DA declines to retry Leah Freeman murder case

After a 2010 conviction was overturned due to an error by the Oregon State Police the Oregon Department of Justice has decided not to appeal a decision and the Coos County District Attorney will not re-try the case.

This is a developing story and more will follow




Community rights stands up to federal overreach

One of the first things an elected official does upon taking office is to swear an oath to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution. Unfortunately for local communities and the environment, the Commerce Clause, which gives Congress the power “to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states…” is an integral part of the constitution.

According to the Cornell School of Law, “Congress has often used the Commerce Clause to justify exercising legislative power over the activities of states and their citizens, leading to significant and ongoing controversy regarding the balance of power between the federal government and the states. The Commerce Clause has historically been viewed as both a grant of congressional authority and as a restriction on the regulatory authority of the States.”

Imploring Oregon Governor Kate Brown to say “NO” to Jordan Cove Energy Partners’ LNG project is literally asking her to violate her oath of office and assumes she has plenary authority to stand up to federal preemption. She does not.

Brown can do nothing more than enforce regulatory guidelines designed specifically to permit projects like Jordan Cove rather than to protect local communities from non-sustainable and environmentally damaging projects. Until we change the system sustainability will continue to be illegal in the US and some Washington bureaucrat on the other side of the continent will get to decide what is in the best interests of folks on the Oregon Coast.

Not that there haven’t been brave elected officials willing to stand up to federal overreach and to violate unjust laws in our history. If not for such intrepid souls, we may never have abolished slavery and women may still not have the right to vote. Clearly, Brown isn’t cut from the same cloth.

We can help Brown, however, by enacting local rights of nature ordinances and community bills of rights to shift the dispute away from the Commerce Clause and toward constitutional protections of fundamental human right to protect ourselves to higher standards than the environmental regulatory system allows.

To learn more visit cooscommons.org.




McGuffin conviction overturned due to Oregon State Police error

A Malheur County circuit court judge has overturned the 2011 manslaughter conviction of Nicholas McGuffin in the death of teenager Leah Freeman. After a trial for post-conviction relief last August, Sr Judge Patricia Sullivan rendered a decision last Friday finding that the Oregon State Police laboratory violated McGuffin’s constitutional rights when it failed to provide evidence of touch DNA on the victim’s shoes belonging to an unknown male.

Leah Freeman, 15, went missing on June 28, 2000 and her body was found on August 2 of that year on an embankment about eight miles from Coquille. According to the decision the initial investigation into Freeman’s disappearance was “hampered by local law enforcement.” Materials were not provided to the District Attorney until 2009 and 2010 after a new police chief, Mark Dannels, took over the Coquille Police Department.

A grand jury was convened in July 2010 and McGuffin, 18 at the time Freeman went missing, was arrested and charged on August 24. He was tried and convicted of Manslaughter 1 in July 2011 by a verdict of 10 – 2.

Janis Puracal, lawyer for the Forensic Innocence Project filed a petition on behalf of McGuffin for post-conviction relief citing 16 claims including inadequate representation by counsel. Because the unknown DNA did not provide enough markers to provide an identification at the time of the original testing Oregon State Police Crime Lab policy allowed that such trace amounts can be considered “background noise” or “clutter”. While the alleles of the unknown contributor were included with the OSP findings they were not documented in the report leaving both the defense and the prosecution with the false belief that the only DNA collected from Freeman’s shoes belonged to the victim and identified law enforcement officers who had handled the shoes.

The first Frasier heard of the unknown DNA was 2017. Due to advancements in DNA technology the crime lab would not handle the results in the same way.

Sr Judge Patricia Sullivan denied fifteen claims including a claim for actual innocence citing “…Petitioner has not shown, based on newly discovered and reliable evidence it is more likely than not that no reasonable juror could have found petitioner guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.” 

Sullivan did allow that the jury should have been notified of the potentially exculpatory DNA results. “While the unknown DNA could have been deposited by innocent transfer, it is also possible it was not.” Further, had the defense been aware of this DNA evidence “… the trial strategy would have been different…” potentially leading to a different outcome.

District Attorney Paul Frasier expressed his disappointment in the decision and stands by the conviction. He also noted that in the 30 plus years he has worked with the Oregon State Police “this is the first time anything like this has ever happened.”

“The judge found that the prosecution acted appropriately and there was no wrongdoing on our part”, said Fraser. “We have also completely cooperated with the Forensic Innocence Project’s request for documents and information.”

An email from Puracal says, “We believe that DNA of another man on the victim’s bloody shoe is perpetrator DNA, but that is a question of fact, and the original jury should have heard that evidence.  In post-conviction, we argued that the DNA, in combination with Mr. McGuffin’s alibi and the absence of evidence against him, proves his innocence.  The post-conviction court did not agree.  Judge Sullivan, instead, limited to relief to the constitutional claims arising out of the failure to disclose the exculpatory DNA evidence.”

The prosecution’s case was built on an abundance of circumstantial evidence. Circumstantial evidence and physical evidence are considered equal under the law.

The Oregon Department of Justice will decide whether to appeal Judge Sullivan’s decision.

McGuffin is scheduled to be released in August of 2020.




Add #rightsofnature to your activism toolbox

A principal goal of environmental regulatory agencies is to grant permits that enable corporations to legally pollute our air, water and even to destroy whole ecosystems. So it comes as no surprise that the FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Statement) released by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found, in summary, that construction of the Jordan Cove LNG export terminal and pipeline would have cumulative “temporary, long-term and permanent impacts”  to the environment, air quality, public safety, natural and cultural resources and more. These impacts will, according to the report, be rendered “less than significant” if staff recommendations and mitigation measures are followed.

This FEIS is essentially identical to a previously favorable FEIS for the Jordan Cove LNG project despite tens of thousands of public comments filed by project opponents. This unfortunately predictable outcome happens because our current system does not employ a zero-tolerance policy and has a liberal view of what constitutes damage or impact offering nary a word about climate change. The environmental regulatory system is designed to tolerate “legal” limits of toxins in our air, water, and soil as an unpleasant albeit necessary consequence of commerce.

This is also the same system that tolerates the surveillance of environmental activists because it is designed to protect the corporation in its pursuit of pollution by commerce over the environment, communities or even threatened landowners. No sheriff’s deputy will be standing in uniform to stop bulldozers from seizing American land via eminent domain to benefit the foreign shareholders of a Canadian company. The governor will not call out the National Guard to protect Oregon citizens from this foreign corporate invasion. Landowners are on their own.

It is neither acceptable nor is it necessary to poison the environment to engage in commerce. In fact, it is the antithesis of a sustainable and responsible economy. But to stop harmful unsustainable developments like Jordan Cove and Pacific Connector
Gas Pipeline determined environmental activists must first acknowledge that working within an “environmental protection” system complicit with industry is activism’s failure not the system’s failure. Rather than pledging obedience to an unjust system, activists across the country and around the world must become civilly disobedient in the name of justice, true sustainability, climate and the environment.

In 2019 alone, Uganda, Bangladesh, Columbia and Sweden have introduced or recognized the right of nature, ecosystems and rivers to flourish, thrive and naturally evolve as a direct means of collapsing the regulatory destruction of the environment. The Yurok Tribe recognized legal rights of the Klamath River. Exeter and Nottingham, New Hampshire enacted laws securing the right to a “stable and healthy climate” and freedom from “chemical trespass.”

Even the National Lawyers Guild just this year amended the organization’s constitution to include the rights of nature,
stating “human rights and the rights of ecosystems shall be regarded as more sacred than property interests….”

Stop cooperating with and legitimizing a corrupt system. Don’t be complicit with the regulatory degradation of nature that we depend upon for our very lives. Join the rights of nature movement and help change the system. Our planet depends on you. Cooscommons.org or email cooscommons@gmail.com




KJAJ – How ego gets in the way of progress

He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really
cooperating with it.
– Martin Luther King

Scott Cooper wanted to add three board members to KJAJ, all
of whom were connected to AYA. Given Travis Hayer now worked for AYA the KJAJ
board was already comprised of 30% AYA representatives. This was a huge concern
to me because boards are not supposed to discuss or predetermine decisions
outside of board meetings. Additionally, the makeup of the board can impact our
ability to raise funds through grants. Scott was suggesting 67% of the KJAJ
board would consist of his friends and employees from AYA. Of course, I was
adamantly opposed and further saw no benefit to the station or to anyone other
than Scott and Travis for even considering such a proposal.

Now I won’t bore everyone with the gory details but Darlene Elliott,
a secretary at AYA and Octavia Shafer an AYA board member were added to the KJAJ
board. One of the major concerns is that there would obviously be times when we
may have difficulty maintaining a quorum if members are forced to recuse
themselves owing to conflicts of interest. In violation of the bylaws, Travis
was able to install himself as president at the November 2017 board meeting but
by raising a ruckus I was able to show this was invalid and force a new
election in December.

One of the first signs that I was right to be concerned about the AYA connection came when I nominated Geno Landrum to be the president and Knute Nemeth enthusiastically seconded the nomination. Darlene grabbed Knute’s arm and warned him “to be careful” before realizing that she had revealed her bias and she glanced my way to see if I had noticed. Again, I think only because I had made so much noise about conflicts of interest both Darlene and Octavia recused themselves, (if I hadn’t been present, I suspect they would have voted), Travis lost, and Geno was named president. Travis was clearly stunned.

Scott did not vote during this election because minutes
earlier he had resigned, thankfully. Now this next bit reveals Scott’s lack of
character, how little he actually cared about KJAJ and how one strong personality
can permeate the culture of a whole organization.

Upon arriving at the station for the board meeting I noted that several chairs had been setup in the “gallery” for guests. This was somewhat uncharacteristic and soon several young men whom I had never met before and Scott’s girlfriend took seats. Scott had planned a show and to further bolster my concerns about AYA folks saturating the KJAJ board, all the AYA people and only the AYA people knew what was coming. The rest of us had been kept out of the loop.

Scott proceeded to read his “official resignation letter”
and then proceeded to play to his assembled audience and try to eviscerate my
character. He had actually prepared a power point presentation listing many of
our disagreements most of which I have already mentioned and even included the
quote from MLK’s Birmingham Jail letter copied above. (Yes, he objected to me texting
him that quote).

He was, he said, not used to being accused of things and when I pointed out that he stood by quietly while Travis accused Pattie and me he cut me off and said he was sick of me bringing up Pattie and that I was behaving just like a Republican… Go figure. His behavior did not become any more rational and any time I attempted to defend myself he shouted me down and said that he just couldn’t be associated with me and that was why he was leaving the board. Then, further illustrating his low character quoted a twelve-year-old rumor started by a musician/metalworker that I consider to be a conman, (at least he conned me out of money), and made other baseless accusations.

Scott had determined that Pattie and mostly me were of no use to him and therefore it was perfectly acceptable to publicly humiliate anyone for daring to disagree with him. This says way more about him than it does about me. Now, I don’t know who this audience was but I have wondered if he invited some of his students to observe so that he could show them how you deal with uppity board members but I have never seen a professional board behave like this and he gave no concern for how it upset the non AYA members of the board or how it reflected on the organization as a whole. After the meeting, Knute was so upset by the whole display he gave me a big hug.

As an aside, prior to this meeting I had finally decided to
stop paying the KJAJ bills and when Travis texted me shut off notices, I
suggested he turn to Scott who had promised to help with bills but had so far
not done so. This may also have precipitated his desire to leave the board.

Despite being on the board for three plus years, Travis
never raised any issues regarding finances until after all the money was spent
and the station was broadcasting. It should also be noted that unlike other
board members, Travis refused to contribute any funds to run the station even refusing
to pay the required $25 annual fee ($2.08/month) that all board members pay.
(Regrettably, Knute Nemeth agreed to pay Travis’ fee for him). While all the
board members volunteer their time, Travis was of the opinion that his
volunteer time was worth more than everyone else’s and therefore he shouldn’t
have to pay.

As I have demonstrated earlier it is arithmetically impossible for anyone to have stolen funds from the station because it spent 32% more money in verified capital purchases and expenses than it received in grants or donations but that didn’t stop Travis from making accusations against both Pattie and me. What was more appalling to me was that the board did not reprimand his behavior and I was very vocal in an email reminding everyone that they were effectively complicit in this insult by timidly maintaining their silence.

After resigning Scott sat down in the audience and Travis
began to grill me on matters that had already been settled multiple times. Scott’s
girlfriend kept staring at me as if in disbelief that I was still in the room
and hadn’t run out in shame. In my mind I was thinking that if my significant
other had behaved like Scott, I would have left the vicinity long ago and
terminated the relationship.

Scott’s departure was meaningless really because 1) he didn’t
deliver on his promises and 2) he had already installed his friends on the
board.

Despite this amazing performance I tried to stick with the board and build the station. Travis persisted with his relentless bullying, harassment and accusations. Darlene Elliott claimed to have a background in human resources but she never stepped in to stop his behavior and along with Octavia sat quietly during Scott’s theatrical display. This email exchange is just an example of what I was subjected to by Travis and the behavior the rest of the board tolerated. To summarize, Travis infected my server with a virus and rather than apologizing accused me of being destructive when I chose a solution of changing the theme. This is particularly ironic given he has now allowed the KJAJ domain to lapse.

Throughout I made numerous suggestions about raising funds, automating the station so that we could provide 168 hours a week of fresh programming and getting out into the community like a community radio station is supposed to but the board was frozen and incapable of acting.

Travis refused any help upgrading the station and locked everyone out of the computer. He claimed he couldn’t automate the station because our computer was too old yet when I offered to buy the station a new computer to solve this problem all I heard were “crickets”.

Finally, I gave up and resigned from the board because unless the board will act no one person can do anything. The AYA side of the board pretty much stopped any forward progress deferring to the limitations and whims of Travis.

Anyone who has ever served on a non-profit board knows that unless otherwise specified in the bylaws, no one board member has any greater authority than any other. Being named president or treasurer brings additional responsibility but does not imbue you with super powers or crown you a monarch. The reason I bring this up is because I am pretty sure Travis doesn’t understand this.

Going against board wishes an anonymous complaint was submitted to the Oregon Department of Justice requesting that I be investigated for malfeasance. (We can guess who that was). Anonymous submitted bank statements which included reimbursements to me as well as deposits from me. Anonymous did not, however, include the breakdown available in Act 1 that I provided to the board on multiple occasions. Frank Najar, the investigator, unlike some of the board does understand simple arithmetic and quickly ascertained after seeing the breakdown no malfeasance had occurred. He did not argue when I pointed out that I was not only a board member but also a benefactor.

Naturally, because we are not dealing with quality people, I received no apology from Travis, Darlene or the board for all the false allegations leveled against both Pattie and me.

Not long after I resigned they ran Geno off as well and installed Travis as president. He finally got what he wanted and now KJAJ is all but dead.

IF you think they couldn’t possibly go any lower you’d be wrong. While there was a time when I may have considered donating the funds I advanced to keep the station afloat I was no longer of that mind. The board in keeping with their general lack of professionalism ignored my requests for repayment until I finally had my lawyer contact them. The response was totally in keeping with their poor character as you will see.

From: Travis Hayer
Sent: Monday, April 22, 2019 7:23 PM
To: Nancy Shelton
Cc: Julia Manela
Subject: Re: Funds Owed to Mary Geddry
Ms. Manela,
Thank you for your correspondence.
We are unaware of any loan arrangement between Coos Community Radio and its former treasurer, Mary Geddry.  Further, her insufficient accounting practices during her term as treasurer prevent us from determining the source of the funds in question.  As a result, we regret that we are unable to honor the demand for payment.
In addition, we have been reluctant to contact Ms. Geddry because of the abusive and harassing nature of her past contributions to our dialogue.  It is for that reason that we request no further contact in any form directly from Ms. Geddry.  We very much appreciate your efforts, and we would agree to remain in contact with you regarding this matter, should the need arise.
Travis Hayer, President
Coos Community Radio

This decision to refuse to repay me was not a board sanctioned decision, this was a unilateral decision to cut off one’s nose to spite their own face. After even the Department of Justice has told the board there is no evidence of any malfeasance and after all the crap they have put me through Travis and no doubt Darlene want to stick it to me one more time by tossing in an insult and then trying to steal my money even if it bankrupts the station. This is who is leading this organization now and the rest of the board if they really give a damn about KJAJ better stand up and pay attention.

Cut off nose to spite face

This is the end of Act 3. As my lawyer explained all I have to do is show my bank and credit card records to the court and petition for legal fees to be added. Stay tuned… (pun intended)




KJAJ – Community radio gone bad

As I mentioned earlier it is my opinion board members Scott Cooper
and Travis Hayer ultimately destroyed the organization, but I should first
acknowledge that during the crunch time it was Scott who got permission for us to
erect the tower.  Then Travis took the
reins and worked with the volunteers to erect the tower, connect all the
equipment and get the station on the air. He didn’t exactly keep to his
original budget, such as it was, but we prevailed.

Instead of rejoicing, however, Travis decided to revisit and
question every decision made up to this point and suddenly decided that I was
the enemy of the station rather than a fellow board member and benefactor. I
will elaborate on Travis’ relentless harassment later on but should mention here
that Scott hired Travis to work for AYA prior to the station going live.

Let’s begin with Scott and why I believe he triggered the
downfall of KJAJ. Anyone who has met Scott knows he presents as very amiable, helpful,
enthusiastic and very self-assured. Scott joined the KJAJ board in 2017 and as
I mentioned, had indicated that he would write grants to support our proposed youth-oriented
work.

By the time Scott joined the board we had been paying
utilities for the station for almost two years, maintained our annual state and
federal reporting and fees to keep the organization current, paid insurance and
mailbox fees and had purchased and installed all the equipment and the costs of
erecting the tower. We had exhausted all the grant funds plus spent an
additional $5,000. The extra funds came from Pattie and me.

To be clear, what follows is in no way meant to be a
criticism of AYA. To the best of my knowledge the organization fulfills its
mission for the students it serves. It is with certain individuals within the
organization that I have taken issue.

Almost immediately Scott and I found cause to disagree. As I
have previously mentioned our understanding with AYA was the use of a house on
the AYA property which included a kitchen, bathroom, living room and two of the
three bedrooms in exchange for working with and developing programs with AYA
students. Pattie and I were of the understanding that a lease had been executed
so when Scott decided to reverse the arrangement and limit KJAJ to only one
room and therefore our opportunity to expand I asked to see the lease to which
he replied there was no lease. He explained that he had delivered the lease, but
no one signed it. Curious, but easily solved by getting all parties to sign. When
I pressed him as to who hadn’t signed, AYA or KJAJ, he deflected saying that
AYA had been on the verge of bankruptcy when it offered KJAJ the space, (news
to us), but now it wasn’t. Make of that what you will be it was clear if KJAJ
was to expand into a viable community resource we would have to look for a new
location.

The next item of contention came when I learned after
complaining that the electrical bills had doubled that Scott had setup an
aquaculture program in a garage which ran large pumps off of our meter. Why he
didn’t bother to ask or advise the KJAJ board of this I don’t know but since I
was paying these bills out of my own pocket, I was obviously annoyed.

 Throughout the course
of KJAJ’s existence Pattie and I pressured the board to assist with fundraising
and I personally sent multiple emails to the board suggesting fundraising plans.

At one of the first board meetings Scott attended as a board
member I began my typical entreaty that we needed money. Scott felt that we
first needed to establish how the previous money had been spent. While I don’t
see why one should preclude the other, I agreed to complete my reconstruction
of the three plus years finances prior to my taking over the treasurer duties.
Scott meanwhile agreed to cover the station’s expenses during the interim. We
estimated $300 per month to which Scott said, “no problem.”

Despite the fact that the organization had changed bank accounts three times during its existence I was able to provide the breakdown seen, (available on Act 1), by the next meeting. Despite his promise Scott did not help pay the bills nor did he write any grants and Travis was still sending me text images of shut off notices for our water and electric bills expecting me to pay them.

To put it mildly, Scott turned out to be all hat and no
cattle…

Now to Travis. Travis and I got along fine in the beginning,
but I detected a marked change in his demeanor after he began working with
Scott at AYA. One day at a board meeting Travis was particularly cold and instead
of pulling me aside and saying he had some concerns he decided to ambush me. He
announced to the board that I had made capital purchases he did not approve of
and that I shouldn’t be treasurer. He was accusing me of malfeasance.
Curiously, the only person who came to my defense was Geno Landrum, but it
should also be noted that I was not the treasurer when these items were
acquired but they were purchased with board approval. Rather than bore everyone
with the details suffice it to say that Travis offered up no apology and I
still retain the audio of his persistent bullying harassment and accusations at
every board meeting.

Even though I had provided the board with copies of the
expenses paid and capital purchases were all in the studio or on the roof,
Travis was convinced I had misappropriated funds. Anyone capable of simple math
calculations could see this is impossible but he was relentless. His behavior
was so awful that he triggered my PTSD. Even though intellectually I know that
bullies like Travis don’t have the guts to take action, I was so disturbed that
I invested in security cameras around my home, just in case.

Even worse than Travis’ treatment of me was how he blocked the station from progressing. At some point, I don’t know when this happened, he was appointed or self-appointed station manager and refused to let anyone help him or to automate the station so we could improve our programming.

So why would the board allow one person to so control or
limit the station? The answer to that lies with Scott Cooper and his maneuvering
to load the board with AYA staff and board members who apparently trust Travis’
judgment and goals of mediocrity. Over my strong objections and in my opinion
in violation of our conflict of interest policy Scott pushed to add Darlene
Elliott, AYA secretary and Octavia Shafer, AYA board member “because we need
money”. In so doing and including both Scott and Travis 66% of the board would
be associated with the landlord, AYA and two of them direct employees of Scott.
Scott claimed that the adoption of the conflict of interest policy had not been
documented in the previous minutes and therefore didn’t apply.

Adding these individuals to the board did not provide any funding
save for the small $25 annual fee that Travis refused to pay. Again, Scott
talks a good game but doesn’t deliver.

Coming up in Act 3 – Scott reveals his true character and the plan to install Travis as president.




Rise and fall of a community radio station

Act One – The Beginning

If you are unaware of Coos Community Radio which operates at 98.1 FM, you aren’t alone. Sadly, with the exception of Democracy Now and Economic Update, (both programs I brought to the station), and thanks to its current management Travis Hayer and Darlene Elliott, you also aren’t missing anything.

In 2013 the FCC opened a window for the single largest expansion
of community radio stations in the history of the agency.  Non-profit or publicly owned organizations were
invited to apply without fee for a low-power FM (LPFM) radio license. After
some encouragement from a fellow activist operating a full power station in
Florence, I applied for three licenses in Coos County. Happily, all three
applications were approved and received what is called a “construction permit”.
Each had a maximum of three years to build and begin operating a station. Winter
Lakes High School in Coquille, Bandon Community Radio and Coos Community Radio in
Coos Bay/North Bend all went live and received their full-fledged broadcast
licenses.

Now a little LPFM station may not seem like a big deal but keep in mind that KBOO which now has multiple translators operating at a combined 28000W covering the entire northern half of Oregon offering diverse national and local programming beyond began life as a 30W LPFM. KJAJ, on the other hand is still looping 24 hours of programming first aired three years ago via Windows Media Player seven days a week, let its domain expire on June 3, 2019, is apparently delinquent filing required state and federal reports and is refusing to repay me more than $4K forcing me sue the station which will likely force it into bankruptcy.

KJAJ began broadcasting in February 2017, mere days before the
construction permit was set to expire. The path to licensing was a circuitous one
and like all new organizations not without hiccups but could not have been
accomplished without the help of my fellow founder Patricia Gouveia. The start
of the construction period coincided with another project Pattie and are were
involved in, the effort to establish a right to a sustainable energy future ordinance
in Coos County. Pattie, in fact, did all the heavy lifting in the beginning for
KJAJ while I focused on the campaign.  She
setup the bylaws, code of ethics, conflict of interest policy and paid the
bills and much more. She also wrote and obtained two grants totaling $11,700 to
fund capital equipment purchases. Without Pattie, KJAJ would not exist.

Using her contacts from the time she worked at ORCCA, Pattie
further secured a location for a station.  Alternative Youth Activities, Inc offered an
unused house on their property. This would facilitate one of our goals to work
with youth which was a feature of one of the grants we submitted. Our only
requirement was to cover the monthly electrical and water and allow AYA to use
one room in the building. We were excited because this would allow us physical
space to grow as the station became more involved with the community. We paid
the utilities for about 20 months before we actually began broadcasting. In
addition to the grants, Pattie and I also provided in excess of $4K to cover
operational expenses to keep the station afloat until it was generating
revenue.

Initially we planned to use a remote tower location but as
time was running short and suitable towers were few and far between AYA’s new executive
director, Scott Cooper, agreed to allow us to erect a 36’ tower on site. We
considered this a temporary solution until a better tower location providing us
with better coverage was found but happily KJAJ was borne and Coos Community
Radio received its full-fledged broadcasting license.

As with many small organizations we struggled
organizationally and please note that when I use the term “we” I mean the KJAJ board.
 Board members and volunteers who have
been there almost from the beginning include Knute Nemeth and Geno Landrum,
(there were others in the early days who had to drop out for various personal
reasons or because they moved, time constraints, etc).. Small start-up
organizations require a working board meaning people willing to do the hard
work of raising funds, filing state and federal documents and doing the day-to-day
upkeep and maintenance, public outreach, etc…

At one point I invited Travis Hayer to be on the board
because he had actual experience operating a station having worked for
Bi-Coastal Media and we eventually invited Scott Cooper to the board as I
thought it would be reasonable to have a representative of our landlord and
largest in-kind contributor, AYA. Scott Cooper also indicated he would help with
grant writing taking some of the burden off of Pattie. These two choices would
ultimately prove fatal to the organization.

In addition to the time constraints set by the FCC we were
also under other time pressures. Our foundation grant of $9,000 was meant to be
spent within one year and to be used for capital expenditures, not for operating
costs.  Because we had so much difficulty
solving the tower problem it took us nearly two years to spend it. We had
planned to reapply for more funds but until we spent the first grant this would
not have been appropriate and so we opted to make some purchases that we hoped
would be useful to the station in an effort to meet the original deadline or risk
having to return the money
. This was freely discussed at a board meeting
unfortunately, the only people who showed up were Pattie and me and Geno
Landrum who at the time was a volunteer and not yet on the board. We bought
some Barix boxes, a small FM transmitter, a microphone and some odds and ends
knowing we could always sell these assets if necessary. Even then we still hadn’t
spent enough money to justify reapplying and we were even more concerned
because of the lack of input from the rest of the board. After Pattie and I
held a yard sale, (mostly organized by Pattie), with no help from the rest of
the board, Pattie decided she was done and understandably decided to resign.

This was a critical time for KJAJ because it still did not
have its broadcast license and time was running out. At my request Pattie
stayed on as the “paper” president temporarily while I took over the chores of president
and treasurer and was added as a signor on the account. Included in the
treasurer duties was tracing back over the previous three years to determine
how the money was spent. The board was provided with the breakdown below. In
summary, we raised $11,700 in grant funds and by the time we went on the air
had spent in excess of $15,500 in verified capital purchases and operating
expenses. As mentioned previously, the difference between what we received in
grants and what the station spent, almost $5,000 by the time I too gave up on
KJAJ, came from Pattie and me.

MRG 9000
Williams 2700
Total Grants 11700
TX 300 3295
tx 100 1695
Barix 715
Mic 79
EAS 2395
Tower 840
Cabling 149
MegaSeg 199
Engineering 547
Total 9914
Organization
501 C3 850
Dept of Justice 320
1170
Net Funds 616

Operating Expenses
Utilities 2860
Insurance 950
Accounting/QB 408
Miscellaneous 219
Total 4437

Shortfall = $3,821

Since I did not have a debit card for our bank, I used my
own bank and credit cards to make the purchases or pay the utilities, etc. This
was made clear up front to the attending board and I further made it clear that
I would reimburse myself for these purchases and expenses.

In addition to paying the bills and making the equipment
purchases I prepared and filed the required state and federal reports and
hosted the station website, KJAJ.org on my own server. All of this was because
I firmly believed the station could be a valuable community asset to help
counter the conservative commercial radio that permeates the area.

Pattie and I are deeply disappointed after all our hard work to see the state of the station now. What a waste of our time and effort. Stay tuned for Act Two to learn how Scott Cooper took power from the station without asking, (I was paying for it), how he decided to change the lease terms we had previously agreed upon and helped stack the board with AYA sycophants including Darlene Elliott and Octavia Shafer. Learn how he tried to publicly shame me in front of his friends and girlfriend for having had the audacity to privately disagree with him via email. Then read how KJAJ is trying to steal my money.




We wont stop Jordan Cove unless…

Hope
is a longing for a future condition over which you have no agency. It means you
are essentially powerless.
– Derrick Jensen

In the 56 years since the
publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent
Spring
one thing remains constant to this day. Our existing system of law
continues to legalize our own poisoning and self-destruction. Neither nature
nor mankind can escape toxic trespass by industrial pollution and the
relentless production of more as driven by commerce and obey the law at the
same time.

As Carson explains rather than
protecting us regulatory agencies like the US Food and Drug Administration
protect industry by setting acceptable limits of poison and, “…  to establish tolerances is to authorize
contamination of public food supplies with poisonous chemicals in order that
the farmer and the processor may enjoy the benefit of cheaper production…”

To put it simply, the system we
have today in the United States makes sustainability illegal.

We are told and effectively
conditioned to accept that there are safe amounts of arsenic in rice and
mercury in fish. We are to accept carcinogenic particulate matter in our air
supply as a normal condition of modern life. In Oregon, aerial spraying of
toxic herbicides and pesticides is legalized and liberally applied in order to
benefit the timber industry.  Instead of
being appalled that these chemicals make their way into our drinking water
supply damaging both our health and the natural creatures with which we share
the planet, we tolerate this sort of collateral damage as if it is to be
expected in a technologically advanced society.

When a community tries to
democratically enact zero tolerance laws in order to protect itself to a higher
standard than state and federal rules, they are challenged for violating the “rights”
of a corporation to engage in commerce and the legal authority to pollute your
neighborhood. Thus, when we try to assert otherwise, we find that sustainability
literally breaks the law.

We go about our lives hoping
things will get better. We hope we can elect the right officials, empower the
next messiah who will lead us to health and prosperity and save the planet. We
hope someone will invent the technology to fix everything we have broken. We
hope we will not become one of the unfortunate yet inevitable statistics to be
stricken by industrial induced and government sanctioned disease.

We hope because we believe
ourselves to be helpless.

More than five decades ago
Carson understood that in today’s society nature, a complex community of living
breathing families of fauna and flora and microbes and fungi working in
symbiotic relationships to give us clean air and fresh water, is treated like
property. Not unlike human slaves, nature is treated as a resource to be used,
abused and extracted at will where whole ecosystems can be destroyed to benefit
the cause of commerce.

Despite the formation of the
EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the enactment of the National
Environmental Policy Act each year in the US alone, 4 billion pounds of toxic
chemicals, including 72 million pounds of known carcinogens are released into
the atmosphere from 20,000 industrial polluters. More than 2 trillion pounds of
antibiotic, hormone and chemical laced livestock waste is dumped into waterways
and spread across fields. Six million people suffer health issues because of our
use of fossil-fuels and more than 700 synthetic chemicals are found in the
human body that shouldn’t be there. Forty percent of our waterways fail to meet
the minimal requirements of federal and state clean water laws and barely
support aquatic life.

A recent United Nations report warns that without radical reductions in our use of
fossil-fuels we have barely twenty years before an extinction level event
brought on by climate catastrophe. Clearly, our current methods of
environmental activism and legislative efforts have failed, yet conventional environmentalists
and legislators continue to be complicit in our demise.

He
who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.

– Martin Luther King

Environmental regulatory
agencies, by legislative mandate, allow industry to legally damage a waterway
in favor of a pipeline or agree to mitigate damage in one location if another,
less profitable, location receives some upgrades. Despite the clear devastation
caused by regulating destruction the idea of abolishing harmful corporate activities
doesn’t even remotely enter the brain of the system.

Most environmental activism
operates under the same false premise as the industry they are opposing.  That is that nature, the environment, whole
ecosystems are mere property of the state or corporations rather than living
breathing entities entitled to the same rights to thrive and evolve we assume
for ourselves. Participating in environmental regulatory hearings is no
different than negotiating for fewer lashes for slaves. Instead of changing our
relationship with nature it perpetuates our abuse of it and cooperates with the
very force hell bent on capitalizing off the suffering of nature.

Empirically and statistically there was never any reason
to expect any substantive change in this new Draft EIS for the Jordan Cove LNG
project. Despite acknowledging that significant damage will be done by the
project and associated pipeline the draft states “a majority of impacts would be less than significant due to the
implementation of proposed and recommended impact avoidance, minimization, and
mitigation measures… we recommend that these measures be attached as conditions
to any authorizations issued by the Commission.”

There you
have it in a nutshell, buried at the end of the report, Pembina, the latest
owner of Jordan Cove Energy Partners is almost assured their FERC permit in
spite of the tens of thousands of comments filed opposing the project. Sure, all
those conditions may reduce the damage, but it will not stop it and our steady march
toward climate Armageddon will continue.

This spring Toledo, Ohio passed the Lake Erie Bill
of Rights (LEBOR) which enables anyone to file a suit on behalf of the
ecosystem to stop harmful agricultural and industrial practices that violate those
rights. In 2017, Lincoln County Oregon passed a similar bill of rights to
protect the Siletz watershed from aerial spraying. Instantly corporate backed interests
filed suit challenging these democratically enacted laws effectively saying
they can’t do business without poisoning our watersheds and they have a constitutional
right to pollute. These cases will play out in the courts but since May of 2017
all aerial spraying of toxic chemicals has stopped in Lincoln County.

There is no question that community rights work is
hard and far less convenient than throwing all one’s eggs into one basket and composing
and submitting comments from the comfort of a home office. Like any investment
in the future, (stopping Jordan Cove is definitely an investment), diversity is
important and adding community rights to your activism repertoire will force
the industry out of its comfort zone. Pembina was so terrified of the Coos
County Right to a Sustainable Energy Future Ordinance that would have stopped
Jordan Cove on the grounds it violates the rights of the ecosystems, it spent almost
a $1 million dollars to defeat it in 2017. To stop Jordan Cove we must pass a
Coos Bay Estuary Bill of Rights much like LEBOR.

Community rights is the embodiment
of protest. Community rights is the direct assertion of one’s right to protect oneself,
the right to self-determine against those who attempt to falsely legitimize
harm and destruction. If ever there was a time to stop cooperating, now is that
time. Until our legal system recognizes our community rights and the right of
nature to thrive, flourish and naturally evolve nothing will change and
certainly not in time to make a difference. And that recognition only comes
when we demand such recognition, when we change the system such that
sustainability becomes legal.

To stop Jordan Cove support your local community rights chapter or contribute to Coos Commons Protection Council at https://cooscommons.org/donate If you don’t have a local chapter consider starting one by visiting https://orcrn.org




How are we going to stop Jordan Cove?

Given a FERC Final Order regarding Jordan Cove is expected in November 2019 it is good that Wim DeVriend has reminded us that local citizens who don’t stand to lose their property to eminent domain enabled a foreign corporation to interfere in a local election that would have protected landowners who are threatened by the project. Unfortunately, DeVriend misspoke about the Coos County Right to a Sustainable Energy Future ordinance ballot measure from the May 2017 ballot as providing “civil liberties for trees”. This is a false reading of what establishing a legal framework to protect the rights of nature would accomplish.  The truth is, both in the failure of current environmental law and much more critically for our very survival, is that by acknowledging ecosystems having the right to thrive and flourish and naturally evolve its really a necessary and common sense recognition of our symbiotic relationship with nature.

 

DeVriend is right, leaders of the local anti-LNG group opposed the ordinance, but these same people also spread a rumor that I was personally “bought off” by Jordan Cove LNG so I wouldn’t hold their opinion in too high esteem.

While many opponents of the LNG terminal have thrown all their eggs into the regulatory basket, including the local group here in Coos County, many communities across the country are thinking out of the box in order to stop harmful, non-sustainable development like Jordan Cove. Just up the coast from Coos Lincoln County has successfully stopped poisonous aerial spraying of pesticides by industrial timber since their community bill of rights ordinance passed in May 2017. The foundation they and others have worked from is that aerial spraying or fracking or LNG terminals are really issues having to do with fundamental rights that is the rights to a healthy environment, rights to clean air and water, and the right for the community itself to be the primary decision maker on such corporate proposals like LNG terminals instead of being treated as a door mat to corporate raiders. The shorthand here is that community rights not only matter but that they are superior to that of the corporate state itself who is looking to undermine those very rights of the community, nature included.

 

FERC is in the business of granting permits, not denying them and the agency is funded by the very industry it is supposed to be regulating. Statistical evidence says Jordan Cove will receive its long-fought permit next year. The question then becomes what are we willing to do to stop this albatross when all else has failed?




Jordan Cove wants us to trust them

Betsy Spomer claims in a recent op-ed to want to earn our trust through “vigorous public discussion” and to demonstrate that her company, Jordan Cove Energy Partners, is a “responsible corporate neighbor”.  This is an incongruous statement from the CEO of a company that just a few short months ago spent almost $700K, almost twenty times more than any local political campaign in Coos County history, specifically to thwart public discourse. Through the artfully named “Save Coos Jobs” campaign literature and media advertising the company even threatened Coos County with lawsuits if voters did not cast their ballots in the best interests of Jordan Cove.

Regardless of where you stood on community rights Measure 6-162, the Coos County Right to a Sustainable Energy Future Ordinance, the Canadian owned company’s interference in our local democracy are not those of a responsible corporate neighbor. Heck, we Americans cannot even buy their stock. There is nothing trustworthy about a foreign special interest pretending to be a local grassroots effort and funding a covert campaign riddled with provably false statements. False claims were made about imposing vehicle checkpoints or denying fuel to neighboring counties, even though the ordinance specifically protected existing applications of fossil-fuels.  The Save Coos Jobs campaign did this all the while omitting any reference to Jordan Cove or LNG or the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline when the measure would have specifically prohibited the use of eminent domain solely for the company’s gain.

Of course, Jordan Cove did have locals willing to assist in its grassroots deception like Barry Winters and Coos Bay Mayor Joe Benetti claiming to be in-charge-of the campaign even though it was run out of Portland by a company called Prospect PDX. By way of proof, Prospect PDX which was paid more than $212K, ran a similar albeit unsuccessful campaign against a community rights measure in Lincoln County. That measure to ban aerial spraying included a non-violent direct-action enforcement provision in the event a corporate actor attempts to violate the will of the people. Prospect spun that provision into a legalization of vigilantism which, while false, also somehow made it into the campaign here despite there being no such clause in Measure 6-162. The campaign was even able to employ a local farmer to participate in an ad spreading this falsehood.

According to OreStar, no member of the local campaign committee contributed a cent.  In fact, Benetti was paid $433.53 by the campaign to hold the election night dinner at his restaurant.

There is no denying there will be some local profiteers, if only short term, should Jordan Cove be built. Pro-gas advocates may sincerely believe that tethering the community to 19th century energy technology and shouldering the health costs associated with burning fossil-fuels will bring long term benefits to the county despite all the empirical evidence to the contrary. This may explain, though not excuse why local politicians like county commissioners Bob Main and Melissa Cribbins and John Sweet continue to carry water for Jordan Cove and not only ignore but defend this assault on our local elections.

Spomer works in an industry that is only profitable thanks to $5.3 trillion a year, a staggering 6.5% of global GDP, in taxpayer funded subsidies. According to a new study prepared by staff of the International Monetary Fund, not only do these fossil-fuel subsides damage the environment they discourage investments in renewable energy and are an inefficient means of supporting low-income households.

The human health costs of fossil fuels are estimated at $74.6 billion annually, yet the Save Coos Jobs campaign accused the measure backers of being “radical environmental extremists” for daring to want clean air and water.

Protection by the US military for overseas oil sources amounts to $1 per gallon of what we pay at the pump.

Clearly, this is not a sustainable industry and it’s no wonder the company would rather place its fortunes in FERC, where it is virtually guaranteed a permit to pollute our air and waterways, than in the voters of Coos County.

Renewable energy is now competitive with and even cheaper than fossil fuels and jobs in the renewable sector are growing at a pace twelve times greater than the US economy.

Behind her deceptively placid smile, Spomer is asking us to put faith in her antiquated, non-sustainable, taxpayer subsidized business model and trust in a company that was willing to deceive county voters, trod all over our local democracy and wants to forcibly take land from unwilling Americans all to enrich Canadian shareholders.

If you want to help permanently stop this boondoggle and ban the pipeline send an email to cooscommons@gmail.com