- Starry-eyed Doofus
- AV History
- Backroom Deal
- Domestic Assault
- Crab Festival
- Catch of the Day
- Enviro Scholarship
- Anti-Corruption Act
- 91 Mendo Felons
- Journey thru the Past
- Indecency, 1907
- Corporate Criminality
- Pay Attention
- Secret Water Settlement
HEY! I've got a Selma story for you. No, I wasn't there but the FBI said I was. According to my file, obtained via a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request, I was on the famous march. In fact, I was in Borneo with the Peace Corp. How could the feds be that wrong? Why was a harmless lib lab like me being watched by the FBI? Beats me. I suppose I was surveilled, as they say, because of my associations as a member of the Congress On Racial Equality (CORE). Lots of my comrades were commies, the remnant of the old Communist Party USA or, as my friend Fred Gardner describes them, “the ultimate liberals.” And I was in a lot of the initial civil rights demos in San Francisco at a time, the early sixties, when the SFPD still maintained a “red squad” who kept tabs on radicals. As did the FBI. Capitalism's front line muscle, these red squads and crackpot J. Edgar's G-Men, were able to amass names of the people who kept on turning up for demos because, initially, there weren't that many of us, and we're talking two or three or four hundred people at most events, which seems, well, ironic, now that the Bay Area is home to, by their own self-identifications, several million “progressives.” The old commies always called themselves progressives, not socialists or radicals. The older commies and “com-symps,” as fellow travelers were called, had been under federal surveillance for years. My younger brother and one of my first cousins were, by '65, either in federal prison for refusing to register for the draft or on their way. I'd already been in and out of the Marines and had to make a special effort to get my draft card so I could burn it in front of the Federal Building, circa '67. The feds must have figured they had a whole nest of subversives in our one family alone. I got a severe grilling by Peace Corps honchos on my political views — they wanted liberals, not radicals. I convinced them I'd always been much more of a Menshevik than bolshie. I would have spared the Czar's family, not taken them down into a basement and gunned them down, children and all. And even as your standard-issue starry-eyed young doofus, I didn't like the Leninist model: “We're gonna make and then run your revolution for you people because you're too goddam dumb and irresponsible to do it yourselves.” The dictatorship of the proletariat my ass. It was really a matter of changing one group of people who got to ride in the big black limos for another, one set of tyrants exchanged for the other.
RECOMMENDED READING: “Then and Now, An Anderson Valley Journey” by Wes Smoot and Stephen Sparks. I felt a little like Rip Van Winkle reading this crucial collection of photos and comment about The Valley, then and now. Our population has turned over almost completely since 1970 when I arrived with my consignment of hopeless juvenile delinquents and can remember what the place looked like then. For instance, like everyone of my seniority, I have vivid memories of the Mannix Building and Homer and Bea Mannix themselves and, at one time or other over the years, I've had some kind of direct experience with most of the structures memorialized in Steve's and Wes's beguiling little book, realizing, as I zipped through the pages, I'm now something of an old timer myself. For instance, I was involved in a couple of justice court matters presided over by Homer in the courtroom he had set up in the Mannix Building. He ran everything, it seemed to me as a newcomer — he was justice court judge, sat on the school board, was chairman of the CSD and fire chief, which then met in a derelict trailer Homer had dragged to central Boonville from an accident scene, and he functioned as a volunteer firefighter and even showed up with the Boonville Ambulance. If the town had been re-named Mannixville I doubt anyone would have objected. Homer is only one of many people now gone who are recalled here, and it's gratifying, especially in these a-historical, speeded-up times that the authors have worked so hard to enable us to enjoy a walk down our unique area's Memory Lane.
OH, you're saying we're not unique, that Anderson Valley is pretty much like every other semi-isolated rural valley Anywhere USA? Name a small population anywhere else that has gotten, and continues to get, as much national attention for one thing or the other as this one. There isn't one.
A READER WRITES: Regarding the Carine family and the old coast hotel. There are a few more things that I feel should be mentioned. Jim Hurst jubilantly spoke at the city council meeting in support of the idea, he failed to mention how his motel overlooks the old social services building (the other proposed property) and the old coast restaurant would be an unwelcome competitor to his Wharf restaurant. Apparently this back room deal has been in the works for months, and was obviously being suppressed because they anticipated the public outcry. The vast majority of proponents at the meeting have a financial stake in the matter and it couldn't have been more evident. Does the director of the hospitality house really make $72,000 a year, or is that a rumor? Some locals have started a petition and they are posted at purity market and down home foods.
ON SATURDAY, January 17, 2015 around 6:45pm an adult female, age 22, responded to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Substation in Willits where she reported to deputies that she'd been beaten and sexually assaulted. The victim indicated the suspect, Sean Shannon a 26 year old resident of Willits, was her cohabitant. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Detective Unit responded to assist with the investigation. The victim was interviewed and treated at Howard Memorial Hospital. The victim sustained numerous injuries consistent with the assault. During the interview it was learned the victim was assaulted and sodomized by force in her home that she shared with the suspect on Birch Street in Willits. The victim, upon trying to flee the house, was beaten and held against her will. The victim was eventually able to leave the residence and contacted a relative for assistance. Sheriff's deputies and detectives contacted and arrested the suspect at his home on charges of Felony Domestic Assault on a Cohabitant, False Imprisonment and Sodomy by Force or Fear. He was transported and booked into the Mendocino County Jail on $100,000 bail.
CATCH OF THE DAY, Jan 19, 2014
LORIN AVALOS, Covelo. Drunk in public.
BRIAN BRESSER, Bonney Lake, Washington/Ukiah. Drunk in public.
IRMA CASTANON, Ukiah. Domestic assault.
CHERYL COLVIN, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
PATRICK GAIA, Memphis/Ukiah. DUI.
AUTUMN MASKER, Ukiah. Domestic battery, probation revocation.
ROSS MEHTALA, Fort Bragg. Assault with deadly weapon not a firearm, domestic battery.
WAYNE RUELLE, Calpella. Resisting arrest.
THOMAS SANDERS, Willits. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)
ALBERT YANKIN, Albion. DUI, trespass.
ENVIROS, THE NEXT GENERATION
How you can help local youth and our environment.
Hello concerned citizen.
Here's a way you can help our community, local youth and our environment. In August 2013, seven of us coast residents created the Mendocino Coast Environmental Scholarship fund (MCES) in order to promote environmental activism and academic achievement among local college-bound high school students. During its first year, it collected over $4000 and awarded scholarships to four individuals – two from Mendocino High School, one from Fort Bragg High and the other from Point Arena.
Locals have contributed gifts ranging from $100 to $1000. We recognize that you are solicited repeatedly for charitable contributions. But MCES is a long-lasting investment in our community, environment and the new generation.
Student applicants must be committed to enrolling full-time in a college program with career or degree goals related to communicating, interpreting, and preserving nature's wonder in areas such as environmental protection, forestry, wildlife and fisheries biology, parks and recreation, park management, environmental law and public policy, and environmental art. Awards are based on demonstrated dedication to the ideals of MCES, individual scholarship and financial need.
You are cordially invited to join us in this new adventure, making a contribution that fits your situation between $100 to $1000. Ours is a “soft sell” and you won’t be pestered. Donors do receive a quarterly Donors Bulletin and that’s it. If you are prepared to help, please send your check payable to MCES (Mendocino Coast Environmental Scholarship) to PO Box 189, Mendocino CA 95460. For more information, call Rod Jones at 937.0549 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks
Please join us in helping local youth and our environment at the same time.
Tom Wodetski, Albion
CHARLES CRESSON WOOD WRITES:
Mendocino Coast Transition Towns will host a public discussion about a new strategy to get the corrupting influence of money out of the political process -- a strategy that has just been successfully voted into law in Tallahassee, Florida. In what they call an “Anti-Corruption Act,” Tallahassee activists have reset the rules so that government of the people, by the people, and for the people can truly function, free of the corruption that dominates so much of the political scene these days. The Anti-Corruption Act prohibits government officials from taking political contributions (bribes) from those they regulate, closes the “revolving door” by which people move back and forth between government and regulated industry jobs, and ends secret money financing for political campaigns. Drawing support from both left and right, the new law was adopted in Tallahassee by 70% of the voting citizens. We could accomplish something similar here in Mendocino County, making our local political system more democratic, and bringing pressure on Sacramento and Washington DC to enact similar rules. Come hear about the Anti-Corruption Act movement, and discuss possible next steps. Presenters: Michael St. John and Charles Cresson Wood.
Location: Community Center of Mendocino, 998 School St., in the Village of Mendocino.
When: Sunday, February 8, 2015; 630PM-800PM.
More information: call Charles Cresson Wood at 707-937-5572.
91 MENDO FELONS PETITION FOR JAIL SENTENCES TO BE COMMUTED UNDER PROP 47.
53 approved so far.
‘JOURNEY THROUGH THE PAST’
When the winter rains
come pourin' down
On that new home of mine,
Will you think of me
and wonder if I'm fine?
Will your restless heart
come back to mine
On a journey thru the past.
Will I still be in your eyes
and on your mind?
Now I'm going back to Canada
On a journey thru the past
And I won't be back
till February comes
I will stay with you
if you'll stay with me,
Said the fiddler to the drum,
And we'll keep good time
on a journey thru the past.
When the winter rains
come pourin' down
On that new home of mine,
Will I still be in your eyes
and on your mind?
Will I still be in your eyes
and on your mind?
— Neil Young
Big Crimes Become Big Business
by Ralph Nader
In May of 2014, financial firm Credit Suisse AG pled guilty to serious criminal charges. The giant bank aided and assisted approximately 22,000 wealthy U.S. taxpayers (whose names Credit Suisse AG escaped having to send to the Justice Department for law enforcement) for over a decade in filing false income tax returns and other documents with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
The full extent of these crimes, according to a Department of Justice news release, are as follows: “assisting clients in using sham entities to hide undeclared accounts;” “soliciting IRS forms that falsely stated, under penalties of perjury, that the sham entities were the beneficial owners of the assets in the accounts;” “failing to maintain in the United States records related to the accounts;” “destroying account records sent to the United States for client review;” “using Credit Suisse managers and employees as unregistered investment advisors on undeclared accounts;” “facilitating withdrawals of funds from the undeclared accounts by either providing hand-delivered cash in the United States or using Credit Suisse’s correspondent bank accounts in the United States;” “structuring transfers of funds to evade currency transaction reporting requirements;” and “providing offshore credit and debit cards to repatriate funds in the undeclared accounts.”
These elaborate illegal acts over many years are quite revealing. They show a deliberate willingness by Credit Suisse AG officials to knowingly engage in profitable activities that defrauded the United States Treasury and burdened honest taxpayers. Credit Suisse paid a $2.6 billion fine — small compared to the size of the crimes and the company’s large revenues. These crimes were yet another sordid chapter in the ever-burgeoning tax-evading business that makes its waves with wealthy Americans and massive corporate entities. But the Credit Suisse story does not end there. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, or ERISA, was enacted to protect the retirement savings of retirement plan participants. The law, in theory, automatically disqualifies institutions like Credit Suisse AG who have committed serious crimes or pled guilty to serious crimes from serving as a “qualified professional asset manager” (QPAM) of ERISA assets or pension plans.
Unfortunately, the Department of Labor has not adequately enforced this law or its regulations in this area. Since waivers started being granted in 1997, 23 culpable firms have been granted exemptions from this disqualification rule and been allowed to continue their business of advising pension and other investment funds. Six of these waivers were granted to QPAMs that, like Credit Suisse AG, violated serious laws either in the United States or abroad. Remarkably, no waivers formally demanded by their corporate law firms have been rejected.
The Department of Labor (DOL) already has granted Credit Suisse a temporary waiver to continue conducting their pension management business. On January 15th, the DOL held a public hearing — where I testified — to discuss whether Credit Suisse and its affiliates can continue this troubling trend of avoiding the consequences of their actions indefinitely. Credit Suisse AG is hoping to completely sidestep the mechanisms of justice for their admittedly serious crimes and carry on business as usual — a result that in itself is, unfortunately, business as usual. Is it not astounding to think a company, which knowingly engaged in such illegal activities, would not be deterred from engaging in activities that could be harmful to retirees as well?
Public Citizen’s Bartlett Naylor wrote in a public comment to the Department of Labor:
“Firms that engage in criminal activity should face real consequences. Where those consequences are excused, the firm is invited to become a repeat offender; and the deterrence effect for other firms is nullified. Pension fund beneficiaries are especially vulnerable to Wall Street abuse because their savings may be managed by firms they do not even choose, let alone control. As overseer of the nation’s ERISA-governed funds, the Department of Labor bears the heavy responsibility of policing the integrity of the pension fund management industry. The DOL must apply all its tools to achieve this lofty goal. They should be used, not routinely discarded.”
This routine ability to evade proper punishment is the root of the issue of so much corporate and Wall Street crime — a slap on the wrist leads to a perpetual cycle of wrongdoing with no end in sight. Their corporate lawyers turn laws into “no-law” laws. Corporate crime pays.
James Henry, former chief economist at McKinsey & Co. and current chair of the Global Alliance for Tax Justice, estimates that the United States loses between $170 billion to $200 billion a year in tax revenue through offshore tax havens. He told the Corporate Crime Reporter in 2013:
“The idea that you would actually permit big ticket tax dodgers to walk off of the stage with a slap on the wrist — like the proposed [Credit] Swiss settlement — or that you would let companies like Apple and Microsoft, General Electric and Google — shift their most valuable corporate assets to places where they have almost no activity and evade corporate income taxes at a time when we are slashing aid to kids in schools, money for seniors — this is outrageous.”
The Department of Labor, which exists to defend workers, now has a unique opportunity to stand proudly at its post and to send a clear message — a firm signal — to other Qualified Professional Asset Managers that if they commit unthinkable criminal violations, they lose the ability to handle pension funds. On the other hand, allowing these institutions to continue to receive permanent waivers would be a clear signal that the DOL will tolerate cutting corners and criminal wrongdoing by powerful financial institutions at the expense of workers, complying taxpayers, democracy, and the rule of law.
Now is the time for advocates and citizens alike to speak out strongly against this manner of blatantly averting justice and fostering a culture of continual corporate criminality. Contact the Office of Exemption Determinations at the Department of Labor and let them know.
(Ralph Nader’s latest book is: Unstoppable: the Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.)
TUNNEL CRITICS RESPOND TO SECRET SETTLEMENT AS DELTA SMELT NEARS EXTINCTION
by Dan Bacher
When you think that things can't get worse in the toxic nightmare that is California water politics, be assured - “Yes, They Can!”
Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of Governor Jerry Brown's rush to build massive Peripheral Tunnels that would drain the Delta and doom sustainable farms, salmon and other Pacific fisheries, today responded to the prospect of a secret settlement of the debt Westlands Water District owes to US taxpayers and the near extinction presently of Delta smelt.
Restore the Delta Executive Director Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla stated, “The idea that the Westlands Water District can secretly negotiate a settlement with the Federal Government that secures Westlands’ water rights, by circumventing state water rights, and that lets Westlands walk away from hundreds of millions of dollars of debt that they owe to U.S. taxpayers is incomprehensible. Worse, Westlands is not being required to document how they will continue to farm without belching polluted discharge water back into the watershed, or how their farmers will pay for the approximate $2 billion that it will cost to fix their drainage issues.”
"American taxpayers should not be on the hook to subsidize water profits for 600 rich farming corporations. Westlands should not be given Federal entitlements to water right seniority over California farmers who were in production decades before Westlands farmers, especially during times of water scarcity, as during this drought. It seems that Westland’s extensive lobbying and media efforts are buying the best government available in Washington,” she said.
Barrrigan-Parrilla emphasized that this deal is “especially disturbing” considering the recent numbers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Fall Midwater Trawl Survey that show that the Delta Smelt population has reached a new record low. (https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentId=92840(
"The smelt, which was once the most abundant fish in the Bay-Delta Estuary, is an indicator species, meaning that it demonstrates the health of the Bay-Delta estuary,” continued Barrigan-Parrilla. “The species is nearly extinct; other Bay-Delta fisheries are in rapid decline, and nobody is thinking about the economic damage that will be inflicted on commercial fisheries and their connected economies resulting from the over pumping of the Delta.”
The survey also revealed the continuing collapse of striped bass, longfin smelt, threadfin shad and American shad in the Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas. The population index for striped bass is the third lowest in history, while the index for longfin smelt is the second lowest ever recorded. The population index for threadfin shad is the sixth lowest, while the index for American shad is the second lowest. (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/01/09/1356714/-Delta-smelt-reaches-new-record-low-in-fall-survey)
Barrigan-Parrilla said, “While Westlands continues to push Federal legislation for increased water exports at the pumps during the drought, enhanced water rights through secret negotiations, an unrestricted license to pollute, and their bills paid by American taxpayers, the Delta ecosystem is unraveling.
Westlands leaders will never be satisfied until they have all the water they want, when they want, without any restrictions, despite the economic and environmental consequences for the rest of California. They want the Delta tunnels so they can take as much water from Northern California as quickly as possible, and without the tunnels they want laws passed that simply let them muscle their way to the front of the line, even before the fish, to take all the water they want.
They talk about feeding the world and their economic importance to the nation – which in reality is 0.3% of California’s GDP. The truth is that their free hand of the marketplace is in our back pockets grabbing our tax dollars and the future sustainability of the Bay-Delta estuary for California’s children.”
She concluded, “We call on the Bureau of Reclamation and the Obama Administration to make public the details of these secret negotiations, and to bring all impacted parties to the table to work on California’s water challenges “in a manner that supports the enforcement of existing laws.”
For more information about the secret settlement, go to: http://bit.ly/1C0aSyW
Again, please remember that when you think it can't get any worse, the state and federal governments have an uncanny ability to find a new, unprecedented low in their mad race to the bottom.