Saturday, January 06, 2007

Local Solutions

Who's buying this?
From Eric's blog:
An Open Letter to the Progressive Community from Local Solutions

[PLEASE NOTE: We wrote this letter some time ago, but we wanted to wait until the final count for every campaign was tallied and certified before sending it out. As you well know, the process took longer than everyone expected, and then with the holidays right around the corner, we elected to send this message out in the New Year. Our intent is to lay to rest questions from the past and offer a place to begin discussion for the future.]

Dear friends, We are aware that there has been much speculation and question regarding the role of Local Solutions in the November elections. We are deeply disappointed with the results and frustrated that we at Local Solutions were unable to do more to help. We believe the Eureka elections could have been won by focusing on grassroots mobilization with a strong emphasis on coordination and cooperation between campaigns in order to make the task manageable and more enjoyable.

We have spent some time considering how to talk about the issues that concern us, and how to engage the broader progressive community in this conversation. We would like to hear your ideas for building local political campaigns with a spirit of cooperation and respect and your suggestions for what role Local Solutions should play in this work.

Local Solutions was formed to provide tools and expertise for grassroots progressive political organizing. We believe that ethics, integrity, and the process of engaging and empowering voters are just as important as a victory on Election Day.

Elections, particularly in Humboldt County, are won by mobilizing hundreds of volunteers talking to thousands of their neighbors. By focusing on voter outreach and involvement (rather than media or fundraising), elections can be a way to develop new leaders and teach citizens how to mobilize each other. At Local Solutions we care most about building a grassroots movement for progressive power. Each political race is important, but we challenge ourselves to keep our eye on the big picture as well.

During the Measure T and Gallegos campaigns, there was some coordination between campaigns, but most of the voter outreach coordination happened late in the process. As we prepared for the November elections, we hoped we could foster better coordination between campaigns from the beginning, ensuring that the campaigns shared resources with each other rather than competing.

We determined our skills and resources would be best used for voter contact and outreach, focusing on ensuring that every supportive voter went to the polls on Election Day. Local Solutions directors, as individuals or as a group, have managed voter contact, volunteer recruitment, and Get Out the Vote (GOTV) operations in many successful campaigns, including the attempted recall of the District Attorney, the Humboldt campaign against the Schwarzenegger Special Election propositions in November 2005, Chris Kerrigan’s re-election campaign, Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap’s campaign for Water District, Measure T and key components of the Gallegos re-election campaign.

Local Solutions presented a Coordinated Campaign proposal to the endorsed candidates and their campaign teams. It described how the campaigns could work together to maximize voter outreach, build energy and enthusiasm, and minimize the strain on financial and volunteer resources. We offered trainings on campaign management, candidate training, phonebank management, volunteer recruitment and coordination, and campaign finance reporting. We offered this assistance at a cost of $750 to each campaign. This amount represented a portion of the cost we would incur to create an organized system for voter outreach and GOTV that would be coordinated between all campaigns.

The candidates and the campaigns had a lukewarm response to our proposal, and in the end they decided not to work with us to implement a coordinated campaign. We failed to communicate our vision of the campaign process, and we underestimated the trepidation on the part of candidates and campaigns to work together. It was harder than we imagined to abandon the conventional wisdom, that elections are based on a model of scarcity: Someone will win, everyone else will lose. When winning becomes the only goal of a campaign, each decision becomes based on fear—rather than what is most likely to build skills, knowledge, power, and create a supportive community culture for everyone involved. It is our understanding that eventually the campaigns did work together on their phonebank and GOTV efforts, however the system was difficult to implement effectively by the time that decision was made.

The campaigns were also eager to work with Richard Salzman, a campaign advisor who has a very different attitude about elections than we do. Based upon multiple experiences, we know that Richard wants to win at all costs and spend a lot of money doing it. We appreciate Richard’s hard work, but we decided earlier in the summer that we could no longer work with him. This was no doubt awkward for everyone, but after much internal discussion, it was determined that we needed to be clear that we do politics differently.

While we did not participate in the November election nearly as much as we originally planned, we also did not entirely sit it out. We produced and distributed a direct mailer to progressive Eureka voters, and directed volunteers and donations to the campaigns when individuals came to us asking how they could get involved. We invested $4500 in preparation for the 2006 election, but the resources were largely unused by the campaigns.

This election was an important one for Eureka, and the whole county. Compared to the last several election cycles, the results are certainly a setback for progressives. But it is important that we learn from our mistakes as well as our successes. Let’s move forward and continue working to build a more democratic, sustainable, equitable, and just community. We stand as committed as ever to serve that vision and the people who work so hard to bring it forward. We welcome your questions and suggestions for the future.

In solidarity,
Dennis Huber, Alice Woodworth, Patrick Riggs, Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap and Nicole Spencer

P.S. In July 2006, Local Solutions made a formal policy not to facilitate indirect campaign contributions to campaigns. We adopted this policy in the interest of ensuring full disclosure of campaign contributions to the public. We understand this is different from the function of most Political Action Committees, but we believe it is in keeping with the principles of our organization. All of the funds received by Local Solutions go directly back into grassroots organizing efforts.

Local Solutions related posts and stories:
Salzman's Empire The Local Solutions sham
New group forms
No connection?
It's in the Headers
Local Solutions' 460 Campaign Statements
Any doubt what Local Solutions' agenda is?
What happened to Local Solutions?
Where is "Local Solutions"?
TS - Local Solutions by Michael Twombly
ER - Another local group decries toxins and big boxes


  1. first the trees foundation burns EPIC for 200,000$, now progressives politicos are back biting each other in antisipation of 07 elaections.It's sad but predictable to see that they will eat their own babies over the money.

  2. they can always make more money! Kaitlan can just have a pancale feed at her place.

  3. I believe Trees Foundation is the one Earth First! is suing for FRAUD (which is not a victimless crime as you know.)

  4. It's not actually Earth First! that's suing but an outside donor named Katherine Miller. Why she would want to give so much money to Earth First (which doesn't even exist in Humboldt anymore) is beyond me.

    The lawsuit is a sham. Miller has been fooled into pursuing it.

  5. its very telling that LS says their x-partners win at all cost is a problem. BUT go on to say "at local soulations we care most about building a grass roots movement for PROGRESSIVE POWER. Power and money. We knew that. What a great thing for Eureka that the elections seated mostly folks who care more about the city than some POWER PLAY.

  6. What the hell does Cobb do? Why is TS printing his propoganda? Why is the Labor Temple renting him a office? Isn't labor for working people?

  7. Thank goodness you're here to place value on one's work, 3:37.

  8. We have several examples of the little man behind the curtain with the Great and Powerful Oz facade, Cobb is the funniest

  9. Earth First! sues Trees Foundation for fraud

    Arcata -- North Coast Earth First! announced Thursday that it had filed suit in Humboldt Superior Court accusing the Trees Foundation of Garberville misappropriating a large donation meant for the NCEF Media Center.

    In a press release, North Coast Earth First! (NCEF) said Kathryn Miller originally attempted to make a $185,000 donation to the Media center in April 2005. Miller later asked the NCEF about the status of her donation, and was told it had not been delivered, according to the press release.

    NCEF says Miller then contacted the Trees Foundation, which has refused to deliver the donation to NCEF or return the donation to the donor, and has not responded to Miller's requests for an accounting of the funds.

    ”It's disgusting and disappointing what has happened with the Trees Foundation,” the NCEF quoted Miller as saying, “and we hope that it can be resolved quickly, so that we can get back to work for the forests.”

    Guess Shunka will have to keep hawking t-shirts on ebay.

  10. It would be interesting for Local Solutions and the secular-progressives to actually speak the English language and explain to the electorate what their mission really is. It will not happen, for the reason that if it became actually known, the Bozos would fail based on merit. They do not like; religion of any kind, they do not want school vouchers, they do not want any judgements made on personal behavior, drug use in their mind is OK and shouldn't be regulated, nor even questioned. The real enemy at least locally are the corporations. And there are just a few folks whom know what is best for us, our children and our grandchildren. Sorry, I'm not willing to trust Ted (I let her drown) Kennedy, nor George Soros with the future of this great country. Roy

  11. Roy,whats your problem? Cut some cash out of that fat bank account and share the wealth dude. Its guys like you thats really screwing up the country. How dare you suggest I should pay my bills?

  12. Looks to me like Twombly is still IN with localsolutions... Twombly, an original Green Party member, changed his voter registration to become a Registered Republican, so he could say "the PAC is nonpartisan. (It) supports progressive candidates from the Republican, Democratic, Green or any other party affiliation,” Twombly said. “The (PAC’s) board is multiparty."

    Nothin' these guys won' t do to dupe the voting public.

  13. Ya think it is about getting "progressives" into office?

    Think again. Twombly was quite explicit as to "localsolutions" agenda (as was the website) -
    "Twombly continued. “We believe that a local solution needs to be found to save Pacific Lumber and make it a sustainable community operation again, and we are researching employee stock ownership plans, community buy-outs and legal actions against Hurwitz and MAXXAM to recover damages to workers, land and watersheds."

  14. 5:46 - I hope you were being facetious. You had BETTER be paying your own bills. Roy has no "fat bank account"; I know, I'm his wife. Our concern is that our beloved country not be taken over by "progressive" (socialist) agendas at all; but certainly not to the point that we don't even recognize this nation anymore. As the Beatles once sang, "It's getting harder every day"... Nancy

  15. yes Nancy,Iwas. But thats the logic that drives the we know whats best for you crowd.

  16. Dear 5:46 and 9;11, THANK YOU for the clarification. Roy and Nance

  17. Rose look at the complaint. Earth First is not suing Trees Foundation. The T-S called it wrong.

  18. Does anyone know if this Kathryn Miller lady is any relation to Dr. Ken Miller?

  19. there's no relation.

  20. Thanks. Just curious. She seems to have a lot of money.

  21. money does grow on little tress down SoHum way!

  22. As promised, here's an .mp3 of the KMUD interview regarding the recent fraud suit filed against the Trees Foundation.

    I was interviewed, along with the lawyer in the suit, and then KMUD had a representative from the Trees Foundation on. Notice how she calls the situation "amusing" and speaks of "soldiering on;" the fact that she calls this tragedy "amusing" goes right along with the lawyer's analysis of their attitude as being "high-handed and arrogant" throughout this situation, and the idea of "soldiering on" displays somewhat of a war mentality, instead of making every effort to make things right with the donor.

    The following is the iTunes podcast web address

    If you use a different podcatcher, here's the URL for the RSS feed

    Either one should get you there, so you can hear it straight from the horse's mouth!
    Earth First!

    Forever Wild,
    Shunka Wakan

  23. Here's another article about the lawsuit against the Trees Foundation
    http://times- standard. com/local/ ci_4450557

    "Earth First!" isn't really suing the Trees Foundation, per se, it's more the case that a private individual, who tried to make a large donation to NCEF!, is suing the Trees Foundation for never delivering the donation to the intended recipients.

    The Times-Standard published this article without contacting our media office, and apparently misunderstood the press release. Go figure.

    Anyhow, I can tell you that this case does have merit, and many of us are appalled that the Trees Foundation would disrespect the wishes of the donor, and would completely stonewall any attempts to resolve the situation out of court.

    I'll be testifying in court if this situation isn't taken care of soon.
    Earth First!

    Forever Wild,
    Shunka Wakan

  24. Date: Thu, 5 Oct 2006 16:15:15 -0700 (PDT)
    From: Shunka Wakan shunka_2004@
    Subject: North Coast Earth First! Press Release, October 5th, 2006
    To: shunka_2004@

    North Coast Earth First!

    For immediate release October 5th, 2006

    Large donation intended for NCEF! Media withheld by Trees Foundation

    Civil suit filed against the Trees Foundation for fraud

    Arcata, CA- A civil lawsuit was filed in Humboldt Superior Court today, against the Trees Foundation of Garberville, CA. The lawsuit alleges contractual fraud, a common count, and breach of contract, after a large donation intended for North Coast Earth First! Media center was misappropriated by the Trees Foundation.

    Ms. Kathryn Miller originally attempted to make a $185,000 donation to the NCEF! Media center, in April 2005. After making the donation, Ms. Miller moved to Guatemala, and had her house and orchard destroyed by hurricane Stan. After a year of recovering from the hurricane, Ms. Miller contacted the NCEF! Media center to inquire about the status of her donation, at which time she was informed that her donation had not been delivered to its intended recipient.

    Ms. Miller then contacted the Trees Foundation, who has refused to deliver the donation to NCEF! Media, refused to return the donation to the donor, and have not yet provided accounting for the funds, despite requests from Ms. Miller and promises from the Trees Foundation.

    Since the Trees Foundation has refused to honor the donor’s intentions, a civil lawsuit has been filed today, case # DR060660. Arcata-based attorney Greg Allen will be representing Ms. Miller, and further remedies will also be pursued.

    Kathryn Miller had the following to say about the situation: “It’s disgusting and disappointing what has happened with the Trees Foundation, and we hope that it can be resolved quickly, so that we can get back to work for the forests,” said Ms. Miller.

    Contact NCEF! Media for more information.

  25. Thank YOU 3:20, you are correct. What's the Trees Foundation's problem?

  26. 'Here's an article about this awful situation from the Press Democrat....

    This story is true, folks, I witnessed the whole thing, and will testify in this lawsuit.

    It's really disgusting that the Trees Foundation would do this, while we scrape by on a shoestring budget from month to month. The donation was intended for us, and we should have gotten it; instead, the Trees Foundation decided to keep it for themselves. We all hope that this matter can be settled very soon.

    Forever Wild,
    Shunka Wakan"

    Nonprofit accused of misusing $185,000

    Lawsuit says Humboldt County's Trees Foundation ignored request to give funds to Earth First activists


    A nationally known North Coast environmental organization was accused Thursday of keeping a $185,000 donation intended for Earth First activists.

    The nonprofit Trees Foundation, a mainstay of environmental activism since 1991, allegedly used the money for other purposes despite the expressed wishes of the donor, according to a civil lawsuit filed in Humboldt County Superior Court.

    Trees Foundation board Chairwoman Susan Barsotti said Thursday her southern Humboldt County-based organization "has done nothing wrong."

    "We haven't seen the lawsuit, but I can say it's without merit," said Barsotti. She declined to discuss specific allegations.

    But environmentalist Kathryn Miller, who said she divides her time between Humboldt County and Guatemala, contended that she made arrangements with the foundation to oversee a fund to benefit the North Coast Earth First Media Center in Arcata. It's headed by organizer Shunka Wakan.

    The Trees Foundation has a practice of allowing donors to use the organization' s tax-exempt status to set up special funds to benefit designated recipients.

    "Any interest earned on the account prior to the money being dispersed is considered Trees Foundation's fee for this service," according to the organization' s Web site.

    Miller said in early 2005 she decided to donate $185,000 inherited from her mother's estate to the Earth First center.

    Miller said the Trees Foundation, a nonprofit charitable organization, agreed to hold the money for the exclusive use and benefit of the Earth First center.

    "Since I was spending so much time in Guatemala, I believed I needed someone locally to administer these funds," said Miller.

    But earlier this summer, Miller said she learned that none of the money had been turned over to the center.

    In fact, Miller said she received a letter dated July 6 that informed her the Trees Foundation had "deposited the fund into our general operating account, and we've been using them for the benefit of dozens of groups and hundreds of activists."

    Miller said she decided to file the lawsuit after demands for return of her donation and an accounting of the spending went unheeded.

    "It's disgusting and disappointing, " Miller said.

  27. So, poor Shunka is left to send out steady pleas for donations. He adopted the "Local Solutions" solution:
    North Coast Earth First! $10-a-month support vision
    Hello friends!

    Here's a simple way for you to support the efforts of North Coast Earth First! It's a very minimal commitment, yet one that could make a world of difference.. ..

    The $10-a-month support idea
    I'm sending this October 2006 reminder out a bit early this month because the local co-op, where we normally "table" for donations, is being renovated this week.

    We normally set up a table in front of the local co-op, with literature, CDs/DVDs, t-shirts, a donation can, and a live person for people to talk with about Earth First! issues. "Tabling" is the main way that we support the day-to-day needs of our non-violent campaign, and your online and mailed-in donations definitely help to supplement the sometimes tedious and time-consuming efforts of tabling. Since we're unable to table, and the NCEF! Media office rent is due in a few days, I thought I'd send out this fundraising e-mail a few days early, hope you don't mind. I'm happy to report that four new people signed up for the automatic monthly donation last month, while several others made one- time donations. Thank you so very much, and know that your donations do make a difference, and are an immense help to our efforts!

    For all the new folks, here's the idea...if just 100 people, out of the billions of people on this Earth, could commit to donating just $10 per month to North Coast Earth First!, our campaign would be rockin'! We are currently on the severe shoestring budget, and barely have enough to cover the basic costs of operations. With even 50 people participating, at least our basic monthly expenses (office rent, pagers, phones, storage, etc.) would be covered. With 100 people, though, we would have enough of an excess to be able to throw benefits, order t-shirts, and spend more of our time doing outreach and actions, rather than having to fundraise so much just to keep the boat afloat. I've tried to come up with the easiest, most low- impact way for a lot of people to get involved in the campaign to save some of the last Old Growth Redwoods and Douglas Fir trees left on Earth. I know that times are tough for many people, and the cost of living just keeps rising; please help North Coast Earth First! survive these very challenging times as well. Earth First!

    Make a one-time donation or sign up for automatic monthly donations

    With winter approaching, your help is going to be more valuable than ever. Tabling in the rainy months is no picnic, so alternate sources of support is really helpful during these times. Thanks again! Earth First!
    Forever Wild,

    Shunka Wakan
    North Coast Earth First!

  28. Rose said...

    "Thank YOU 3:20, you are correct. What's the Trees Foundation's problem?"

    Their problem is a sham lawsuit. I hope Trees Foundation prevails quickly without having to waste too much money on this crap.

  29. No,let them sue each other bankrupt so the bastards will go away

  30. If she gave them that money earmarked for Earth First! she was ripped off - big time. That's no $20 donation/who cares - that is a significant amount of money.

  31. That's a big "if."

  32. It looks like EF! did not understand the fiscal sponsorship agreement they signed with Trees. Trees has the non-profit #, and EF! is a "fiscally sponsored project of the Trees Foundation". There are limitations and stipulations on how $$ can be used and how it is dispersed. This is so everyone stays "legal" and protected. Perhaps Miller also did not understand that. If EF! wants to completely control all their $$, they need to form their own individual non-profit. Not a judgement -- just an opinion.

  33. The Arkleys are not only greedy, they are right-wing idiots as well, just like the criminals who run their favorite corporation Home Depot.

  34. That is a very odd comment to throw in out of the blue 12:34, unrelated to any of the discussion here. I see that you also posted a comment on another thread.


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