Racist Rob: “I don’t have anything against the Indians”…..“I don’t get it,”….NO SHIT

Trump protege Robin Percival Arkley

WannbeKing Rob would be such a good steward of the land.  Just look how well he’s done with his other properties, like the balloon tract in Old Town or the “dog ranch” in Somoa and several others that don’t have nicknames.   If you look past the repeated arson, crossbow murder, robberies, drug use and transient encampments it’s almost as if the areas are pristine!!!!  Imagine what he could do with the ancient village Tuluwat??? (gasp)

Rob Arkley said he doesn’t understand why there’s been so much backlash against his proposal to buy Indian Island from the city of Eureka instead of allowing the property to transfer to the Wiyot Tribe.

“I am stunned by this whole thing. I don’t get it,” he said, when reached by phone Tuesday at his Security National office in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Arkley said in the wake of his proposal, first made public during a morning talk radio spot on July 31, he, his family and his business have received threats.

“I don’t have anything against the Indians, the issue is access for the people and fair price,” he said.

Arkley said he’s mainly concerned about what public access to the island will be like if the land transfer goes through and about Eureka giving away valuable land when the city faces “limitless financial issues.”

“I want to know why they’re declaring it surplus land to begin with,” he said.

Indian Island, which the Wiyot people call Tuluwat, is the location of the ancient villages Tuluwat and Etpidolh. For generations, the yearly World Renewal Ceremony was held on the island until the massacre of Wiyot men, women, elders and children in 1860. The ceremony was held on the island again in 2014 after a 154-year hiatus.

“This is absolutely the equivalent of paying reparations, which is foolish,” Arkley said about the transfer.

He disagreed when asked if giving the island back would help right a historical wrong, calling it a “bogus argument.”

Since 2000 the tribe has been buying back private parcels of the island and in 2004 the city of Eureka transferred about 45 acres of the island to the tribe. In June, the Eureka City Council committed to moving forward negotiating an agreement to transfer the remaining 200 acres of land the city owns on the island to the Wiyot Tribe.

City manager Greg Sparks previously said the land is appraised at $200,000 and that the council hasn’t discussed Arkley’s offer.

“They’re talking about giving it away, you’ve got to be kidding me!” Arkley said. “That’s why I offered $500,000.”

He said that if his offer is taken up he will set up a charity, similar to how Friends of the Dunes operates, to provide stewardship to the land. Arkley also said it will remain open for public use like it is today. He said he doubted that the tribe would keep the island for public use outside of tribal members and that the tribe hasn’t conducted as much environmental and habitat restoration as they say.

“They’ve done a fraction of what they said they would do,” Arkley said.

According to the tribe’s website, over 60 tons of scrap metal and additional tons of garbage has been removed from the island, a brownsfield assessment and remediation plan was completed, erosion control was implemented and native plants have been planted.

“The tribe has invested more than $3 million in the direct cleanup and restoration project,” Wiyot tribal administrator Michelle Vassel wrote in an email to the Times-Standard on Wednesday. “That number does not include the blood, sweat and tears of countless volunteers who have lent their hands to the project, and the countless hours of fundraisers, grant writing and administrative work managing the project.”

She said the tribe’s plan for the island has remained the same over the past 50 years.

“This includes clean up of environmental hazards, restoration of wildlife habitat. It also includes protection of grave sites, cultural resources, return of ceremony and living Wiyot cultural practices to the Island,” Vassel wrote.

She added that is not about exclusionary practices.

“The Wiyot Tribe is a government which by nature is a public not private entity,” she wrote. “The tribe has no intention of excluding people, we have worked long and hard with the city of Eureka and other government agencies local native and non-native, people and organizations in this community to come together to work toward these goals.”

Vassel asserts that what the tribe is doing benefits everyone.

“The work the tribe has done and plans to do on the island benefits the whole community,” she wrote. “In ceremony, we do not pray only for Wiyot people we pay for all people, really the whole world.”

Times standard

http://www.times-standard.com/general-news/20170809/arkley-responds-to-backlash-over-offer-to-buy-indian-island

Threatened Rightwing propaganda media take over still looms

 

RIGHT-WING PROPAGANDA MEDIA ARM REACHES INTO HUMBOLDT COUNTY

How Trump’s FCC aided Sinclair’s expansion

Use of a regulatory loophole will allow Sinclair to reach 72 percent of U.S. households after buying Tribune’s stations.

Sinclair Broadcast Group is expanding its conservative-leaning television empire into nearly three-quarters of American households — but its aggressive takeover of the airwaves wouldn’t have been possible without help from President Donald Trump’s chief at the Federal Communications Commission.

Sinclair, already the nation’s largest TV broadcaster, plans to buy 42 stations from Tribune Media in cities such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, on top of the more than 170 stations it already owns. It got a critical assist this spring from Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who revived a decades-old regulatory loophole that will keep Sinclair from vastly exceeding federal limits on media ownership.

The change will allow Sinclair — a company known for injecting “must run” conservative segments into its local programming — to reach 72 percent of U.S. households after buying Tribune’s stations. That’s nearly double the congressionally imposed nationwide audience cap of 39 percent.

The FCC and the company both say the agency wasn’t giving Sinclair any special favors by reviving the loophole, known as the “UHF discount,” which has long been considered technologically obsolete. But the Tribune deal would not have been viable if not for Pai’s intervention: Sinclair already reaches an estimated 38 percent of U.S. households without the discount, leaving it almost no room for growth.

The loophole is a throwback to the days when the ultra-high-frequency TV spectrum — the part higher than Channel 13 — was filled with low-budget stations with often-scratchy reception over analog rabbit ears. That quality gap no longer exists in today’s world of digital television, but under the policy that Pai revived, the commission does not fully count those stations’ market size when tallying a broadcaster’s national reach.

Sinclair Broadcast Group owns stations in 81 markets, making it the nation’s largest TV broadcaster. The maps below show Sinclair’s footprint proportional to its total reach — which now covers an estimated 38 percent of U.S. households.

Its $3.9 billion deal will give it stations in 19 new markets, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago — and the ability to reach 72 percent of households.

Critics including the FCC’s most recent former chairman, Tom Wheeler, say the change amounts to a regulatory sleight-of-hand.

“Congress was explicit in black letter saying 39 percent viewership would be the maximum,” said Wheeler, a Democrat who got rid of the discount last year. But instead, he said, “There was funny math created to allow the count to come up to still be below 39 percent, wink wink.”

The FCC and Sinclair say a wide array of broadcasters — not just Sinclair — pushed for the return of the UHF discount, and they say Pai has been consistent in arguing that the agency shouldn’t scrap the discount without first undertaking a broader review of media ownership limits.

Pai, whom Trump elevated to chairman early this year, told House Democrats at a July 25 hearing that the commission didn’t single out Sinclair for special treatment. “If you look at any of our regulatory actions, they’re not designed to benefit any company or segment of the industry,” he said.

Still, the FCC action removed the most serious obstacle for Sinclair, which has been a target for Democrats and liberal groups disturbed by reports that the company favored Trump in its election coverage. While Sinclair doesn’t spend much on traditional lobbying, it has donated generously over the years to congressional Republicans, who have shown little inclination to throw up any roadblocks to the deal.

The Washington Post in December reported that Sinclair “gave a disproportionate amount of neutral or favorable coverage to Trump during the campaign” while airing negative stories on Hillary Clinton. That followed POLITICO’s reporting on a boast by Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner that the president’s campaign had struck a deal with the broadcast group for better media coverage. (Sinclair disputed the characterization, saying it was an arrangement for extended sit-down interviews that was offered to both candidates.) In April, Sinclair hired former White House aide Boris Epshteyn, who had organized Trump’s TV surrogates, as an on-air political analyst.

Controversy over Sinclair’s politics predates Trump. The broadcaster came under fire in 2004 over reports it planned to air a documentary critical of then-Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry’s Vietnam-era antiwar activism, though the company instead aired a news special on some stations rather than the full documentary. But the company’s bid to get bigger via the Tribune deal has focused new attention on the company.

The broadcaster cultivated its ties with the FCC’s Pai in the weeks after Trump’s election, when the Republican commissioner was viewed as a top contender to lead the agency. Pai addressed Sinclair’s Nov. 16 general manager summit in Baltimore, where he also met with the company’s then-CEO, David Smith, according to a copy of Pai’s calendar obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. Pai held a second meeting with Smith and newly named Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley in Arlington, Virginia, on the day before Trump’s inauguration, the records show.

A Sinclair spokeswoman said Pai was invited to speak at the general manager summit before the election, and noted that FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, a Democrat, addressed a similar gathering in the past.

On Pai’s first week on the job as chairman in late January, Sinclair urged the agency to reinstate the UHF discount, which allows ultra-high-frequency stations to count for only half their actual audience when calculating their national reach. Pai had dissented when the FCC’s then-Democratic majority abolished the discount in 2016, arguing that the commission should also review and adjust the national ownership cap.

Once installed as head of the agency, Pai brought back the discount in a 2-1 party-line vote in April over the objections of Clyburn, who pointed out the irony that a chairman who has emphasized slashing outmoded regulations was reviving a “relic of a bygone era.” A little over two weeks after the FCC vote, Sinclair announced its acquisition of Tribune Media.

The FCC said multiple broadcasters, including CBS, NBC and Univision, supported the move, and said Pai was simply acting on his long-held position. “Had the Commission teed up both the UHF discount and the national cap in 2013 as he had requested, then this entire situation could have been avoided,” an FCC spokesperson said in a statement.

Echoing that stance, Sinclair said Pai’s call for a broad review of the entire ownership cap was well established.

“The majority Commissioners’ positions that media ownership reform is needed has been widely known for many years,” Sinclair Senior Vice President of Strategy and Policy Rebecca Hanson said in a statement. “Therefore, any suggestion that the reinstatement was done on Sinclair’s behalf is false.”

Pai, who is viewed as friendly to broadcasters, also moved quickly to advance TV stations’ ability to offer a new transmission standard for higher-quality, over-the-air video. That’s of particular interest to Sinclair, which has invested more than $30 million in the next-generation TV technology and says its expansion via the Tribune deal will help speed the rollout of the service.

The FCC chairman has further proposed eliminating a rule that requires each TV station to have a main studio in or near the community it serves, arguing that modern technology allows community interaction without an in-person visit to a local studio. Critics charge that’s another handout to Sinclair, with Wheeler warning in a July blog post that “Sinclair — long known for requiring their stations to carry right-wing programs produced by headquarters — will have an open field to replace local voices with national control.”

With the regulatory path eased for its Tribune transaction, Sinclair is looking at relatively smooth sailing in GOP-dominated Washington. Ripley, the CEO, has expressed confidence the deal will receive regulatory approval from the FCC and the Justice Department, while acknowledging that the company might still have to drop some TV stations in select markets to fully adhere to ownership rules.

Sinclair isn’t showing signs of massively boosting its bare-bones lobbying operation in Washington, though it’s increasing its investment. The company spent roughly $60,000 on lobbying in the first half of this year, nearly the amount it spent in all of 2016, and recently brought back a second, in-house lobbyist who previously lobbied for the broadcaster. One of the lobbyists, Hanson, has mostly focused on tamping down any Democratic opposition in Congress.

In June, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) led seven Democratic colleagues in calling for hearings on the deal. Sinclair’s KOMO TV station in Seattle, in Cantwell’s home state, has become a focal point for local station resistance to demands from the corporate office, according to a New York Times story in May that described how KOMO journalists would rebel against “must-run” content by airing it at times of low viewership.

“We just want local content. We want the folks to be local — we don’t want this metroplex of content just coming in,” Cantwell said in an interview.

“Local television broadcasters have long served the public interest. The Sinclair-Tribune merger threatens to upend this responsibility by consolidating local news into a single voice that reaches into 70 percent of American homes,” Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel, told POLITICO. “It’s no secret that Sinclair has used its large platform to push extremely conservative programming, while cutting deals with the Trump campaign to provide favorable coverage.”

Sinclair, which says consolidation will allow it to invest more in local programming, has argued that TV broadcasters need to get bigger to survive. The largest TV broadcaster in the country is still the little guy when compared with the other companies in the media landscape with which it negotiates and competes, including Comcast-NBCU and AT&T-DirecTV, the company says.

So far, there’s little indication Republican leadership in Congress intends to apply much scrutiny to the Tribune deal. Sinclair, which began as a family-owned TV station in Baltimore in the 1970s, has endeared itself to many Republicans with its conservative leanings — and has a long history of donating to GOP candidates over the years.

In the 2016 election cycle, Sinclair and its executives donated nearly $300,000 to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The company gave to the fundraising efforts of House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Its vice president, Frederick Smith, gave to the pro-Trump Great America PAC as well as to Montana Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte’s campaign a day after the lawmaker was charged with assaulting a journalist this year.

But the company and its executives have also given to Democrats, chipping in $120,000 to the party and its candidates during the 2016 cycle. One week after announcing the Tribune deal in May, former CEO Smith, now the executive chairman, cut a personal check of $30,000 for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

With resistance to Sinclair’s transaction muted so far in Washington, criticism is popping up outside the Beltway.

John Oliver, host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” devoted nearly 20 minutes in a July show to mocking Sinclair’s “must run” segments and warning about the potential impact of the deal. “[I]n contrast to Fox News, a conservative outlet where you basically know what you’re getting, with Sinclair, they’re injecting Fox-worthy content into the mouths of your local news anchors, the two people who you know, and who you trust, and whose on-screen chemistry can usually best be described as two people,” Oliver quipped.

Sinclair has pushed back hard against such criticism. Epshteyn blasted Oliver’s segment, and Sinclair tripled the number of weekly segments featuring the former Trump aide’s commentary. A Sinclair executive sent a memo to station news directors defending the must-runs against what he said were irresponsible media reports.

More opposition could emerge during the regulatory review process. Public interest group Public Knowledge, the American Cable Association and DISH Network urged the FCC to slow down the review process and make Sinclair release more information about how the deal will benefit the public. Conservative website Newsmax — a potential competitor to Sinclair in the right-wing news business — also told the FCC that the deal raises “serious competitive concerns” in a filing supporting the request for more time and information. The FCC denied the requests.

But Sinclair has said the commission has the information it needs, and the company believes it has a chairman who understands the broadcast business leading the regulatory review.

“Thankfully, we’ve got Chairman Pai, who’s launched an action to look at these antiquated rules which we think has artificially tipped the playing field away from TV broadcast to the point of making us uncompetitive,” Ripley told attendees at a Media Institute luncheon in June. “That’s one of the reasons why we’re optimistic on the regulatory.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/06/trump-fcc-sinclair-broadcast-expansion-241337

Trump has a new favorite Rightwing site aimed at viewers in their teens and 20s

Forget Breitbart: the White House has a new favorite rightwing media outlet

Circa, a video-heavy site aimed at viewers in their teens and 20s, has attracted attention from other outlets for a series of scoops on the Russian investigation

Fox News has such an influence on Donald Trump that US journalists now react to the president’s proclamations on Twitter by searching for the Fox and Friends segment that inspired them.

This intimate feedback loop between the Fox morning show and the president has made it “the most powerful TV show in America”, in the words of a New York Times critic. For Rupert Murdoch, a ruthless player in conservative politics across continents, such influence is striking. But it’s not new.

Liberal critics of the administration, however, are now turning the spotlight on what they see as a troubling new pro-Trump outlet. It’s not Fox News, with its angry anchors and aging audience. It’s Circa, a colorful digital media site aimed at viewers in their teens and 20s.

Circa is owned by the Sinclair Media Broadcast Group, which owns or operates more than 170 television stations across the country and calls itself America’s “leading local news provider”. As Sinclair expands, it has faced speculation that it could become a conservative challenger to Fox News. https://www.circa.com/

For months, Circa has attracted special attention from other news outlets for a series of scoops on the progress of the Russian investigation that many saw as shoring up the administration’s narrative.

The latest scoop came on Thursday, when Circa reported that a high-ranking FBI official, general counsel James A Baker, was “the top suspect in an ongoing leak investigation”, having allegedly leaked “classified national security information to the media”.

The report cited “multiple government officials close to the probe” who spoke “on the condition of anonymity”, and said an FBI spokeswoman declined to comment.

The scoop came at the end of a bruising week for the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, who faced pressure from the president over his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, a move Sessions defended as the only lawful choice. On Twitter, Trump criticized Sessions’ “VERY weak position” on leaks. A day before the Circa scoop, Fox News reported that Sessions would soon announce an investigation into intelligence leaks.

On Thursday night, the MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow examined the way the story played into the administration’s “counter narrative”. Calling Circa a “pro-Trump conservative media outlet”, she said Sinclair was “emerging as kind of a successor to Breitbart News”.

Before he was fired, Maddow said, the former FBI director James Comey shared information about troubling interactions with the president with a small group of senior FBI officials, including Baker and now acting director Andrew McCabe. The latter has been publicly smeared by the president multiple times, over political donations his wife received from an ally of Hillary Clinton.

Maddow questioned why three FBI officials who might serve as witnesses in any inquiry about whether the president improperly interfered with the Russia investigation when he fired Comey had now either been fired or were coming under public attack.

“Of the six potential witnesses agains the president … three of them are now in the barrel,” she said.

The Circa story was concerning, Maddow said, “whether it’s just a pro-Trump conservative media threat or whether it’s a true report of a real criminal investigation launched by Sessions and the justice department”.

Sinclair and Circa did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Maddow’s segment. But Circa’s chief operations officer, John Solomon, formerly a reporter at the Associated Press and the Washington Post, has defended the company’s journalistic integrity.

In March, he told the Hill: “We have no point of view and you won’t find any opinion pieces on our website.

“I think labeling media outlets is not beneficial. There are people at outlets with conservative editorial boards doing great work and reporters at outlets with a liberal bent doing the same.”

The justice department did not immediately respond for a request for comment.

The controversy over Circa’s politics puts it in a spotlight that media observers might once have assumed would be focused on Breitbart, the aggressive, gleefully offensive, misogynistic and occasionally race-baiting far-right site which was once led by Trump adviser Steve Bannon.

Breitbart has had a tempestuous time since Trump’s election win, reflecting infighting between Bannon’s populist, nationalist faction and more centrist Republican advisers. The site has sometimes come out directly against the president, as it did in defending Sessions this week, arguing that his failure to prosecute Clinton was more a sign of weakness on Trump’s part than on Sessions’.

In attacking Sessions, whose justice department has pursued an anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ, tough-on-crime agenda, Trump was attacking his own base, Breitbart said.

After new White House communications chief Anthony Scaramucci slammed Bannon in an interview with the New Yorker – accusing him, in the polite translation of one news outlet, of “burnishing his own reputation” – Breitbart attacked Scaramucci too.

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/jul/30/circa-sinclair-pro-trump-outlet-breitbart-fox-news

Mill’s parting gift for the community; a Business District crime wave

Remember back in April 2016 when the Examiner posted:

BRILLIANT! HUMCPR AND CHIEF MILLS MOVE THE DEVILS PLAYGROUND TO OLD TOWN

Well those chickens have come home to roost and grown in numbers

A trip into old town and even many parts of downtown is like running the gauntlet. Stabbings, shootings and widespread thievery and vandalism.  These are some of the stories report recently….and we emphasize REPORTED because most of what goes on in Eureka’s central business district goes on under-reported and unreported. Why is that? It seems under the regimes of both police chiefs Harpham and Mills the prevailing attitude is; why bother? No one shows up, or the officer is really late (even days later) and if they do make it the cops try to dissuade you from even making a report.

Hopefully, with Mills departure from EPD, the City of Eureka will find an honest Chief who actually wants the best for the city, not a resume building silver-tongued liar.

Seriously, anybody but Captain Brian Stephens

The Examiner has reported on Mills continuing attempts at cooking the books on crime statistics:

ANDREW MILLS: COOKING THE BOOKS AND THE MISDIRECTION SIDE SHOW

FABRICATE CRIME STATS TO BURNISH CITY’S IMAGE?

In case you missed here is some of what some of the the local media has reported recently

Eureka Old Town businesses complain of crime increase

When Karissa Bateman began to ring up about $700 worth of clothing at Eureka Old Town’s Sassafras, the “customer” slipped her a note written in silver marker that said to put the clothes in her bag, give her all the money in the register and to not even think about calling the cops because there were two men outside watching her.

Bateman said it was another customer walking in who gave her a rush of courage to resist.

“I just yelled ‘Leave, I am going to call the police,’” Bateman said, also adding that the woman grabbed the note and left. Bateman said they haven’t seen her in the store in the week since.

Bateman said she has been working in the Old Town shop for the last year and a half. She said there were problems in the past but it’s just the last month or so they have seen a lot more shoplifting. Bateman said just over the Fourth of July event they had a man attempt to steal a $200 robotics kit and she chased him down into the crowd to get it back.

“Just recently,” Bateman said, it’s been happening. “It’s kind of strange.”

Eureka Police Department Capt. Steve Watson said the summer months usually tend to bring a lot more people into town and with more people there tends to be an uptick in crime around town. Watson said during the summer there tends to be more transient activity which could be a reason.

Down the road and across the street Shelly Pilarowski, the owner of Here and There and Vintage, was helping her customers inside her Old Town shop. Pilarowski said that over the last two years since she moved the business into Old Town, there have been four incidents in which people came into her shop just to try to steal.

“If they’re determined to steal, then it seems they’re going to find a way,” she said.

Pilarowski said one of the most recent shoplifting incidents happened when a couple kids came in and pocketed smaller items. She said her neighboring store caught the kids reselling the items, mainly handmade rings.

Pilarowski said it hasn’t only been a hinder on her business, but it’s also been disturbing because she gets the items in her store from local artist and they depend on her for their work.

She said she is constantly trying to find new ways to prevent people from shoplifting and is always taking preventative measures to stop it.

“I find it frustrating when I can’t stop people from shoplifting,” Pilarowski said.

She said she has had to tell the artist that supplies her shop items to start packaging the items in boxes as to prevent people from being able just hide them in their pockets or bags. Pilarowski said it has also been a problem because she now has to continuously watch her customers more closely, which affects her business.

Bandon Taylor, owner of The Works record and music store, said he hasn’t dealt with recent shoplifting at his Old Town store. But he said there has been a lot of times where he will have to clean up garbage, vomit and feces from in front of the store.

“Eureka City Council what are you doing?” Taylor asked and added that they need to look after the local businesses in Old Town. “Eureka Main Street, what are you doing?”

Taylor said him and a lot of business owners in the area have a lot of compassion for the homeless and drug addicts, adding that he doesn’t think the local crime is isolated from the homeless issue going on in Old Town.

In March, the EPD announced it would be working with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office to arrest and detain suspects identified as habitual shoplifters until arraignment if possible.

Taylor said it would be beneficial to get a meeting together between the neighboring merchants. He said all of the merchants in Old Town benefit when the area is more attractive.

Hailey Smith, employee of Blue Ox, said she has been working in the Old Town shop for the last year and there have been a lot of people that have come in to attempt to steal. Smith said it has been such a problem that they have had to hire three employees to be able to watch the whole store.

Smith said about a little over a week ago a shoplifter came in to steal a pair of leggings. She said her boss noticed the empty hanger where the leggings had been and they caught her with them buried in her bag.

“We try and act peaceful about it,” Smith said about when they catch someone stealing.

Cathy Weeks, the owner of the store, said it has been pretty much crime season there.

Weeks said the clothing store opened up about two years ago and since then they have been hit by shoplifters so many times that she couldn’t put a number to it.

She said shoplifters will come into the store, sometimes in pairs, to create a distraction when the other person robs them.

“We’re trying to be respectful to everyone,” Weeks said. “But they don’t respect us.”

Weeks said the police haven’t really cared about shoplifters so they take things into their own hands and try to get the stuff back first. She said they have had to hold people in their shops until they have given up the items they stole

“We’ve lost quite a bit of revenue,” Weeks said.

Sam Armanino  times-standard.com

Eureka Police Seek New Leverage Against Homeless on Third Street

A recent pair of break-ins to Betty Chinn’s warehouse on West Second Street has drawn attention to the Eureka Police Department’s efforts to address crime and loitering in the area. On Wednesday, under the direction of the Public Works department, employees of Mercer Fraser erected a fence that effectively cordons off the west side of Third street across from the St. Vincent de Paul dining facility, an area that, in recent months, has been a place where many homeless and transient people have spent the day. Local business owners have complained about problems with theft, vandalism, violence and other issues, and have been meeting with the chief of police and other officials in order to discuss potential solutions.

The break-in and theft from Chinn’s warehouse appears to have been the tipping point for public sentiment, but plans to disrupt the gathering have been in effect for several months. With arrest serving as insufficient leverage, EPD has instead developed a multi-part plan, announced in May, that will “improve the overall business climate in the surrounding area.” But how exactly the plan will be implemented and enforced, and its efficacy, might raise more questions than it answers.

In the memo titled “Crime and Blight at 3rd and Commercial,” authored by Chief Andrew Mills on May 8, Mills references a 30-year history of people gathering adjacent to St. Vincent de Paul, where meals are served daily.

“However, in the past year the number of people spending the day on the sidewalk and street has grown,” Mills continues, referring to a surge in activity at the location since the city evicted a long-standing homeless camp in the PalCo Marsh on May 6, 2016. According to data analyzed by the Journal, there was a steep increase in police calls for service to the eight-block radius around the area in the months immediately following the marsh eviction.

EPD Capt. Steve Watson says both logged complaints and anecdotal evidence, as well as observations by officers, has supported the idea that there are “increasing crowds of homeless, increasing crime and disorder” in the area.

“It got to the degree where there were a number of businesses extremely frustrated with (the) progression of problems down there,” he says. “Graffiti was increasing. They left trash right in front of free meal, on the waterfront … it looked like a neighborhood people had given up on.”

As part of the process, Watson, Mills and others held meetings in front of St. Vincent de Paul to address the crowd of people waiting there for meals, with the request that they take accountability for the criminals among them. Watson said in an interview this week that he believes this chastisement fell on deaf ears.

“There’s some group responsibility that needs to take place,” he says. “We’ve had compassion, compassion, compassion. Several people have told me they’re not interested. We don’t want to paint everyone with a broad brush, because that wouldn’t be fair. We don’t want everyone to have a consequence but virtually everyone who’s sitting there has a mess sitting in front of them. We’re looking for solutions.”

One of the proposed solutions is to temporarily stop services at St. Vincent de Paul, effectively communicating to those who congregate in front of the building that bad behavior by some will curtail meals for all. EPD is also working out the kinks in a program that will see specific offenders exchange clean-up duties and chores in the area for meal vouchers. The dining facility complied with EPD’s request to shut down for several days after the warehouse break-in on June 28. But St. Vincent de Paul employees have expressed some discomfort with the idea.

“We will work with the police department when it’s in the best interest of all concerned,” says Russ Shaddix, a St. Vincent de Paul board member. “We constantly talk to people. We don’t think we should condemn all of them.”

The facility, which has been at its Third Street location since 1981, serves an average of 350 people every day. Many, cook Mary Price says, are not homeless. They are elderly, on disability, or employed at the fish cannery down the road but unable to make enough money to cover all of their meals.

“We’ve served the children of a city councilman, of a police officer, of a local businessman,” says Shaddix, adding that the majority of the people they serve are local. Russ Shaddix, Larry Alexander and Mary Price pose for photo before the St. Vincent dePaul lunch. – LINDA STANSBERRY

“It’s easy to become homeless,” says Price, adding that she lost her housing for a period herself when her landlord passed away. Stories they hear from clients include the loss of support from parents, the ongoing issue of mental health problems or health problems and the inability to find work because of mental and physical health issues. St. Vincent de Paul hires many people through the welfare to work program, and they often need special coaching and direction in order to do their jobs.

“The fallacy is that you just put people to work,” says Shaddix. While the organization is willing to work with EPD and the community, the closure, he and Price say, was difficult. “No one has the answer. People don’t want to see people carrying all their belongings down the street. But there are no good guys or bad guys. We’re just people trying to help people.

He and Price add that staff periodically refuses service to disruptive individuals, and 86 troublemakers. Even now a picture of two of the people arrested with belongings stolen from Chinn’s warehouse is taped to a kiosk on the inside of the door. But the proposed voucher system sounds challenging to the dining hall staff, which relies on a barebones crew and a rotating group of volunteers simply to serve the needy.

“We don’t make people sit on the sidewalk every day,” says Price.

True, says Watson, but the community is asking their staff to be proactive.

“Their services are a privilege, not a right,” he says. “St. Vincents’ ultimately reserves the right to choose who they serve. … They serve an important function, [but it] can’t be as simple as saying ‘Outside our facility, it’s not our problem.’”

Along with using access to services as leverage, Watson says the EPD is implementing other steps from its April plan, including continuing to solicit proposals for a temporary day use area for homeless folks, the deadline for which is the end of July. (No complete proposals have been turned in yet, Watson told the Journal as of July 7.) Officers have conducted field interviews with many homeless folks in the area to determine where they are coming from. EPD has also implemented “environmental changes,” among them the chainlink fence, which Watson says are intended to discourage behavior business owners have found troubling.

Paul Ambrosini, of Ambrosini and Sons Electric, says the fence had an immediate positive impact on his work environment.

It’s going great, I can leave my gate open all day,” he says. “I’m pretty happy with the place that we’re at.”

Ambrosini says that the presence of people immediately in front of his business, with dogs and shopping carts, occasionally confronting employees and customers, had a negative effect on his business.

“I’ve gotten into altercations with people,” he says. “We brought our guns to work. I’m not going to sit in my office and be threatened by someone who doesn’t want to work.”

Now, he says, things have calmed down, at least for the meantime. The break-ins at Chinn’s storage area shone a light on problems with crime and transience in the area, an attention he says was overdue.

“Now they’re being policed, just like they should have done the whole time,” he says.

The break-ins, which occurred on June 28 and July 3, resulted in the arrest of four people for possession of stolen property. The warehouse contained items Chinn uses in her outreach work and school supplies for formerly homeless college-bound students. Community members have rallied to help clean the warehouse and to raise money for Chinn’s foundation. Watson says an investigation is ongoing, with several promising leads. An alarm has also been added to the building.

Linda Stansberry, Northcoast Journal

https://lostcoastoutpost.com/2017/jul/5/one-arrested-after-second-break-betty-chinns-old-t/

https://lostcoastoutpost.com/2017/jul/5/eureka-erects-giant-fence-shut-down-homeless-sidew/

 

 

Nice try Trumpies; MSNBC-Maddow dodges a potential credibility assassination  

Maddow: “I feel like I need to send this up like a flare for other news organizations in particular.”

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow said she had a “strange scoop” to share with audiences Thursday night after receiving what she believes is a meticulously forged document sent over her tip line with the intention to discredit her.
“I feel like I need to send this up like a flare for other news organizations in particular,” Maddow said. “That’s part of what I’m intending to do here with this story tonight.”
Over the next 20 minutes, the MSNBC host discussed how her show received a document, purportedly from the National Security Agency, labeled as classified and filled with such bombshells about Russia that Maddow said if it were authentic, it would be a “gun still firing proverbial bullets.” But after careful examination, which she describes in great detail, her show deemed the document a forgery.
“We believe now that the real story we have stumbled upon here is that somebody out there is shopping carefully forged documents to try to discredit news agencies reporting on the Russian attack on our election, and specifically on the possibility that the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russians in mounting that attack,” she said.
The MSNBC host pointed to a recent report that led CNN to retract a story on Russia and led three top staffers who worked on the story to resign, as well as Vice News’ retraction of two Trump-related stories just last week.
“This is news because why is someone shopping a forged document of this kind to news organizations covering the Trump-Russia affair?” Maddow asked.
The MSNBC host and her staff compared the document they received with the leaked NSA document The Intercept published in early June, which led to the arrest of federal contractor Reality Leigh Winner.
Maddow and her staff believe the document they received was created by copying and pasting aspects of the document The Intercept published. There were additional elements that also raised red flags, Maddow said.

Huffington post

 

Trump successfully diverted us with misogyny yesterday while real news on collusion broke

Forget the stupid tweets: There’s big news on Trump’s Russia connections — and he doesn’t want you to read it
New reports link Michael Flynn to hacking and reveal Trump’s massive business deals in the former Soviet Union

Well, Thursday was a lot of fun, wasn’t it? We got to spend the day wallowing in presidential misogyny, a treat we haven’t been able to savor since we heard Donald Trump brag about getting away with random crotch grabbing because he is such a “star.” No one can be surprised. We knew he was a snake before we let him in.

As much as the president’s grotesque tweets served as a grim reminder of his true character, Trump did manage to do the one thing he has been dying to do for weeks: move the press off the Russia story. Sadly for him, it only lasted a few hours before yet another late-breaking Russia scoop hit. The Wall Street Journal’s Shane Harris published a story that links former national security adviser Michael Flynn to a longtime right-wing operative named Peter W. Smith, who told Harris he had engaged with Russian hackers to obtain the so-called “missing emails” from Hillary Clinton’s private server. Smith also claimed he was in touch with Michael Flynn and possibly his son, both of whom he knew through some earlier business dealings.

Harris also reports that “investigators have examined reports from intelligence agencies that describe Russian hackers discussing how to obtain emails from Mrs. Clinton’s server and then transmit them to Mr. Flynn via an intermediary.” That would be quite a coincidence if there were two different operations described exactly that way. As they say, stay tuned. There’s no way of knowing if this man was just blowing smoke about Flynn or whether it represents the first evidence that there was some collusion between the campaign and Russia, in this case through an outside intermediary steeped in right-wing opposition research for decades.

Smith died in May, but his history suggests it’s at least plausible that what he told Harris is true. Murray Waas wrote in Salon way back in 1998 about Smith’s role as the instigator of  “Troopergate,” which led to the Paula Jones lawsuit against Bill Clinton (with which Kellyanne Conway’s husband George was intimately involved) and the rest was history. Smith is exactly the kind of man who would have involved himself in a nefarious scheme like this.

That story will undoubtedly be picked over quite a bit in the coming days. Unfortunately, another big Russia story, arguably even more significant, landed yesterday and few people seem to have noticed. Kevin G. Hall and Ben Weider of the McClatchy Washington bureau reported that Trump’s business dealings in countries of the former Soviet empire were much more substantial than he’s let on and his ties to bankers, oligarchs and politicians in the area are much more consequential. They write:

McClatchy’s investigation reveals how Trump sought a foothold not just in Russia but across the former Soviet empire. Not known before, the Trump Organization in 2012 negotiated with then-Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Massimov for an obelisk-shaped tower to be built near the presidential palace, designed by architect John Fotiadis, who also did the Batumi project and lists offices in New York and the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. Trump Diamond lost out to a rival project in Astana for the tallest building in Central Asia, the 75-story Abu Dhabi Plaza.

That’s the tip of the iceberg. The Trump Organization was involved in dozens of deals throughout the region with money traced back to Russian sources, in some cases including the big oil company Rosneft. Once again, Trump’s close relationship with Bayrock CEO Felix Sater, a known mob associate with ties to the CIA, the FBI and the Russian government, was implicated along with another controversial company called the Silk Road Group. Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen, who has strong personal and business ties to Ukraine, was also involved with many of these negotiations. (Cohen was recently served with a subpoena by the House Intelligence Committee.)

What’s most interesting about all of these deals is their recent vintage. Indeed, the big tower project in Georgia mentioned in the McClatchy report wasn’t canceled until Jan. 6, 2017, two weeks before Trump took office. Trump said it was solely for business concerns (since he believes that it’s impossible for a president to have conflicts of interest) but the company he was involved with, Silk Road, said it was because of the massive publicity that was sure to follow, which hardly seems like convincing.

More likely the project was ditched because of the company’s relationship with Russia and Iran, two countries under U.S. sanctions. That would have been a bit of a problem for a sitting U.S. president, even one who believes that nothing is illegal if the president does it.

McClatchy reports that “none of this is revealed in Trump’s financial disclosure statements. And since he hasn’t released his tax returns, these sorts of relationships are not apparent.” We don’t know how many more situations like this exist that are still quietly percolating with Trump’s full knowledge while the country is kept in the dark.

There is a reason why Trump has been so desperate to end the Russia probe, and Occam’s razor says this is probably the reason. A G-Man with an unlimited mandate looking into all his dicey business dealings undoubtedly has him waking up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night. Meanwhile, the president has prevailed against all advice and will sit down with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the upcoming G-20 meeting. Trump’s political advisers tried to impress on him just how bad it will look to be glad-handing with Vlad, while his policy advisers are surely petrified that he will make a major error. Trump’s vaunted negotiating skills have turned out to be hype, and nobody know if he’s going to give away the store.

According to the Guardian, Trump has tasked his staff to come up with some “deliverables” for his pal Putin, with no plans to ask for anything in return. One thing we know he won’t be doing is broaching the subject of cyber attacks. According to this report by CNN, his team cannot get him to devote any time or attention to the problem:

“I’ve seen no evidence of it,” one senior administration official said when asked whether Trump was convening any meetings on Russian meddling in the election. The official said there is no paper trail — schedules, readouts or briefing documents — to indicate Trump has dedicated time to the issue.

He is simply not interested. But then, in Trump’s worldview, if the Russian helped him get elected why would he do anything to stop them from doing it again? What he does want is to stop the investigation from delving too deeply into his relationships and business dealings in the region. It turns out there are a lot more of them then he’s admitted up until now.

HEATHER DIGBY PARTON – Salon

http://www.salon.com/2017/06/30/forget-the-stupid-tweets-theres-big-news-on-trumps-russia-connections-and-he-doesnt-want-you-to-read-it/

Russian fake-news story about AG Lynch may have gotten Trump elected, gag!

A secret document that officials say played a key role in then-FBI Director James B. Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation has long been viewed within the FBI as unreliable and possibly a fake, according to people familiar with its contents.

In the midst of the 2016 presidential primary season, the FBI received what was described as a Russian intelligence document claiming a tacit understanding between the Clinton campaign and the Justice Department over the inquiry into whether she intentionally revealed classified information through her use of a private email server.

Former Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch

The Russian document cited a supposed email describing how then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch had privately assured someone in the Clinton campaign that the email investigation would not push too deeply into the matter. If true, the revelation of such an understanding would have undermined the integrity of the FBI’s investigation.

Current and former officials have said that Comey relied on the document in making his July decision to announce on his own, without Justice Department involvement, that the investigation was over. That public announcement — in which he criticized Clinton and made extensive comments about the evidence — set in motion a chain of other FBI moves that Democrats now say helped Trump win the presidential election.

But according to the FBI’s own assessment, the document was bad intelligence — and according to people familiar with its contents, possibly even a fake sent to confuse the bureau. The Americans mentioned in the Russian document insist they do not know each other, do not speak to each other and never had any conversations remotely like the ones described in the document. Investigators have long doubted its veracity, and by August the FBI had concluded it was unreliable.

The document, obtained by the FBI, was a piece of purported analysis by Russian intelligence, the people said. It referred to an email supposedly written by the then-chair of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), and sent to Leonard Benardo, an official with the Open Society Foundations, an organization founded by billionaire George Soros and dedicated to promoting democracy.

The Russian document did not contain a copy of the email, but it described some of the contents of the purported message.

In the supposed email, Wasserman Schultz claimed Lynch had been in private communication with a senior Clinton campaign staffer named Amanda Renteria during the campaign. The document indicated Lynch had told Renteria that she would not let the FBI investigation into Clinton go too far, according to people familiar with it.

Current and former officials have argued that the secret document gave Comey good reason to take the extraordinary step over the summer of announcing the findings of the Clinton investigation himself without Justice Department involvement.

James Comey

Comey had little choice, these people have said, because he feared that if Lynch announced no charges against Clinton, and then the secret document leaked, the legitimacy of the entire case would be questioned.

From the moment the bureau received the document from a source in early March 2016, its veracity was the subject of an internal debate at the FBI. Several people familiar with the matter said the bureau’s doubts about the document hardened in August when officials became more certain that there was nothing to substantiate the claims in the Russian document. FBI officials knew the bureau never had the underlying email with the explosive allegation, if it ever existed.

Yet senior officials at the bureau continued to rely on the document before and after the election as part of their justification for how they handled the case.

Wasserman Schultz and Benardo said in separate interviews with The Washington Post that they do not know each other and have never communicated. Renteria, in an interview, and people familiar with Lynch’s account said the two also do not know each other and have never communicated. Lynch declined to comment for this article.

Wasserman Schultz

Moreover, Wasserman Schultz, Benardo and Renteria said they have never been interviewed by the FBI about the matter.

Comey’s defenders still insist that there is reason to believe the document is legitimate and that it rightly played a major role in the director’s thinking.

“It was a very powerful factor in the decision to go forward in July with the statement that there shouldn’t be a prosecution,” said a person familiar with the matter. “The point is that the bureau picked up hacked material that hadn’t been dumped by the bad guys [the Russians] involving Lynch. And that would have pulled the rug out of any authoritative announcement.”

Other people familiar with the document disagree sharply, saying such claims are disingenuous because the FBI has known for a long time that the Russian intelligence document is unreliable and based on multiple layers of hearsay.

“It didn’t mean anything to the investigation until after [senior FBI officials] had to defend themselves,” said one person familiar with the matter. “Then they decided it was important. But it’s junk, and they already knew that.”

An FBI spokesman declined to comment. Comey did not respond to requests for comment.

The people familiar with the Russian document spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss its contents. No one familiar with it asked The Post to withhold details about its origins to safeguard the source.

Several of them said they were concerned that revealing details now about the document could be perceived as an effort to justify Trump’s decision to fire Comey, but they argued that the document and Comey’s firing are distinct issues. Most of the people familiar with the document disagree strongly with the decision to fire the director, but they also criticized current and former officials who have privately cited the document as an important factor in the decisions made by Comey and other senior FBI officials. Comey told lawmakers he would discuss it with them only in a classified session.

After the bureau first received the document, it attempted to use the source to obtain the referenced email but could not do so, these people said. The source that provided the document, they said, had previously supplied other information that the FBI was also unable to corroborate.

While it was conducting the Clinton email investigation, the FBI did not interview anyone mentioned in the Russian document about its claims. At the time, FBI agents were probing numerous hacking cases involving Democrats and other groups, but they never found an email like the one described in the document, these people said.

Then on July 5, Comey decided to announce on his own — without telling Lynch ahead of time — that he was closing the Clinton email case without recommending charges against anyone. Aides to Comey said he decided to act alone after Lynch met privately with Bill Clinton for nearly a half-hour on an airport tarmac in Phoenix about a week earlier — and have since said privately the Russian document was also a factor in that decision.

The appearance of possible conflict arising from the Phoenix meeting led FBI leadership to want to show it had reached the decision independently, without political interference from the Justice Department.

About a month after Comey’s announcement, FBI officials asked to meet privately with the attorney general. At the meeting, they told Lynch about a foreign source suggesting she had told Renteria that Clinton did not have to worry about the email probe, because she would keep the FBI in check, according to people familiar with the matter.

“Just so you know, I don’t know this person and have never communicated with her,’’ Lynch told the FBI officials, according to a person familiar with the discussion. The FBI officials assured her the conversation was not a formal interview and said the document “didn’t have investigative value,’’ the person said.

Nevertheless, the officials said, they wanted to give the attorney general what is sometimes referred to as a “defensive briefing’’ — advising someone of a potential intelligence issue that could come up at some future point.

The agents never mentioned Wasserman Schultz to Lynch but told her there was some uncertainty surrounding the information because of “possible translation issues,” according to a person familiar with the discussion.

Lynch told them they were welcome to speak to her staff and to conduct a formal interview of her, the person said. The FBI declined both offers.

Renteria, a California Democrat, first heard of the Russian document and its description of her role when a Post reporter called her.

“Wow, that’s kind of weird and out of left field,’’ she said. “I don’t know Loretta Lynch, the attorney general. I haven’t spoken to her.’’

Renteria said she did know a California woman by the same name who specializes in utility issues. The Loretta Lynch in California is a lawyer who once did campaign work for the Clintons decades ago involving the Whitewater investigation. Bloggers and others have previously confused the two women, including during Lynch’s nomination to be attorney general.

Wasserman Schultz and Benardo, the alleged emailers, were also perplexed by the Russian document’s claims.

Wasserman Schultz said: “Not only do I not know him — I’ve never heard of him. I don’t know who this is. There’s no truth to this whatsoever. I have never sent an email remotely like what you’re describing.’’

She added that she had met Lynch, the former attorney general, once briefly at a dinner function.

Benardo said of Wasserman Schultz: “I’ve never met her. I’ve only read about her.”

“I’ve never in my lifetime received any correspondence of any variety — correspondence, fax, telephone, from Debbie Wasserman Schultz,’’ he said. “If such documentation exists, it’s of course made up.’’

As for Renteria, Wasserman Schultz said she knew who she was from past political work but had “virtually no interaction” with her during the 2016 campaign. “I was definitely in the same room as her on more than one occasion, but we did not interact, and no email exchange during the campaign, or ever,’’ she said.

When asked, the individuals named in the document struggled to fathom why their identities would have been woven together in a document describing communications they said never happened. But others recognized the dim outlines of a conspiracy theory that would be less surprising in Russia, where Soros — the founder of the organization Benardo works for — and Clinton are both regarded as political enemies of the Kremlin.

“The idea that Russians would tell a story in which the Clinton campaign, Soros and even an Obama administration official are connected — that Russians might tell such a story, that is not at all surprising,” said Matt Rojansky, a Russia expert and director of the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center. “Because that is part of the Kremlin worldview.”

The secret intelligence document has attracted so much attention recently that Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) asked Comey about it during the director’s final public appearance in Congress as FBI director before he was fired.

Comey said that he had spoken with the heads of the congressional intelligence committees about the document privately but that it was too sensitive to discuss it in public.

“The subject is classified, and in an appropriate forum I’d be happy to brief you on it,” he told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “But I can’t do it in an open hearing.”

No such briefing occurred before he was fired.

from Washington Post