Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, Aug 16, 2016

* * *


KCRA TELEVISION is reporting that a man was arrested today (Monday) in connection to starting a 4,000-acre wildfire in Lake County that has destroyed more than 175 structures. Damin Anthony Pashilk, 40, was booked into Lake County Jail on 17 counts of arson. CalFire said he is suspected of setting “numerous fires in Lake County over the past year” and is implicated in the Clayton Fire.

* * *


Sonoma County steps in to help fight Clayton fire

Clayton fire scorches 4,000 acres, destroys 175+ structures

9 active wildfires burning across California

Clayton fire evacuees flee with few belongings

Clayton fire grows, officials estimate hundreds of structures lost

'It’s a pretty heavy loss,' said Santa Rosa fire Capt. Jason Jenkins, who is leading a strike team of local firefighters.
read more »

Lower Lake bears brunt of Clayton fire

The downtown was scorched, homes were lost and lives were changed. read more »

And: Clayton fire destroys Lower Lake winery

A LOST WINERY gets its own story? There are many real tragedies in Lower Lake, all of which deserve individual stories. But which one does the PD single out? A winery. The other human stories get honorable mention.

* * *


* * *

BTW, the Beth Bosk Strike Force travels to San Francisco Thursday (the 18th) to beard the Fisher Family in their golden dens. The Fishers own the Mendocino Redwood Company, and lots of Mendo people are very unhappy with MRC’s practice of poisoning non-commercial tree species. Frisco media are likely to be out in force for what is almost certain to be a great comic event.

* * *

INCUMBENTS Hammerstrom and Deitz apparently are not running for re-election to the Fort Bragg City Council. Gressert, Johnson and Menzies are running. Heidi Kraut is expected to sign up by the Wednesday sign-up deadline. Mr. Johnson was the finance person for the City before he retired. He knows where the fiscal bodies are buried, and for that reason along will get the support of clear-thinking Fort Bragg people, as will the fiery Mr. Gressett.

* * *

AS THIS YEAR’S grape harvest picks up momentum, industry people and the casual reader are certain to enjoy Darren Delmore’s “Slave to the Vine — Confessions of a Vagabond Cellarhand.” Delmore’s a witty writer who tells us what it’s really like in the industrial bowels of an enterprise that runs on pure myth.

* * *

JOHN TOOHEY, a former Panther who went on to play college-level football, has succeeded Dan Kuny as Anderson Valley High School’s head varsity football coach.

* * *

JENI BENVILLE has closed her popular chocolate shop next door to Boont Berry Farm. I won’t betray what she told me in confidence, but Jeni had her reasons, good ones, too. She’ll be commuting to Healdsburg from her Boonville home to work at Big John’s Market at Healdsburg’s north end.

JENI’S DEPARTURE had nothing to do with her landlord, Mike Shapiro who, I understand, is in failing health. Always admired the guy. Talk about a work ethic! Mike always seemed to have ten jobs when I first met him in ’71 at a school board meeting. We’d both been told to sit down and shut up, although we were complaining about different matters. Mike was hippie-ish, I was straighter-than-straight, on the surface anyway, but always lumped in with “the hippies.” As Valley newcomers, you see, we weren’t supposed to challenge “our way of doing things.” A few years later, the hippies had completed their takeover of Valley institutions — everything except the Fair Board and the Cemetery Board — and were telling everyone else to sit down and shut up. A female school board member and semi-retired flower child had casually mooned me in her driveway one day, and here she was with the bare-assed effrontery of chastising me at a school board meeting as “irrational.” That one, my friends, still smarts.

* * *

AS A PAID-UP MEMBER of Public Radio Mendocino County, I’m not happy that Lorraine Dechter has resigned as general manager. As per ancient custom at that particular viper’s nest, it’s not known why she quit, but it is known she’d stepped into a financial death spiral and an off-putting collection of entrenched “personalities.” Ms. D, in her brief stay in the top spot, had totally purged the neg vibes at the Philo headquarters, but in the process seems to have succumbed to their noxious fumes. She has said she’s staying on but not as boss. Which is good news offset only by her likely successor.

* * *

WE WERE SURPRISED and delighted when the new Elementary School principal stopped in Tuesday afternoon. We’re not accustomed to basic civility from the public school axis let alone an old fashioned, mannerly intro, at her initiative, from a bright, charming person who also functions as a school administrator. Ms. Katherine Reddick, for our part, is an excellent hire.

* * *

USED TO BE the start of deer season sounded like gun battles everywhere in the hills of the Anderson Valley. Deer season 2016? All I heard were 15 shots at dusk Sunday, and 15 shots aimed at one deer? More likely an exuberant drunk.

* * *

AV FIRE CHIEF, Andres Avila, said Monday that none of our Anderson Valley fire people have been summoned to the ongoing Lake County catastrophe, but that he and Clay Eubanks expected to lend their services soon.

* * *

Herb Ruhs
Herb Ruhs

HERB RUHS WRITES: “Rumors of my demise are not exaggerated. I left this plane 08/07/16, departed from Woodland, CA. Future address not yet fixed.


Herb Ruhs, M.D.

The Great Beyond.”

WE HEARD that Herb was gone, assuming he’d died in Fort Bragg where he was last heard from. The Mendo Coroner said last week that nobody by that name had passed. But Herb really did die in Woodland. Nice to hear from him, certainly. Wish more people would write from The Other Side.

* * *

CALFIRE says the Valley Fire that did such huge damage to Lake County last year was caused by a fellow named John Pinch who’d screwed up the wiring on his Cobb Mountain hot tub heater. Pinch denies culpability. He’d wired the tub without a permit a year before the fire broke out. CalFire says a year later the wiring had overheated and set nearby dry grass and leaves on fire. Calfire considers Pinch’s alleged faulty wiring job to be a crime and has referred the case to the Lake County DA, although Calfire and Lake County DA Donald Anderson said Wednesday that “it is far from clear” that charges will be filed. The Valley fire burned more than 76,000 acres and was estimated to have caused the deaths of four people and did over $1.5 billion in estimated damages.

WE’D LIKE TO SEE the forensics on this one. A year later and CalFire’s ace sleuths say it all happened because of a bad hot tub wire? And here we are a year later with another disastrous Lake County fire, this one the Clayton Fire that has already consumed Lower Lake and rages this week as we go to press. It’s shaping up as worse than both last year’s Lake County fires.

* * *

JOHN MILLER, an NBC big shot, is in himself an explanation of why NBC’s coverage is so awful. And he’s a mega-sexist into the non-bargain. (I hope you understand that this newspaper only resorts to the grossly overused terms ‘sexist’ and ‘racist’ only when those dire offenses are so obvious no other terms will do.) Here’s Miller on why NBC’s coverage is what it is: “The people who watch the Olympics are not particularly sports fans. More women watch the Games than the men, and for women, they’re less interested in the result than the journey. It’s sort of like the ultimate reality show and miniseries wrapped into one.”

UNTIL SHE had the terrible misfortune to meet me 53 years ago, my wife had never seen a ball game of any kind, including soccer, the dominant sport in her native land. She is now a fervent and knowledgeable fan of the Niners, the Warriors and the Giants. Every female in our family is a sports fan. They do not head for the door with a Barbara Cartland novel when the ball game comes on. Kinda shocking that NBC is so far removed from American sports reality.

* * *


To the KZYX Board:

For your information, John Coate is recovering from serious prostate cancer. I've heard this sad news from various credible sources.

Despite our working relationship, which deteriorated badly over time at KZYX, I wish him the best. John and I were once friends. I visited the Buddha Hall at The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in Talmage this morning to pray for him during morning recitations with the monks and nuns.

John Sakowicz, Ukiah

* * *

PEOPLE BOUGHT A SHITLOAD OF SOIL and garden supplies this year, at least twice as much as last year, and then trucked all of that stuff back to a rash of seeping scars on our hillsides, where they worked like dogs in the hot sun, breathing dust and exhaust fumes all day, just so that they can double down on last year. Why? You can only grow so much weed, and the more weed you grow, the harder you work, and the less you make per pound. You don’t have to worry about getting caught. You’ve been caught. They’re draining the pond around you, so becoming a bigger fish won’t help. We need to evolve if we want to survive in this changing environment, and turning our backs on the world and burying ourselves in weed won’t help us one bit.

Pretty soon, everyone will have plenty of weed, and growing it will be just another shitty low-paying job. Like the rest of our shitty low-paying jobs, nobody around here will work them unless they can find an affordable place to live. In turn, even the marijuana industry will be forced to move elsewhere because they won’t be able to assemble the reliable workforce they need, here. We’re not preparing for the future, we’re digging a pit, and the deeper we dig, the longer it will take us to climb out of it.

— John Hardin, HumCo

* * *


Speaking of architecture… Been doing some work a few miles south of the 253/128 junction and noticed this unusual bunker themed structure just a wee bit down 128 on the west side.


Is it some new modular design? Anybody know?

Just curious,

Hugh McAvoy, Ukiah

PS Loved the before and after pic of your new office. Keep up the good work.

ED NOTE: It's been there a while. I don't know. Looks like rammed earth, very early Santa Fe, like early 17th century. Anyone?

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, August 15, 2016

Daniels, Espinosa, Garcia, Gayski
Daniels, Espinosa, Garcia, Gayski

STEVEN DANIELS, Fort Bragg. Domestic assault, unauthorized entry into dwelling, failure to appear, probation revocation.

ASHLEY ESPINOSA, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

DANIEL GARCIA, Redwood Valley. DUI.

BENJAMIN GAYSKI JR., Fort Bragg. Domestic battery, county parole violation.

Gray, Jauregui, Magana
Gray, Jauregui, Magana

BRETT GRAY, Ukiah. Cutting down, destroying, injuring any kind of wood or timber, under influence.


LYDIA MAGANA, Ukiah. Under influence.

Nunes, Peak, Smith, Soto
Nunes, Peak, Smith, Soto

SHANA NUNES, Willits. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, under influence.

MATHEW PEAK, Fort Bragg. Criminal threats.

STEVEN SMITH, Fort Bragg. Meth possession, child endangerment.

ANTHONY SOTO, Middletown/Redwood Valley. Court order violation.

* * *


Flori-Duh is a hard place to live if one has any intelligence above a 90 IQ. I live in the shadow of the once busy Kennedy Space Center, which has shrunk to a tacky tourist attraction and showcase for Elon Musk’s shady SpaceX.

KSC’s function as a pump to bring New Money into Brevard County is long gone and the County is gasping for air. We’re becoming as poor and trashy as our neighboring counties.

Flori-Duh is a hard-core Right-To-Work State, trashy tourist dump, and full of shitty jobs, petty rackets, debt-driven suburban sprawl, mosquitoes, and yes, NASCAR.

Yet, I’m staying put because I have a modest but good job, excellent coworkers, no debt, and a paid-for house. Things could be a lot worse. The rest of Amerika isn’t looking very good, either.

* * *


* * *


* * *


by Dave Zirin

There is joy in Olympic Rio, make no mistake about it. Maybe it takes two hours to travel 25 miles across the city; and maybe only 15 percent of the Olympic decorations were delivered; and maybe there are more troops on the ground, per capita, than the United States had in Iraq at the height of Bush’s war; but there is joy.

This joy is an undeniable narcotic. It is a potent blend of often-ignored sports and undeniably compelling human-interest stories and, maddening as they are, the Olympics are the syringe.

I have witnessed this joy firsthand in the rapturous response to Rio’s own Rafaela Silva, Brazil’s first gold-medalist in these games, who won gold in the judo competition. Silva hails from the internationally infamous City of God favela. While news reports have invariably referred to the judoka great as coming from a “notorious” and “crime-ridden slum”—as if she rose from the ranks of a community determined to drag her down—the reality is different. Rafaela Silva and her family are proud of their roots, and their community holds her close to their heart.

Rafaela made it this far because of a Rio community-based NGO called Instituto Reação, founded by Brazilian judoka 2004 bronze-medalist Flávio Canto. Her sister Raquel, also a graduate of the institute, said, “Before I or my sister got into judo, we were pretty rebellious. We weren’t interested in going to school, and sport radically changed our lives. It was transformational, like water to wine.”

In other words, the operating lesson for favela activists and residents in City of God has been that if you invest in the impoverished youth of Rio, greatness will bloom all around. She did not rise in spite of City of God, but was forged by these surroundings into the person her mother now calls “a warrior of gold.” When the gold was placed around Silva’s neck, the thousands of people, as described to me by Rio On Watch journalist Meg Healy, “were just cheering and crying side by side.”

Unfortunately, residents in Rio’s favelas have been displaced, and City of God has been plagued by police repression and violence in the lead-up to these Olympics. Rafaela Silva’s very existence is a rebuke to these priorities.

This Olympic drug was something I also imbibed heartily, live, as Brazil’s ragtag Olympic basketball team beat powerful and heavily favored Spain by one point, 66-65, on a basket with less than five seconds to go. Hoops is certainly not one of the marginalized sports that only sees light at the Olympics, but in Brazil, where soccer, volleyball, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu reign supreme, it’s not exactly a national pastime. But going against a Spanish team packed with NBA players and led by future Hall of Famer Pau Gasol, the Brazilian team was egged on by an overwhelmingly Brazilian crowd that treated every possession like a World Cup counterattack.

This was the closest experience to a soccer game that I’ve ever had in years of watching live basketball. Every successful possession by Brazil had people hugging, high-fiving, and twirling their kids—or other people’s kids. Every possession by Spain was less defined by any kind of Olympic spirit than by thousands of people engaging in some very creative Portuguese profanity. It was exhausting and when it ended, the two-hour trip back across town felt more like an adrenaline cool-down than a chore.

There is joy in Rio of a different kind as well. There is joy in people who are taking advantage of the international spotlight to strike out against the invisibility imposed upon them by their own government. There are the campaigners against interim President Michel Temer—who achieved power through a judicial coup against President Dilma Rousseff—holding up “Fora Temer” (out with Temer) signs during Olympic events.

During the first days of the games, activists were being arrested and detained for raising their voices. After several of these protests went viral, Judge João Augusto Carneiro Araújo issued an injunction Tuesday night against any more removals, saying that protest during Olympic events was a constitutional right. This also stands as a stunning rebuke of the International Olympic Committee’s efforts to make sure that the only political messages on display are their own. Ironically, the reason for the initial round of ejections was a law signed by Dilma in May, just before she was impeached, to prohibit racist or discriminatory chants at Olympic venues. Unless one believes that illegitimate, coup-presidents are victims of discrimination, this ruling was something to celebrate.

Then there is Vila Autódromo. This is a once-vibrant community mere yards from the main Olympic Park that has been winnowed from 650 families to 24. Olympic displacement turned the unique community into ruins. When I visited Vila Autódromo in May, 24 homes remained amidst the rubble. In an effort to remove Vila as an “issue” before the Olympics, the city built 24 new homes on the same land: all near-identical white box-like structures that look like they were taken out of a box marked IKEA. But the 24 remaining families have not ended their struggle.

Anti-Olympic messages are written across the walls. The families have set up their own Museum of the Removed, which documents their long struggle with the city. It contains vivid photographs of police violence, artistic testimonials to their Herculean efforts to not be brushed aside like refuse tossed into the canal that surrounds their homes.

Media members leaving the brand new Courtyard Marriott who take a left toward Vila Autódromo instead of a right to the Olympic Park can, in five minutes, learn the history of an Olympic struggle against all odds. A struggle similar to that of Rafaela Silva: the struggle to be visible in a country—and world—that sees them as expendable. Resistance is its own narcotic, even more potent than the Olympics itself.

* * *


On Thursday, August 18, 2016, Mendocino County officials and other local groundwater managers will host a public meeting on the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). SGMA is a new law that offers local opportunities to achieve sustainable groundwater conditions and support Mendocino County’s vital agricultural economy, industry, and domestic and public water uses.

Topics will include Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) options for the Ukiah Valley Basin and steps towards forming a GSA. The public is encouraged to attend to learn more about SGMA and ask questions of local water managers and submit comments.

“SGMA implementation has begun throughout California,” says Supervisor Carre Brown. “We hope groundwater users throughout Mendocino County will attend to learn more. SGMA is an important change in how groundwater is managed and everyone needs to be aware and involved to manage and sustain our precious water resources.”

To support local planning efforts, the County has secured facilitation support from the Department of Water Resources (DWR), hosted workshops to educate the community on SGMA and received a groundwater planning grant through the Water Bond. The County is committed to sharing these resources with local SGMA partners.

The Mendocino County Water Agency SGMA workshop will be held at the County of Mendocino’s Agriculture Building, 890 N. Bush Street in Ukiah. The discussion will begin at 1:00 p.m. This meeting will be open to the public. Stakeholders and all interested parties are encouraged to attend.

For more information, please contact Sarah Dukett at the Mendocino County Executive Office at (707) 463-4441 or

Carmel J. Angelo

Chief Executive Officer

* * *

ON JUNE 16, your Representative, Rep. Jared Huffman, was one of 204 Members of the House who voted to bar the transfer of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia. Now we need them to stand up to Saudi Arabia again. 

Call Rep. Jared Huffman, now at (202) 225-5161. When you reach a staffer or leave a message, you can say something like:

"On June 16, you voted to ban the transfer of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia. I urge you to oppose the new Saudi arms deal. Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen is a humanitarian catastrophe and the U.S. should get out of it."

When you've made your call, please report it here.

If you haven't yet signed our petition to Congress against the Saudi arms deal, you can do that here.

Thanks for all you do to help make U.S. foreign policy more just.

* * *


by Dan Bacher

Consumer Watchdog, a Santa Monica-based consumer organization, on August 10 released an alarming report claiming that oil, gas and utilities gave $9.8 million to Governor Jerry Brown and his causes, often within days of winning big favors.

Consumer Watchdog is known for following the Big Money, especially fossil fuel money, and its impact on California politics. The report’s findings challenge the hypocrisy of Brown's continual posing as a “climate leader” as his administration makes decision after decision favoring the fossil fuel industry and utilities.

“The timing of energy industry donations around important legislation and key pro-industry amendments, as well as key regulatory decisions in which Brown personally intervened, raises troubling questions about whether quid pro quos are routine for this administration,” said consumer advocate Liza Tucker, author of the report, in a press release. “While Brown paints himself as a foe of fossil fuels, his Administration promoted reckless oil drilling, burning dirty natural gas to make electricity, and used old hands from industry and government, placed in key regulatory positions, to protect the fossil fuel-reliant energy industry.”

After releasing the report online at 10 am, Consumer Watchdog President, Jamie Court, and Executive Director, Carmen Balber, held a press conference in Santa Monica at 10:30 am. They discussed the report and answered questions from media participating in the event.

As they talked, they displayed visuals, including a timeline chart detailing the money in and the favors out and a photo chart of Brown Administration energy industry Insiders who executed the favors.

You can download the report here:

You can view a short video summarizing the report here:

The report claims that twenty-six energy companies including the state’s three major investor-owned utilities, Occidental, Chevron, and NRG—all with business before the state—donated $9.8 million to Jerry Brown’s campaigns, causes, and initiatives, and to the California Democratic Party since he ran for Governor.

“Donations were often made within days or weeks of winning favors,” the group said. “The three major investor-owned utilities alone contributed nearly $6 million.”

Court said "an exhaustive review” of campaign records, publicly-released emails and other documents at, court filings, and media reports, shows that Brown “personally intervened" in regulatory decisions favoring the energy industry.”

Energy companies tracked by the report donated $4.4 million to the Democratic Party, and the Democratic Party gave $4.7 million to Brown’s re-election. “Earmarking to the Democratic Party is illegal," Court pointed out.

Court said it is forwarding its report to the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).

I am waiting to a response to my request for a comment about the Consumer Watchdog report from the Governor's Office.

In response to the report, Brown spokesman Evan Westrup told the San Diego Union Tribune, “The governor’s leadership on climate is unmatched. These claims are downright cuckoo.”

“Westrup cited a host of Brown policies and decisions since he was elected in 2010 that were aimed at protecting the environment," the publication said. (

Consumer Watchdog strongly disagrees that these claims are "downright cuckoo.”

“Evidence strongly suggests that the timing of certain donations may have elicited or rewarded legislative or regulatory action on behalf of these companies," said Court.

“Most egregious” examples of Brown’s service to fossil fuel industry exposed

Among the most “egregious examples” detailed in the report are the following, according to Consumer Watchdog's summary:

  • ”Southern California Edison donated $130,000 to the California Democratic Party, its largest contribution up until that time, on the same day PUC President Michael Peevey cut a secret deal with an SCE executive in Warsaw, Poland to make ratepayers cover 70 percent of the $4.7 billion cost to close the fatally flawed San Onofre nuclear plant. Brown backed the dirty deal, telling Edison’s CEO personally, according to an email from the CEO uncovered by the Public Records Act, that he was willing to tell the media on the day of the plant’s shuttering that the company was acting responsibly and focused on the right things. Three days prior to SCE’s announcement that it would close San Onofre permanently, the company donated $25,000 to the California Democratic Party
  • Emails from PG&E’s top lobbyist Brian Cherry to his boss claim that Brown personally intervened with a PUC Commissioner to persuade him to approve a natural gas-fired power plant called Oakley for the utility. In a January 1, 2013 email, Cherry described a New Year’s Eve dinner with Peevey where Peevey reminded him “how he and Governor Brown used every ounce of persuasion to get [Commissioner Mark] Ferron to change his mind and vote for Oakley…Jerry’s direct plea was decisive.” PG&E donated $20,000 to the California Democratic Party the day after the PUC voted for the project. An appeals court would later strike down the decision because PG&E had not proved its necessity.
  • While PG&E’s lobbyist and then-PUC President Michael Peevey fed names to Brown’s executive secretary, former PG&E vice president Nancy McFadden, to appoint the critical swing-vote PUC commissioner who would cast pro-utility votes, PG&E donated $75,000 to the California Democratic Party. The same day that Brown appointed ex-banker Mark Ferron to the commission, PG&E donated another $41,500. The appointment lifted the value of PG&E’s stock and the PG&E stock held by McFadden and valued as high as $1 million.
  • Chevron donated $135,000 to the California Democratic Party the same day lawmakers exempted a common method of well stimulation from legislation meant to regulate fracking. After the bill passed with an amendment dropping a moratorium on fracking permits, Occidental gave $100,000 to one of Brown’s favorite causes, the Oakland Military Institute. Brown signed the weakened bill. On December 23, 2013, Chevron donated $350,000 to the Democratic Party. On December 30, the Democratic Party donated $300,000 to Brown for Governor 2014, while Chevron donated the maximum to Brown’s campaign, $54,400, on the same day. Less than two months later, Brown came out publicly to oppose a proposed oil severance tax. The weakened fracking bill also helped Nancy McFadden who held up to $100,000 in Linn Energy that would acquire Berry Petroleum and its 3,000 California fracking wells.
  • Occidental’s attorney, former Governor Gray Davis, successfully pressured Brown to fire two oil and gas regulators who wouldn’t grant oil waste injection permits without proof that aquifers would not be contaminated. Two months later, when Brown’s new interim oil and gas supervisor granted Occidental a permit without an environmental review, Occidental contributed $250,000 to Prop 30, Brown’s ballot measure to raise taxes, then another $100,000 two weeks later to his favored Oakland Military Institute. Seven months later, Occidental made a second $250,000 donation to Prop 30.
  • Brown’s climate change bill, SB 350, gave utilities a monopoly on electric vehicle infrastructure and large-scale renewable energy projects by excluding rooftop solar from the state’s renewable portfolio standard. Three weeks after a last-minute amendment granting utilities access to a regional grid, PG&E donated $80,000 to the Democratic Party. The utility donated another $50,000 three weeks after the bill was chaptered. Utility stocks increased by at least 14 percent within two months.
  • Power plant developer NRG wasn’t a Brown donor until the company cut a sweetheart deal with the PUC to settle the state’s case over its 2001 electricity price manipulation, touted as a win by the Governor’s office. Rather than paying back the state, the company was allowed to spend $100 million of its $120 million fine to build electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Two months later, NRG began donations to Brown, his causes, and his party that would come to $105,000. A lawsuit against the PUC, filed by electric charging station competitor Ecotality, called the deal illegal because it awarded a monopoly to an out-of-state company.
  • Lawmakers sent Brown a package of six PUC reform bills in 2015 which would have increased oversight, transparency and accountability at the PUC, and received unanimous, bipartisan support. Brown vetoed the reform bills on October 12, 2015. One week later, PG&E donated $50,000 to the Democratic Party. In December, PG&E donated another $175,000 to the Party.

Brown’s top staffers—Executive Secretary Nancy McFadden and former Cabinet Secretary Dana Williamson—both former PG&E executives, were paid roughly $100,000 each by the California Democratic Party for consulting and fundraising services at various times between 2013 and 2016.

Jerry Brown’s family and other personal ties to industry insiders also appear to play a role in his Administration’s decisions to promote the interests of the utilities and the oil and gas industry at the expense of consumers.

Brown’s sister, Kathleen, was given a seat on Sempra’s board of directors in June 2013, just as lawmakers amended fracking legislation to drop a moratorium on fracking permits. As of April 2016, Kathleen Brown had earned $691,300 for her board service at Sempra, parent company of Southern California Gas which is responsible for the massive Aliso Canyon natural gas well blowout that caused the biggest methane leak in U.S. history. Governor Brown issued an emergency order that ensured secrecy around the blowout investigation, has waged a campaign through his energy regulators to keep Aliso open and has kept information and data involving the blowout secret from the public. Sempra stock has increased by 116% since Brown took office, more than any other utility.

Kathleen Brown also served on the board of real estate and oil company Forestar Group—which owns 700 acres next to Porter Ranch, a community drastically affected by the leak, where Forestar plans to build luxury homes, and another 1,000 acres of oil and gas interests in California. Kathleen holds $749,000 worth of Forestar stock. She now sits on the board of Renew Financial, a private funder of renewable energy projects that stands to benefit from SB 350. She stepped down from Forestar one month after Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency at Aliso Canyon.

Governor Brown supported, appointed and hired a group of old hands from previous administrations and the energy industry that have played a role in policies promoting the fossil-fuel natural gas system. Brown’s Dirty Hands details how the revolving door of industry insiders, including former PUC President Michael Peevey, now under criminal investigation for corruption at the PUC, was supported and installed by Brown and his top aides. The report details crucial moments for the energy industry contributors through the Administration’s course and how Brown sided with them.

A number of the examples of Brown administration service to the fossil fuel industry documented in this report have been published in articles covered by the mainstream and alternative media, including articles I have written. However, this is the first time that anybody has combined the many examples of how oil, gas and utilities gave millions to Governor Jerry Brown and his causes, often within days of winning big favors, in one comprehensive report.

In over 30 years of covering fish, water, conservation and environmental justice in California, this is one of the most significant and disturbing reports about regulatory capture and “play to pay" politics I have ever read.

I will report on responses to the report as I receive them. I encourage anybody interested in reading the report to download it at:

Brown’s anti-environmental legacy exposed

Brown's service to the fossil fuel industry, as documented in the Consumer Watchdog report, is just one of the many anti-environmental policies of the Brown administration that I have covered in article after article.

The Governor is promoting as his legacy the Delta Tunnels/California Water Fix, the most environmentally destructive public works project in California history that poses a huge threat to the ecosystems of the Sacramento, San Joaquin, Klamath and Trinity river systems. As Brown relentlessly pushes the tunnels plan, his administration 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 Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) 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.

Brown may spout “green” rhetoric when he flies off to climate conferences and issues proclamations about John Muir Day and Earth Day, but 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:

* * *


Some highlights are:

Intro to Viticulture, an exciting 1 day a week course which takes you out to many local vineyards

Landscape Construction, a very hands-on class the Intro to Horticulture, where you can learn the basics of plant science needed to grow beautiful, healthy plants.

Plant Identification, where most of the time is spent in landscapes in the area learning how to identify and use ornamental plants in a landscape.

For additional information about any of these classes please contact;

Jake Kyle, Agriculture Technician 468-3148

Jim Xerogeanes, Instructor 468-3218

Classes start August 22, 2016

* * *


It wasn't only that a Proclamation from San Francisco's City Hall made August 14th "Festival of the Chariots Day", or that the actual procession of Deities enthroned on three highly decorated traditional Indian parade carts rope-pulled by devotees went through the heart of Golden Gate Park, with three thousand blissed out chanting bhakti yogis continuously belting out the maha mantram, or that the temple president revealed that he is a skilled percussionist, drumming intensely as part of the backup for world class sitar maestro Habib Khan who performed for the occasion, or the five course FREE prasadam feast which never ran out, but rather it is the fact that chanting Hare Krishna, staying centered, and letting all without take care of itself, is still the perfect way to be on the earth plane. Today simply redefined what we've known for years. ~The Maha Mantram~ Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Craig Louis Stehr

August 14, 2016

San Francisco



  1. Jim Updegraff August 16, 2016

    I have reenter the fray – my computer was down for a couple of days.

    Giants: yesterday they lost to Pittsburgh 8-5. Moore (7-9) was the loser. Aside from Bumgarner who seems to be back on track the pitching staff is floundering.

    If each of America’s 91 million gardening households planted one shade tree, those trees would absorb 2,25 million tons of CO2 annually. Bruce, how many shade trees have you planted at your site for AVA?

    NASA has reported July was the hottest month on record.

    Louis: Your example of the central bank in Venezuela was for very obvious reasons not a good example.My thoughts on the Federal Bank Reserve system are reflective of my education at U. C. Berkeley. If I gone to the University of Chicago my views probably would reflect a different view. I was wondering at what college/university did you take your courses in economics?

    • LouisBedrock August 16, 2016


      I’m not sure what you are referring to.
      Are you alluding to one of BB’s out of context looney quotes?

      I minored in economics a long time ago at a small liberal arts college.
      Much of what I learned is obsolete.

      I try to stay abreast of developments through reading Michael Parenti, Noam Chomsky, The Left Review, The Left Business Observer when Doug henwood decides to publish it, The Monthly Review, and the business section of the Spanish newspaper El País.

      My overwhelming sense is that capitalism is destroying itself and the world.
      Nothing matters but the bottom line and dividends for the investors; retailers, workers, consumers, and the environment are not concerns of multinational corporations that owe allegiance to nothing else, no one else but their shareholders.

      I am neutral on the question of central bank, but share the hatred of many people for The Federal Reserve and The World Bank. The first is a for-profit corporation, something no country’s central bank should be; the World Bank is a financial weapon used to advance the interests of the rentier class of the United States and the corporations they control.

      • LouisBedrock August 17, 2016


        You probably were referring to this:

        “Central Banks manipulate economies with credit/debt.
        Venezuela has a central bank.”

        Apparently the feebleminded BB was trying to construct a syllogism.
        However she omitted either the minor premise or the conclusion—I cannot deduct which. Perhaps she’s omitted the conclusion and her syllogism should have looked like this:

        Central banks manipulate economies with credit/debt.
        Venezuela has a Central Bank.
        Therefore socialism has obliged Venezuelans to eat their dogs and cats.

        If the minor premise is missing, perhaps BB was trying to say:

        Central Banks manipulate economies with credit/debit.
        Socialist economies with credit /debit oblige people to eat their dogs and cats.
        Therefore, Venezuela has a central bank.

  2. Bruce Anderson August 16, 2016

    One apple, one willow. The front area of our property where the ava office is, is a work in progress. We’re still mulling over what trees would do best in direct sun.

  3. BB Grace August 16, 2016

    Maybe MRC can help; I hear they give away promotional trees.

    • George Hollister August 16, 2016

      Go to the Forestry Center at the State Fair. Trees are given away there. I know, it is a long drive.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *