Introduction


Robert Earl Burton founded The Fellowship of Friends in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1970. Burton modeled his own group after that of Alex Horn, loosely borrowing from the Fourth Way teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. In recent years, the Fellowship has cast its net more broadly, embracing any spiritual tradition that includes (or can be interpreted to include) the notion of "presence."

The Fellowship of Friends exhibits the hallmarks of a "doomsday religious cult," wherein Burton exercises absolute authority, and demands loyalty and obedience. He warns that his is the only path to consciousness and eternal life. Invoking his gift of prophecy, he has over the years prepared his flock for great calamities (e.g. a depression in 1984, the fall of California in 1998, nuclear holocaust in 2006, and most recently the October 2018 "Fall of California Redux.")

But according to Burton, Armageddon still looms in our future and when it finally arrives, non-believers shall perish, while through the direct intervention and guidance from 44 angels (recently expanded to 81 angels, including himself and his divine father, Leonardo da Vinci) Burton and his followers shall be spared, founding a new, and more perfect civilization.

Many regard Robert Earl Burton a narcissist and sociopath, surrounded by a largely greed- and power-driven inner circle. The following pages offer abundant evidence supporting that conclusion.

This archive draws from official Fellowship publications and websites, news archives, court documents, cult education and awareness forums, the Internet Archive, the long-running Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion, the (former) Fellowship of Friends wikispace project, the (ill-fated 2007) Fellowship of Friends Wikipedia page, and the editor's own 13-year experience in the Fellowship. Presented in a reverse chronology, the Fellowship's history may be navigated via the "Blog Archive" located in the sidebar below.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Beyond the golden veil, a legacy of shame and silence

[ed. - The recent news about tax refunds, non-profits misbehaving, and deceptive recruiting tactics is trifling compared to what has lain at the heart of The Fellowship of Friends for over forty-four years. And that is the psychological and physical abuse of devotees by a sociopathic "religious" leader. Today, despite the "openness" of the internet and all the revelations it has brought, Robert Burton's abuse of power and violation of his followers' trust apparently continues unchallenged. It is important to remind readers of the many testimonies that fill this history of the cult. In the on-line forum linked below, the blogger "Someone," while claiming to be an ex-member, often speaks in support of the Fellowship, encouraging forbearance and even acceptance of the Fellowship's "insignificant" flaws.]

"Someone" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 13, 2010:
[In response to blogger "brucelevy," an ex-member who reported having been raped by Robert Burton:]

Still the plain facts are that you haven’t been in the FoF [Fellowship of Friends] in the last 25 years or more so I might be knowing certain things better than you.

While I was a member, I took the trouble to check the facts and RB’s [Robert Burton's] sexual circle around 4-5 years ago included 10-14 students out of which 6-8 were more ‘permanent’ and the rest more casual. He did use to ‘replace’ 5-10 students each year. So altogether it used to be around 20-25 students. Out of ~2000 members at that time, it is around 1 percent.

Statistically it is a ‘small circle’ and that’s what I said.

That is a FACT, not an opinion!!!

Essentially 20 or 25 abused students is terrible especially if one gathers all of them along 40 years.

The context in which I was using the term ‘small circle’ (and almost everyone here is an expert of taking things out of context) was that people are still joining because there are VERY ATTRACTIVE elements in the FoF ideas and 1 percent of abused students is relatively small for most of them to notice unless they are part of the victims or close to them.

One cannot ignore the persistence that RB puts on being present. It is an appealing idea for some people (it used to be appealing for many ex-members here, perhaps for most of them). Stating that God is presence can be a powerful idea in the 21st century. If one chooses not to deal with it for what it is, one is missing the opportunity to approach new seekers.

I think that a more balanced discussion would have made this Blog a much better source for new seekers. A balanced approach is more appealing. It has more reasoning and it can be much more convincing.

"Old FOF" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 15, 2010:
In the interests of prospective and current students who may come here for information, I personally don’t want the recent comments by the contributor known as Someone about the scope of the sexual abuse in the Fellowship of Friends by Robert Burton to stand without further comment.

The following has all been brought out in this blog very well (and in much more and better detail) – in the past years. It is so central to the issue regarding the Fellowship of Friends cult and abuse – that it is sort of pathetic that it has to be addressed again (and to an ex-student) – but here goes.

When I left in the mid-1990s I estimate that by that time Robert Burton had likely had sex with over 1,000 of his male students. This was not just a made up figure but an estimate based on serious inquiry.

For example (in retrospect on discovering that this practice was occurring), through various means I was able find that about 40% of the male students in each of the two main centers in which I had been living were seduced by Robert Burton – some very soon (weeks) after they joined.

Still later, I learned of the almost conveyor belt system that was established for young men to travel with Robert – it appeared somewhat coordinated by his “secretaries” – whereby I learned that on balance about two new students were seduced each week, in this manner.

His “symposium” drinking bouts were also a means of seduction for inebriated students.

Finally, for a while I was in a position to know about a number of students who one would never have dreamed would have fallen to Robert – who also at one time or another had been seduced.

These were almost all heterosexual students – and many of them carried large shame and silence.

It’s possible that this has been toned down in recent years, but based on comments by those who seem to be sincere students and ex-students over the past two to three years (on this blog), it seems likely that this pace of sexual abuse if ameliorated at all – has not been by much.

I suspect that Someone is (somewhat) sincere. But I would maintain that her research was / is incomplete at best. And I would ask her to consider that she may be wrong in her numbers by orders of magnitude (add zeros) – that the true story is hidden very well by a master at using student shame and embarrassment to keep such things in the dark.

And I would ask her to consider the effect that her words may have on vulnerable people – if you are wrong (you are). You ought to think about what minimizing does, Someone. In your mind, you are just being honest, but consider that there are others that know more than you do. At the least, you ought to make room for other views, if only to not be a possible accomplice in the whitewash. To join in the whitewash is to be an accomplice – and to accrue terrible karma.

In passing please note again that this debate is not “esoteric.” One of Robert’s conquests hanged himself, one either died or nearly died from anorexia, and at least three had psychotic breakdowns. And these are just the ones that I knew about. Was Robert Burton responsible? In my mind he is, but maybe there were contributing factors. Nevertheless, why is a “conscious” teacher having sex with hundreds and perhaps thousands of his own male students – some of whom are vulnerable, and nearly all of whom were naïve sincere seekers?

The idea that Robert Burton’s sexual abuse is more or less confined to a select few would be laughable – if it was not so hideously tragic.

"Thot Plickens" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 12, 2010:
Hono [a blogger], the poster calling themselves “Someone” isn’t sincere about that. Someone knows that Burton doesn’t have a “small sexual circle” (unless there’s a double entendre there somewhere). They know it’s actually a very large group of men spanning four decades. Some people have alleged that Burton has had sexual contact with several hundred, or even thousands, of his followers since the cult was started in 1970. Someone is just here for a little damage control, that’s all. I wouldn’t expect to have a serious conversation with them.

Remember that the commentary on the blog about Burton’s sexual contact with his followers is not a commentary about the sex per se, but it is a commentary about the coercion, the manipulation of his followers, the violation of the trust of his followers, the abuse of power as a cult leader, the numerous lies and deception related to his actions, the utter disregard for the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, and much more. And then there’s the psychological fallout to so many men who were coerced into sexual contact with Burton and felt they couldn’t disobey, and many other related issues mentioned on the blog on all of the previous pages.

"brucelevy" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 12, 2010:
[Quoting and responding to "Thot Plickens," above]
“Someone knows that Burton doesn’t have a “small sexual circle”
Actually Someone doesn’t KNOW shit. She’s been pulling neutral facts out of her ass for a couple years now. Even theoretically, how would she even know, first hand, what goes on with Robert’s sex circus. There’s zero chance that she would witness any of it. She sees what she wants to see to justify her absurd “neutral facts”. On the other hand, I know what went on, I was there, It happened to me, I know some of the other victims and knew them when it was going on. There is no value in any of Someones neutral facts, except as they aid her in steeping her life in bull shit.

"brucelevy" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, April 16, 2014:
Same cult, different face…http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/04/16/minnesota-minister-told-girls-that-gods-word-made-raping-them-normal/

They’re ALL the same.

"brucelevy" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 24, 2007:
[Quoting] 212 Fat Boy
“For instance, I read all these negative stories from former students and I believe they have twisted the facts and the deamonor to suit there purpose;”
Here you are deluding yourself, and I’ll jump on it. I was actually there during the enactment of many of these early “stories”. It also happened to me personally. You can believe it or not, but I’m telling you, they are not only true but accurate representations of what occurred.
You might want to consider the possibility that you have a need to negate or buffer this in order to validate your own faith. That’s fine, but maybe you’re kidding yourself. To refuse this possibility does a great disservice to yourself, and your friends.
Back before RB was forced to “come out” of his idea of “celibacy” he was surreptitiously “doing” only one boy at a time. Even though many of us lived together in the boy cottage, many of us were walking around in a daze asking ourselves “why was it happening to just me”. We were so shell shocked that none of us could assume it was happening to others. No one would speak of it. Finally it became pretty obvious what was happening, that RB was living a lie. Yet RB still clung to the big lie until lawsuits etc. forced a change.
You might be alright with it happening to you. More power to you. But that was your choice. As I mentioned on previous pages, for myself, I divide the “boys” into two groups (not a judgment, just an observation). The idiots and the whores. I was an idiot…enthralled and vain about my access to RB, feeling special etc. The whores (many of whom I loved as friends, though it was hard) more concerned with the gifts, travel, food, cloths etc. who entered the relationships knowing what was coming, but balancing the discomfort against the “toys” one would receive. Everyone, to some extent, does this at different times in their lives. That’s life on earth. At the same time, the spiritual criminality of what was being done exists as it’s own entity. This is what many here have revealed with their stories.
Trust me, very few who have opened their wounds here are adding embellishments to their pain. Yes, it’s through their eyes, but it’s fairly easy to filter the stories and see what the main point is in these revelations.
[ed. - And for some unvarnished looks at life in Robert Burton's inner circle, see "Inner Circle Facts", "The Story of Brian Sisler", and "On Robert Burton's grooming of young men."]

Monday, April 14, 2014

Steve Dambeck is on a mission to promote The Fellowship of Friends

Steven Dambeck, of Oregon House, stands above 2,000
feet in elevation at the Renaissance Vineyard and Winery
 as the snow-capped Sierra Nevada loom in the distance
 on Sunday, April 13, 2014. Dambeck is a founding member
  of North Yuba Grown and the new director of visitor services
 for the Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce. Photo:
David Bitton/Appeal-Democrat
[ed. - Steven Dambeck has been appointed Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce Director of Visitor Services. It is curious that, despite Dambeck's over 35 years with the Fellowship, the Appeal-Democrat article below makes no mention of the Oregon House cult, nor of Dambeck's Apollo Olive Oil and Renaissance Vineyard and Winery connections. 

A Fellowship leader, minister, and self-described sexual partner of founder Robert Burton, Dambeck has been tireless in promoting Fellowship businesses, those of its members, and his own ventures, which include North Fork Yuba River, his partnership with Randy Fletcher, current candidate for Yuba County 5th District Supervisor. Fletcher, who also sits on the Board of Education, recently helped the Fellowship-backed Yuba Environmental Science Charter Academy (YESCA) gain renewal of its charter.

While Dambeck serves to increase Yuba County tourism, it would not be surprising to see attention and resources "coaxed" in the Fellowship's direction, and towards his, Greg Holman, and Charles Sharp's brand new Yuba Harvest tasting room in Oregon House.

May 20, 2014 update: Getting right down to business, the Chamber announced a new TV show in which "Dambeck will be featured on the show talking about local wineries." Of course, the largest, most well-known of those wineries is the Fellowship's Renaissance Vineyard and Winery. And there are two others owned by Fellowship members.]

June 16, 2014 update: Dambeck's Yuba Harvest tasting room was shut down for lack of a proper alcoholic beverage permit. How could an experienced wine professional commit such an amateurish misstep?


February 2015 update: Dambeck is no longer Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce Director of Visitor Services.]


Steve Dambeck is on a mission to promote Y-S wineries

Appeal-Democrat
By Eric Vodden/evodden@appealdemocrat.com

For a longtime wine lover, Steven Dambeck isn't all that concerned about adhering to the strict guidelines of whether a cabernet or chardonnay best satisfies the palate with a particular dish.

He acknowledges it can be intimidating for a wine neophyte to whiff the bouquet or find the hint of blackberry within the complex tastes of a particular vintage.

But it's the culture of wine making that he loves, the aura that a glass brings to a social event and a well-planned meal.

"Food is the catalyst where there are people," said Dambeck, adding that he gained his appreciation for wine and food while spending time in Europe. "Wine is what pulls it all together."

Dambeck is a board member of the North Yuba Grown farmers organization, the Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce's new director of visitor services and is involved with the North Sierra Vintner's Association.

The bottom line through all those associations is to help Yuba-Sutter see itself in a better light and get those from the outside looking in to share that light.

Read more at Appeal-Democrat.com
"The Yuba-Sutter area has extraordinary things, but we don't get the word out," Dambeck said. "We don't have such a great self-image. We don't think of our place as wonderful."

In his job with the chamber, Dambeck's job is to increase the organization's role in supporting community events and improving the image of the region.

"This is a vibrant place," he said. "It's unbelievable what we have here."

But it's the wineries included in the North Sierra organization — stretching across the foothills of Yuba and Butte counties — that hold a special place in Dambeck's heart. And it's the potential for the region to develop a reputation for producing fine wines, along with olive oils, that make it fit in with all of Dambeck's jobs.

"Wine will bring visitors," he said. "People aren't going to travel to get good kale, though we have very good kale in the foothills. But they will come for wine."

There are 14 wineries belonging to the North Sierra group. Eleven of those will be welcoming visitors later this month for the annual North Sierra Wine Trail event featuring wine, appetizers, music and art at each stop.

Along with the annual event, North Yuba Grown has received a grant to develop a wine trail for the region, which has been designated by the federal government as a wine-grape growing region.

In his role with the Chamber, Dambeck is working with the trade magazine Food and Travel for a feature story on the region. And he is working with national writers to visit and write reviews of wines from the North Sierra.

"We are not trying to be Apple Hill or the Napa Valley," Dambeck said. "We want to keep the character of the little towns preserved."

"But I would like people to finally assess our wines as among the premium wines of California," he said. "I would like to see our hard-working vintners get the recognition they deserve."

A local resident since 1979, Dambeck said he has worked among the vines since his arrival, the Band-Aids on his arm testament to the scratches he still gets in the fields.

"I'm a vineyard guy," Dambeck said. "I am interested in the people who make wine.

"I love what it does for people," he said.

History, wildlife, food key to promoting region

Yuba-Sutter residents need to take a look at their home region with an outsiders' eyes, said Steven Dambeck, recently hired as the local Chamber of Commerce's director of visitors services.

And, while Dambeck is promoting the Yuba foothills as a wine- and food-growing region, it also means taking a look at the whole recreational landscape.

Dambeck outlined three core areas for which locals can do a better job promoting.

First, there's the history.

"When you look at every area of California, where is there a place that has more history than the confluence of the Yuba and Feather rivers?" he said.

From the Gold Rush to the Donner Party to the Maidu tribe to the Chinese culture, "this is where the action is," Dambeck said.

Another core area needing to be better promoted is the outdoors — hunting, fishing, lakes and wildlife refuges like Gray Lodge.

And the third is the potential to draw visitors to the food and wine offered in the Yuba foothills. Dambeck noted the foothills activity in the regional Food-to-Fork program promoting small farms and the food they produce.

"It's become clear that Yuba County is the most active Food-to-Fork county in the Sacramento region," he said.

Rikki Shaffer, executive director of the Yuba-Sutter Chamber, said Dambeck's part-time position is the seed for what is hoped will eventually be a separate tourism bureau.

"We have a very ambitious and strategic plan on how we can improve and take better advantage of our assets," Shaffer said.

Part of that is providing more support for community events with the potential of bringing in more visitors.
"Let's say we have visitors coming to visit Bishop's Pumpkin Farm," she said. "We have to figure out how we can create ancillary activities around that to keep people moving around the community and get them to spend the weekend."

Funding for Dambeck's position comes from three-year $210,000 funding from Yuba City to promote tourism in the area. Though funding comes from Yuba City, the theory is that wherever a community event happens benefits the entire area.

"Our assets are mutual," Shaffer said.

"Everything we are doing is geared toward the Yuba-Sutter area."

Dambeck said part of his role will be to increase Chamber support for existing festivals and events such as the Bok Kai Festival, the Marysville Stampede and Pioneer Days in Smartsville.

"We would like to be more of a catalyst and bring support to what already is being done," he said.

The Chamber is also looking at the idea of next year organizing a festival at the Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds that would showcase local agricultural products.

"Ag is what binds us all together," Dambeck said.

North Sierra Wine Trail

Fine wines, olive oil, appetizers, music and art will be featured on the North Sierra Wine Trail on April 26-27 in the Yuba and Butte counties foothills.

Eleven wineries will be taking part in the annual event designed to expose visitors to the emerging wine growing region. The trail extends from the north Yuba communities of Oregon House and Dobbins north through Bangor to Oroville.

The event is sponsored by the North Sierra Vintners Association.

The small, mostly family-owned wineries will be offering a wide variety of selections and styles. Many will be providing samples straight from the barrel.

Participating wineries are Bangor Ranch, Clos Saron, Grant-Eddie, Grey Fox, Hickman Family Vineyards, Long Creek Winery & Ranch, Lucero Vineyards, Quilici Vineyards, Renaissance Vineyard, Spencer Shirey and Purple Line.

Wineries on the trail will be open on the days of the event from noon-5 p.m.

Tickets are $25 at the gate or can be purchased for $20 in advance at participating wineries or at the website northsierrawinetrail.com. Each ticket comes with a glass and provides admission at all tastings.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Fellowship scores in Manhattan

[ed. - Lest readers feel too sorry for The Fellowship of Friends owing to the harsh treatment it recently received at the hands of Yuba County Supervisors, below The Fellowship boasts in a memo of placing its wine in some of Manhattan's finest establishments.

Let's look at a sampling of wines from The Fellowship's Renaissance Vineyard and Winery now available in Manhattan:

From Morrell & Company, a retail wine seller:
Renaissance Cabernet Sauvignon Vin de Terroir Sierra Foothills 1999 750ml - $95.00/750ml
Renaissance Cabernet Sauvignon Vin de Terroir Sierra Foothills 1997 750ml - $100.00/750ml
Renaissance Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Sierra Foothills 1984 750ml - $110.00/750ml
How many Yuba County residents can afford such luxuries?]

"J.D." posted on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, March 22, 2014
More news from the FOF media channel.
Dear Friends,

We want to share with you that we are working with a new distributor in New York who placed a very large order with us at the first of this year. So far, they have placed our wines in 12 top-rated restaurants and 5 wine shops in the New York City area. A list of the restaurants and wine shops is attached and includes website links and addresses.

RESTAURANTS:

AUREOLE  Aureole New York, One Bryant Park, 135 West 42nd St., NY, NY 10036
BARBOUNIA  250 Park Ave South, NY, NY 10010.
BENOIT BISTRO  60 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019
COLICCHIO & SONS  85 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011
DEL POSTO  85 10th Ave, NY, NY 10011
ELEVEN MADISON PARK  11 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010
MARSEILLE  630 9TH AVENUE NEW YORK, NY
NOMAD HOTEL  1170 Broadway & 28th St, NY, NY., 10001
PEARL & ASH  220 Bowery, NY, NY 10012
PORTS CAFÉ  4432 West Lake Road, Geneva
RESTAURANT DANIEL  60 E 65th St, New York, NY 10065 – UPPER EAST SIDE — (Few New York chefs enjoy the kind of fame Daniel Boulud has earned over the past 32 years.)
THE LAMBS RESTAURANT  132 West 44th Street, NY, NY, 10036

WINE SHOPS:

24 HUBERT  “Our highlights include the Rising Stars of California winemaking, …24 Hubert Street, NY, NY 10013
BLUE STREAK WINES & SPIRITS  4720 Center Blvd, New York, NY 11101
CRUSH WINE CO.  153 E 57th St, NY, NY 10022, b/t Lexington Ave & 3rd Ave in Midtown East
MORRELL & COMPANY  One Rockefeller Plaza, NY, NY, 10020
TRIPHAMMER LIQUOR  2255 N Triphammer Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850

If you are living in New York City, visiting, or just passing through, we thought you might enjoy dining at one or more of these restaurants and being able to say, with panache,

“I understand you carry Renaissance wines. I’ll have a glass with my meal!”

Additionally, it is now possible to recommend our wines to your colleagues who could also visit the listed wine shops to purchase bottles or cases.

This large order was made possible because of the efforts that so many have made over the years to participate in and follow Robert’s vision ~ from building the vineyard and the winery ~ to harvest ~ to bottling ~ to selling and to buying our own wine.

Thank you for these efforts!

Your friends at Renaissance Vineyard & Winery
So, for those lucky ones who are in the New York City area, you can go to those top rated restaurants and tell the management, with panache: “I understand you carry Renaissance wines… let me tell you where these wines really come from and to whom they are affiliated with.”

Robert’s [Robert Burton's] vision:

from building the vineyard and the winery with blood, sweat, tears and money from the students ~ to harvest through efforts and time donated by the same students ~ to bottling by underpaid workforce ~ to selling and… buying our own wine by the same aforementioned suckers, just to add insult to injury.

[ed. - Here's a review from a reporter for the Chico News & Review exploring the Sierra Wine Trail in April. Note the perception that the "independently owned" Apollo Olive Oil happened to be on-site for tasting. It makes you wonder if Apollo intentionally tries to distance itself from Renaissance and the Fellowship. Unfortunately, Manhattan wine buyers are much less likely to make the trip to Oregon House for a first-hand look at the cult behind the wine.]

"...we made our way to Oregon House, in Yuba County. That’s where our adventure got weird."
There was no mistaking where to turn to enter Renaissance Vineyard and Winery when we saw the gold statues atop white pillars at the main entrance. We stopped at the guard shack and were handed a detailed map to the tasting room, in a terracotta building atop the hill. We drove up the palm-tree-lined boulevard and through two roundabouts, each studded with another pillar and statue. Strategically parked cars barred us from going off-route. Along the way, we saw goats, yaks, French donkeys and camels. (After all, does anything say “Renaissance” quite like camels and gilded statues of David?)

At check-in, we were told that the property is owned by a nonprofit religious organization (the Fellowship of Friends) and that the winery is a for-profit benefiting FoF. The wines were decent, but the olive oils, by independently owned Apollo Olive Oil, also on site for tasting, were de-lish. We chatted up the Italian owner of Apollo and went home with a bottle of balsamic that was otherworldly.

A later Google search revealed our suspicions that Renaissance felt like a cult were well-founded. The Fellowship of Friends’ website explains that the group was started by spiritual teacher Robert Burton in 1970, and the 1,200-acre Oregon House property is the group’s home base. FoF’s goal is “awakening” and “being present” and further Web searches led to numerous references to it as a cult complete with sex scandals and end-of-days predictions.

No one tried to indoctrinate us during our visit. My inquisitive side enjoyed seeing the property, but I couldn’t bring myself to buy any Renaissance wines. It was so strikingly different from meeting the families at places like Hickman or Spencer Shirey. And I had to ask myself: Do I want to support a mysterious religious group, or a local family? Without going out and seeing for myself, I might never have known the difference.

"Tim Campion" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 3, 2014:
The wine world has paid little attention to the Fellowship of Friends and generally judges the Fellowship’s Renaissance Vineyard and Winery product on its merits.

Similar to the Appeal-Democrat’s recent article, this reporter scratches the surface, comes up with a catchy title, yet clearly fails to do any substantive research. And again, the real story is overlooked.

Putting the “Cult” in Cabernet

[ed. - Contrary to Fellowship of Friends members' characterization of "life people" as "sleeping machines," those life people can be pretty perceptive, as demonstrated in the following article.]
Financial support: Visiting the farm puts perspective on where our money goes

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Is the non-profit North Yuba Grown engaging in political activism?

[ed. - In the race for Yuba County's 5th District Supervisor post, it appears North Yuba Grown member Jenny Cavaliere has shown the audacity to challenge Randy Fletcher, a candidate being groomed by Fellowship of Friends members through proxies such as North Yuba Grown and North Fork Yuba River.

Fletcher is a partner in Steven Dambeck's North Fork Yuba River and owner of Chestnut Grove, a venue that Dambeck and North Yuba Grown promote and rent for special events. Until recently, Steven's name and phone number appeared on Chestnut Grove's website. Dambeck, of course, is associated with Apollo Olive Oil and Renaissance Vineyard & Winery. Renaissance is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Fellowship of Friends, and Apollo Olive Oil derives much of its fruit from Fellowship lands while the owners provide tax-deductible financial support to the Oregon House cult.

The Fellowship of Friends has long sought to exploit public funding channels, and in this endeavor, a sympathetic district supervisor would be an important ally and valuable asset. 

Charles Sharp, a Fellowship member, North Yuba Grown co-founder, and partner in North Fork Yuba River, wrote the following Letter to the Editor. Charles registered Randy's Chestnut Grove domain under North Fork Yuba River's name. As of 2018, the domain registration has expired.]

"Barbara" posted the following on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, April 6, 2014:
THE TERRITORIAL DISPATCH
April 2, 2014 - Yuba County CA

North Yuba Grown Is Neutral 

North Yuba Grown is a grass roots California non-profit organization promoting local agriculture in and around the foothills of Yuba County.

As such, it must remain politically neutral and cannot endorse any political candidacy.

Recently, Jenny Cavaliere, a candidate for supervisor of the 5th district, issued a press release to the Territorial Dispatch, apparently on behalf of North Yuba Grown.

As a founding member and part of the publicity committee of North Yuba Grown, I can state that this self serving release was not authorized or sanctioned by the membership, nor does it represent an endorsement by the organization in any way.

Might this be an indication of how Ms. Cavaliere, as supervisor, would put her own self interests before the people of Yuba County?

In closing, I would like to commend John Mistler, editor of the Territorial Dispatch, for giving all the candidates fair and equal treatment.
Charles Sharp
Oregon House, Ca.

[ed. - In the folksy message below, Mr. Sharp encourages readers to view the roster of Alcouffe Community Center Board Members. On that roster, Vice Chairman Greg Holman is listed as being in the business of "fine arts publishing" (apparently connected with his wife's art studio.) Last I heard, Holman is President of both The Fellowship of Friends and Renaissance Vineyard and Winery. If true, this may be an example of the Fellowship's employment of "intentional insincerity" (little white lies,) especially useful when dealing with "life people" (those not associated with the cult.)]

"Barbara" posted the following on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, April 6, 2014:
“North Yuba Grown Is Neutral” (LOL)

Blurbs of a fragmented mind…Local politics getting nasty….

Charles Sharp-To E-post. Mar 24, 2014
(A local Oregon House Yahoo. group)
 Randy Fletcher, candidate for the 5th district supervisor, will be hosting a series of informal gatherings on Monday evenings over the next few weeks at the Alcouffe Community Center in Oregon House.

When: March 31st, April 7th, April 14th
Time: 6 pm to 8 pm
Where: Alcouffe Community Center, 9185 Marysville Rd, Oregon House

Drop by and get to know Randy.
 ANOTHER ONE….
Charles Sharp-To E-post-Mar 25

Hear Yea, Hear Yea

I have been directed to DECLARE that the Alcouffe Community Center, run by the Dobbins Oregon House Improvement Foundation, a.k.a. DOHIF, consisting of a fifteen member board with one alternate and whose chair is Robert Longman, check ‘em out at http://www.alcouffecenter.org/board.php
Does not endorsed [sic] any political candidate (being one of those a non-profit 501 (c) corporations and all that), because it could jeopardize their Tax Exempt Status should the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), so investigate participation in any political activity.

Why I should be chosen for such a declaration I am not quite sure. Suggest you ask the DOHIF board for clarification on this matter.

So do I affix my seal of truth (:) to this statement.
My note:

How about this 2 links here….

The March 12th Meet Your Local Farmers event, hosted by North Yuba Grown at the Alcouffe Center, was attended by well over 50 people. http://www.northyubagrown.org/

and…

 http://robertearlburton.blogspot.com/2013/06/north-yuba-grown-serves-to-promote.html