platform that included the following: “We favor the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt and increasingly oppressive Social Security system.” “We favor the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs.” “We support repeal of all laws which impede the ability of any person to find employment, such as minimum wage laws…” “We support the eventual repeal of all taxation.”
The U.S. supreme court is hearing a lawsuit this week that could make every state in the country a "right-to-work" (for less) state. The inability to close the shop and collect dues from everyone who benefits from collective bargaining greatly weakens the union. This lawsuit is being funded by the multi-billionare Koch brothers and is against the California Teachers Association. Teachers and their union are the primary advocates for public education.
Please sign and circulate this petition:
SELMA: THE BRIDGE TO THE BALLOT
Special Guest Speaker Professor Herb Kohl
Sunday, February 7, 2016 At 2pm
Coast Community Library, Point Arena
We present a short film produced by The Southern Poverty Law Center and Teaching Tolerance documenting the historic struggle for Voting Rights in the South, and the brave and inspiring students, teachers and activists who fought (and some died) a nonviolent battle to bring about the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and advance human rights in our country for us all. Professor Herb Kohl, educator, author, and Civil Rights veteran will discuss the movement for Voting Rights for everyone in our country, which continues today. A discussion will follow the film. Everyone is welcome, especially The Youth. Voter Registration will be available, as well as refreshments. This event is free. Information at 707-884-4703
Sister Yasmin Solomon
THE BOTANICAL GARDENS CELEBRATES VOLUNTEERS AND SPONSORS FOR THE 2015 FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS
Attendance at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens annual holiday benefit, Festival of Lights, increased by more than 2,000 visitors over the previous year. Altogether, the 12 nights of festivities saw more than 7,000 smiling faces. The annual light display encourages travelers to make a winter getaway to the Mendocino Coast. The Little River Inn is one of the local inns offering packages or specials in conjunction with the event. General Manager, Cally Dym tells us, “We were surprised to discover that many of the packages were booked by friends and neighbors who wanted to enjoy the experience together. Thank you Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens for sharing your gardens at this amazing event each year.” Since its start in 2010, the Festival of Lights has grown exponentially becoming a popular holiday tradition on the coast.
There was entertainment galore with ten musical acts, a jolly Santa Claus, free face painting, and of course a garden filled with glittering lights and inventive displays. Volunteers from the nonprofit support organization, Friends of the Gardens, baked goodies for the Holiday Sweets Cafe providing hot drinks, and cookies of all kinds. Generous donations by North Coast Brewing Company and some of the best local wineries kept the bar jumping and helped raise funds. Rhody's Garden Cafe served 3-Bean Chili in the big tent, offering visitors and volunteers a delicious way to warm up on those cool evenings. The homemade chili, hot cocoa, and spiced cider were made possible thanks to repeat sponsors, Harvest Market.
Behind the scenes, Festival of Lights Media Sponsors, KOZT The Coast FM, spread the news of this wonderful benefit near and far. Team Blue 4 of AmeriCorps NCCC Pacific Region donated 2,000 hours to the Gardens in the months of November and December. A part of the AmeriCorps team’s hours decreased decoration time to just over a week. Premier Sponsors, Mendo Lake Credit Union, donated funds and a number of MLCU employees volunteered as greeters and ticket takers. Students from the Fort Bragg High School Interact Club lent a hand on several nights of the event. Mara’s Coffee House, new neighbors of the Gardens, loaned several extra parking spaces to eager visitors each evening. The Festival of Lights was an immense success and would not have been possible without the help of over 200 volunteers and our generous sponsors.
The 2015 Festival of Lights Gala was a grand slam as well! More than 100 people filled the beautifully decorated tent for the grand event, raising funds to allow 1,700 children to attend this year's Festival of Lights. The Gala delighted guests with the sounds of The Mendocino String Quartet, a remarkable holiday feast, champagne, a selection of Mendocino County's finest wine, local brews, fireworks (despite the rain), prizes, and more... it really was a great party!
THANK YOU to our dedicated volunteers — all the ticket takers, greeters, spotters, floaters, bartenders, food helpers, parking attendants, store helpers, marshmallow stabbers, and of course all those who helped string the lights with cheer and then pack them away again — until next year!
Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens would also like to thank the following sponsors for making the Festival of Lights and Festival of Lights Gala possible.
ANOTHER BULLSHIT JOBS REPORT / TAKE 2
by Paul Craig Roberts
According to Friday’s (January 8) payroll jobs numbers, almost 300,000 new jobs were created in December. Additionally, the previous two months were revised upward by 50,000 jobs. Apparently, the equity market did not believe the report, with the averages moving down today.
As I have pointed out almost monthly for what I think could be approaching two decades, the alleged job growth always takes place in nontradable domestic services, that is, in areas that do not produce exports and have no competition from imports. This is the job profile of a Third World country.
Twelve years ago I predicted at a major Washington, D.C., conference that was nationally televised that in 20 years the United States would have a Third World economy if jobs offshoring, which benefits only corporate executives and shareholders, continued.
Jobs offshoring has continued, and judging by the payroll jobs reports from the US government, the US is already a Third World economy.
The presstitute financial media — and what they are is a bunch of whores — always reports the alleged jobs increase as if it is a great thing, testimony to the continuing strength of the American economy, and so forth. Only a handful of us look at the data and reveal its meaning. Once again I will strip away the Matrix and show you the reality.
Allegedly, the US economy has been in recovery since, if memory serves, June 2009. If so, it is an unusual recovery. Normally, the rising job opportunities associated with economic recoveries bring entrants into the labor force, but the US labor force participation rate has been declining. In December, 2015, there are 1,185,000 fewer Americans in the labor force than in December 2014; yet, the working age population is higher today than a year ago.
The reported unemployment rate does not include “discouraged workers,” that is, workers who unable to find jobs have ceased looking for work. The reported unemployment rate of 5% only counts non-discouraged workers who are still expecting to find a job. The actual unemployment rate, that is, the rate that includes Americans who have given up hope of finding employment, is 23%. Currently, there are 94,691,000 Americans of working age who are not in the labor force. In other words, the US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is deprived of a large percentage of its labor input.
Now, we will pay attention, unlike the financial presstitute media, to the age groups who benefited, according to the BLS, from the 292,000 December new jobs. About half of the alleged new jobs — 142,000 — went to the 55 years old and over age group. This age group consists primarily of retirees who have found it necessary to supplement their retirement income and of those near retirement who are working in order to compensate for the lack of interest on their savings due to the Federal Reserve’s zero interest rate policy. These are part-time, lowly paid jobs without benefits.
Americans of prime working age, 25 years old to 54 year old, only received 16,000 or 5% of the new jobs.
Those aged 46 to 54 lost 165,000 jobs. In other words, middle aged people are losing their jobs before they can provide for their retirement.
There are 527,000 more Americans working multiple jobs in December 2015 than in December 2014.
Now, as we have done so often for many years, let’s look at the make believe jobs that the BLS claims. Almost all of them are in lowly paid domestic services, such as waitresses, bartenders, couriers and messengers, employment services, social services and health care (primarily ambulatory health care services).
The conclusion is that if we believe the payroll jobs report, the United States is now an economy that only creates Third World jobs in lowly paid domestic services.
And yet this non-economy on the verge of collapse is said by the idiots in Washington to be a super-power.
What a total joke!