Wipha slashed Japan with fear over further damage in crippled nuclear plant

TOKYO, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) — Japan was lashed by a powerful typhoon Wednesday which claimed the lives of at least 17 people and left many more unaccounted for in its wake, with gales and torrential rain wreaking havoc along the eastern seaboard and sparking emergency procedures at the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant. Typhoon Wipha battered Izu Oshima Island, 100 km south of Tokyo, leaving 16 people dead and cars and houses buried in lethal mudslides. More than 40 people are still accounted for according to local authorities, as recovery and rescue operations continue into the night. Local authorities said they fear the death toll may rise on the tiny island, as a number of houses collapsed in the typhoon, potentially leaving more bodies buried in the rubble and debris, they said. Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose asked for Japan’s Ground Self- Defense Forces to assist in search and rescue operations on the island, while Tokyo’s fast-response rescue units were also dispatched by both Metropolitan Police and fire departments in Tokyo. The National Police Agency (NPA) said that more than 80 people sustained injuries across 18 prefectures largely situated along the eastern coast, although strong gusts and heavy rain caused damage in central Japan too, the agency said. They added that 14,000 households in Chiba Prefecture were ordered to be evacuated and evacuation warnings were issued in three more prefectures for around 8,000 households. The 26th typhoon of the season caused transportation systems to be severely delayed or shut down across the nation, with airlines canceling more than 530 domestic flights scheduled for Wednesday. Fears were rife that the typhoon, which was finally downgraded to a tropical storm at 3 p.m. but moving at a pace of 95 km per hour, with winds registering up to 126 km per hour at the cyclone’ s center, would further hamper efforts at the crippled Fukushima nuclear Daiichi facility to contain massive amounts of radioactive water already accumulated at the plant. The plant is grappling to contain 400 tons of toxic water accumulating on a daily basis and a series of radioactive leaks at the complex has seen its embattled operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) come under fire from the government and Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) for its slapdash approach to containing the radioactive water and a number of gaffes by its staff that have led to toxic water both leaking into the adjacent Pacific Ocean and personnel being exposed to radiation. In anticipation of huge volumes of rainwater being dumped on the leaking facility, TEPCO opted to release the buildup of water that had accumulated inside its barriers, which surround the tanks storing highly radioactive water, into the sea Wednesday. The utility said that water was released into the sea from nine separate locations in the Daiichi complex that was ravaged by an earthquake-triggered tsunami in March 2011, leading to multiple meltdowns and hydrogen explosions in the worst nuclear crisis since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. TEPCO said the water released into the ocean was checked for radioactive materials including cesium and strontium-90 and the levels of radioactivity were within the NRA’s standards for toxic water being released into the sea. The utility did note, however, that levels of tritium in the water, which take far longer to measure, were “probably” within the safety limits. TEPCO, in an emergency move, also transferred highly radioactive water that had pooled at two other locations at the plant to underground storage pools. The NRA, who were notified of TEPCO’s decision to dump and move toxic water on Wednesday morning urged the utility to safeguard against further possible leaks from sources such as tanks and drainage ditches that could further contribute to the existing 200 tons of radioactive water that is leaking into the ocean from the plant on a daily basis. (Editor: Chen Zhi)



Unnecessary, Uneconomic, Uninsurable, Unevacuable and Unsafe

by Ralph Nader

It has been over two years since the earthquake and tsunami that brought about the nuclear reactor crisis in Fukushima — the largest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. The situation at the six plants is still grim. Four of the reactors are damaged. Hundreds of tons of contaminated groundwater are reportedly seeping into the ocean every day. Nearly 83,000 people were displaced from their homes in the approximately 310 square mile exclusion zones. On Wednesday October 9, an accident resulted in six workers being doused in radioactive water. Accidents and mishaps at the Fukushima site are regular occurrences. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has now asked the world community for help in containing the ongoing Fukushima disaster, as it continues to spiral out of control.

Earlier this week, I participated in a panel discussion in New York City called “The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident: Ongoing Lessons.” The event featured notable long-time experts on nuclear technology discussing the crisis in Fukushima and the current state of the heavily subsidized nuclear industry in the United States. The panel participants were former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Commissioner and later Chairman Peter Bradford, former NRC Chairman Dr. Gregory Jaczko, former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, and nuclear engineer, Arnie Gundersen.

Mr. Bradford presented a detailed power point that showed how competing forms of energy already are leading to the decline of the nuclear industry.

The panel discussed safety concerns regarding the Indian Point nuclear power plant located about 30 miles from New York City. Indian Point has long been rife with safety problems and its location near an earthquake fault is a source of great concern for many New York residents. You can view Tuesday’s event, in its entirety, here.

In the 1960s, The Atomic Energy Commission determined that a class-nine nuclear power plant accident could contaminate an area the size of Pennsylvania and render much of it uninhabitable. A nuclear disaster at Indian Point would threaten the entire population of New York City and its outlying metropolitan area. The continued existence and operation of Indian Point is like playing a game of Russian Roulette with the lives and homes of the nearly 20 million people who live within a 50 mile radius of the plant. Consider the difficulty New Yorkers have simply commuting to and from their workplaces during rush hour and imagine the horror of a mandatory evacuation due to a nuclear emergency at Indian Point. The NRDC estimates that a serious accident could, in addition to massive casualties, “cost ten to 100 times more than Fukushima’s disaster” which would be in the trillions of dollars.

If Indian Point were closed today, there is enough surplus energy capacity to last the state until 2020 as alternative energy sources are developed and deployed. Governor Andrew Cuomo has called for the shutdown of Indian Point, as did Hillary Clinton during her time in the Senate. A main reason is that an emergency evacuation of the population up to 50 miles around these two nukes is impossible.

So what’s the delay? Mainly resistance from the nuclear industry and a compliant regulatory agency. The NRC has faltered in its watchdog role by acting to protect and even bolster the dangerous, expensive and unnecessary nuclear industry. The industry’s last claim is that it avoids greenhouse gases. But as physicist Amory Lovins says, if the investment in nuclear plants was shifted to renewables and energy conservation, it will produce less demand and more environmentally benign BTUs by far, and with more jobs.

Anti-nuclear advocates have warned against potential dangers such as earthquakes for decades. Although a new nuclear power plant has not been ordered and built in the United States since 1974, there are currently 65 nuclear plants operating 100 reactors in the United States — many of them aging, many of them near earthquake faults, many of them still not in compliance with NRC fire prevention regulations, all of them significant national security risks. Under President Obama, the first two nuclear reactors since 1978, were authorized to be built at the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant in Georgia. (Panel participant Dr. Gregory Jaczko was the lone dissenter in the 4-1 NRC approval vote.)

To truly understand the cost of nuclear energy, one must consider the absurdity of the nuclear fuel cycle itself. It begins with uranium mines and their deadly tailings, then the fabrication and refinement of the fuel rods, the risky transport of these rods to the multi-shielded dome-like plant where they are installed, and then firing up the plant so it goes critical with a huge amount of radioactivity. Dealing with volatile nuclear reactions requires flawless operation. And then there is the storage and guarding of hot radioactive wastes and contaminated materials that persist for 250,000 years. No permanent site has been located and licensed for that lengthy containment.

What is the end purpose of this complex and expensive chain of events? Simply to boil water — to generate steam to turn turbines to produce electricity.

With all the technological advancements in energy efficiency, solar, wind and other renewable energy sources, surely there are better and more efficient ways to meet our electricity needs without burdening future generations with deadly waste products and risking the radioactive contamination of entire regions should anything go wrong.

It is telling that Wall Street, which rarely considers the consequences of gambling on a risk, will not finance the construction of a nuclear plant without a full loan guarantee from the U.S. government. Nuclear power is also uninsurable in the private insurance market. The Price-Anderson Act of 1957 requires taxpayers to cover almost all the cost if a meltdown should occur.

No other industry that produces electricity poses such a great national security risk should sabotage or malfunction occur. No other means of generating power can produce such long-lasting catastrophic damage and mayhem from one unpredictable accident. No other form of energy is so loaded with the silent violence of radioactivity.

Nuclear energy is unnecessary, uninsurable, uneconomic, unevacuable and most importantly, unsafe. The fact that it continues to exist at all is a result of a ferocious lobby, enlisting the autocratic power of government, that will not admit that its product is unfit for use in the modern world. Let us not allow the lessons of Fukushima to be ignored.

(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition.)


RANDOM OPINIONS. (1) The Republican Party has managed to become synonymous with lunacy off this latest debacle, which is where they’ve always belonged anyway. But used to be The Money could depend on people like Boehner (who, by the way, seemed drunk a couple of times on camera) to fend off the libs. But the Republicans are no longer necessary as The Money’s gofers; Democrats are better at it because with them you get the same desire to serve the ruling circles without a lot of the obvious racism, fag and Mex bashing, Obama’s birth certificate, and the rest of the nutball package you now get with the Republican Party. The Democrats are simply more acceptable to more people, masking their economic treachery in a lot of slobbery rhetoric about how devoted they are to the interests of everyday people. The libs, at least the ones we get in elected office, are simply a smoother version of what used to be called country club Republicans. The old style Repugs could keep their snake-handling, automatic weapons, seal the border maniac wing in check. No more. We’ll have Clintonism from here on out, meaning for Mendocino County people like HuffBro and other graduates of the Marin and Sonoma and Humboldt County boards of supervisors. Check that: since the new district’s population centers are Marin and Sonoma, there isn’t quite enough vapidity in HumCo to get their ciphers elected to state and federal office. But the libs will keep The Money flowing upwards. Count on it.


GOVERNOR BROWN is unhappy that the US Supreme Court has overruled his attempt to reduce state prison populations by about 10,000 bodies. The local angle: I personally know of ten Mendo guys who could be released tomorrow without presenting the slightest danger to anyone. They all did dumb things when they were young; two of them killed people while under the influence of tweak. They weren’t even 20 when they killed. They’re going on 40 now, and not the same people they were then. Are YOU the same person you were at 20? It’s crazy to hold people in prison so long as we do here in the US. The people who will be released by federal order from California prisons will by culled by prison staff who know them best, and they’re not about to release any mad dogs.



”Poor New Mexico, so far from heaven, so close to Texas.”

— Manuel Armijo, Mexican governor of the territory of Nuevo México, 1841

If Armijo were alive today, he might have said “so close to Arizona” instead. One hears the reports of Hispanic people (translation: not white) in the Arid Zone being harassed for papers and profiled, Sheriff Joe Arpaio abusing prisoners in the Phoenix area, deranged gun nuts shooting congresswomen, and so on. But these are news reports, mere abstractions. Travel across the state of Arizona and see for yourself.

In Kingman there is a Cracker Barrel franchise, a restaurant with mostly palatable food, and a curio/souvenir shop selling a lot of 50’s nostalgia, mostly in the form of candy and soda. Stuff you thought didn’t exist any more, like ZagNut bars, Teaberry gum, and Coca-Cola in 7 oz. glass bottles. But the most outstanding feature of the place was the people in it. All white, not a brown face anywhere. This is Barry Goldwater country, far right, uptight and mean. The smiles on the waitresses were forced and ghoulish. One of them was a dead ringer for Gov. Jan Brewer, right down to the hairspray helmet of blond hair. These people are prime examples of right wingers still trying to keep America white. What they seem to be doing is making Arizona into a white ghetto, a “gated community,” we might say. These are racial purity types, and they are not kidding.

White supremacy was upset for a short while at a gas station/quickie mart on I-40 near the Grand Canyon turnoff when two busloads of Chinese tourists pulled in and stormed the restrooms after being turned away from the great tourist attraction because it was closed due to government shutdown.

Neighboring Utah is no better. My friend Dave, a Colorado native who knows, weighs in here: “Salt Lake is a slime hole, pure and simple.” And on Green River: “That town is a real dump.” Enough for Utah, lest I go off on Mormons, their crackpot religion and sleazy business practices.

Crossing into New Mexico is landing on another planet. The landscape is like Arizona’s but that’s where the similarity ends. People are relaxed, friendly and helpful, and hardly any of them are white. Navajos make a living operating tourist shops and casinos along the freeway, and for people who have been screwed royally, they seem to harbor little if any resentment over this, as if they understand the futility of anger, have let it go, and carry on with life. In Gallup, we stopped for gas and I went into the store for coffee. The Navajo man and woman at the counter went out of their way to show me where it was and make sure the coffee was fresh. I almost laughed trying to imagine a white person in Arizona doing this.

Gasoline was significantly cheaper than in Arizona. Why? I thought of the economics bullshit we hear all the time – supply and demand, etc. But New Mexico is on the same delivery route as the neighboring state, so either the tax is less or the people just plain aren’t so greedy. I suspect the latter.

I recalled sending a letter to the Seattle Times in the early 90’s, about an article where commercial fishing interests were trying to prevent an Indian man named David Sohappy from catching salmon in one of the rivers, in his traditional way of standing on a makeshift platform over the water and netting the fish one at a time. My letter said the article made me “ashamed to be a white man.” A responding letter accused me of being “un-American.”

People trying to “keep America white” remind me of old balding baby boomers with ponytails. It’s too late, fellas.


“ALL ABOUT MONEY” with host, John Sakowicz, returns to KZYX on Friday, October 18, at 9 am, with a special edition Pledge Drive show. Our in-studio guest will be Supervisor John McCowen. Our call-in guest will be Hedrick Smith. Hedrick Smith is the long-time Washington bureau chief at The New York Times. He has received two Pulitzer Prizes for excellence in political reporting and two Emmy Awards for shows he has produced at Frontline on PBS. (— John Sakowicz)


STATEMENT OF THE DAY: Millions of whites have been suckered into a collaboration with the one percent in exchange for modest concessions. They apparently aren’t aware of the U.S. Census report that forty percent of those living in poverty are white! A large segment of the Tea Party is government dependent. Now, the latest word from Charles Murray, the courier from the one percent Big House to the rest of us, is that whites are also entangled in pathologies and so even these concessions might be withdrawn.

The communist party in the United States failed because these white millions will always choose race over class and the majority of women among them, like the white women jurors in the Zimmerman case, and the majority who vote for Republicans, will always choose race over gender. Fifty years after the advent of the modern feminist movement, white women still vote in the majority for men who wish to limit their choices, perhaps because their media appointed leader is Gloria Steinem, who slimes black men, while dating people like Henry Kissinger. These are facts that progressives continue to ignore as they cling to their class trumps race argument, a fairy tale that ranks with Jack and the Beanstalk.

So how far will white supremacists go? I wasn’t surprised to learn from Luke Russert, reporting on Oct.10th, that while some Northern, midwestern and coastal Republicans wanted to ease up on their demands, the southerners were willing to go off the ledge and take the country with them. They are tempted to inch toward the ledge’s edge as Koch pawns, these wretched Tea Party members, like those who threatened to harm the president Sunday, after listening to an ugly speech by Ted Cruz, look up from below, shouting jump! JUMP! Or other speakers who are creating the kind of atmosphere of hate that greeted JFK when he landed in Dallas. The southern death cult that Mark Twain wrote about is alive and well.

One report describes the typical Tea Party member as an over fifty year-old white man. These are people who have such a rage against a black president that they jeopardized their retirement funds by sending representatives to Washington whose reckless actions caused a downgrading of the country’s credit rating. Washington journalists, who are gagged by their owner’s advertisers, who play golf and do lunch with those whom they cover, have forgotten that Standard and Poors blamed the downgrade on Republican actions.

— Ishmael Reed




ON OCTOBER 13, 2013 at about 7:20pm deputies were dispatched to the Manchester Indian Reservation at 162 Mountain View Road in Manchester for a reported fight between a male and female. After arriving at the location, Deputies located a female in distress near the edge of the roadway. Deputies observed that the female victim had injuries to and was bleeding severely from her face and head. The victim identified Jaime Ramirez, 26, of Manchester, as the person responsible for inflicting the observed injuries. The victim was subsequently transported by air ambulance to an out of county hospital for treatment of her injuries. Deputies made contact with Ramirez nearby and ultimately arrested him for the listed charges. Deputies learned that Ramirez and the victim had been involved in a long term dating relationship and that they were engaged in a verbal argument over relationship issues that led up to the victim’s assault. Deputies later learned that the victim had sustained major internal trauma as a result of the assault. Ramirez was arrested for Incident: Corporal Injury to Spouse, Assault with Deadly Weapon and Battery with Serious Bodily Injury and transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he was held on $130,000 bail. (Sheriff’s Press Release)



ON OCTOBER 14, 2013 at about 2:30pm deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to a Henderson Lane address in Covelo to investigate a reported domestic disturbance. As the Deputies drove up to the address, they observed the female suspect, Demeter McFadin, 39, of Covelo, attempting to leave on foot. She was detained while her 48 year-old cohabitant boyfriend was contacted. The male victim was found to have a large, three-inch by three-inch area of swelling on the back of his head. He told Deputies the injury was the result of being struck by a beer bottle wielded by McFadin. He refused medical attention. The victim told Deputies that he and McFadin were not arguing at the time of the assault and claimed to have no idea what angered her enough to cause her to strike him with the bottle. McFadin also struck him with a garden hose and threw a rock at a female witness. McFadin was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and inflicting corporal injury upon a spouse or cohabitant. She was transported to the Mendocino County Jail and held in lieu of $55,000 bail. (Sheriff’s Press Release)



A benefit for the Mendocino County Museum

The 2013 Mushroom, Wine and Beer Train event on Saturday, November 2, is the signature event of Visit Mendocino County’s 14th Annual Mushroom, Wine and Beer Festival, and is now a major benefit for the Mendocino County Museum.

At 10am on November 2, after enjoying a scrumptious catered breakfast featuring Kemmy’s Pies at the Skunk Train Depots in Willits and Fort Bragg (beginning at 9 am), guests will board the Trains. While aboard, roving musicians and historians will entertain guests while sparkling wine and mimosas flow. At noon, guests arrive at Camp Mendocino, nestled among the trees above the Noyo River, and are greeted by the winemakers and brewers of Mendocino County.

These include Alder Springs Vineyards, Artevino Wines, Bink Wines, Campovida, Frey Vineyards, Handley Cellars, Navarro Winery, Parducci, Ray’s Station, Signal Ridge Vineyards, Witching Stick, Anderson Valley Brewing Company, Mendocino Brewing Company and Ukiah Brewing Company, all of which will be offering their fine wines and beers all afternoon to complement the Annual Mendocino County Mushroom Cook-Off Contest. New this year, craft distillers Germain-Robin will also be onsite serving their select spirits. Black Oak Coffee will be serving freshly brewed coffee and espresso drinks, while local chefs from Adam’s Restaurant, Aquarelle Cafe & Wine Bar, Assaggiare Mendocino, Camp Mendocino, Cliff House, The Ledford House, Little River Inn, Mendo Bistro and Mendocino Hotel will prepare a selection of savory and sweet bites. Dishes will be accompanied by freshly baked bread from Emandal. Media celebrity judges from Sunset Magazine, Bay Area News Group, KGO Radio and the Santa Rosa Press Democrat will be on hand to select the winning dishes.

Other activities include mushroom walks and talks by local mushroom extraordinaire Eric Schramm, cooking demonstrations by Nicholas Petti of Mendo Bistro, a discussion of “Mendocino Roots & Ridges: Wine Notes from America’s Greenest Wine Region” by author Heidi Cusick Dickerson and photographer Tom Liden, music by Marcus McCallen, and more. The return on the Skunk Train will feature more entertainment, delicious chocolates, port and Mendocino County brandy. Guests can expect to return to their original point of departure by 5:30 pm.

While on the train or in the redwoods, guests can participate in Visit Mendocino County’s social media contest at #mendocinogonewild. All are invited to take a photo of their favorite fungi or other wild edible and post using the #mendocinogonewild hashtag to win a culinary tour and tasting at Handley Cellars in beautiful Anderson Valley and two tickets to the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens.

The highlight of Mendocino County’s mushroom season is its annual 10-day Mushroom, Wine and Beer Festival. In addition to the Mushroom, Wine and Beer Train, this year’s fest features a myriad of events, including mushroom dinners and menus, wine- and beer-pairing workshops, mushroom exhibits, guided mushroom foraging walks, and more. Events take place throughout the County, from the inland valleys to the coast. The festival is an annual event coordinated by Visit Mendocino County, Inc., while the Mushroom, Wine and Beer Train is produced by the Mendocino County Museum. Presenting partners include Visit Mendocino County and the Skunk Train; major media sponsors are KWINE and MAX radio stations; event sponsors include Coast Getaways and the North Bay Bohemian.

Tickets for the Mushroom, Wine and Beer Train are $95 and can be purchased by visiting www.brownpapertickets.com or through the Museum (info below). Proceeds raised through event sponsorships and ticket sales support the Mendocino County Museum’s many important upcoming exhibitions and educational and cultural programs, as well as help the Museum’s mission to collect, conserve, present and celebrate the stories, artifacts, and lives of the people and places of Mendocino County. For more information, visit www.MendocinoMuseum.org or call 459-2736.


THIRD ANNUAL SALMON FILM FESTIVAL will take place at Portuguese Hall in Fort Bragg on November 8-10, 2013. The Festival features over 30 films on salmon ecology, restoration, and culture. Also featured are salmon foods, educational exhibits, local speakers, and tribal representatives. The Festival runs on Friday, Nov. 8 from 5 pm to 10 pm, Saturday, Nov. 9 from 10 am to 10 pm, and Sunday, Nov. 10 from 10 am to 5 pm. A different set of films will be shown each hour; a festival pass allows unlimited access. A pass for the entire weekend costs only $20; $10 will buy a single session. Tickets can be booked online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/481158. More information is at www.salmonfilmfestival.org <http://www.salmonfilmfestival.org.



Job Interview:

Human Resources Manager: “What is your greatest weakness?”

Old Man: “Honesty.”

Human Resources Manager: “I don’t think honesty is a weakness.”

Old Man: “I don’t really give a shit what you think.”



by Dan Bacher

Jerry Meral, the Deputy Secretary for the California Natural Resources Agency, and other Brown administration officials promoting the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), have tried to portray the growing movement against the tunnels as only “token” opposition.

The attempts to marginalize the opposition were exposed as completely false when Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of Governor Jerry Brown’s rush to build the twin tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, rallied over 700 tunnels opponents on Thursday evening at a gala fundraiser and awards ceremony in French Camp.

RTD presented Delta Advocate Awards to a host of very deserving folks, including the Delta Congressional Delegation, Dr. Jeff Michael of the University of the Pacific, Delta Geotechnical and Engineering Expert Dr. Bob Pyke, San Joaquin County Supervisor and Chairman-elect of the Delta Protection Commission, Larry Ruhstaller, Delta farmer Rogene Reynolds, activist Jerry Cadagan, Adam Scow of Food and Water Watch, and Conner Everts, executive director of the Southern California Watershed Alliance.

Elected officials recognized for their ongoing leadership efforts included Assemblymember Joan Buchanan, Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman; Assemblymember Jim Frazier; Senator Cathleen Galgiani; Assemblymember Kristin Olsen; Senator Lois Wolk; Assemblymember Mariko Yamada, and County Supervisors Don Notolli, Sacramento and Ken Vogel, San Joaquin.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that being an advocate is a good thing,” Michael said in his keynote address before receiving the Delta Advocate award. “A Delta advocate cares about this special place. They want future generations to enjoy a Delta that is fishable, farmable, swimable and all those nice things.”

“But being a Delta advocate is being more than that. To me, it means facts over fear, being an advocate for good government and demanding that government agencies follow their own rules and be responsible for taxpayer dollars. It means standing up for enduring value, and having an environmental sustainability, fairness, democracy, and the rule of law,” Michael concluded.

You can see Gene Beley’s excellent coverage of the rally, including the Central Valley Business Times article on Dr. Jeffrey Michael’s speech and four videos covering the entire Restore the Delta Rally Thursday night, at: http://www.centralvalleybusinesstimes.com/stories/001/?


Restore the Delta (RTD) released audios of Thursday evening’s remarks from award-winning Master of Ceremonies comedian Jack Gallagher, Dr. Jeff Michael, Rogene Reynolds, Adam Scow, Conner Everts and Senator Lois Wolk:

Master of Ceremonies comedian Jack Gallagher:


Dr. Jeff Michael of the University of the Pacific:


Delta farmer Rogene Reynolds:


Adam Scow of Food and Water Watch:


Conner Everts, executive director of the Southern California Watershed Alliance:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/24292864/RTD%20Awards%20Conner%20Everts.m4a .

Senator Lois Wolk:


I applaud all of these folks for their great work fighting the twin tunnels proposed under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP)! I am also very thankful of the group for giving me the “Journalistic Excellence Award” at RTD’s fundraiser last September.

The construction of the peripheral tunnels will hasten the extinction of Central Valley chinook salmon, steelhead, Delta and long fin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as imperil the steelhead and salmon populations on the Klamath and Trinity rivers.

For more information about Restore the Delta, go to: http://www.restorethedelta.org


IN THE FOLLOWING REVIEW Neither Casey Peters nor author Eric Leif Davin or the book’s reviewer Holly Scott mention the “new left experience in office” of the Sonoma County PEACE and FREEDOM PARTY peaceandfreedom_party@hotmail.com when it ran and won a majority of the city council seats in Cotati, California. This victory was made possible by the ongoing voter registration drive conducted by the Sonoma County Central Committee (including a number of its current and longtime members) . At the time PEACE & FREEDOM was able to build the community based coalition which would elect not only the youngest council member of any city in California, S. L. Laughlin, but most significantly accomplished the election of the first woman registered as a member of a third party ever in California as mayor, Annette Ester Lombardi (forty years or so before Richmond’s current mayor took office.

This initial Cotati experience of PEACE and FREEDOM PARTY in city government not only won three of the five council seats which allowed the new majority to dismiss the city manager but also to remove the chief of police and bring in the first non white police officer to head the department. Other important changes brought about include inclusion of and appointments to city boards and commissions of women, racial minorities and other marginalized affinities. The conservative business interests in the town were stunned and angered at the victory of the PFP slate and immediately sought revenge by orchestrating a recall election against the PEACE and FREEDOM officeholders, trying to time their recall to the break between semesters of nearby Sonoma State College in an attempt to disenfranchise students.

The party and the new majority mobilized once again, redoubling the voter registration drive in each of the five Cotati precincts. By taking voters into vote early at the Registrar of Voters office to cast their ballots as well as by mobilizing the turnout on recall election day we insured the majority vote which defeated the right wing counter attack. Voter registration was so effective that PEACE & FREEDOM PARTY became the second largest political formation in the city limits behind only the Democrats but far ahead of the Republicans. — Irv Sutley, Glen Ellen

* * *

RADICALS IN POWER: The New Left Experience in Office. by Eric Leif Davin (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2012). Pp 298. Hardback, $80.00. ebook, $79.99.

Picture the 1960s and a barrage of images comes to mind: demonstrators clashing with police, draft cards burning, students occupying campus buildings. This, Eric Leif Davin argues, is the New Left we think we know: a movement of young radicals who prize confrontation. But in Radicals in Power Davin introduces us to New Left activists using electoral politics to create radical change. Davin calls this the Electoral New Left and argues that uncovering its forgotten history rewrites the “standard doom-and-gloom history” of the movement’s demise (xviii). His work is a welcome addition to the argument that the New Left lasted longer and was more diverse than first accounts suggest.

The Electoral New Left took shape at the end of the 1960s as an alternative to sabotage and violent confrontation. Davin adeptly contrasts the Electoral New Left with the Revolutionary New Left to build his argument about diversity of tactics in the movement. For example, he profiles University of Wisconsin students Paul Soglin and Karl Armstrong, both of whom were radicalized through clashes with police at campus anti-war protests. Armstrong turned to fire-bombing campus buildings, eventually killing a graduate student. Soglin, however, directed his frustrations into a successful campaign for a seat on the Madison city council. Each year he was joined by more radicals and eventually became mayor, a position he holds to this day. Once in power Soglin and his allies were able to restructure the police department and pass new funding bills for social programs and public transportation. In time, they transformed the town from a Republican stronghold to a center of leftist influence.

Davin devotes each chapter to one town or organization. He covers well-known centers of New Left activity such as Berkeley, Ann Arbor, and Madison but also includes places like Ypsilanti and rural southeastern Ohio. Combining these local studies Davin is able to identify certain patterns. Activists often began with hopes of using third parties to engage with national politics but, given the inherent limits of a winner-take-all system, they quickly found that local politics offered more traction. Radicals embraced a “local left populism,” (267) emphasizing issues like rent control, conservation of rural farmland, and more transparent city government. They were vocal about their socialist convictions but able to appeal to residents in spite of ideological differences. Winning seats on city councils and school boards, radicals were often able to slowly shift localities to the left. The major parties inadvertently helped the radicals as well: conservative opponents in both part ies often refused to work collaboratively with the radicals and sometimes tried to sabotage them, moves that backfired among a public wary about corruption.

The book’s case-study approach works well. In addition to finding broader patterns Davin is able to comment on which activists were most effective and why. Two of the strongest chapters examine the different experiences of the Human Rights Party in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, Michigan. Davin argues that the Ypsilanti activists had an easier journey because many of them committed to settling in the area. Local leftist populism, he argues, depends on developing long-lasting ties with neighbors and effectively mentoring new generations of leaders. This underscores Davin’s argument that electoral work took a great deal of time and patience. In several of his case studies the New Left did not obtain real power until the 1980s and progress was not always linear. Indeed, the subtle nature of the Electoral New Left is part of what Davin believes has led historians to overlook its story.

Davin’s main sources are interviews he conducted with elected officials and he quotes from these at length throughout the book. The interviews provide in depth examination of some of the difficult questions the Electoral New Left faced. Davin allows activists to speak in their own words about balancing their commitment to political change with work and family life, trying to form meaningful coalitions without risking basic principles, and the limits of working within the system. Most agreed on the need for a combination of electoral work and pressure from outside the system, arguing against an either-or strategy. Davin conducted some of the interviews from which he draws many years in the past. This raises the question of what some of those elected to office would add with the benefit of further hindsight. Updating the interviews could also further interrogate the tension between working within the system or outside of it. While most interviewees agreed on a combination of the se two approaches, the question of when to choose one course over another remains less developed. And, while Davin touches on the issue of making compromises, there is room for additional detail about when and how this happened—and what it means to create a form of radicalism more comfortable with compromise.

The story of the Electoral New Left challenges the argument that the New Left imploded in the early 1970s amid factional discord and fantasies of revolution. Of course, by now arguing against this declension narrative is not new. Recent years have brought a spate of new works all focusing, as Davin does, on local case studies and employing a long sixties approach in revising the story of the New Left. Oddly, Davin does not engage with this recent literature and tends to portray declension as unchallenged.

Still, Davin is the first to provide sustained and comparative analysis of New Left electoral work and, as he argues convincingly, this side of the movement fundamentally changes how we view the movement’s legacy. He challenges a view of the 1970s and 1980s as a time of conservative backlash and describes instead a dynamic interplay between the political right and left. Davin’s engaging prose makes the book well suited for classroom use and accessible to a wide audience. Political activists will likely find the discussion of strategy useful and scholars looking to expand on the topic will find it a helpful starting point. Several of the chapters are quite short; the shortest is a three page chapter on failed New Left campaigns for Sheriff. These chapters fail to add much to the larger narrative but can perhaps provide inspiration for further research.

— Holly Scott, American University

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