- Vulgar Age
- Bicycle Bust
- Catch of the Day
- Dangerous Elks
- Iraq Deployments
- ISIS ISIL
- Print Advantage
- Felon Amnesty
- Pledging Allegiance
- Media Campaigning
- Perfect Resolution
- Dog Death
- Spin Cycle
- Lost Memory
- Vet's Day
- City Manager
- Bodega History
- Local Food
- Community Rights
- Lady Prez
- Wishy Washington
- Cannabis Ordinance
- Palestinian Mayor
THE GOLD RUSH ERA in San Francisco had its similarities to Mendocino County's ongoing Green Rush, the prospect of striking it rich drawing mysterious people with no apparent antecedents. Then there's the Boonville experience where you go to a public meeting of this or that non-profit or government body and people you've never seen before or even heard of are screwing things up in whole new ways. The 49ers put it this way: “Oh, what was your name in the States?/ Was it Thompson or Johnson or Bates?/ Did you murder your wife/ And fly for your life?/ Say, what was your name in the States.”
WE PUT IT THIS WAY: Mendocino County, where history starts all over again every day, and you are whatever you say you are.
YOU CANNOT HAVE ART with a public taste and you cannot have a public taste without a sense of style and quality throughout the whole structure. Curiously enough this sense of style seems to have very little to do with refinement or even humanity. It can exist in a savage and dirty age, but it cannot exist in the Coca Cola age… The age of the Book-of-the-Month and the Hearst Press. You cannot have it in an age whose dominant note is an efficient vulgarity, a completely unscrupulous scramble for the dollar, an age when the typical middle-class family (in California at any rate) seems to exist to support a large, gaudy and expensive automobile which as a piece of engineering is outmoded junk.
— Raymond Chandler, 1949
ON MONDAY, November 3, 2014 at approximately 4:38 P.M., Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies observed Chester Tucker, 31, riding a bicycle within the 18000 block of North Highway 1 in Fort Bragg. Deputies had knowledge that Chester had three outstanding arrest warrants for felony violation of probation, felony burglary and misdemeanor violation of probation. Deputies contacted Chester and arrested him without incident. A search was conducted of his person and belongings incident to that arrest and he was found to be in possession of a 3/4-inch diameter solid steel bar that was approximately 15-inches in length. Based on information obtained from Chester regarding the steel bar and the fact Chester was on active felony probation, with a term of his probation being not to possess any dangerous weapons, Chester was charged with possessing a dangerous weapon and violating his probation. Chester was transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he was booked on the warrants and the listed opens charges to be held on a no bail status.
(Sheriff’s Press Release)
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 7, 2014
BRANDI JO ADKINS-CASEY, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
JORGE ALVAREZ, Ukiah. Under influence of controlled substance.
CALEB CABRAL, Fort Bragg. Concentrated pot possession, pot possession for sale.
JESUS DE-ANDA, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.
DANIEL DELATORE, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
MANDY GRINSELL, Willits. Under influence of controlled substance, child endangerment, probation revocation.
JACOB HOPKINS, Ukiah. Perjury.
EDWARD JOHNSON, Ukiah. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
LLOYD MALUGANI, Willits. Probation revocation.
JOSEPH MORK, Willits. Probation revocation.
ORLANDO MUNOZ, Ukiah. Domestic assault, probation revocation.
DAVID PLOPPER, Laytonville. Pot cultivation, processing, possession for sale, conspiracy.
DONALD RAMEY, Ukiah. Under influence of controlled substance.
ALEXANDER RAMIREZ, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public, probation revocation.
JOAO RICARDO, Los Angeles/Willits. DUI.
JESUS SANDOVAL, Ukiah. Child abuse/endangerment.
DAVID SIFUENTES, Covelo. Domestic battery.
MATTHEW SPENCER, Willits. False impersonation of another person.
BRUCE TAYLOR, Willits. Indecent exposure with priors.
PATRICK TAYLOR, Ukiah. Under influence of controlled substance.
MILLICEN URBINA, Ukiah. Drunk in public. Probation revocation.
ARTURO VARGAS, Santa Maria/Willits. Pot cultivation, processing, possession for sale.
DUSTIN WAMPLER, Mission Viejo/Willits. Pot possession for sale, possession of controlled substance.
THERE WERE ABOUT 80,000 COMMUNISTS in the country at the peak of the party's success. They weren't as dangerous as the Elks and didn't have nearly as many guns.
— Dalton Trumbo, 1950
ON FRIDAY, the Obama administration authorized another 1,500 troops to Iraq for a “non-combat role to train, advise and assist Iraqi Security Forces.” The additional deployments almost double the American military presence in Iraq to 3,000 but do not include ground combat forces, as if these special forces guys aren't deep in the fight against IS. The official line is that the troops are needed to train and help Iraqi forces, including in Anbar Province, which is under ISIS control. Also on Friday, the White House requested $5.6 billion from Congress to fight ISIS.
PAPER BOOKS MAKE A DIFFERENCE
PROP 47 ALREADY BEING IMPLEMENTED
(Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office press release)—
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Correctional Facility has begun releasing inmates as a result of the passage of Proposition 47 by voters. Since the passage of Proposition 47 on November 5th, the Sheriff’s Office has released eight inmates due to re-sentencing by Humboldt County Superior Court. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office anticipates additional releases due certain convictions being reduced from felonies to misdemeanors, as inmates begin petitioning the courts to have their conviction and sentencing reduced.
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(Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office press release)—
Effective immediately, the passage of Proposition 47 will have the following effects on the custody and policing practices of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department:
- In most instances, many crimes that were previously “arrestable” as a felony will now only be “citable” as a misdemeanor. That means they may not be booked into jail but rather given a citation (similar to a traffic ticket) with a court date to appear, and released in the field. They will not be held pending trial. Such felony crimes that are now misdemeanors include: • Commercial burglary (theft under $950) • Forgery and bad checks (under $950 value) • Theft of most firearms • Theft of a vehicle (under $950 value) • Possession of stolen property (under $950 value) • Possession of heroin, cocaine, illegal prescriptions, concentrated cannabis, and methamphetamine
- Inmates awaiting trial on any of the above felony charges in most instances will be able to have their charges immediately reduced to the new misdemeanor level, and will be let out of jail on a citation. A determination as to each person’s eligibility is somewhat time consuming, but could result in up to 420 releases.
- Inmates who are sentenced on the above felonies can petition the court for reduction of their felony convictions to misdemeanors and many of them would be also be eligible for immediate release.
- Convicted felons with the above felonies in their history can petition the court to have their prior felony convictions reduced to misdemeanors. If successful, many of the prohibitions they faced would then be reinstated, such as the right to vote, the right to purchase a handgun, the ability to apply as a peace officer, etc.
I RESPECT EVERY INSTITUTION IN AMERICA — even those not yet established — and I think that all members of Congress are wise, witty, and noble. My wife and I oath ourselves each morning before brushing our teeth. At a recent school saturnalia under the auspices of the PTA, I pledged allegiance twice, saluted four times, and was on my feet in solemn tribute most of the evening. Practically nobody at the school can spell, but God almighty, they're loyal. That's what counts.
— Dalton Trumbo, 1960
MENDOCINO SPORTS PLUS, Thursday, November 6, 2014
OBSERVATION ON THE FORT BRAGG CITY COUNCIL ELECTION — IS THIS MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING? OR A DOUBLE STANDARD
In the morning, MSP "runs around the radio dial" starting at 6:00 am looking for news. Usually, we settle upon KZOT (95.3 FM) to listen to Joe Regelski at the "coast news desk."
We once listened to Philo-based public radio KZYX (90.7 FM) but quit after reminding (via email) the morning "news reader" time & time again he shouldn't read items "word for word" from the Press Democrat without giving them attribution. That's a very troubled station over there.
We became aware of the "controversy" of City Council candidate Lindy Peters being "on air" at the Fort Bragg radio station KUNK ("The Skunk") with some indicating the other candidates should get "equal on-air time" — this despite the fact that Peters was merely doing his job and not "campaigning" on-air.
We thought about this a lot. Should he be "on air" during a campaign? Does it provide an unfair advantage having his "name out there?"
We know down in Santa Rosa, Chris Coursey of the Press Democrat stepped away from writing his column when he decided to run for City Council (and he won & was the top vote getter).
So maybe Peters should have "stepped away" also.
One thing we noticed, but no one has mentioned, was a series of ads run multiple times every morning on KOZT for "DAVE TURNER'S FloBeds."
They were even read by newsman Regelski.
The subliminal message "DAVE TURNER FloBed" was pounded relentlessly into the listening audience's ears time & time again every morning leading up to the election.
Dave Turner, is, of course, the Fort Bragg Mayor and was running for his city council seat.
The ads stopped, not surprisingly, right after the election.
Was it necessary to use "DAVE TURNER" in front of the "Flow-beds?"
No, it was not.
Nowhere on the Redwood Street company website does it say "DAVE TURNER'S FloBeds." It says "The Original" FloBeds, not "DAVE TURNER'S FloBeds."
The sign outside the shop does NOT say "DAVE TURNER'S FloBeds.” So why did the store suddenly gain a new name? You'd be an idiot not to know. Name recognition (along with $$$) is the mother's milk of politics.
Was KOZT complicit in this "subliminal" campaign message? We can't see how they wouldn't be — and shame on them. They've come down a notch in our eyes.
Maybe some campaign rules & regulations should be written to keep a level playing field when election time comes rolling around.
DEAR MARK SCARAMELLA: “Visit Mendocino.” A very insightful article Mark Scaramella. It's bad enough that our local pols are unabashadly raiding the public till. We shouldn't continue to open the cash drawer to private enterprise. Your last paragraph is the perfect resolution that won't be served. Let the truth be told!
Don Fosse, Mendocino
DROP THE CHARGES
To the Editor:
In small town America it always seems so empty when a newspaper publishes a headline without the story. In the era of social media when people judge other people by those headlines, most often choosing the worst possible interpretation, lives are damaged.
One such story appeared lately and deserves a second look, a look at the story behind the story.
Here's the headline from the Ukiah Daily Journal, "Dog hangs itself in Ukiah Walmart parking lot."
The social media fallout from that story lead to this headline, "Owner of dog that died in Ukiah Walmart parking lot charged with negligence"
As a pet lover and part of a dog rescue group, this made sense. I mean, how the heck did anyone think it was OK to leave a dog tethered in the back of a pickup truck? You see it all the time, dogs on long leads, tied in the back of trucks — all accidents waiting to happen, right? Thousands of dogs die this way every year. This person must pay.
And then comes the story behind the headline, the story about real people living real life.
Blue was a 9-year-old lab and pit bull mix. He was adopted by Dustin Kotterman as a puppy. He was well loved. He had a sister named Bellacera, Bella for short, and together they were family, it was just the three of them, for nine years.
Blue and Bella loved living on the ranch where they were free to run. Blue especially loved being outside and he loved being with his Dad.
After his stint as a decorated soldier in the military for over 6 years and Iraq for one of those years, Dustin settled in Mendocino County. He became part of the community by starting a business and supporting local charities. Dustin is a highly regarded of member of the business community, always there when people needed a donation, a willing hand, a kind word.
And then came the day that the world crashed around that little family of three.
It was a beautiful day, everyone thought it was a great idea to go for a ride and some lunch with Grandma. So they loaded up and off they went.
When they got to town, the two dogs were tethered on a very short leads (just long enough for the dog to stand straight or lie down), tethers designed to prevent the dogs from jumping out of the truck. The truck was parked in the shade in viewing distance from the restaurant, maybe a few hundred feet away. As had been done, maybe, a hundred times without incident.
No one knows what happened that caused Blue to end up outside the bed of the truck. People were reported around him, so maybe he was protecting his truck and slipped? His head was still inside the truck with his back end outside of it. Anyone that may have witnessed it has yet to come forward.
A Good Samaritan from Walmart gave him mouth to mouth trying to save his life. Nothing succeeded.
Dustin saw the commotion and raced to his truck to see his baby was gone. Grief took over as he demanded people to leave him and he sobbed over the dog until the police came. They agreed it was an accident and left.
Six hours of digging in the hard, clay dirt was required to obtain the final resting place for Blue, his favorite place on the ranch, a little spot where he could look over his whole ranch. That is where he rests today.
Bella and Dustin are still deeply grieving the loss of Blue, and added to that grief now is a charge by the DA's office.
We, a core group of people that know Dustin, his dogs and his character, are asking that the DA of Mendocino County drop the charges against Dustin Kotterman in the death of his dog, Blue. Dustin has proven that he is a man of character and should not be held criminally liable for the accident that took the life of his beloved baby boy.
To sign a petition to the DA to drop the charges, go to https://www.change.org/p/c-david-eyster-drop-the-charges-against-dustin-kotterman-for-his-dog-s-accidental-death?just_created=true
Diane Davis, Cloverdale
RITA WAS TWICE LOLITA'S AGE and three quarters of mine — a very slight, dark-haired, pale skinned adult weighing 105 pounds with charmingly asymmetrical eyes, an angular, rapidly sketched profile, and the most appealing curvature to her supple back. I think she had some Spanish or Babylonian blood. I picked her up one depraved May evening somewhere between Montreal and New York, or more narrowly, between Toylestown and Blake, at a darkishly burning bar under the sign of the Tigermoth where she was amiably drunk: she insisted we had gone to school together and she placed her trembling little hand on my ape paw. My senses were very slightly stirred but I decided to give her a try. I did — and adopted her as a constant companion. She was so kind, was Rita, such a good sport, and I daresay she would have given herself to any pathetic creature or fallacy, an old broken tree or bereaved porcupine, out of sheer chumminess and compassion.
One afternoon, on our way back east, in a hideous hotel, the kind where they hold conventions and where labeled, fat, pink men stagger around, all first names and business and booze — dear Rita and I awoke to find a third in our room — a blonde, almost albino, plump young fellow with white eyelashes and large transparent ears whom neither Rita nor I recalled having ever seen in our sad lives. Sweating in thick, dirty underwear, and with old army boots on, he lay snoring on the double bed beyond my chaste Rita. One of his front teeth was gone, amber pustules grew on his forehead. Ritochka, as I nicknamed her, enveloped her sinuous nudity in my raincoat — the first thing at hand; I slipped on a pair of candy striped drawers and we took stock of the situation. Five glasses had been used, which in the way of clues, was an embarrassment of riches. The door was not properly closed. A sweater and a pair of shapeless tan pants lay on the floor. We shook their owner into miserable consciousness. He was completely amnesic. In an accent that Rita recognized as pure Brooklynese, he peevishly insinuated that somehow we had purloined his (worthless) identity. We rushed him into his clothes and left him at the nearest hospital, realizing on the way that somehow or other after forgotten gyrations, we were in Grainball. Half a year later Rita wrote the doctor for news. Jack Humbertson, as he had been tastelessly dubbed, was still isolated from his personal past. Oh Mnemosyne, sweetest and most mischievous of muses!
COUNTY OFFICES WILL BE CLOSED IN OBSERVANCE OF VETERANS DAY
County offices will be closed on Tuesday, November 11, in observance of Veterans Day, and will resume their normal hours of operation on Wednesday, November 12. All branches of the Mendocino County Library will be closed on Tuesday, November 11, as well. For more information, please contact the Mendocino County Executive Office at (707) 463-4441.
Carmel J. Angelo, Chief Executive Officer
DAVEY, WE HARDLY KNEW YE
Good Afternoon All.
The City Council will be making this official next week during their City Council meeting. Off to my new adventures!!! I've enjoyed my time in Point Arena.
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RE: Point Arena Announces Philip Vince as its First City Manager
The City of Point Arena, CA, the small historical Mendocino County coastal town, has named Philip Vince as its first City Manager. Following an extensive recruitment process that attracted 27 candidates, Mayor Doug Burkey announced today the City Council’s selection of Philip Vince as the City Manager of Point Arena.
Before joining Point Arena’s staff Mr. Vince has had over 28 years of city management experience, and will be in charge of implementing the City Council’s goals and objectives; and managing the town’s day to day operations. Having a City Manager will further strengthen the quality of life in the community. His official starting date for the City of Point Arena will be announced at their November 11, 2014 Special Meeting after his contract is publicly approved by the City Council.
“We are very excited to announce the selection of Philip Vince as our first City Manager,” stated Mayor Doug Burkey. “Philip is well-respected in the industry of municipal management and we have the utmost confidence that he is the right person to lead Point Arena into the future. In addition to his management skills, he brings a fresh perspective on community engagement and instituting professional standards for city governments. Philip understands how to create a spirit of inclusiveness to people of all backgrounds – which is something we are really looking for.”
Among his many achievements, Mr. Vince was City Manager for both the Town of Moraga and the City of Martinez. In Moraga, Mr. Vince was able to transform public safety services and in Martinez he was able to ride out the great recession with little negative affect on the city. Prior to being a City Manager, Mr. Vince worked as a management analyst in each department for City of Novato, where he received first-hand experience on how every city department runs.
Mr. Vince has an MPA from San Francisco State University and a BA from St Mary’s College, Moraga, CA. He and his wife, Karen, will be moving to Pt. Arena while their two children, Millie and Gabe, attend their first year of college. Of course Teddy and Shayna, their two cockapoos will also be joining the Vinces.
“The City Council also would like to express their sincere appreciation to our interim City Manager, David Tyson, for his remarkable work over the past six months,” added Burkey. “He has demonstrated tremendous leadership during this transition period and we appreciate all of his contributions to Point Arena.”
— David Tyson, Interim Point Arena City Manager
SONOMA COUNTY MUSEUM TO SHOWCASE BODEGA BAY NUKE
The Boonville Winter Market officially begins Saturday in front of the Boonville General Store, although there were already two vendors and some customers there last week :) If you would like to buy, sell or trade handmade or homegrown products, please join us on Saturdays this winter from 10 am - 12:30. For more info, please call 895-2949.
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The monthly Grange Pancake Breakfast is Sunday, 8:30-11:00, serving up delicious pancakes, eggs and bacon, using locally sourced ingredients at reasonable prices. Find fun, food and community at the AV Solar Grange #669 between Philo and Boonville.
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Do you ever visit the Anderson Valley Library in the Home Arts building at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds in Boonville? If so, you might have noticed the new AV Foodshed Bookshelf. We have a variety of books and DVDs, running the gamut of rural living skills.
Our books and DVDs can be checked out on the honor system during regular library hours, which are Tuesdays 1:30-4:30 and Saturdays 2-4. To find out about donating books or DVDs, please call 895-2949.
MENDOCINO COUNTY BECOMES FIRST IN CALIFORNIA TO PASS A COMMUNITY BILL OF RIGHTS AND TO BAN FRACKING.
by Shannon Biggs, Global Exchange, 11/5/14
At 8:00 pm on Election Night 2014, residents of picturesque Mendocino County concerned about the availability and quality of local water waited anxiously for the first results on Measure “S”, the Community Bill of Rights Ordinance that bans fracking, dumping of frack waste and protects their water from being used for fracking anywhere in the state. Global Exchange and our partners and allies were proud to support the Community Rights Network of Mendocino County (CRNMC), the group behind this initiative.
Just after midnight it was clear they had made California history, passing Measure S by a whopping 67% of the county vote. It was not the only measure in the state to ban fracking — San Benito, CA voters passed Measure J despite the heavy influx of Big Oil funding to defeat it, while Santa Barbara’s anti-fracking measure succumbed to corporate money influence.
But residents of Mendocino county did far more than ban fracking this election.
With the passage of Measure S, residents in Mendocino County made history as the first California community to adopt a Community Bill of Rights, placing their rights above corporate interests. Residents see enactment of this ordinance as the first step in asserting their right to local self-government, and a rejection of the idea that their community will be a sacrifice zone for corporate profits. This is a huge milestone for the community rights movement in California — joining with over 180 communities across the country who have also changed the structure of law by passing rights-based legislation.
The Mendocino County Community Bill of Rights Fracking and Water Use Initiative, (Measure S) establishes the rights of the people of Mendocino County to a healthy environment, including clean air and water, and the rights of ecosystems to exist and flourish. The measure also secures the rights of residents to local self-governance. Fracking is banned as a violation of those rights, and directly challenges constitutional so-called “rights” of corporations to frack in their County. The extraction or sale of local water for use in fracking anywhere in the state is also banned, along with the dumping of toxic frack waste. Further, the measure bans the transfer of offshore fracking oil or waste through the County.
Jamie Lee, a community-based farmer in the Anderson Valley of Mendocino attended the very first Democracy School, a weekend rights-based training, in California in 2006, hosted by Global Exchange and CELDF. “Who knew back then that we would be celebrating this victory today.” Over the years Jamie Lee brought Global Exchange’s Shannon Biggs to Mendocino many times to meet with groups and residents, hold public lectures, along with other practicioners and educators of the Community Rights framework, including long time advocate Paul Cienfuegos.
So by the time Peter Norris of Willits reached out to Global Exchange in 2013, there was already a strong sense of community self-governance throughout the far-flung county. A county wide Democracy School was held with 50 people, followed by steady flow of rights-based organizing support from Global Exchange, and the encouragement of the anti-fracking movement of California. David Braun, part of the coalition Californians Against Fracking was a regular visitor to Mendocino throughout the election cycle, “Starting today, in Mendocino, community rights trump those of big money and corporations, but they also ensure that fracking doesn’t destroy precious and irreplaceable water air soil and biodiversity. Big congratulations are in order to the people of Mendocino for their hard won battle against big oil. Now we need to double down and make sure all the people of California and around the country are protected from fracking. There is a lot to build on for all of us – and we will.”
But it was the community that came together to put this into law. A core group of 30 and countless volunteers worked tirelessly throughout 2014 to collect the signatures for the ballot, host public events, write letters to the editor, paint lawn signs and go door-to-door with the message that decisions about water protection in Mendocino belong to residents and residents alone. As key CRNMC member Kelly Larson said, “Measure S was organized around a network model, rather than the old hierarchical top-down leadership, thereby modeling the ‘community’ in community rights.”
CELDF’s Ben Price offered congratulations to the people of Mendocino County, and to the organizers of the effort, stating, “With this vote, the people of Mendocino are challenging a legal structure that protects a corporate “right” to frack above the rights of communities to not be fracked.”
As resident Carrie Durkee proclaimed, “The passage of Measure S looks like a milestone to me. I’m filled with appreciation, admiration, and gratitude to all for the creation of the Community Bill of Rights.”
Kelly Larson added, “Measure S is an important challenge to corporate constitutional rights, and the oil and gas industry. We’re grateful that the voters of Mendocino County so strongly support community rights…Local people deciding for local control and decision making. Democracy won here today!” Jamie Lee echoed this, saying, “this is only the beginning of local self-governance for us up here in Mendocino, the first step of many toward changing the rules about ‘who decides’ what happens here. WE do.”
HILARY IN 2016
Now that the midterm elections are over it's time to think about the 2016 presidential election. As for the GOP so far they do not have a viable candidate. Meanwhile it looks like Hilary Clinton will begin her campaign in the near future. The electoral system favors the Democrats. The large states except for Texas which vote Democratic have about 240 electoral votes. It is very difficult for the Republicans to over come this handicap. So, we may will have our first woman president. When Obama was elected the racists crawled out from underneath the rocks with their silly assertions that Obama was not a citizen and was a muslim. With Clinton we will watch the misogynists crawl out from underneath the rocks and blather about their concepts of women — baby factories who should stay home and do housework. For the misogynists the glass ceiling for women should be about 6 inches off the ground. They could will have 8 years to spout off about their crabbed views of womens' rights.
In peace, Jim Updegraff, Sacramento
ED NOTE: Readers inclined towards Hillary should first read Doug Henwood's piece in the October issue of Harper's.
Democrats Not Knowing What They Stand For—Lose
by Ralph Nader
Did the Republicans win these mid-term elections? Or did the Democrats lose? The numbers show that in contested Senate races, where the Republicans picked up seven seats and will probably gain two more to take control of the Senate, voters did not support those Democrats who were the most wishy-washy.
In their campaigns, the defeated Democratic senators ran away from President Obama and often bragged about opposing his policies. But where did these senators run to? Certainly not to popular policies that appeal to Americans where they live, work and raise their children.
Getting Senator Mark Pryor to support a minimum wage increase took many months. By the time he saw the popularity of a statewide citizen-driven initiative on the ballot and switched, he appeared more as an opportunist than a leader. Shortly after, his Republican successor, Congressman Tom Cotton switched as well. All four initiatives to raise the minimum wage won in conservative “red states.”
Many defeated senators tried to localize the election by dumping on Obama and the national Democratic Party. They avoided siding with the people on matters such as strong law and order for corporate crimes against consumers, patients, workers, community and environmental health. They avoided talking about revising both the failed war on drugs and the failed war on terror that have resulted in more drugs in our country and created more anti-American groups around the world.
Washington Post columnist, the ever perceptive Steven Pearlstein, wrote just before the election that the “Democratic candidates find themselves caught in a vicious cycle in which their refusal to embrace and defend their party’s brand is discouraging the faithful and turning away the undecided, threatening their election prospects still further.”
Turning out young and minority voters requires candidates to articulate progressive visions of an America that will provide opportunities for improving the livelihoods for millions of lower-income, low-paid, underemployed or employed laborers. Low turnouts of these eligible voters this past Election Day ensured Democratic Party losses (nationwide turnout only reached 33%).
People have to believe that their vote means something. Viewing the billions of dollars of repetitive, negative, insipid political television ads created by both party’s political/corporate consultants doesn’t motivate voters to show up at the polls. Unfortunately, unlikely voters are the majority, outnumbering by about six to four those who voted this year.
The Mark Pryor senatorial campaign in Arkansas provides a teaching moment regarding political cowardliness. He had everything going for him—plenty of money and a father who was a popular former Senator and was visible in his campaign. Bill Clinton even came back to his native Arkansas six times and traveled to many communities in the state to lavish praise on Senator Pryor.
Yet on Election Day, Pryor lost big. Why? Because he did not speak truth to power; he couldn’t stand on his record in the Senate because he didn’t have one. As Chairman of the Senate Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance Subcommittee for some time, he was asleep at the switch; he did not return calls from civic leaders to strengthen his network and did not have high profile public hearings on the myriad of corporate abuses involving cheating, stealing and injuring consumers.
President Obama, by not barnstorming the country, reinforced the stereotype that he is a liability to his party. Mr. Obama could have united the nation behind a minimum wage raise (a restoration of purchasing power) for thirty million workers who today make less than workers made in 1968, adjusted for inflation. This long-overdue correction is supported by seventy to eighty percent of the American people—a Left-Right alliance—for reasons of need, fairness, and economic stimulus, while reducing the burdens on public assistance programs.
At the same time, President Obama could have traveled the country saying:
“Give me a Democratic Congress, and I’ll sign legislation that will that will create millions of jobs repairing and upgrading the public works of our neglected land. There will be non-exportable, good paying jobs restoring our water sewage systems, our highways and bridges, our public transit systems and our crumbling schools, ports and public buildings. We’ll pay for these critical public investments by shrinking crony capitalism (taxpayer subsidies, handouts, giveaways and bailouts) and by making hugely profitable companies like General Electric, Verizon and Apple pay their fair share of taxes rather than shifting the tax burden onto the backs of middle-class taxpayers. And we’ll impose a tiny sales tax, far less than you pay on your necessities of life, on Wall Street stock transactions to raise about $300 billion a year. Every American can benefit from these community and policy improvements, strictly monitored as they develop with honesty and efficiency. Every local chamber of commerce, every union, every worker, supplier, and every civic organization will support our programs which I am going to call ‘Come Home America.’ ”
If you don’t think these grand initiatives would have brought voters out and won elections for the Democrats, I have another idea. Even with the Republicans controlling Congress, a group of progressive Democrats could unite to create a major bottom-up and top-down initiative demanding for public works programs that would itemize projects in every community to reverse the costly deterioration of our country’s public infrastructure. Such action would even gain the support of money from those on the other side of the aisle and create a Left-Right coalition in the new Congress, even if it required those on the Right to defy their Wall Street-indentured leaders, Senator Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner.
Instead, how did President Obama spend his six weeks before November 4? He flew to the salons of very wealthy campaign donors or went to support specific candidates mostly in safe states for Democrats. His presidential presence did not resound with “hope and change.”
(Ralph Nader’s latest book is: Unstoppable: the Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.)
LOCAL FARMERS HASH OUT CANNABIS ORDINANCE
“We need to be responsible.”
by Jane Futcher
A group of medical cannabis growers from Mendocino and Humboldt counties met Nov. 2 to create the content of a 2015 countywide ordinance to regulate and protect local medical marijuana farmers.
Thirty-five people attended Sunday’s “stakeholders” gathering at Area 101, 10 miles north of Laytonville. The discussion followed an October meeting of the same group, organized by the Mendocino Cannabis Policy Council.
Stakeholders hope the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors will adopt the regulation they are writing next year. If not, they plan to place their initiative on Mendocino’s November 2015 ballot. A key goal is to have a medical cannabis growing regulation in place before a likely statewide cannabis measure appears on the California ballot in 2016.
“We’re coming out of the weed closet,” said one farmer.
Given the sensitivity of the topic, reporters were asked not to use the names of those participating in the candid and sometimes heated discussion.
Key issues during the five-and-a-half hour meeting were whether to include an inspection process in the proposed regulation and how to define “personal use” gardens, “commercial” gardens and “non-commercial, not-for profit” gardens.
Break-out groups came to no final conclusions on garden definitions, but many in the room welcomed the idea of third-party inspections because they would be less threatening than having government regulatory agents roaming their farms.
“There’s a lot at stake here,” one participant said after the meeting. “Cannabis is a $3 billion dollar industry. It’s California’s biggest agricultural product and the cause of the most criminal violence and the most environmental violence in the state. We need to put together a clear strategy, be professional, and bring in stakeholders, get everybody together from businesses, government, patients, medicine, law and education. We need to be responsible.”
Following introductions, the moderator recapped the accomplishments of the October meeting, including, decisions to:
- Use a square-footage model instead of a plant count to determine permissible farm size;
- Treat and classify cannabis as an agricultural product;
- Cultivate only appropriate lands;
- Comply with state and local environmental laws;
- Create a commission to give regulators guidance on the issues;
- Require the county to issue business licenses specifically for cannabis farms.
One grower who attended the meeting said later that she hopes the Mendocino group will quickly develop a clear strategy, then hire an experienced lawyer to write the regulation, as California Cannabis Voice Humboldt is now doing. That would save time, she said, reduce the number of meetings and help ensure that the initiative can withstand a court challenge.
“Farmers want to get permits and licenses to grow cannabis because it allows them to be legitimate,” she said. “We have to be above reproach, and we need to do what’s best for our community.”
PALESTINE MAYOR TO SPEAK IN SANTA ROSA
Re: Land Confiscation
On November 17th at 7pm, Mayor Ahmad Sokar will be speaking at First United Methodist Church on 2150 Giffen Ave, Santa Rosa. Sokar is the mayor of Wadi Foquin, an agricultural village in the West Bank. Wadi Foquin is under threat of destruction, as the Israeli Government has issued land confiscation orders for more than 1000 acres of Palestinian land in the West Bethlehem district for the expansion of Israeli settlements. The United Methodist Church is connected to the village through the Friends of Wadi Foquin partnership. Through this partnership, many Methodists and others from Northern California have traveled to the West Bank. On these trips, they have witnessed firsthand the threats to Palestinian ancestral lands, as well as how actions taken by the Israeli Government make daily life unmanageable for both Palestinians and Israelis. Join us for a presentation by Mayor Sokar about his hopes and dreams for his village, followed by a discussion about how concerned citizens in Sonoma County can connect to Wadi Foquin and other justice movements in the future. The event is handicap accessible. Refreshments will be provided. Bring a snack to share if you can.
— Mary Moore