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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016

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JUST IN:

AVHC ANNOUNCEMENT TO THE COMMUNITY

After much consideration, Dr. Logan McGhan has decided to resign from his position as Staff Physician at the Anderson Valley Health Center, effective immediately. Dr. McGhan has been at the AVHC for the past 28 months and we appreciate his service to his patients and our community in helping the clinic provide the best health care we can. We all wish the very best for Dr. McGhan, Rocio, Carmelo and Aria in their future endeavors.

We will immediately begin searching for additional medical staff to help Dr. Apfel and Cindy Arbanovella in providing services to all of our patients. We will also begin a search for a permanent medical staff member for the AVHC. There are many resources available to the AVHC through relationships with other medical professionals and programs and all of these will be contacted to help.

We appreciate the community’s patience and understanding as we work towards bringing on a new provider.

Anderson Valley Health Center Board of Directors

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BASKETBALL WEEKEND. Games begin Wednesday afternoon in the Boonville gym and run all day until Saturday night’s championship game. The Redwood Classic. Be there!

classicbracketssched

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THE ESSENTIAL LIBBY’S RESTAURANT, Philo, closes after its Saturday night servings, and for many of us it’s like a death in the family. Twenty years? Has it been that long? The Valley won’t be the same without the high Mexican cuisine of Arturo and Libby Favela.

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MIKE KOEPF, Elk writer and former commercial fisherman, nicely puts the crab scare in proportion. “Acid crab ban. Or scam. All those young snowflakes who went to collage to become marine biologists were only able to obtain jobs for the state. As employees of the state they must sooner or later display reasons for their existence.  Lurking behind the scenes, the ultra enviros are circulating rumors that California crabs are filled with nuclear waste from Fukushima.  I did have crab last week and as yet have not died, nor do I glow in the dark. Fishermen are the quintessential target for environmentalists — they have no free attorneys, and make just enough money to feed their families. My father was a crab fisherman, so were my brother and myself. My suspicion is that domoic acid related to red tides have been around forever, and did not bother people at all, unless one digested the guts of a crab. Have you every seen or eaten crab guts?  Another sad fact. Most of the members of the Fish and Game Commission are political appointees, as is the head of the Fish and Game Commission. Do you think they have ever included a commercial fisherman? The ultra-enviormentalists run the show and they mostly make it up as they go along saving the planet.”

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THAT GIANT HAND is reaching down and carrying off the people who made the Anderson Valley the Anderson Valley. Many of us remember when Fred Medinas and John Hulbert, PG&E and Pacific Bell, made house calls. We knew them, they knew us. And they’re gone, as is Emil Rossi, Frank Wyant, Rodger Tolman, and all the other people who made this place this place. Each of our post offices hand-stamped each piece of outgoing mail, and all the people on the receiving end knew they’d gotten something from a specific place, a community of people with a name attached. Then, impersonality set in, along with suburban demands for suburban-quality services. And officiousness. And strangers who believe in officiousness sitting on all our boards. “I’m not at liberty…..” (You surely aren’t.) Our storefront clinic with one doctor and one nurse grew into a hospital. The re-tooled station wagon that served nicely as an ambulance became a modern meat wagon, crews in uniforms talking in code. A fire station appeared with an 80k chief. Grape vines and pot plants and a whole new secret population jammed into shipping containers and pump houses. Palaces in the hills. Palmetto ice cream. Dreams of Healdsburg. Familiar faces? Maybe one in five.

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SORRY, BOONVILLE. We didn’t make the cut, but Ukiah did. Among “The best hippie town in the Bay Area and Northern California,” we find the SF Chronicle, which used to do journalism, informing us, “Ukiah is near the start of the ‘Emerald Triangle,’ the three Northern California counties long known as the world’s best marijuana-growing region. Ukiah is the largest city in Mendocino County and is home to a few popular hot springs and the City of 10,000 Buddhas, an international Buddhist community and monastery which is open to visitors and includes a vegetarian cafe. The allure of weed, and the recent successful legalization efforts, have fueled a land rush in most areas of the Emerald Triangle, starting in Ukiah as well as some of the other towns included in this slideshow.” Judge strictly by the “hippie” standard, I’d say Willits takes the winner’s cup. Point Arena is up there, too, but all the hippies I know cleaned up years ago and are now running Mendocino County, which accounts for, well, dysfunction, I believe the word is.

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SATURDAY, DECEMBER 3rd, The Swingin' Boonville Big Band is playing at Lauren's Restaurant, central Boonville. This makes 17 years since the band's first public performance — also at Lauren's. Dinner is served from 5-9 PM; the band plays from 9 - 11 PM. Tickets $5, all proceeds benefit the A.V. Adult Education Department. Ticket price negotiable after the first set. Beer\wine bar open late. While it is long drive from the coast to Boonville, the continuing reduction in large venues affects the Big Band more than it affects the common small ensemble. The Hill House is gone. The Caspar Inn is gone. Cotton Auditorium has priced themselves off the market. And so forth. So think about it, Coasties. We're worth carpooling for.

bigbandposter

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A READER passes along FaceBook celebrations of Doctor Peter Keegan’s second wedding celebration. I recognized several of the names, mostly Ukiah-area libs, who knew Keegan’s first wife of 30 years, Susan Keegan. Even in the county where you are whatever you say you are, and history starts all over again every morning, one would think these people might, just might, honor Susan’s memory by keeping silent at the murderous doctor’s new relationship rather than gushing about it as if Susan had never lived. Every cop in the county, and all Susan’s real friends, know that Dr. Keegan bludgeoned Susan to death.

drkeegancrawford
Dr. Keegan & New Wife Libby Crawford

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MENDOCINO COUNTY SUPERVISOR’S WIFE GRANTED POWER TO RESIGN FOR HIM

by Glenda Anderson

The wife of a Mendocino County supervisor has been granted legal authority to resign on behalf of her husband, who currently is confined to a psychiatric facility in Sacramento, according to court documents.

Carlyn Woodhouse has yet to act on that authority, which was granted by a Mendocino County Superior Court judge on Nov. 18 as part of a temporary conservatorship of her husband, Third District Supervisor Tom Woodhouse, who has been absent from board meetings for three months.

“It doesn’t mean she’s going to resign for him,” said Willits attorney Christopher Neary. The family is negotiating with the County before making that decision, he added.

Carlyn Woodhouse did not return phone calls seeking comment.

The conservatorship also gives Carlyn Woodhouse control of the family’s assets and her husband’s medical treatment pending another hearing this week.

“Due to proposed conservatee’s current disability, significant decisions need to be made regarding his employment and disability to preserve his rights and claims related thereto,” the petition for the conservatorship states.

Tom Woodhouse has been absent from supervisor meetings since late August. During that time law enforcement officers have taken him into protective custody three times because of erratic behavior, Neary confirmed this week.

The Sheriff’s Office and Willits Police Department have declined requests for information about the first two incidents. During the third, late October incident, Woodhouse was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor domestic battery and resisting police officers. During the incident, police used a Taser gun, according to police.

According to court documents, Woodhouse has been unable to care for himself.

Neary said Woodhouse has improved significantly under medical care and might be released in time for his next court hearing, which is expected to determine whether to continue the conservatorship.

Local officials and area residents have expressed sympathy for Woodhouse but some also are worried about the lack of representation of Third District issues at a time of critical land-use and other local regulatory decisions. They include a comprehensive marijuana ordinance that is expected to go to a vote early next year. The Third District includes some of the county’s richest cannabis growing regions, including Laytonville.

“The Third District doesn’t have any representation now,” said former Supervisor John Pinches, who lives in and had represented the district for 12 years.

If a resignation is tendered, it will be up to the governor to appoint a replacement.

The family is negotiating with the County before moving forward, Neary said. He would not divulge details.

“He was obviously stressed out by the job,” Neary said of Woodhouse.

The County can offer Woodhouse what is available to all employees, said county Chief Executive Officer Carmel Angelo. If the job is to blame for his health issues, he can apply for workers compensation. Otherwise, there are disability benefits available, Angelo said, that involve time-consuming processes and are not subject to negotiations.

“We wish them well,” she said. But “the County does not have the ability to negotiate on a settlement for Supervisor Woodhouse’s resignation,” Angelo said.

Woodhouse’s County pay currently includes a base salary of $61,200 and benefits that add up to a total compensation package of just under $116,000, county officials said.

The conservatorship hearing is scheduled for Friday morning. Neary said the Woodhouse family is expected to make a public statement about the issue within weeks.

(The Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

Woodhouse
Woodhouse

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SUPERVISOR WOODHOUSE remains confined to a Sacramento area mental health facility. His wife, Carlyn, retains the power to resign his elected position on the Board of Supervisors, but has not yet done so. She also retains total control over his finances, including the right to file or settle claims on his behalf. According to a Press Democrat article on Monday, the troubled supervisor has "improved significantly," and might be released in time for his next court hearing set for December 1.

WILLITS ATTORNEY Chris Neary claims that the family is negotiating with the County before making any decision to resign. Neary says that Woodhouse "was obviously stressed out by the job." So the real issue for the Woodhouse family is economic.

COUNTY CEO Carmel Angelo says, "The County does not have the ability to negotiate a settlement for Supervisor Woodhouse's resignation." Angelo notes that Woodhouse can apply for Workers Compensation or Disability for any job-related health issues but notes that these are lengthy processes that are not subject to negotiation. What may be subject to negotiation are the pending criminal charges against Woodhouse for domestic assault and resisting arrest. But those are within the purview of the District Attorney and not directly related to employment claims against the county.

WOODHOUSE remains on the County's payroll with full salary and benefits while the family tries to negotiate a settlement and the Third District remains without representation. The family seems to be betting on the willingness of the County to resolve an increasingly untenable situation. The announcement that Woodhouse might soon be released (and presumably ready to resume his duties) may be intended as additional pressure to make a deal.

UNLESS the family does the right thing or the county yields, Woodhouse could serve out the remaining two years of his term without attending another Board meeting. The only other option would be a citizen-initiated recall election which would give Third District voters the opportunity to remove a supervisor who increasingly seems incapable of fulfilling the duties of his office. And unlike a resignation (which allows the governor to appoint a replacement), a recall would give the voters the right to select a successor.

SINCE THE DA has charges pending against Woodhouse for one, two or three separate domestic assaults, plus resisting and/or assault on police officers, which could be charged as felonies, perhaps the best resolution would be for the DA to offer to drop charges if Woodhouse resigns, or takes deferred judgment after some reasonably proportionate restitution. That way the ongoing costs to the County and the awkward prosecution would be avoided and Woodhouse would have no criminal record associated with his psychotic breaks. Then the Governor could appoint a replacement, at least providing the Third District with some representation for the remainder of Woodhouse's term.

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THIS GUY leaves a message on the AVA’s nut screener warning me that if I don’t take down his photo from a 2015 Catch of the Day line-up, “I’ll be seeking legal counsel.” He manages to sound pompous and silly and threatening all at once. Name sounds familiar before I realize he’s the son of a pompous, silly Elk man, thus assumes himself local royalty. Catch of the Day comes straight from the Sheriff’s Department. Your beef is with them, not us. Anyway, People don’t call up the object of their wrath and threaten to sue, they first get their lawyer to dash off a demand letter threatening to sue if this or that isn’t retracted. I’ve got a whole draw full of those, three from one lawyer, Jared Carter, alone. Carter knew there were no grounds for legal action but his client, a supervisor, probably felt good about hiring him to bat out the letter, which turned out to be an occasion for more merriment at his client’s expense. Truth to tell, over the many years, I have promptly apologized for errors, but I’ve always welcomed lawyer letters. Threats don’t work here. Go ahead, sue.

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SARAH BODNAR & TIM BLAKE were Jane Futcher's guests on the most recent Cannabis Hour on KZYX. Blake was the driving force behind ballot Measure AF (aka the Heritage Initiative) and Bodnar was the paid campaign manager. They were on the show to provide an election update and for Blake to promo the 13th annual Emerald Cup which will be held at the Santa Rosa fairgrounds Dec. 10 & 11.

BODNAR ANNOUNCED that Yes on AF has started an "Election Watch" to ensure that every ballot is counted. Measure AF currently trails almost 2-1 but Bodnar insists the measure still has a chance. But Bodnar seems apprehensive that yes on AF ballots will be tossed in the recycle bin unless they have observers present. Which is a replay of the June primary when a small cadre of Bernie supporters dogged the elections office to make sure all the Bernie votes were counted.

CREDIBLE CLAIMS of vote rigging are non-existent in Mendocino County. But the delayed vote count (with the official winners announced weeks after election day) lends itself to groundless speculation about the election process. The Board of Supervisors and Assessor/Clerk/Recorder Sue Ranochak (who also serves as Elections Officer) could solve the problem by hiring extra help to process the mail in ballots that arrive before election day and reopening a few polling places.

RANOCHAK could also help allay suspicion by releasing daily or weekly updates on the vote tally instead of maintaining a code of silence until the final vote is reported. Which means there are no updates from election night until weeks after the election. Because only 32% of the votes were counted on election day, Measure AF has a mathematical chance of winning. But because AF is trailing almost 2-1, there is simply no realistic chance that it will pass.

FUTCHER DIPLOMATICALLY NOTED AF appears to be failing and asked Blake to explain why, assuming the election night returns are confirmed by the final vote count.

TIM BLAKE: "Well, uh, that's a challenging. uh question. But I think in the simplest way, uh, I think that the, uh, the language could have been vetted out and a few sentences like, uh, ya know, its an amendability clause for the zoning, but it has to be in the spirit of the language, and that, that gave 'em a little fear, to ya know the city governments and the county government. And we could have, we could have just changed that to it's amendable at the Supervisor's discretion. We could have changed one sentence and gotten rid of a lot of things. I think if we'd changed 4 or 5 things that Sarah woulda had a much better opportunity to win this.

"I THINK, uh, the other part of it is that we were going up, a well, against a well-oiled political machine with Mike Sweeney and John Mc Gowan (sic) and, uh, ya know, Hal Wagenet and the rest of 'em. These guys are, ya know, polished. They've been doin' this for a long time, and they had a big jump on us. And, uh, I think that didn't, didn't help either, but umm, I think at the end of the day that, uh, they really confused the citizens with this (sic) environmental issues and some of the zoning issues and once you've cast that, that, that bit of doubt in peoples minds its really hard to change that.

"BUT WHAT WE HAVE here is something very similar to what 64 and MRSA is. People gonna realize that, uh, ya know we've now given the supervisors the, uh, mandate to go and restrict many aspects of growing. I don't think people understand that most of the land in this county is TPZ, which is timber production. And that's gonna be severely restricted, uh, under the guidance of John, and the direction he wants to go. And I've talked to several people just in the last days, who are now realizing that their TPZ is gonna be very limited. And most likely in cultivation, and so there, there's gonna be challenges. But we're gonna go back to the drawing board.

"THE GOOD THING is that what we did, and Sarah did a great job on, was that, uh, we, got John and the rest of the supervisors to realize that they need, uh, they need to provide us with all the different forms of licensing. You know, edibles, topicals, manufacturing, distribution. They need to give us a comprehensive cultivation plan. They were looking over the CEQA and the, uh, environmental reviews have possibly been tied up into the cultivation season next year and John Mc Gowan (sic) has promised, uh. this county, and the people of it, that he would have all that in place by the springtime, That all the licenses would be addressed and we'd have everything that we need. So I think that no matter what, the initiative pushed, uh, the Supervisors out of a  place of saying that they can be complacent and not really address the critical needs of this county and now they're really doing that. So I think it was a win even if, even if we lost on the ballots, its a win for what we accomplished for this county. So I'm, I'm really proud of what we did."

FUTCHER ASKED BODNAR if she had anything to add.

SARAH BODNAR: "I think that everything that Tim said is true and I would add a couple of more factors. I think one of the most impactful, um, things that happened during this campaign was very unfortunate which was painting this initiative as a greed based, profit driven, self-interested campaign by the pot growers to take over this county. Which could not be further from the truth. And I think that was really, uh, effective at raising a lot of suspicion and kind of shutting down the conversation about cannabis regulation for many voters. And I think that in the past, you know, we've seen a lot of controversial cannabis policy including Prop 64 really divide, uh, many members of the cannabis community and people come down on all different sides of it.

BUT THE HEART of AF was a desire to bring the industry out of the shadows and into a permitting structure that could work within our local environment as well as help move the county forward and be an engine for economic development. Ya know, what we wanted was not to take over the county. What we wanted was permits. And that has been consistent for more than the past year but we spent many months working with the Board of Supervisors begging them to move the permit process forward and encountering a lot of obstacles and the spirit of collaboration has always been there and remained. So this kind of polarized, uh, perception that was painted of these greedy growers who just wanna write their own rules and take over the county is so inaccurate and so damaging at having a real dialogue and discourse about the most significant thing that has ever happened within the cannabis industry which is shifting from prohibition and the criminal era to a regulated era and a lot of that stays for all of us. And we - I think, uh, Tim is right that this campaign has won and succeeded on many levels and that we have successfully created a dialogue with a lot of community members.

"WE WERE ALSO up against a pretty nasty opposition campaign that was really trying to suppress that dialogue, So now the work that we have to do, regardless of the outcome of AF, is keep the conversation open. Because implementation of any regulatory policy at a local level is going to continue to include the voices of many stakeholders - those within the cannabis community and outside of it. We have to work together. We need to work together. And the way to do that is by respecting each other and continuing to realize that everybody has something to offer to the economic future of our county. And that the more, the more conducive we can be to bringing more cultivators and small businesses and manufacturing, processing, transportation, distribution into compliance means the greater benefit to all members of the community and our  physical environment and the future of the, the county itself and being able to solve the problems here through taxation and reinvesting, ya know, the, the money that comes from cannabis, cannabis into the real needs in our community."

WELL OILED POLITICAL MACHINE? In Mendocino County? The closest thing locally is the loose affilitiation of Coast and Inland Lib, each comprised of a dozen or so lockstep libs. Like their national counterparts, they are more consumed with such weighty questions as whether or not to bring gluten free pizza to the potluck than about doing anything to benefit the 75% of the American workforce that is struggling for basic survival.

THE NO ON AF committee, as noted here previously, was an odd couple assortment of people who agreed only that AF was deeply flawed. But they all had years of local political campaign experience and made more effective use of their campaign dollars. Unlike No on AF, which was an all volunteer organization, the proponents of AF invested heavily in an inexperienced campaign manager who paid herself and her friends for routine campaign tasks. The pot growers funding the campaign were apparently too busy tending their crops to lend a hand. Or maybe they realized AF wasn't really written for the small grower.

BLAKE AT LEAST acknowledges that AF could have been better written. Changing a few things probably would have made the race closer, but the voters are clearly not ready to let the growers write their own rules. The failure of AF is a setback for growers who were pushing Mendocino County to follow the path of Humboldt County which appears to be banking on legalized marijuana as the economic savior of the local economy. But the supposed economic gain for Humboldt has come with a heavy impact to the environment as the once dense forests are increasingly dotted with newly created clearings devoted to large scale commercial cannabis production.

THE MENDOCINO COUNTY draft cannabis regulations will be presented to the County Planning Commission Dec. 1 at 3:00 p.m. which indicates staff does not think it is an issue that merits much discussion. The presentation is billed as information only with the Planning Commission scheduled to take action on the draft regs on Dec. 15, before shipping the issue back to the Board of Supes for final action. Emboldened by the defeat of AF, it can be expected that the environmental groups and some of the regulatory agencies will be pushing for greater restrictions on where and when the love drug can be produced and in what quantities.

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CALIFORNIA CONSIDERS BAN ON SEX BETWEEN LAWYERS AND CLIENTS: Headline from Monday’s Chronicle. There have been some spectacular cases of attorney-client cross-pollination in Mendocino County, and there would undoubtedly be a lot more of it if the logistics weren’t so complicated.

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THE AVA endorsed Jill Stein, the Green candidate for president. That was a reluctant vote, to be sure, because the Greens are, and always have been, an adjunct of the Democrats. Stein’s recount move, endorsed by Hillary, is simply further evidence that the Greens aren’t a viable party from the left going forward. (Going forward? Madre de dios! I’m starting to sound like Wolf Blitzer.) But we’ve come to a sad pass when there isn’t even a protest candidate you can feel good about endorsing. I thought about Gloria La Riva of the neo-Stalinist Answer Coalition, a coalition consisting of her and her consort, Becker. I don’t have a problem with communists, but I have a big prob with communists who talk and write like robots. And think thoughts like North Korea good, America bad. If you went about consciously trying NOT to appeal to Americans, the Answer Coalition is the political party for you.

THE GREEN PARTY of Mendocino County? Check with the Democrats. Historically, whenever there’s even the hint of political movement to the left of Supervisor Hamburg, here they come, the Democrats as Greens. “Progressives” in Mendocino County? Immediately, I think of the Manson Girls at 80.

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ALL THIS HYSTERIA about “fascism” from grieving Hillary supporters flies in the face of contemporary realities. Orange Man and his supporters aren’t coherent enough to bring on a police state. In fact, major police departments have already announced rounding up illegals is not their job, that they won’t do it. And only snobs think enough Americans, natural born anarchists, would go for fascism in the first place, but then liberals have a very low opinion of all people unlike themselves. My ownself, I think the whole show is about to be overwhelmed by events, beginning with fiscal events, and from there it’s going to be a rough ride indeed.

SO FAR, Trump has been gracious, accommodating even. Not as gracious as his predecessor, but who is likely to as elegant and as cool as Obama? When he first took office when Democrats were in the Congressional majority, Obama had an opportunity to do some good things, but he wasn’t strong enough, tough enough to do them, apparently deluding himself that the other side was amenable to reason. I’ve never seen the guy as a hateful person, but lots of people manage to paint Obama as Beelzebub himself.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “My Thanksgiving. Not bad, huh?”

dogatthanksgivingtable

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A TALE OF TWO DONNIES

by Mike Kalantarian

I was a child of the sixties, literally, as those were my elementary school years. I grew up in a lower-middle-class suburb of Los Angeles County. We had a retarded guy in our neighborhood. His name was Donnie. He seemed childlike, because of his condition, but he was probably somewhere in his twenties when I knew him.

Donnie got around on a bicycle, which he always seemed be riding. His bike was a heavy red cruiser with fat tires, triangle seat, and upright handlebar. The unique feature was a portable transistor radio, which he kept rubber-banded to the handlebar. The radio was usually on, and Donnie was often fiddling with it, tuning in stations, adjusting the volume, or checking the rubberband rigging.

Donnie had a blocky body, close-cropped hair, perpetual five-o-clock shadow, and a heavy brow. He often wore a knit cap. Donnie's face was open and friendly unless some kids were messing with him, then he would glower as he defended himself, until his tormentors lost interest and skipped away, mimicking his howls of frustration.

If you got past your fear of his strangeness, Donnie turned out to be very approachable. He was happy to turn the volume down on his radio and engage in conversation. His deep voice had a singsongy quality to it, like a soft cross between barking and honking. Even so, you could make out most of his words, and he would often launch into a description of something that had just happened to him, or show you some little treasure he'd just found. Conversations with Donnie didn't always make complete sense, but it was heartwarming to chat with him, because he so clearly appreciated the interaction.

One day, while playing in our front yard, Donnie came riding by. As we watched him glide past the strangest thing happened. His bicycle slowly began disassembling itself, right out from under him. The action ended as Donnie awkwardly stumbled to a stop, the parts of his bike laying in the street behind him. He looked back at us, at first with confusion and surprise, and then we all burst out laughing.

We eventually moved away, and I never saw Donnie again. But I still wonder about him from time to time.

Now, fifty years later, there's a new Donnie on the block, and he's about to become president of the United States. It all seems like a weird, bad dream. This new Donnie is also retarded but in different ways, he's more emotionally and ethically challenged. He is, in fact, a very cheesy salesmen, much like Ronald Reagan, and how Americans keep falling for these hucksters is beyond me. I never liked Reagan and I never liked Trump, they always sounded like really bad salesmen to me. But there is obviously something in the American character that keeps falling for this schtick. My guess is it has something to do with conditioning.

I think the seeds for America's downfall were sown right after World War Two, and it was partly due to the success of that particular war experience, when this country emerged, not only victorious, but also largely unscathed and, in fact, booming. Americans began to think of themselves as superior, which is always a bad sign. Watch the movies from the forties and fifties, and over and over again you'll see this absolute veneration of the American GI. The feeling was "ain't we great!" and with it came a serious blind spot.

Couple this with the advent of psychology and advertising, the science of bending people's thoughts and feelings to a darker, hidden purpose. Add the pervasive reach of television. Pour huge amounts of money into all these endeavors, and use them not just for monetary gain but also political persuasion. During the late 1970s the monied class really organized themselves for the social/political arena, and soon their Reagan doll was launched on the national stage to sell unbridled greed. And it worked! And it's still working.

I remember the bicentennial celebrations in this country, back in 1976, and during that time I had the nagging sensation that we had already peaked as a country, and what we were really celebrating was the slow downward slide that had already begun. Forty years later this appears truer than ever, and I don't think we, as a country, are ever going to recover. Not in this current form. The rot is too deep. Rome, two thousand years ago, is probably the best example of where we are heading. Perhaps the United States will break into smaller pieces to become manageable again. The prime directive in this country certainly needs adjusting. It needs to become something more than amassing wealth. It needs to incorporate important concepts like survival, health, and happiness.

I also remember the gloating that happened in this country when the Berlin Wall came down (1989) and the USSR broke up (1990), and I kept thinking how those events had unfolded relatively smoothly and bloodlessly, and perhaps that was a sign of health rather than disease. That the Soviet Union, a former superpower, was able to disband like that could be seen as a strength. The ability to transform and adapt is, after all, an important part of evolution and natural selection. Again, I wondered if we, as a country, were celebrating something other than what we thought.

Now it is really starting to feel like those old hunches may have been correct. The national psyche seems about to crack. Perhaps this new Donnie is the guy who will help usher us out of this era (he is, after all, an expert in bankruptcy). Maybe Trump is America's Gorbachev. And maybe, as the national bicycle starts coming apart, this new Donnie will find a way to get his feet on the ground and bring us to a softer landing.

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, November 26-27, 2016

Alaofin, Anderson, Burnette
Alaofin, Anderson, Burnette

CARMEN ALAOFIN, Marysville. DUI, resisting, destroying evidence.

LORI ANDERSON, Visalia/Redwood Valley. DUI.

JEREMY BURNETTE, Medford, Oregon/Ukiah. Shoplifting, petty theft, fugitive from justice.

Calvo, Casey, Dausman
Calvo, Casey, Dausman

DAVID CALVO, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

JONATHAN CASEY, Willits. Failure to appear.

MATTHEW DAUSMAN, Calpella. Domestic battery.

Durfee, Ferranti, Fitzgerald
Durfee, Ferranti, Fitzgerald

JENNIFER DURFEE, Oakland/Ukiah. Domestic battery.

CHRISTOPHER FERRANTI, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.

GARY FITZGERALD, Roanoke, Illinois/Ukiah. Murder*

Floyd, Henry, Luna
Floyd, Henry, Luna

TERRI FLOYD, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Probation revocation.

AMY HENRY, Ukiah. DUI.

JEREMIAH LUNA, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

McCarty, Orozco, Parker
McCarty, Orozco, Parker

HARVEY MCCARTY, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

DAVID OROZCO, El Paso/Ukiah. Domestic assault, criminal threats, false imprisonment, brandishing, shuriken (weapon).

MICHAEL PARKER, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, protective order violation, failure to appear, probation revocation.

Reynaga, Ritter, Roberts
Reynaga, Ritter, Roberts

PEDRO REYNAGA, Calpella/Willits. Drunk in public, probation revocation.

GEOFFREY RITTER, Ukiah. Resisting.

ERIC ROBERTS, Ukiah. Meth for sale, probation revocation.

Roston, Russell, Sahl
Roston, Russell, Sahl

BOBBY ROSTON, Ukiah. Parole violation.

MICHAEL RUSSELL, Ukiah. DUI.

DOMINIC SAHL, Point Arena. No license.

Sanchez, Sanderson, Scribner
Sanchez, Sanderson, Scribner

JOSE SANCHEZ JR., Willits. DUI.

CODY SANDERSON, Laytonville. Probation revocation.

KENDRY SCRIBNER, Arcata/Ukiah. DUI causing injury.

Smith, Villalpando, Williams
Smith, Villalpando, Williams

BRANDON SMITH, Ukiah. Meth for sale.

ORLANDO VILLALPANDO, Fort Bragg. DUI-drugs, evasion, leaded cane or similar weapon, probation revocation.

WILLIAM WILLIAMS JR., Willits. Probation revocation.

*Gary ‘Giggles’ Fitzgerald is one of the “trimmigrants” involved in the Friday, Nov. 11 murder of Laytonville pot grower Jeffrey Settler. A booking photo was not yet posted as of late Friday night. More to come.)

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MORE DEVELOPMENTS IN LAYTONVILLE pot-grower/trimmigrant murder of Jeffrey Settler. Former female suspect now considered kidnap victim.

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/6367691-181/second-suspect-booked-in-laytonville

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THE SWORD OF DAMOCLES

by Fred Gardner

The term "sword of Damocles hanging over..." evokes a threat to whoever is underneath. In the original myth, Damocles was a nobleman in the court of Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse. When Damocles expressed interest in being king, Dionysius yielded the throne to him. Damocles, delighted, ordered up delicacies and dames until he noticed the sharp, heavy blade that hung above his head on a slender thread. Then he begged to have his day job back.

The election of Donald Trump means that the sword of Damocles will continue to hang over cannabis producers and distributors, just when they thought they'd be coming out from under it as legitimate, profit-seeking business persons. Attorney General Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions will undoubtedly appoint rightwing federal prosecutors. Maybe we'll get Joe Russoniello, currently doing radio ads for Armstrong Roofing, back at his old post as US Attorney for the Northern District of California.

We can expect ample funding for High-Intensity Inter-Agency Drug-Fighting Camo Buddies. The power of state, county and local law enforcement agents over cannabis growers and distributors will be greatly enhanced, because all it takes is a call to sic the feds on anyone who displeases the sheriff.

For some ganjapreneurs, the federal sword of Damocles could prove to be double-edged, enabling them to maintain their image as risk-taking freedom fighters, while justifying high prices. The big reform groups are are already using the spectre of Attorney General Sessions to raise money from well-meaning suckers like you.

Under Obama, a memo from Assistant Attorney General James Cole advised federal prosecutors not to pursue cannabis producers and distributors who abided by state laws and regulations. If Trump's AG rescinds the Cole memo, it will be a way of declaring "open season" on everyone in the industry. Some may see it as a disincentive to follow state law. If obedience doesn't guarantee safety, what's the point?

Fire Power

A sword of Damocles hangs over anyone who has to work for a living. The ultimate power of the employer over the employee is the power to fire him or her. The legalization initiative recently enacted in California does not protect cannabis-using jobholders — even those  whose jobs are not "safety sensitive," who never brought cannabis to the workplace, who never showed signs of impairment — they can still be fired if their urine is found to contain metabolites of THC. A physician's approval will avail them nothing.

The "ReformCA"  legalization initiative drafted by Dale Gieringer of California NORML and Dale Sky Jones of Oaksterdam University would have protected the jobs of unimpaired medical cannabis users. ReformCA's  polling showed that voters approved of such protection.  The question was posed thus:

"Here’s another statement that may be part of ballot measure: patients who use cannabis for medicine will have the same rights as patients who use other legal medications. Would adding this statement to the ballot initiative make you more likely or less likely to support the initiative, or would it not make any difference?"

The responses: Much more likely 30; Somewhat more likely 13; Somewhat less likely 4; Much less likely 7; No difference 43; Don’t know 3

Unfortunately, input from ReformCA was largely ignored by the crew funded by billionaire Sean Parker to draft the "Adult Use of Marijuana Act."  It affords no protection to the unimpaired worker who tests "dirty."

A story on page 1 of the New York Times business section November 23 touched on the subject cannabis users' rights in the workplace. Reporter Barry Meier quoted an exec from a drug testing company (Barry Sample of Quest Diagnostics) and an exec from a reform enterprise (Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance):

Despite the push toward legalization, few employers have dropped marijuana from the list of drugs for which employees are tested, compounds that typically include opioids, amphetamines and cocaine, Mr. Sample said. One exception is a hotel operator in Colorado, a state where recreational use of marijuana has been legal for several years, he added.

"They were having problems finding people," Mr. Sample said.

As marijuana legalization expands, there are also concerns about its effect on workplace safety. Some studies suggest that marijuana use can impair a person's judgment, though little data exists to compare the effect with that of other drugs like opioids.

In states where recreational use is allowed, the problem for employers becomes one of determining when an employee used marijuana, because detectable levels of it remain in the body for days afterward.

As a result, employers must use more subjective observations to judge whether an employee has become impaired from using marijuana while at work, said Ethan Nadelmann, the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a group that supports legalization.

Ethan Nadelmann has pushed hard over the years to protect the bosses' "right" to fire unimpaired workers — even medical users — on the basis of a urine test. In 2010 he rigged a poll to show that California’s legalization initiative failed, supposedly, because it didn’t uphold the bosses’ power over marijuana users! His sleight of hand was exposed in these pages:  See https://www.theava.com/archives/9237.

PS. 11/28 from the NYTimes page one story on Fidel: "He told the biographer Tad Szulc that the anticipation, speed and dexterity required for basketball most approximated the skills needed for revolution."

* * *

ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

I know men in certain workplaces who WILL not enter a room alone with certain women who have the reputation of unjustly accusing men of sexual assault because HR will make their life hell and uncertain based upon false accusations meant to destroy.

And it even occurs in settings that should be free from such shenanigans. For instance, there was the time I was in a paint from a live nude model setting with a group of other painters and this one woman kept parking her easel directly behind me every single class. She left me no room to back up and garner a distanced perspective so necessary for visual comparison/accuracy. Eventually, I ended up waiting until the final moment before the model session began so she would not know where I was going to set up and when that failed, I finally, in rather angry tone, asked her why she kept setting up directly behind me. She answered, that is was basically none of my business, and she’ll set up where she wants.

Finally, after one evening painting from the model I inadvertently hit her easel with my foot when I was painting and her painting fell down from her easel and the painted side of her canvass plopped face down into her palate of colors. I looked at her and sort of shrugged in a ‘what did you think was going to happen way’ and she became unhinged, parading around the room and declaring that I ‘had done it on purpose’. I did not do it on purpose but I was certainly not sorry and my lack of remorse was basically a guilty sentence in terms of onlookers. In other words, I did not show enough remorse to the person who refused to garner me any respectful space the previous months of class.

And to seal my fate, after she was done publicly condemning me I walked up to her and whispered, “Fuck off, I did not deliberately try and destroy your sorry painting”. Not a wise move to be sure, because that too became “public knowledge”. In retrospect, I was angry and clumsily trying to defend myself from “the spitball” but still my honest of not falsely expressing remorse…

The next morning I got a call from the class monitor stating that it was probably not a good idea if I came to anymore classes and so I never returned. However, I noticed that in other classes I felt like a pariah of sorts, the one who told the innocent woman to basically go fuck herself. The biggest disappointment for me personally was that no one, even those whom I thought were friendly acquaintances, ever asked to hear my side of the story.

This woman knew a lot of other women who knew other gallery owners and the whole entire web basically served to blackball me from galleries, although I still managed a best of show here and there from judges unaware and not yet tainted by a one-sided portrayal of events. For a long time, this entire fiasco disturbed me on a very deep level, but I did learn a lot, no doubt about that. Now I just more or less laugh about it, because I kept on painting anyway and as far as I can tell, “she” did not.

* * *

Rick Sterling Poster

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WHAT’S WRONG WITH SNOBBERY?

by Clancy Sigal

“If we are going to let Trump get us depressed, then he still has control of us.”
– Rabbi Steven Jacobs

Internal exile or “inner emigration” is what happens in fascist countries like Putin’s Russia or Pinochet’s Chile when citizens don’t go along with the regime but also want to duck the pain and risk of open resistance.

Such “inner defiance” can run from quiet gentle opposition to subtle jokes to just getting on with one’s own personal work, like the German painter Otto Dix and Sartre-Beauvoir under Nazi occupation, deafening oneself to the Leader’s noise.

Voltaire had his hero Candide decide to turn away from the world’s cruelty and “cultivate one’s own garden”.  That is, mind your own business.

I don’t know if I’m going that way but like one or two friends I  hardly look at the newspaper since Nov. 8 and force myself away from TV except to watch Classic Baseball Games or cooking shows.  Leave me alone, I’d rather talk to myself than constantly be psyched up for the oncoming roar of the locomotive bearing down on us, like Harrison Ford in “The Fugitive”.

This too will pass.   I grew up on newsprint, caring not if it carried lies and slander, and the beast will have to be fed sooner or later.  Right now I’m full of rage and guilt – it’s all my fault!  For not listening to myself.  For refusing to know what I knew, that their grudge would beat our demographics.  Take that Rachel Maddow!

Not having “solutions” to confronting the reckless locomotive isn’t such a bad place to be.  Wandering lost in a palace of illusions is a little bruising – you keep bumping your knee against sharp-edged old assumptions.  But  I’d rather have a skinned knee than fall victim to what some of us are doing now, trying to “understand”, or better yet empathize, with the people who are beating us up.

(Bernie Sanders and I are both from the Jewish working class.  But he won’t like the rest of this.)

In coming days we “liberal coastal elites” will need all our arrogance and self confidence.  To hell with the deplorables.  They hate us and only want revenge, on us and as it will turn out, themselves.

Don’t cede an inch to the ignoramii.  We will claw back our gains despite them.   Half the country declared war  on us who live in the other half.  Us is multi-colored multi-sexed multi anything else we can think of.

Embrace our elitism.  We’re smart, we’re as potentially nimble as Harrison Ford escaping the Death Train, and we own the keys to the kingdom of science and rationality.

Nuts to the fucked over flyovers.  We’re fucked, too.

(Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Hemingway Lives.)

* * *

THE REDISCOVERY OF MEN

by James Kunstler

This must account, at least in part, for the post-election hysteria among the social justice folk and their mentors at the Prog end of politics, especially those bent on suppressing or eliminating men. Of course, it’s only been the last year or so that their long-running animus became explicit, their writ against white men in particular. Before, it was all sub rosa, really just a byproduct of the campaign to uplift women, people-of-color, and the many theoretical gender categories vying for supremacy of the moral high ground. Hillary was expected to drive the final wooden stake through masculinity’s demonic heart… but something went wrong… and she was disarmed… and now this cheeto-headed monster in a red necktie is the president-elect. There must have been a clerical error.

Donald Trump was about as far from my sense of the male ideal as anything short of the Golem. His accomplishments in life — developing hotels that look like bowling trophies and producing moronic TV shows — seem as flimsy as the plastic golden heraldry plastered on his casinos. His knowledge of the world appears to be on the level of a fifth grader. He can barely string together two coherent sentences off-teleprompter. I was as astonished as anyone by the disclosure of his “grab them by the pussy” courtship advice to little Billy Bush. In my experience, it seemed a very poor strategy for scoring some action, to say the least. In a better world — perhaps even the America he imagines to have been great once — Donald Trump would be a kind of freak among men, a joke, a parody of masculinity.

But then consider the freak show that American culture has become in our time and it shouldn’t be surprising that a cartoon nation has ended up with a cartoon of a man as head-of-state. In fact, I doubt that there even is any remaining collective idea of what it means to be a man here in terms of the ancient virtues. Honor? Dignity? Patience? Prudence? Fuhgeddabowdit. The cultural memory of all that has been erased. The apotheosis of Trump may remind a few people of all that has been lost, but we’re starting from nearly zero in the recovery of it.

Consider also the caliber of the male persons who stepped into the arena last spring when the election spectacle kicked off. Only Bernie Sanders came close to representing honorable manhood — in the form of your irascible old “socialist” uncle from Brooklyn — while the rest of them acted like Elmer Fudd, Mighty Mouse, and Woody Woodpecker. And then when the primary elections ended, Bernie drove a wooden stake into his own heart in a bizarre act of political hara-kiri.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign was engineered from the get-go to complete the demolition of American manhood in what turned out to be a reckless miscalculation. “I’m with her (and against him).” Too much in recent American history has been against “him” and a great many of the hims out there began to notice that they were being squeezed out of the nation’s life like watermelon seeds. Most particularly, men were no longer considered necessary in whatever remained of the family unit. This went against the truth of the matter, of course, because nothing has been more harmful to everyday life than the absence of fathers. And this was connected to the secondary calamity of men losing their roles in the workplace — and the loss of self-respect connected with that. So the election awakened some sleeping notion that life was wildly out of balance in America. And being so out of balance, it swung wildly in the other direction.

The corrective to all this awaits a fiery passage through the coming tribulation that is about to start in the realm of money. You can be sure that many of the current popular assumptions about how the world works are about to change. It will present opportunities for men to start acting like men again — for instance, being on the side of the truth instead of reflexive mendacity.  Some real men could emerge from the smoldering rubble and begin a from-the-ground-up reassembly of the male spirit. Trump may end up being little more than a broken monument amid the rubble, a sort of golden calf the people constructed in desperation as they sought a way out of the wilderness.

But the blow-up in banking and finance could represent a final detonation of manhood, since so much testosterone is sequestered in the dark corners of Wall Street and the money centers like it. And when that happens men might be in disrepute for a thousand years.

(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/JamesHowardKunstler?ty=h)

* * *

YOU MAY NOT BE WHO YOU THINK YOU ARE

(A Dialogue)

Masculinity As Artificial

On 11/27/2016 4:08 PM, Elaine and Ed wrote:

Masculinity and femininity are both ARTIFICIAL social constructs telling biological WOMEN and MEN how to act and how to think. They can not exist without each other. Assigning social rolls to people is PATRIARCHAL, not feminist. — Elaine Oberweiser

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Elaine, go to YouTube, look up Portlandia Toni and Candace or Portlandia Women and Women First, and enjoy the compilation of clips.
I just finished up through Season 6, and I always think of your writing when the show goes to the book store. I hear your writing in my head in Candace's (Fred Armisen's stereotypical feminazi falsetto) voice. In the first or second year there's a book store scene where Candace's son comes in carrying his baby boy -- he wants his mother to watch the baby for an hour -- and Candace and Toni flip out and refuse to recognize the baby's gender. Only when they've browbeaten the father to within an inch of his life and he's reduced to a pathetic puddle of apology for all the horrors committed in the name of gender does Candace change her mind and say -- menacingly, I think -- "Yes, we'll watch the baby."

An article appeared a couple of months ago about the real-life Portland, Oregon store that Portlandia used as a set for six years of shows. The real women who run the store took a really long time to get pissed off, but they're pissed off now. Their main beef is, because of the show, people come from all over the world to visit their famous feminist bookstore but only take pictures of themselves there and don't buy anything. The proprietors won't let the show use their store anymore, and they put signs in the window that say FUCK PORTLANDIA. The dream of the '90s is alive in Portland.

I also really like the scenes of tough-guy motorcycle repairman Lance and his ditzy girlfriend. Carrie Brownstein plays Lance and Fred Armisen plays the girlfriend. You will love this.

Marco McClean
memo@mcn.org
http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com

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BONUS LITTLE DOG:

dogwithjamesdean

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WSPA: THE WEST'S MOST POWERFUL CORPORATE LOBBYING GROUP - And Hardly Anybody Knows It Exists

by Dan Bacher

The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) is not a household name in California and the West, but it should be.

WSPA is the trade association for the oil industry and the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying organization in California. It represents a who’s who of oil companies including Aera Energy, Chevron, California Resources Corporation (formerly Occidental Petroleum), ExxonMobil, Phillips 66, Shell, Valero and many others.

Yet most people I talk to — even many environmental activists — have never heard of the organization and the enormous influence it wields over politicians and regulators in the western states.

“Founded in 1907, WSPA is the oldest petroleum trade association in the United States,” according to the WSPA website, www.wspa.org.  “Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) is a non-profit trade association that represents companies that account for the bulk of petroleum exploration, production, refining, transportation and marketing in the five western states of Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.”

“WSPA is dedicated to ensuring that Americans continue to have reliable access to petroleum and petroleum products through policies that are socially, economically and environmentally responsible. We believe the best way to achieve this goal is through a better understanding of the relevant issues by government leaders, the media and the general public. Toward that end, WSPA works to disseminate accurate information on industry issues and to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas on petroleum matters,” the website proclaims.

WSPA's headquarters are located in Sacramento, just across from the State Capitol.  Additional WSPA locations include offices in Torrance; San Francisco Bay Area; Santa Barbara; Bakersfield; Scottsdale, Arizona and Olympia, Washington.

While the mainstream and alternative media have published some articles about aspects of WSPA’s enormous influence over politics in the West, none have looked at the overall strategy of how WSPA and Big Oil exert their power and influence.

In this article I  will explore how WSPA and Big Oil use their money and power in 5 ways: through (1) lobbying; (2) campaign spending; (3) getting appointed to positions on and influencing regulatory panels; (4) creating Astroturf groups: and (5) working in collaboration with media.

  1. Lobbying 

The biggest-ever gusher of Big Oil lobbying money into the state in one quarter was from July 1 to September 30, 2015. This resulted in the gutting/amending or the defeat of every bill that the oil industry opposed in the last session of the State Legislature.

WSPA 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 to lobby against Senate Bill 350, Senate Bill 32 and other environmental bills it opposed. The total spent by the oil industry in the third quarter was an unprecedented $11 million.

In the first 9 months of 2015 alone, oil interests spent a total $17.7 million, according to a report by the American Lung Association in California (www.cadelivers.org/...)

That $17.7 million included approximately $9.3 million from WSPA, $3.3 million from Chevron and $5.1 million from Exxon, Valero and other oil companies.

With help from the "Big Oil Caucus," a group of oil industry friendly Democrats, the oil industry was successful at halting other important bills aimed at better regulating its practices. These included AB 356 (Williams), SB 248 (Pavley), and SB 484 (Allen).

These bills would have reformed the state’s Underground Injection Control (UIC) program by requiring disclosure of chemicals used in well treatments or injections; ensuring that oil and gas projects do not contaminate aquifers containing water suitable for drinking and irrigation; requiring the State Water Board to review aquifer exemption applications; and/or requiring the shutdown of illegal injection wells if regulators fail to shut them down.

The industry also notably stopped a bill to protect the coast from oil spills, SB 788, sponsored by Senator Mike McGuire, despite the fact that California was still recovering from the May 2015 Refugio oil spill.

In 2016, WSPA continued to dominate lobbying expenses.  WSPA has spent a total of $16,619,272 in the first seven quarters of the 2015-2016 session, the most of any lobbying organization. (cal-access.sos.ca.gov/…

The California Oil Lobby remains the biggest spender in the 2015-16 legislative session, spending an amazing $32.4 million so far. "That’s the equivalent of dropping $50,750 EVERY DAY since January 1, 2015," reported Stop Fooling California, stopfoolingca.org.

Although the Western States Petroleum Association usually captures the top spot in the quarterly lobbying expenses listed on the California Secretary of State’s website, Tom Steyer’s Next Generation Climate Action, a campaign committee, actually beat the oil industry trade association in spending in the seventh quarter of the 2015-2016 Legislative Session.

WSPA dumped $2.6 million into lobbying legislators and state officials in the seventh quarter, while Steyer’s group spent an unprecedented $7.3 million, almost 3 times the oil industry group’s expenses.

The spending by Steyer’s group helped propel the passage of Senate Bill 32, legislation that reduces greenhouse gas level to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, in spite of strong opposition by the oil industry. Prior to the passage of this bill, virtually no legislation opposed by the oil industry in the past few years was able to make it out of the Legislature without being gutted, as in the case of Senate Bill 4, considered the “greenlight for fracking” bill by anti-fracking activists.

“The passage of SB 32 is not a reason to celebrate,” said Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, after the vote in September. “It is unfortunate it went this direction. The rushed vote was deliberately schemed in order to cover-up today’s terrible cap-and-trade auction results.”

  1. Campaign Spending 

2015 saw the Rise of the “Big Oil Caucus” – a group of Assembly members including Henry Perea, who received $24,200 from Big Oil, Adam Gray, who received $23,400 and Jim Cooper, who received $24,200. Stop Fooling California revealed that the Big Oil has invested $3,070,480 in the Assembly Big Oil Caucus, based on Secretary of State data from direct contributions and Super PACs.

Big Oil also dumps a lot of money into local and regional campaigns. In 2014, Chevron alone spent $3 million (unsuccessfully) to elect their selected candidates to the Richmond City Council. The oil industry also dumped $7.6 million into defeating a measure calling for a fracking ban in Santa Barbara County and nearly $2 million into an unsuccessful campaign to defeat a measure banning fracking and other extreme oil extraction techniques in San Benito County during the November 2014 election.

In the November 2016 election, Big Oil spent over $5 million in their unsuccessful attempt to stop the passage of Measure Z to ban fracking in Monterey County. In spite of being outspent 30 to 1, Measure Z won with almost 56 percent of the vote, thanks to a great grassroots campaign.

“This campaign proves that everyday people can defeat Big Oil’s millions, even in a place where it is actively drilling,” said Adam Scow, California Director of Food & Water Watch. “We look forward to seeing Californians build on this momentum towards winning a statewide ban on fracking.”

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. The industry spent $112 million of this money on lobbying and the other $154 million on political campaigns. (www.eastbayexpress.com/...)

  1. Regulatory Panels & Commissions 

Big Oil officials serve on regulatory panels and commissions, in a classic case of the “fox guarding the hen house.” For example, the WSPA President, Catherine Reheis- Boyd, chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create "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. (www.dfg.ca.gov/...

While she oversaw the crafting "marine protected areas" that fail to protect the ocean from pollution, fracking, oil drilling, military testing, corporate aquaculture and all human impacts other than sustainable fishing and gathering, her husband, James Boyd, was vice chair of the California Energy Commission. (www.energy.ca.gov/...‎)

Big Oil also gets its buddies in key positions in regulatory agencies. In November 2011, Governor Brown fired two regulators, Derek Chernow, acting director of Department of Conservation, and his deputy, Elena Miller. Brown replaced Chernow with Mark Nechodom to expedite permits in Kern County,

Nechodom, in turn resigned the day after Central Valley farmers filed a RICO lawsuit in 2015 alleging that Governor Jerry Brown's office ordered the California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources ("DOGGR") to approve permits to inject contaminated water in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Governor Brown last fall announced the appointment of Bill Bartling, 61, of Bakersfield, who has worked as an oil industry executive and consultant, as district deputy for Bakersfield in the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) at the embattled California Department of Conservation. (yubanet.com/...)

  1. Astroturf Groups 

Not only does Big Oil spend millions every year on lobbying and campaign contributions, but it funds "Astroturf" campaigns to eviscerate environmental laws.

Leaked documents provided to Northwest Public Radio, Business Week, and other media outlets in 2014 exposed a campaign by the Western States Petroleum Association to fund and coordinate a network of “astroturf” groups to oppose environmental laws and local campaigns against fracking in California, Washington, and Oregon.

This network was revealed in a PowerPoint presentation from a November 11, 2014 presentation to the Washington Research Council given by Reheis-Boyd. (www.indybay.org/...)

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

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

That’s a total of 16 "Astroturf" groups and campaigns orchestrated and funded by WSPA and its allies! (www.indybay.org/....)

  1. Media Complicity with Big Oil 

The mainstream media has done a poor job to date covering the connections between fracking and other extreme oil extraction methods and Big Oil money and power in Sacramento. (www.projectcensored.org/...)

Nor will you see mainstream media coverage 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. (www.indybay.org/...)

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: poweringcalifornia.com"

Big Oil is the most powerful lobby in the West. However, action by committed activists can defeat Big Oil in spite of its money and power, as in the case of the Richmond City Council elections and the passage of anti-fracking ordinances in San Benito County in 2014 and Monterey County in 2016.

You can expect attacks on landmark environmental laws protecting our water, air, land, fish and wildlife and people from Big Oil and other corporate interests to only increase under the Trump administration, as evidenced by President-elect Donald Trump's appointment of corporate agribusiness advocates, oil industry shills and other anti-environmental extremists to his transition team. On November 21, named Doug Domenech, the director of a pro-Big-Oil think tank, to lead his Interior Department advisory group. (www.counterpunch.org/...)

* * *

FIRST FRIDAY ART WALK

On Friday December 2nd from 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm the Mendocino County Library, Ukiah Branch is hosting First Friday Art walk, Tile Coaster.

Get in the swing of the holiday season with guitarist/singer Kim Monroe while you create lovely tile coasters for gift giving. Enjoy yummy pizza and our book sale. This event is family friendly, free to the public and sponsored by the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library.

 

20 Comments

  1. Craig Stehr November 29, 2016

    I do understand Donald Trump correctly pointing out that the Green Party sponsored recount is indeed a scam to bring in money to fill Jill Stein’s coffers. What does NOT make any rational sense is Hillary & the Dems supporting this politically goofy exercise, which will in fact accomplish nothing. No wonder Jill Stein refused to endorse the Earth First! BOYCOTT of the 2016 American presidential election. We now see that it would have cost her a cool 5 million dollars, which she will probably realize as a result of this pointless vote recounting effort. Beyond this, the Green Party is making real time professional environmentalists look stupid, whom the incoming administration mis-assumes are Green Party voters. This ends any possibility of the new administration being open to ecological realities, or working with anybody identified as an “environmentalist”. Good job Green Party, you have totally fucked up the possibility of anything ecologically intelligent happening now, in the upcoming administration in Washington D.C.

  2. BB Grace November 29, 2016

    re: “Orange Man and his supporters aren’t coherent enough to bring on a police state”

    Orange man and his supporters find the U.S.A. beyond a police state. The U.S.A has become a militarized prison establishment fueled by drugs that deplorables protested this election. The UN Agendas are usurping our Bill of Rights and replacing them under executive orders that align with the U.N. Agendas. IF this neoliberal/neocon agenda actually worked Trump wouldn’t have run.

    re: “In coming days we “liberal coastal elites” will need all our arrogance and self confidence. To hell with the deplorables. They hate us and only want revenge, on us and as it will turn out, themselves.”

    No one hates you. You’re just not any fun to work with or for.

  3. George Hollister November 29, 2016

    “Obama had an opportunity to do some good things, but he wasn’t strong enough, tough enough to do them, apparently deluding himself that the other side was amenable to reason.”

    True, but the other side was not the problem. Harry Reid, “At least he does not speak with a negro accent.” And Nancy Pelosi, “You do your job, and we will do ours.” These quotes sum up the relationship Obama had with Democratic Party leaders in Congress. So Obama was left with delivering written speeches from a teleprompter, being a cheerleader, saying stupid things when off script, and signing bills with zero input. The sequester was the one Obama idea that got legs, and Harry Reid hated it. Democratic Party leaders in Congress did not care what Obama was saying, as long as it did not involve them doing something.

    Obama never commanded respect, from anyone. He was never a threat to change America, or destroy it. Republicans should probably be thankful.

    • Harvey Reading November 29, 2016

      I wonder what he did that made him deserving of respect. From the first time I heard him speak (2004 speech at the nominating convention), I perceived him as 100 percent phony. Just a gut feeling, one that turned out to be correct. As others, and I, have stated, the man is a Republican who calls himself something else. To let him off the hook with excuses for his normal, natural Republican behavior seems ridiculous to me. Truth is, he was terrible.

      • George Hollister November 29, 2016

        Anytime one ventures into using partisan labels, there are limits. I refer to it, because it was Republican partisanship that defined Obama as a threat to America. It was also Democratic Party partisanship that claimed Obama was being hindered in Congress. There is nothing more to these arguments than partisan BS. (Ideology is a secondary issue, here.)

        Obama was never engaged with Congress, anymore than he has been engaged with his own government, or countries around the world. Remember, “Leading from behind”? This describes Obama’s management style. Let others do it, and I will give the speeches. Of course, as time went by, Obama learned about the direct power of the executive, and how to use it.

        One thing that can be said about Obama is he does have virtues. He does not deliberately deceive. Or at least, he very seldom does. Though he often(usually?) talks about issues from a position of ignorance, which makes him sound like a liar. That does not seem to bother him. BTW, same can be said for Trump.

        • Harvey Reading November 29, 2016

          Is one of his ‘virtues’ an apparent enjoyment of murdering people with drones? The man is a cold-blooded killer and puppet of the wealthy. Perhaps that’s why he refused to investigate and indict members of the Cheney administration for war crimes. And, he’s a damned liar.

  4. Lazarus November 29, 2016

    “RANOCHAK could also help allay suspicion by releasing daily or weekly updates on the vote tally instead of maintaining a code of silence until the final vote is reported.”

    Ya think…? Where’s the “rent a mob” on this, demanding a recall of this incompetent…? Oh, but who would count the votes…?
    As always,
    Laz

  5. james marmon November 29, 2016

    “Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich slammed efforts by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Green Party candidate Jill Stein to force a recount of votes in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, with another request expected to be filed in Michigan this week.”

    “The recount mania is one more example of the collapse of the Democratic Party as a realistic institution,” Gingrich told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on “Hannity” Monday. “You’re seeing the sort of nutty wing of the Democratic Party begin to take over.”

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/11/29/gingrich-recount-effort-part-takeover-by-nutty-wing-democratic-party.html

    • BB Grace November 29, 2016

      Good morning Mr. Marmon; It’s time to wake up.

      Recount update:
      WI: Trump gained over 440 more votes, so far.
      MI: Trump won recount 10,704
      PA: Off as Stein failed to file the court deadline for recount (due last week).

      Fox AKA Faux is the original fake news, and Newt like Faux Rove, should be indicted for lying about WMD in Iraq.

      MSM has published a nice list of truth advocates called “the fake news”, to help locate real views. Let’s get real Mr. Marmon. NYTs just reported 132K new subscriptions. Know why? Because people like me are using that list to locate and support those names. Freedom of speech is not free. I know you love all those pretty girls on Faux so I won’t ask you to not watch. Enjoy, but know, Newt is not a friend of Trump.

      Faux should give Styxhexenhammer666 a contract and drop Newt and Rove. Neocons lost. Lock them up!

  6. Harvey Reading November 29, 2016

    If quotes by Gingrich and links to Faux Nooze are the best the right can produce, then apparently the ‘nutty’ wing of the Republican ‘party’ took over that right wing of the single corporate party long ago.

    • james marmon November 29, 2016

      Oh Mr. Reading, the news is the news in today’s World. I switch back and forth from the Clinton News Network (CNN) and Fox. I also read every thing I can on the internet, even the AVA.

      I have grown a lot since my exile from Mendocino County and this 2016 election fiasco. I decided to just let the lemmings go, they’ve already reached the bluffs, both literally and figuratively.

      Peace

      James

      • james marmon November 29, 2016

        Mendocino County’s future Marijuana Industry under a Trump Administration.

        “Up in smoke, that’s where my money goes
        In my lungs and sometimes up my nose
        When troubled times begin to bother me
        I take a toke and all my cares go up in smoke

        Up in smoke, donde todos es mi rey
        There are no signs, que dice no fumer
        So I roll un “Bomber”, y me doy, un buen toke-ay
        Y despues I choke, y todos mis cares, go up in smoke

        Come on let’s go get high

        Up in smoke, that’s where I wanna be
        ‘Cause when I’m high the world below don’t bother me
        When life begins to be one long and dangerous road
        I take a toke and all my cares go up in smoke
        I take a toke and all my cares go up in smoke”

        Cheech and Chong.

  7. Jim Updegraff November 29, 2016

    Back in action and I read yesterday’s comments about Colin Kaepernick and I support Kaepernick’s constitutional right of free speech. Most of the negative comments displayed a very limited understanding of the Constitution. Plus were infected with the neo-cons concept of American exceptionalism.

    • LouisBedrock November 29, 2016

      Well said.
      I couldn’t agree more.

  8. Bruce McEwen November 29, 2016

    Gary “Giggles” Fitzgerald of Roanoke, Illinois was arraigned before Judge John Behnke at 11:30 this morning. The judge said Mr. Fitzgerald was charged with murder in count one, along with a special allegation that the murder was committed in the commission of a robbery and that there was a second special allegation that a knife was used.

    In count two, Fitzgerald was charged with first degree robbery and, in count three, first degree burglary with a special allegation that the building entered for larcenous purposes was an occupied residence.

    Judge Behnke was about to appoint a lawyer when William Conwell, a Lake County lawyer, came in and said he’d been retained by the defendant.

    Mr. Conwell asked that the matter be put over for further arraignment and an entry of plea on December 19th, and this was granted.

    Another defendant in the case, Zachary Ryan Wuester, 24, of Haskell, New Jersey, was also in court. Both men, along with several other itinerant agricultural laborers (colloquially known as “trimigrants”) who remain at large, are suspected of murdering Laytonville pot farmer, Jeffery Settler, and robbing him of over 100 pounds of processed marijuana. Among the fugitives until recently was Amanda Wiest, 26, and her five-year-old son, of Fairfax, Virginia, who has now been determined to have been a kidnap victim.

    Mr. Wuester was given two more weeks to find a lawyer and both he and Fitzgerald were ordered held on a no-bail status until their December 19th court date when a bail hearing was set to follow the entries of plea.

    • LouisBedrock November 29, 2016

      Shame on you Mr. McEwen: Slandering a decent New Jersey man who purely by accident found himself in bad company–probably good for nothings from Montana.

      • LouisBedrock November 29, 2016

        I suppose that next you’ll be informing people that former NJ Governor and Administrator of the EPA, Christine Todd Whitman, lied to the people of New York City after the September 11 attacks by informing them that the toxins released by the attacks posed no threat to their health; or that our current Governor, Chris Christie, closed access roads to The George Washington Bridge out of malice.

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