- Upper Low
- Flatten Investigation
- Little Dog
- Wildflower Show
- Paper Tariff
- Cannabis Authority
- Chest Bite
- GP Trail
- Shelter Stats
- Big Truck
- KZYX Audit
- Poetry Marathon
- Yesterday's Catch
- Patty's Pardon
- Disease Business
- Gun Play
- Dulcimer Concert
- Ignorant Bigots
- Plutocrat Coup
- Student Showcase
- Edge of Sports
- Delta Stewardship
- Just Us
- Airport Monopoly
- Competent Character
AN UPPER-LEVEL LOW will track across southern Oregon and northwest California, bringing showers and isolated thunderstorms along with substantially cooler weather through Sunday. High pressure will return with drier and milder weather next week. (National Weather Service)
ROHNERT PARK POLICE OFFICERS BEING INVESTIGATED Following Two Incidents Where Humboldt County Cannabis Was Seized Under Suspicious Circumstances
by Kym Kemp
Rohnert Park police officers Sgt. Jacy Tatum and Officer Joseph Huffaker have been placed on administrative leave and are under an internal investigation after a pair of articles we wrote describing allegations that officers had illegally seized Humboldt County grown cannabis during a traffic stop lead to an apparent cover up attempt. In our articles, Zeke Flatten drew attention to irregularities in the conduct of the police officers whom he alleges confiscated three pounds of cannabis from him on December 5 near the Mendocino/Sonoma County line.
Part of the alleged cover up included accusing Mr. Flatten of transporting 30 pounds of cannabis. According to our investigation, these pounds belonged to a Humboldt County farmer whose product was also confiscated in a suspicious manner as it was being transported south in the latter half of December. Recently, Mr. Flatten says efforts have been made to intimidate his wife and silence him.
On February 11, we posted two stories about Mr. Flatten, who alleged that two law enforcement officers, including one that he believes “with almost certainty” to have been then Hopland Tribal Police Chief Steven Hobb, stopped him and illegally removed three pounds of Humboldt County cannabis from his rental vehicle a few miles north of the Mendocino/Sonoma county line. Hobb, who has left his position with the Hopland Tribe and is now working as an officer for the city of Clearlake denies this.
Mr. Flatten alleges he was pulled over about 10 miles south of Hopland by an unmarked black SUV on December 5. Two men got out of the vehicle dressed in green uniforms with raid style vests lettered with the word “POLICE.” They swiftly seized the cannabis he was carrying without leaving an inventory of the items confiscated, and left him without searching his vehicle in “less than 5 minutes.” As they were leaving, one of the two men told him they were with the ATF, a federal agency that doesn’t recognize state cannabis laws.
Mr. Flatten, however, had worked extensively with the ATF on at least one case while he worked as an undercover officer. And, ironically, according to Mr. Flatten, the man’s parting words, while intended to squelch any complaints, actually made him more inclined to believe the stop was illegal. He said that the ATF are professionals who collect evidence properly, unlike the officers that had confiscated his three pounds.
During the stop, both officers had handled Mr. Flatten’s rental car paperwork. Later, he carefully sealed the paperwork away to preserve any fingerprints on it. But, so far, no law enforcement agency has attempted to develop prints and match them with suspects.
On February 13, two days after the stories were published, former Mendocino County Undersheriff Randy Johnson who was in charge of investigating Mr. Flatten’s allegations because it occurred in their jurisdiction sent us a press release he said showed that Mr. Flatten had actually been pulled over legally by the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety (Rohnert Park’s police force). He said the Mendocino Sheriff’s Department would no longer be looking into Flatten’s incident, because as he told us in a later interview, “Our investigation showed [the stop] was done by a legitimate agency.”
The press release issued by Rohnert Park described a marijuana seizure that occurred at some unspecified time in December. (Download and read the Press Release from Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety here.) It did not name Zeke Flatten nor did it identify the date the stop allegedly occurred. According to the press release, the officers confiscated an unspecified but “large amount” of cannabis. However, there were no details that would link that stop to that of Mr. Flatten on December 5.
However, the press release gave a case number, RPK 17-5373, and named two Rohnert Park officers as contacts — Sgt. J. Tatum and Commander J. Taylor.
When contacted, Commander Jeff Taylor said he was unable to find the report on which the press release issued two days before under his supervision was allegedly based. He asked for more time.
After over a week of attempting to recontact him, on February 26, Commander Aaron Johnson of the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety responded to us but refused to answer any questions about the case. He did say that both Taylor and Tatum, the officers listed on the press release, were on medical leave.
In response to a public records act request, the city eventually responded 24 days later with the Incident/Investigation report for Case RPK 17-5373 as well as some though not all of the information requested. Though the report states that the stop occurred on December 5, the date Zeke Flatten had been pulled over, the time listed (1 p.m.) does not coincide with evidence Flatten provided us, which included a timestamped gas receipt for 11:50 a.m. in Hopland and records of a phone call made after the incident to his wife at 12:15 p.m. from the Starbucks parking lot in Cloverdale. His documents indicate the stop occurred around 12 p.m.
In addition, the vehicle listed in the report by Sgt. Tatum is a white Mercedes SUV that did not have a license plate. Flatten has a rental agreement corroborating his account that he was driving a white Kia with California plates.
Furthermore, though Flatten claimed that only three pounds were in his vehicle, the officer filing the report, Sgt. Jacy Tatum (who was also listed as a contact on the press release) claimed that a “total of approximately 30 pounds was located along with several hundred containers of concentrated marijuana hash.” In addition, the attached Evidence/Property Report showed Officer Joseph Huffaker had placed 30 pounds of marijuana into evidence. (Note: The “several hundred containers of concentrated marijuana hash” were not mentioned further but we later learned they hadn’t been confiscated.)
However, though the document claimed that the stop originated on December 5, the 30 pounds of marijuana they claimed they seized on that date wasn’t entered into evidence until December 19–two weeks later. Chain of custody rules require officers to document where seized evidence is kept. But, there was no explanation offered for where the 30 pounds of marijuana allegedly seized two weeks earlier had been located. [Read Sgt. Tatum’s account here.]
In addition, the Rohnert Park cases filed before and after the one listed on the press release were both dated December 19. Police report numbers are usually sequential and cases are normally filed in chronological order. Why would one that allegedly took place on December 5 be filed between two cases on December 19? Unless, of course, it did not take place on December 5 as claimed…
The officers’ account also does not list normal information gathered during a stop–the license of the driver, the VIN number or plate number of the vehicle, and the address of the driver.
The officer’s report though seemed at times very detailed. Sgt. Tatum described, for instance, that a California Highway Patrol officer and his trainee arrived at the scene to “assist us.” The details led this reporter to believe that the report likely described a real stop–but not one that involved Mr. Flatten.
Our investigation led to a Humboldt County farmer whose cannabis had been seized from the Mercedes Benz and, eventually, also the driver, both of whom wish to remain anonymous. The driver said he had gotten his temporary California cannabis permit and he had headed south in the last half of December from Humboldt County with 30 pounds and also with containers of hash.
He said he was stopped by two law enforcement officers in a black unmarked SUV. He said, “They were wearing almost civilian clothes, but they were wearing a tactical vest with their [personal] name on the vest.”
He said he was almost immediately suspicious. As with Mr. Flatten’s stop, the officers didn’t follow normal procedures. “[The officer] didn’t ask for my registration,” the Benz driver said. “He asked me immediately to get out of the car. He didn’t run my license.”
When asked if he had any marijuana, he said he told the officer that he did but told the officer, “Everything is legal” and offered to show his manifest. The officers requested to see his cargo. One of the things the Benz driver said he found disturbing is the officers asked him several questions about what strains of marijuana he had and didn’t seem interested at all in the hash he was also carrying which seemed odd to him. The officers told him they were taking the marijuana but would leave him the hash. The Benz driver said because he felt he was legally transporting the 30 pounds of cannabis, he argued with the officers. “At least give me an inventory [of the items taken],” the Benz driver said he asked the officers. He said he intended to use the receipt from the officers to have his attorney argue for the return of the cannabis.
According to the Benz driver, one of the officers began to get hostile and started threatening that they could arrest him and also confiscate his hash. He said they told him that they were “associated with the federal government” and didn’t have to follow state law.
Eventually, said the Benz driver, a California Highway Patrol vehicle with two officers drove up and parked behind the first officers’ vehicle. Though the Benz driver never actually spoke to the CHP, at this point, he said he began to believe the stop must be legitimate and stopped arguing with the original officers. He left the scene still carrying the containers of hash but leaving behind the 30 pounds of cannabis with the officers.
He does say that afterward, like Mr. Flatten, he also called the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department and lodged a complaint. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department says they don’t have a record of either complaint.
Capt. Bruce Carpenter of the California Highway Patrol confirmed that two of his officers, though they couldn’t remember the exact date, did remember coming across the two Rohnert Park officers after the officers had pulled over the Mercedes Benz. He wrote, “They had no contact with the driver of the stopped vehicle and did not know what actions were ultimately taken by the Rohnert Park Officers.”
At the end of the Incident/Investigation Report filed by Sgt. Tatum, he states that the case was forwarded to the “DA’s Officer for filing.” However, an aide for the Sonoma County District Attorney told us, “I’ve looked every which way in our system and we do not have it.”
A report generated from Rohnert Park shows that Officer Joe Huffaker entered the 30 pounds of marijuana as “Found Property”–they were not originally booked as evidence but rather as incidental items. That, along with the officers’ failure to gather basic evidence such as the Mercedez Benz’s driver’s license number seems to indicate that the 30 pounds were never intended to be part of a criminal case.
Terry Simpson from Simpson Investigative Services Group contacted this reporter and Zeke Flatten several times during the course of what he characterized as an “Administrative Investigation for the City of Rohnert Park on the complaint of Mr. Flatten.”
Simpson said that he believes the two stories posted February 11 on this website detailing Mr. Flatten’s allegations about having three pounds of cannabis stolen by law enforcement officers led to the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety press release on February 13. He also revealed that he believes that the investigative report written by Sgt. Tatum which accuses Zeke Flatten of having “30 pounds…along with several hundred containers of concentrated marijuana hash” was not written until February 20, a week after the press release and around 11 weeks after Mr. Flatten was stopped by law enforcement on December 5.
Simpson stressed several times, verbally and in writing, that neither the City of Rohnert Park nor he were attempting to build a case against either Mr. Flatten or the Mercedes Benz driver. He did write to Mr. Flatten that “the officers are on Admin leave and will stay on it until I’m done.”
Later, he told this reporter, “People that are doing wrong are going to pay for it.” He stressed that did not at all mean Zeke Flatten or the Mercedes Benz driver.
At one point on this last Tuesday, he asked the question at the bottom of this investigation…”What the hell happened to Mr. Flatten’s 3 pounds?” Likely, only the officers involved in Zeke Flatten’s stop can answer that question…and they’re not talking.
Meanwhile, Mr. Flatten says that he discovered in the last week that his phone has been cloned. According to Slate Magazine, this lets the person with the clone “intercept incoming messages and send outgoing ones as if [the clone] were the original. If both phones are near the same broadcast tower, you can also listen in on calls.”
Over the weekend, Flatten wrote this reporter, “Everything I’ve done on my phone has been [sent] to another device for an undetermined amount of time. There’s evidence I’ve been under digital and physical surveillance and most likely they are aware [the clone] has been discovered.”
He also believes that his wife was followed in her vehicle and briefly cornered as an intimidation tactic. Flatten says he believes the cloning and the intimidation have occurred because someone “want[s] the rental contract and the potential fingerprint evidence.” He said that the rental car contract handled by the officers during his stop could lead to at least one other officer besides Sgt. Tatum and Officer Huffaker being involved in taking his three pounds and not entering them into evidence.
He has filed reports about the cloning and surveillance with both the police in the city he is staying in and the FBI.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “I like Brandon Belt, so let's get that straight right outta the batter's box. The other night these guys are watching the ball game, groaning every time Belt came up. "Trade him now!" "$16 million a year for this?" And so on. But just as one of them said, "Watch him take a called third strike," my boy Brandon jacks one clear into McCovey Cove! Go, Brandon!”
WILDFLOWER SHOW 2018
Every year is a little different. This year the flowers were a bit late in blooming, but we were still able to have a beautiful sampling. Our show this year was dedicated to Robin Lindsey, a most beautiful lady, who helped make our past shows so successful. We dearly miss her humor and can do spirit.
We would like to thank everyone who made the 2018, Wildflower Show such a success. The Sanhedrin Chapter of the California Native Plant Society returned this year and had books and posters to offer and was kept busy with many visitors questions. There was also an Edible Native Plant table with recipes, samples, and lots of information about foraging.
New this year, a display of bryophytes; which are mosses, liverworts and lichens. Jade Paget-Seekins was responsible for this extensive display and along with a detailed poster, showing these miniature wonders of the plant world.
Thank you to Anderson Valley High School’s art instructor, Nadia Berrigan, whose students produced stunning photos and paintings for display at the show. The Garden Section Club voted on the art and photos and the top three winners received $50 each.
An invasive plant table with specimens, pictures and information regarding the damage these plants cause to native species provided a necessary counterpoint.
Another component for the show was a Lyme disease exhibit presented by Sue Davies. Many brochures and even live ticks (in a covered jar), were available offering extensive information about preventive measures and dangers associated with Lyme.
We continued our speaker program this year presenting a variety of talks. We thank Mary Pat Palmer for her presentation on medicinal plant preparations; Jade Paget-Seekins for her talk on bees and use of a key in plant identification, and Lee Siri and Barbara Deutsch for information on butterflies with a beautiful live Dutchmans Pipe Vine Butterfly in attendance.
This year we had a bounty of raffle prizes provided by our members. In addition to the members donations we wish to thank the Sanhedrin Chapter of CNPS for donating two sling packs with journals and a beautiful Spring Wildflower poster and The Puzzle People for a sweet hummingbird puzzle.
A big thank you to Shirley Hulbert, and company for the delicious food served in the tea room.
We wish to thank the following people who helped our club members with collections, identification, the raffle, plant donations, set-up or cleanup: Michelle Hutchins, Jade Paget-Seekins, Sheryl Green, Lynn Halpern, Wally Hopkins, Hans Hickenlooper, Kristy Hotchkiss, Scott Hulbert, Sarah McCarter, Rick Bonner, Melanie Holloway, and Tom Shaver.
Our wildflower collectors this year benefited again from updated and a much improved collection route book courtesy of our own Nancy Wood.
Thank you to Jody and the Fairgrounds staff for all their help. Thanks to Robert Rosen, the Anderson Valley Brewery and the AV Methodist Church for allowing us to place our banners, advertising our event, on their respective fences.
We are extending an invitation to community members to join us in next year’s wild flower adventure. We would love additional collectors, and especially those interested in identifying plants. Contributors with new ideas can only help to improve this community event. We want more of our community members to be an integral part and help make this show even better. Interested? Please contact Robyn Harper at 895-2609.
Robyn Harper, and the Anderson Valley Unity Club Garden Section
ANOTHER NAIL IN THE COFFIN
Re: Newsprint Price Increase
Printing and publishing newspapers just became more difficult. The United States Commerce Department's decision to impose tariffs on Canadian paper makers has spiked the price of newsprint industry-wide by 30%. Along with this price increase, newsprint supplies are tight. We buy paper from three suppliers and presently have enough paper to meet your needs. However, the price per roll varies by supplier and when it is purchased. We will continue to add surcharges as needed through May 1, 2018. I encourage all of you to participate in STOPP — stop tariffs on Print and Publishers — and urge your readers to do so also. If this decision is reversed, prices will adjust accordingly. Thank you for your continued business with Healdsburg Printing. Please contact us if you have any questions.
Sincerely, Joe Vetter, Healdsburg Printing Inc.,
ED NOTE: Publishing industry comment on this tariff says that it is a thinly-veiled attack on the media which is largely despised by the current federal administration.
CORINNE POWELL, elder stateswoman and regular spokesrep at the Supervisors meetings for the legal branch of the local cannabis industry told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that the County’s participation in “a Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement for the California Cannabis Authority” was a bad idea:
Powell: “The last thing we need is another layer of regulation and taxation. Throughout the document presented in the packet the terminology of ‘robust regulation and taxation regime’ was repeated many times. For those of you who have been following the developments after ALMA (California pot legalization law) came into effect in this year I'm sure you have heard that over-regulation and taxation have been the greatest barriers to cultivators and other businesses in the cannabis industry joining legalization. So I suggest — and it sounds like all of you are very interested in moving forward with this — I urge you to just wait awhile. Let's see how some of these things work out. Because the last thing we need is a third body after the county's track and trace with SIPCA which doesn't connect to the state’s track and trace, and now we are going to have a third data agency imposed on the industry. This is really unnecessary at this time. Anyone who believes that taxation is going to produce revenues rolling in is just crazy. Please reconsider.”
Powell’s suggestion fell on deaf ears. Supervisors cited the possibility that the Authority would somehow improve banking problems related to pot, also public safety improvements would ensue through reduced cash volume and crime potential, getting in early to effect policy, better reporting, etc.
Board Chair Hamburg conceded that there was “some validity to what Corinne said,” but considered the Authority to be a way to facilitate processes and banking, adding, "Or I hope it will, we’re betting on the come. I hope it’s not another regulatory agency. It doesn’t appear that way to me.”
The Board voted 5-0 to join the Authority. For the time being, the cost is a small fraction of the gross pot taxes. But subject to change.
COVELO LOVE STORY
On 04-21-2018 at about 1:50 PM, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to a reported domestic disturbance in the 100 block of Poma Way in Covelo. Upon arrival Deputies learned a 28 year-old male and his wife, Cesley Williams, recently separated.
Williams arrived at the male's house and started banging on the front door, demanding to enter the house and retrieve her belongings. The male opened the door then closed the door leaving Williams outside. Williams started banging again and yelling obscenities at the male through the door. The male opened the door at which time Williams spit in his face. Williams then hit the male in the face and punched him in the back of the head with a closed fist before he was able to push Williams away from him. Williams was able to push past the male at which time she ran to the rear of the interior of the house. The male and Williams ended up in a physical confrontation, where Williams bit the male in the chest causing a traumatic injury. Both Williams and the male refused medical treatment. The Deputies observed bite marks to the male’s chest. After further investigation the Deputies determined Williams was the primary aggressor. The Deputies had dispatch run a warrants and probation check on Williams and learned she was currently on Mendocino County Probation. Williams was subsequently placed under arrest for felony domestic battery and violation of probation. Williams was transported and booked into the Mendocino County Jail where she was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
ANIMAL SHELTER STATISTICS FOR MARCH, 2018
- 12 feral cats received
- 28 owner surrendered animals received
- 31 cats, 144 dogs, three livestock animals, one bird, one
- 180 total stray animals received
March 1, 2018 through March 31, 2018
- 37 dogs adopted
- Eight cats adopted
- One other animal(s) adopted
- 37 animals transferred to rescue organizations
- 54 animals were returned to their owners
- Seven owner-surrendered animals euthanized
- Seven cats and 16 dogs - shelter animals euthanized
- Live release rate of approximately 92.62%
Amnesty Day — On Saturday April 7, 2018, the Animal Care Services Team sold 257 spay and neutered pet licenses, 55 intact pet licenses, and three kennel permits. Additionally, 104 dogs were vaccinated and 33 microchips were implanted for the dog owners of Mendocino County, resulting in $11,212 in revenue.
(Mendocino County CEO Report)
(Photo by Susie de Castro)
CHRIS SKYHAWK, MCN Listserve, wrote: A forum with all five 5th District candidates occurred on April 9 at the Anderson Valley Grange. It was recorded by KZYX and will be broadcast this Friday at 7PM.
Marco McClean replied: Chris, speaking of KZYX, I'd like to know, how did last week's secret federal CPB audit of the corrupt management of KZYX turn out? There's nothing about it on the station's website. The 5-minutes-per-day newsperson hasn't uttered a peep. I think that's important news that should be gone into in depth on the air with all parties present and the phones live. Suggest it from the Rooseveltian bully pulpit of 5th District supervisor candidacy while you can. Also suggest that the so-called manager of KZYX pay the dozens of airpeople for the work they do that's really responsible for the hundreds of thousands of dollars a year that the frauds in the office squirrel away for themselves and suck entirely out of the station, while all the transmitters and STLs and studio equipment and microphones and lights and computers all running at the same time, whether the content is relevant or not, costs no more than a dollar an hour for electricity, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant always pays for all the syndicated shows several times over, so it's not as if a properly-run KZYX would have to be strapped for cash and poormouthing it all the time. In the real world, a real manager of a real radio station can easily pay the airpeople before he pays himself.
In other news: This amazing time-lapse view from the Rosetta mission lander of the surface of Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko over 25 minutes, sped up to be one second long and loop. It reminds me of the feeling of the /Borderland/ episode of the original /Outer Limits/ teevee show. I was four years old, watching that in 1963; it's a strong memory. A weird black-and-white other world but just as real as this one, and right there and so interesting.
And here's the very episode (50 min.): https://archive.org/details/TheOuterLimits-Tos-1x12-TheBorderland.avi
And another of my favorites episodes of /Outer Limits/-- one of several comical ones: Controlled Experiment (50 min.): https://archive.org/details/TheOuterLimitsTOS1x16ControlledExperiment
THIRTY-NINE POETS IN MENDOCINO
Theresa Whitehill and Devreaux Baker read Sharon Doubiago Mendocino Spring Poetry Celebration 2018
Photo & audio: Dan Roberts; Sharon Doubiago: Body (1:42)
Lively numbers! The 43d Anniversary Mendocino Spring Poetry Celebration, in its 13th annual revival, hosted 39 poets on Sunday, April 22, at The Hill House in Mendocino. It was 43 years ago that Sharon Doubiago organized a seminal three-day marathon of poetry in Mendocino town, and some of those participants continue writing here. Morover, the annual revival has attracted a diversity of poets from the north counties and beyond.
Poets reading were Devreaux Baker, Theresa Whitehill, Riantee Rand, Karen Lewis, Victoria, Mark McGovern, Ronnie Holland, Kirk Lumpkin, Jay Frankston, Liz Helenchild, Madame Chinchilla, Jabez Churchill, Janet DeBar, Janferie Stone, Mitch Clogg, Oasis, Dan Roberts, Marilyn Motherbear, Sherry Glaser, Dan Barth, Jamie Armstrong, Gordon Black, Maureen Eppstein, Joe Smith, Priscilla Comen, Deborah Moore, Bill Bradd, Lauren Sinnott, Michal Riedell, Virginia Sharkey, Sam Edwards, Zachary Simons, Scott Croghan, Harriet Gleeson, David Partch, Larry Fuente, Mary Detton, Debbie Stark, and Christie Holliday.
The annual marathon ran once in the afternoon, with a break for town and headlands, and once again in the evening. David Partch provided intermezzos with guitar and vocals. The event producer was Gordon Black. The poems were recorded by Dan Roberts for KZYX&Z FM during coming months on Dan's program of music and poetry, Rhythm Running River, heard from 2:00 to 4:00 PM on alternate Sundays, and broadcast to the world on the Web at kzyx.org.
Photos of the readers have been mounted by Dan Roberts on his Facebook page. Tap the first pic and all the rest will appear.
We hope to see and hear you next year at the 14th Annual Revival of the Mendocino Spring Poetry Celebration!
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 26, 2018
DEVANTA DERBIGNY, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, special allegation: great bodily injury to a person over 70 years of age, counterfeiting.
ELYASHIYB DEVINE, Willits. Felon with stun gun, probation revocation.
ADRIANNA ESCALERA, Potter Valley. Probation revocation.
JESSICA EWING, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
BLAYNE KENNARD, Ukiah. DUI.
LEE LONG, Ukiah. Controlled substance, stolen property, probation revocation.
JUAN MENDOZA, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Under influence, probation revocation.
KENDALL MOULDER, Elk. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, competency status.
CYNTHIA PHILLIBER, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
KIMBERLY WARREN-HARVEY, Nice/Ukiah. Petty theft, failure to appear.
DAVID WOOTEN, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
THE POLITICS OF THE ‘TANIA’ HEARST CASE
by Warren Hinckle (1999)
Pardon me, but pardon Patty Hearst? What’s the rush? So she can vote Republican in Y2K? Presidents frequently drop pardons as one of their last acts in office, but the powerful Hearst Corporation is working Bill Clinton over one-and-one half years ahead of the time the pardon train usually leaves the station to cleanse newspaper heiress Patty Hearst of the Symbionese stain in her past.
Why the rush? Unless it’s part of a deal with the criminal division of the Justice Department to pardon Ms. Hearst, who married her former security guard and is now Mrs. Shaw and a soccer mom extraordinaire in suburban Connecticut, in return for her providing damaging testimony aiding the government’s case against another former SLA gun moll, Kathleen Soliah, now Mrs. Sara Jane Olson and also a soccer mom in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The FBI recently rudely yanked Soliah from a 23-year sojourn in domestic bliss to face trial in January on stale terrorism charges. San Francisco attorney Stuart Hanlon is defending.
Jimmy Carter, the president who saw a flying saucer, who, with the gentle prodding of the Hearst newspapers, commuted Patty’s prison sentence for bank robbery and urban guerrilla terrorism 20 years ago, has asked President Clinton to finish the job and pardon the girl. Al Gore and Janet Reno have also been massaged.
Funny, but the reason Carter, reading the lips of the Hearst press, gives for pardoning Patty — that she has led an exemplary life since the Symbionese Liberation Army dust-up and is now a “model citizen” with a daughter in her first year at Georgetown — applies exactly to Kathleen Soliah since her SLA tour of duty, down to the daughter in the first year of college. By any standard of fairness, the same reasons that Patty Hearst should be pardoned mandate that Kathleen Soliah should not be prosecuted.
There is abundantly more evidence that Patty Hearst participated in the fatal SLA bank robbery in the Sacramento suburb of Carmichael (including Hearst’s admission in her 1982 candidly honest memoir, “Every Secret Thing,” that she was in on the tragic SLA bank heist) than the feds have to pin Kathleen Soliah even remotely to explosive devices near a police car in Southern California.
Yet now-soccer mom Soliah is being charged with a crime for which investigators admit they have no evidence, while now-soccer mom Hearst, who has admitted to being involved in a fatal bank robbery, has never been charged with that crime. The sins of the bad upper class rich girl Tania Hearst (Patty took the name from the brave guerrilla lady who fought and died with Che Guevara, while at the same time spying on Che for the KGB — so rich are the contradictions of the left in their complexity!) seem to be on a different level on the Justice Department dipstick of changeable crimes than the sins of the more middling class Soliah whose only apparent level of post-SLA prosperity comes from marrying a middlewest emergency room doctor.
The genius of the government’s plan, if genius it be, to put the coffin lid on the memory of the SLA is that a full pardon for Hearst, as former president Carter has requested of sitting president Clinton, would mean in the exacting lexicon of Hearst lawyers a pardon for all crimes known and unknown while the heiress was in her Tania mode. That would save Mrs. Shaw the craven embarrassment of having to seek immunity from being charged in the Carmichael bank robbery, because she would have already been forgiven everything by the Bubba in the White House and would be free to say whatever might please the government in the prosecution of Kathleen Soliah, on a speedy course toward trial in January.
There are suggestions that this is what government prosecutors (some of whom at this late date were no doubt in diapers — not red — when the SLA was in heinous flower) are hankering for. Tania Hearst-Shaw complained during an appearance on Geraldo that she couldn’t see why the government wanted her on the witness stand since she was a convicted felon and who would believe her? A little pardon (in this case, big) would go a long way towards changing that situation — the closet, the sex, the guns, the denouncing of her patrimony as “Hearst pigs” and “insects on the body of the American people,” the newspaper heiress reaching the age of retainer underground with a price on her head, such ugly stuff that would be washed away with a full pardon — which is the version of reality that the Hearst family newspapers have been seeking since they prevailed on the ever-compliant Jimmy Carter to commute Patty’s sentence two decades ago. Now they are close to the candle, and close enough to burn another exemplary suburban mom, Sara Jane Olson/Kathleen Soliah, in the process.
As the late Howard Gossage used to say, something in this violates the decent opinion of mankind. It is not right that one soccer mom be so belatedly railroaded and martyred so that another might complete the legal cleansing process to pass country club inspection and regain the privilege of the ballot in time to vote for W. in the millennium election.
“The similarities between the post-SLA lives of these two women are remarkable, in some ways almost identical,” said Stuart Hanlon, the attorney for the now-Mrs. Olson.
The government’s mean-spirited approach to a classically dead case against the long-vanished Soliah however makes a cleansed-Tania’s testimony against her former revolutionary soulmate almost indispensable. The feds apparently don’t think much of their bombing case, an opinion in which they are not alone, but will advance a legal theory against Kathleen Soliah that amounts to charging her with conspiracy against the US government by violence. In such cases, evidence of other crimes by members of the conspiracy is considered relevant.
Thus the United States government, in the first month of the new century, is planning to put the Symbionese Liberation Army on trial. If the SLA is proven guilty, and then-Ms. Soliah is proven to be a willing member of the SLA — legal bingo!
The residual, irresistible impulse to prosecute the left is deep in the DNA of the Justice Department careerists. It is incidentally ironic that the American left, what there is left of it, hated the SLA. Both old and new left were at first horrified by the romantic terrorism of the Symbionese hoods who thought the way to improve education in the ghetto was to murder the school principal, and as the super-fem-rads running the SLA pursued their lonely, tragic search for the Fountain of Youth or a real revolutionary underground in America ended up despising the Symbionese perhaps even more than the right did; from the right perspective — the SLA was at least good red meat to be had. The feeling became mutual. “Man, if Angela Davis supported me, man, I’d commit suicide,” said Viet-vet turned SLA soldier Joe Remiro.
“I read every word of what Patty Hearst told the FBI and I think the government is going to have a hard time with this approach,” said Paul Avery, co-author of the most authoritative book on the SLA, “Voices of Guns.”
“The government didn’t believe her when they were debriefing her during the trial — even then Patty was snitching — so they didn’t use her as a witness in the trials of other SLA members. Even after her sentence was commuted, they didn’t use her to testify against Emily and Bill Harris,” Avery said.
But the insistent Hearsts want a pardon — and they have the carrot to hold out to Bill Clinton of the powerful upstate Albany Times-Union endorsing Mrs. Clinton for the Senate in New York state (the same Hillary-card political temptation is before the Clinton administration to let its Justice Department approve the challenged acquisition of the San Francisco Chronicle by Hearst to merge with its Examiner to make San Francisco a one-newspaper town.
Hearst tactics are rarely new, but often effective. The publisher of the Albany Times-Union, Timothy White, was sent to San Francisco early this year to take the helm of the Hearst flagship Examiner and hasten the Chronicle acquisition. Almost the first thing White did upon arriving in town was to offer Mayor Willie Brown — whom the editorial side of the Examiner fabulously hates — the Examiner’s endorsement for re-election if Brown would not oppose the merger. Brown opposed it.
Now a new generation of Justice Department zealots apparently wants to make sure that at least one soccer mom doesn’t get away with SLA murder back in the murky ages of the century.
“Getting a pardon for Patty in return for using her testimony against Kathleen is about the only way the government has a chance to convict her. I don’t think it’s much of a chance, but it’s their only chance. And I guess they’re going to take it,” said Avery, the author of “Voices of Guns.”
(Ed note: Clinton subsequently gave Patty Hearst a full pardon in 2001 just before leaving office. Kathleen Soliah plead guilty in a plea bargain in 2001 to her involvement (aiding and abetting) in the killing of Myrna Opsahl and was imprisoned in California until her release on parole in 2008. Then she was re-incarcerated for another year to correct a miscalculation by the parole board.)
* * *
The Other Parts Left Out of the Patty Hearst Trial
Give a clown your finger and he will take your whole hand.
— John Heywood, 1546
“The Parts Left Out of the Patty Hearst Trial” is a piquant essay in Paul Krassner's new collection of counterculture writings. It raises from the grave of forgetfulness the long symbiosis between the San Francisco Examiner and the Hearst family and the FBI and far-right intelligence operations that have been the red meat of the Examiner. It was also the strong if under-reported undercurrent in heiress Patty Hearst's sensational San Francisco bank robbery trial in 1976.
Krassner's reprise of contemporary history is a must-read for the growing crowd of spectators watching for the titanic collision of newspaper cultures in the forced-march merger of the Examiner and Chronicle.
The contrast between the two newspapers is of interest since the Hearst Examiner will be on top in the mating with the more liberal Chronicle, and the Examiner's editorial lifeline to the hard right of law enforcement has continued to this day — witness executive editor (Mr. Sharon Stone) Phil Bronstein Examiner's serial attacks on liberal District Attorney Terrence Hallinan which began in the first year of his first term which were spoofed in the paper by the hate-the-pot-smokers-and-old-hippies-too faction of the SFPD which has so long played editorial footsie with the Examiner.
Krassner's retrospective in his new book, Sex, Drugs & The Twinkie Murders (Loompanics Unlimited, Port Townsend, Washington) does the service of restating for the historical record the manifest irony that the SLA (the self-styled Symbionese Liberation Army) which kidnapped Patty Hearst and allegedly brainwashed her into becoming a fellow terrorist for a time) was the creation of a double agent for the FBI, an organization with whom the Hearst loyalty was at that time as close as Kleenex in a box.
It also underscores the dismal professional performance of both the Examiner and Chronicle in covering not only the complex background of the Patty Hearst abduction but the other seminal events of 70s San Francisco — the People's Temple local corruption which led to its eventual self-suicidal destruction in Guyana and the City Hall Assassinations of George Moscone and Harvey Milk by Dan White.
SLA founder Donald DeFreeze, aka “Cinque,” was known to be a police informer for the Los Angeles Police Department’s notorious Public Disorder Intelligence Unit in the late 60s. His SLA was somehow caught up in, or infiltrated by, FBI-nicks, feeding or used by the CIA’s “CHAOS” operation in the 70s which created havoc in the black and white left through provocateuring and disinformation operations. According to reports Krassner cites which did not surface at the trial, Patty Hearst, rebelling against her family’s extreme conservative views, had met people in the SLA circle while in school at Berkeley and may even — as had been suggested at her trial — been planning her own benevolent kidnapping to free herself from ties to her nerdy boyfriend, Steven Weed.
In any event things went terribly wrong — at the best the SLA was a state-sponsored Frankenstein turned against its masters — and Patty Hearst ended up on trial in San Francisco for robbing the Hibernia Bank which was owned by the family of her best friend Trish Tobin (a family with no small ties to the Chronicle establishment).
The rude irony of law enforcement agencies so close to the Hearst family being in however a twisted manner involved in the ultimate kidnapping of Patricia Hearst was underscored by the revelation during the trial (in a 1976 story in Sundaz, a Santa Cruz weekly) that Patricia's mom, Catherine Hearst (who Krassner reminds us said that she'd rather see her daughter dead than join the “Communists”) had donated substantial funds to a shadowy, spy-on-the-labor-movement operation called Research West, for which confessed political burglar Jerry Ducote regularly stole leftie records. (Ducote confessed this to me in a cop bar in San Francisco, and when I didn’t believe him, Ducote convinced me by pulling out of his ratty briefcase copies of documents he had stolen from Ramparts when I edited it in the late 1960s — including copies of my bar tabs).
The files of Research West were later disclosed to be packed with documents procured from offices of United Farm Workers supporters by black-bag break-in burglars operating with a green light from local law enforcement who shared their gold with the FBI and Research West — which was on a yearly retainer to the Examiner to provide information on the left.
The Hearst family and the Examiner's connections to the constitutionally-compromised law enforcement activities figured into, but were left out of the trial of, the Patty Hearst case. Krassner — who seems to believe that Patty Hearst was genuinely brainwashed — notes that she might have spent no time in jail (President Jimmy Carter commuted her sentence and was the point man in a recent Hearst Corporation push to get Bill Clinton to give soccer-mom-slash-bit-movie-star Patty a full pardon) if she had kept with her original choice of attorneys, the great radical defense attorney Vincent Hallinan and his family including then defense lawyer (now SF district attorney) K.O. Hallinan, who advised her to talk to no one, “especially psychiatrists,” about the SLA period. But the Hearsts wanted an establishment lawyer and she ended up with F. Lee Bailey — and time in durance vile.
The ignominious role of both newspapers in these seminal San Francisco events of the 70s has been largely forgotten. The Chronicle had the goods on the devil-in-the-flesh Rev. Jim Jones' People's Temple — in the mid 70s the darling of SF’s liberal politicians, which was but a front for rape, murder, extortion, robbery and voter fraud, to name but a few crimes permitted and committed in the name of the Lord — but was too chicken to print it. (The Examiner's religious columnist, the Rev. Lester Kinsolving, also was onto the Temple's act but his columns were deep-sixed by the Examiner when the People's Temple picketed.) Only when the seeds of the suppressed Chronicle story were printed in a Southern California based magazine, New West, did Jim Jones flee with his flock to Guyana and feed poisoned koolaid to 900 of his faithful.
The Chronicle further undistinguished itself in its coverage of the 1976 City Hall assassinations. It cowardly ordered an abject retraction of a Charles McCabe column about Dan White's mean relationship with blacks on his high school basketball team because the lawyers for White — a confessed killer — had written objecting that the portrayal of their assassin-client might be libelous. (In full disclosure that is so popular in journalistic circles nowadays I should reveal that the Chronicle, for which I was then working, held for two months a column of mine about the congratulatory behavior by many Frisco cops to Dan White after the killings which lent credence to a political, rather than the defense's “Twinkie-over-sugared crack-up” explanation for the assassinations. The Chronicle finally printed the column the day after the lenient jury verdict.)
It should be further noted for all full disclosure freaks that the Fang family, the publishers of the free circulation San Francisco Independent (for which I have written a column since I left the Examiner in 1990 when Will Hearst yanked a column of mine opposing the Gulf War — which Hearst favored — out of the paper) will take over publication of the afternoon Examiner in November and move it to morning publication — eyeball to eyeball with the Hearst Chronicle. This sale, which involves a three-year subsidy of $66 million from the Hearsts in lieu of a Joint Operating Agreement (monopoly free dollars), has been described by such organs of opinion as the San Francisco Bay Guardian (a paper recently described by the New York Press as “self-parodically leftist”) as a somehow shady way for the Hearst Corporation to get the money-losing (without the JOA subsidies) Examiner off their hands so the Department of Justice in the Federal City let them buy the larger Chronicle for $660 million. There is more than your average irony in a Chinese family publishing the Examiner since Hearst’s first paper got its circulation legs in the 19th Century on “Chinese-must-go” editorial hysterics.
The neglected history that Krassner's book reprises raises new questions as to how the merger of the classically FBI-symp Examiner and tepidly chicken-liberal Chronicle will work out. Look at the history and the players, and you will be looking for some sort of massive editorial road kill.
WALL STREET ADMITS CURING DISEASES IS BAD FOR BUSINESS
Goldman Sachs has outdone itself this time. That’s saying a lot for an investment firm that both helped cause and then exploited a global economic meltdown, increasing its own wealth and power while helping to boot millions of Americans out of their homes. But now Goldman Sachs is openly saying in financial reports that curing people of terrible diseases is not good for business.
GUNS WILL BE THE DEATH OF US ALL
Humbled To The End.
As I age, I get times when I remember things that amaze me that I am still alive. Way back in 1976 I was travelling with two redneck drunk, legal gun dealing and illegal dope smugglers up to Summit Lake above Donner Lake. We were outfitted to the max for a daily run up to this lake that really nobody but USGS topo folks knew about. We had a Ford F350 four wheel drive with easy rider rifle racks at the back window loaded with a 410 shotgun, 12 gauge shotgun, and this rather differentiated AR-15. As we drove the backroads, I was in the middle of the seat, and a brother on each side. When we spotted some morning doves, the brother on my right said “stop and let me get those birds.” He reached for the 410, and as he had difficulty in getting the rifle out of the rack, proceeded in stuffing the muzzle into my right ear. Fully cocked, I thought right there I was toast, but at the pleading of the driver to relax and reset the trigger and fully move the muzzle out of my ear, I was spared the moment of instant projection into another sphere. Onward after words, we travelled to the Summit Lake. Still shocked that I had just escaped a cocaine-alcohol death, I somehow rejoined the jubilance of the moment; “Aw hell, pass over the Jack (Jack Daniels)” as we travelled to our destination. Once achieved I witnessed this pristine lake with trout visible to the eye. One of the brothers handed me a rifle, an AR 15 with 8 track cassettes, spring loaded with about 60 rounds, and proceeded to tell me to shoot at this rock feature at the other end of the lake at a certain spot. I used my efforts to accomplish the task, and what happened next is the ricochet from the rapid fire rounds of .233 ammo returned with a vengeance and hit the water in front of me and just about drowned me with the return force. About 5 minutes later a National Park Ranger arrived on a Morgan horse, and said “there is no firing of firearms in this National area.” We said “Oh yes, sir” and ambled down the grade immediately. Haven’t fired an assault rifle, or hand gun since. That piece of rip scarring attitude scared the shit out of me. So Philbrick, go out and be at the other end of a gun if you dare, but trust me dear redneck brother, you will not be the same after the event.
FREE DULCIMER CONCERT - Stanford Inn, Friday, April 27 from 6-8pm
Brenda Hall will be playing Songs for Shelter on the hammered dulcimer at the Ravens restaurant in the beautiful Stanford Inn by the Sea (44850 Comptche Ukiah Road, Mendocino, CA 95460, 707-937-5615) this Friday, April 27, 2018, from 6:00-8:00pm. The Ravens restaurant serves wonderful, tasty food in a beautiful setting. Or if you just want to come by for a drink, there is a cozy bar and friendly folks to serve you. Celebrate the end of a busy week by dropping by for an evening of music and great views. There is no charge for the concert, however, Songs for Shelter benefits the non-profit, S.O.S.-Networking for Mendocino Coast Companion Animals. All tip jar donations for the evening go to S.O.S. to help lost and abandoned animals on the coast. So, not only will you be serenaded, but you'll have an opportunity to help coast animals as well. Please come by and say hi to Brenda while she plays some old tunes, as well as some new, on the hammered dulcimer. Relax as the music surrounds you and releases all the tensions from a long work week. Bring your friends and family and make this a fun night of music while helping animals on the coast. Hope to see you there!
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
You’d think that among all those almighty college educated there would be two pinches of common sense and some knowledge of the economy before they embarked on this fool’s errand of a knowledge economy.
It’s very simple, even a mule skinner like me can figger it out. The real world of humans as opposed to the simplistic, academic construct has a multitude of aptitudes and talents, not just those encompassed in the frivolity spewing “app” world of snapchat and instagram.
Now, the Greatly Enlightened can’t seem to wrap their heads around the concept, but a great many of these folk with these various talents were gainfully employed in those many facilities that formerly made the devices and objects presently used by Americans in day-to-day life. See, among the Greatly Enlightened there’s a common belief that these various people had no literacy and no skills and not only were they most laughably unconfused about their gender identity and preference, they were general ignoramuses that fully deserve the fate they presently suffer. The Greatly Enlightened will use words like “post-industrial” seemingly blind to the fact that the global economy is NOT “post-industrial”, the industries just moved over-seas where they employ millions of people that were formerly employed in the USA.
A great many of the people formerly working in the US industrial economy were highly educated with degrees in science and engineering and administration. A great many had formal trade papers. Notwithstanding the mistaken beliefs of the Greatly Enlightened, this means EXPENSE and TIME and EFFORT. Even though many working people didn’t have certifications, this lack of formal credential didn’t mean they were unskilled. If you’ve ever worked in a production setting, which needless to say the Greatly Enlightened have not, you’d know this. You need a repertoire of knowledge and skill that comes with time on the job. The complex electrical-hydraulic-steam powered machines and processes that comprised the industrial economy didn’t run themselves, they needed human hands and minds to guide and trouble-shoot because things broke down and, even if things didn’t break-down, intervention was necessary. The folk in these places needed to know their place in the order of things, where to be, how, what and when to do things. The non-diligent, the half-asleep, the non-thinking had no place in this order.
But, of course, the Greatly Enlightened, while telling everyone what ignorant bigots these formerly employed industrial workers are, convict themselves of that same offense. Bigotry and ignorance are what the Greatly Enlightened are about.
Then, maybe having realized the historical folly of what they’ve foisted, they try to tell us that “automation” is to blame. No, it ain’t to blame. The process of automation requires human hands to make the machines that make things. But then, how would the Greatly Enlightened know this?
A PLUTOCRATIC COUP
by Jim Hightower
Many Americans are reluctant to accept that coup conspiracies are part of country's history. We tend believe that plots to overthrow the government are totally foreign to our national character. But we do do coups. In fact, the country itself was founded on an armed coup to replace the legal ruler, King George III, with a gang of revolutionary upstarts. One coup that most of us haven't heard of is The Wall Street Putsch of 1933. The financial establishment — along with its media and political henchmen — rushed out to bury the story and protect the gentlemen of Wall Street implicated in the part. It's a heck of a story about capitalist skullduggery by a few Lords of Wealth trying to overthrow the government and enthrone a fascist regime friendly to them.
In 1933, the Great Depression was in full force, spreading mass unemployment, waves of bankruptcies and abject poverty. The people's boiling political anger was scaring the aloof denizens of Wall Street, as more and more people joined in open rebellion against all things the plutocrats considered sacrosanct: unfettered capitalism.
The year before, Franklin D. Roosevelt had scored a landslide presidential victory over Wall Street's man, then-President Herbert Hoover, by promising a New Deal for millions of Americans impoverished by the Depression. To the bankers' horror, the new president's government policies and programs to help people get back on their feet included new taxes on wealth.
Such Wall Street multimillionaires as Grayson M-P. Murphy (banker and Anaconda Copper Mining Co. head) and Robert Sterling Clark (heir to the Singer sewing machine fortune) were enraged by FDR's moves. "Class war," they wailed, claiming that their "liberty" to grab as much wealth as possible was being shackled. Calling Roosevelt a traitor to his class, these men implemented a plan to oust him by enlisting a private military force made up of thousands of destitute World War I vets who were protesting the failure to receive promised federal bonus payments. Gerald MacGuire, Murphy's bond salesman, was an ex-soldier and an active member of The American Legion. MacGuire reached out to retired Marine Maj. Gen. Smedley Darlington Butler, a respected advocate for veterans. After several meetings spent discussing veterans' issues, MacGuire finally explained that the financial powers he represented wanted Butler to create a paramilitary corps of 500,000 vets and march on Washington to force FDR from the White House.
MacGuire told Butler that the Wall Street cohort plus a new group called American Liberty League (made up of the right-wing bosses of such corporate giants as DuPont, Colgate, General Foods and General Motors) were prepared to fund the cause to the tune of $300 million (about $5.6 billion in today's money), and that Remington Arms would supply the weapons. The conspirators thought that FDR would go down without a fight and would welcome the coup. Once in place, the financiers and militarists would install a "secretary of general affairs" to run the country. And one of their choices was Smedley Butler.
But he was the wrong general. Butler was a patriot and a lifelong soldier for democracy, and he was astounded and repulsed by the hubris and treachery of these aristocrats from Wall Street. Butler enlisted investigative reporter Paul Comly French to help gather proof of the bankers' intent. With evidence in hand, Butler got the House Special Committee on Un-American Activities to conduct an investigation, which convinced members of the committee that Butler's story was "alarmingly true." The committee then opened public hearings with Butler giving detailed testimony.
Wall Street responded by immediately launching a coordinated counterattack assailing Butler and dismissing the idea that very idea of a coup was preposterous. They got the establishment media to pile on to discredit him. But the House committee final report concluded that it was "able to verify all the pertinent statements made by General Butler," and that "There is no question that these attempts were discussed, were planned, and might have been placed in execution when and if the financial backers deemed it expedient."
Nonetheless, officials failed to punish the perpetuators of this outrageous assault on our democracy. And with the help of a Wall Street-loving media, the coup attempt was sealed off from our history books.
Fortunately, a real patriot was able to expose the traitors, nipping the coup d'etat in the bud. Their attempt reveals the threat of concentrated wealth and the ever-present danger that the imperious rich pose to majority rule. Not only should this real-life drama be highlighted in history books; it should be a blockbuster movie.
(Populist author, public speaker, and radio commentator Jim Hightower writes The Hightower Lowdown, a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America's ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at HightowerLowdown.org.)
TALKING COURT JUSTICE & KAEPERNICK WITH MICHAEL MCCANN
This week we speak to Sports Illustrated journalist and attorney Michael McCann about his book written with Ed O’Bannon, Court Justice: The Inside Story of My Battle Against the NCAA. We also go into detail about the Colin Kaepernick collusion case against the NFL, important legal distinctions, and kind of advice he would give Colin.
Also we have ‘Choice Words’ about the possibility of a Trump presidential pardon for legendary boxer Jack Johnson. We also have ‘Just Stand Up’ and ‘Just Sit Down awards,’ a very special Kaepernick watch, and a tribute to the great Manu Ginobili.
BILL TO ABOLISH DELTA STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL FAILS TO PASS WATER, PARKS & WILDLIFE COMMITTEE
by Dan Bacher
The Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee Tuesday failed to approve AB 1826, Assemblymember Jim Frazier’s bill to end the Delta Stewardship Council in 2020 and transfer its duties to the Delta Protection Coalition.
Six Assemblymembers voted no, eight abstained and zero voted for AB 1826. The no votes were Chair Eduardo Garcia, Frank Bigelow, Steven S. Choi, Matthew Harper, Mark Levine and Rudy Salas. Those abstaining included James Gallagher, Wendy Carrillo, Kansen Chu, Laura Friedman, Todd Gloria, Ash Kalra, Blanca E. Rubio and Jim Wood.
The Delta Counties Coalition, Restore the Delta, North Delta Cares and the Delta Chambers and Visitors Bureau supported the legislation, while the Kern County Water Agency, Westlands Water District, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and other big water districts opposed the bill.
Don Nottoli, a member of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, testified on behalf of the bill. He said the Delta Counties Coalition supported the bill because it backed “stronger and better representation” of the Delta in decisions impacting the Delta.
“There is a strong need for Delta representation. The Delta is a truly unique place,” he stated.
Frazier accused the Council of “tunnel vision” and accused it of serving as a “rubber stamp” for the Metropolitan Water District.
“We need to have a more fair and balanced approach that would address the coequal goals of water supply and restoring the environment,” said Frazier. “The Council has gone out its way to suppress input on the Delta Plan.”
Assemblymember Steven S. Choi voiced strong opposition to the legislation, describing it as “restructuring attempt to upset the balance of representation on the DSC” in favor of Delta interests.
The bill would have made the provisions establishing the Delta Stewardship Council inoperative on July 1, 2020. The bill directed the Delta Protection Commission, on that date, to succeed to, and to be vested with, the duties, powers, purposes, responsibilities, and jurisdiction vested in the council as of June 30, 2020.
In his op-ed in the Sacramento Bee on April 20, Frazier explained why he introduced the legislation:
“In 2009, the Delta Stewardship Council was created to achieve the co-equal goals of providing a more reliable water supply and restoring the Delta’s ecosystem to protect its unique cultural, recreational, natural resource and agricultural assets.
However, the council has neglected most of its mandate. In recent years, it has behaved more like the ‘Tunnels Stewardship Council,’ becoming little more than a shill for the proposed tunnels project that threatens to destroy the Delta as we know it.
For this reason I introduced Assembly Bill 1876 to end the council in 2020 and transfer its duties to the Delta Protection Commission, which has been a responsible steward for a quarter century. The bill is scheduled to be heard Tuesday by the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee.”
The failure of AB 1876 wasn’t surprising, since with the inordinate influence of Big Ag and Big Oil over the California Legislature, it's highly improbable that any bill not approved by Big Oil or Big Ag will make it out of the Legislature.
No bill opposing the Delta Tunnels or even providing for a public vote on the project has been approved by the Legislature, just as no bill except for one opposed by the Western States Petroleum Association and Chevron has been able to make it through this captured political body over the past three years.
Restore the Delta challenges DSC’s ‘best available science in ‘synthesis papers’
In other Delta news, Restore the Delta (RTD), a coalition opposing Governor Jerry Brown’s Delta Tunnels project, on April 23 submitted a comment letter to the DSC criticizing three “synthesis papers” seeking to support eventual amendments to a Delta Plan chapter addressing ecosystem restoration.
The letter identifies gaps in the DSC’s attempt to apply “best available science” to ecological stressors in the Delta, climate change affecting the Delta, and ecosystem and habitat restoration efforts in the Delta.
The DSC has indicated that this amendment process will conclude sometime in 2019, according to RTD.
“We find the synthesis papers less than synthetic,” wrote Tim Stroshane, author of the letter and Restore the Delta’s policy analyst. “We identified gaps in their papers concerning interactions between contaminants like selenium and mercury and invasive and other species, the growing deficit of sediment for wetlands trapped behind upstream reservoirs (which affects whether restoration projects can survive sea level rise), and other omissions from adaptive management.”
“To date, the DSC has spent $200 million in plans and administrative decrees that are made up of recommendations to other agencies,” commented Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta. “The DSC claims that its legislative mandate limits its powers and thus cannot engage in needed enforcements for the protection and restoration of the estuary. The Independent Science Panel, which does the most important work, sadly has its work misapplied by DSC staff because the Council’s political mandate for management of the Delta is to serve water exporters only.”
“The broad suite of science that examines water quality and quantity needs for the health of the estuary and its people is broadly ignored, social science and economic data analysis is virtually ignored, and the Delta Stewardship Council refuses to make recommendations that protect the Human Right to Water for Delta environmental justice communities and to enforce state anti-discrimination laws within its planning processes,” she stated.
“For $200 million, we could have expanded staffing at the Delta Protection Commission, an agency that enforces state mandates while working in a professional manner with Delta communities. We could have built fish weirs, contributed funding toward rescreening the existing water pumps at Clifton Court Forebay, completed Delta interim projects agreed to by Restore the Delta and Westlands Water District as needing completion, and the DSC could have completed a needed water availability analysis to examine if the proposed Delta tunnels would have enough access to water flows to be a truly viable project. There are better ways to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to improve the Delta than on the Delta Stewardship Council,” concluded Barrigan-Parrilla.
Coast Listserve comment #1: ...to the best First Lady in the history of First Ladies. She fled a Communist country, came to United States as an immigrant, became an American citizen, and is now the First Lady. She speaks 5 languages and exhibits grace on the world stage. Instead of applauding this woman's accomplishments, the media spends most of the time mocking her accent. I think we can all agree, that this is a woman worth celebrating, so join me in wishing her the happiest of birthdays!
Comment #2: I'm with you all the way! Plus, I'm envious as hell--she's married to the man who is surely the greatest lover in the history of the world! Sigh…
WE ALL LIVE IN FLINT
He’s floundering. He may well be in his last days. But there’s no question that whoever replaces him will be just as much of a vandal as Pruitt is. As Dan Kildee, D-Michigan, said, this is a philosophy shared generally at every level of the conservative movement — from its collegiate auxiliaries, through the think-tanks, to the politicians that movement ultimately produces.
As for the rest of us, Kildee was right when he told that corporal’s guard gathered on Wednesday outside the offices that Scott Pruitt may not grace for much longer what the real problem is, his words echoing off the walls of the president’s luxury hotel.
“We all live in Flint now,” he said.
An Iowa congressman is seeking to diversify airport viewing options by filing an amendment to a proposed FAA act that will require airports to "turn the channel on CNN." Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) filed an amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 Tuesday, suggesting a change to airport viewing. King proposed that television broadcast networks not be allowed to create an "airport monopoly" of TV shows or channels that are displayed at airports, stating that competition will lead to a "quality product" people will choose to watch, King said. "It's time that travelers in airports were allowed to turn the channel on CNN," King said in a press release. "My amendment would allow greater broadcast choice for the nation's travelers by eliminating CNN's efforts to create an 'airport monopoly' through the use of agreements that restrict content to only its programs."
SAKO ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
This is what I learned from our U.S. Service Chiefs: The Leader Development Framework has been embraced by all five branches of the military. It comes straight from the Pentagon, and it is taught at the National War College. The Leader Development Framework talks about two lanes on a road to achieve the goal of ensuring national security. Those two lanes -- competence and character.
Competence is the first lane.
Competence in the job is the prerequisite for any credible leader. An incompetent leader is a recipe for disaster. The best they can hope to achieve is to stand by and look sincere. And they won’t know disaster when it comes up and smacks them in the head.
We’ve got to be competent. That credibility is established by being a master of our craft, but it’s also earned by enforcing standards of accountability and conduct among the team. Because as commanders, we’re not responsible solely for ourselves.
Competent leaders insist There’s an important trait of effective commanders, and that’s character. Commanders of character embody those attributes of accountability, toughness, initiative and integrity.
Character is the second lane.
Commanders of character are mentors, but they go beyond mentors. They go beyond mentorship to becoming true advocates for their people.
Commanders of character actively seek opportunities to reach out and find ways to propel their teams forward. The individuals on those teams likewise push themselves and propel themselves forward. They do so with confidence because they understand this is what establishes trust with the teammates. But it all starts at the top with commanders of character.
Commanders of character create buy-in, and empower their staff and tactical experts to look deep into a battle or crisis and to contribute their unique skill sets, and to illuminate the darkness of the team's blind spots.
Commanders of character help push their team to its theoretical limits.
— John Sakowicz