You are invited to join us on Saturday March 25, at 10:30 for a 1 hour introduction to the Fourth Way, a system of inner development based on the teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff and Peter Ouspensky. We will discuss the practice of being present and the possibility of Man’s Psychological Evolution. This meeting is open to the public but you must call to reserve a space (530) 701-8842.
“To reach divine presence is the greatest miracle in the universe; every esoteric tradition offers its unique expression of this ultimate truth.”
About Fourth Way School - Northern California
Fourth Way School - Northern California
We are students of the Fourth Way living in Northern California. Our school is practical in nature and designed to produce consciousness in its members.
Presented in reverse chronology, this history stretches from the present back to the Fellowship's 1970 founding, and beyond. (See "Blog Archive" in the sidebar below.) It draws from many sources, including The Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion, the Internet Archive, the former Fellowship of Friends wiki project, cult education and awareness sites, news archives, and from the editor's own 13-year experience in the Fellowship.
The portrait that emerges stands in stark contrast to sanitized versions presented on the Fellowship's array of alluring websites, and on derivative sites created by Burton's now-estranged disciple, Asaf Braverman.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
[ed. - Once again, the Fellowship of Friends assumes a disguise ("Fourth Way School - Northern California") to draw unsuspecting seekers into its net. The Fellowship of Friends name is too recognized in Northern California, not necessarily in a good way. And historically, Robert Burton's name will not be shared with prospective members, but the Introductory Meeting actors (and they are indeed actors) will simply state "we have a conscious teacher."]
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
The Fellowship of Friends/Living Presence/Fourth Way/Gurdjieff-Ouspensky/Ancient Wisdom/Esoteric/(Whatever) School on the internet
Listed at the bottom are sites critical of Robert Burton and the Fellowship. Updated February, 2017.]
Recuerdo de sí (Unofficial) (Spanish)
Mystery and Civilizations (Unofficial) (Inactive)BRAZIL
PRESENÇA DIVINA (Portuguese) (Inactive)
Centro Sao Paolo on Google + (Portuguese) (Inactive)
Living Presence (Portuguese)CANADA
Fourth Way School - Toronto (Facebook) (English)CHILE
Living Presence Santiago (Facebook) (Spanish)CHINA
[ed. - The following Fellowship sites are managed by Walther Sell.]
The Fourth Way and Esoteric Traditions (Chinese)
The Fourth Way and Esoteric Traditions (English and Chinese)
The Great Way: Journey to the West (English and Chinese)
Journey to the West (Facebook) (English)
The Secret of the Golden Flower (English)FRANCE
Rappel de Soi - Paris (Facebook) (French) (Inactive)
Living Presence (French)GERMANY
Living Presence (German)GREECE
The Art of Divine Presence (Greek)HUNGARY
A JELENLÉT MŰVÉSZETE (Hungarian) (Inactive)
Robert Earl Burton: Önemlékezés Út az öröklétbe (Hungarian) (Inactive)INDIA
Fourth Way School - India (Facebook) (English)
Fourth Way School - Surat (Facebook) (Gujarati and English)ISRAEL
Fellowship of Friends (Facebook) | בית ספר של (English and Hebrew)
Jerusalem of the soul (Facebook) (English and Hebrew) (Inactive)ITALY
Living Presence (Italian)JAPAN
Self Remembering | 自己想起 Japan (Facebook) (Japanese)
Symbols of Presence in the Japanese Culture (English and Japanese)MEXICO
Fellowship of Friends Tijuana-San Diego (Facebook) (Spanish) (Inactive)
Living Presence (Spanish)
Mesoarte Data Base for Prehispanic Art (Facebook) (also on Ning) (English and Spanish)
Recordandonos (Spanish) (Inactive)THE NETHERLANDS
Amsterdam Being Present Meetup (English)
Living Presence - Amsterdam (Dutch) (Inactive)PORTUGAL
Living Presence (Portuguese)ROMANIA
Fourth Way School - Bucharest (Facebook) (Romanian)RUSSIA
Living Presence (Romanian)
Esoteric School (Russian)SPAIN
Fourth Way School | Школа Четвертого пути (Facebook) (Russian)
IKIRU a theater of awakening (Facebook) (Russian) (Inactive?)
Living Presence (Russian)
Онлайн школа четвертого пути: четвертый путь - система, теория, практика (Russian)
Pathway to Presence (Russian)
Living Presence (Spanish)TURKEY
Dördüncü Yol Okulu - Fourth Way School (Facebook) (Turkish)UKRAINE
Dördüncü Yol Okulu Türkiye (Instagram) (Turkish)
Dördüncü Yol Türkiye (Twitter) (Turkish)
Living Presence London (Facebook) (English)
Living Presence (Twitter) (English)UNITED STATES
Fourth Way School - Northern California (Facebook) (English)
4th Way Tweets (Twitter) (English)
Living Presence (English)
Living Presence (Facebook) (English)
livingpresence44 (Instagram) (English)
Propylaia (Inner Circle Squared) (The Fellowship of Friends member portal)
Robert's TweetHearts (Twitter) (Robert Earl Burton's Twitter page) (English)
The 4th Way - Gurdjieff - Ouspensky (Facebook) (English) (Public discussion, exploited by Fellowship recruiters)
The Art of Divine Presence (English)
The Fellowship of Friends Apollo University (English) (Inactive?)
The Fellowship of Friends/Living Presence/The Fourth Way (Pinterest) (English)
CRITICISM OF ROBERT EARL BURTON AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF FRIENDS
Prevensectes Fellowship of Friends Database (French)ITALY
Dopo la Fellowship of Friends: Una libera discussione sul lavoro su di sé (Italian)RUSSIA
Il Credino ("Robert E. Burton e la Fellowship of Friends/La Presenza") (Italian)
Tutto quello che avreste dovuto sapere sulla Fellowship of Friends (Italian)
"Fellowship of Fools" (Russian)SPAIN
Трезвый взгляд на Fellowship of Friends (Russian) (CAUTION: may be virus-infected)
Cuarto Camino/FOF (Spanish)TURKEY
Özgür Zihin (Turkish)UNITED STATES
Cult Education Institute (formerly Rick A. Ross Institute)
Fellowship of Friends Discussion Blog (This series of three blogs contains nearly 100,000 comments about the Fellowship of Friends:)
Animam Recro – Fellowship of Friends – a cult for intellectualsFellowship of Friends Wikispaces (Link no longer active, however material from that page is found throughout this blog. In such cases, the Wikispaces source is cited.)
Part 1 through Part 10
The Fellowship of Friends Discussion – Free speech is a dirty business
Part 11 through Part 33
Fellowship Of Friends/Fourth Way School/Living Presence Discussion
Part 34 through current page (On this Wordpress blog, navigate between pages by typing the desired page number into "search" box.)
Steven Hassan's Freedom of Mind Center
Robert Earl Burton and The Fellowship of Friends (your current location)
Robert Earl Burton and The Fellowship of Friends (Facebook)
The Fourth Way (Facebook) (Greg Goodwin's site)
Wikipedia (Hotly-contested Wikipedia draft, which moderators eventually abandoned. See an archive on this blog.)
Monday, January 30, 2017
|Yuba County Supervisor Randy Fletcher with Fellowship of Friends President Greg Holman and Charles Sharp|
[ed. - Former long-time Yuba County 5th District Supervisor Hal Stocker was defeated in 2014 by Randy Fletcher. Fellowship of Friends members organized a vigorous campaign against Stocker, including a pro-Fletcher get-out-the-vote effort that was reportedly encouraged by Fellowship leader Robert Burton. At the time, this blog raised questions of improper use of church facilities and resources for political campaigning, including Robert Burton using official church gatherings to endorse a political candidate, a violation of the IRS tax code.]
Hal Stocker's Letter to the Editor of the Territorial Dispatch, January 20, 2017:
Well, it's been a couple of years since Randy Fletcher was elected Yuba County supervisor to serve the fifth district (mainly foothills), so it's about time for an evaluation to see if we are getting our money's worth. Let's start by looking at his campaign promises, to see how well he is fulfilling them:
1 . Build a dam on New York Flat Road
2 "Eliminate all county building and planning fees."
3. Increase "interest income". (The county has no idea what this means.)
4. "I will bring back the use of non-violent inmates to clear fire lines, to clear road-sides..." (This was already being done by the Yuba Fire Safe Council)
5 "Expand ambulance service to foothills" (After a study, a supervisor recommended "no change.").
So, how well did Randy fulfill this ambitious agenda???
It looks like he struck out...completely....according to the record, as I make it out. I haven't seen any sign of action on any of those items...and, just as well, since it was a weird list, in my opinion.
So, if Randy has not been working on "his list," what has he been doing?
My main concern is how hard he is working for the people who mainly financed his campaign, i.e. the large land-owner- developer, and would-be-developer (inside and outside of Yuba County). It is clear he has been bought off by people who expect to make money by favorable supervisors' decisions
In this regard, Randy's main effort so far has been the attempt to ramrod the "cluster housing" project in the upper foothills, with virtually no public notice or input. At a supervisor's meeting on July 21, 2015, Fletcher put his blessing on the cluster idea and let the staff know he wanted it done his way and SOON, and he thanked certain Fellowshippers ---(from the Fellowship of Friends) for their help in the process.
Monday, December 26, 2016
"J.D." posted on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, December 26, 2016:
"John Harmer" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, December 28, 2016:
[Robert Burton] Marketing the SR ™ range of casual wear. Once you don this stylish vest,
you will find yourself SelfRemembering with no effort at all. 🙂
Sunday, December 4, 2016
|Alex Horn, Robert Earl Burton's mentor|
[ed. - On the Greater Fellowship site, Jim E. points out the new Fourth Way School - Northern California Facebook page. Jim notes that Alex Horn has emerged from the shadows to take his place in the masthead alongside George Gurdjieff, Peter Ouspensky, and Rodney Collin, an apparent promotion for Mr. Horn.
Within this blog are many discussions of Alex Horn, the controversial "45th of 44" angels guiding The Fellowship of Friends.
The first Facebook post on December 1st states, "An esoteric school is an ark in time." This might be a subtle attempt to reclaim the Ark in Time title from Asaf Braverman's collection of websites. Then again, it may be an endorsement of Asaf's new "school"!]
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Above, detail from Asaf Braverman's Gurdjieff - Becoming Conscious Facebook page, showing Braverman on the threshold!
[ed. - As of November 2016, Robert Burton has personally excommunicated Asaf Braverman from The Fellowship of Friends. While he boldly adopts the mantle of Fourth Way teacher, Braverman's autobiography acknowledges the important role of his predecessors, Alexander Francis Horn and (Braverman's own spiritual guide) Robert Earl Burton, both arguably sociopaths. Having joined the Fellowship at a young age, and followed Burton for twenty years, Braverman is clearly incapable of recognizing the taint of this corrupt lineage, and the unscrupulous and oppressive indoctrination system that has governed his life. Borrowing Burton's well-worn metaphor, Braverman is launching his own "ark." Below are several websites that are serving to draw unsuspecting "marks" to this new Fourth Way School.]
Ark in Time Network (arkintime.com)
Ark in Time (Twitter)
Asaf Braverman (Flickr)
Asaf Braverman (YouTube)
Be. 4th Way Tweets (Twitter)
Fourth Way School/Be Community (beperiod.com)
Gurdjieff - Becoming Conscious (Facebook)
Quarta Via a Roma (Be Period Italia Meetup) (Inactive?)
Archived copies of some of Braverman's now-defunct "Pillar" websites:
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
|Beware of false prophets...|
"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, November 15, 2016:
I posted this list of questions in 2007. In view of Asaf’s continuing efforts to establish himself as a teacher, not to mention the dozens of new Esoteric Startups™ that spring up every year, I think that such questions are still relevant!
The Fellowship of Friends “come–on” (#23-144, or thereabouts) stimulates me to offer a list of questions that a prospective student should ask, in one form or another, before joining. I started this list because a friend who has been through the Fellowship experience joined another 4th Way group (started by an ex–FoF student!) and had some second thoughts, and asked for input.
I’d say that any prospective student owes it to his or her self to not only get answers (and write them down, in detail, for future reference), but to have someone less partial go over the answers with them. Ideally, some one who joined would also have a “buddy” to check in with after agreed periods of time to see if pre–stated aims and directions were being adhered to, and in general provide a ‘reality check’ and grounding. Ideally!
This list can surely be improved, so I put it out there as a group project…
Some questions to ask before making a commitment to a ‘spiritual teacher’ or ‘teaching’—
QUESTIONS TO THE TEACHER
Mechanics and set–up of group/school:
- When and what was your last paying job?
- Do you rely completely or partially on the contributions of your students to pay your personal expenses?
- How are payments structured?
- Is the group organized legally as a non–profit or church for IRS purposes?
- How transparent is the accounting?
- What power does any board hold?
- Do you serve at the pleasure of the board?
- Exactly what degree of independence does the board have?
- Please give examples of when the board effectively countered your decisions?
- Are board meetings open to students, or do students have access to minutes of board meetings?
- If there is no board, what steps have you taken so students can hold you accountable for your actions, including financial decisions?
Relationship with teacher:
- How do you measure students’ abilities beforehand to undertake difficult work?
- What methods, in detail, do you use to prevent students entering a dependent role?
- How do you prevent infatuation?
- How do you deal with fear?
- How do you prevent ‘spiritual materialism’ developing in ‘your’ students?
- Do you feel invested in the success or failure of your students?
- What do you do with failures?
- What value do you place on the idea and practice of personal verification?
- Are your students required to give up their will to you, as their teacher? If so, is this permanent or for a set or limited period of time?
- Are you married?
- Do you claim celibacy?
- Do you undertake to never have sexual relations with your students?
- Please give examples of tasks concerning sex energy.
- Describe how you presently channel/use sex energy, and will you describe your history in that regard?
- Do you give out generalized/group exercises?
- Are any exercises individualized?
- What are the criteria for making such exercise ‘individual’?
- Do you fully explain the purpose of the exercises beforehand?
- Do you have helpers, and if so, what are their qualifications, and are they permitted to set exercises themselves?
- Are there rules or codes of behavior that must be followed by school members? If so, what are they and how are ‘infractions’ handled?
- Is there any appeal from your decisions, and if so, how is this handled?
- Do you and your students work with the Fourth Way idea of Good Householder, and if so, what forms does this work take?
Dynamics of student body/school/group:
- Is there a limit to the number of students you are willing to work with?
- Is there a hierarchy?
- If so, what is its basis?
- What steps do you take or intend to take to prevent the needs of the organization overtaking the needs of the students with time?
- Are you prepared to dissolve the organization if this happen?
Measurement of progress:
- How do you test for the necessary ‘normalcy’ required of prospective 4th Way students?
- What do you do if mental illness manifests nevertheless?
- How do you describe the nature of the risks necessary to face before graduation?
- What criteria do you and the student use to measure progress?
- How do you empower students or teach them to take back/discover their own power?
- How do you define conscience?
- What is the use of conscience?
- What are your teachings regarding conscience?
- How do you separate conscience from subjective morality?
- At what point is there graduation?
- What happens to graduates?
On asking questions:
- Will there ever be any questions on any subject that are unsafe, unpalatable, or otherwise objectionable if asked in good faith?
- Will you take personal questions, that is, questions about your path, your conduct, your history?
- Do you make contracts with your students, specifying goals, payments, efforts, limits, and results, concerning the temporary giving up of will to the teacher apparently requested of 4th Way students, and what steps are taken to ensure that this is indeed temporary and results/goal driven?
- Do you in any way put pressure on students to limit their contacts with non-students, family?
- What are your policies regarding talking about the work, exercises, meetings, experiences with the teacher, with non-students?
- With ex–students?
Monday, November 14, 2016
|Donald Trump will defile your higher centers.|
[ed. - The following, just one of countless examples of Robert Burton's authoritarian rule of the Fellowship of Friends "church," appears to me a clear violation of basic freedoms entitled all Americans.]
Robert Burton ("The Teacher") sent the following message to all Fellowship of Friends members, November 14, 2016 at 6:45 PM:
The Teacher asks students NOT to read, watch or listen to any news or broadcasts regarding Donald Trump.
He is an abrasive, agitating influence that we want to avoid, so as not to defile our higher centers.
Thank you, Love Robert
Hindu Texts, Avadhut Gita: Take the Truth and ignore the rest.
Friday, November 4, 2016
|Asaf Braverman and Robert Burton in happier times|
[ed. - Robert Burton's reaction to Asaf Braverman's departure has been swift and vindictive.]
E-mail submitted by an ex-member living in Oregon House, November 4, 2016:
Details are sketchy, but a picture is emerging that Robert is quite upset with Asaf’s taking leave of Robert and the Fellowship, and is doing all he can to vilify, even destroy, Asaf.
First, and immediately upon Asaf leaving, a message went out for members no longer to visit Asaf’s website. Looking at the site just now, Asaf’s 3 top supporters and commentators [and Fellowship members] ( John Walz, Thomas Neuschatz, Charles Rodkoff) are missing from the list of members of Asaf’s community/school. Only Mario Fantoni (the IT person) remains.
Normally on Wednesdays, someone gives a presentation on some subject or person or where they have travelled. But the past 2 Wednesdays, Robert wanted there to be a “real” meeting to talk about Asaf. The first was led by Dorian [Matei]; the second (2 days ago), by Girard [Haven]. (Note: Girard himself has until now been banned from leading meetings for the past few years, likely because he refused to accept the “sequence” until, literally, forced to do so. He even tried to stop going to meetings back around 2006 to 2008 or so. Then Robert made him an offer he could not refuse, and he began coming again.)
Dorian apparently referred directly to Asaf, but I don’t have more details at this time. The subject of Girard’s meeting was, predictably, the process of crime.
At Robert’s meeting this past Sunday, he showed an image from some cemetery of a cracked headstone with the name of Pierce. It was one of those all-too-convenient “shocks” (more likely, drummed up by one of Robert’s “researchers”) to support the idea that Asaf and the Pierces are broken and finished. Of course, Ansley [Braverman's] maiden name is Pierce, and both Ansley and [her mother] have formally left the Fellowship. [Ansley's father] is still a member for now.
Asaf is being compared with Miles in that both were criminal in their actions towards Robert and the Fellowship. [ed. - see "Damage control following Miles' departure"] Of course, this is the ultimate act of vilification. Becoming “criminal” is as low as a person can sink, and anyone who associates with such a person is equally criminal.
One member suggested it a month or two ago, and now it is perhaps happening, that it would be best for the Fellowship to have a “witch-hunt” and expel all the non-believers. She is correct: There is absolutely no space for anyone who questions or doubts.
To be clear, I am not interested in what Asaf is trying to create with his online “community,” and I don’t think it will survive for long without the monetary and personnel support he was getting from Fellowship. I also reject the “lineage” myth that Asaf perpetuates (or at least did until now), as he tries to legitimize his role as a teacher.
Sunday, October 23, 2016
Did Asaf Braverman's "Online School" threaten Robert Burton's and The Fellowship of Friends Board of Directors' spiritual authority?
[ed. - There are rumors this weekend that Asaf Braverman, once considered Robert Burton's heir apparent, has been ordered to take a leave of absence from The Fellowship of Friends, and to dismantle his "Ark in Time" and "Be" websites. This apparently comes directly from the top, Robert Burton himself. The image above is from Asaf's Webinar page.]
Asaf Braverman wrote on his Facebook page, October 23, 2016:
20 years in the Fellowship of Friends.
You all know I did my best to make it better.
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 28, 2016:
This photograph of the spontaneous act of kissing the ground in the presence of “The Absolute” is, supposedly, from June 2014. Note the spontaneous handkerchief perfectly placed under Robert’s knees, not to mention the photographer spontaneously ready with the camera.
Robert’s words in 2016 describing this scene from 2014:
“This is a photograph of me kneeling and bowing, kissing the ground during the first visit of the Absolute. It occurred right in the front of the Gallery at the beginning of the rose arbor, after you walk through the four cypress trees and turn left. Petrarch said, ‘I bless the place, the time, and the hour of the day/that my eyes aimed their sight at such a height.’ Here we see that. Then we walked straight ahead, beyond the path on the right, and our dog Apollo was doing his business—number two—on the lawn. It was the third state. N***y was with Him. N***y is now in drug rehab.
“Afterwards Sasha and I went into the house. (Dorian came later.) He (the Absolute – Insider) then did an act of humility for me. All I could think of was to get down and kiss Sasha’s feet as an act of humility too. Who are we that He should do an act of humility for us? But that was the only response I could think of.”
"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 26, 2016:
The entire stunt with the “Absolute” was planned a long time ago. Dorian “predicted” it at a meeting he led back in April/May. He proclaimed a “new phase” was about to begin. It would shake the FF tree and some people would fall off. But there would be no returning to the old ways. Then the “visitation” happened on Sept 2 (the 2nd time in 800 days), and all the talk (from RB) is how the “school” has changed forever. Then Dorian led another meeting, on Sept 18 and repeated many of the same things he said back in April/May. “There is no going back.” “It will be deadly to go back.” And so on. Dorian knew about the up-coming “visit by the Absolute” at least 4-5 months ago. So did Robert. It’s all a manipulative script.
Friday, September 16, 2016
|Robert Earl Burton, self-proclaimed Avatar of the Age|
[ed. - From "The Canons of The Fellowship of Friends" (bolds added)]
The Fellowship teaches that the universe comprises a hierarchy of worlds governed by orders of laws, that the Absolute created the world and Higher Forces [also known as "Influence C"], and that Higher Forces created humanity. Higher Forces pass on the knowledge of how to create and prolong Divine Presence through the medium of Schools, and have done so throughout known and unknown history. Behind human history is Divine Presence, behind Divine Presence is Schools, behind Schools is Higher Forces, and behind Higher Forces is the Absolute. By mastering Divine Presence, a man becomes immortal, thereby entering the City of Paradise to join the company of Higher Forces.
[Below, a follower struggles to make sense of Robert Burton's latest revelations. It appears Burton has now established a direct connection with the Absolute, creator of the Universe. He no longer needs to go through intermediaries such as the 44 angels (well, 45 counting Alex Horn) the Fellowship knew as "Higher Forces," or "Influence C." Apparently the Absolute has instructed Burton to prepare his followers for Armageddon, and the destruction of the world beyond the Fellowship's Apollo compound. That message has of course been delivered many times before, but by mere angels. This time it's coming right from the top.]
"Mad Cult Member" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 13, 2016:
For me it is important, because I am in FOF and I mad The Absolute visited Robert and he kissed his feet and now we are so lucky because this never happened before. Our grandfather is the author of the Universe! And soon we will be having the brightest times because when Life [all non-members] will have the darkest hour it will be the brightest hour for the Schools [the Fellowship]. Life is an unsolvable problem, it only exists to realize Holly Scriptures: the end of the worlds. And we certainly deserve it because we were supporting Influence C for half a century. We can not overestimate this Gift! Christ said nicely it in 6 words: I’ve done what you asked – I completed the theme of the sequence: Be.
"Mad Cult Member" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 14, 2016:
I wish I had my best friends agree with my point of you, but they don’t. They think I am loosing the school. And on my end I don’t know how to replace my life-long friends just because fucking Robert is gone crazy. You did not understand my sarcasm? Well, you did not come to the events recently, did you? I wrote word to word what Robert says. I couldn’t make it up if my life depended on it. Insider knows what I’m talking about.
"Mad Cult Member" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 14, 2016:
The other day I passed the folks in Yuba City holding signs: Are you suicidal-here is the phone number, your life matters. I laughed. Who is suicidal? But after a few days I regretted that I did not memorize that damn phone number.
"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 16, 2016:
Everything Mad Cult Member said in #95 [above] is true. For the second time in 800 days, Robert Burton (by his own unbiased admission) was visited by The Absolute. Robert was told to “Be ready.” I didn’t hear about the kissing of feet, but there were around 9-10 events at which Robert spoke about this, to the exclusion of almost everything else, so the story had a chance to “evolve” over the course of the week following the “visitation.”
Naturally, everyone is talking about this. After all, it’s probably the most important event in the “school” since Robert’s “crystallization” in 1976. Here’s one (paraphrased) comment I overheard: Now it is probably necessary to identify which students continue to believe in Robert, and which ones are doubters; and we should think seriously about expelling the remaining doubters.
Monday, September 12, 2016
From the eTerritorial Dispatch, May 9, 2016:
Just what is this "clustering" business that Nick Spaulding, Tom Richards, and Randy Fletcher are trying to ram-rod through on us in the foothills?
In short, they want the county to change the land-use ordinance, to be able to put in a lot more houses, mainly big subdivisions, back in the boonies, off the main roads, which would increase the population dramatically
And this new night-mare would include a huge swath of land from south of Collins Lake to the northern borders of Yuba County.
All this would greatly worsen a very precarious fire situation as well as make worse our lack of water, bad roads and bad traffic, and crime. The area would be less rural and less beautiful!
Nick Spaulding claims to know it all on the clustering subject, but he has little regard for the facts. He is one big snow job ! But what is he getting out of it? He has been a stalwart member of the Fellowship of Friends for 25 years or more . But the President of the Fellowship , Mr. Greg Holman, claims "Spaulding is not on our payroll".
Again, what is Mr. Spaulding getting out of this long-term and heart-rending crusade??? He, himself, owns no land in Yuba County and seems to be in no position to buy subdivision land and/or be a developer.
On the other hand, the Fellowship owns 700 acres on Dixon Hill Road, which could, with a little work, qualify as a "cluster" project. Mr. Holman has stated in public the Fellowship has no plans for such a project. This not surprising, since there is no enabling ordinance as yet. But the Fellowship probably could imagine selling off the 700 acres at a greatly increased cost...if the Spaulding crusade pans out.
Come and learn more and have your say, at another Town Hall meeting at the Ponderosa Community Hall on Ponderosa Road in Brownsville,. on Wednesday, May 11, at 6:30.PM
From eTerritorial Dispatch, September 12, 2016:
“Heads Up” Yuba Supervisors-Elect
12 September 2016
Heads Up Yuba Supervisors-Elect Doug Lofton and Mike Leahy. You blew past Griego and Nicoletti by massive 15% and 19% margins, with Stocker crushed by Randy Fletcher’s 19% margin just 18 months earlier. And planning veteran, Wendy Hartman?
However, Stocker, Griego, and Nicoletti also politicized the staff infrastructure. Please remodel and replace it with transparent public servants. Neither County Counsel nor Planning, deserve any benefit of the doubt. Why?
Stocker, even in defeat, continues (with staff?) to push his political vendettas. Consider his recent printed praise supporting CDSA & Planning Director, Kevin Mallen: Mallen is a “long-term very dedicated, talented and resourceful leader, whom the county is lucky to have.”
Meanwhile, Mallen’s credibility was cut to shreds when Stocker’s own big-gun San Francisco lawyers, unleashed a 20 page legal opinion (warning?) letter calling Mallen’s Development Code Recommendations to the Planning Commission “flatly inconsistent with the General Plan policies” and failing “to comply with State Planning and Zoning Law .”
Stocker’s lawyers further disqualified Mallen and Staff by saying their recommendation “violates the California Environmental Quality Act, and the CEQA Guidelines and Regulations Code. . . rendering it insufficient as an environmental review document.”
Next, Morris-Jones’ Deputy John Vacek, is sent before the Planning Commission, persuaded(?) by Stocker’s lawyers, and advises Planning Commissioners he is summarily removing Mallen’s Recommendation from the agenda due to these issues of inadequacy. Morris-Jones gave no defense of Mallen or Staff, nor could Vacek even support his own action saying, “I really don’t want to make admissions on the record that may be held against us later...” Mallen offered no defense either.
Un-electeds Morris-Jones and Mallen pull down around $213,000 each, and Vacek $172,000! How does a poorly informed, 20-page scare letter from San Francisco stop $598,000 in salaried Yuba staff in their tracks? Answer: Stocker chose the same law firm that beat Morris-Jones, her staff, and the County on the Magnolia Ranch issue. However, it appears Stocker cherry-picked which “facts” he used to brief them by not mentioning that Staff was putting back ordinance wording that Staff had removed without due process.
Truthfully? Staff’s report is correct and their Development Code recommendations are in compliance with the General Plan, CEQA, and the EIR. It is Stocker, his lawyers, and Morris-Jones’ Office of County Counsel who cannot (or refuse to?) read the General Plan and are wrong.
Morris-Jones’ actions with Stocker, Griego, and others suggest favoritism, potentially unethical and possibly criminal misconduct.
The Grand Jury voted “no confidence” in her management of Yuba’s $864,801 legal talent pool.
Mallen and Hartman’s actions in 2011, 2012, 2015 and now, deserve review regarding the public trust. More heads could roll.
"An abuse of discretion is established only if the [governing body] has not proceeded in a manner required by law, its decision is not supported by findings, or the findings are not supported by substantial evidence." (Sequoyah Hills Homeowners Assn. v. City of Oakland (1993) 23 Cal.App.4th 704, 717, 29 Cal.Rptr.2d 182.)
Stocker/Griego’s deceptive Measure T in 2012 was radical liberalism pretending to protect farm lands while stripping farmers of their property rights long protected by previous General Plans and Ordinance Codes.
Morris-Jones “helped” Stocker craft Measure T, according to Stocker’s own public statements. This crafting work seems clearly illegal. Staff time can only be directed by the Board as a whole, and they had already refused to codify “T” in its Resolution form.
But what about radical Measure T’s CEQA and EIR adequacy, and General Plan compliance? Did Supervisors require an impact study back then in 2012, as allowed by law and demanded by opponents?
Answer: Unbelievably, Morris-Jones, told Supervisors at a July 17, 2012 meeting, “I did inquire of the Planning Department. . .and the impact study is pretty much the EIR. And Planning is of the opinion, and that’s Kevin Mallen and Wendy Hartman, that that study has already been completed as part of the [2030 General Plan] Environmental Impact Report (EIR)...
If you do want that study, and I’m not advising you one way or another. . .because it has already been done.” (Referring to the 2030 Gen. Plan EIR)
So, Morris-Jones had no problem giving Stocker/Griego’s “T” her legal OK. “T” was a departure from the General Plan so radical that it qualified as a controversial “amendment.” She stated no new EIR would be needed, no CEQA review, and she saw no problem with General Plan consistency either. To Morris-Jones in 2012, all of this seemed self-evident.
But in 2016, Morris-Jones’ office seems paralyzed, and unable to OK staff’s list of revisions to the Development Code that is not at amendment levels, but is actually, a correction that brings policy oversights and exclusions from the Code into compliance with General Plan Directive Action NR3.1, and therefore does NOT require additional CEQA or EIR reviews.
Smoking Gun: In 2011, staff, under Board questioning, admitted changes were made without Board approval, creating zoning consistency charts that specifically ignored Directive NR3.1, and incorrectly removed existing ordinance codes protecting grazing land rights.
Isn’t orchestrated subversion of due process abusive, unethical? Even illegal?
“An abuse of discretion is established only if the [governing body] has not proceeded in a manner required by law, its decision is not supported by findings, or the findings are not supported by substantial evidence."
And. . . Rule 3-110 Failing to Act Competently:
(A) A member shall not intentionally, recklessly, or repeatedly fail to perform legal services with competence.
Friday, September 2, 2016
Amazon. Unsurprisingly, the reviews are divided between five-star by long-term current members (e.g. Blue Logician, Benjamin Yudin, Gerald, and Hugh James - only one of whom is a confirmed purchaser) and one-star, clearly from former members. However, one of these contingents understands what it means to escape a cult, and that is indeed an awakening in its own right.]
Awakening: Quotations from Robert Earl Burton
November 7, 2016
by Robert Earl Burton
Edited by Dianne Crosby
A conscious teacher explains how to recognize higher states of awareness and how our own Higher Centers may awaken.
Awakening: Quotations from Robert Earl Burton
November 7, 2016
by Robert Earl Burton
Edited by Dianne Crosby
A conscious teacher explains how to recognize higher states of awareness and how our own Higher Centers may awaken.