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.")

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. Read more about the blog.

Presented in a reverse chronology, the Fellowship's history may be navigated via the "Blog Archive" located in the sidebar below.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Nick Spaulding and Charles Sharp continue to lobby for Fellowship of Friends developments

[ed. - Reportedly, with the help of a get-out-the-vote effort by Fellowship of Friends leadership, Randy Fletcher defeated incumbent Hal Stocker for Yuba County's Fifth District Supervisor seat. Fletcher, who has been a business partner with Fellowship members Steven Dambeck and Charles Sharp, is sympathetic to Fellowship development interests in Oregon House and the surrounding areas. I sympathize as well. If the gods are demanding you build a City on the Mountain that will survive Armageddon, these development restrictions are just plain crazy!]
Unnecessary Fear in the Foothills vs Blunt Facts

eTerritorial Dispatch

by Nick Spaulding
18 April 2016
First, the bad news: It was Fear Night in the Foothills last Wednesday. Stocker Calls Special Town Hall Meeting: The Board of Supervisors, Planning Commission, and planning staff are all trying to pull a fast one! Railroading an issue through without a public vote! The Voice of the People once again choked off by a sinister group of special interests. This time The Developers from The Dark Side are sowing the secret seeds of Cluster Housing destruction. Don’t trust having any more folks moving up here. They’ll just suck the aquifers dry and then, these clustering newbie’s are more likely spark the wildfires of Stocker’s Development Apocalypse. . .which for some reason has never materialized.

Scaring the bejeebees out of an admittedly uninformed and older audience should be a crime. . .but as Mark Twain said, “It’s easier to deceive someone, than to prove to them that they’ve been deceived.”

Blunt Fact: Prosperity will never take root in the Foothills when Stocker’s lopsided attempt at a Town Hall event is produced and controlled by apparent propagandists. The nine “official speakers” on the agenda were each hand-picked and in with Stocker on his issue. His moderators then, not only denied an official speaker spot to the known and qualified Stocker opponent (mentioned by name in his mailer) but they also refused to project his slide materials which were presented to them earlier. Apparently, the projector could only be used for their side’s benefit. Some behavioral professionals refer to this type of controlling activity as “fear of the other."
Blunt Fact: Stocker’s official speakers went on for over 70 minutes listing repeatedly negative after negative. A fog of anxiety, barely visible, drifted down from the podium, hugging the floor, slowly spreading through the room, and chilling the alarmed attendees. When “the other” was finally allowed to speak, the moderators tried to limit him to only 5 minutes. Numerous audience members vocally objected to this obviously prejudicial treatment, and so he continued. Seconds later, moderators next tried to shut down his reading of a paragraph from a verbatim transcript of Hal Stocker’s own words (as Supervisor) from the official Supervisors’ meeting focused on Cluster PUD’s in the Foothills. Moderators said the transcript was “off-topic, and in the past.” Audience members again objected, as did the speaker who continued to read.

Final Blunt Fact: The verbatim transcript revealed that Supervisor Stocker not only knew all about this issue way back in March of 2011, but also, further readings of official records indicated. . . cluster requirements and provisions have actually been in our general plans and ordinances since 1996, and all of it fully within Stocker’s overview as 5th District Supervisor for 20 years.

Blunt Question: Who has really been pulling a fast one since 1996?

Fortunately, 5th District Planning Commissioner Warner Phillips, who had not planned to speak at all, unexpectedly did come forward and reassured the audience that in fact, as was described by “the other,” there is nothing hidden about this issue. He added that cluster housing has indeed been in our General Plans and Development Codes going back to 1996. While he invited public participation, he did encourage a more diplomatic approach by the public when airing grievances before the Board of Supervisors.

Nick Spaulding
Oregon House

Yuba County Clustered Development on Hold for Now

eTerritorial Dispatch

By Elden Fowler
31 May 2016

Residential density and clustering in the foothills, once again, has become a hot topic as it pertains to Yuba County's Development Code for rural and agricultural areas. The Planning Commission was scheduled to hear the "Clustered Development" plan at the regularly scheduled May 16th meeting.

Residential clustering development is the grouping of residential properties in a development plan that uses the extra land as open space, or includes recreation or agriculture.

However, those plans were halted when County Council pulled the matter from the agenda after the Planning Commission received a 20 page letter from a San Francisco law firm which seemingly shreds the County's plan.

The letter states "The projects proposes a massive “upzone” of the County's rural and agricultural areas east of the Loma Rica/Browns Valley Community Boundary." The letter continues "the project is flatly inconsistent with the General Plan policies limiting density and prohibiting clustering outside of Rural Community Boundaries.

County Council acknowledged receiving the letter from the firm Shute, Mihaly & Wineberger and, in response, decided the matter should be studied further to evaluate the claims. A decision to bring the matter before the Commission again, or not at all, will be made at a later date after a full review.

The letter raises a host of issues to be considered. Does the Project violate the California Environmental Quality Act? It states "The Initial Study/Negative Declaration's (IS/ND) description of the project is incomplete, and its characterization of the Project as merely implementing the General Plan is misleading and inaccurate." Secondly it states the "IS/ND completely ignores the Project's inconsistency with the policies protecting the rural character of the foothills and mountainous areas...." Third, the letter states the IS/ND glosses over potentially significant impacts, particularly impacts related to inconsistency with the General Plan, the loss of agricultural lands, increased wildfire risks, and groundwater supply. Lastly, the letter states "the IS/ND entirely ignores the Project's potential cumulative impacts."

The San Francisco Law Firm also expressed an opinion on Planning Commissioner Warner Phillips stating "Commissioner Phillips has a conflict and must recuse himself from participating in decision-making on this project." The letter states "The Political Reform Act prohibits public officials from "making, participating in or in any way attempting to use their official position to influence a governmental decision in which they know or have reason to know they have a financial interest."

As documented in the letter, according to the County Assessor's Office, Phillips owns 170 acres north of the Brownsville/Challenge Community which under current development code can now be divided into eight parcels. However, the letter states "under the proposed Project, the same property would be subject to development at a much higher density." The letter continues "the proposed revisions to the Clustered Development provisions would allow development on this agricultural/residential property of up to one dwelling unit per five acres. This density, which would allow for 34 units, would represent a four-fold increase in the property's development potential, thereby increasing the development potential of his property and making it more valuable."

The lawyers expressed their opinion “Commissioner Phillips must publicly disclose his interest, recuse himself from all deliberations and decisions concerning the Project, and leave the room when the Board discusses and votes on any decision concerning the Project..."

A review indicates Phillips disclosed his interest in the referenced property when filling out the 2016 Fair Political Practices Commission Form 700 which requires a disclosure of Investments, interests in real property, and business positions held on the date of assuming office

Phillips was appointed to the Planning Commission in 2015 by 5th District Supervisor Randy Fletcher.

Former 5th District Supervisor Hal Stocker has retained Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger and commissioned the letter to the Planning Commission. Stocker is well known for his long-standing position of controlling development in the foothills.

For now, pending the outcome of the review by County Council, clustered development outside of a community boundary does not appear to be in the County's immediate future.

Cluster Housing-Update

eTerritorial Dispatch

By Hal Stocker
July 11, 2016

At last take, Yuba County's so-called "Cluster" Housing Project was put 'on hold," according to an excellent article by Elden Fowler in the June 1 Territorial Dispatch.

(In my opinion, Cluster Housing is just a sneaky attempt by the county to allow higher density subdivisions throughout the Yuba upper foothills, outside Community Boundaries, just to bankroll favored people and organizations.)

Well, thanks to John Vacek, Yuba County's Chief County counsel, the project is no longer "on hold". It is dead in the water. The county's awkward and illegal attempt to revise Development Code Chapter 11.21 is now rescinded, according to Mr. Vacek's announcement at the regular Planning Commission meeting of June 15.

The thing that turned the tide was a 20-page letter from a San Francisco law firm, Shute, Mihaly, and Weinberger, sent to the county on May 16. This firm has special expertise in land-use matters, and has been very helpful to Yuba County in working on problem project, such as Yuba Highlands and Magnolia Ranch.

On reading the letter from the lawyers, Mr. Vacek abruptly put a hold on the project, aborting any action by the Planning Commission, and announcing "study" of the letter. Then, within 2-3 weeks, the study was over and the project was off.

In their letter the lawyers pointed out a series of problems with Yuba County's own kindergarten version of a clustering plan:

"The project is flatly inconsistent with General Plan policies limiting density and prohibiting clustering outside Rural Community Boundaries."

And "scant analysis violates the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQUA)." There are ''numerous inadequacies and omissions" e.g. and little consideration of "loss of agricultural land ,increased wildfire risk, and ground water supply." And this is just a small sample.

The 20-page letter is a real eye-opener. It certainly should be read by all hill folks who appreciate what they've got. Never fear, the legalese is not so bad. The average person will understand most of it.
The obvious question : How did the county get into this mess? Who did it? It looked like this fiasco was going to be voted in by the supervisors with very little feedback and no vote by the public. It was a close call.

Nick Spaulding, 20-year member [ed. - 41-year member!] of the Fellowship of Friends (FOF), carried the ball for the most part, with letters to the local papers, and with free run of the Government Center to con people with his brand of eloquent (fishy) rhetoric.

Fifth District supervisor, Randy Fletcher played his part in pleasing benefactors (but not the public). At the Board of Supervisors meeting of 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 also thanked the FOF North Yuba Grown for their help in furthering the cluster concept. Fellowshippers Spaulding and Charles Sharpe [sic] made separate comments for the cause. All of this pretty much made for a FOF-oriented kick-off cluster meeting.

And all of this makes for a very unpopular program in the upper foothills . An informal mail survey a couple of months ago showed 97% of 107 local respondent residents in Dobbins-Oregon House
and Brownsville area are against cluster development.

To counter the 104 local residents, Spaulding recruited some 3-4 "stakeholders:"
1. The Cattlemen's Association [especially Tom Richards],
2. The Pacific Legal Foundation, and
3. Soper-Wheeler Timber Company.
Apparently, the 3-4 stakeholders are supposed to carry more weight than 97% of the residents.

And yet, the word is out. The supervisors intend to bring this issue back to the Board, before too long, presumably to revive it.

It should be up to the PEOPLE !.... And not this Board.

It is up to the people to beware and watch out. Pay attention.

Those guys downtown in the fancy building may not have your best interests at heart.
You have the numbers. Let's see the activity.

John Mistler, owner of the Territorial Dispatch, has agreed to run the 20-page letter by the lawyers in the paper's web site , as a public service Thanks John.

Hal Stocker
Challenge, Ca.