On Sunday, Nov. 6, in Redwood Valley, one of two small Mendocino County towns where the Russian River’s headwaters spill from the southern Mendocino Range mountains, cars overflowed the parking lot at the local grange and lined rural East Side Road in both directions. Several hundred people had gathered to listen to activists report back from Standing Rock where they had stood in solidarity with Native American tribes known as Water Protectors who oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline.
One such speaker was Jassen Rodriguez, a member of the Mishewal Wappo, whose ancestral lands include much of Sonoma, Napa and southern Lake counties. He had just returned from a three-week sojourn to Standing Rock.
Rodriguez had stayed at Oceti Sakowin, or Seven Council Fires, an encampment named for the seven bands of the Sioux people where a ceremonial fire has remained burning for many months. Elders at Standing Rock had granted Rodriguez the responsibility of tending the sacred fire on behalf of the entire camp, and he choked back tears as he recounted the experience. Tears also moistened the eyes of many audience members as he spoke.
“Wells Fargo is the US’ most controversy-laden bank of the moment, owing to the revelation that it reaped hundreds of millions of dollars in extra profits by opening roughly two million bogus customer accounts from 2011 to ’15. The fact that it is the Dakota Access Pipeline’s second largest financial backer, with $467 million invested to date, is therefore an attention-grabber in itself. But Wells Fargo also acts as Energy Transfer Partners’ so-called “administrative loan agent,” the company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings show, [arguably] giving it a qualitatively greater role in fueling the pipeline than any other bank.”
“Wells Fargo performs all record-keeping associated with all of ETP’s loans, handles the interest and principal payments made in connection with those loans, and monitors their ongoing administration. In other words, all bank financing ETP receives passes through Wells Fargo.” Click here to keep reading @ Counterpunch…
A parade of classic cars led the way last Thursday afternoon, November 4th, as CalTrans celebrated Opening Day of the Willits Bypass. A bulletin relased by Big Orange’s legendary propaganda shill, Phil Frisbie, Jr., stated that the Chevy Bel Airs and Ford Thunderbirds would be ferrying the likes of Assemblymember Jim Wood and Willits City Councilmember Bruce Burton across Little Lake Valley’s beleaguered wetlands as a representation of “the more than six decades that have passed since the conception of the bypass.” Click here to keep reading @ the AVA >>
On Election Day, I was a guest on KPFA Flashpoints, discussing my recent story about Bay Area-based investments in the Dakota Access Pipeline and associated northern plains fracking boom. Check out the interview here. The story deals, in part, with a Marin County hedge fund called SPO Partners that is invested in a North Dakota fracking corporation named Oasis Petroleum poised to deliver 50,000 barrels of oil per day to the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The election results started trickling in almost immediately after that KPFA Flashpoints interview concluded.
Even as I was discussing this celebrity real estate mogul buffoon who had just wrapped up a nativist, closed-borders campaign offering liberation to many deranged aspects of the American psyche, it didn’t seem real that this person was about to become the most powerful political official on earth. The sense that we are locked in a fight for everything that is sacred and precious, even including a planet itself capable of supporting a diversity of life, has grown so much more intense, real and urgent in the hours since.
Meet John Stuart Dyson, one of Sonoma County’s most politically-active oligarchs. Dyson, a New York-based private equity manager and former US Senate candidate, has donated the comparatively whopping sum of $35,000 to a Super PAC supporting Lynda Hopkins, a candidate for Sonoma County fifth district supervisor, according to records from the Sonoma County Clerk-Recorder-Assessor.
Dyson is the founder of Millbrook Capital Management, Inc. As with so many other people who derive their fortunes from private equity, hedge funds, credit markets, venture capital, real estate speculation, and all the other games played with billion-dollar pots of money, he is currently a North Bay Area wine guy. He also owns vineyards in Tuscony and in the southern Santa Clara Valley near Hollister.
Check out my new story on Bay Area-based banks and investment firm that are financing the Dakota Access Pipeline and/or fracking companies that are poised to supply the pipeline with crude oil, published by the North Bay Bohemian. I have another story in the works that focuses specifically on Wells Fargo. Stay tuned.
“Mill Valley’s Shelterpoint Business Center occupies a narrow strip of asphalt between Richardson Bay and Highway 101, roughly five miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. In the back of the office complex stands a tan building with floor-to-ceiling windows that offer sweeping views of Mt. Tamalpais’ grassy southeastern slopes. This is the headquarters of SPO Partners, the North Bay’s largest hedge fund.
“The serene sophistication of this setting belies the nature of SPO Partners’ business. The $5.2 billion investment firm is among the country’s leading financial backers of oil and natural gas fracking. Its web of financial connections tie it directly to the country’s most controversial infrastructure project—the $3.7 billion, 1,134-mile Dakota Access Pipeline—and even Republican Party presidential candidate Donald Trump’s economic policy team.
SPO Partners is the largest investor in Oasis Petroleum of Houston, Texas, which controls more than 400,000 acres within the Bakken and Three Forks oil basins of North Dakota and Montana. Oasis is working to complete a 19-mile oil transmission system from its North Dakota petroleum handling facility to the Dakota Access Pipeline, thus positioning it to supply roughly one-ninth of the pipeline’s estimated 470,000 barrels of daily crude oil deliveries, records with the North Dakota Public Service Commission show.” Click here to keep reading @ North Bay Bohemian >>
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In Fremont, the East Bay Regional Parks District is seeking to increase access to a trendy hiking trail by constructing a parking lot atop land sacred to the region’s indigenous people.
At a tense meeting late last month, some 75 Ohlone people and supporters filled the EBRPD’s chambers in south Oakland to decry plans for a 300-space parking lot at Mission Peak Regional Preserve in Fremont.
The activists argue that numerous cultural and burial sites of the Chochenyo and Tamyen Ohlone are located at Mission Peak. They say Regional Parks staff has repeatedly dismissed objections to the location of the planned parking lot.
“I and my family do not want anything built there,” Ohlone elder Ruth Orta, 82, of Newark told the Parks District directors at the meeting. “This is our sacred place in this part of the world.”