County CEO Report
Restaurant Bag Ban
Museum on Wheels
Where the Water Goes
Lorde’s Grammy Speech?
THE SUPERVISORS have “accepted” the resignation of County Counsel, Tom Parker, effective April 10th. There has been grumbling about Parker virtually since the day he arrived from Colusa County.
WHO WILL SUCCEED HIM? Logically, it would have been the capable Terry Gross, but she has recently left the office to become Point Arena’s city attorney. Doug Losak, also a capable person who’s worked in the office for several years, might be appointed to the position, but the Supervisors went all blue nose on him when he was stopped one midnight last year and found with a joint’s worth of marijuana and a gun in a locked case. That minor episode seems to have disqualified him from getting the top job, but shouldn’t have, especially in a county where the closets are so packed with skeletons the overflow has to be stored in Cloverdale.
THE COUNTY’S NEO-STALINIST press release announcing that Parker has been “retired,” is as follows: “Mendocino County Board of Supervisors chairman 3rd District Supervisor John Pinches on Wednesday announced that County Counsel Thomas R. Parker will resign from his position, effective April 10.”
The board appointed Parker to lead the county’s legal department in September 2012. He had been Colusa County counsel since July 2010, and replaced former county counsel Jeanine Nadel on her appointment to judgeship in the Mendocino County Superior Court.
In his letter of resignation Parker wrote, “It is with regret that I am resigning from my position as County Counsel due to personal reasons. I will be taking early retirement from Mendocino County as well. I want to thank all those who have worked and supported me during my tenure here.”
Parker stated on his hire that the move to Mendocino County was a step up in his career ladder, and that he was looking forward to retiring near the ocean “many years from now.”
Parker started as a legal clerk in a city attorney’s office in Ohio, his home state. He worked in advisory and litigation roles at the El Dorado County Counsel’s Office from 1991 to 2005, then became the Sacramento County Counsel’s Office’s taxation attorney until moving on to the job of Colusa County counsel in 2010.
Pinches wrote in a statement the county released Wednesday, “On behalf of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, we wish Mr. Parker the very best in his retirement.”
The Board of Supervisors had, on its announcement of Parker’s hire, touted his “broad legal experience … including a solid background on land use and expertise in financial matters.”
Parker earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio in 1980. He earned a Juris Doctor degree at Capital University School of Law in Columbus, Ohio in 1984, and a Masters of Law degree in international tax and business from McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento in 1985.
He served as an assistant staff judge advocate in the U.S. air Force from 1986 to 1990 at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, and as the office’s chief of civil law from 1989 to 1990.
NICE TRY AWARD OF THE WEEK
(Except 1. the other guy was drunk too, and 2. They switched seats in full view of the cop.)
Ukiah Police Press Release: On January 25th at about 8:40 PM a Ukiah Police Officer observed a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed northbound in the 100 block of North Orchard Avenue. The officer attempted to catch up with the vehicle, and saw the vehicle “spin out” competing a full circle near Clara Avenue, then pull into a nearby parking lot. As the officer parked behind the vehicle, the driver and passenger were seen switching seating positions. The driver was identified as 24 year old Pablo Alexander Reyes-Sanchez, of Willits, who was intoxicated and arrested for DUI and for driving with a suspended driver’s license. The passenger, 21 year old Carlos Ochoa Valdovinos, of Washington, was arrested for public intoxication.
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE says the Emerald Triangle will get another nice rain over the next few days, with an inch or two falling on Mendocino County in the following projected amounts:
Smith River Basin: 10 to 12 inches
Lower Klamath River Basin: 8 to 9 inches
Redwood Creek: 8 to 9 inches
Eel River Basin: 4 to 5 inches
South Fork Eel River: 4 to 5 inches
Mad River Basin: 5 to 6 inches
Van Duzen River Basin: 5 to 6 inches
Trinity River Basin: 3 to 4 inches
Upper Russian River Basin: 1 to 2 inches
Navarro River Basin: 1 to 2 inches
IN OTHER COUNTY NEWS, CEO Carmel Angelo reported this week…
DISASTER FROM THE ONGOING DROUGHT: The drought core work team is actively engaged with local, regional and state stakeholders in addressing measures for drought preparedness, emergency services, and community education. At the February 11 Board meeting the following items will be presented to the Board:
Office of Emergency Services: Renewal of the Declaration of Local Emergency and a report on the results of the State water expert engagement with Mendocino County Water Districts/providers; and developments associated with the State Drought Task Force;
Public Health/Health Awareness Campaign: Highlights emphasizing community health awareness during an extended period of drought will be presented;
Board Drought Ad-Hoc Committee: The Ad-Hoc Committee (comprised of Supervisors Brown and Hamburg) has held two meetings and worked with Executive Office staff to perform initial assessments of water supply and availability. Staff will be reporting out from the latest Ad-Hoc Committee meeting on January 30, 2014;
University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE): On January 29th, the County’s University of California Cooperative Extension, UCCE, held a drought preparedness seminar at the Hopland Research and Extension Center for livestock and rangeland owners in both Lake and Mendocino counties. The UCCE’s Glenn McGourty has reached out to his colleagues in Australia and specialists from the Australian Wine Research Institute to see how grape growers there have been dealing with their own severe drought. Glenn will use this information to give a short presentation to the Lake County Winegrape Commission and the Lake County Farm Bureau on February 26th. Glenn is also sharing this presentation with local agricultural associations including Mendocino Winegrowers, Inc. [Ed note: We will summarize these grape-drought items in an upcoming Mendocino County Today.)
California State Association of Counties (CSAC) Drought Briefing: On Friday, February 14, 2014, the County’s state lobbyist CSAC will be hosting a live webinar to advise local officials on drought impacts. The title of the presentation is “2014 Drought Briefing – Impacts and Actions: What You Need to Know.” Representatives from the County’s Core Internal Working Group on the Drought and the Drought Ad Hoc Committee will be attending the webinar;
County to Host a Drought Forum with Local Officials and State OES Representatives: On Monday, February 24, representatives from CalOES will meet with local officials and water district representatives regarding drought impacts in Mendocino County. Please visit the County’s drought webpage for additional information:http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/administration/drought/. The session will be recorded for delayed broadcasting;
Fitch Ratings has upgraded Mendocino County’s 2002 Pension Obligation Bond series from “BBB+” to “A” and reports that the County’s outlook is stable. The report cites the County’s long-term (20+ year) economic contraction as a limiting factor. Mendocino County’s employment and labor force levels have decreased by 6% and 4% respectively, over the past decade. At a time even our neighboring County’s have found a way to grow, Mendocino County’s economic base has contracted. The report cites several positive management reforms: reserve policy, investment policy, and a 5-year capital improvement plan. The report also notes the County’s efforts to reduce expenditures down to sustainable levels.
CAREFUL READERS will note the difference between Ms. Revelle's comprehensive story on the plastic bag ban (below) and that of Glenda Anderson's in Tuesday's Press Democrat. The author of the ban, Mike Sweeney, clearly instructed his live-in girlfriend, Glenda, to omit Supervisor Pinches' objections to the ban. Sweeney is the County's lead garbage bureaucrat.
MENDOCINO COUNTY SUPERVISORS APPROVE BAG BAN FOR RESTAURANTS TOO
by Tiffany Revelle
Only paper bags will be allowed, but they'll be free
The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a measure to include restaurants in a ban on one-time-use plastic bags that had previously not applied to plastic takeout bags.
Restaurants had not been included in the plastic bag ban for legal reasons, but Mendocino Solid Waste Management Authority General Manager Mike Sweeney urged the board to change the ordinance it adopted in 2012 to include them after the California Appellate Court found recently that state law doesn't trump local regulation of the takeout bags.
After the board adopted the ordinance with the amendments to its 2012 plastic bag ban, the changes will take effect 180 days after a second reading, which will likely appear on a future board meeting agenda on a list of items approved as a block because they aren't expected to be controversial.
Board chairman 3rd District Supervisor John Pinches was the sole dissenter in the 4-1 vote.
"I had some reservations about the original bag ordinance," Pinches said. "I have some real problems with it, because since this was talked about several months ago — maybe up to a year or longer than a year — I've asked a lot of people who work in the restaurant industry — all the way from lay persons to cooks to owners of restaurants — and ... they're adamantly opposed to this, because ... (of) the health issues."
He said water shortages make it difficult enough for restaurants to meet dishwashing and hand washing requirements, "so to add something about somebody throws a carry out bag over the counter and says, hey, put my hamburger and fries in this,' creates a real problem.... I just don't know if it's going to work."
According to a memo to the board from Sweeney, "The First Appellate District of the State Court of Appeal upheld San Francisco's regulation of restaurant takeout bags and also found that local bag ordinances qualify for categorical exemption under CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act)."
Second District Supervisor John McCowen said the changed ordinance won't require consumers to bring their own reusable bags, and noted in Sweeney's staff report that most major fast-food restaurants had already switched to using paper bags.
Fifth District Supervisor Dan Hamburg agreed with a speaker who said Styrofoam carry out containers should also be banned because they don't break down easily and cause an environmental hazard.
"When people see paper, they tend to put it into their recycle bin, and it ends up going to the transfer station and being dealt with properly, whereas plastic bags end up in the landfill," Hamburg said.
Answering Pinches' concerns, 1st District Supervisor Carre Brown referred to Sweeney's report on how the plastic bag ban applies to restaurant takeout food, as opposed to grocers and retailers, which are required to charge at least 10 cents per paper bag sold to a consumer who doesn't have reusable bags.
"The minimum 10-cent charge per paper bag is waived," Sweeney's report said. "This was done in recognition of the reality that 1) restaurant takeout customers are less likely to be carrying their reusable shopping bags with them; 2) leaks of takeout food into reusable bags may discourage their further use; and 3) customer attempts to avoid paying the 10-cent bag fee could result in unfortunate dropping of food order items, particularly in situations like items being handed out of a drive-up window."
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal.)
A MUSEUM ON WHEELS
Mendocino County Museum Road Show animates local history; Four shows throughout county
by Roberta Werdinger
The Mendocino County Museum Road Show debuts on two weekends, February 28—March 1 and March 7-8, the start of an annual tradition celebrating local history in local communities. The shows take place one night at each location: Willits High School, the Anderson Valley Grange, the Little Theatre at Mendocino College in Ukiah, and Eagles Hall in Fort Bragg. Doors will open at each location at 6:30 pm, with a Gallery show of related exhibits to view in the lobby. The performance begins at 7:30 pm. Presented by a specially-convened troupe of the county's most talented thespians and musicians, each show blends story and song to highlight Mendocino County's most dynamic resource: its people.
"The stories touch every part of our county," Artistic Director Linda Pack says. Drawing on transcribed archives of recorded oral histories and other primary source material, stories include teamster Walter Gschwend's epic haul from Low Gap to Needle Rock, the 1914 Willits children's march for Prohibition, and the notorious Wood family of Fort Bragg. Knitting the narratives together is the warm, evocative sound of American roots group All About Sally. In tune with old times, when vaudeville was popular, a colorful proscenium arch has been created, complete with ruffled swag and space for ads. Historical photos of the county will be projected to the back of the stage while the skits run —- 7 actors playing 35 ordinary yet extraordinary local people.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for youth 6-20, with ticket purchase discounts for groups of 10 or more. Tickets may be purchased at the Mendocino Book Company in Ukiah, Tangents in Fort Bragg, All That Good Stuff in Boonville and online, for no additional fee, through the website www.MendocinoMuseum.org. Tickets are also available by calling or visiting the Mendocino County Museum at 400 East Commercial St. in Willits during open hours, 10 to 4:30 Wednesday through Sunday. For more information call the Museum at 459-2736 or go to www.MendocinoMuseum.org.
WESTLANDS & KERN GET MORE WATER THAN ALL URBAN USERS COMBINED
by Dan Bacher
As California continues to suffer from drought in spite of the weekend storm, Restore the Delta (RTD) today released a water export pie chart and tracking table showing where the water goes that is exported from the San Francisco Bay-Delta.
The pie chart and tables can be viewed at http://www.restorethedelta.org.
The Westlands Water District and the Kern County Water agency have taken more water from the Delta on an annual average basis than the Metropolitan Water District and the Santa Clara Valley Water District combined, even though tens of millions of people use water in these urban water districts. Of these four water district proponents of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels, the urban users get 45% of the water they share, while huge agribusiness in the Westlands and Kern County get 55% of water exports.
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, RTD Executive Director, told the news teleconference, “The unsustainable business practices of Westlands and Kern, planting permanent crops, like almonds, in areas that are only to receive extra water in wet years, are the problem behind the emergency that this drought has evolved into.”
Just two San Joaquin Valley agricultural contractors, Westlands Water District and Kern County Water Agency, used more water than Metropolitan Water District and Santa Clara Valley urban users combined, according to Barrigan-Parrilla. Those four agencies together used an average 3,272,699 acre feet of water.
"But as the pie chart shows, 55% of that water went for agriculture, often to grow almonds, cotton, and pistachios for export," Barrigan-Parrilla revealed. "These agricultural users contribute only about .3% to California’s economy. Compare that to 45% of the water going to sustain the people and economies of Southern California and Silicon Valley."
Urban water rate payers in the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the Metropolitan Water District are being asked to pay for a significant portion of the proposed peripheral tunnels, as part of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, without receiving any additional water.
“Yet, these urban agencies receive a smaller percentage of Delta exports than the big agribusiness growers found in the Westland Water District and the Kern County Water Agency. It’s time to stop forcing the rest of us to subsidize unsustainable agriculture," she continued.
“Billionaire Beverly Hills farmer Stewart Resnick, owner of Paramount Farms, has made enormous profits exporting around the world pistachios grown with this exported water, subsidized by California rate payers, and reselling subsidized water for new development. Westlands Water District growers, whose Bureau of Reclamation contract places them last in line to receive exported Delta water, continue planting permanent crops that cannot be sustained on drainage impaired lands,” said Barrigan-Parrilla.
Bill Jennings, executive director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA), said, “Politically powerful special interests have created an artificial reality constructed of ‘paper water.’ Tragically, people have mortgaged their futures based on these promises, and are now suffering the consequences."
"California cannot resolve its reoccurring water crises until it brings water demand into balance with available water supply. That includes adjudicating water rights, developing a viable water management and drought response policy, retiring impaired farmland and maximizing water use through conservation, reclamation and recycling," Jennings noted.
Jennings said the present political controversy, and HR 3964 legislation from South Valley interests, should be viewed as one area in California seeking to profit itself at the expense of another.
"We should be extremely careful about sacrificing the fisheries, farms, communities and future prosperity of northern California in order to enrich a south valley industrial agriculture, that comprises 3 tenths of 1% of our state economy, and is predicated upon embezzled water, massive public subsidies, unrestricted pollution and subsistence wages," Jennings concluded.
Other experts who spoke at the press conference nclude Lloyd Carter, investigative reporter and expert on Westlands Water District, and Adam Scow, California Campaigns Director, Food & Water Watch.
You can listen to the audio from the media teleconference by going to: http://www.restorethedelta.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Conf_recorded_on_Feb_10_2014_11-47AM.mp3
For the Central Valley Business Times coverage of the conference, go to: http://www.centralvalleybusinesstimes.com/stories/001/?ID=25188
Restore the Delta is a 15,000-member grassroots organization committed to making the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta fishable, swimmable, drinkable, and farmable to benefit all of California. Restore the Delta works to improve water quality so that fisheries and farming can thrive together again in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.http://www.restorethedelta.org
For more information, contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546; steve [at] hopcraft.com; Twitter: @shopcraft; @MrSandHillCrane; Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla 209/479-2053 barbara [at] restorethedelta.org; Twitter: @RestoretheDelta
LORDE’S SUPPRESSED GRAMMY AWARD ACCEPTANCE SPEECH
Young Australian Singing Sensation apparently surprises fans with lefty political views
Lorde (real name Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor, a native of New Zealand):
Thank you so much everyone for making this song [‘Royals’] explode because this world is mental. (Laughter). Planet Earth is run by psychopaths that hide behind slick marketing, ‘freedom’ propaganda and ‘economic growth’ rhetoric, while they construct a global system of corporatized totalitarianism.
As American journalist Chris Hedges has identified, a corporate totalitarian core thrives inside a fictitious democratic shell. This core yields an ‘inverted’ totalitarian state that few recognize because it does not look like the Orwellian world of Nineteen Eighty-four.
This corporate totalitarian core is spreading outward from America. Planet Earth is being rapidly militarized by the world’s major and significant states, including their police forces. Meanwhile, state surveillance is becoming universal and torture is outsourced to gulags.
Can we not imagine that in past times, simple folk found it hard to work out exactly how they were being manipulated by the Royal monarchies, and the Papal monarchy, who claimed a ‘divine right to rule’? Ordinary people from classical times through to the demise of Ancien Regime could not see how the rivalrous network of elites and oligarchs were linked, not least because the illiterate masses were indoctrinated to believe in their humble lot, to obey divinely-endorsed authority and to live in fear of damnation.
So, in today’s mental world, it should become clearer now that Planet Earth is ruled by super-wealthy people, who use their outrageous fortunes to steer the trajectories of whole societies for their own material and political gain. These oligarchs are, in fact, colluding for economic gain and conspiring to augment more political power. Armies of professional, political, religious and military elites serve them. Together, they comprise a highly-networked transnational capitalist class that has been traced in studies by: Peter Phillips and Brady Osborne; William K. Carroll; David Rothkopf; Daniel Estulin; and Laurence H. Shoup and William Minter.
As Canadian journalist Naomi Klein has argued in her book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, ‘free markets’ were slickly marketed in the 1980s and 1990s with the idea that they would deliver individual freedom and prosperity for all. Klein also wrote that the use of military violence to facilitate the spread of ‘free markets’ in the field-testing stage from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s has continued into the 2000s. Her view is supported in Eugene Jarecki’s documentary Why We Fight, which compellingly showed that America fights wars to make the world secure for its corporations. So, get reading and viewing! [Lorde giggles and half the audience rises to their feet applauding. The other half remain fixed in their chairs. Some reluctantly clap].
Thank you so much everyone for giving a shit about our song, ‘Royals.’ May you all find the balls to help construct a world based on resilient community, bona-fide freedom, and peace. To do that, we will need to redeploy the psychopaths that currently run the world to the planet’s prisons. Peace cannot happen with reconciliation. That was Nelson Mandela’s mistake. The first step to peace is justice firmly served.
THE CALIFORNIA COAST
by Eric Bergeson
Yes, a person can get homesick every now and then when gone south for the winter.
But there is a cure: call home. Doesn’t matter who. Just call any number in the 218 or 701 area code. Listen to the desperation, the depression, the rage on the other end.
Feel the subzero cold pour through the speaker of the phone. Feel the desire to go home evaporate.
Rents skyrocket in Tucson in February, so I moved onward to the south California coast to see what has drawn twenty million others to the area.
At random, I chose the coastal village of Carlsbad between San Diego and Los Angeles. That’s right, it is a village. On the coast. A cute little place, according to the brochures.
Carlsbad has 102,000 residents. Almost as big as Fargo, this village.
Why all the people in California, and Carlsbad?
The weather! The scenery! Endless beaches! When you get here, it is obvious why everybody else got here already.
Think July 4 at the lake, but every day.
Today, Sunday, I took four walks to the beach. Each trip I became convinced there was some sort of emergency going on. Hundreds of people lined the beach, and they all stared out at the water.
Following their gaze, I looked hard at the ocean. I looked for sharks. I looked for whales. I looked for sinking ships. I looked for drowning victims, or for injured surfers. I saw nothing.
I looked back at the people lining the beach. They still stared outward. What was I missing?
Finally, I realized the crowds were just enjoying the ocean. They were watching the waves, absorbing the misty breeze, catching some rays.
With millions of people clinging to a narrow piece of land between the coastal mountains and the Pacific Ocean, space is tight.
Unlike the Midwest, where we have plenty of elbow room, and Arizona, where the millions are spread across seventy miles of desert, California has to squeeze people in.
No long, luxurious entrance ramps onto the freeway here, folks. Nope, if you want to get onto I-5, you have to keep your eye out for a little tar path tucked between two overgrown rhododendrons just past the McDonald’s drive through.
Look hard and you’ll see a faded “Freeway Entrance” sign behind the leaves. Yank the wheel, then tromp on the accelerator, for the little tar path is a little tar path for about seven more rhododendrons before it foists you onto eight lanes of California freeway mayhem.
If you aren’t up to speed by the time you burst forth from the rhododendron grove, you will be squashed by a BMW.
On the southern California coastal map run four major north/south lines.
First is the endless sandy shoreline, where waves have been pounding the beach for millions of years without cessation.
Fifty yards east of the beach runs US Highway 101, the scenic route along the coast. Take the 101 if you aren’t in a hurry, or if you want a taste of local beach culture.
Just south on US 101 sits a church. The name? “Self-Realization Fellowship.”
Something tells me they aren’t ELCA.
About 150 yards east of Highway 101 is the commuter rail. Several trains pass per hour, horns blaring.
Finally, 200 more yards to the east, the fourteen jam-packed lanes of Interstate 5.
Tucked between these four major demarcations are countless tiny condos, boutiques, cafes and stores.
The tiny bungalow I rented is fifty yards from the rail line. Within 2000 feet are over 40 cafes, according to my phone. The beach is steps away.
Yes, things are congested, but the laid-back attitude of Californians makes it easier to endure the crowds.
Californians obey the walk/don’t walk lights even when there is no traffic. Rather than sneak out early, or rush across late, California pedestrians sun themselves as they wait for the light to change.
When the light finally changes, only half of the walkers leave the curb. The rest wake up from their nap, stretch, do some yoga, and then decide whether to cross now, or hang out until the next green light.
On the beach, people do their own thing. They jog in any number of bizarre styles. They do push ups on the walkway. They dance with scarves flowing. They gather to beat drums.
Or, they just stare out at the endless ocean and bask in the breeze.
It’s the southern California coast, the un-Minnesota, where millions of people have shoehorned themselves onto a small slice of paradise.
Ending Congressional Stupor Now!
by Ralph Nader
Every year brings the world more climatological science that man-made climate change, or overall global warming, is chronically worsening.
Every year, from Antarctica to Greenland, from the Andes to Alaska, the ice is melting, the permafrost is melting, and very soon the Arctic may have a re-unprecedented ice-free season. Every year, more and more businesses are speaking out on how climate change is damaging their businesses. Insurance companies were in the lead on sounding the alarm on global warming. Just a few days ago, Coca-Cola’s vice president for environment and water resources, Jeffrey Seabright, told the New York Times that “increased droughts, more unpredictable variability, 100-year floods every two years” were affecting the supply of sugar cane and sugar beets, “as well as citrus for [Coca-Cola’s] fruit juices.”
Every year, companies quit the climate-denying U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and instead attend conferences on the threat of climate change at places like the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland for big businesses and politicians.
Every year, more mainstream and conservative economists and companies declare their support for a carbon tax.
In Washington, Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, has put climate change on center stage for becoming what he said is a chief contributor to rising global poverty rates.
Every year, there are more demonstrations and marches of people and students around the world demanding action, conversion to renewable energies, and conservation efficiencies. University students are increasingly demanding their schools’ divestment of stock from fossil fuel companies.
Every year, its seems records are being set for sea level rises, more furious storm surges, heat waves, floods, typhoons, and droughts.
Yet every year one institution allows no change in its political climate; nothing is warming up our Congress of 535 legislators who are split between believers and disbelievers on the climate change crises. The result is worse than gridlock; it has become somnolence.
While people may become more frugal in their energy consumption and while businesses may use more renewable energy, a comprehensive national energy conversion mission, reflecting the urgency of action, has to go through Congress.
Omnicidal as it is, climate change has been taken off the table on Capitol Hill. Yes, there are some bills languishing in the hopper, some statements in the Congressional Record, but overall for different Democratic and Republican reasons, Congress has gone AWOL since the energy bill was blocked in the Senate seven years ago.
The Republicans are aggressive climate-change deniers. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) calls global warming a massive hoax and is willing to debate any Democrat. While, by and large, most Democrats are concerned but unwilling to make it a campaign or electoral issue. They’re even unwilling to take on Mr. Inhofe. Somehow, they’ve myopically convinced themselves — even those with grandchildren — that the fast-looming peril provides no net electoral or campaign cash advantages.
This shocking Congressional bubble has avoided the intense focus of the environmental lobby. Astonishingly, there are fewer than a half dozen scattered lobbyists in Washington, D.C. working in personam, full time directly on Congress and its role regarding climate change.
To open up this critical Khyber Pass, called Congress, blocking action on climate change we need, as a minimum, a new 100-person lobbying organization with laser beam, daily focus on every member of the Senate and the House of Representatives. This group would have the requisite scientific, legal, organizing, public relations, and political experience. Every day, the 535 members of our national legislature would feel the light, the heat, and the might of what these hundred advocates unleash directly and indirectly.
The Pentagon’s study a decade ago would be brought to bear with its dire message that climate change is a national security priority. The federal government’s procurement budget would be steered toward renewable fuel and efficiencies specifications for the energy it purchases. The protest activity at the grassroots, which now bursts mostly into the ether, would be sharply redirected to each member of Congress.
The Congressional hearings would garner regular, intensive and productive national attention. The electoral campaigns of both parties would not be allowed to sideline this giant backlash from nature so abused by humankind.
Where would the $25 million annual budget come from for such a lobbying group working to prevent trillions of dollars and millions of lives from being lost? The question is almost absurd were it not for the bizarre aversion to this focus by well-heeled and leading advocates of addressing climate change.
Megabillionaire Michael Bloomberg, just named the United Nations special envoy for climate change and cities, already funding efforts to reduce coal usage, could write the check out of his hip pocket. Billionaire Tom Steyer, a big time opponent to the XL pipeline from Canada and a proven environmentalist from California, could also handily write the check.
Very wealthy Henry M. Paulson Jr., former head of Goldman Sachs and U.S. Treasury Secretary, who is working with Bloomberg and Steyer to commission an economic study on the financial risks connected to climate change, region by region across the U.S. economy, could also write the check.
And don’t forget Al Gore, the leading global publicist of what climatologist Lonnie Thompson of Ohio State University called a “clear and present danger to civilization.” Former Senator Gore — who received the Nobel Prize in 2007 for highlighting the perils of global warming and climate change — could also fund and lead such a group.
Why, readers may ask, am I suggesting a sum small enough that one person could foot the bill for such a portentous peril? Because small sums are better at shaming all those well-endowed institutions and individuals, who know better, but inexplicably have not transformed their concerns into really powerful, serious pursuits for the human race and its more vulnerable posterity.
(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.)
POLICE ACTION AS OF WEDNESDAY MORNING
Drug Possession — An officer stopped a vehicle in the 1100 block of North State Street at 9:59 p.m. Saturday and arrested Aaryan D.K. Fischer, 22, of Fort Bragg on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance, and Lois Erich, 22, of Chico, on suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance.
Transients Under Bridge — Caller in the 600 block of North Orchard Avenue reported at 12:54 a.m. Sunday that two transients were camping under the bridge. An office responded and the subjects were asked to leave.
Car Window Broken — Caller in the 1100 block of North Oak Street reported at 7:45 a.m. Sunday that a window on a van was broken the night before, but nothing was taken.
Wallet In Wife’s Purse — Citizen reported at 12:58 p.m. Sunday that his wife found a stranger’s wallet in her purse after shopping at Walmart on Airport Park Boulevard. An officer took a report.
Domestic Fight — Caller at Denny’s on Pomeroy Avenue reported at 1:37 p.m. Sunday that a couple was fighting. An officer responded and arrested a 20-year-old Ukiah woman for domestic battery. The caller then reported that the woman stole his TV and he requested contact with an officer.
Dog Tied Up For Two Days — Caller on Henderson Lane reported at 2:44 p.m. Sunday that a nearby dog had been tied up in a yard for two days. An officer responded and reported that the dog was fine.
Explosion — Caller in the 600 block of Leslie Street reported at 4:46 p.m. Sunday hearing a small explosion and having shards of glass in her carport. An officer responded and reported that something was thrown on the ground and broken.
Shots Heard — Caller in the 1300 block of Yokayo Drive reported at 6:23 p.m. Sunday hearing one shot fired, and several shots the night before.
Propane Tank Stolen — Caller in the 400 block of South State Street reported at 3:10 p.m. Sunday that a propane tank and regulator had been taken. At 6:31 p.m., the caller reported that surveillance cameras were showing people coming to the business at night to see if the back doors are locked and requested extra patrols.
Shoplifter — An officer responded to Safeway on South State Street at 8:35 p.m. Sunday and arrested a woman for theft. She was cited and released.
Man In Sleeping Bag — Caller in the 500 block of East Perkins Street reported at 11:22 p.m. Sunday that a man was in a sleeping bag. An officer responded and the man left.
The following were compiled from reports prepared by the Ukiah Police Department regarding calls handled by the Fort Bragg Police Department.
Dui Arrest — An officer stopped a vehicle in the 200 block of East Redwood Avenue at 12:30 a.m. Sunday and arrested Michael DelCampo, no age or hometown given, on suspicion of driving under the influence. He was cited and released.
The following were compiled from reports prepared by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office:
Vehicle Theft — Jacqueline B. Turek, 29, of Covelo, was arrested at 9:13 p.m. Thursday on suspicion of vehicle theft and booked at the county jail under $15,000 bail. The Ukiah Police Department arrested her.
Drug Manufacture — William S. Corley, 53, Laytonville, was arrested at 11:45 a.m. Friday on suspicion of manufacturing a controlled substance by chemical extraction, cultivating marijuana and forging a prescription for a narcotic drug, and booked at the county jail under $50,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.
Harboring A Fugitive — Edward T. Esquivel, 51, of Willits, was arrested at 4:20 p.m. Friday on suspicion of harboring a suspect wanted in a felony and violating his probation terms, and booked at the county jail. The MCSO arrested him.
DUI — Pedro Morales Fonseca, 23, of Fort Bragg, was arrested at 7:33 p.m. Friday on suspicion of driving under the influence and failing to appear in court, and booked at the county jail under $12,500 bail. The Fort Bragg Police Department arrested him.
Domestic Violence — Allan Barr, 53, of Covelo, was arrested at 9:36 p.m. Friday on suspicion of domestic assault and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.
Domestic Violence — Susanne F. Merrifield, 40, of Covelo, was arrested at 9:36 p.m. Friday on suspicion of domestic assault and violating her probation terms, and booked at the county jail. The MCSO arrested her.
Robbery, Reckless Evading — Bradley G. Spencer, 31, of El Cerrito, was arrested at 2:18 a.m. Saturday on suspicion of robbery, burglary, witness intimidation, reckless driving and violating a court order, and booked at the county jail under $402,500 bail. The MCSO arrested him.
Meth Sales — Donovan T. Williams, 35, of Ukiah, was arrested at 4:37 p.m. Saturday on suspicion of selling methamphetamine and booked at the county jail. The MCSO arrested him.
Domestic Violence — Bennett S. Pool, 37, of Ukiah, was arrested at 11:45 p.m. Saturday on suspicion of domestic assault and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.
DUI — James E. Belden, 26, of Ukiah, was arrested at 7:20 a.m. Sunday on suspicion of driving under the influence, driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit, driving without a license and violating his probation terms, and booked at the county jail under $12,500 bail. The California Highway Patrol arrested him.
DUI — Juana Espinoza, 54, of Comptche, was arrested at 3:33 p.m. Sunday on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit, and booked at the county jail under $30,000 bail. The CHP arrested her.
DUI — Richard L. Jones, 59, of Redwood Valley, was arrested at 10:54 a.m. Tuesday on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit, and booked at the county jail under $5,000 bail. The CHP arrested him.