Friday, August 31, 2007

Index of Smoking Gun Letters

Index of Letters Distributed by Councilman Gomez at 8/28/07 Special Meeting of the Barstow City Council

As of this post, I am still working on an easy way to post Mayor Dale’s letter to the Department of the Interior attacking the Chemehuevi and their previously established Ancestral Rights. This smoking gun reveals Dale as the real pawn of BarWest, the role he has been playing since this Detroit developer first showed up and started buying influence here in Barstow.

In the meantime, if you would like copies of Dale’s letter or any of the letters that Gomez was distributing to the public that night, you can send me an email with your FAX number and I will be happy to send them to you.

You may wish to view the video on Councilman Gomez chastising Mayor Dale. It is posted on, TVT, and here on my blogs under the post entitled: “Red Faced Mayor Exposed as BarWest Pawn”. To see the entire council meeting including the Mayor’s response it is available on the City’s website, see my post entitled: Barstow Citizen Oversight on the Internet.

Here is the Index of the letters that Councilman Gomez released to the public in chronological order:

-TASIAN letter to Barstow City Council
Dated 8/29/05
RE: Opposition to BarWest Compacts

-Analytical Environmental Services letter to Chairman Wood
Dated 7/29/07
RE: “Barstow Scoping Report”

-Chairman Wood letter to Analytical Environmental Services
Dated 8/8/07
RE: “Barstow Scoping Report for BarWest LLC,
the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians
and the Big Lagoon Rancheria of Smith River Indians”

-Mayor Dale letter to BIA, US Dept of Interior
Dated 8/21/07
RE: “The Chemehuevi Tribe’s Recent Assault on Barstow”

-Barstow City Lobbyist, Nick Medeiros Memo to City of Barstow
Dated 8/22/07
RE: The BarWest Compact appear dead

For more Information on this subject see the following post:

The BarWest Scam in Barstow

Why BarWest is on the Attack
The True Story of my Involvement with Indian Gaming
TheVerifiableTruth.Com Exposes the Tom Shields Blame Game

Meet Some Friends - Jerry Brown

Say there Tom Shields, Lawrence Dale, Tim Silva, Ron Rector, Bill Postmus, Brad Mitzelfelt, Nurseries Products, MicroMedia, and Adelanto Mayor Jim Nehmens; I got a couple of friends of mine that I want to introduce you to. Let's start with your new Attorney General.

Meet Jerry Brown

Jerry is a big hero of mine for many reasons. First and foremost because he is the most progressive Governor California has ever head. In fact he was so progressive that he was way ahead of his time. This made him vulnerable to criticism from small minded people like you. I’m sure you didn’t like him any more even when he was Governor. He was our first environmental Governor. He and his Daddy were the only Democratic Governors to ever to serve a full two terms. Because this was before term limits, he is eligible and considering a run for Governor. As somewhat with an appreciation for Civil Rights and Ancestral Rights, you can count on the fact that he would never sign Reservation Shopping Compacts like BarWest. As an environmentalist, I am sure he would never allow the outdoor composting of human sludge.

When I met Jerry Brown at the CA Democratic Convention in San Diego last April, I told him that I was a big fan and that HIS signature as Governor, appeared on my UC Davis Diploma. Before he even shook my hand, he took a step back and gave me a look up and down. He then made the pronouncement that: “Nope, can’t be; you aren’t old enough.” I thanked him for the compliment and said that I finished in 1976.

Jerry Brown was born in San Francisco (as was my father) on April 7, 1938. In 1958, he entered Sacred Heart Novitiate, a Jesuit Seminary, intending to become a Catholic priest.
However, Brown left the seminary and entered UC Berkeley, where he graduated with a BA in Classics in 1961. Brown went on to Yale Law School and graduated with a Juris Doctor in 1964.
When he ran for governor in 1980, his platform slogan was: "Protect the Earth, serve the people, and explore the universe." Three main planks of his platform were a call for a constitutional convention to ratify the Balanced Budget Amendment, a promise to increase funds for the space program, and, in the wake of the 1979Three Mile Island accident, opposition to nucleas power.

After his failed Senate race in 1982, many considered Brown's political career to be over. During the 1980s, Brown traveled to Japan to study Buddhism, studying with Christian/Zen practitioner Hugo Enomiva-Lassalle under Yamada Koun-roshi. He also visited Mother Teresa in Calcutta, India where he ministered to the sick in one of her hospices.

Upon his return from abroad in 1988, he announced that he would stand as a candidate to become Chairman of the CA Democratic Party in 1989. In June 1998, he was elected Mayor of the city of Oakland, where he got high praise for his economic revitalization and bringing solar power to Oakland. In early 2004, Brown expressed his interest to be a candidate for the Democratic nomination for CA Attorney and won the position in 2006.

As the top cop of California, Jerry Brown wants to focus on Environmental issues and government corruption. He recently set his eyes on San Bernardino County by filing suit to make them instigate certain environmental protections against global warming. The County quickly complied and the suit was settled.

I think we need to get focused on government corruption and wrong doing here in Barstow. I also think he needs to investigate our Waste Water Treatment contract with MicroMedia, our continuation violations with Nitrates and the Soap Mine Road, Pacific Holt situation and the ongoing sewage leakage into the Mojave River. Then he could investigate BarWest influence peddling here in Barstow and the corruption that involves. Then we could finally get to the bottom of all the ‘deals’ that have been made and how and why Dale acts like a pawn for BarWest.

And finally, the Nurseries Products company and how they are railroading the good citizens of Hinkley one more time. I just know he could uncover all the reasons that our leaders have taken campaign contributions from Nurseries Products and why they voted against us. I believe in Jerry and I think he could help us get a permanent ban on the outdoor composting of human sludge.

We really need your help Jerry and we know that you will not let us down like all of our other agencies, Barstow City and the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors. We have a lot of hard working people that will be happy to give you all kinds of help cleaning house (and yard) here in the greater Barstow area.

So thank you in advance Jerry!

TheVerifiableTruth.Com Exposes the Tom Shields Blame Game

TVT Exposes the Tom Shields Blame Game

Ever since I first discovered a few months ago I have come to understand what a thorough professional job they have done tracking and uncovering details regarding BarWest and the Indian gaming issues in Barstow. It is obvious that they are also following me and my efforts to raise consciousness about Ancestral Rights and why BarWest should never be allowed to proceed with their Reservation Shopping projects here in Barstow.

Completely independent of the role that I have played in exposing BarWest in Barstow, has been doing much the same but in a highly thorough and comprehensive way, and with a much larger focus on the BarWest scams across the Nation and in their home town of Detroit, Michigan. In fact, they have done such a thorough job that you have to search their site for all of the stuff relating to just Barstow. Use the following link to do just that:

or cut and paste this URL:

Now that the CA compacts are in their final death throws, BarWest has dispatched Tom Shields in an all out sleazy smear campaign to attack any and all of those who would expose their questionable and corrupt practices. That obviously includes me on a local level and on the National level and always the tribes that Shields likes to slander as those pesky, “wealthy and greedy” tribes.

There isn’t much can do to those local tribes with real Ancestral Rights except call them names. But the ‘blame game’ for the failed compacts is levied at all that don’t roll over for Reservation Shopping. Recently, wrote a post exposing the BarWest ‘Blame Game’ and Smear Campaign. The piece they posted is entitled:

Tom Shields is so desperate he's manufacturing conspiracy theories to shift blame for Barstow failures somewhere else

The expose explains how it is “humorous or perhaps even pathetic to know that Ilitch spokesman and political operative Tom Shields is so desperate to find someone to blame for Ilitch's failure to produce a casino in Barstow the last six years that he's manufactured a big conspiracy theory that ties together the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians located in San Bernardino County, California; a Barstow citizen activist who TVT has featured on this blog once or twice; and that "full-time anonymous blogger" TVT. This is an all too frequent strategy for Shields when he has no where else to turn. Shields can't admit his clients' shortcomings or failures.”

The article goes on to identify three objects of Shield’s main focus on the current blame for the failure of their compacts here in Barstow: 1. San Manuel Band of Indians 2. Barstow Citizen Activist Larry Halstead and 3.

Here is what the TVT post says about me:

“Perhaps the loudest opponent of the Ilitch/Malik Barstow casino scheme is a local Barstow activist, Larry Halstead. Apparently Halstead is the chair of the local Democratic Club and he ran for Barstow City Council in 2006. It's quite obvious he wasn't one of the candidates that Ilitch/Malik backed with their $200,000 Barstow campaign budget in 2006. Rather, Halstead raised money from alternative sources and from what TVT has gathered the San Manuel Band of Indians contributed to his campaign. Needless to say, Halstead did not win his race for City Council given his modest campaign budget. Rather than address the numerous questions and concerns Mr. Halstead has raised about the Ilitch/Malik Barstow casino scheme, their spokesman Tom Shields has desperately taken to making personal attacks on Halstead. It's mostly based on hearsay. Because the San Manuel Tribe gave Halstead a campaign contribution, Shields has now stretched that acknowledged truth to accuse Mr. Halstead of being on the tribe's "payroll." TVT encourages Mr. Shields to document his claims with something other than his manufactured rumors! Perhaps Mr. Shields should first reveal who the anonymous donors to his $200,000 campaign fund really are. And then explain why 98% of his $200,000 budget had to come from people who don't live or work in the remote Mojave Desert community.”

Read the Whole Story Here: TheVerifiableTruth.Com

Joke Time!

Hey, it's not that serious! Time out for a Quick Joke

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Letter to the Editor, Desert Dispatch - August 30

Letter to the Editor
Desert Dispatch
August 30, 2007

Citizen Oversight and Public Participation

If you read the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, or any of the writings of our founding fathers, the over-riding philosophy was about freedom. Their directive to all future generations of Americans was that freedom isn’t free and the price of freedom is eternal vigilance in protecting those freedoms. Freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and all of those freedoms guaranteed under the Bill of Rights, must be preserved through public participation and oversight of their governments at all levels.

Thomas Jefferson said that: “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism!” Ben Franklin urged the people to be protective of your rights at all cost and added that: “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security, deserve neither!” Our founding fathers even advocated a violent revolution to take back the government from tyrannical leaders, which is the motivation for the Second Amendment with the right to bear arms.

Public Participation is the friend of any politician that is trying to do the people’s business. However, when special interest groups like Barwest start buying up influence, politicians like Mayor Dale start viewing public participation as a nuisance and those that disagree with their agenda as the enemy. Thomas Jefferson addressed this issue when he said: "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."

I have had strong differences of opinions with Mayor Dale and his three vote coalition. Top of that list would be Indian Gaming as I am 100% convinced that the Barwest project will never ever succeed. And yet Barwest has bought influence and had some of our local leaders compromise the institutions in the process. They have corrupted our political process and violated our elections.

Whether the issue is economic development, community planning, green energy, youth activities, or environmental concerns such as the Hinkley human sludge threat, I do my research and speak the best educated truth that I can. But those who don’t like what I may have to say have chosen to make personal attacks on me and my family instead of sticking with the facts of the issues involved.

The BarWest Kool-Aid Club is now engaged in an all out campaign to smear me with lies, false accusations, and name calling. Tom Shields is actively involving his local groupies, to spread these lies at City Council meetings and in this forum. Space does not allow me to delve into my response to each and every one of their vicious attacks. But when you see the lies from Robert Vassuer, Charlie Moore, Julie Clemmer, and those that are certain to follow, please know that they are doing the bidding of this outside Detroit developer. You should also know that the truth will be revealed soon enough and the credibility of these attackers will be lost forever in the process.

My definition of treason definitely includes those that would suppress public participation and dissent with financially motivated smear attacks filled with lies. Martin Luther King used to say that: “The only thing necessary for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing. I would encourage all citizens, Republican and Democrat alike, to become more involved in citizen oversight at all levels of government.

It is imperative that we heed the warning of Thomas Jefferson when he cautioned that: "Experience hath shown, that even under the best forms (of government) those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny."

Larry D. Halstead, Barstow

Note - Letters to the Editor are available on the paper's website starting the night before they appear in the paper. I have been reading them early there for awhile now. This piece did not show up the night before and as of this post is still not available online. Normally I might consider this a simple oversight but back during the campaign, the paper screwed up all of my advertising and my 'Candidate Responses' to their questions that they posed to all the candidates. The screw ups were so blatant and frequent that it was laughable. What makes this all highly suspect is that the paper has received tens of thousands of dollars from BarWest and their PAC not to mention a small fortune from the City of Barstow. Worse yet, Bea Lint, the Advertising Director for the paper, participated in the BarWest election of Tim Silva and Julie Hackbarth McIntire by
secretly serving as their Media Adviser. When I confronted her on this, she claimed that she was dispatched by her editor to do so. The fact that this is a right wing oriented paper only reinforces their motives in always seeming to screw on on anything I submit.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Red Faced Mayor Exposed as Pawn of BarWest

Be careful of what you do in the dark,
as it WILL be revealed in the light!

Mayor Dale held a hastily called 'Special Meeting' on Tuesday, August 28 at 3pm. The word went out through the community that Dale was going to use the power of his three vote coalition to shit-can City Manager Hector Rodriguez. Dale never liked him and voted against his confirmation. He has been working overtime to undermine him ever since. More on this in another post but leave it to say here that the Council Chambers were packed with Rodriguez supporter representing a wide spectrum of the community. Included in the audience was former Council Members Gloria Darling, Helen Runyon, and Gil Gurule. After blasting the Mayor for trying to get rid of our much beloved City Manager the audience went to the lobby to await the outcome of the closed session.

When the Council resumed the open session, it was announced that the matter of the City Manager’s job status would be continued. The Mayor then skipped ahead to another highly contentious issue, the MicroMedia contract which was the real story behind his attempted firing of the City Manager. Between the two of these agenda items the Mayor was well on his way to having the worst meeting of his life if not the worst day of his life.

But then came the big bomb shell of the night during Council Reports. (see 51:45 in the "Following Closed Session" video). Joe Gomez took the mayor to task on his unauthorized letter of August 21 that he unilaterally sent to the U. S. Dept of the Interior. The letter written on City stationary, was referenced as "Re: The Chemehuevi Tribe's Recent Assault on Barstow" The three page letter is a vicious attack on the Chemehuevi and their claims of Ancestral Rights in the Barstow area.

Councilman Gomez reported that he had confronted the Mayor on August 20 when the Mayor had showed him the letter and before it was mailed. He had put the Mayor on notice that he could not send a letter out like that on his own and that he must get approval from the Council at large. This goes way beyond a breach of ethics and may well be a violation of government codes.

Joe continued to chastise the mayor for sending the letter on city stationary for over five minutes. He told him that he had warned him not to send it and that the mayor was getting in the way of Barstow ever getting a casino. Since the BarWest Compacts are DEAD by ALL accounts except within the BarWest Kool-Aid Club, the Chemehuevi casino project is the only hope left for Barstow to ever see a resort casino project in this city. Furthermore, Joe told the mayor that he was inviting a lawsuit from the Chemehuevi. Joe had copies of the letter along with a memo from the Nick Mederios (the city's lobbyist), a letter from Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations (TASIN), and a letter from Chairman Wood, which he made available for circulation.

A red-faced, pissed off Dale sat and listened while Councilman Gomez leveled charges that could well be the death blow to Dale’s sorry, and in my opinion, corrupt career. At the conclusion of this explosive revelation, Dale asks: “Are you done with your comments? I intend to respond, I just want to make sure you are done with your comments.” Dale then turns to Councilman Curran for him to give his comments under Council Reports. While Steve had yet had a chance to read the letter, he chimed in that as the head of ethics for the council, he had issues with the mayor sending out the letter and agreed with everything that Gomez had said about it.

When the mayor finally responded (see 1:1:35 in the "Following Closed Session" video).He stood by his decision to send the letter and during the comments he was looking straight at me. I was on the front row and I started laughing at the ridiculous hypocrisy of his comments. The mayor noticed and remarked about my laughing and I can be heard to shout hypocrite at him. He said it wasn't hypocritical and said that he does not regret sending the letter.

The audience was in shock by this whole revelation and everyone sat with their jaw dropped. I believe that this was the beginning of the end for this mayor. It was easily his worse night ever. It was a beautiful thing to witness. There is consensus that it is a total impossibility that the mayor wrote this letter. I have been told that Dale only has a sixth grade education, He simply doesn't have the talent that Tom shields does and the letter reflects Tom's style. If you listen to the mayor, he sounds like a damn hillbilly as he totally slaughters the English languages with poor verb use and sentence structure like: "he done gone and..…”

Led by Shields and his accusations of me extorting him and the tribe, the BarWest Kool-Aid Club has been on a all out attack of me with allegations that I am a paid hack for “the other side” which he also refers to as “those wealthy greedy tribes.” But from the beginning, Dale has been working overtime to violate the Ancestral Rights of the rightful legitimate local tribes. BarWest has been flying him around in a Lear Jet on lobbying junkets. He has totally transformed the Council into a public relations firm for the truly greedy outside Detroit developer that specializes in the vile practice of Reservation Shopping that is the curse of all tribes that respect the concept of Indian Sovereignty.

In the process, Mayor Dale has been complicit with Shields in helping BarWest to buy influence, corrupt local leaders and compromise the institutions they represent. The good people of Barstow have been lied to and deceived at every turn as the mayor has divided the town and put at risk the chances that we may ever have a casino project in this town. As I told Larry that afternoon, he should not be lulled into a false sense of security. Even as we speak, plans are underway to file complaints with the District Attorney, the Grand Jury, the U. S. Attorney, and with the Attorney General of both CA and the U.S. I have ever reason to believe that this will all end with indictments, recalls, or both.

Barstow Citizen Oversight on the Internet

When it comes to protecting our democracy, the drum I beat the most is Public Oversight. That means you simply pay attention to what your elected officials are up to and that way you know when it is time to take action when things go awry. In Barstow, before the internet and before Councilman Joe Gomez made a push to get our meetings on the internet, the only way to conduct this Public Oversight was to get your butt off the couch, turn off the TV and spend hours at a time watching meetings that can often get boring on many of the agenda items. But after fighting Joe Gomez kept pushing the idea, we now have the luxury of watching the meeting in the comfort of your home or office. Best of all, if you miss them when they are live, you can see them whenever you want. To the technically challenged like myself, I have broken down the steps necessary to do just that.

How to View City Council Meetings

If you live in the City of Barstow and have cable TV, then you can watch the Meetings of the Barstow City Council, Planning Commission, and Fire District, live on Chanel 6 and later as reruns. Otherwise, you can view them on the internet along with the agenda for the next meeting as follows:

1. Go to the Barstow City Website - or Click Here.

2. On the horizontal directional bar, click on “City Government” and then on the drop down menu click on “City Council”

3. On the new window there is a menu at the left of the screen, click on “Agendas and Minutes”.

4a. Regular meetings - On the new window there will be another menu on the left of the screen. Click on “City Council” or Click Here or cut and paste the following:

4b. Special meetings - On the new window there will be another menu on the left of the screen. Click on “Special Meetings” or Click Here or cut and paste the following:

You will notice that the video for the Special Meeting of August 28, 2007 is broken into two different videos:

Special Meeting - Open Meeting Prior To Closed Session,
Special Meeting - Continued Meeting Following Closed Session

Skipping ahead when watching the video - Underneath the video screen is a time bar that will allow you to move ahead to any point in the meeting. Just below that time bar on the right is a time counter which tells you how many hours, minutes, and seconds into the meeting. Between now and the time that am able to become technically able enough to record and edit relative portions of the video, I will direct you there by giving the exact time at which the comments occur. For example if I mention something that happened and I cite the time as: [2:43:26] In that example, the comments I am directing you to watch would be two hours, forty-three minutes, and twenty-six seconds into the meeting.

For your convenience, there is a drop down window under the video that will allow you to “Skip Ahead” to another agenda item in the meeting. The complete Agenda and other relative documents are on the right of your screen.

Open Letter to Barstow Area Chamber of Commerce

Clifford Brock
Barstow Area Chamber of Commerce
P.O. BOX 698
Barstow, CA 92312-0698

Dear President Brock:

I am contacting you for a policy statement regarding the Barstow Area Chamber of Commerce. I would like to clarify what the Chamber’s current position is in regard to it’s support for BarWest and the compacts they represent on behalf of Big Lagoon and Los Coyotes.

I am the past Vice President of the Grand Terrace Area Chamber of Commerce where I also served as their Treasure. I also sought and received funding from the City of Grand Terrace to launch a twelve page newsletter that was distributed to every house in the city. In that capacity, I was the publisher, editor, writer, advertising director and distribution agent. During my tenure on the Board of Directors, we took the chamber from a do-nothing ‘good ole boys club’ and transformed it into a vital organization for promoting the city’s image and well being.

During that same period, I was also a member and interacted with the chambers of commerce for Colton, San Bernardino, Loma Linda, Redlands, and Riverside. I mention this background as way of saying that I am not unfamiliar with the role and purpose of any chamber of commerce in promoting the business community and the image of the city that they represent.

In my opinion, Barwest is a corrupt developer from Detroit that is attempting the impossible and violating the Ancestral Rights of local tribes with established aboriginal lands in the Barstow region. In my opinion as a Political Scientist, the BarWest never stood a chance at success because of these factors.

In pursuit of a lucrative market, BarWest brought their pattern and practice of buying influence to Barstow. I believe that they understood all along that they had a slim chance and the only way that they could succeed is getting as many local leaders on board as they could.

I found it deeply disturbing that they were able to turn the Barstow Area Chamber of Commerce into a public relations firm for BarWest. At the time that the former President, Tim Silva, fell pawn to their efforts, I confronted Tim on that issue. I told him that the purpose of any chamber of commerce is to promote the business community as a whole and not one business against another competing interest.

At the time that the Barstow Area was allowed to become compromised, I suspected that President Silva had made a ‘deal’ for some personal gain in the process. Those suspicions were confirmed when it was widely rumored that BarWest had offered him a position on the Council in exchange for his support. I had numerous people involved with the Chamber who told me how furious and disappointed they were at Mr. Silva for “selling out the chamber.” Those same individuals refused to endorse the BarWest candidates because of that history.

What followed was Tim as President of the Chamber, making appearances at City Council meetings to ratify the Chamber’s exclusive support for BarWest. It was at one such occasion that I told Tim of my complete disagreement with the Chamber taking such a position. It is especially offensive when the Chamber is funded with $50k of tax payer’s money and cheap rent. I told Tim that if I were the Chemehuevi or any other business interest that was harmed in the process, I would be inclined to take legal action to sue the Chamber and the City in order to stop this practice.

What also followed was all of the various lobbying efforts on the part of the Chamber’s President up in Sacramento and locally here in Barstow. Last November, BarWest fulfilled it’s promise to get Tim and Julie elected to the City Council. We all know that Tom Shields masterminded that campaign and helped bank roll it through their PAC, Barstow Citizens for Real Economic Development (BCRED). We also know that now that they are on the Council, they continue to ratify the City’s support for BarWest and continue to disrespect and violate the Ancestral Rights of local tribes.

In pains me to say this but I was disheartened to see your involvement in the BarWest campaign to elect Tim and Julie. You strike me as a person who is professional in everything you do and maintains a high sense of values and ethics in the process. I believe a lot of good people got innocently caught up in the frenzy of enthusiasm for the BarWest projects. It is my hope that if and when they come to some of these realizations, they will retract their prior support in favor of a neutral position or one that favors legitimate Native American Ancestral Rights.

The nature of my inquiry herein, is to inquire as to the current position of the Chamber in regard to it‘s exclusive support for BarWest. As of this writing, the BarWest website, still caries the following post with a quote from Tim Silva as the “Chamber’s President”:

[ see ]

From the Barstow Chamber of Commerce

“I think that everyone will tell you that Barstow is struggling economically. The Barstow business community has overwhelmingly supported the Big Lagoon/Los Coyotes casino resort as the economic catalyst necessary for business growth and development. Mere anticipation of the casinos and resort has already generated opportunities and positive developments. The spin-off benefits of this project for Barstow are nearly limitless.”

Tim Silva,
President, Barstow Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau

Since you are not listed as the current President with your own quote, it begs the question as to what the Chamber’s current position is now. Has the position of the Chamber changed or does it remain the same as under the previous President? If the position has change, please explain how? If the Chamber’s position has NOT changed, is there any plans to consider that change? Whether there is a change or not, is this by a vote of the Board?

I can tell you for certain, that these issues are foremost in my decision not to get involved in the Barstow Area Chamber of Commerce. As a life long businessman, I have always valued the role of any chamber of commerce in networking and promoting the image of the city it represents.

I am open to discussing these issues in person or on the phone but I would really appreciate a response to my questions ‘for the record’ in writing. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

With respect,

Larry D. Halstead

It’s about Ancestral Rights stupid!

It’s about Ancestral Rights stupid! What part of those two words don’t people understand, Ancestral or Rights? It is almost as if you have never even thought about how we went from Native Americans living in peace and in harmony with nature here as the ONLY American citizens on the continent to the ugly history of genocide and forced exile of Native Americans to barren lands we call “reservations”. It is like you never even stopped to think about the deplorable conditions imposed on Native Americans on those reservations or the countless ways that cultural and sacred sites have been violated and destroyed. It is also that you seem to have turned a blind eye to the dire poverty, alcoholism, school drop out, poor health care, and early death that the history of reservations have brought to Native Americans.

So if you are one of those that never even cared enough to take even a brief moment to ponder that part of American history and government policy then I expect you are totally clueless about totally devastating these elements are to things like: cultural preservation, Tribal pride, Native American independence and self determination or Indian Souvernty.

The concept of “the ugly American” is based on our gross cultural ignorance of traditions and customs of people in foreign countries and how we arrogantly try to impose our customs and values on them. But the truth is that Americans are largely ignorant about their own country. Most Americans have a hard time identifying the three branches of government, the name of a single member of the Supreme Court, or often even things as simple as the name of the Vice President or the Speaker of the House. It is often our obsession with consumerism and our often single minded focus on sports or religion that is the reason for our ignorance. But the struggle to survive and build our careers is definitely part of that equation.

Ancestral Rights, A historical Perspective
Still, if we are to begin to understand any of the issues involved with Indian gaming and bringing a casino project to Barstow, it is imperative to fully examine the history and significance of Ancestral Rights and how that relates to the history of our government’s treaties and other agreements with Native Americans. From the creation of the “Reservation” system, Native Americans had to be coerced, bribed, and rewarded into relocating on to these lands that were usually the most remote, barren, and basically the least desirable real estate. Often they were bamboozled into agreements that our government, only to discover that it would be another broken promise for which our combined history has been disgraced with a long legacy of lies and broken promises with Native Americans.

What developed out of those history of treaties and other agreements, was that we established the principal of Indian Sovereignty which established tribes and independent and separate nations. In exchange for being restricted to reservations, Native Americans were granted rights to self determination and control over their ancestral lands. These rights established by the U.S. Government is hardly compensation for the atrocities we committed or the loss of most of their original ancestral lands. But it did offer a glimmer of hope and a scant glimpse of how Native Americans could, with a lot of hard work and a whole lot of luck, just maybe have the opportunity to enjoy the life style that most other Americans take for granted.

Decades before the advent of Indian gaming, Tribes have been fighting for recognition by Congress in order to enjoy those ancestral rights granted in the history of treaties and other related agreements, along with legislation. Some tribes had to jump through all kinds of hoops, lobbying efforts, and even litigation in order to gain that recognition. In fact in many cases it came to identify the struggle of a given tribe as the primary cause they were fighting for so that they too could enjoy the rights and protection afforded the “officially recognized tribes”.

Even with that recognition, the hope and promise of a better life went largely unfulfilled for most of our combined histories. Mostly reservation had stayed in a state of economic depression, extreme poverty, and with out much hope of escape. It is depressing for an “outsider” to spend even a short time visiting those reservations. After graduating from Davis, I decided to take a break from academics and spent six months traveling the “Great Northwest”. Along the way, I had the opportunity to visit numerous reservation scattered over several different states. This was in 1977 and years before Indian gaming had showed up on the radar.

What I witnessed on those reservations made me sick to my stomach. It caused me to recall the words of Thomas Jefferson, that: “I fear for my country when I consider that God is a JUST God; and that his justice doesn’t sleep forever.” The stereotype of the “drunk, alcoholic, unemployed, Indian” was way beyond just a stereotype. The feeling that came over me was a feeling that my patriotism was tarnished by the knowledge of what we had done to these people and how we continued to neglect and abuse them with these deplorable conditions.

The True Story of My Involvement with Indian Gaming

The True Story of My Involvement with Indian Gaming

Originally I was project neutral on the issue of Indian Gaming in Barstow. I wasn’t until my research showed the pattern and practice of BarWest buying influence and bullying their way into a process of violating the Ancestral Rights of local tribes as they engage in the despicable practice of Reservation Shopping that I saw the light. I was also turned off by their right wing orientation and their relation to the Jack Abramhoff scandal and Rep. Richard Pombo who I consider one of the worst, most corrupt congressman ever.

Pombo who was soundly defeated in last year’s election was the guy that Tom Delay established as the powerful chair of the House Resources Committee. He used that position to try and abolish the Endangered Species Act, reverse the ban on oil drilling in the protected artic areas, and run interference on the investigations of his mentor Tom Delay. Pombo himself was the number one object of the Jack Abramhoff scandal.

Upon these myriads of revelations, I denounced my support for the BarWest project and for two years or more I started speaking out about all of the influence peddling that BarWest was doing in Barstow. In my opinion, BarWest bought and paid for our Mayor who has been doing their bidding ever since.

During the last election, BarWest made a deal with Chamber of Commerce President Tim Silva that if he would turn the Chamber into a PR branch of BarWest, they would make him the next Councilman. Tim got the chamber to support BarWest and against the Chemehuevi, something that would violate the ethics of any chamber and is undoubtedly illegal when the city gives this chamber $50k in annual support along with cheap rent at the Harvey House.

On the last day before the deadline to file, I was talked into running by some LOCAL activist that felt by doing so I would be able to amplify my voice on issues that I was already speaking out on, such as the environment, local corruption, equal access and economic development. As it turned out, Tom Shields had already secured victory for his two candidates primarily by getting the local caucus and the rest of the BarWest Kool-Aid Club to get out the absentee vote. Shields ran their campaign like the Carl Rove of Barstow and it was financially backed through their local PAC. He ran a slick campaign, the likes of which Barstow had never seen and that their two candidates would never have been able to wage on their own. It was a campaign that did not even rely on the involvement of the candidates themselves. In fact he was instrumental in canceling the only debate that would of exposed the total lack of experience and incompetence of his two candidates.

Initially, I had no expectations of winning but my message of economic development, exposing corruption and protecting our environment, resonated with the community. It also garnished the attention of some highly respectable residential and commercial developers. These were quality 'community planning' oriented developers who had a 50 year history of having been scorned by the local cronies who have held power in Barstow since time immortal. The local cronies use Mayor Dale and Economic Development Director Ron Rector to steal projects away from any developer that is not part of the ‘local cronies’ and move them to the cronies‘ properties.

The developers that supported my candidacy felt that the only way to proceed on their quality projects was to change the political landscape. The irony is that they are all Republican and they supported this strong Democrat leader because I have a background in business and have always worked closely with the business community which is most often Republican in orientation. My parents were both GOP Republicans (NOT neocons) and I was raised in a GOP environment. While I have never been a Republican, I have embraced many of the old values of the GOP such as balancing the budget, less government regulations, protecting privacy rights and civil rights. All of which have been lost on the neocons that are destroying the Republican party in my opinion. Nonetheless, any of the old fashion GOP type people that I have been involved with are those that can relate to my approach and values in business.

Along with some small individual donors, these Republican developers who I highly respect, financed 100% of my campaign. It was not until a week before the election that I made contact with a member of the San Manual Tribe when I was participating in an event of Congressman Joe Baca. I told them that I was fighting the cause for Ancestral Rights and Indian Sovereignty and against reservation shopping. I explained how I was alone in fighting for what is the cause of the true legitimate Native American fight for self determination and that I could sure use some back up. After much deliberation within their tribal leaders, they broke from their long standing policy of NOT getting involved here in Barstow and reluctantly made a one-time campaign contribution of $2500. That much needed contribution was received a month after the campaign and was used to retire some of my campaign debts.

For the record, I have NEVER received a singe penny from any tribe to represent them in any capacity. I have NEVER been asked to represent a particular position or take any action on their behalf. I Have solicited input on how I could support a legitimate project here in Barstow but have yet to get any input or advice whatsoever.

Over the course of the past few years, I have come to know Chairman Wood of the Chemehuevi Tribe and on one occasion I had the opportunity to meet their Vice-Chair Shirley Smith. I have been taken back at how honorable they have been and have always taken the high road. I know for a fact that they did not support either Measure H or the recall of Councilman Luellig. I have NEVER seen nor is their ANY record of the Chemehuevi ever attacking BarWest or engaging in the underhanded tactics that is the hallmark of BarWest.

As a Political Scientist, I have a life long passion for the values and causes of the Democratic party. I have been a community activist on issues such as the environment, alternative medicine, equal right, code enforcement, and civil rights. I have come to view Ancestral Rights as being the equivalent of civil rights for Native Americans.

While I would feel honored to serve as a consultant to any tribe seeking to secure or preserve their Ancestral Rights, this has yet to happen. If it did, you would hear it out of my own mouth first and not something that would be hidden before being leaked by the likes of BarWest and their scumbag spin doctor Tom Shields who is now making false allegations of extortion against me. I would wear a consulting contract with a tribe with legitimate Ancestral Rights like a badge of honor. And I would be anxious to be ‘in the face’ of the Mayor, Tom Shields and the entire BarWest Kool-Aid Club. All of my ‘speaking out’ on this issue has been motivate SOLELY by a desire to expose local corruption and standing up for Ancestral Rights. Also, I feel that by speaking out on this issue it might hasten the day when a legitimate, local tribe can bring a casino project to this historically economically depressed community.

I am currently serving as a consultant on economic development and politics. I do this to support what is my main cause and passion. My wife Michelle and I are the founders of the Earth Haven Foundations for Kids which deals with children who are born with substance abuse to parents that are drug addicted. We are the adopted parents of a total of eight of these children and we will take on more when funding becomes available.

THIS is your 'Verifiable' honest to God truth. In my opinion, Tom Shields and his BarWest Kool-Aid Club are directly attacking these child victims by attacking me with their filthy lies, character assassinations and deceptions which are nothing more than the worst kind of libel and slander. But then we all expect nothing less from these sleaze bags.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Why Barwest is on the Attack

Why Barwest is on the Attack
These videos were posted on and on The good people at The Verifiable Truth have been working to expose Barwest lies, deceit, and corruption on the national level as I have been on the local level. The difference is that they are much better equipped to deliver up-to-date coverage in a highly professional manner than my time and resources will allow me. For these reasons, I am deeply grateful to the role that they are playing. I really appreciate all they do and especially for posting these videos and the comments they posted with them.

Barstow Citizen Activist Gets it!
(from 6.4.07 Barstow City Council Meeting)

A citizen activist frequently spotted at Barstow City Council meetings, who often sites as a reference tool and alternative source of information, speaks out on the realities of future dual Indian casinos in Barstow being bankrolled by Detroit-based Barwest LLC.

Activist Challenges Mayor's Failed Casino Strategy
(from 7.16.07 Barstow City Council Meeting)

Mr. Larry Halstead, a citizen activist and former candidate for City Council who frequents the Barstow City Council meetings; rose during the July 16, 2007 Council meeting to challenge City leaders to acknowledge Mayor Lawrence Dale's failed six year Indian Casino strategy.

The activist challenged the Council to identify any independent third parties not under the influence of Detroit-based Barwest or either of its two tribal partners who express confidence that the parties will get their plans approved by the California legislature as Halstead reports he has found no one.

The activist put forth a challenge to the Council which has been silent on the matter following the directions of the Mayor. Halstead suggested they consider tendering their resignations when Barwest fails to win approvals by the latest deadline extension -- September 15th.

The parties have made no progress in the legislature since concluding negotiations on agreements with the Governor in 2005 nor been willing to make any changes to their plans. Their original plans for one Barstow casino owned by the Los Coyotes Tribe were denied by the Governor in 2004. The Detroit casino syndicators first began talking with Barstow officials about an Indian casino in 2001/02.

My Commentary

For two years or more now, I have been trying to bring some fair and balanced perspective on the issue of Indian gaming in Barstow. During that same period I have been up against the giant Barwest machine. Since the Detroit developer first set their eyes on Barstow, they used their money and power to buy up all of the old guard of Barstow as their strategy to do the impossible. As their project has met dire failure at every turn of the road, Mayor Dale has compromised his integrity, violated political ethics, and turned our city government into a public relations firm for the project that has absolutely zero chance for success. Along the way, Barwest started their own local PAC, Barstow Citizens for Real Economic Development (BCRED) and established a local builder with no political background, Greg Lint, as it's President. This PAC became the rallying forum for local leaders to get together and count the money, positions, and power that they were do to get if this project were to ever fly.

There has become an enormous divide between the lies, spin, and deceitful propaganda that is being passed by Tom Shields and the Barwest Kool-Aid Club at every city council meeting on one side. On the other side is the real story of why these compacts will NEVER succeed at the state and federal level. This side include virtually all other tribes (gaming and non-gaming tribes alike), the CA Senate and Assemble Government Organization Committees (that will not allow these fatally flawed compacts to move forward), and all gaming industry analyst. In essence, this side includes everybody that isn't part of the Barwest Kool-Aid Club.

But in the warped perspective which our city council meetings have become, the only representations of the real world have had to come out of my mouth. Chairman Charles Wood of the Chemehuevi Tribe is much to honorable and committed to the high road to ever respond to the sleazy politics of Barwest. The other tribes and gaming interest have been way too reluctant to get involved. They seem to be content to wait it out and watch Barwest go down in flames in the quagmire of false homes and deception that they have created.

Since I know that we will never get started on a legitimate project until the Barwest fantasy bubble has been burst and buried, I have taken it upon myself to use my background in political science and community activism to expose the full extend of corruption now running rampant in our city. Sure I would love some backup help in my efforts to shine some light but until that day, I am willing to be the target of Barwest. While I would have no problem being paid to represent any of the other tribal interest that has legitimate ancestral ties to Barstow, so far that has not happened and what you see on these videos is my volunteer efforts to bring just a little light in the Barwest ocean of dark deceit.

The Barwest Scam in Barstow

The Barwest Scam in Barstow
Larry D. Halstead,
Political Scientist

Since the idea first surfaced, I have been supportive of Indian gaming in Barstow for several reasons. First and foremost, as many as 80% of our citizens are in favor of one or more casino projects. The hope and promise is that it would bring jobs, entertainment, and economic development to a region that has long suffered with a depressed economy. Resort-style casino projects have the potential to make Barstow a destination city rather than just a pit stop on the way to Vegas or the river.

I also believe that Indian gaming has done much to increase the quality of life for Native Americans. Besides the much needed funding for housing, health care, education, jobs, and basic infrastructure that gaming has provided, it has done much to provide self respect, self determination, and the power to negotiate with strength.

As an individual of European decent, it does my heart good to see the scales of social justice lean in a direction of compensation for the ugly history of atrocities and genocide that my people committed on Native Americans throughout the history of this country.

I was originally project neutral on Indian gaming in Barstow and was eager to network with representatives from all tribes involved. But early on, I had difficulty in understanding the strategy that Barwest had for getting these compacts through a Democratically dominated State legislature in Sacramento by buying Republican influence in Barstow. The more I came to understand the question of "reservation shopping" and how that relates to Indian Souvernty, Prop 1A, Prop 5, the more baffling it was that Barwest could be so confidant that their project would ever get approved.

Barwest sign in Barstow, notice the lack of any tribe names and the
deceptive reference that this is a Community of Barstow backed project
when Barwest and Mayor Dale refuse to take it to a vote of the people.

I quickly retracted my support for Barwest when some simple internet searches exposed Barwest as a right wing developer with ties to former Rep. Pombo and the Jack Abramhoff scandal. It didn't take long for Barwest to demonstrate exactly what their strategy and style is, as they began buying up influence in Barstow and the state capitol in Sacramento. The good people of Barstow have been hood-winked, bamboozled, and led a stray as our leaders have compromised themselves and sold out the institutions they represent.

Two elections bought and paid for by Barwest and millions of dollars in influence later, Barwest now owns the old guard of Barstow. They own Mayor Dale and the two members of the Council that they had elected. Tim Silva was promised a seat on the council if, as president, he could deliver the support of the Chamber of Commerce and against the competing project. Julie Hackbarth was on the Fire Board and active from the beginning with the Barwest formation of their PAC, Barwest Citizens for Real Economic Development as was Tim. Her family was one of the sellers of the land for the Barwest project. Both Tim and Julie have accompanied Mayor Dale on numerous trips to Sacramento to lobby on behalf of Barwest, both before and after their election to the city council.

The campaigns of Tim and Julie were marked by a relative low involvement by the candidates as it was totally orchestrated by Tom Shields and his operatives. The campaign duo were billed as "the turn around team". Barwest utilized, and no doubt subsidized, the local Republican caucus to get out the absentee vote. This effort, along with the slickest color campaign literature ever to hit Barstow, and an advertising budget funded by their PAC, coupled with an all out attack on my integrity, resulted in Barwest now having a solid three vote lock on all city policy.

This means that they control the direction of policy in favor of Barwest and against any other project. Essentially, the Barstow Council has become a public relations/ lobbyist firm for Barwest. The first act of the new council was to ratify their support for Barwest, throwing out all conflict of interest ethics in favor of unconditional support and loyalty to their benefactor.

As all of these realizations have unfolded, I have made an increased pattern of exposing local Barwest influence in Barstow. When the compacts started going through the Senate and Assembly Government Organization Committees, I began contacting members if those committees and sending them relevant documents. I watched the video of those proceedings and have spoken to some of them about Barwest contributions and their influence in Barstow. The feedback they have given me has always been consistent that the compacts will never be ratified.

At the recent August 6, 2007 City Council meeting, Mayor Dale again abused his position as Mayor to orchestrate a political attack on me by Barwest, Los Coyotes, and himself. Tom Shields, chief spin doctor for Barwest, was first on the attack with a pathetic accusation that I had tried to extort him into hiring me or I would "sign on with the other side and attack him." He said that when he refused to hire me, I got hired by "the other side" and have been attacking Barwest as a hired gun ever since. He went on to say that I was "for sale to the highest bidder" and how "negative" I always was.

This "for sale to the highest bidder" and "negativity" charges were repeated by two members of Los Coyotes Shane (?) and Tina Johnson. Tina created her own lie that I had asked her "who cut the checks for the tribe" and that they needed to buy me off. Later on, it was the Mayor's turn to chime in on the "negativity" and added that this negativity was somehow damaging the image of our city and the integrity of the good people of Barstow.

Lies and accusations of extortion aside, the real truth is that none of that ever happened. While I fully expected this from Mr. Shields or even this Mayor, it is a shame that members of the Los Coyotes would bring dishonor to themselves and their tribe by engaging in these lies.

For the record, I have never received a penny from any tribe to represent them in any capacity. I have never been asked by any member of any tribe to say a single word or do anything on their behalf. Never.

Over the past couple of years, I have been networking with various other tribes. I have been doing this because I know, and they know, that the Barwest compacts as currently structured will never be approved by the Democratically dominated state legislature. The Governor has decreed that only when these compacts die their due death, then and only then can we bring a casino project to Barstow. Only then can we proceed with a casino project that will enjoy the support of the CA Nations Indian Gaming Association, the Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations, and those tribes that have a rightful say in bringing a casino project to Barstow.

Over the same period of time, I have come to know Chairman Wood of the Chemehuevi Tribe and have developed a deep respect for him and the Tribe he represents. He is an honorable man who would never stoop to the sleazy tactics demonstrated regularly by the Barwest Kool-Aid Club or the lies now being told by members of the Los Coyotes.

After over two years of speaking out on the Barwest grip of influence on our city, I met some representatives of San Manuel through my participation with Congressman Joe Baca and the County Democratic Party. After much persuasion on my part and some deliberation on the part of San Manuel Tribal leaders, the tribe made a one time contribution to my campaign. I believe they did so on the basis of my respect for Indian Souvernty and how that relates to Indian gaming. Since then, I have encouraged them to get more involved in the Barstow Indian casino issue but they have been quite reluctant to do so. To date, they have never asked me to do anything, say anything or take any other actions on their behalf.

I have challenged the City Council or anybody to come up with the name of a single individual outside of Barstow and the Barwest Kool-aid club that thinks these compacts stand a snowball chance in hell of succeeding. The fantasy of these compacts succeeding is something one has to wonder if even Barwest still believes. For this hoax, this corruption of influence to be allowed to delay by several years, a real project that would succeed, there needs to be proportional level of accountability we demand of leaders who led us astray for personal gain.

In the meantime, I will not stand idly by and allow Barwest and members of the Los Coyotes to slander my good name. The Barwest operatives will not be allowed to get away of accusing me of extortion in order to continue their hoax on the Barstow people. Furthermore, I will continue to shed light on their lies and corruption. At the same time, I intend to do what ever I can to help bring a casino project to Barstow that has the proper backing need to succeed.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Thanks for Nothing Dick!

Thanks for NOTHING Dick!

Like most Americans that do not believe any of the spin coming out of the White House about why we went to war in Iraq, I have felt all along that we were being lied to and deceived about: the weapons of mass destruction, being greeted as liberator, mission accomplished, the oil will pay for the war, the insurgents are in their last throws, the Iraqi government will soon be able to take over, or the surge is working.

Usually we just feel that it is their hidden agenda and facts were being twisted to fit that agenda. The administration keeps faulting bad intelligence. But all of that logic is thrown right out when you find out that not only was the intelligence community providing good intelligence but the prior Bush administration understood this analysis and was even able to articulate all of the reasons that invading would have been and was a terrible idea.

I was sent this video last week and within days I started seeing it on various news medias, being debated on numerous MSNBC shows and being laughed at by people like John Stewart. The video is from a CSPAN interview back in 1994. It is eerie to watch it now and listen to Dick articulate exactly why it was a bad idea to invade Iraq. It is as if he is psychic as he gets every aspect of those arguments just perfect. It's as if he could see into the future and said it all as if empowered with the hindsight of how it was rather than speculating on how it might be.

If you are one of the three Americans who has not yet seen this video, take a moment to watch

If you are not totally outraged after watching this then you must be dead. After you take some time to cool down, sit back down and watch John Stewart's response. It will help with comic relief in this piece that he calls:
Note-Viacom has pulled their videos from the John Stewart Show and refuses to let us show it. I wonder why? Did they think that it was going to cut into their profits or maybe they just don't want the video seen too much. Hmmmm makes you wonder doesn't it?]

Dick Don't Know Dick About Dick!

Now if you are starting to wonder how this video suddenly appeared, don't even start down the conspiracy theory road. The following article appeared on the and clears it all up.

The Untold Story of the Cheney 'Quagmire' Video
By Mary Ann Akers

When the C-SPAN producer toiling in obscurity last month reached for the tape, he had no clue how juicy a nugget he had unearthed. The tape was labeled simply, "Life and Career of Dick Cheney"; dated April 15, 1994.
When he found it in the archives, the producer was just looking for something mildly interesting to help fill the 12-hour Cheney marathon planned by C-SPAN 3. The "Life and Career of Dick Cheney," produced for C-SPAN's "American Profile" series, seemed like a good bet for the marathon; after all, those interviews were personality-based and less wonky, letting viewers get a real feel for Dick and his wife/political partner, Lynne.
But instead of love and marriage, the "Life and Career" tape offered up a much younger looking Cheney saying that a U.S. invasion to capture Baghdad and topple Saddam Hussein would be, well, a quagmire.
At the time of the interview 13 years ago, Cheney was the ex-defense secretary, camped out at the American Enterprise Institute and contemplating a run for president. Asked why he didn't think U.S. forces should have gone on to Baghdad during the first Persian Gulf War, he asked rhetorically, "How many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth?" He added, "It's a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq."
The now famous "quagmire" tape, which has gotten over half a million views on YouTube, may well have remained buried in the archives for another decade (and doesn't Cheney wish it had!) if it hadn't been for that one C-SPAN producer, an affable young Irishman named Emmanuel Touhey.
Touhey didn't have time to review the entire hour-long tape before airing it, so he had no idea he was about to spark a firestorm on the Internet. And, at first, no one seemed to notice.
The Cheney tape re-aired for the first time since 1994 on July 11, 2007. But it wasn't until C-SPAN aired the interview again on August 9 (on the same channel, at the same time) that the blogosphere noticed.
As far as we know, the Cheney remarks on Iraq were first noticed by the site Grand Theft Country. When it quickly became an Internet phenomenon, Touhey was surprised. He said people have been calling C-SPAN over the past week asking when the network plans to air the Cheney segment again. (It doesn't, for the record.)
"I was quietly pleased with myself that I'd found a gem, however by accident," said Touhey, who, after nine years with C-SPAN is leaving next week to become a producer for The Diane Rehm Show. "I'm gleeful just from the perspective that it's getting a lot of attention. Any time C-SPAN 3 gets a lot of attention, I'm happy."
Asked what changed the vice president's mind about invading Iraq between 1994 and 2003, Cheney spokeswoman Lea Anne McBride said she was not authorized to comment.
She did, however, direct us to an interview that ABC News conducted with Cheney in February of this year in which Cheney was asked how his views had changed from 1991, when he also spoke of military action in Iraq as a "quagmire."
"Well, I stand by what I said in '91," Cheney told ABC. "But look what's happened since then -- we had 9/11."
Now, about that faceless voice in the Cheney "quagmire" video -- it belongs to Bruce Collins, the corporate vice president and general counsel of C-SPAN who held the same title when he interviewed the former defense secretary and future vice president way back in 1994.
Collins shared with us a funny anecdote about that interview.
When he showed up at Cheney's office, he said the future Veep asked, "How much time do you need -- one, two minutes?" Collins explained it was an hour-long interview.
Cheney grumbled that he hadn't planned on that much time. Collins said the interview was for C-SPAN's "American Profile" series, which would give the audience a chance to learn more about Dick Cheney the man, where he comes from, how he thinks, how he lives.
"You mean, touchy feely?" Cheney replied, according to Collins.
"This is an opportunity to go beyond policy," Collins recalled saying.
To which Cheney growled, "Well, you know I'm a policy kinda guy."
And there you have it: Dick Cheney is not a touchy-feely kinda guy.

Citizen Oversight and Public Participation

Citizen Oversight and Public Participation

If you read the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, or any of the wittings of our founding fathers, the over-riding philosophy was about freedom. And their directive to all future generations of Americans to come was that freedom isn’t free and the price of freedom is eternal vigilance in protecting those freedoms. Freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and all of those rights granted under the Bill of Rights, must be preserved through public participation and oversight of their governments at all levels.

“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism!”

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson said that: “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism!” Ben Franklin urged the people to be protective of your rights at all cost and added that: “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security, deserve neither!”

The words of the founding fathers go as far as to advocate a violent revolutions to take back the government from tyrannical leaders. This was the motivation for the Second Amendment with the right to bear arms. The clear intent of that Amendment was that a well armed militia "being necessary to the security of a free State". A militia at that time was a voluntary people’s army that was formed to take back control over a territory or the whole country. The founding fathers knew that if we were not vigilant, then tyranny would certainly follow.

Public Participation is the friend of any politician that is trying to do the people’s business. It provides them with valuable input and new ideas and how to create responsible and responsive government.

However, in this day and age of lobbyist and special interest, politicians have increasingly come to look at the public participation as a nuisance and those that disagree with their agenda as the enemy.

Thomas Jefferson addressed this issue when he said: "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."

But modern day politicians have trended to ignore the warnings of our founding fathers and the underlying philosophy that drives the Constitution. Consequently, they have attempted to restrict and limit the public’s access involvement in the public process. These days there is almost always a time limit, usually three minutes, for which a citizen is allowed to speak on any issue. Bigger municipalities like Los Angeles have reduced the time limit to one minute. If you educate yourself on a particular issue and attempt to present an articulate argument, three minutes is almost never adequate to speak your mind.

What has developed is an us vs. them mentality where citizens are having to go to battle with their elected officials just to participate in the way that our founding fathers anticipated we should. Countless lawsuits have resulted while meanwhile citizens are routinely interrupted, cut off, and even arrested when they try and exercise their First Amendments. As a result, case law and legislative law has come to dictate the parameters of how a open government should operate.

The Brown Act has become the premiere over riding law on open government in California. Anyone that has followed any city council or county supervisor meetings is undoubtedly familiar with The Brown Act. Enacted in 1988, and is officially known as the Ralph M Brown Act and is actually part of the California Government Code, Sections 54950-54962. It was enacted to attempt to shed some light on backdoor politics and protect citizen participation and oversight.

The Brown Act basically states that all local governments must:
-Post notice and an agenda for their meetings, at least 72 hours prior to the meeting.
-Notify the media of special meetings.
-Hold meetings in the jurisdiction of the agency.
-Not require a "sign in" for anyone.
-Allow non-disruptive recordings and broadcast of meetings.
-Allow the public to address them.
-Conduct only public votes with no secret ballots.
-Treat all distributed documents as public.

City councils and county supervisors have increasingly tried to skirt these laws by taking agenda items into closed session. I have seen a rise in use of the closed sessions to “close-out” the public from what is going on in their government. Some politicians have remained true to public participation and the Constitution by resisting the use of closed sessions. One councilwoman in San Diego has refused to participate in any closed sessions at all.

Throughout my life I have been committed to speaking out on issues that I feel strongly about, and feel that I can add something to the debate. I make a practice of speaking out at council meetings, County Board of Supervisors, the State Capital or other public forums. I have also participated as an activist in rallies and demonstrations on those issues. I believe in writing “letters to the editor” and to your elected officials. I have also done a fair amount of talk radio which can be an excellent way to get your message out and participate in citizen oversight.

Here in Barstow, I have had strong differences of opinions, on a range of issues about policy issues of the Council, most notably the Mayor. Top of that list would be Indian Gaming as I am 100% convinced that the Barwest project will never ever succeed. And yet Barwest has bought influence and had some of our local leaders compromise the institutions in the process. They have corrupted our political process and violated our elections.

Some of the other issues I care about involve economic development, proper community planning, bringing green energy to Barstow, youth activities, local environmental concerns, and the Hinkley human sludge threat, just to mention a few. With the election last November of the two Barwest candidates, (Tim Sylva and Julie Hackbarth McIntyre) Mayor Dale now enjoys (and abuses) the power of having a guaranteed majority vote on every issue. I often find issues of public policy that I disagree with but I am under increasing personal attack for speaking out.

I always try to research any issue I speak out on. And I try to speak the best educated truth that I can bring to the “public comment and participation” segment of our Council Meetings. But those who don’t like what I may have to say have chosen to make personal attacks on me and my family instead of sticking with the facts of the issues involved. People that know me know that I will always speak my heart and with the passion of believing that it is the truth as best I know it.

In the future, I intend to continue speaking out on issues when I disagree with government policy. I am proud of my record of speaking truth to power. Martin Luther King used to say that: “The only thing necessary for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing. I would encourage all citizens, Republican and Democrat alike, to become more involved in citizen oversight at all levels of government. I believe it is more import to speak out and protect the spirit of the Constitution, than it is to enter the popularity contest involved in worrying about the negative personal attacks from those ignorant and disrespectful of our American heritage. My definition of treason definitely includes those that would suppress public participation and dissent.

It is imperative that we heed the warning of Thomas Jefferson when he cautioned that:

"Experience hath shown, that even under the best forms (of government) those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny."

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Assault on Local Democracy

Shoot the messenger when you don’t like the message. This is what happens when a citizen of Barstow dares to stand up and speak truth to power.

I am used to dealing with hostile opposition from those who have a vested interest in the status quo. It has been said that power is never surrendered without a fight. But frankly it is over the top when the leader of the local Republican Caucus, Robert Vassuer makes an all out assault on public participation and our First Amendment Rights.

In is letter to the editor of July 23, (Gadflies waste time at City Council meetings) he stoops to some real lows in his name calling about people that care enough about their city to speak out on issues to which they disagree. The precious few of us that are willing to participate by speaking out, he calls: “local annoyances, Joe Gomez’s merry men and women, navel gazers club, trash, gadflies, technically challenged, roadblocks, and miscreants.

What we call public oversight and participation, Mr. Vassuer slanders as: “wasting Council time, concocting, bashing, vicious, sour grapes, pontification, motivated by personal gain, vengeance, penchant for theatrics, spreading noxious waste, ungainly harangue, paid political announcements, contemptible, counterproductive, road blocks and paralyzing the commendable efforts of city government.”

I have deep respect for the traditional values of the GOP Republicans which includes balancing the budget, protecting civil rights, privacy rights, less government regulations, concern for the environment, and a deep sense of patriotism.

I have nothing but distain for the politics of hate and the politics of division that is is the hallmark of the Neo-cons that have been destroying the party of my parents and the good GOPs that I call friends, family, and business associates. They are destroying the old values and leaving the good people of the GOP behind. It is obvious that Mr. Vassuer is one of these types with the hate and division he spreads.

In his more recent diatribe of hate, manufactured statistics, and lies, (8/2 corruption in Democratic Party easy to find) he makes a lame attempt to pretend that Democrats are some how more corrupt than all of the Bush Administration corruption and incompetence that now dominates the news and is the focus of countless investigations, hearings, and impeachment efforts.

But the real hypocrisy of his attacks on Democrat corruption comes in his own role in selling out his small caucus as a pawn of the Barwest corruption. Now he would suppress free speech to those that stand up and expose the extent of that corrupting influence on our election process, our leaders, and our institutions.

Let us agree to disagree without the name calling and other personal attacks. We should engage in a debate about the facts and without the spin and attacks. We need to return to the days of bi-partisan co-operation and we need to stay vigilant in protecting our democracy.

Larry D. Halstead
Mojave Desert Democratic Club

Note: This piece was submitted as a "Letter to the Editor" at the Desert Dispatch (see on August 16. As of this posting, it had not yet run but I was told it would be around Monday, August 20 or later.