Saturday, April 30, 2016

Grau narrows gap with Bennett in fund-raising for supervisor’s seat

Grau narrows gap with Bennett in fund-raising for supervisor’s seat: "Grau narrows gap with Bennett in fund-raising for supervisor’s seat
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Steve Bennett

David Grau
By Kathleen Wilson of the Ventura County Star

First-time candidate David Grau has narrowed the fundraising gap between him and incumbent county Supervisor Steve Bennett after strong results in the first four months of the year, campaign finance filings show.

Grau's campaign for the 1st District seat on the Ventura County Board of Supervisors has reported raising close to $61,000 since January. That topped the approximately $47,000 reported by Bennett over the period.

That puts Grau about $24,000 behind Bennett in total contributions reported to date, according to financial statements. Grau lagged by close to $40,000 at the end of last year.

The odds are still stacked against Grau because he's taking on an incumbent, but his fundraising totals are impressive, said Herb Gooch, professor of political science at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks.

Gooch said fundraising is most important when there's a big imbalance, which is not the case so far in the race.

Still, for Grau to win, he would need to attract a lot of new voters in addition to the coalition of business and agricultural interests backing him, Gooch said.

"Steve wins very consistently," Gooch said.

With the campaign entering its final weeks before the June 7 election, Grau's total over the campaign now stands at roughly $143,000, while Bennett topped $167,000.

Many of Grau's contributions have come from agricultural and business interests, including contractors, partners in Anterra Energy Co. and ranchers. He is also supported by fellow members of the Ventura County Taxpayers Association.

Grau is a former chairman of the taxpayers group who helped lead an unsuccessful effort to phase out the county pension system. He is promoting a pro-jobs agenda.

Bennett is known mainly for leading the successful drive to require voter approval for development of farmland and open space. Such measures are expected to be on the ballot for renewal until 2050 in November.

Bennett is heavily backed by retirees, who accounted for close to two-thirds of the contributors in his report for the first four months of the year. Others include writers, health care professionals, government employees and an Amgen executive.

Endorsements posted on the candidates' websites also shed some light on who is supporting the candidates' election bids, although some don't live in the Ventura-based district and could not vote.

Bennett has been endorsed by labor unions, the Ventura County Democratic Party, and Democratic officeholders on the state, federal and local levels. Grau has been endorsed by the Ventura County Republican Party.

Both candidates are endorsed by individuals aligned with their causes.

Local officeholders also are listed as supporters for both. Bennett has more who live within the Ventura-based district.

Spending has been minimal so far, but Gooch expects it to heat up in the final weeks. Both men have spent about $50,000, well under the voluntary cap of $200,000. Each has reported a cash balance in the neighborhood of $100,000.

The winner of the four-year term will take office in January. The 1st District spans the Ojai Valley, Ventura, part of Oxnard and coastal communities north of Ventura."



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Ff VENTURA county

CAFE SOCIETY

Cafe Society: No vowels, but plenty of early success as BLVD BRGR Co. opens in Camarillo 

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LISA MCKINNON/THE STAR A cherry-lime milkshake is served in a glass rimmed with Fruity Pebbles cereal at BLVD BRGR Co., a new restaurant in Old Town Camarillo.

Image credit: LISA MCKINNON/THE STAR

12:03 p.m.

LISA MCKINNON/THE STAR Owners John Stewart, left, and Vince Pillard pose in front of BLVD BRGR Co., the restaurant they opened this month in Old Town Camarillo.
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LISA MCKINNON/THE STAR Buns are proofed and baked on site for BLVD BRGR Co. dishes like the BACN BRGR, which includes garlic aioli, cheddar cheese and smashed avocado.
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LISA MCKINNON/THE STAR Sara Stiteler, manager at BLVD BRGR Co. in Camarillo, poses with the
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LISA MCKINNON/THE STAR Chef Ruben Garnica holds a SCRPION BRGR made with a chile relleno and Pepper Jack cheese at BLVD BRGR Co. in Camarillo.
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Looking at the sign outside their new restaurant in Old Town Camarillo, you might think that John Stewart and Vince Pillardneed to buy a few vowels.

They're good, thanks.

"We were looking for something that was fun and had a sense of place," Pillard said of choosing the name for BLVD BRGR Co., which is his second restaurant in the neighborhood and Stewart's first restaurant, period.

The name was inspired by the business' Ventura Boulevard address and by the main items on the menu: certified Angus beef patties served on buns that are proofed and baked on site, with add-ons that include cold-smoked apple wood bacon and jalape├▒o onion hash.

Featured burgers include the JUSTA BRGR, made with red onion, garlic aioli and heirloom tomato jam ($7.95) and the SCRPION BRGR, which gets its spice from a house-made chile relleno stuffed with pepperjack cheese ($12.95).

Options include a vegetarian burger that swaps out the beef for a slice of tempura-battered pineapple ($6.50), an array of salads (aka SLADs, $6.50 to $9.50) and sides like shishito peppers in cilantro-ranch dressing ($3.95).

Milkshakes ($4.95) are served in glasses rimmed with Cocoa Pebbles cereal (for peanut butter-Nutella) or confetti-colored Fruity Pebbles (for cherry-lime). Some flavors can be turned into "adult" milkshakes with the addition of beer.

"My main concern was that we serve a high-quality burger, with beer in a cold glass," said Stewart, vice president of manufacturing for a Camarillo company. (The opening-week tap list includes beers from Golden Road of Los Angeles and Tap It of San Luis Obispo.)

Stewart was celebrating a business success when he met Pillard and wife Annette Natella at Twenty88 Restaurant & Martini Lounge, which the couple opened as a wine bistro in 2011. (They added a full-bar license two years later, when the restaurant expanded into a neighboring space.)

A friendship was born and jokes about opening a burger joint together became more serious with each passing year, Stewart said.

He and Pillard had already looked at several locations when the former Panini Place space became available late last year. The ensuing remodel included jobs large (installing a kitchen hood) and DIY (Pillard laid the aluminum tiles that cover the wall around the kitchen pass-through).

BLVD BRGR Co. opened on April 23 with what was supposed to be a weekend's worth of supplies on hand. The crowd blew through those on the first day, forcing the posting of a "sold out" sign on the front door.

On Monday, their first day back, Pillard and the crew run by manager Sara Stiteler and chef Ruben Garnica still were fine-tuning some of the details.

"Weren't we putting the pineapple on top of the patty on Saturday?" Pillard asked as he inspected an ALOHA BRGR ($10.50) in which the pineapple ring, wrapped in a light tempura coating, rested under the cheese-covered patty.

Still to come are a children's menu and, by popular demand, a gluten-free option that goes beyond replacing buns with lettuce-leaf wraps.

"Our patties are 5.3 ounces before cooking. They're too big and juicy for that," Pillard said.

But other requests are less feasible.

"We've been getting calls for reservations, which we're not really set up to take," Pillard said, spreading his arms to indicate the restaurant's order-at-the-counter space furnished with a few tables and counters at the bar and in the window. Patio seating includes a picnic tables.

Or, if you prefer, PCNC TBLS.

Hours are from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays (2145 Ventura Blvd., 805-389-9200, https://www.facebook.com/Blvdbrgr).

IN MEMORIAM

Masao "Masa" Tomimitsu, who co-founded Masa Sushi Japanese Restaurant in Camarilloin 1984 with wife Yuko Tomimitsu, died on April 20 at age 67. (The couple sold the restaurant in 2014.) Services for Tomimitsu will take place at 2 p.m. April 30. To read his obituary, go to http://bit.ly/1NP82m7.

Longtime Ventura restaurateur Edmund "Ed" Warren died April 21 at age 87. Warren and wife Hilda Warren opened the first of two Warren's Restaurant sites in 1963 at what is now the Busy Bee Cafe. In 1970, they turned the Santa Clara House, also known as city landmark No. 78, into The Big Green House, a restaurant known for serving "chicken, steak and chocolate cake" (the location now is home to The Tavern). Services for Warren took place on Monday. To read his obituary, click on http://bit.ly/1SUMlZh.

AN OPENING ACT AND COMING ATTRACTIONS

The newest arrival to the Ventura County food-truck scene is Les Munchies, specializing in what co-owner Rachelle Adrian calls "French-Canadian fusion."

The menu includes brioche pastries with toppings ranging from cinnamon sugar to dark chocolate and smoked sea salt, plus poutines made with lobster or andouille sausage. (Gluten free and vegan versions are available, too.). The truck has been seen at Enegren Brewing Co. in Moorpark and is scheduled to make its First Thursdays Food Truck Night debut from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday in Oxnard's Plaza Park(http://www.lesmunchies.com).

DeLiteFul Restaurant is slated to open in mid May at what used to be Johnny Rockets at The Oaks shopping center in Thousand Oaks. The restaurant will specialize in low-carb, no-added-sugars fare, and is described on its website as being a gluten- and wheat-free facility. It also will serve sugar-free "adult coffees" and milkshakes. The Thousand Oaks Planning Commission this week OK'd the restaurant's application to offer live music (322 W. Hillcrest Drive, http://delitefulmeals.com).

As co-owners of Prospect Coffee Roasters in Ventura, brothers Derek and Blake Ulrichhave been doing their roasting at a Goodyear Avenue business park for more than a year. Now they're turning up the heat and working on opening a coffeehouse at a separate location.

Their chosen space is on the cusp between the city's midtown and downtown neighborhoods, at the corner of Laurel and Santa Clara streets. The address was last occupied by the offices of Ticla, a "lifestyle car camping company," and by Buffalo Records before that. The build out is expected to be "popping by the end of June," according to a post to Prospect's Instagramaccount (92 S. Laurel St., http://www.prospectcoffee.com).

ALL ABOUT MOM

If my Mom 1). lived in Ventura County and 2). didn't have a pretty strict policy against going out to eat on Mother's Day, I might consider taking her to one of the following places on May 8.

In MoorparkCafe Firenze will serve a Champagne brunch (think poached pear salads) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. ($50 adults, $15 for kids), followed by a la carte dinner selections from 5 p.m. (563 W. Los Angeles Ave., 805-532-0048, http://www.cafefirenze.net).

In Ojai, tables on the lawn at Boccali's Pizza & Pasta (3277 E. Ojai Ave., 805-646-6116, http://boccalis.com) will be the setting for a Mother's Day buffet from noon to 6:30 p.m. ($23.95 adults, $12 for kids 10 and younger).

In Oxnard, Tierra Sur, the restaurant inside Herzog Wine Cellars, will serve tomato melon salad, sous vide veal schnitzel, orange-cherry ├ęclairs and other dishes during a prix fixe brunch ($85 adults, $35 for kids) available from noon to 6:30 p.m. (3201 Camino del Sol, 805-983-1560, http://www.tierrasuratherzog.com).

In Simi Valley, brunch from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Reagan Library ($85 for adults, $39 for children ages 3 to 10) can be followed by tours of Air Force One and the ongoing "Vatican Splendors" exhibit (40 Presidential Drive, 805-577-4057, https://www.reaganfoundation.org).

In VenturaThe Sportsman Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge offers the sort of genuinely old-school / "Mad Men"esque atmosphere my mom and I both admire. Its brunch service from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. will include mimosas and stations devoted to prime rib, seafood, omelets, salads and desserts. The price ($31.95) is the same whether you go to the original Ventura location (53 S. California St., 805-643-2851) or the newer site in Camarillo (4426 Central Ave., 805-988-9777).

For additional ideas, check the updated version of this list when it is posted Tuesday to the Facebook page VCS Eats.

JUST SO YOU KNOW

The Sunday Life version of Cafe Society will take a breather next week. It will return on May 15. The Time Out version of the column will publish on May 6, as regularly scheduled.


Lisa McKinnon is a staff writer for The Star. Her Cafe Society column appears in the Sunday Life section and Fridays in the Time Out section. For between-column updates, follow 805foodie on Twitter and Instagram and "like" the Facebook page VCS Eats. Please send email to lisa.mckinnon@vcstar.com.


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Friday, April 29, 2016

Read This: "Recipe for ISIS Disaster: Sunni Terrorism. Western Bombs. Repeat."

One para
The West has been waging its war on terror for 14 years. The result? Instead of a couple of hundred dangerous international terrorists, we now have over 100,000. And 1.3 million dead in the Middle East.

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Pro-Palestine students protest Univ. of Maryland IsraelFEST

http://usat.ly/1SXNsla



Sent using ShareThis Hundreds of students participated in IsraelFEST activities throughout the day. The Jewish Student Union organized the festival, but Maryland Hillel, Israel on Campus Coalition, University of Maryland Student Government Association, as well as many other organizations also sponsored the event.

Sara Fey Goldstein, vice president of Cultural Affairs of Maryland's Jewish Student Union, says the protest was not in the spirit of the event.

"JSU's take is that this is a cultural event, not a political event. While there is freedom of speech and assembly, which I completely understand, it was a disturbance to the event," says Goldstein. "There are politics and … there are two sides to the story, but when it disturbs an event that people worked hard on it becomes disrespectful."



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Thursday, April 28, 2016

AP Mobile: Casualties mount from bombardment in Syria's largest city

Casualties mount from bombardment in Syria's largest city

BEIRUT (AP) - Airstrikes and artillery killed more than 60 people in the past 24 hours in Aleppo, including dozens at a hospi...

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Update at 8:37 PM
By: SARAH EL DEEB and PHILIP ISSA

BEIRUT (AP) - Airstrikes and artillery killed more than 60 people in the past 24 hours in Aleppo, including dozens at a hospital in a rebel-held neighborhood, as Syria's largest city was turned once again into a major battleground in the civil war, officials said Thursday.
Aid agencies warn that Aleppo is on the brink of a humanitarian disaster with the collapse of a two-month cease-fire and stalled peace talks.
The intensified violence - by far the worst since the partial cease-fire began - coincides with reports of a military buildup outside Aleppo that many fear is a prelude for a government attempt to force a complete siege of the city's neighborhoods.
Battle-hardened residents were shocked by the bloodshed. Opposition activists accused the government of carpet-bombing rebel-controlled areas, while Syrian state media said more than 1,000 mortar rounds and rockets were fired at government-held districts, killing 22 people.
Video posted online by opposition activists showed rescuers pulling bodies from shattered buildings in the rebel neighborhoods of Sukkari, Kallasa and Bustan al-Qasr.
In one scene, a building's staircase hung sideways and old men were sobbing.
"The walls, cupboards, everything fell on top of them," cried one man. In another, a clearly terrified small girl with pigtails wept silently while held by a man.
A blond girl walked from the rubble behind her mother, questioning why they were bombed. "What have we done?" she cried.
In the rebel-held Sukkari neighborhood, 27 people died as a well-known field hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders and the International Committee for the Red Cross was hit overnight, along with nearby buildings, according to opposition activists and rescue workers.
U.N. envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura appealed to the U.S. and Russia to help revive the peace talks and cease-fire, which he said "hangs by a thread."
However, the violence only escalated.
Chief opposition negotiator Mohammed Alloush blamed the government of President Bashar Assad for the violence, saying it shows "the environment is not conducive to any political action."
"What is happening is a crime of ethnic and sectarian cleansing by all means," Alloush told The Associated Press, adding it was an attempt by Assad's government to drive residents from Aleppo.
But a citizen journalist said there was little sign of people fleeing the city.
"Where can they go?" said Bahaa al-Halaby.
A Damascus-based Syrian military official denied the government had hit the hospital. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov also denied bombing any hospitals in Aleppo, saying its aircraft have not flown any missions in the region for several days.
Col. Steve Warren, the spokesman for the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State group, said fighter jets from the international coalition have not carried out any airstrikes in Aleppo in the past 24 hours.
About 200 civilians have been killed in the past week in Syria, nearly half of them around Aleppo.
With the U.N.-sponsored peace talks in Geneva completely deadlocked, Syrians are watching the escalating violence with dread, fearing that Aleppo is likely to be the focus of the next, more vicious phase of the 5-year-old war.
The hospital that was hit in Sukkari has been one of the main medical centers for Aleppo since the city became divided in 2012.
Among the 27 dead were 14 patients and staff, including three children and six employees, officials said. A dentist and one of the last pediatricians in opposition-held areas of Aleppo were among the victims. The toll was expected to rise.
The 34-bed, multistory hospital, the area's main pediatric care center, was "hit by direct airstrike," according to a statement by Doctors Without Borders, also known by its French acronym MSF.
The hospital had an emergency room, an intensive care unit and an operating room, and its eight doctors and 28 nurses offered services such as obstetric care, outpatient and inpatient treatment, the MSF said. The group has supported the hospital since 2012.
The 250,000 people still in Aleppo will now have to find an alternative facility for care, said Sam Taylor, who is Syria communications coordinator for MSF and is based in Amman, Jordan.
"We're absolutely appalled," he told AP.
Dating to the 1990s, the hospital was renamed for one of the uprising's early victims, Basel Aslan, after the area came under rebel control. Aslan had been detained by security forces and tortured to death, said civil defense volunteer Ibrahim Alhaj.
The civil defense, also known as the White Helmets, said the hospital and adjacent buildings were struck in four consecutive airstrikes.
Video posted by the White Helmets showed lifeless bodies, including children, being pulled from a building and loaded into ambulances amid screams and wailing. Distraught rescue workers tried to keep away onlookers, apparently fearing more bombs.
Shortly after midday Thursday, new airstrikes in rebel-held areas killed at least 20 people in two neighborhoods, the Syrian Civil Defense and the Observatory said.
Videos by activists showed dust and smoke rising from burning buildings as men and women ran from collapsing houses and children cried, looking for their parents.
Syrian lawmaker Omar Ossi, part of the government delegation at the Geneva talks, blamed the escalation on Turkey and Saudi Arabia as patrons of the rebels.
"The Syrian army will be able to regain the initiative and rein in this Turkish interference," he said.
Humanitarian officials said the fighting is putting millions at grave risk.
The U.N. won't be able to reach embattled Syrians if the intensified violence continues on and near aid convoys, said Jan Egeland, an adviser to the U.N. envoy, adding that in the last three days, one convoy into Homs was hit by a mortar round and another had to stop several times due to air raids.
Egeland decried a "catastrophic deterioration" of the security situation in Aleppo, saying a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of Syrians "may be broken."
The ICRC said stocks of contingency food and medical aid are expected to run out soon and warned that an escalation in fighting means that they cannot be replenished.
The partial cease-fire that began Feb. 27 held for weeks. Formally called a "cessation of hostilities," it was never meant to be a total truce because it excluded extremists such as the Islamic State group and its rival al-Qaida branch, the Nusra Front.
It frayed further recently as casualties mounted, particularly in Aleppo and other parts of northern Syria. Airstrikes this week hit a training center in rural Aleppo for the Syrian Civil Defense, killing five volunteers.
Since April 19, nearly 200 people have died, including 44 in an airstrike on a market in a rebel-held area in northern Syria's Idlib province. Dozens of civilians also were killed by rebel shelling in government-held areas. There also has been shelling in Damascus, along with a car bombing - both rare for the capital.
De Mistura, the U.N. envoy, told the Security Council via videoconference that after 60 days, the truce "hangs by a thread."
"I really fear that the erosion of the cessation is unraveling the fragile consensus around a political solution, carefully built over the last year," he said. "Now I see parties reverting to the language of a military solution or military option. We must ensure that they do not see that as a solution or an option."
The talks foundered last week after the main opposition group, called the High Negotiating Committee, suspended its formal participation to protest alleged cease-fire violations by the government, a drop in humanitarian aid deliveries and no progress in winning the release of detainees.

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​Citing 'racism' and 'sexism,' Democrats plan protest at Donald Trump rally in Orange County Apr 28 16


​​
Citing 'racism' and 'sexism,' Democrats plan protest at Donald Trump rally in Orange County

Donald Trump

Donald Trump speaks during a Republican presidential primary debate at the University of Houston on Feb. 25, 2016.

 (David J. Phillip / AP)

Donald Trump's rally Thursday evening in Costa Mesa is expected to draw loyalists as well as protesters.

The rally comes two days after backers and opponents of Trump clashed outside Anaheim City Hall before the City Council voted on a resolution condemning the presidential candidate and GOP front-runner. The resolution was not approved.

Protesters in Anaheim used pepper spray, and several people were treated by paramedics.

Election 2016 | Live coverage on Trail Guide | April 26 primary election results | Track the delegate race | Sign up for the newsletter  

Trump is leading in several recent polls in California. He has both supporters and detractors in Orange County. The county remains Republican, but it's not the stronghold it once was. 

Republican registration is now at about 40%, down from nearly 60% a generation ago. Though Republicans still outnumber Democrats in Orange County, their shrinking ranks hurt the GOP on the statewide level.

The Democratic Party of Orange County and Orange County Young Democrats announced Wednesday they are coordinating a protest against Trump on Thursday in Costa Mesa.

"We do not believe that there is any room for racism, sexism, religious bigotry, disregard for international law, violence or any other such phenomena in our political discourse," the Orange County Young Democrats said in a statement. "As such, we expressly condemn Donald Trump, declare that his values are not Orange County's values, and we urge all other citizens of Orange County to do the same."

Join the conversation on Facebook >>

California's presidential primary is June 7, though many voters are expected to cast their ballots by mail before then.

Tickets for Trump's Costa Mesa rally are free for those who register at www.donaldjtrump.com/schedule. No banners, posters, signs, GoPros, selfie sticks or professional cameras with detachable lenses, tripods or monopods will be permitted.

The fairgrounds are at 88 Fair Drive.

Times Community News writer Bradley Zint and Los Angeles Times staff writer Michael Finnegan contributed to this report.

lucas.money@latimes.com

Twitter: @LukeMMoney 

ALSO

How is Donald Trump affecting American culture?

Donald Trump says illegal immigration is at a record high. He's wrong

A Trump-Clinton general election poses a question: Which one does America hate less?


Citing 'racism' and 'sexism,' Democrats plan protest at Donald Trump rally in Orange County - LA Times

Citing 'racism' and 'sexism,' Democrats plan protest at Donald Trump rally in Orange County - LA Times: "The Democratic Party of Orange County and Orange County Young Democrats announced Wednesday they are coordinating a protest against Trump on Thursday in Costa Mesa.

“We do not believe that there is any room for racism, sexism, religious bigotry, disregard for international law, violence or any other such phenomena in our political discourse,” the Orange County Young Democrats said in a statement. “As such, we expressly condemn Donald Trump, declare that his values are not Orange County’s values, and we urge all other citizens of Orange County to do the same.”

Join the conversation on Facebook >>

California’s presidential primary is June 7, though many voters are expected to cast their ballots by mail before then."



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Op-Ed The battle for truth over Saudi Arabia's ties to 9/11 Apr 27th 16

Op-Ed 

The battle for truth over Saudi Arabia's ties to 9/11

The 9/11 Commission Report, on display in July of 2004

According to the Associated Press, the Obama administration may soon release at least part of a 28-page secret chapter from a congressional inquiry into 9/11 that would detail Saudi relations with and support for the Al Qaeda terrorist network before September 2001.

 (Los Angeles Times)

Of the 19 hijackers who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks, 15 were citizens of Saudi Arabia. What does that fact signify?

According to senior U.S. officials, little or nothing. From the outset, they treated the national identity of the terrorists as incidental, connoting nothing of importance. It was as if the 15 murderers just happened to smoke the same brand of cigarettes or wear the same after-shave.

Had they come from somewhere other than Saudi Arabia, a different attitude would surely have prevailed. Imagine if 15 Iraqis had perpetrated the attacks. In Washington's eyes, Saddam Hussein's direct involvement would have been a given. Fifteen Iranians? U.S. officials would have unhesitatingly fingered authorities in Tehran as complicit.

In matters relating to war and peace, U.S. officials tell us what in their judgment we need to know... Why not allow Americans to judge for themselves?

Saudi Arabia, however, got a pass. In its final report, the 9/11 Commission said it "found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually" had funded Al Qaeda. This artfully crafted passage was an exercise in damage control, designed to preserve the existing U.S.-Saudi relationship from critical scrutiny.

The effort never fully succeeded, skeptics suspecting that there might be more to the story. Today those doubts find expression in demands to declassify 28 pages of a congressional investigation said to detail Saudi relations with and support for the Al Qaeda terrorist network before September 2001.

According to a Monday report by the Associated Press, the Obama administration may finally do just that. Whether the 28 pages sustain or refute suspicions of Saudi involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks will remain impossible to say absent such executive action.

Yet implicit in this dispute is an issue of even greater moment: Who ultimately exercises jurisdiction over truth?

Does it fall within the exclusive province of the state? Or do judgments about truth rightfully belong to the people?

On anything that touches national security — an infinitely elastic concept — the state has long since staked out its position: Views expressed by government authorities are authoritative.

In matters relating to war and peace, U.S. officials tell us what in their judgment we need to know. They deny access to information that we ostensibly could misconstrue, or that they deem too dangerous for us to possess.

In effect, the state curates truth. In doling out information, curators working at the behest of the state — a category that includes more than a few journalists — fashion narratives that may not be entirely accurate but that have the compensatory virtue of being expedient. In some instances, the aim of the narrative might be to obfuscate past mistakes, thereby sparing policymakers embarrassment. More commonly, the purpose is to facilitate the exercise of power along certain lines.

By characterizing the events of Sept. 11 as a bolt out of the blue unrelated to past actions by the United States, the version of truth constructed in the wake of those events served both purposes. Rather than prompting a reassessment of prevailing U.S. policies — the problematic U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia among them — it upheld those policies, justifying their perpetuation and not incidentally affirming the wisdom of those who devised them in the first place.

No wonder the foreign policy establishment insists that the 28 pages remain secret; not only might the document challenge the state's preferred Sept. 11 narrative, but the 
demands for its declassification also call into question the establishment's very authority to control that narrative.

Opposing the pages' release, Philip Zelikow, the Washington insider who served as executive director of the 9/11 Commission, describes them as "unvetted, raw material." The contents, he insists, are "misleading." Besides, were they to become public, "hundreds, if not thousands" of pages of additional material would also need to be declassified.

Why not allow Americans to judge for themselves? Why not make available those thousands of relevant pages? The answer is self-evident: Because in the estimation of those such as Zelikow, ordinary citizens are not to be trusted in such matters; policy must remain the purview of those who possess suitable credentials and can therefore be counted on to not rock the boat.

But the boat needs rocking. In the Middle East, the foreign policy establishment has made a hash of things. Indulging that establishment further serves no purpose other than to perpetuate folly. Releasing the 28 pages just might provide a first step toward real change.

Andrew Bacevich is author of the new book "America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History."

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion and Facebook

The battle for truth over Saudi Arabia's ties to 9/11 - LA Times

The battle for truth over Saudi Arabia's ties to 9/11 - LA Times: "No wonder the foreign policy establishment insists that the 28 pages remain secret; not only might the document challenge the state's preferred Sept. 11 narrative, but the
demands for its declassification also call into question the establishment's very authority to control that narrative.

Opposing the pages' release, Philip Zelikow, the Washington insider who served as executive director of the 9/11 Commission, describes them as “unvetted, raw material.” The contents, he insists, are “misleading.” Besides, were they to become public, “hundreds, if not thousands” of pages of additional material would also need to be declassified.

Why not allow Americans to judge for themselves? Why not make available those thousands of relevant pages? The answer is self-evident: Because in the estimation of those such as Zelikow, ordinary citizens are not to be trusted in such matters; policy must remain the purview of those who possess suitable credentials and can therefore be counted on to not rock the boat.

But the boat needs rocking. In the Middle East, the foreign policy establishment has made a hash of things. Indulging that establishment further serves no purpose other than to perpetuate folly. Releasing the 28 pages just might provide a first step toward real change.

Andrew Bacevich is author of the new book “America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History.”"



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​UC Davis chancellor placed on leave as officials launch probe into alleged misconduct Apr 28 16


UC Davis chancellor placed on leave as officials launch probe into alleged misconduct

UC Davis chancellor placed on leave

UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi, shown in 2011, was placed on administrative leave late Wednesday by UC President Janet Napolitano.

 (Paul Sakuma / AP)

University of California President Janet Napolitano placed UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi on administrative leave Wednesday night and ordered a probe into "serious questions" raised about her involvement in campus jobs for family members, possible misuse of student service fee revenue and misstatements about her role in social media contracts.

"I am deeply disappointed to take this action," Napolitano said in a statement. "But Davis is a strong campus, nationally and internationally renowned in many academic disciplines. I'm confident of the campus' continued ability to thrive and serve California students and the Davis community."

Katehi, in a campus email earlier Wednesday, had said she was "100 percent committed" to remain as chancellor.

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FOR THE RECORD

10:50 p.m.: A previous version of this article misspelled attorney Melinda Guzman's first name as Linda.

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A statement from Katehi attorney Melinda Guzman called Napolitano's action "disappointing, unprecedented and, based on the facts, entirely unjustified."

A renowned scholar in electrical and computer engineering who became chancellor in 2009, Katehi has been widely criticized for questionable moonlighting activities and spending to cleanse the Internet of unfavorable publicity about the pepper-spraying of peaceful student protesters by campus police in 2011.

UC Davis chancellor put on investigatory administrative leave

UC President Napolitano: 'Deeply disappointed' to put Katehi on leave.

But Napolitano's letter to Katehi outlined several new issues that the president said would be examined by an independent outside investigator.

She said Katehi's daughter-in-law, who directly reports to one of the chancellor's staff members, had received promotions and pay increases of more than $50,000 over 2 1/2 years. During that same period, Napolitano said, Katehi approved a pay increase of more than 20% and a title change for her daughter-in-law's supervisor.

Napolitano also said that an academic program employing Katehi's son as a paid researcher was recently placed under the direct supervision of the chancellor's daughter-in-law.

"It does not appear that appropriate steps were taken to address, document or obtain approval for the fact that your son now reported to your daughter-in-law, who, in turn, was supervised by one of your direct reports," Napolitano wrote.

Katehi also may have made "material misstatements" when she told the UC president and the news media that she had no knowledge of contracts that UC Davis officials made with social media firms, according to Napolitano's letter.

The Sacramento Bee reported that Davis officials paid the firms at least $175,000 to improve the image of Katehi and the campus, in part by burying negative publicity about the 2011 pepper-spraying incident.

In fact, Napolitano wrote, documents indicate Katehi had "multiple interactions" with one vendor and efforts to set up meetings with others.

The investigator will also review complaints made under the campus whistleblower policy that student fee revenue was misused and specifically directed to "unapproved instructional purposes," Napolitano wrote. She provided no further details.

Earlier in the day, as rumors swirled that Napolitano had asked Katehi to resign, hundreds of UC Davis faculty members rallied behind the chancellor. As of Wednesday evening, more than 400 faculty members had signed a petition expressing strong opposition to any "preemptory action" by Napolitano to remove her without consulting campus administrators or the Academic Senate.

In another letter to Napolitano Sunday, faculty members said they believed Katehi was being singled out for criticism over her moonlighting because she is a woman.

"I am completely shocked [by the allegations]. … She has done a lot of good for the campus with respect to creating and funding programs for students and being transparent about the budget and decision-making such that this seems completely out of character," Linda Bisson, a faculty member, said in an email to The Times.

The chancellor, who earns an annual salary of $424,360, was criticized for accepting lucrative paid board positions with a textbook publisher and a for-profit college firm, DeVry Education Group, under federal and state investigations for misleading advertising.

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Katehi took the board position with the college firm without obtaining Napolitano's approval, as UC policy requires, but stepped down and apologized. Napolitano seemed satisfied at the time.

But she told Katehi on Wednesday that the new issues could not be ignored.

"As I said when I defended you after you accepted the DeVry board position, another violation of University policy, you have done some great work for UC Davis," Napolitano wrote. "Given the accumulation of matters that require investigation, however, it is both necessary and appropriate to address these matters in a fair, independent, and transparent manner."

For more education news, follow me @TeresaWatanabe.

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