Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, Oct 8, 2014

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GIANTS WIN NATIONAL LEAGUE DIVISION with help from Nationals and Hunter Pence and… and… the Nats themselves.

PenceCatch0
CATCH OF THE DAY! Hunter Pence robs Nats hitter Jason Werth of triple.

A couple articles...

'Relentless' Giants oust Nats to reach NLCS [mlb.com]

Giants seal the deal, advance to NLCS [Press Democrat]

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DA DAVID EYSTER RIPS LOSAK

DA David Eyster’s remarks to the Board of Supervisors stunned everyone in earshot yesterday (Tuesday) because it’s extremely unusual in Mendocino County for a lawyer to public denounce a fellow lawyer. (Eyster made two sets of remarks: First was pay-raise-related; Second was regarding Losak's pending closed session evaluation.)

“Salary Issues: Mendocino County Human Resources policy clearly defines ‘acting’ department head, but there is no policy, and I stress there is NO policy, and no discernible difference in the English language between ‘acting’ and ‘interim’ except ‘interim’ is not part of the county human resources jargon until now. Has the board created a new employment category? ‘Acting’ is defined in Mendocino County Policy Number 41. I assume that Mr. Losak as chief Deputy County Counsel was receiving a salary based on my analysis of approximately $97,627 per year. ‘Such pay increase to the acting department head should not be greater than 10% unless the assignment is for longer than six months. Upon the authorization of the board the salary may be adjusted another 5% after the initial six months. If the difference between the employee's previous pay range for the hiring classification is greater than or equal to 20%. Unless the term ‘interim’ is being used intentionally to circumvent county policy, Mr. Losak's salary extension can only be an additional 5% over his previous salary per human resources policy and procedure for increase of $4481 per annum to the previous 10% raise of February 2014 for a final annual salary of $112,271 per annum. Also pursuant to that policy the Director of Human Resources has declared that every 4-6 months the board should conduct an appropriate review of an ‘acting’ employee, except in the case of extended illness of the incumbent of the position being covered, but no such acting classification shall last longer than one year from the date of the first assignment. However, if there is a need to exceed one year, the human resources director will review such assignments for appropriateness. Other compensation, and I stress, normally associated with a higher classification shall not be granted during any acting or temporary out-of-classification assignment.’

“Two individuals in the past have been Acting District Attorney, Mr. Faulder and Ms. Norman. These assignments both involved supervising the County's major law enforcement and public safety office of approximately 45 employees versus the County Counsel office's eight employees. Both were rewarded with a salary of $92,830.

“Regarding the Closed Session Evaluation, County Counsel: Having a patron, especially when that patron is Chairman of this Board, is a good situation for Mr. Losak. However, while the Chair believes that acting County Counsel's work product ‘has been nothing less than extraordinary,’ to quote from the Ukiah Daily Journal, that is not the characterization that I and other attorneys would use. I would like to share my experience with Mr. Losak. I hold my attorneys to a higher work standard and public standard than you have held for your County Counsel. Generally, after his early-morning run in with the law, Mr. Losak would have been asked to resign or would have been fired if he had been working in my office. There are legal ratings services that may assist this board concerning how the Acting County Counsel may be viewed by the greater legal community in total objectivity. The old-school rating service, Martindale Hubbell, conducts peer reviews of attorneys. After evaluating confidential responses including those of local peers and judges, Martindale issues an attorney rating, the highest of which is an A/D rating. The top two attorneys in the District Attorney's Office, the District Attorney and Assistant District Attorney, have been peer-reviewed by this system and have been rated A/D Preeminent, five out of five. There are 68 attorneys in Mendocino County who have been peer-reviewed and only 22 of the 68 are A/D rated. In my case I have held my preeminent rating since 1998. No other attorney in the Mendocino County Counsel's office has been peer-reviewed, and all are unrated. The newer school rating service, AVVO, rates attorneys based on a confidential algorithm which factors experience, industry recognition, publishing and professional conduct. Six of the top 15 lawyers rated in Mendocino County out of a total of 209 attorneys work in the District Attorney's Office. The top three AVVO rated attorneys in the county who are rated superb are the District Attorney, 10 out of 10, Ms. Norman 10 out of 10, and Assistant District Attorney, 9.9 out of 10. Mr. Losak's rating is 6.5 out of 10. He is the highest rated attorney in the County Counsel's office, yet he is rated number 65 of the 209 attorneys in the county. Part of being extraordinary is the ability to give correct and timely legal advice. The chair has expressed his enthusiasm over the case involving the baby's death in Fort Bragg. Assuming that the County should have paid any amount, the Assistant District Attorney's decisive prosecution was what opened the door for the settlement. I should note that even my young attorneys would know how many votes it takes to pass any item when only three supervisors are in attendance. Finally, Mr. Losak's recent opinion that County department heads need not respond to grand jury reports is not only an affront to the grand jury system, it is contrary to law. See Penal Code 933. Section B. And please remember the Brown Act. Your closed session today has been agendized as a closed session performance evaluation for Acting County Counsel only. By law, please let me remind you, salary cannot be discussed as part of today's closed session.”

After warning the Board not to discuss Losak's pay raise in closed session, Eyster added, “otherwise I'll be back here with a lawsuit myself.”

According to observers at the Board meeting, the Board and Losak seemed stunned. Losak appeared to be coughing, choking, turning red and trying to scrunch down in his chair. Most of the people in the audience, mostly County employees, applauded as Eyster returned to his seat.

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IT CAN HAPPEN HERE

The principal of a private Marin County high school was arrested Friday evening after he was found in a Sacramento County motel room with large quantities of drugs and a passed-out woman roughly 30 years younger than him, officials said.

Thomas Price, 54, who goes by “Woody” and is principal at the Branson High School in Ross, and Brittney Hall, 21, were taken into custody by Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies at a hotel in Rancho Cordova, a suburb east of Sacramento on Highway 50, said sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Jason Ramos.

The Sheriff’s Department received a call Friday evening from a man, who identified himself as Hall’s boyfriend, who told a deputy that Hall and Price were at the Hyatt Place hotel and that he believed either Price was drugging the woman or the two were doing drugs together.

Deputies went to the hotel and confirmed with the desk that Price had indeed booked a room there. When officers knocked on the door, Price answered after a considerable delay and deputies were able to look past him and observe Hall passed out and unresponsive on a bed, Ramos said.

Hall didn’t respond to numerous calls from the deputies to wake up, so they eventually entered the room and physically woke her up, Ramos said.

Standard Hyatt Place room with "Hyatt Grand" bed
Standard Hyatt Place room with "Hyatt Grand" bed

While in the room, deputies found undisclosed amounts of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, as well as prescription drugs.

Price and Hall were both arrested on charges of possession of narcotics, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drugs with intent to sell or distribute, Ramos said.

Calls to Branson High School were not returned Monday.

Price was released the next day on $75,000 bail and Hall remained in custody as of Monday awaiting arraignment on the charges.

(Courtesy, the SF Chronicle.)

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A TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE will be viewable from the West Coast early tomorrow morning, occurring with the full harvest moon and visible from 1:15 am to 6:30 am. The total lunar eclipse starts at 3:25 and ends at 4:24.

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"THE US IS EBOLA-CRAZED, and the Bay Area is no exception. We’ve gotten letters from readers endorsing the bananas idea that a travel ban would work to prevent the spread of Ebola within our borders, even though the U.S. is well-prepared to deal with Ebola cases and our medical system understands perfectly well how to minimize the spread of this disease. Meanwhile, the Bay Area’s real public health disaster in the making is the number of unvaccinated children who are roaming the streets. This is particularly appalling since the growing problem of parents who opt-out isn’t based on education or infrastructure — this is a public health crisis that could easily be avoided. Instead, people are worried about Ebola. Priorities, everyone." (Caille Millner)

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STATE WATER DATA released Tuesday shows that Californians cut their water use by 11.5 percent in August when compared with the same month last year — the largest reduction reported this year. Residents had achieved a 7.5 percent savings in July and a 4.3 percent reduction in June.

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NOT THAT MANY of you are interested, but the rain last week was good for this year's marijuana crop, just enough moisture to hasten the bud, not enough to bring on mold. What will be interesting is pot prices, what with every other resident of the County now being in the business.

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POT BUSINESS OLD TIMERS will remember when there were only two full-time cops chasing marijuana, Stewart and Silva, neither of them big fans of the counterculture. Those two achieved a kind of mythic ubiquity. A pot planter in Laytonville would claim Stewart and Silva had torn up his farm on Monday. Tuesday, a Gualala grower would say they'd nailed him. And so it went for several years. Stewart left Mendocino County and went off to fight the dopers in Oklahoma where he was shot dead by one. The Oklahoma drug people turned out to be a tougher breed than Mendocino County hippies, but Stewart, even more than Silva whose fate is not known, is still talked about deep in the hills of Mendocino County.

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AN EXTENSIVE COHO SALMON RECOVERY STRATEGY released Tuesday by the NOAA Fisheries Service names marijuana cultivation from Mendocino County to Southern Oregon as a threat to the dwindling species. From damage to streams and rivers caused by clear-cutting and illegal road grading to water diversions and chemical pollution associated with marijuana grows, the action plan calls for steps to address

SOUTHERN OREGON NORTHERN CALIFORNIA COAST COHO SALMON RECOVERY PLAN

NOAA Fisheries released the final Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast (SONCC) Coho Salmon Recovery Plan on September 30, 2014. The goal of the plan is to restore SONCC coho salmon to healthy, self-sustaining numbers so that the protections of the Endangered Species Act are no longer necessary. Conservation partners have advanced many habitat restoration, barrier removal, and threat reduction actions since the species was listed in 1997, and the plan was developed with extensive input from these partners. The recovery plan provides a means to organize and coordinate recovery of this species based on the best available scientific information. The recovery plan and accompanying documents are available at the NOAA website.

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NORTHERN CALIFORNIA "HIGH INTENSITY DRUG TRAFFICKING AREA" (US DOJ)

In pursuit of follow up on Jared Huffman's "announcement" (posted in the AVA by a commenter last week?) about the advent of "High Intensity Drug Trafficing Area" inclusive of our counties. Thanks to whoever that was, and heads up to all?

http://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/dmas/Northern_CA_DMA-2011(U).pdf

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CATCH OF THE DAY, October 7, 2014

Balictar, Butner, Cleland, Curtis, Degurse
Balictar, Butner, Cleland, Curtis, Degurse

SHAWN BALICTAR, Ukiah. Under influence of controlled substance.

MICHAEL BUTNER, Willits. Reckless driving, child endangerment, driving without valid license, probation revocation.

BRANDON CLELAND, Willits. Pot sales, transporation, furnishing; supplying ammo to person prohibited from having ammo, possession of drug paraphernalia.

RICKIE CURTIS, Willits. Probation revocation.

JERRY DEGURSE, Willits. Probation revocation.

Flora, Galipeau, Garofano, Graham
Flora, Galipeau, Garofano, Graham

SHARREEN FLORA, Talmage. Under influence of controlled substance, probation revocation.

LILIANN GALIPEAU, Montreal/Redwood Valley. Possession of meth.

JUSTIN GAROFANO, Willits. Pot cultivation, processing, possession for sale.

RYAN GRAHAM, Redwood Valley. Pot cultivation, processing, possession for sale.

Hoff, Kotila, McKenzie, Miller
Hoff, Kotila, McKenzie, Miller

BENJAMIN HOFF, Ukiah. Resisting arrest, probation revocation.

ERIC KOTILA, Fort Bragg. Pot possession for sale.

DWAYNE McKENZIE, Ukiah. Under influence of controlled substance, possession of meth, possession of drug paraphernalia.

GABRIELLE MILLER, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

Murphy, J.Navarrete, L.Navarrete, Ma.Paniagua
Murphy, J.Navarrete, L.Navarrete, Ma.Paniagua

SHANE MURPHY, Cleone. Under influence of controlled substance and in possession of weapon.

JOSE NAVARRETE, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Pot possession for sale.

LORENZO NAVARRETE, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Pot sales, transportation, furnish.

MARIO PANIAGUA, Willits. Probation revocation.

Mi.Paniagua-Hernandez, Skaggs, Sladky, Vargas
Mi.Paniagua-Hernandez, Skaggs, Sladky, Vargas

MIGUEL PANIAGUA-HERNANDEZ, Willits. Pot cultivation, sale; possession of meth, armed with firearm.

BRIAN SKAGGS, Ukiah. Possession of meth/drug paraphernalia; under influence of controlled substance.

ALEXANDER SLADKY, Redwood Valley. Pot cultivation, processing, possession for sale.

JUDITH VARGAS, Ukiah. County parole violation.

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THE USGS REPORTED a 3.4 magnitude temblor Monday night (9:03 pm) located 25 miles north of Covelo (50 miles west of Red Bluff). It was 22.9 miles deep.

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THE CORPORATE DICTATORSHIP YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YBWxhm7mfY

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MENDOCINO COUNTY AIDS VIRAL HEPATITIS NETWORK PRESENTS KINGS & QUEENS AND IN-BETWEENS COME CELEBRATE HALLOWEEN! Costume contest, full bar, food, DJ and dancing. Doors open at 5:00 PM. Costume judging at 8:00 PM. Saturday Afternoon Club, 107 S. Oak Street in Ukiah. For more information call MCAVHN at 462-1257.

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FREE JEWELRY MAKING CLASS

Judy Nelson will be leading a FREE JEWELRY MAKING CLASS at the Farmers Market this Saturday in the Boonville Hotel parking lot 10-12:30.

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OCTOBER SOLAR OPEN HOUSE PARTIES ANNOUNCED

Mendocino Solar Service customers are inviting Mendocino County locals, who are interested in residential solar energy, to attend their Solar Open House Parties in October. Come meet your neighbors and see what solar has to offer! There are two parties to choose from: in Fort Bragg on Saturday, October 18 from 1-3pm -or- in Philo on Saturday, October 25 from 3-5pm. These are casual & friendly gatherings. Enjoy Food & Beverages. Take a Solar Tour & join in Q & A with Mendocino Solar Service co-owners Bruce Erickson & Maggie Watson. Enter to win raffle prizes. For directions and to RSVP call John Huxsol at 937-1701 or admin@mendocinosolar.com.

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UKIAH SENIOR CENTER - ICE CREAM SOCIAL

October 27th 2-3 PM

Ukiah Senior Center's October Ice Cream Social will feature the new Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Vocals and Bifocals singing Broadway, Pop and Jazz numbers for your listening pleasure. Ensemble members are Oni LaGioia (pronounced La Joy a), Karen Gowan, Neil DiBernardo and Rick Rader with Charlie Seltzer at the piano. Mark your calendars. Enjoy this entertainment along with ice cream, pie and door prizes at the Ukiah Senior Center from 2-3pm on Monday, October 27th.

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C'MON HOME TO EAT in October is becoming quite a busy month this year. Hopefully some of you caught the Farm and Garden show yesterday on KZYX. We had a conversation about the history of local food in Anderson Valley, beginning back in the 80s with the Mendocino Permaculture Annual Fall Chestnut Gathering at Zeni Ranch. We talked about AV Foodshed's beginnings, current activities and what's going on this month. We were followed by Ruthie King from the Mendocino Farmers' Guild.

Harvest Party Benefit for AV Community Farm. Free Party on Friday October 10, 5 PM to midnight. Live Music, Food, Beer/Hard Cider, Farm Games, and more!! AV Community Farm: 18500 Lambert Lane in Downtown Boonville. Contact Tim for details: (831) 332-5131

Plans are progressing for our AV Foodshed 10th Anniversary Party at Lauren's on Sunday Oct 19 at 6pm. We hope to have our founders in attendance. Bring a potluck dish to share BYODish & utensils (Kitchen will be closed)

Tuesday, October 21. Cocktails at 6 PM, Dinner at 7 PM. $100/seat. Farm to Table Dinner: Mendo-Asian Fusion at the Buckhorn (Rented Venue). 5-course dinner of local meat, grain, and vegetables with local wine at each.

Farmer-Chefs involved: Mendocino Heritage Pork, Jim Boudoures and John Bemesderfer. Anderson Valley Community Farm, Tim Ward. Wine Pairings by Greenwood Ridge Vineyards (!) More details to come. Tickets are already selling fast. RSVP with Tim Ward: (831) 332-5131, andersonvalleycommunityfarm@gmail.com

The Boonville Hotel Farm to Fork Dinner for the Foodshed will be Sunday Oct 26. The flyer for this event will be out soon.

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NEENER, NEENER

Editor:

John Sakowicz was duly suspended from broadcast for yelling "Fuck!" into the KZYX microphone. His diversionary letter last week in the AVA was not only (1) lengthy, but also (2) witless.

Gordon Black, Mendocino

ED REPLY: As is this communique, Gordy — witless and diversionary, that is. (In your case brevity has never been wit's soul.) Sako, unaware the mike was on, shouted the f-word out of exasperation for his show being repeatedly cut off. This blurted vulgarity was not, as you imply, a gratuitous assault on the virginal ethers of Mendocino County. The real issue with Sako, and many others before him, is the station's inability to tolerate so much as a hint of internal criticism.

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THE HAZMOBILE will be in Boonville this Friday and Saturday, October 10th and 11th, from 9 AM to 1 PM. Among all the household toxics they accept, they also accept unwanted medications.

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OLD MAN

Old man look at my life
I'm a lot like you were
Old man look at my life
I'm a lot like you were

Old man look at my life
Twenty four and there's so much more
Live alone in a paradise
That makes me think of two

Love lost, such a cost
Give me things that don't get lost
Like a coin that won't get tossed
Rolling home to you

Old man take a look at my life
I'm a lot like you
I need someone to love me
The whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
And you can tell that's true

Lullabies, look in your eyes
Run around the same old town
Doesn't mean that much to me
To mean that much to you

I've been first and last
Look at how the time goes past
But I'm all alone at last
Rolling home to you

Old man take a look at my life
I'm a lot like you
I need someone to love me
The whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
And you can tell that's true

Old man look at my life
I'm a lot like you were
Old man look at my life
I'm a lot like you were

--Neil Young

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SANDERS TO CHALLENGE HILLARY?

by Grace Wyler

Bernie Sanders is angry. In fact, he’s furious. He’s mad about income inequality, and about the decades of economic policies and trade agreements that he says have gradually eroded the middle class. He’s mad at Republicans in Washington, DC, who want to gut spending for entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. He’s mad at House Speaker John Boehner for suggesting last week that the US might have “no choice” but to send ground troops into Syria. He’s mad at everyone in Congress for not doing more to address climate change, or to rein in the financial industry after the 2009 economic meltdown. He’s mad — really, really mad — about the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling, and about the overwhelming political influence of corporate campaign contributors. He’s mad at Democrats for not being mad enough. And he wants you to start getting mad too.

It’s for all of these reasons, plus a couple of others, that Sanders, the independent US Senator from Vermont and a self-described “democratic socialist,” is seriously considering running for president in 2016. While Democrats quietly wait for Hillary Clinton to declare her presidential plans, Sanders has publicly made it clear that he plans to challenge the party’s heir apparent from the left, tapping into a growing wave of populism among liberal activists upset about issues like income inequality, climate change, and corporate cronyism. Already he’s making moves that threaten to complicate Clinton’s presumptive White House bid, popping up at events in Iowa and New Hampshire, on Meet the Press, and at progressive rallies like last month’s Climate Change March to build support for a grassroots “revolution” that he sees as a progressive response to the Tea Party movement.

Of course, Sanders knows that he has little chance of winning anything in 2016, and not just because American voters don’t tend to take kindly to candidates who embrace “Scandinavian-style socialism.” A 2016 poll released by McClatchy/Marist over the weekend showed Sanders with just 4 percent support among Democratic voters, trailing Joe Biden, who came in with 15 percent, and Elizabeth Warren, who came in at 8 percent. (Clinton was the overwhelming favorite, leading the other candidates by nearly 50 points.)

But long-shot presidential candidates have a way of influencing US elections in profound and interesting ways, forcing frontrunners to talk about issues that they might have otherwise liked to ignore. So I called up Sanders last week to find out more about how he wants to change the national conversation.

VICE: You’ve been sounding the alarm on inequality and the decline of the middle class for quite a while. Do you think people are starting to pay attention?

Bernie Sanders: Absolutely, I think the overwhelming majority of the American people are deeply concerned about the collapse of the middle class, about the fact that tens of millions of Americans are working longer hours for lower wages, and that the gap between the very very rich and everybody else is getting wider and wider. Everywhere I go, people are outraged that 90 percent of all new income generated in this country since the Wall Street crash is going to the top 1 percent, while the vast majority of the American people are seeing a decline in their incomes. So yes, there’s outrage out there and people want a government that represents them and not just the top 1 percent.

You’ve mentioned in previous interviews that you’re thinking of running for president in 2016. Have you come to a closer decision on that?

I was just in New Hampshire and I’m going to Iowa next week, so I am going around the country just trying to hear from as many people as possible about if they think that the agenda I would run on — which is basically to protect the interest of working families and take on big money interests — really has resonance in their areas. So we’re still doing a lot of talking but I haven’t made a final decision yet.

Do you think it’s possible to channel your messages into a political campaign for 2016?

I believe so. One of the problems is that while the Republican Party has become a far-right extremist party controlled by the Koch brothers and other billionaires, and the Democratic Party has not been as clear as it should be in making the American people aware of the fundamental economic issues facing this country and their willingness to fight on behalf of working families and take on Wall Street and corporate America. All I can tell you is that in my political life there is virtually no special interest, whether it’s Wall Street, the military-industrial complex, the pharmaceutical industry, oil companies, coal companies — you name it — I’ve taken them on.

Basically, my view is that the American people are hurting, they are angry, and they worry very much about what’s going to happen to their kids. So, if the question is, “Do I believe that a strong, progressive agenda can motivate many millions of americans to stand up and fight back, yes, I do believe that is the case.”

It seems like there is often a disconnect on the left between a progressive, anti-corporate agenda and the political reality that it takes a lot of money to run a political campaign. Do you think it’s possible to become president of the United States, whether it’s you or someone else, without becoming beholden to some kind of interest group?

You have to define what the “interest groups” are.

Anyone who has a lot of money and an interest in influencing policy. I think that’s a good question, especially since this disastrous Citizens United decision, which now enables billionaires to spend unlimited sums of money. It’s a very legitimate question to ask whether the billionaires can be beaten, or whether their money and power are such that it is impossible to take them on. My view is that I think we still can beat them. I think we have to overturn Citizens United and move to public funding of elections. What is going on now is an absolute disgrace.

I think it is possible, if one runs a well-organized campaign and if one is able to mobilize millions of people to stand up against big money and trust that they can be defeated. But you raise a legitimate question. It may well be that at some point in the not-so-distant future, these guys who own the economy may be absolutely able to control completely the political processes with their money. It’s certainly what the Koch brothers want to do, and it remains to be seen whether they will be successful.

Democrats have also been able to get plenty of billionaires donating on their side. Does that present similar issues? Or is it a case of Good Billionaires vs. Bad Billionaires?

Let me respond in two ways. I think the media has said, “Both sides are getting money from the very rich.” The answer is yes and no. The truth is that the Republicans are receiving a lot more money from the very wealthy, from the Koch brothers alone — who I understand will put $400 million into this campaign — not to mention many other people. So it is not a question of equivalence. One side is getting far, far more from the very rich than the other side is.

On the other hand, I personally, very strongly, believe that we have to overturn citizens united. I don’t think that any billionaire, regardless of his or her politics, should be able to play a significant role in a campaign. It’s not what democracy is about.

The third point that I would make is that when people say, “The Democrats are getting money from very rich people,” is that it’s true, though the Republicans are getting a lot more. Then you have to ask yourself, “What are the rich people donating to the Democrats concerned about?” You have some billionaire out there who’s legitimately concerned about global warming. You know what? Global warming is one of the great planetary crises that we face and it must be addressed. What are the Koch brothers concerned about? Their concern is that we should use more and more fossil fuels, that we should build the Keystone Pipeline, that we should significantly weaken the Environmental Protection Agency, and, by the way, that we should cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and education. It’s not enough to say that there are billionaires on both sides. You’ve got to ask what they want.

At the end of the day, I personally want to see all billionaires unable to heavily influence campaigns. I want to see Citizens United overturned, and I want to see public funding of elections.

Do you think it’s possible that Congress would pass a constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizens United, or is that just a pipe dream?

Well, as you know, although it didn’t get much media coverage, we debated that issue a few weeks ago in the Senate, and every Republican voted against proceeding to a legislation that would overturn Citizens United. I think that the overwhelming majority of Americans — Republicans, Democrats, and independents — understand that Citizens United is a disastrous decision that is having a profoundly negative impact on American democracy. I believe that if we are capable of mounting the kind of strong grassroots effort that we need, which means getting state legislatures on board, city councils on board, millions of people on board, then yes, I do believe we can overturn it.

Congress has been bogged down recently by a lot of vague philosophical arguments about the size and role of the federal government, and consequently hasn’t been able to get anything else done. One instance in which that wasn’t the case was in passing the Sanders-McCain Veterans Bill, to expand healthcare options for veterans and also hold the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) accountable for hiding long wait times. Can you talk about how you got that done? I’ve heard there was a lot of shouting involved.

Well, you’re right. The VA bill will provide $17.5 billion into the VA for healthcare and deals with some other important issues including affording educational opportunities to Gold Star Wives [spouses of veterans who have died in service] and helping young veterans be able to go to college. It was an important piece of legislation and I’m glad we were able to get that passed. I think the reason we were successful is that, in terms of veterans issues, across the political spectrum, whether you’re progressive or conservative, I think one understands that it would be grotesquely immoral not to address the problems facing people who put their lives on the line to defend this country. And that was the reason I think we were able to bring people with different political ideologies together around this bill.

I’m afraid that on many other bills the ideological divide is so great that I am not optimistic. The Republican agenda is pretty clear. They want more tax breaks for the very rich and for large corporations. And the end of the day, they’re going to want to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, nutrition programs — that’s their agenda. I think they are way out of touch from where the American people are. I think they may be in touch with where the Koch brothers are, but not where the average American is. And that’s the problem that we have. I think you have a lot of people in Congress who are not reflecting the views of the vast majority of the American people.

What we need is a political revolution. We need to end the situation where, in this coming election, the estimate is that 60 percent of the people are not going to vote. We need to change that and get people much more actively involved in the political process than is currently the case.

How do you think that happens?

It ain’t easy, that I can assure you. It means a lot of grassroots organizing. It means knocking on millions of doors and educating people as to what the right-wing Republican agenda is about. We just sent out a Facebook post talking about what the Koch brothers’ agenda is. It’s an extreme right-wing agenda that most of the American people do not agree with, but people don’t know it. So we have to do a lot of educating, and one of the problems we have is that the corporate media is not particularly interested in doing that, so we have to do it for them. We need to educate, organize, and make it very clear to working families that there is a war going on against their wellbeing, and they’re going to have to fight back.

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IT WAS THE POOR PART OF TOWN — small houses and courts with mailboxes full of spiders, mailboxes hanging by one nail, old women inside rolling cigarettes and chewing tobacco and humming to their canaries and watching you, an idiot lost in the rain. (Charles Bukowski)

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A MEMORIAL TO HOWARD ENNES

Just two short days after Occupy Mendocino & friends celebrated its third year of community activism on the Mendocino coast, we were saddened to learn that our constant source of inspiration, steadfast sponsor and dear friend, Howard Ennes, age 97, of Fort Bragg peacefully passed on with his beloved family by his side. Howard regretted having to miss the festivities but his presence was felt through the message he sent with his friend, caretaker and OM member, Irene. With his ever facile mind, Howard expressed his satisfaction with the many accomplishments of Occupy Mendocino since its inception in which he was an integral part. Among the achievements he enumerated was OM's successful Street Fair in which OM encouraged the public to support local banks and credit unions and educated people about the injustice of local fraudulent foreclosure practices of national banks. He mentioned OM's support of the local college, its work in getting a community rights ordinance on the November ballot and the importance of the Friday afternoon protests in front of the offending banks of B of A, Chase and Wells Fargo which have been assessed large fines in numerous court cases since 2012. Howard rode along with OM as they marched in last year's 4th of July Mendocino parade and sang an original Occupy song to the crowd. Two weeks ago, smiling and chipper, he sang along with the Occupy Songsters at his bedside to Woody Guthrie's classic, This Land is Your Land. He worked in the Roosevelt administration as part of the New Deal's focus on improving public health and relished the retelling of that historic time in the recent PBS documentary of the Roosevelt family by Ken Burns. He will be long remembered and loved for his tireless work and compassion for the poor, the homeless and the vulnerable - the 99%.

— Sheila Dawn Tracy for Occupy Mendocino

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CRAIG'S GOT A 30-DAY ROOF

Establishing a Spiritually Based DA Living Zone in DC

Warmest spiritual greetings, Please know that I have been granted a 30 day extension at the Berkeley men's shelter, and am saving money (now that I have the social security benefits increase). I wish to co-establish a spiritually based direct action living zone in Washington DC. Please respond to this email message if you are similarly desired. Blissfully yours, Craig Louis Stehr, October 7th, 2014 Craig Louis Stehr Email: CraigStehr@inbox.com Snail mail: P.O. Box 11406, c/o NOSCW, Berkeley, CA 94712-2406. Blog: http://craiglstehr.blogspot.com

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