The sidewalks of San Francisco will become a battleground for billionaires this election season as a proposition on the ballot, Proposition Q, seeks to tackle the issue of homeless encampments. The measure is sponsored by Supervisor Mark Farrell and supported largely by venture capitalists William Oberndorf, Michael Moritz and Ron Conway according to campaign finance records obtained from the SF Ethics Commission.
Donations to Proposition Q
Oberndorf, a Mill Valley-based investor, spent more than $1.5 million this election cycle in support of Jeb Bush’s race to win the Republican nomination for president.
Moritz, a venture capitalist, drew public attention for his support for and $250,000 donation supporting a 2010 measure that sought to increase city employees’ payments into their generous pension funds……………..
Not that it was easy to forget all the other people I saw while touring Hollywood in the pre-dawn hours Friday.
hotographer Francine Orr and I were traveling with Anthony Ruffin and Rudy Salinas of Housing Works, a nonprofit that steers homeless people into housing and services. Ruffin and Salinas were hoping to use the forecast of rain to talk people into shelter, or into hospitals, depending on the need.
Housing Works is one of the many supporters of Measure HHH on the Nov. 6 ballot in Los Angeles. It would raise $1.2 billion for housing, with the county expected to provide needed services for residents. Salinas said the current critical housing shortage is a killer. Even when Housing Works manages to persuade sick, resistant homeless people to move inside, there’s nowhere to put them.
On Gower Street, near Hollywood Presbyterian Church, Salinas jerked his car to the curb when we saw what looked like a scene out of “Mad Max.”
A razor-thin urchin popped up though a manhole, then disappeared back underground. When he surfaced again, Daniel Martinez, 30, said he’d been homeless for seven years. He claimed he was trying to retrieve a ball that had gone down a storm drain and into the sewer, but we all wondered if there might be a subterranean village down there. In the U.S. homeless capital, who could be shocked?
On Sunset we met up with Eddie “Snake” Carter, 65, a wheelchair-bound double amputee. Carter is on a list called the Hollywood 14, the most chronically ill people in the neighborhood. Ruffin had managed to find housing for him recently, but Carter was a street dweller for 15 or 20 years, and after that much exposure, normal living is what’s scary for some people. It takes time.
Ruffin saw that Carter’s hands and eyes were badly puffed. The last time he was like that, Ruffin said, it turned out to be a staph infection, and he underwent his second amputation. On Friday, Ruffin managed to persuade Carter to accept a ride to the hospital.
No such luck with Rachel “Raquel” Phillips.
She lay asleep on the sidewalk in her usual spot at Highland and Franklin, one of the busiest intersections in Hollywood. Phillips was curled on her right side, facing a hedge. Sometimes she sits and stares at that hedge for hours.
It’s a little intimidating to stand there and watch headlights curving down the hill on Highland. Ruffin and Salinas were worried that if it rained, a car could skid out of control, jump the curb and take Raquel out.
A urine stain ran from Raquel all the way down to the gutter. The pavement is permanently discolored because Raquel has been there, in that same spot, for 15 years.
Standing at her side, I felt a mix of anger, sadness, shame. It couldn’t be any more obvious that she’s too incapacitated to act in her own best interest, and if the law doesn’t put her welfare and our duty first, it has to be changed.
“There’s dozens of people like this, all over L.A.,” said Ruffin.
Ruffin and others, including members of the Hollywood First United Methodist Church, have tried desperately to help. The Rev. Kathy Cooper Ledesma said she supports civil liberties, but Raquel is so gravely ill, it’s unconscionable that she be given the right to slowly deteriorate.
“It’s a crime for any decent society to have children and the elderly and mentally ill folks living on the street. It’s just a sin,” said Cooper Ledesma.
She said she usually refrains from recommending how her congregants should vote, but she hasn’t been shy about sharing her support for Measure HHH. It might not help someone like Raquel, who seems to need hospitalization more than housing. But given the huge homeless population — more than 43,000 in Greater Los Angeles — Cooper Ledesma fears more people will end up like Raquel if they don’t get into supportive housing.
“We need to put an intentional focus on the least and the lost, which is what Jesus did,” she said.
Once, Ruffin managed to get Raquel hospitalized, but she was back out quickly. On more than one occasion, Ruffin said, county health workers have determined she was not sick enough to meet the legal requirements for an involuntary psychiatric commitment.
Ruffin was praying for rain. If it came down hard enough, he would call the county and ask if they’d come see if Raquel could be hospitalized for her own health and safety.
“All I can do is wait till it rains,” he said. “It’s almost like a death watch.”
Indeed, three people on the Hollywood 14 list have died since 2013.
It didn’t rain hard enough for Raquel’s benefit. Ruffin got down on the pavement, looked into her eyes and asked her to please accept some help. She told him her mother would be coming by to write a check so she could stay in a motel.
Ruffin got back to his feet.
“Her mother’s been dead for years,” he told me.
It wasn’t all gloom and doom Friday. I met up midmorning with L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who’s been stumping for Measure HHH, arguing that in some cases, supportive housing can cost less than all the public safety and hospitalization costs associated with homelessness.
Garcetti was visiting a woman we met together in May while touring a Hollywood drop-in center. The mayor’s staff helped get Natalia Franco off the streets, and since mid-August she’s been living at Step Up on Vine, a heralded nonprofit that provides housing and mental health services.
Franco said she’s still adjusting to her new life indoors, but it’s good to be “out of the weather.”
Later in the day, I heard back from Ruffin, who said he’d make another attempt on Monday to get Raquel to a hospital.
“It’s like a waiting game, waiting on her to get really sick or die,” said Ruffin. “And you’ve got people like this all over L.A.”
A Uranium One sign that points to a 35,000-acre ranch owned by John Christensen, near the town of Gillette, Wyo. Uranium One has the mining rights to Mr. Christensen’s property.Credit Matthew Staver for The New York Times
Beyond mines in Kazakhstan that are among the most lucrative in the world, the sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton’s wife,Hillary Rodham Clinton.
As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.
And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.
Frank Giustra, right, a mining financier, has donated $31.3 million to the foundation run by former President Bill Clinton, left.CreditJoaquin Sarmiento/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
At the time, both Rosatom and the United States government made promises intended to ease concerns about ceding control of the company’s assets to the Russians. Those promises have been repeatedly broken, records show.
The New York Times’s examination of the Uranium One deal is based on dozens of interviews, as well as a review of public records and securities filings in Canada,Russia and the United States. Some of the connections between Uranium One and the Clinton Foundation were unearthed by Peter Schweizer, a former fellow at the right-leaning Hoover Institution and author of the forthcoming book “Clinton Cash.” Mr. Schweizer provided a preview of material in the book to The Times, which scrutinized his information and built upon it with its own reporting.
Whether the donations played any role in the approval of the uranium deal is unknown. But the episode underscores the special ethical challenges presented by the Clinton Foundation, headed by a former president who relied heavily on foreign cash to accumulate $250 million in assets even as his wife helped steer American foreign policy as secretary of state, presiding over decisions with the potential to benefit the foundation’s donors.
In a statement, Brian Fallon, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign, said no one “has ever produced a shred of evidence supporting the theory that Hillary Clinton ever took action as secretary of state to support the interests of donors to the Clinton Foundation.” He emphasized that multiple United States agencies, as well as the Canadian government, had signed off on the deal and that, in general, such matters were handled at a level below the secretary. “To suggest the State Department, under then-Secretary Clinton, exerted undue influence in the U.S. government’s review of the sale of Uranium One is utterly baseless,” he added.
American political campaigns are barred from accepting foreign donations. But foreigners may give to foundations in the United States. In the days since Mrs. Clinton announced her candidacy for president, the Clinton Foundation has announced changes meant to quell longstanding concerns about potential conflicts of interest in such donations; it has limited donations from foreign governments, with many, like Russia’s, barred from giving to all but its health care initiatives. That policy stops short of a more stringent agreement between Mrs. Clinton and the Obama administration that was in effect while she was secretary of state.
Either way, the Uranium One deal highlights the limits of such prohibitions. The foundation will continue to accept contributions from foreign sources whose interests, like Uranium One’s, may overlap with those of foreign governments, some of which may be at odds with the United States.
When the Uranium One deal was approved, the geopolitical backdrop was far different from today’s. The Obama administration was seeking to “reset” strained relations with Russia. The deal was strategically important to Mr. Putin, who shortly after the Americans gave their blessing sat down for a staged interview with Rosatom’s chief executive, Sergei Kiriyenko. “Few could have imagined in the past that we would own 20 percent of U.S. reserves,” Mr. Kiriyenko told Mr. Putin.
Now, after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in Ukraine, the Moscow-Washington relationship is devolving toward Cold War levels, a point several experts made in evaluating a deal so beneficial to Mr. Putin, a man known to use energy resources to project power around the world.
“Should we be concerned? Absolutely,” said Michael McFaul, who served under Mrs. Clinton as the American ambassador to Russia but said he had been unaware of the Uranium One deal until asked about it. “Do we want Putin to have a monopoly on this? Of course we don’t. We don’t want to be dependent on Putin for anything in this climate.”
A Seat at the Table
The path to a Russian acquisition of American uranium deposits began in 2005 in Kazakhstan, where the Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra orchestrated his first big uranium deal, with Mr. Clinton at his side.
The two men had flown aboard Mr. Giustra’s private jet to Almaty, Kazakhstan, where they dined with the authoritarian president, Nursultan A. Nazarbayev. Mr. Clinton handed the Kazakh president a propaganda coup when he expressed support for Mr. Nazarbayev’s bid to head an international elections monitoring group, undercutting American foreign policy and criticism of Kazakhstan’s poor human rights record by, among others, his wife, then a senator.
Within days of the visit, Mr. Giustra’s fledgling company, UrAsia Energy Ltd., signed a preliminary deal giving it stakes in three uranium mines controlled by the state-run uranium agency Kazatomprom.
If the Kazakh deal was a major victory, UrAsia did not wait long before resuming the hunt. In 2007, it merged with Uranium One, a South African company with assets in Africa and Australia, in what was described as a $3.5 billion transaction. The new company, which kept the Uranium One name, was controlled by UrAsia investors including Ian Telfer, a Canadian who became chairman. Through a spokeswoman, Mr. Giustra, whose personal stake in the deal was estimated at about $45 million, said he sold his stake in 2007.
Soon, Uranium One began to snap up companies with assets in the United States. In April 2007, it announced the purchase of a uranium mill in Utah and more than 38,000 acres of uranium exploration properties in four Western states, followed quickly by the acquisition of the Energy Metals Corporation and its uranium holdings in Wyoming, Texas and Utah. That deal made clear that Uranium One was intent on becoming “a powerhouse in the United States uranium sector with the potential to become the domestic supplier of choice for U.S. utilities,” the company declared.
Ian Telfer was chairman of Uranium One and made large donations to the Clinton Foundation.CreditGalit Rodan/Bloomberg, via Getty Images
Still, the company’s story was hardly front-page news in the United States — until early 2008, in the midst of Mrs. Clinton’s failed presidential campaign, when The Times published an article revealing the 2005 trip’s link to Mr. Giustra’s Kazakhstan mining deal. It also reported that several months later, Mr. Giustra had donated $31.3 million to Mr. Clinton’s foundation.
(In a statement issued after this article appeared online, Mr. Giustra said he was “extremely proud” of his charitable work with Mr. Clinton, and he urged the media to focus on poverty, health care and “the real challenges of the world.”)
Though the 2008 article quoted the former head of Kazatomprom, Moukhtar Dzhakishev, as saying that the deal required government approval and was discussed at a dinner with the president, Mr. Giustra insisted that it was a private transaction, with no need for Mr. Clinton’s influence with Kazakh officials. He described his relationship with Mr. Clinton as motivated solely by a shared interest in philanthropy.
As if to underscore the point, five months later Mr. Giustra held a fund-raiser for the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative, a project aimed at fostering progressive environmental and labor practices in the natural resources industry, to which he had pledged $100 million. The star-studded gala, at a conference center in Toronto, featured performances by Elton John and Shakira and celebrities like Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Robin Williams encouraging contributions from the many so-called F.O.F.s — Friends of Frank — in attendance, among them Mr. Telfer. In all, the evening generated $16 million in pledges, according to an article in The Globe and Mail.
“None of this would have been possible if Frank Giustra didn’t have a remarkable combination of caring and modesty, of vision and energy and iron determination,” Mr. Clinton told those gathered, adding: “I love this guy, and you should, too.”
But what had been a string of successes was about to hit a speed bump.
Arrest and Progress
By June 2009, a little over a year after the star-studded evening in Toronto, Uranium One’s stock was in free-fall, down 40 percent. Mr. Dzhakishev, the head of Kazatomprom, had just been arrested on charges that he illegally sold uranium deposits to foreign companies, including at least some of those won by Mr. Giustra’s UrAsia and now owned by Uranium One.
Publicly, the company tried to reassure shareholders. Its chief executive, Jean Nortier, issued a confident statement calling the situation a “complete misunderstanding.” He also contradicted Mr. Giustra’s contention that the uranium deal had not required government blessing. “When you do a transaction in Kazakhstan, you need the government’s approval,” he said, adding that UrAsia had indeed received that approval.
Donations to the Clinton Foundation, and a Russian Uranium Takeover
By WILSON ANDREWS
Uranium investors’ efforts to buy mining assets in Kazakhstan and the United States led to a takeover bid by a Russian state-owned energy company. The investors gave millions to the Clinton Foundation over the same period, while Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s office was involved with approving the Russian bid. RELATED ARTICLE
Danny Williams has claimed to be the illegitimate son of Bill Clinton since 1999
Recently he has started trying to get the Clintons to acknowledge his claim again. Danny’s mother worked as an escort in Arkansas in the 80s claims that Bill Clinton hired her when he was the governor of Arkansas. The two have produced little other evidence to support their claim.
Trump You are so bad, 10 years ago you said all the horrible things about women… TSK TSK TSK..
Oh wait, you hates Trump but you love E.L. James because she is a woman author and it was a FICTION. You know. FICTION. FANTASY VOYEUR .. an erotic tale of a BDSM with rich men!
“Fifty Shades of Grey,” fired back at Walsh on Sunday. James’ novel is an erotic tale of a BDSM relationship between wealthy Christian Grey and the naive Anastasia Steele. But James made clear that she saw no connection between her book and Trump’s statement. The word Trump used to describe women’s genitals “does not appear” in her book, she tweeted adding, “And it’s fiction. You know. FICTION. #LearnTheDifference and #GrowUp”.
The Fifty Shades Darker trailer set a new record for views in its first day
Over the Force Awakens
by Lizzie Plaugic @space_clam Sep 15, 2016, 5:50p
In its first 24 hours of existence, the trailer for the sequel to last year’s Fifty Shades of Grey garnered more views than the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens did in its first day. The Fifty Shades Darker trailer was viewed more than 114 million times during a one-day time frame, according to Deadline. The Force Awakens trailer previously held that record with 112 million views.
The first Fifty Shades of Grey movie was wildly successful, at least in terms of money, if not critical acclaim. It was the sixth R-rated movie to gross more than $500 million, according to Forbes, so it’s not surprising there’s still a lot of interest in its sequel.
E.L. James, the author of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” fired back on Sunday. James’ novel is an erotic tale of a BDSM relationship between wealthy Christian Grey and the naive Anastasia Steele. But James made clear that she saw no connection between her book and Trump’s statement. The word Trump used to describe women’s genitals “does not appear” in her book, she tweeted adding, “And it’s fiction. You know. FICTION. #LearnTheDifference and #GrowUp”.
Other Twitter users were quick to condemn Walsh, an Illinois Republican. Author Joanne Harris responded to Walsh: “One word. Consent. Look it up if you’re not sure.”
Trump Campaign Calls Trio of Clinton Reports ‘Deeply Troubling’
The campaign of Donald Trump on Thursday flagged three “deeply troubling” news reports on the alleged influence of Clinton Foundation donors on the State Department during Hillary Clinton’s stint as secretary of state.
Clinton oversaw the lifting of an investment ban in Burma that benefited Clinton Foundation donors, tried to arrange government contracts for her daughter’s friend, and had aides coordinate activity between the department and family foundation, according to reports in The Daily Beast, Washington Free Beacon and Washington Examiner.
The Free Beacon and Examiner accounts were based on the almost 200 pages of emails released by the State Department on Wednesday.
“The more that comes out, the clearer it is that the Clinton State Department was for all intents and purposes an arm of the Clinton Foundation,” senior communications adviser Jason Miller said in a statement.
“The fact that Hillary Clinton was handing out government contracts to family friends, siding with Clinton Foundation donors over human rights activists in Burma and having her aides coordinate activity between the State Department and her foundation is deeply troubling.”
According to the Daily Beast, the May 2012 investment ban lift in Burma for U.S. businesses resulted in more than two dozen corporations who donated to the Clinton Foundation investing there, and “many of those corporations lobbied the State Department during Clinton’s tenure there.”
Separately, the Free Beacon – citing the new batch of emails released by the State Department – reported in 2009, Clinton arranged meetings between Jacqueline Newmyer Deal, a friend of Chelsea Clinton and head of the defense consulting group Long Term Strategy Group, with Pentagon officials that involved contracting discussions.
The emails also showed she tried to help Deal win a contract for consulting work with the State Department’s director of policy planning, the Free Beacon reported.
The Examiner, also citing the new emails, reported Clinton’s staff tried to accommodate former President Bill Clinton’s paid speeches and her family’s foundation – and aides “teamed up with the foundation to perform donor maintenance, craft messaging on key policies, and put together guest lists for both diplomatic and philanthropic events.”
Nannygate, Travelgate, Whitewater, Filegate: it’s tough to remember all the scandals that plagued then-President Bill and Hillary Clinton through the ’90s. For millennials — here’s what you missed. For everyone else, here’s a refresher. (Sarah Parnass, Adriana Usero/The Washington Post)
n 1994, former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones alleged in a lawsuit that Bill Clinton groped her in a hotel room three years earlier. Hillary Clinton wrote in her autobiography, “Living History,” that she erred in opposing an early settlement.
Eventually, Bill Clinton settled for $850,000. During discovery, Jones’s attorneys found out about White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
Her husband denied the relationship, and Hillary Clinton blamed the allegations on a “vast right-wing conspiracy.”
Asked on “Good Morning America” if her husband had been truthful, she said, “I know he has.”
A former White House aide who spoke on the conditions of anonymity totalk about private discussions said Hillary Clinton blamed the scandal on political enemies and insisted that privacy was sacred.
Bill Clinton admitted his untruthfulness in August 1998.