- Almost Closed
- Homicide Investigation
- Homeless Chat
- Dog Adoptions
- Warrant Wednesday
- Embezzler Guilty
- Yes on W
- KZYX Challenge
- Bypass Date
- Yesterday's Catch
- Second Disaster
- New Book
- Better Unfavorables
- April 1975
- Sanders Movement
- Hot Drought
- Insider Trading
- Plant Sale
- Water Rates
NOT EVEN MAY, NAVARRO ALMOST CLOSED
FROM KYM KEMP'S INVALUABLE HumCo website, kymkemp.com (redheadedblackbelt), these comments re the murdered Willits man, Mark Terry. If this much is known about Terry's abduction, we assume (and hope) the police know even more. Terry's body was found last week way out on Sherwood Road.
Comment #1: I’m about 95% sure I saw this vehicle heading down Briceland-Thorn Rd in Redway at about 10:30pm last night. It headed out Briceland way… Thought I may have recognized it from when I first saw the photo yesterday afternoon. After re-examining today, it either was that truck, or a carbon copy… Paint damage and all.
Comment #2: Mark was murdered. I went to the house of the people who had taken him to try and find him was not allowed in and was told he wasn’t there I asked the sheriff to do a welfare check and they said he wasn’t in the house at that time. now the murders have fled and left the state per the detective who is handling his case and didn’t respond to our request to contact us for 3 days.
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ORIGINAL PRESS RELEASE:
UPDATE: Mendocino County Detectives are continuing to investigate a potential homicide related to the death of Decedent Mark Terry II, 60 years of age. Terry was a long time resident in the Willits area. The location and condition of how the decedent was found remains suspicious. The photographed vehicle belonged to the decedent. The Sheriff's Office is requesting anyone who observed this vehicle in or around the Willits area or any persons in or around the vehicle, while it was parked near the intersection of Coast and Mill Street in Willits, between 4-7 and 4-17-2016, is requested to contact the Sheriff's Investigative Unit. Anyone with information on this case is requested to call the Sheriff's Tip Line at (707) 234-2100.
FORT BRAGG TALKS ABOUT HOMELESS PEOPLE DOWNTOWN
Fort Bragg City Council Meeting, April 11, 2016.
Councilman Lindy Peters: What are the odds, Chief, of actually getting a downtown foot patrol going on a regular basis? I know we been talking about it and working on it and it seems like we are close, but I just wanted to know —
Fort Bragg Police Chief Fabian Lizarraga: What we try to do is as time allows and the deployment allows when we have at least two officers and a sergeant working, at least one of them can go on foot patrol. It's not something that we can do on a regular basis right now. We just don't have the staffing for that. But we are working to see whenever we can get some extra bodies out there or an extra body. What we are doing for the summer, at least for the coastal trail, is doing some overtime details and putting a couple of extra bodies out there to help while out with the abalone watch people as well as trails with people on leash and so— So people might be able to go over on a lower priority to the central business district. But right now it's just a matter of not having the available bodies to dedicate on a regular basis all the time in the downtown area. We are working with the Hospitality Center to hopefully get that substation going and up and running so we can use it as a stop in center for officers to go in and as part of the loop to go around making sure that they are visible and people see them and if they want to make a report they can come straight there and we can take it there as opposed to coming in all the way to the police station.
Peters: We had an incident today where somebody set up a tent at Purity Supermarket parking lot with no acknowledgment. They did not go inside, they did not ask if they could be there. They were handing out cell phones I guess to homeless people. This was reported to me by one of the owners of Purity. He went out there and said, Who gave you the authority to be sitting here on our parking lot? And he said, well, somebody else did and he gave him a number and he called the number and then got an answering service. It's just those kinds of things. If you had a patrol officer you could probably walk over and go, What are you doing, setting up a tent here? And, you know, handle it instead of the business owner having to go out and deal with it themselves. So these are issues that seem to be ongoing and I know you are aware of them. I don't know if there is — we had grant money available back in the late 90s that we went after, the COPS grant, and actually dedicated one officer that did just that and boy, the business community loved it and I don't know if we could pursue that path again or —
Lizarraga: We are looking at seeing what grants are available out there right now. I know that the Department of Justice in Washington is opening up their COPS grants this month, the end of the month, and parts of those grants are for hiring — hiring programs throughout the country. We intend to pursue at least one or two of those grants that are available to us. That may be something we may want to look at. Or I know that we have been looking at re-instituting our school resource officer program which was very impactful on our youth back in the day. If there is money out there to be had we are looking for it. We will see if we can shore up our staffing.
Peters: I think I can safely say I think the community, a large majority of the community, would be in favor of a downtown foot patrol in some way shape or form. I'm sure of that.
Councilman Michael Cimolini: Why are we doing some of the work of Fish and Game as far as the Abalone Watch? I understand it is a worthwhile contribution to that cause but like Lindy just said, the downtown, if we had an officer walking in the downtown on a regular basis a lot of the business owners — it would give us a better presentation to the tourists because it would be more of a deterrent to people setting up camp like Lindy just said. A lot of people hang out and panhandle — you know what the issues are downtown. God bless Abalone Watch but I don't know if our resources should be — it's just my opinion, just one guy — but I don't understand the link with Abalone Watch to be their guards.
Councilman Scott Dietz: We have rules down there too that need to be enforced. We have endangered species that we have rules on the books that people can't go stomping on them. Those are our rules, not Abalone Watch.
Cimolini: That's true but we could easily get a report from the information database that he [the police chief] keeps to see how many times we have been called for those minor problems. And then get a report from the downtown businesses and it will show you where the need is.
Lizarraga: One of the things that happened is that the Abalone Watch or the partnership with the Abalone Watch people in the last, this past weekend, was kind of a byproduct of us wanting to make a presence on the south coastal trail and the tourist season opening and the weather the way it was going to be. It just kind of all came together. We wanted to make sure that not only that townspeople but tourists also were aware that there is a police presence out there and that there are rules and regulations as far as the trail is concerned where you can go and where you cannot go — and also loose dogs off of leash and those kinds of things. We wanted to make sure we had a presence there, established really from the get-go that people would expect that. Can I do that every day in the downtown area? Probably not. But we will certainly try as deployment allows.
Dietz: How many reports do you get from downtown?
Lizarraga: We constantly get the nuisance type reports, people loitering, panhandling out there. In a day, probably two or three, maybe four.
Cimolino: People asking for money?
Lizarraga: Panhandling, yes.
Dietz: I know you don't have the time constraints, but what if — if you had a stash full of bikes, or a bike downtown, say at the Hospitality Center and you just had your guys every once in a while during the day park the car there and jump on a bike and go around town, they would take 20 minutes or half an hour just to have a presence seen going around town. I don't know if that's something you could do, but —
Lizarraga: It's certainly something — some of the things that we can try. Jumping on a bike might be a little — you know, with all this stuff cause — you don't want to ride a bike with long pants. We are different kind — I'm OK with them being in a bike uniform doing some directed patrol in the downtown area and if they get a call they go and they just show up in their bike uniforms. They're still police officers.
Dietz: They're not just running around the block.
Lizarraga: Those are things we are definitely looking at and trying to deploy as much as possible both bike and foot.
Dietz: How does someplace like Healdsburg — somebody said that they don't allow homeless in the downtown Healdsburg — and in some other towns. Anyway, but I just went through Healdsburg and I looked around and I didn't see any homeless people downtown. How do they do that?
Lizarraga: I don't know. I've never been through Healdsburg. I kind of know the chief of police there so maybe I will give him a call.
Dietz: Give him a call. I know there's a fine line between harassment and what you can do legally, but —
Lizarraga: What some departments do with the support of the community is take a hard-line stance of, You shall not be in this city. Whether that violates people's civil rights or not, those are things we need to kind of look at so you are not going to put our officers in that position. But if there is some kind of program that's successful whether it's questions being asked, those are certainly things we can do. We have already sent out basically a mandate from me that we are doing — we are renovating things like the park and I want to make sure that at the start of that that Bainbridge Park is used by families, used for picnics, birthday parties, everything like that. The only way to be able to do that is to make sure that our presence is there and known and we're going to talk to people and make sure they know why we are there. If they are there to just hang around or just smoking or illicit activities we will try to make it as uncomfortable as we can legally for them to move on.
Dietz: There's only so many places you can be.
City Manager Linda Ruffing: Maybe we should make the increased police presence downtown an objective and then have like more foot patrols and consider the downtown substation kind of under that.
Peters: We have that as an objective so you can probably highlight it.
Ruffing: It's actually a strategy, we will make it an objective.
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Eric Clark (member of the public): As far as the homeless thing, I do think that this is something we are going to need to attend to really quickly because, yes, Eureka and others are pushing them out of there up there and we have seen some coming this way. As far as Healdsburg being an area that does not have services, they all go to Santa Rosa and they don't tend to go there unless they are going to go camping at the river for awhile and they flush them out of the river fairly regularly. That's my understanding. Obviously talk to the Chief who would know a lot better. But we do have some of our regulars who are locals who for better or worse or whatever, I don't know what we can do with them other than try to entertain them maybe at the Hospitality House a little bit better. Give them a little day care center because I thought that's what that whole thing was eventually supposed to be.
LOCAL WOMAN DIES AND SENTENCES HER 7 DOGS TO DEATH
A woman in our community who did much to help orphaned and abandoned dogs on the Coast has died and left instructions for all seven of her dogs to be euthanized. She believed she was the only one who would want them but we know this is not true and, with your help, we can save them all. We visited the dogs yesterday and, after not seeing 2 of them for 5 years, they greeted us with abundant love and joy. We were pleased they remembered their training and expressed their joy and affection by rolling in our laps and offering their bellies for a good rub. If you are interested in adopting one of these dogs please send us an email @ firstname.lastname@example.org or call S.O.S. (707) 937-0342
WARRANT WEDNESDAY! Chef Robert Fransen is wanted on a $150,000 felony warrant for assault with a deadly weapon and use of a firearm. Height: 5' 11". Age: 24 years old. Hair: Black. Eyes: Brown. Weight: 140 pounds. If you have any information regarding this individual's location, please call MCSO Dispatch at (707) 463-4086.
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KELSAY: GUILTY OF EMBEZZLEMENT
A Mendocino County Superior Court jury Friday morning found defendant Christine Kelsay of Willits guilty on all counts relating to a nearly $500,000 embezzlement from Geigers' Long Valley Market in Laytonville. Kelsay was remanded into custody following the jury's verdict in lieu of $2 million bail. Sentencing is set for May. 19.
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Guilty Verdict In Embezzlement Case
UKIAH, Fri., April 22. — Jury Trial Result: A jury returned from speedy deliberations this morning with a guilty verdict and findings on special allegations adverse to defendant Christine Kelly Kelsay, age 35, of Brooktrails.
After only 90 minutes of deliberations which spanned late yesterday afternoon and this morning, the jury found Kelsay guilty of grand theft embezzlement, a felony. The jury also found true that Kelsay began stealing from her employer on 12/24/2007 and continued to do so through 12/17/2014 in an amount greater than $100,000 but less than $500,000, and that it was also proven beyond a reasonable doubt that there was a pattern of felonious conduct wherein the defendant committed two or more acts of theft greater than $950. A second finding was made that the amount of money stolen was greater than $200,000.
During the course of the trial that began on April 11th, the prosecution presented evidence that Kelsay had stolen $483,443 from her employer — Long Valley Market — in Laytonville. Between 2007 and 2014, while working in the store's financial office and entrusted with store receipts, Kelsay would steal part of the store's daily receipts and then "cook the books" to cover what she was doing.
After the jury was thanked and released, the Court remanded Kelsay into custody, increased her bail to $2 million, and ordered that she not be allowed to post that bail unless and until the source of that bail is scrutinized by the prosecution and approved by the court. The defendant was handcuffed in the courtroom by bailiffs and transported to the Low Gap jail pending sentencing. Pending receipt of a social study and sentencing recommendation from the Adult Probation Department, formal sentencing is now calendared for May 19, 2016 at 9:00am in Department A in Ukiah. Any person interested in this matter is welcome to attend that hearing.
All individuals with additional information and/or observations to share relating to financial wrongdoings by this defendant are encouraged to contact the District Attorney's investigative unit by calling 707-463-4211 and asking to speak with an investigator.
The prosecutor who presented the People's evidence during the course of the trial was District Attorney David Eyster. The investigating law enforcement agency was the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office. The Superior Court judge who presided over the trial was the Honorable Ann Moorman. The DA gives kudos and special commendation to Sheriff's Detective Luis Espinoza and his investigative team for a thorough and well-done job.
WHY NOT VOTE YES ON W?
Let the Charter Commission meet with the Mendocino Public, listen to their goals for their lives in Mendocino County, and put the proposed Charter before the voters, all at no expense to the County. All we have to do is vote for 15 Charter Commissioners on June 7.
Why not allow the people express their opinions of how we can change Mendocino County for the better? Are those who oppose W also opposed to the First Amendment? Are they opposed to Free Speech?
We listen to our President give the State of the Union message, and the Governor the State of the State, but what do we hear from our County Supervisors?
Maybe it’s time WE THE PEOPLE started speaking up for OUR future!
A Charter, like a Constitution, describes a future. Rather than continuing of the status quo of a General Law county, a Charter sets the direction for future goals and policies for the Board of Supervisors and other elected officials.
The Charter Commission, with public participation, can propose future objectives of governance, public finance, environmental sustainability, social service levels, housing and economic development customized to the needs of Mendocino County.
What WE the PEOPLE want is a government of the people, by the people, for the people. Not a government of the establishment, by the corporations, and for the powerful. Our elected supervisors will implement the government (Charter) that WE vote for.
WHY would anyone be opposed to Measure W at this time? Only those who are pleased with the status quo and currently have the power to influence policy outcome would be opposed to a county constitution that works for everyone.
IF you support the First Amendment you support free speech. Let it happen here.
Vote YES on W.
(Norman de Vall and Els Cooperrider)
FORMAL CHALLENGE TO ELECTION OF PROGRAMMER-DIRECTOR
To The Directors Of Mendocino County Public Broadcasting (aka KYXZ&Z)
This writing constitutes a formal challenge to the election of a Programmer-Director in the recent election of directors for Mendocino County Public Broadcasting (MCPB). The Programmer-Director was elected only by a vote of the Programmers, not the Members.
The Directors of a membership nonprofit corporation are elected by the Members. According to our Bylaws, MCPB has only one class of Members. Although it may be possible for the Members of a nonprofit to create another class of membership, or create some other mechanism for the election of a director, I can find no record of the Members of MCPB ever doing so. It appears instead that the Board of Directors changed the bylaws on its own authority to create the Programmer-Director seat, as old documents refer to the election of four At-Large Directors instead of the current three.
In creating the Programmer-Director seat, the Board reduced the right of the Members to directly elect all of the directors. Under the California Corporations Code, only the Members can reduce the rights of the Members. Therefore the action of the Board of Directors to change the Bylaws is invalid. Consequently, the recent election of a Programmer-Director is also invalid.
If the Board can provide documentation that the Programmer-Director position was approved by a vote of the Members, then I will accept that decision. Otherwise, I will continue to assert the right of the Members to elect all of their Directors.
The Board of Directors will meet at the annual Membership Meeting in May to confirm and seat the new board members. Please address this issue by then. If the Board of Directors confirms the election of a Programmer-Director without providing documentation that the procedure was approved by a vote of the Members, then I will file an action in Superior Court to force the removal of the Programmer-Director, with the position to be filled as an At-Large seat in the next election.
Thank you very much for giving this matter your immediate and urgent attention. The Corporations Code and our Bylaws allow only a limited time for resolving such a challenge.
Dennis O'Brien, Ukiah
WILLITS BYPASS 2017?
According to Linda Williams, Willits News Editor, the “opening celebration” for the Willits Bypass is scheduled for September of 2016, but the contractors have until November 8th to finish work. The “remediation” of the land around the northern interchange will take much longer.
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 22, 2016
ROBERT BENZINGER, New York. Failure to appear.
WILLIAM CADY, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
STEVE COUTHREN, Ukiah. Parole violation.
TIMOTHY FISCHER, Ukiah. Assault on police officer, probation revocation.
MIGUEL GARCIA, Ukiah. Drunk in public, court order violation.
CHRISTINE KELSAY, Willits. Embezzlement. (Booked after conviction. See separate item.)
JOSELPH ROYCE, Antioch/Willits. Concealed weapon in vehicle, loaded firearm in public, large capacity magazine.
MATTHEW WADE IV, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public.
ATTN. LAKE COUNTY!
Heads UP! Early Sunday Extra Special Program / News from TLC on KPFZ
Dear Friends, Sunday morning — IF you have TV — see the upcoming CBS special “SECOND DISASTER." This looks to be a very compelling discussion (see the article, below). As you all know, we experienced (and still haven’t finished dealing with) an onslaught of material donations from overwhelming numbers of generous volunteers — some of them from distant parts of the state.
Note that the Little Red School House on Cobb (Cobb Mountain Lions Club) is supporting a very dedicated group of volunteers who are managing distribution of donated materials for local fire survivors, three days a week: Wednesday and Thursday from 10-5, Sunday from 11-2. The donation center now has a beautiful garden, and specimens of young trees awaiting their new “forever” homes. Also, mark your calendars for May 14 to participate in a one-day event at the Middletown High School (Multi-Purpose Room), from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.: “REBUILDING RESILIENCE” (sponsored by Hope Rising | Lake County:
And, as usual, we will be providing up to the minute latest information on TEAM LAKE COUNTY (2-3 pm) and “What’s Next?” (3-4 pm) on KPFZ, 88.1 FM (kpfz.org.) Call us to let us know how it’s going out there, if you have a mind to — 707-263-3435.
See you on the radio!
After Flood Waters Recede And The Ground Stops Shaking, Areas Hit By Natural Disasters Then Face A Serious “Second Disaster,” Experts Tell “CBS Sunday Morning”
As Houston continues to deal with flooding and Ecuador and Japan struggle to recover from devastating earthquakes, relief groups and experts brace for the onslaught of people with good intentions donating items that simply can’t be used in those areas. Humanitarian workers call it “The Second Disaster,” as Scott Simon reports on CBS Sunday Morning to be broadcast April 24 (9:00 AM, ET) on the CBS Television Network.
“Generally after a disaster, people with loving intentions donate things that cannot be used in a disaster response, and in fact may actually be harmful,” Juanita Rilling, director of The Center of International Disaster Information tells Simon. “And they have no idea they’re doing it.” For instance, Rilling recalls an incident in Honduras following Hurricane Mitch in 1998. She got a call from a logistics expert saying a planeload of supplies couldn’t land because the runway was clogged with donations of clothes, including winter coats that were of no use to survivors needing food, shelter and medical attention. Simon explores the issues facing areas hit by natural disasters through interviews with humanitarian aid workers who have helped, following earthquakes, hurricanes and the Ebola crisis. Following the elementary school shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., people started sending boxes of school supplies, toys, bikes and teddy bears, 67,000 of them, all of which had to be unpacked, sorted and distributed. “I think it was a nice gesture,” says Chris Kelsey, then Newtown’s tax assessor. “There was a need to do something for the kids. There was a need to make people feel better. I think the wave of stuff we got was a little overwhelming in the end.” The relief experts are aware they walk a fine line by discouraging any donations, but they tell Simon the best way to help is by donating to reputable organizations. Money funneled by those organizations to local groups in devastated areas is more effective than just sending “stuff” directly, they tell Simon. Cash donations, Rilling says, are often most effective because “they buy exactly what people need, when they need it.”
CBS SUNDAY MORNING is broadcast Sundays (9:00-10:30 AM, ET) on the CBS Television Network. Rand Morrison is the executive producer.
KITTY NEVIN'S MUST READ:
This has been a busy few months for me. After 19 years, I finally finished my book, Newport & Kibesillah — A Tale of Two Mendocino County Coastal Logging Towns in Northern California.”
In 1996, Will Jackson asked me to write a “pamphlet” about Newport and Kibesillah, the two towns north of Fort Bragg where he planned to build a bed-and-breakfast inn. My “pamphlet” is now a 208-page book, with 474 footnotes and a 12-page index of the families — the pioneers — who lived in this fascinating part of the Mendocino Coast between 1867 and the early 1900s. When The Inn at Newport Ranch opens this summer, I hope the guests of the Inn will be as fascinated by the local history as I am.
For now, my website will focus on the lives of the “hardy pioneers” who lived in the logging towns of Newport and Kibesillah in the late 1800s. It’s been a fascinating journey into the late 19th Century, after the Civil War but before the first telephone, when transportation was via horse and buggy or stagecoach; when sailing ships were giving way to steam schooners; and the supply of North Coast redwood — for building, railroad ties and even for firewood — seemed infinite.
I’m indebted to many friends and acquaintances on the North Coast, who have shared books, photographs, local knowledge and wonderful family stories. Without their help, this really would have been just a pamphlet! Thank you all!
And please stay tuned for more about Newport and Kibesillah, and for some future projects!
Kitty Nevin, Monterey
THE DONALD was making a campaign stop, visiting a third grade class that was learning about Shakespeare and drama. "Well then," said Mr. Trump, "who can give me an example of a 'tragedy'?"
One kid raised his hand. "My cousin who lives on a farm?" the kid said, "he got his foot run over by a tractor. My mom said it was a tragedy."
"Wel-llll," Mr. Trump squinted, "really, kid, that's not a tragedy. That's what you'd call an 'accident.' Got that? Anybody else?"
Another pupil raised her hand. "Last year, in the big storm?, the school bus drove off the bridge into the river and everybody drownded. They said it was a terrible tragedy."
Again, the billionaire screwed up his face and shrugged, "OK, OK, but you know kid, that's not so much a tragedy, as it is a 'great loss.' I hope you see the difference. Somebody else?"
No more hands were raised. Mr. Trump scanned the room. "Come on now, people, isn't there anybody here who can give me an example of a tragedy?"
The school's elderly janitor, passing by the open classroom door, cleared his throat. "Ahem, so howzabout if the Trump private jet plane was hit by a surface-to-air missile and blown to smithereens, wiping out yourself and everybody on board?"
The Donald made a huge gesture. "Excellent! Fantastic! Perfect! Now that's a tragedy! OK then — who knows why that would be a tragedy?"
"Well it's just logical," said the janitor, "It has to be a tragedy 'cause it sure wouldn't be no 'accident', and wouldn't be no 'great loss', neither."
MOST VIVIDLY DESCRIPTIVE COMMENT OF THE DAY
There’s an entire klan of them. It’s the price you pay for an open forum. Blacks one week, Jews the next, Muslims another… but bring up the scariest creature of them all: the willfully ignorant tattooed left-turn race watching meth dabblin’ whiskey-tango, you know… the camo hat wearing overweight walmartians that drive pick’emups and shop for deals on 5.56? No, can’t tread on them.
APRIL 1975 [Vietnam War ends April 30, 1975]
BERNIE SANDERS: THE CANDIDATE WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD
by Jeffrey St. Clair
Bernie Sanders lost the moment he became entranced by the prospect that he might win. What did he lose? His grip on political reality.
For most of his life Sanders has cultivated the role of political cynic, a professional outsider, a grand-standing critic of The System. Once he came in from the cold and converted from independent socialist to a Democrat (for life, according to his campaign manager Jeff Weaver) that hard-boiled cynicism — one’s tempted to call it realism — eroded away in the face of large crowds of adoring supporters, from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon. Is it possible that Sanders became intoxicated by the floridness of his own rhetoric?
The results from the New York primary perfectly distill the promise and the heartbreak of Sanders’s Quixotic campaign for the Democratic Party nomination. Coming off of his thrashing of Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin, Sanders enjoyed all of the momentum, media attention and energy heading toward the big stakes in New York. Even so, there was no chance that he could win the Empire State. The rules were against him, the demographics were against him, the System was against him. The polls showed him down by more than 10 points and barely twitched in the two weeks after Wisconsin. Yet a few days before the primary, Sanders confidently predicted victory. It was not a rational statement.
In the end, Hillary won New York by almost exactly the same margin that she defeated Barack Obama in 2008. Sanders might take some solace in the fact that he actually performed fractionally better than Obama. But he shouldn’t. In 2008, Obama, despite his loss in New York, was on his way to the Democratic nomination. Sanders, by contrast, is going nowhere at all, except in registering tens of thousands of new young voters as Democrats. Welcome to the machine, kids.
Of course, each time Bernie loses, under circumstances where the DNC establishment has fragrantly conspired against him, the senator raises freshets of more money online (at $27 a pop), thus encouraging him to continue his doomed crusade. Yet this steady stream of cash functions as a kind of fool’s gold. Bernie actually outspent Hillary in New York and the spending did him almost no good. At this rate, Bernie will have enough money in his tank to ride his caravan of self-aggrandizement all the way to Philly in July. But to what ends? And, more pragmatically, at what cost to the atmosphere?
I’m no fan of the Senator from Ben and Jerry’s, but, as the founding member of ABHoR (Anybody But Hillary Rodham), I stubbornly clung to my own fantasies about Sanders. Naively, I believed that if Bernie had fought to have the Iowa votes released, challenged the curious results in Nevada and Missouri and attacked the Super Delegate system he could have found a foothold, exposing how the DNC had rigged the process for Hillary. But that was delusional. In fact, there was almost certainly no pathway to victory for Sanders in the Democratic primaries. Perversely, Sanders’s team is now courting the anti-democratic Super Delegates in a last gasp attempt to neutralize Hillary’s insurmountable lead in awarded delegates. Why? More than 90 percent of Super Delegates have already pledged their votes to Clinton. Aside from her indictment, what could possibly induce them to change their minds and back someone who, until a few months ago, wasn’t even a member of their party? In any event, groveling for Super Delegates must surely be seen as the final humiliation of the Sanders campaign, a calculated political betrayal of everything the campaign claimed to be about.
So Bernie was bound to lose. He knew it. His staff knew it. Only his loyal claque of Sandernistas seem to have been kept in the dark regarding the inevitable outcome. Bernie owed it to his supporters to tell them the truth about the rigged nature of the primaries, instead of injecting them with the rhetoric of false hope. In the absence of that dose of political reality, Sanders’s supporters began looking for scapegoats to explain the inexplicable losses of their hero against an unappetizing and deeply compromised opponent. Most frequently, the distraught Sandernistas have focused their rage on black voters. Apparently, many Sandernistas subscribe to the Charles “Bell Curve” Murray school of political science. They seem to believe that African-Americans are so intellectually limited that they don’t know what’s good for them. I suspect the next thing will be for the Sandernistas to propose having enlightened white progressives cast proxy votes on behalf of blacks. Bernie himself continues to fuel this toxic scenario, most recently when he decried the frontloading of southern primaries, which are dominated by black voters. The Sanders campaign’s slurs against American blacks are uglier than anything they’ve launched at Hillary Clinton.
What Sanders and his Sandernistas could have done was to take the rotten hulk of the Democratic Party down with them. But that was never in the cards. Why? For starters, many of Sanders’s top advisers, such as Tad Davine, are Democratic Party loyalists, who will certainly want jobs in other Democratic campaigns in the next election cycle. More pressingly, although Bernie talks of political revolution, he’s really a reformer. His goal is to refashion the Democratic Party from the inside. In this respect, Sanders is an old-fashioned liberal, not a revolutionary socialist. No surprise there. His entire political life testifies to his liberal incrementalism. The man has been in elected office since 1981, tweaking at the gears instead of monkey-wrenching the machine. If Sanders now seems like a radical, it’s only a measure how far to the right the Democrats have migrated since the rise of the neoliberals. Sanders may be as good as a Democrat gets (aside from Barbara Lee), but how good is that? And what will it get you? Single payer health care? Nationalization of the banks? Abolition of nuclear weapons? Dream on.
More and more this vaunted “movement” seems to be little more than a kind of moveable feast, which follows Sanders around like a swarm of post-modern Deadheads, from venue to venue, to hear the senator deliver the same tepid stump speech he’s been warbling for the last 8 months. In the end, Bernie Sanders proved to be an unconventional candidate running a fairly conventional campaign, in the Dean 2004/Obama 2008 mold. This leads rise to the suspicion that the Sanders Movement is mostly about the glorification of one Bernard Sanders.
What might a real movement have done? If Sanders could turn 30,000 people out for a pep rally in Washington Square Park, why couldn’t he have had a flash mob demonstration mustering half that many fervent supporters to shut down Goldman Sachs for a day? If he could lure 20,000 Hipsters to the Rose Garden in Portland, why couldn’t he turn out 10,000 Sandernistas to bolster the picket lines of striking Verizon workers? If Sanders could draw 15,000 people in Austin, Texas, why couldn’t his movement bring 5,000 people to Huntsville to protest executions at the Texas death house? If Sanders could draw 18,000 people to a rally in Las Vegas, why couldn’t he just as easily have lead them in a protest at nearby Creech Air Force Base, the center of operations for US predator drones? Strike that. Sanders supports Obama’s killer drone program. My bad. But you get the point. Instead of being used as stage props, why hasn’t Sanders put his teaming crowds of eager Sandernistas to work doing the things that real movements do: blocking the sale of a foreclosed house in Baltimore, disrupting a fracking site in rural Pennsylvania, shutting down the entrance to the police torture chamber at Homan Square in Chicago for a day, intervening between San Diego cops and the homeless camp they seek to evict? Why? Because that’s not who Bernie Sanders is and that’s not what his movement is about. He’s willing to rock the neoliberal boat, but not sink it.
Ultimately, Bernie Sanders is a loyalist to liberalism. That’s why he voted for Bill Clinton’s racist Crime Bill. It’s why he voted twice to overthrow Saddam Hussein during Clinton time and endorsed a cruel sanctions regime that killed more than 400,000 innocent Iraqi kids. It’s why he backed the Clinton war on Serbia, voted for the AUMF that has been used to justify total and enduring war since 9/11, backed the Libyan intervention and, most crucially, pledged to support Hillary if she is eventually the nominee, which she was pre-ordained to become. After New York, Hillary’s triumph is a mathematical certainty. She will have won the most votes (that were actually counted), the most states, the most pledged delegates and the most super delegates. Fini.
So let’s dispense with this year of magical thinking and get back to work in the real war against neoliberalism in all its guises. Take a cue from Bob Marley, Senator, and tell the children the truth: From this moment on, every vote for Sanders is a vote for Clinton.
(Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence (with JoAnn Wypijewski and Kevin Alexander Gray). He can be reached at: email@example.com. Courtesy, CounterPunch.org)
330 MILLION PEOPLE AFFECTED BY WEAK MONSOONS
This letter follows my letter published in AVA on February 20th and follows up on the affect of week monsoons on 330 million people. I commented briefly on a study with most of the work done by Chinese scientists on the affect on monsoons by the melting of Himalayan glaciers. Agence France-Presse in Delhi reports about 330 million people representing 1/4 of the population of India, spread over 10 states have been hit by drought after two consecutive years of weak monsoons. The drought has accompanied by increasing temperatures that are reaching new highs. There, of course, are expectations the monsoons will return to normal but that is a wan hope! Most unfortunately the world does not have the ability to feed 330 million starving people. Most over time will perish. What has happened here will be repeated in other third world countries. Despite all of the adverse effects of climate change there are still ignorant louts in the GOP who deny climate change. How stupid can one be?
In peace and love,
THE FOUNDING SCAM
by Mark Scaramella
[Author’s note: Amidst the mini-media storm surrounding the Obama’s administration’s decision to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 in place of Andrew Jackson (instead of on the $10 to replace Alexander Hamilton because Hamilton has become popular based on the critically acclaimed Broadway show), we think this particular aspect of the Hamilton story which was originally written back in 2004 (after Martha Stewart was accused of insider trading) might be of interest to 2016 readers. —ms]
The dashing face of Alexander Hamilton, first Treasurer of the United States, is a fitting portrait for the $10 bill because back in 1790 he engineered what became the great insider trading scam that founded the United States of America.
Although the illegitimate son of an itinerant Scottish merchant and a planter’s daughter, Hamilton was a devout monarchist — so devout that he spied for the British King while a founding cabinet member, undermining early treaty negotiations with England.
Hamilton made his way into George Washington’s graces by studying the famously corrupt English system of finance and credit, and military theory. As George Washington’s aide-de-camp during the Revolutionary War, Hamilton’s assignment was “to think for me,” said Washington, “as well as execute orders.”
Hamilton went on to become a lawyer, of course, representing the nation’s founding money men at 57 Wall Street. This experience, combined with his well-honed intellectual capacities and his marriage to the extremely wealthy Elizabeth (“Eliza”) Schuyler, brought him into contact with New York’s richest bankers and businessmen, not the least of whom was his father-in-law, Phillip Schuyler.
At the end of the Revolutionary War, the loose confederation of states which wore down the British and forced them to abandon their colonies had accumulated a huge war debt to soldiers, farmers, tradesmen and suppliers who had sold goods to the army — paid in currency called “Continentals.” The Continentals became virtually worthless after the war, yet they remained in circulation, falling in value and creating price inflation. The states had borrowed and printed a lot of money to fight the Brits themselves, too. Many of their currencies fell in value, reflecting their debt levels; others rose. Financial confusion reigned. European backers of the Revolution, predominantly Dutch bankers and the French government, awaited repayment and US investors awaited assurances of monetary stability.
But “the government” didn’t yet exist and there was no money to pay with.
Would the holders of the Continental IOUs be stiffed? Would the US try to pass off Continentals to the Europeans, ruining its credit? Amid factional and geographic disputes, ordinary American IOU holders expected to be left holding the bag of Continentals.
But the ingenious Hamilton had other ideas, ideas known to his banking associates and other insiders. Hamilton privately convinced President Washington (who didn’t bother himself with financial arcana and left such details to Hamilton) that the newly formed government should pay off the debts at full value.
Soon, Hamilton’s associates — bankers, agents, and speculators — got wind of the government’s secret plans to pay off the debt in full and bought up the supposedly worthless Continentals at 10% of their face value, letting the rubes believe that they’d starve before there would ever be a government capable of paying them off, or that they’d never be able to prove that their claims on the government were valid.
But Hamilton’s circle knew they stood to make ten times their money when Hamilton’s clever plans were implemented. The main opposition to Hamilton was Thomas Jefferson who thought that Hamilton’s financial schemes were too royal, too British, and therefore too corrupt. Jefferson and James Madison hoped that the nascent government would be less centralized and more democratic.
Hamilton had General Washington in his hip pocket, but he had to get Jefferson’s agreement on the scheme before the (mostly southern) states and their representatives would buy in. So Hamilton arrogantly promised Jefferson that if Jefferson agreed to the financial system of centralized banks, credits, and paper money, the capitol of the new country would be in Jefferson’s backyard in Virginia, making it more accessible to Virginia and other southern states, putting them in a better position to profit from the access.
Hamilton also proposed that the federal government assume all the outstanding state debts, convincing the wealthy representatives of the individual states to sign on to the Constitution at a Convention — also famously secret. And so Jefferson and most of the founders agreed to Hamilton’s plans. In fact, many of the nation’s first congressional representatives had bought up the Continentals themselves and made quick personal windfalls from the governmental payoff.
With great solemnity they spoke in favor of Hamilton’s plan on the floor of Congress and voted against James Madison, one of the few to remain unconvinced by Hamilton. Madison wrote to Thomas Jefferson in July of 1791 and sadly reported, “Of all the shameful circumstances of this business, it is among the greatest to see the members of this legislature who were most active in pushing this job openly grasping its emoluments.”
Hamilton’s Treasury Department bought up the Continentals with dollars at face value and issued new government bonds to cover it.
Hamilton’s stated purpose was to design a byzantine financial system which would be difficult for ordinary citizens to understand, larded with British monetary lingo that even lawyers would find difficult. It would also give those in charge of issuing credit a powerful ability to influence the country’s unruly citizens with discretionary credit — the so-called “mother’s milk” of politics. Hamilton explained that “winning and keeping the confidence of men with money to bestow or withhold was essential to the fiscal operations of the new government.”
Otherwise, Hamilton argued, financial anarchy would reign and the big piles of cash and credit necessary to finance the new government would be inaccessible.
Using the ever-expanding land value of the new country and the already burgeoning agricultural surplus being generated by farmers, slaves and indentured servants, Hamilton arranged to borrow more money from Europe to finance the debt and pay off congressmen and other wealthy Continental holders — including his father-in-law — with the proceeds. This new debt would in turn be paid off by offering stakes in Indian land and a British style system of tariffs (later converted to income taxes since tariffs were thought to be bad for international trade).
And thus began the financial system of the United States.
If Martha Stewart had been as smart as Alexander Hamilton she would have defended herself against the charges of insider trading by explaining that the country was founded on it and depends on it to this day — she was just following in the grand tradition.
Insider trading and conjured credit is the American way.
PLANT SALE SATURDAY, 4/23, 10 TO 3
The Garden Club Plant Sale is Tomorrow, Saturday, April 23 from 10am until 3:00 p.m.!
— cecilia townsend
* * *
FORT BRAGG GARDEN CLUB SPRING PLANT SALE AmeriGas Parking Lot 300 S. Main St. Fort Bragg.
Natives… Drought Tolerant… Specialty Cut Flowers… Succulents… Ground Covers… Landscape… Vegetables…
WATER RATES WILL INCREASE TO PAY FOR DELTA TUNNELS
by Dan Bacher
How would you like to find out that a new fee was added to your groundwater bill to support Governor Jerry Brown’s “legacy” project,” the salmon-killing Delta Tunnels, without your consent?
Well, that’s exactly what happened when ratepayers attended a public hearing of Santa Clara County Water Commission’s Board of Directors in Gilroy on April 14 to find out that their hard-earned money would go to support the California WaterFix, the state and federal government’s name for the Delta Tunnels, according to a news release from Restore the Delta (RTD).
The Commission held the hearing regarding their “Annual Report on the Protection and Augmentation of Water Supplies - February 2016 and Recommended Groundwater Production and Other Water Charges for Fiscal Year 2016-2017 (FY 2016-17).” The meeting agenda and details are available here: ttps://scvwd.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=479691&GUID=0DF7D78F-F8AE-4CD4-8AE7-D9CF9ACBAF89&Options=info&Search=
Several users of small private residential water systems at the Gilroy hearing “complained bitterly” about the cost of the current groundwater charges on top of the cost of pumping and maintenance of their wells, Restore the Delta noted.
“They were unanimous in stating that they could not afford the proposed increase for FY 2017. The groundwater charges are also paid by the cities and passed on to customers,” RTD stated.
“Well owners and residential customers will now be paying to support the Delta Tunnels through their water bills. No wonder people are upset,” explained Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta. “This rate increase will happen, without a vote, for a project without permits, for water they will never receive.”
Deirdre Des Jardins of California Water Research discovered the WaterFix charges when evaluating District documents. She found a significant discrepancy in the proposed WaterFix charges disclosed for Prop 218, and those presented to the Board and the County Water Commission.
"For the Board, the staff estimated the WaterFix could result in a maximum $229 per acre foot annual increase in water rates for the South County, vs. $38 estimated in the Prop 218 disclosure. For the North County, the staff estimated a maximum $316 annual increase, vs $75 in the Prop 218 disclosure,” according to Des Jardins.
Des Jardins noted that the WaterFix charges are in addition to increases in groundwater fees to pay for major local projects.
If the District’s CVP share of WaterFix costs are paid by groundwater fees, the District’s South County groundwater fees would almost triple by 2026. North County groundwater fees would almost quadruple, said Des Jardins.
The current residential groundwater fees in the South County are $356/acre-foot. The 2026 groundwater fees estimated in their rate-setting disclosure would be $604/acre-foot. With the higher WaterFix costs, the 2026 groundwater fees could be $795/acre-foot, Des Jardins estimated.
The current residential groundwater fees in the North County are $747/acre-foot. The 2026 groundwater fees estimated in their rate-setting disclosure would be $2332/acre-foot. With the higher Water Fix Costs, the 2026 groundwater fees could be $2648/acre-foot. (http://restorethedelta.org/blog/)
”The financial slight-of-hand raises some serious questions,” said Barrigan-Parrilla. “This enormously expensive project was slipped into the District budget with little notice or review, and with ridiculously rosy cost estimates. Sooner or later ratepayers will get stuck with the bill.”
In a statement, the Santa Clara County Water District claimed that "Restore the Delta’s implication that California WaterFix would triple or quadruple groundwater fees is patently incorrect."
"As part of our annual process of presenting the proposed groundwater production charges to our rate payers, staff presents projections of all potential future costs. The cost projections include all costs that we reasonably expect could occur in future years. They do not constitute a 'new fee,' but rather a transparent projection of how rates could be impacted by various scenarios," the district stated.
For the District's complete response to RTD's news release, go to: http://www.valleywater.org/EkContent.aspx?id=13983
In response to the District's statement, Barrigan-Parrilla said, "The Restore the Delta press release release is based on the data that was released to the public. Now they are saying it's wrong, but they are not releasing the additional data. They are not being transparent."
"However, the bigger question is: why does the District's Board continue to have ratepayers pay interim charges for the Delta Tunnels when the California WaterFix makes no new water?"
The Santa Clara Valley Water District Board will discuss the groundwater charges on April 26, at 6:00 pm. If ratepayers cannot attend the meeting, Barrigan-Parrilla recommends emailing objections to the SCVWD at valleywater.org.
Note: This article has updated figures for the District’s groundwater fees in the WaterFix High Cost Scenario
For more information about the controversy erupting over the Santa Clara Valley Water Districts's groundwater charges, go to: https://cah2oresearch.com/2016/04/22/controversy-erupts-over-santa-clara-water-districts-groundwater-charges/
The Delta Tunnels Plan is based on the absurd concept that diverting more water from the Sacramento River will restore the Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas. Yet I’m not aware of one example in U.S. or world history where diverting more water from a river or estuary has ever restored the ecosystem of that river or estuary.
The tunnels would hasten the extinction of Sacramento winter-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species. The project would also imperil the salmon populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers — and pose a big threat to the Yurok, Hoopa Valley and Karuk Tribes that depend on the salmon for their food, culture and ceremonies.
While the Delta Tunnels plan poses a huge threat to the ecosystems of the Sacramento, San Joaquin, Klamath and Trinity river systems, it’s not the only environmentally devastating policy promoted by Governor Jerry Brown. Brown is promoting the expansion of fracking and extreme oil extraction methods in California and is overseeing water policies that are driving winter run-Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt and other species closer and closer to extinction.
Jerry Brown also oversaw the "completion" of so-called “marine protected areas” under the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, overseen by a Big Oil lobbyist and other corporate interests, in December 2012. These faux “Yosemites of the Sea” fail to protect the ocean from oil drilling, fracking, pollution, corporate aquaculture and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and gathering.
As if those examples of Brown’s tainted environmental legacy weren’t enough, Brown has promoted carbon trading and REDD policies that pose an enormous threat to Indigenous Peoples around the globe; has done nothing to stop clearcutting of forests by Sierra-Pacific and other timber companies; presided over record water exports from the Delta in 2011; and oversaw massive fish kills of Sacramento splittail and other species in 2011.
While Brown spouts "green" rhetoric when he flies off to climate conference and and issues proclamations about John Muir Dayand Earth Day, his actions and policies regarding fish, water and the environment are among the worst of any Governor in recent California history.
For more information about the real environmental record of Governor JerryBrown, go to: