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December 2017


Today, December 4th, as we celebrate the first 150 years of service by Grange members across the nation, we unveil a new initiative that will propel us into our next century and a half: The 1 in 1,000 Club through the Grange Foundation.

The Foundation is our affiliated 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit that supports initiatives of the Grange including training and activities for Juniors and Youth, leadership development and outreach opportunities for all members, deaf activities, the Kelley Farm and many other causes close to the heart of the Grange Family.

The 1 in 1,000 Club, introduced during the 151st Annual National Grange Convention in November and officially launched today, allows you to invest in the future of the Grange while taking your place at the table of an exclusive support club with a limited 1,000 spaces available.

To join, fill out the attached form to reserve your place in the 1 in 1,000 Club and choose to be invoiced or make a payment in full or payment plan to contribute $1,000 to the charitable Grange Foundation - a contribution that may be tax-deductible; contact your financial or tax advisor. Club members will enjoy some exclusive benefits including invitations to special dinners and events, detailed correspondence about the Foundation's activities and more. Club members will also receive a pin and certificate to honor their status in the philanthropic circle.

There will only be 1,000 members of this group in perpetuity. When the member passes away, the membership may be first made available to an individual designated by the late Club member but will require a "renewal" payment of $1,000 in order to keep the membership number. Should the designated individual wish not to renew the membership, it will be offered to the person at the top of the waiting list (or general membership if 1,000 are not already assigned). Groups (Granges, other Foundations, other organizations) who wish to become a member of the Club will require renewal every 10 years of $1,000 in order to keep their number.

Click to download Grange Foundation 1 in 1,000 Club Form!

Grange Policy Devloped for 2018

The National Grange 151st annual convention was held November 7-11, 2017 in Spokane, Washington. As has been the tradition of the Grange for 150 years, policy development was the centerpiece of the national meeting. State Grange delegates from around the country served on seven committees that considered resolutions passed by state Grange conventions and forwarded to the national committees. Resolutions passed by the national committees were forwarded to the delegate body business sessions as recommended new or amended policy positions for 2018. The delegate body adopted 34 public policy resolutions and eight internal policy resolutions from the seven committees. The adopted resolutions now become official National Grange policy. Grange policy development is truly a grassroots bottom-up process that must pass scrutiny at local, state and national levels.

December in Washington

Congress returned to Washington following their Thanksgiving recess to face a daunting December agenda. The House of Representatives passed its version of tax reform earlier in November, but the Senate just began its floor debate on tax reform after Thanksgiving. The final tax package will be a compromise between Senate and House-passed versions hashed out by a Senate-House conference committee and sent back to each body for approval. Their target of is to have tax reform wrapped up and to the President’s desk by Christmas. That could be a challenge since Congress will be in session roughly 15 days before leaving town until January. Meanwhile the continuing resolution that funded the federal government since the fiscal year began October 1 expires December 8. A budget agreement to fund the government for the next ten months is a top priority but it could face a fight from House Democrats if it fails to include legalization of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or immigrant “Dreamers” recipients.

Tax Reform

Reforming the tax code under any circumstance is extremely difficult but this time around there are so many interlocking issues that cannot be ignored. Several Republican senators are concerned about the impact the tax plan could have on the deficit by adding up to $1.5 trillion to the national debt over the next decade. The Senate plan would repeal ObamaCare’s individual mandate which requires most Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, but not all Republican senators are sold on the idea; neither are the Democrats. The Senate will attempt to pass its tax package before attempting a budget deal to fund the government past December 8.

The National Grange is advocating for its adopted tax policies as tax reform moves through Congress. Some of the key provisions are:

• Simplify the entire code and close corporate loopholes, complexities and unfair practices so everyone pays fair share
• Lower the personal income tax rates to allow individuals and families to keep more of their hard earned pay
• Preserve cash accounting for small and mid-sized farms and family businesses so they are taxed only on what they produce and bring to market, not on their production inventory.
• Allow interest deductions for land purchases and production inputs
• Reduce capital gains tax rates so aging landowners have an incentive to sell to young and beginning farmers
• Repeal the death tax so families who have built businesses over several generations of hard work are not forced to sell to developers and others just to pay estate taxes
• Reduce the corporate business tax rate so American companies can compete in a globalized world and have the incentive to bring off-shore taxes back home
• Preserve the Section 199 deduction to allow farmer cooperatives to continue to reinvest in agriculture and rural communities

Tax reform has passed the House and is pending in the Senate. The Senate is debating tax reform and will attempt to pass its bill by December 1. The two bills have several major tax policy differences. A House-Senate conference committee will hash out these differences behind closed doors and will try to present a compromise package to both the House and Senate before Christmas for a final vote.

Health Care

ACA/ObamaCare Signup

Initial signup surged during the first weeks of open enrollment, more than the same period in past enrollments. However, open enrollment ends December 15, much earlier than the past. With such a shortened period, signup numbers could actually drop behind past years. The Children’s Health Insurance Program expired September 30 leaving nine million in limbo. Congress has yet to come to a bipartisan agreement to reauthorize it so this will be another year-end scramble on Capitol Hill.

Opioids in Farm Country

A just-released survey by Morning Consult sponsored by the American Farm Bureau and National Farmers Union indicates the opioid crisis has struck farm and ranch families much harder than the rest of rural America. In the survey, 74 percent of farmers and farm workers say they have been directly impacted by opioid abuse. Three in four farmers and those who work around agriculture say it would be easy to access large amounts of prescription drugs or pain killers without a prescription. Rural adults overwhelmingly understand that abuse can begin accidentally by using what are deemed to be safe drugs.

Telecommunications

Restoring Internet Freedom


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing to repeal a set of regulations that have slowed broadband deployment in recent years. Known as “net neutrality”, these regulations moved from a market-based approach to a regulatory framework two years ago that was designed in the 1930’s to combat telephone wire-line monopolies. Repealing the net neutrality rules as proposed by the FCC should stimulate investment in building and expanding broadband networks in rural and low-income areas. With this proposal, the FCC should move to require increased transparency from internet service providers to allow start-ups, small businesses and consumers to make informed decisions. The National Grange will continue to follow these proposed regulatory changes closely.

Lifeline

The National Grange has long supported the Lifeline program that makes wireless, landline and broadband services available at affordable discounted prices to qualified low-income households. Now the FCC is proposing to eliminate funding to telcom companies which reach about 75 percent of Lifeline subscribers. A GAO report found examples of waste, fraud and abuse in some Lifeline service locations but there was no evidence in the GAO report that rural America was part of the problem. Some in the telcom industry suggest the money could be better utilized for broadband expansion. However, broadband expansion in rural areas is slow and in the meantime, isolated, elderly, disabled and low- income citizens still need a Lifeline connectivity to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, rural America was not adequately considered as this proposal was being drafted. The National Grange will continue to advocate for fixing the problems but keeping Lifeline as an essential service.

Infrastructure

Legislation to rebuild America’s ailing infrastructure could become a casualty of tax reform legislation moving through Congress. Many of the available options for funding infrastructure repair may be used instead to pay for tax reform. As an example, it appears Congress is poised to eliminate the deduction on tax-exempt private activity bonds which are used by public-private partnerships to build roads, highways, airports and other such projects.

Agriculture

Last summer, Senate and House agriculture committee members were hoping to begin the farm bill legislative process before Christmas. That didn’t happen of course. Everything in Washington, especially on Capitol Hill, is backlogged and bogged down. But the agriculture committees have been quietly negotiating and drafting farm bill language behind the scenes and in a bipartisan manner. Leadership of both committees say they’ll be ready jump-start the farm bill process in January.

The committees will have limited budgets and increased demands from new players in the farm bill arena. Groups representing organic, natural, local, fresh, sustainable, specialty crops, young and beginning farmers, veteran farmers and more are clamoring for a piece of the farm bill pie. Crop insurance and SNAP (food stamps) will be targeted for reductions to pay for new programs. Oregon Democrat Representative Blumenauer and several colleagues have already introduced an alternative farm bill that trims the more traditional farm programs and highlights numerous small and new programs.

Alternative TV

When a major carrier dropped family-owned RFD-TV from its lineup last year, the response from rural and small town America was immediate. RFD-TV headquarters in Nashville were swamped with hundreds of thousands of letters, emails and notes from fans. Most major TV channels are based on the coasts. By inauguration time, networks were wondering if voters who felt forgotten by politicians also felt forgotten by television networks. Advertisers began to notice RFD-TV’s programming that includes Ag Day, Market Day Report, the Cowboy Channel, FarmHer, Dude Ranch Roundup, Opry Encore, Home Improvement, classic reruns (Gunsmoke, The Virginian, Hee Haw, Larry’s Country Diner, etc,) and more. Another major carrier has now picked up RFD-TV and the network continues to expand. RFD-TV will soon be available in U.S. House of Representatives offices.

Perspective on Values

A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both. Dwight D. Eisenhower

Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make a man a more clever devil. C.S Lewis

Open your arms to change but don’t let go of your values. Dalai Lama

Click to download View from the Hill!

Gas Tax Repeal Petition Instructions

**READ CAREFULLY**

Thank you for helping to repeal the Car and Gas Tax in California by signing the attached petition. Many petitions are thrown out because voters did not fill theirs out properly – so to ensure your petition counts, please read and follow these instructions carefully.

STEP 1 - PRINT Print out the petition (see next page). Do not change the size of the form or adjust margins. Just print as is. You must fill out the petition with a PEN – preferably black or blue pen.

You may have signed up to pledge to sign the petition online – but the ONLY signature that really counts is a signature with a pen on paper of the form you are printing off in this packet. The attached petition (see next page) is the only official form for you to sign.

STEP 2 – SIGN IN TWO PLACES You will need to sign in TWO PLACES on this petition. Why? Because you are technically both signing the petition and circulating the petition.

To sign the petition, go to block one. Print your first and last name, print your street address where you are legally registered to vote, and include your zip code. Then SIGN your name in this block. Please do NOT write in the column that says “This Column for official use only.”

You must also sign the portion for the CIRCULATOR – since you are downloading this form you are considered a “circulator” as well as a “signer.” In the Declaration of Circulator box, print your name, and put today’s date in all date fields. Sign this Circulator block again and write the county you live in.

STEP 3: MAIL BACK THE PETITION

Mail your signed petitions by January 10, 2018 to Reform California PO Box 27227 San Diego CA 92198

OPTIONAL STEP: ASK OTHERS TO SIGN As a circulator on this form, you may ask others in your household or in your circle of friends to sign the other remaining block on this form today as well.

Questions? Just Ask Us! Call us at 619-786-8019. Email us at info@reformcalifornia.org or visit www.ReformCalifornia.org

Paid for by Reform California, FPPC ID # 1268914

Click to get Petition!


We'd like to Thank ..........

and recognize the following generous members, Granges, family & friends from across the country for contributing to the 2017 CA Fires Support Fund:

▪ Abreim - California
▪ Adams - California
▪ Anderson Grange - California
▪ Aromas Grange - California
▪ Bailey - California
▪ Barber - Kansas
▪ Barrell - California
▪ Bennett Valley Grange - California
▪ Bevans - California
▪ Bikoff - Wahington D.C.
▪ Booth - California
▪ Boring - Damascus Grange - Oregon
▪ Calfasso - New Jersey
▪ Charbonneau - Conn
▪ Chernoff - California
▪ B Clouse - California
▪ M Clouse - California
▪ Croucher - New York
▪ Danville Grange - California
▪ Dows Prairie Grange - California
▪ Elsnab - California
▪ Felmer - California
▪ Ferguson - Washington
▪ Founds - California
▪ Fuller - California
▪ George - California
▪ Geiger - California
▪ Gularte - California
▪ Hamp - Washington
▪ Hansen - Caliofornia
▪ Harper - California
▪ Haversat - California
▪ Hill - California
▪ Hite
▪ Hoel - California
▪ Huber - Pennsylvania
▪ Keiser
▪ Kennedy
▪ Komski - California
▪ Kotula - New Jersey
▪ Lamb
▪ Lerman - California
▪ Luttrell - Oregon
▪ Mad River Grange - California
▪ Manning - New Jersey
▪ Marina Grange - California
▪ McKern - Washington
▪ McCord
▪ Mears
▪ Merritt - Oklahoma
▪ Milburn - California
▪ L Moramarco - California
▪ S Moramarco - California
▪ N Moramarco - California
▪ Muchowski - California
▪ New Deal Grange - Maryland
▪ Noah - Oregon
▪ Old Growth Timbers - California
▪ Open Farm Tours
▪ Oregon State Grange Foundation - Oregon
▪ Osterback - California
▪ Pompper - South Carolina
▪ Plank - Indiana
▪ Potomac Grange - Washington D.C.
▪ Ray
▪ Schirle - California
▪ Skinner - Washington D.C.
▪ Stefenoni - California
▪ Taylor Proctor - California
▪ Warner - California
▪ West County Fiber Arts Weist
▪ Wertin
▪ Wilkins - Washington D.C.
▪ Winegar -California
▪ Whitesboro Grange - California



Funds Delivered....

2017 CA Fires Support fund disbursements

3 Redwood Valley Grange members, Tim Easterbrook, Nori Dolal & Cathy Monroe each receiving $1,000 delivered by Jeff Box, President Redwood Valley Grange to assist them in rebuilding after losing everything.

Redwood Valley Grange also received a check for $2,500 specifically designated to them through the fund raising efforts of Whitesboro Grange #766.

Full Accounting

We anticipate having a full accounting by Dec 7th and Complete Disbursement by the Dec 15th. We will send out the complete reconciliation to all that receive these emails shortly.

Thank you

FUNDS are Still Available Members and Grange's that have needs are the priority. Please send a request to the State Grange via your Master / President to ekomski@castategrange.org

2017 CA Fires Support Fund

Charity

We still have about 1 dozen shirts available.

Donate NOW

Every donation of $25.00 or more will receive this T-Shirt in appreciation of the generosity - "California Granges - Moving Together" The California State Grange, utilizing the National Grange 501(c)(3) Foundation has established the “2017 CA Fires Support Fund” to receive tax deductible charitable donations. This Grange Charitable Fund will be used to provide support to those effected Members and Community/Pomona Granges having needs created by the wildfires.


November 2017


This morning, 11/30/2017, the California Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District issued its opinion on the Guild’s appeal from Judge Brown’s order granting summary judgment to the National Grange in the state court action. I am happy to report that the appellate panel of Justice Robie, Presiding Justice Nicholson, and Justice Duarte unanimously agreed to AFFIRM Judge Brown’s order. The panel issued a well-reasoned, 41-page opinion examining the relationship between the National Grange and its subordinate units, including the California State Grange; the rules of the National Grange and the California State Grange; and California law regarding voluntary associations like The Grange; and concluded that the trial court was correct “in granting summary judgment in favor of the National Grange.”

This opinion means that now a state trial court, a federal trial court, and a state appellate court have all concluded that the undisputed evidence establishes that, under California law, The Grange’s rules, from the National Grange’s Digest of Laws on down, have meaning and are binding on Granges, including the California State Grange. The Guild’s corporate law arguments have been rejected by all three courts. Indeed, the appellate court’s opinion today expressly concludes that the Merrill Lodge case on which the Guild relies (and which it has used to mislead certain individuals about the obligations of their Subordinate Granges) “carries little weight” and does not nullify the rules of The Grange.

When this litigation started years ago, Mr. McFarland said that the Guild would prevail in the state trial court. He was wrong about that. He said that the Guild would prevail in the federal trial court. He was wrong about that, too. Then he insisted that the Guild would win its appeal. And he was dead wrong again, as all three justices agreed that Grange property must remain in the Grange. To put it mildly, there comes a point when one must question whether claims somebody is making are accurate when every court to consider the issue goes the other way. We are at that point with the Guild. This appellate court decision, together with the judgments entered in the state and federal trial court, make very clear that, under California law, a Grange’s Charter, articles of incorporation, constitution, and by-laws, together with the National Grange’s Digest of Laws, impose obligations on every Grange and require that Grange property acquired by generations of Grangers remain within the Order for the benefit of future generations of Grangers. I urge any individuals that have relied on what Mr. McFarland or the Guild’s attorneys have told them about California law and Grange rules to carefully review the appellate court decision and the trial court judgments, or to seek independent legal advice, to ensure that they understand the rules and law applicable to their Subordinate Granges.

You can read the appellate court’s opinion by using the link at the end of this article. Pages 1-7 and 21-41 deal with the Grange rules and California law; Pages 7-21 deal with certain procedural arguments the Guild asserted that were rejected. I will be in touch with more information for the membership as we all digest the opinion and what it means going forward.

For those of you who can’t read the full opinion right away, here are some of the highlights:

-- Page 22: “Unfortunately, [the Guild’s] scattershot approach to attacking the summary judgment in favor of the National Grange is not particularly helpful or elucidating. As we see it, the dispositive issue here is whether, under the undisputed facts presented to the trial court, that court erred in summarily declaring -- in essence -- that upon revocation of the old California State Grange’s charter, all right, title, and interest to the real and personal property then owned by the old California State Grange passed to the National Grange pursuant to the by-laws of the National Grange, to be held in trust until the new California State Grange was chartered. As we will explain, we find no such error.”

-- Page 28: “To the extent defendants contend Episcopal Church Cases does not apply here because “religious property disputes are sui generis,” they are again mistaken. The very point of the neutral-principles approach developed by the United States Supreme Court in Jones v. Wolf and applied by the California Supreme Court in Episcopal Church Cases is to decide intra-church property disputes by reference to “ ‘neutral principles of law, developed for use in all property disputes.’ ” (Episcopal Church Cases, supra, 45 Cal.4th at p. 480, italics added.) Thus, there is nothing about the neutral-principles of law approach that is limited to religious property disputes.”

-- Page 28: “As will be shown, while the result here is dictated in part by the provisions of the National Grange’s by-laws, the old California State Grange, from its very creation by the charter the National Grange granted, agreed to be bound by the National Grange’s by-laws, so there was nothing “unilateral” about the result that flowed from the old California State Grange’s voluntary submission to those rules.”

-- Page 29: “[W]e first note that, at least with respect to the real property where the State Grange headquarters are located, record title is held in the name of the old California State Grange. Of course, that is not dispositive. Under Evidence Code section 662, record title creates only a presumption that beneficial title to the property rests with the old California State Grange. Accordingly, we turn to the next element considered under the neutral-principles approach.” (Bold italics added.)

-- Page 29: “As we have noted, the old California State Grange received its charter from the National Grange in 1873 and participated as a subordinate and constituent part of the Order from that time through 2012, operating as an unincorporated association until 1946, when the old California State Grange reorganized as a nonprofit mutual benefit corporation under California law.”

-- Pages 29-30: “That, of course, leads us to consider the constitution and by-laws of the old California State Grange. As we have noted, the version of the old California State Grange’s constitution from 2011 provided that ‘[t]he State Grange, as a chartered division of the National Grange, shall have the right and power, as the good of the Order requires, to adopt laws for the organization, administration and regulation of the affairs of the various divisions of the State Grange, including laws limiting, defining, and regulating the powers of the various Granges of the divisions of the State Grange, so long as they do not conflict with the laws of the National Grange.’ (Italics added.) The old California State Grange’s constitution also provided that ‘[a]ll candidates for membership and elected officers shall be required to agree at the time of election to membership, or installation in office, that at all times they will faithfully comply with the Constitution, By-Laws, and Codes of the Grange at all levels, as from time to time adopted.’ (Italics added.) Similarly, the old California State Grange’s by-laws provided that ‘[i]t shall be the duty of the officers of the various Granges of the Order to ensure that the Constitution and By-Laws of the Grange at all levels are observed and obeyed . . . .’”

-- Pages 32-33: “The Guild defendants’ interpretation of [Corporations Code sections 7132 and 9913] is erroneous. Essentially the Guild defendants contend that all of the provisions we have set forth above from the old California State Grange’s articles of incorporation, constitution, and by-laws, and from the Order’s constitution and the National Grange’s by-laws, could not operate to require the property of the old California State Grange to pass to the National Grange upon revocation of the old California State Grange’s charter because the old California State Grange’s articles of incorporation were never amended to include the provisions in subdivision (a)(4) of section 7132 or to state that the corporation elected to be governed by all of the provisions of the new Nonprofit Mutual Benefit Corporation Law not otherwise applicable to it. The flaw in this argument is that Corporations Code section 7132 does not provide that the only way the property of a subordinate corporation can pass to a head organization upon revocation of the subordinate corporation’s charter is if the provisions set forth in Corporations Code section 7132 are included in the subordinate corporation’s articles of incorporation. Instead, Corporations Code section 7132 provides for an optional provision that “may” be included in the articles of incorporation of a nonprofit mutual benefit corporation to provide for the dissolution of the corporation upon revocation of its charter and, if included, the distribution of the corporation’s assets to the head organization upon dissolution of the corporation. But nothing in Corporations Code section 7132 precludes a head organization and a subordinate corporation from providing for the passage of property from the subordinate corporation to the head organization by means of other provisions -- particularly other provisions (like those at issue here) that do not provide for the dissolution of the subordinate corporation, but only for the disposition of the subordinate corporation’s property.”

-- Page 34: “Corporations Code section 7132 merely identifies one way by which such a passage of property can be accomplished; nothing in the statute precludes a head organization and a subordinate corporation from providing for the passage of property from the subordinate corporation to the head organization by means of other provisions.”

-- Pages 34-35: “So where does that leave us? Concluding that the statutes the Guild defendants invoke do not have the effect the Guild defendants attribute to them, we are left with the conclusion that no California statute precludes us from construing together all of the various provisions set forth above from the old California State Grange’s articles of incorporation, constitution, and by-laws, and from the Order’s constitution and the National Grange’s by-laws, to determine whether they required the property of the old California State Grange to pass to the National Grange upon revocation of the old California State Grange’s charter, notwithstanding the presumption arising from the fact that record title to the headquarters property is held in the name of the old California State Grange. And construing those provisions all together, we agree with the trial court that they do require that transfer. Essentially, all of those provisions, read as a whole, provide that: (1) the old California State Grange was subject to the by-laws of the National Grange, as amended from time to time; (2) the by-laws of the National Grange that took effect before the dispute arose between the National Grange and the old California State Grange gave the National Master the power to revoke the old California State Grange’s charter; and (3) under those same by-laws, upon revocation of that charter, the property of the old California State Grange was to be retained by the Order and held in trust by the National Grange until the State Grange was reorganized pursuant to Grange law.”

-- Page 36: “Just so, we have concluded here that the various provisions contained in the old California State Grange’s articles of incorporation, constitution, and by-laws, in the Order’s constitution, and in the National Grange’s by-laws, taken together, constitute clear and convincing proof that was sufficient to rebut the presumption regarding beneficial title arising from the fact that record title to the headquarters property is held in the name of the old California State Grange.” (Bold italics added.)

-- Pages 36-37: “In summary, then, when the National Master exercised his power pursuant to the by-laws of the National Grange, to which the old California State Grange was subject, to revoke the old California State Grange’s charter, pursuant to those same by-laws the property belonging to the old California State Grange was to be retained by the Order and held in trust by the National Grange until the new California State Grange was chartered. Thus, applying the neutral-principles approach required by the California Supreme Court in Episcopal Church Cases to the facts shown on summary judgment here, we conclude that the trial court did not err in granting judgment in favor of the National Grange and making the declarations that it did as part of that judgment.”

-- Pages 37-38: “As we have explained already, however, while the result here is dictated in part by the provisions of the National Grange’s by-laws, the old California State Grange, from its very creation by the charter the National Grange granted, agreed to be bound by those by-laws, so there was nothing “unilateral” about the result that flowed from the old California State Grange’s voluntary submission to those rules. The old California State Grange came into existence because it received a charter from the National Grange to be a part of the Order, and under the National Grange’s by-laws “[a]ll Charters issued to the various Granges of the divisions of the Order shall provide that members of each Grange at all times will faithfully comply with the Constitution of the Order, the Articles of Incorporation, By-Laws and Grange Laws and Usage of the various Granges of the divisions of the Order as from time to time adopted.” Thus, the very fact that the old California State Grange was a chartered division of the Order required the members of the old California State Grange to faithfully comply with the National Grange’s by-laws.” (Bold italics added.)

-- Page 39: “Nothing in the governing documents of the Order, either at the national level or at the state level, gave the old California State Grange the right not to obey changes in Grange law that the State Grange did not approve or agree with. Instead, as we have seen, the old California State Grange and its members agreed in various manners to faithfully comply with all Grange law, as adopted from time to time.”

-- Page 40: “But as to the question of whether ‘longstanding California law’ protected the assets that were owned by the old California State Grange from being transferred to the National Grange upon revocation of the old California State Grange’s charter, we find neither of the cases cited by the Guild defendants persuasive on that point.”

-- Page 40: “And as for Merrill Lodge v. Ellsworth (1889) 78 Cal. 166, that decision carries little weight because the relationship between the “Grand Lodge” and the local lodge in that case, which was a corporation, was ‘not very clear from the record.’ (Id. at p. 168.) Here, in contrast, we have a very expansive record of just how the National Grange and the old California State Grange were related to each other by their various constitutions, by-laws, and articles of incorporation.”

Click to view Order!

10 receive warm thank you for service at National Grange Session

BY LURAE BENZIO
Communications Fellow

Photo by Scott Nicholson (MT)

On Wednesday night several veterans attending the evening session of the 151st Convention were provided warm thanks for their service to our nation in the form of gifted quilts.

Diane Watters, Eastern Washington Coordinator spoke to a roomful of Grange members about the Quilts of Valor Foundation, which gives gifts of thanks to our military veterans in the form of cut up fabric sewn together with love to form a beautiful quilts, before presenting 10 members with unique coverings.

Volunteers, Glenda Haddican, Betsy Jordan and Donna Kuhn, who attended the presentation with Watters, wrapped the handmade patriotic-themed quilts around the shoulders of the recipients when their name was called and their years of service announced.

Watters said that the Grange is symbolic of country, patriotism, national pride, working to improve the lives of others and Community. The QOVF feeds off of those same values to create the patriotic quilts for service men and women who have been touched by war or put into harms way during their years of duty.

Blue Star mom Catherine Roberts began QOVF in 2003 from her sewing room in Seaford, Delaware. Her son Nathanael’s year-long deployment to Iraq provided the initial inspiration, and her desire to see that returning troops were wel- comed home with love and gratitude provided the rest.

The Quilts of Valor Foundation has awarded over 172,000 quilts since 2003. Currently there are 8,000 members and 450 registered groups nationwide. The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover service members and vet- erans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.

US Army veteran and National Grange Treasurer Dwight Baldwin was wrapped in a quilt made by his wife, Kathy. Dwight was overcome with emotion and was humbled to receive the honor. The Baldwins have a son serving in the U.S. Air Force and is currently stationed in Germany. They said they hope he is a recipient of a Quilt of Valor one day.

QOVF, now an ongoing national service effort, in many cases connects civilians with service members and veterans, but also at times veterans with other veterans. Quilts of Valor are tokens of appreciation that unequivocally say, “Thank you for your service, sacrifice, and valor.”

According to the Quilts of Valor website the quilts are lifetime awards, stitched with love, prayers, and healing thoughts.

On behalf of the National Grange, Chris Hamp presented Diane and her volunteers with a large bolt of batting to be used for the next several quilts that will be made. For more information, visit www.QOVF.org. To see the presentations, visit the National Grange Facebook page and look at our video archive.

QUILTS OF VALOR RECIPIENTS


John Hamilton Sr., 1971-75, USN
Guy E. LaRue, 1943-47, USN
William Rolf Booth, 1972-77, USN
Dennis McGurk, 1973-99, USA
William “Chip” Narvel Jr., 1967-88, USA
Tracy Hansen, 1979-88, USA
Michael Beckman Jr., 1983-89, USA
Bill Johnson, 1966-69, USA
Dwight Baldwin, 1970-77, USA
John Plank, 1974-78, USAF


RE: Official Notice California State Grange Board of Directors Meeting

Brothers and Sisters of the California State Grange,

This is the official notice of the next Board of Directors Meeting of the California State Grange.

Date: Saturday December 9, 2017 Time: Open Session 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM Closed Session 3:30 PM to close of business

Date: Sunday December 10, 2017 Time: Open Session 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Location: Aromas Grange Hall 400 Rose Ave. Aromas, CA

All members in good standing may attend any open session meeting of the Board of Directors of the California State Grange. Closed sessions are called to discuss confidential legal or personnel matters. Any actions taken by the Board during a closed session are reported in the Minutes of the Board meetings.

If you wish to address the Board at the meeting regarding a specific issue, you must notify the State Secretary, Lillian Booth no later than the end of business on Monday, December 4, 2017, per Section 6.3.3(c) of the California State Grange By-Laws.


Here are resolutions adopted at the National Annual Session

Agriculture

107 - Crop Insurance for Double Crop Soybeans

109 - Crop Insurance

110 - Dairy Check - Off

111 - Dairy Margin Protection Program

112 - Dairy Pride Act

114 - Expanding Funding for Rura Broadband

116 - Farm Bill - Crop Insurance

117 - Farm Bill of 2018

122 - Maintain and Increase Funding for the National Organic Program

125 - Milk Marketing Orders

127 - National Milk Hearing

129 - New Regulations on Feed Mills

130 - Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative

131 - Puppy Mills

133 - Specialty Crop Research Inisiative

135 - The Harvesting of Beetle Kill Trees that Fuel Wildfires

ed Resistance

39 - Whole Farm Revenue Protect

Audit and Budget

AB 101

AB 102

Citizenship and Taxation

302 - Armed Forces Retirement Home

303 - Assistance for Homeless Youth

305 - Congressional Health Care

310 - Daylight Saving Tim

314 - Fraudulent Social Security Numbers

320- Opposing Eliminating of Tax Deduction for State and Local Taxes

333 - Tax Burdens Plague Family Farmers

339 - Welfare Reform

Conservation

405 - Science Based Conservation Changes

406 - WOTUS Changes

Education and Health

501 - Affordable Care Act Revised

502 - Affordable Hearing Aids

506 - Choices in Education Act 2017

507 - Food Safety Modernization Act

512 - High Stakes Testing

513 - In-Depth Marijuana Studies for Medical Purposes

Grange Growth and Development

609 - National Grange Certificate

615 - Electronic Device Substitution

Grange Law

701 - Applying the Termination of Grange Membership in One

702 - Custodial Accounts

704 - E membership Dues

706 - Election of Officers


For the last few years, the National Grange has had an interm program at the National Session. Among the things that they do is publish a daily Patrons Chain, with happening of the Session.

Here are the issues for your view. Click to view

Issue 1 Day 1

Issue 2 Day 2

Issue 3 Day 3

Issue 4 Day 4

Issue 5 Day 5


For the last few years, the National Grange has had an interm program at the National Session. Among the things that they do is publish a daily Patrons Chain, with happening of the Session.

Here are the issues for your view. Click to view

Agriculture Policy Statement

Education and Health Policy Statement

Grange Law Policy Statement

Grange Growth And Development Policy Statement

Labor, Judiciary and Transporation Policy Statment

Issue 5 Day 5


October 2017


The California State Grange is pleased to announce the formation of a special committee led by the First Lady, Cynthia Komski focused on searching and applying for grants on behalf of all California Granges.

Does your Grange have a need, passion, focus, interest, desire to do something great in your community? We want to help!

The attached "Grant Research Request" form link below is provided for your Grange to complete and forward to Ckomski@castategrange.org. Let's try and make a difference and move forward with your Grange!

Click to get Grant Request Worksheet!


View from the Hill Policy Updates and Issue News - October 2017

Tax Reform

The Framework


The United Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code was unveiled September 27 by the President and Republican members of Congress. The so-called "Big Six" who will have tremendous influence over the details of tax reform are all supportive of the Framework blueprint. The Big Six are Senate Finance Committee Chairman Hatch (R-UT), House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Brady (R-TX), Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY), House Speaker Ryan (R-WI ), Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Cohen. In addition, Chairman Hatch and Chairman Brady report the Republican members on their committees are solidly behind the blueprint. Democrats, on the other hand, are skeptical and have questioned the validity of several provisions in the Framework. They contend that by dropping the top tax bracket from 39.6 to 35 percent, the Framework is handing a tax cut to the wealthy. Beyond the general targets for comprehensive tax reform contained in the Framework, a whole host of specific provisions remain unknown. As with most initiatives in Washington, the devil will be in the details as Congress tries to write comprehensive tax reform legislation.

The Framework Outline

• Nearly doubles the standard deduction to $24,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly and $12,000for single filers
• Reduces the current seven 10% to 39.6% tax brackets to three at 12%, 25% and 35%
• Eliminates most itemized deductions except for home mortgage interest and charitable contributions
• Repeals the death tax, generation-skipping transfer tax and Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)
• Limits the maximum tax rate for small and family-owned businesses to 25%
• Reduces the corporate tax rate to 20% from 35%
• Allows businesses to immediately expense the cost of new depreciable assets other than structures for five years
• Preserves business tax credits for research and development and low income housing
• Repeals numerous additional special exclusions and deductions such as local and state taxes

What about Agriculture?

Because so much of the business of farming and ranching relies on borrowed money and operates on tight profit margins, agriculture is concerned about the outcome of several provisions as the tax reform package moves through Congress such as,
• Cash accounting that recognizes income when received and expenses when paid
• Interest expense deductions on capital purchases and operating loans
• Like-kind exchanges (Section1031) that allow the sale of assets and purchase of replacement property of a like-kind
• Capital gains taxes that discourage property sale and transfer
• Deductions for local and state taxes

What About PAYGO?

The 2010 statutory Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) Act passed by a Democratic Congress requires the federal government to tally the revenue effects of bills that have become law. PAYGO reinstated pay-as-you-go rules used in Congress from 1990 until 2002 which require most new spending to be offset by spending cuts or offset by new revenue. The Framework would supposedly yield around $1.5 trillion in tax cuts producing budget deficits. Senior Republicans on the Hill suggest that any deficits caused by tax cuts will be offset by tax reform revenues through economic growth. But to avoid automatic PAYO spending cuts up front, Republicans must muster 60 votes in the Senate with help from Democrats for a waiver. That will be tough. On the other hand, if Democrats block the waiver, they risk deep cuts in programs that are important to Democrats in order to satisfy PAYGO.

Senate Republicans are considering the possibility moving a tax bill through a budget resolution procedure they're drafting for FY'18. The resolution procedure would allow the Senate to advance and pass tax legislation with only 51 votes in the Senate thereby bypassing a Democratic filibuster. Both parties have used budget reconciliation to pass difficult legislation in the past.

What's Next?

The National Grange will push for equitable tax treatment of its members as tax reform legislation moves through Congress. In addition to tax law changes laid out in the Framework, the Grange will pay special attention to what Congress proposes on cash accounting, interest expense deductions, like-kind exchanges, capital gains rates and local and state tax deductions.

Health Care

What Now for the Affordable Care Act?

The Senate failed to muster enough votes to pass the latest attempt to repeal and replace ObamaCare. The bill, sponsored by Republican Senators Graham (R-SC) and Cassidy (R-LA), was vigorously opposed by hospitals, doctors and the insurance industry. Graham-Cassidy would have ended federal funding for Medicaid expansion and the subsidies to help people afford coverage, and would have converted these monies into block grants to states. The block grant would have been capped per beneficiary regardless of how much a state spends, the grant would not adjust to changes in states' funding needs, and it could be spent for virtually any health-care purpose. The measure would also have given states a waiver out of ObamaCare regulations if they could otherwise provide "adequate and affordable" coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

After the Senate pulled the vote on Graham-Cassidy, Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Murray (D-WA) announced they would resume their stabilization talks. The emerging stabilization plan could include:
• Funding of cost-sharing reduction for two years
• Allowing individuals over 30 to purchase cheaper, skimpier so-called "copper plans"
• Flexibility to Section 1332 waivers that allow states to tailor health insurance plans for their state's needs Meanwhile, President Trump announced plans to issue an executive order to allow health insurance to be purchased across state lines. Selling insurance across state lines could encourage the formation of interstate association health plans (AHIPs) and allow membership groups to offer health plans as a benefit of joining.

Veterans Affairs

Proposed regulation changes at the Department of Veterans Affairs would allow VA providers anywhere in the country to conduct telehealth visits with VA patients across state borders regardless of state licensing. Right now, VA telehealth care is limited by state restrictions that prohibit physicians from seeing a patient via telemedicine in a state where the physician is not licensed. President Trump announced plans for "anywhere to anywhere VA healthcare" priority in August.

Immigration

Ag Workers on Fast Track

"The Agricultural Guest Worker Act of 2017" will be introduced in the House the first week of October. Sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Goodlatte (R-VA), the bill is a collaborative effort between the Chairman and the agriculture community. A few key points are: • Gives USDA authority to enforce and administer a new H-2C program to begin two years after enactment. The current H-2A program will sunset at that time. • Annual visa cap of 500,000 but allows for increases or decreases depending on demand. Unauthorized ag workers at time of introduction who become H-2C workers do not count against the cap. • For seasonal workers, initial visas will be for 18 months continuous stay. For non-temporary work (skilled workers such as milkers), initial visas will be for 36 months continuous stay. • Wages will be state or local minimum wage or 15 percent above federal minimum wage, whichever is greater. • There is no requirement for employers to supply housing or transportation. Markup in the House Judiciary Committee will occur within a few days of introduction and the bill is expected to pass the House. Over in the Senate, Democrats are likely to insist that ag worker legislation become part of a broader overall comprehensive immigration legislative package which will tend to stall ag worker relief for the foreseeable future.

Rural Broadband

Proposed Boost to Rural Broadband

Democrats in the Hill are calling for a $40 billion rural and inner-city investment to expand internet access. Their plan is modeled on the 1930's Rural Electrification Act that's credited with increasing access to electricity from 10 percent of Americans in 1936 to 90 percent by 1950. Democrats say public funds are necessary because internet companies on their own have failed to cover large segments of the public.

Electric Co-Ops Step In

People living in rural communities are four times more likely to lack access to high speed internet than those in urban areas. Increased bandwidth has become a necessity for precision agriculture, health care, education, businesses and tourism in rural communities. Rural Electric Cooperatives, formed nearly 80 years ago to bring electricity to rural inhabitants, are increasingly stepping up to fill the rural broadband supply gap. The existing co-op distribution networks may lend themselves to deployment of broadband service. Several co-ops have found that building out a broadband network, either on their own or partnering with established telecommunications providers, using their existing infrastructure is an efficient way to serve rural customers.

Help for Secretary Perdue

Secretary Perdue has lamented for months that he is the only confirmed appointee serving at USDA. Now help appears to be on the way. The Senate Agriculture Committee will meet Monday evening October 2 to vote on the nominations of Steve Censky to be Deputy Secretary of Agriculture (Perdue's number 2) and Ted McKinney as Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agriculture. Censky is the CEO of the American Soybean Association and McKinney is Indiana's Director of Agriculture. The noncontroversial candidates are expected to be quickly confirmed by the Senate. Later in the week, the Senate Agriculture Committee will hold hearings on the popular nominations of Bill Northey to be Under Secretary for Farm and Conservation Programs and Greg Ibach to be Under Secretary of for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. Northey is Secretary of Agriculture in Iowa and Ibach is Nebraska's Agriculture Director. There has been no word from the Senate Agriculture whether hearings will be scheduled for controversial nominee Sam Clovis to become Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics.

The Senate Finance Committee has scheduled an October 5 hearing on the nomination of Greg Doud to be Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of Special Trade Representative. Doud is President of the Commodity Markets Council and was a senior aide to the Senate Agriculture Committee during the 2014 farm bill process.
Click to download this issue!


September 2017


Resolutions Delivered to National Grange

Use the link below to view the resolutions adopted at our California State Grange 2017 Annual Session that are of National Grange Scope. We will work on behalf of our State Delegates and Subordinate members to present the National Delegates the California position on each and every one of them. Our goal; understanding, education, conversation, debate, support and national adoption.

Click to view the resoluions!

The California Department of Food and Agriculture's Fertilizer Research and Education Program (FREP) and the Western Plan Health Association (WPHA) present the 25th annual conference on managing agricultural nutrients. To the held at the Modesto DoubleTree Hotel on November 1st and 2nd, 2017

Click for Registration and Agenda Link!

Third Appellate District Court Confirms Disqualification of the Ellis Law Group

On September 12th, Presiding Justice Nicholson of the Third District Court of Appeal (the appellate court hearing the Guild’s appeal of the order that all property must be returned to the California State Grange) issued two orders striking recent filings made on behalf of the Guild by the Ellis Law Group. As you will recall, Justice Nicholson issued two orders disqualifying the Ellis Law Group on May 25. Copies of those orders are available below. Notwithstanding those clear orders (and several orders from trial courts presiding over lawsuits involving the Grange), on August 21, the Ellis Law Group filed a response on behalf of the Guild to the Third Appellate District’s demand that the Guild explain why it has not yet found new counsel. The California State Grange and the National Grange objected to that filing as improper.

The Third Appellate District agreed. In particular, Justice Nicholson wrote that "the order disqualifying the Ellis Law Group from representing defendants in this appeal is final and not subject to challenge in this court or in the Supreme Court. That disqualification order precludes the Ellis Law Group from taking any further action in this appeal as attorneys on behalf of defendants, including (but not limited to) filing a response to this court’s August 21, 2017 order to show cause. For this reason, the response filed by the Ellis Law Group on August 31, 2017 is hereby stricken and will not be considered.

If you or your Grange has been told that the Ellis Law Group will represent it, please let us know. As these orders and the orders from the trial courts make clear, the Ellis Law Group may not represent the Guild or any affiliate against the Grange.

Click to view order on undertaking appeal!

Click to view order on the mail appeal!

Mountain Springs Grange #754 helped to host the Local Assistance Center for victims and residents in the area of the Ponderosa Fire in Butte County.



Butte County coordinates this event to help residents by providing information on accessing homeowners insurance, steps to rebuild, how to identify personal items, status of utilities, community and social services and getting new documents which may have burned in the fire. County representatives from the Assessors’ office will help explain tax relief for damaged structures; Butte County Sheriff’s Office providing information on road closures and to help residents go home; the Building Department and Environmental Health for wells, septic systems, and hazardous materials; and Social Services to help with Medi-Cal and Veterans Services. The Red Cross and Salvation Army also have representatives to help local residents with immediate needs.

The Ponderosa Fire burned 4000+ acres and destroyed or damaged over 40 homes and outbuildings. Thank you Mountain Springs Grange for helping to host this event

OFFICIAL NOTICE:

The Board of Directors Meeting will be held Saturday and Sunday 9/16 and 9/17 2017 at the Little Lake Grange Hall, 291 School St, Willits, CA.

Open Session Sat: 9am to 3pm. Closed Session 3pm to 5pm. Open Session Sun: 9am to 3pm.

This change from Fri/Sat to Sat/Sun is due to scheduled court hearings.

If you wish to address the Board on a specific topic, notify the State Grange Secretary no later than close of business on Monday 9/11/2017.

All members in good standing are welcome to attend the open sessions of the Board Meeting. Closed Session is held for confidential legal and/or personnel discussion. All actions taken by the Board during Closed Sessions are recorded in the minutes of the Board Meeting.

California State Grange 2018 Farm Bill - NEWS "CDFA recommended many of the programs that we Resolved to support" - Michael Evenson 2017- Agricultural Committee Charman

Click to view CA Farm Bill Priorities

California Superior Court Judge Cadei disqualified the Ellis Law Group from representing the California Grange Foundation (now calling itself the “Heartland Foundation”) in the lawsuit filed by the California State Grange to recover the charitable funds held by the Foundation that were donated to support the Grange’s work (case number 34-2016-00192665 in Sacramento Superior Court).

As you might recall, the National Grange and the California State Grange had previously moved to disqualify the Ellis Law Group in the main state court lawsuit after it hired an attorney, Anthony Valenti, who had previously represented the Grange in the state court action when he worked at the Porter Scott law firm. Judge Brown granted those motions on May 9 (National Grange) and July 21 (California State Grange). Likewise, on May 25, the appellate court with jurisdiction in Sacramento disqualified the Ellis Law Group from representing the Guild in appeals from the state court action.

Some highlights from Judge Cadei’s September 5 Order:
• “Plaintiffs The California State Grange and Ed Komski’s (collectively “Grange”) Motionto Disqualify The Ellis Law Group is GRANTED.”
• “Judge Brown granted National Grange’s motion for summary judgment, holding that the Unchartered State Grange had the obligation to transfer to the Grange all Grange property in its possession and control as of the date the Unchartered State Grange’s charter was revoked.”
• “The Foundation holds property donated to be used for the Grange in accordance with the rules of the National Grange and the Grange.”
• “Additionally, pursuant to the National Grange’s Digest of Laws §1.1.1(E), the National Grange is “the controlling and supreme law making body of the Order.” (Komski Decl., Ex. 1.) It “shall be the controlling and supreme law making division of the Order from which body all the other Granges of the divisions of the Order shall derive their rights and powers. The National Grange shall have the right and power as the good of the Order requires, to adopt laws for the organization, administration and regulation of the affairs of the various Granges of the divisions of the Order including laws limiting, defining, and regulating the powers of the various Granges of the divisions of the Order.” (Id. §1.2.1.) Given the above, the Court concludes that the National Grange and State Grange have a “unity of interest” such that they should be treated as “one entity for conflict purposes.”
• “The Court finds ELG’s [Ellis Law Group’s] ethical wall (if any) ineffective and severely lacking.”
• The “ethical wall was ineffective. In number of notice of withdrawals in the Trademark Actions filed by ELG, ELG stated that Valenti “remains attorneys of record” for the Guild. (Jensen Decl., Exs. C.) Although ELG describes this as a “mistake” and soon filed notices of withdrawals removing Valenti’s name, it further demonstrates the inefficacy of the ethical wall. Valenti was also carbon copied in two emails sent by Ellis to Skinner regarding a Grange matter.”
• “Notably, Valenti’s former legal assistant at ELG, Roxy A. Chipak (“Chipak”), submits her declaration which calls into question whether any ethical wall was even in place at ELG.”

What does this order mean going forward? The Guild has claimed that the Ellis Law Group would continue to represent the Guild Defendants in the state court action and other lawsuits against the Grange. That was false – as the May 9 and July 21 orders, and now this order, make clear, the Ellis Law Group is disqualified from representing any Guild affiliate against any Grange party, including the California State Grange. Moreover, the Ellis Law Group’s conflict created when it hired the Grange’s former attorney is not limited to the state court action, as Judge Cadei’s order in the Foundation case shows. The same conflict exists in any representation by the Ellis Law Group of any person or entity against the Grange. The California State Grange will file a motion to disqualify in any case where the Ellis Law Group attempts to represent the Guild or one of its affiliates (to the extent that the Ellis Law Group even attempts such representation, given ethical constraints). As Judge Cadei’s and Judge Brown’s orders and the two orders from the Third Appellate District make clear, the Ellis Law Group’s conflict requires disqualification, and the supposed ethical wall (if it ever existed at all) was ineffective to cure that conflict.

We hope that everyone that has been influenced by Mr. Ellis and Mr. McFarland will be responsible to themselves and their members, and do the research to understand the various court rulings finding against the Guild, including the recent orders disqualifying the Ellis Law Group, so that they may move forward with an understanding of the law and its responsibilities. In any event, if you hear about or receive any type of correspondence from the Ellis Law Group regarding the Grange or the Guild, please notify us immediately. The California State Grange will take the necessary steps to ensure that the courts’ orders on disqualification are obeyed.

Click to view entire Order!

POLICY UPDATES AND ISSUE NEWS

AUGUST 2017

Legislative Outlook - A Chronology of What to Expect

After six months of stalled legislative action, Congress faces some heavy lifts this fall. When both the House and Senate reconvene September 5, several must-do items cannot be ignored.

First, Congress has until September 29 to raise the United States debt limit and increase the nation's borrowing authority to prevent the country from defaulting on its sovereign debt limit. The debt limit is the total amount of money the United States is authorized to borrow to meet it legal obligations, including Social Security, Medicare, military salaries, interest on the national debt, tax refunds, and other payments. Congress has always acted when called upon (78 times since 1960) to raise the limit, temporarily extend, or revise the definition of the debt limit.

Next, Congress has until October 1 to adopt a FY'18 federal budget or pass a short term continuing resolution (CR) to continue funding the federal government at FY'17 levels. It is possible but not likely that all appropriations bills can pass and be signed by the President by September 29 so a CR seems likely. If neither funding vehicle is adopted on the Hill and signed at the White House, the government will shut down October 1. A major "elephant in the room" wild card is President Trump's demand that his proposed southern border wall be funded in the new budget. A CR would keep the federal government funded at present levels, would not include funding for the wall, and give all parties time to negotiate. Finally, what happens to a number of other legislative priorities this fall such as tax reform, healthcare, telecommunications, immigration, trade, infrastructure, and farm bill?

State of the Issues

Tax Reform

Practically everyone in Washington, including Democrats, Republicans, Senators, Representatives, President Trump, and hordes of economists agree that reforming the tax code for the first time in 31 years should be a top priority. Practically every one of these groups is advocating that tax reform, done right, will stimulate the economy for many years as it did following the 1986 reforms. Unfortunately, just how to accomplish this challenge is complex and a consensus will not be easy. The National Grange will advocate for its members policy which includes lowering the personal and corporate tax rate, eliminating the death tax, and other pro-growth initiatives. The big unknown is whether Congress will be able to accomplish comprehensive tax reform or just settle for some popular tax cuts. The key may be for Congress to compromise on a package that can muster bipartisan support similar to 1986. If Congress settles for tax cuts only, the nation's deficit would likely grow in the short run but could eventually come down as a result of economic growth.

Healthcare

There are no quick, easy or cheap ways to fix, repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act. In reality, Congress and the White House cannot ignore dealing with several provisions that threaten patient coverage and adequate medical care. Several states are down to one insurance carrier. Other states must continue to receive Medicaid subsidies if their low income citizens have any coverage at all. Will preexisting conditions continue to be covered and, if so, at what price? Will Members of Congress and their staff be allowed to continue receiving a government contribution toward the purchase of on-exchange health insurance plans? Will cost-sharing reduction payments come to an end? Will Medicaid eligibility be tied to some form of work or job training requirement?

In the meantime, an ad hoc bipartisan Problem Solvers group of 23 Democrats and 20 Republicans are working on a comprehensive plan of reforms designed largely to stabilize ObamaCare's insurance markets.

Telecommunications

National Grange President Betsy Huber is a member of the Federal Communications Commission's Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee and serves on two subcommittees charged with developing recommendations for eliminating barriers to the expansion of broadband into rural America.

The National Grange recently filed a comment with the FCC regarding the concept of a free and open internet that would expand access to high-speed internet in underserved areas. Since a 2015 reclassification of high-speed internet as a utility service, multiple internet providers are curbing plans to expand deployment because of costs and legal uncertainties stemming from the reclassification. The National Grange is urging Congress to work toward bipartisan legislation that codifies the core principles of net neutrality into law to prevent future regulatory uncertainty from stifling rural broadband expansion.

Immigration

Agriculture continues to struggle with labor shortages month after month especially during harvest season. Dairy and livestock producers also need longer term employees to train and retain. The current Labor Department H-2A program is being utilized by farmers and ranchers but they argue the wage rates, paperwork requirements and time delays are too burdensome. Secretary of Agriculture Perdue has been tasked with developing ag workforce proposals for Congress to consider. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Goodlatte (R-VA) plans to reintroduce his Ag Act to eliminate some of the requirements of H-2A while providing legal status to existing workers. His is also the committee of jurisdiction for immigration and the Ag Act. Broad comprehensive immigration reform appears unlikely for the foreseeable future. The National Grange and the Ag Workforce Coalition will continue to push for a legislative solution for agriculture this year.

Farm Bill

Both the Senate and House agriculture committees have been holding public hearings in Washington and listening sessions around the country. Both Senate Ag Committee Chairman Roberts (R-KS) and House Ag Committee Chairman Conaway (R-TX) are hopeful a draft farm bill can be ready by year's end. The current farm bill expires September 30, 2018.

Farm bills today are really huge omnibus legislative vehicles going far beyond the original role of setting agriculture policy. They include agriculture research, crop insurance, commodity programs, conservation efforts, disaster relief, farm loans, foreign market development, nutrition and feeding programs, renewable energy and biofuels, rural development (including grants for infrastructure and telecommunications), specialty crop support and U.S. Forest Service management. The farm bill is a major legislative vehicle that will definitely move through Congress over the next year. As such, it could be seen as a possible "Christmas tree" on which to hang all kinds of non-germane amendments.

Roughly 80% of the cost of a modern farm bill is for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP) better known as food stamps. The perennial question is why such politically divergent philosophies are tied together in the same piece of legislation. Farm programs were combined with feeding programs many years age as a practical means of "vote swapping" to preserve each of these initiatives that might not survive a floor vote as a stand-alone measure.

Trade

Despite President Trump's repeated tweets, the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is moving along quickly, positively, and without animosity according to officials involved in the process. Negotiators from the U.S., Canada and Mexico have agreed to an accelerated schedule to try to wrap up overhaul of the trade pact by the end of the year. Agriculture groups in all three countries continue to stress "do no harm" to agriculture trade as negotiators address trade deficits, lost manufacturing jobs and business that have closed or moved because of NAFTA. The National Grange agrees and is anxious to see progress in jobs creation, manufacturing opportunities and new business development.

Looking Ahead to Midterm Elections

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and a third of those in the Senate will be up for election in 2018. Democrats see some opportunity to win back their majority in the House and are working hard to enhance their chances. The Senate will be a tougher climb for Democrats. The Democrats will be defending 25 incumbent seats while Republicans will only need to hold on to nine.

Feedback and questions are welcome. Call Burton Eller, at (202) 628-3507 ext. 114 or email beller@nationalgrange.org


August 2017


IN THIS ISSUE:

• Summer 2017 National Grange Chiller Thriller
• Educate yourself, others on Immunizations
• Grange gets ready to party in D.C. Style
• Be a part of the 150th Birthday Gala
• Good Day! fall issue coming soon (Subscribe Now)
• Letter from the Lecturer
• Set Sail with the Grange on Cruise
• Lecturer's Fundraiser: Metal emblem
• Don't forget: 2017 Jr. Awareness Award
• Register now for convention to save
• Convention Crossword
• Benefit Spotlight: Life Line Screening
• Great American Quilt and Handicraft Expo
• Grange Supply Store Items on Sale


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$239,174.60

The total amount paid by the Guild for the "Willful and deliberate" violation of the Federal Court order was a whopping $239,174.60. [See the checks here.] Below is the email sent prior which is still relevant and important to read. Obviously the final numbers increased.

Where did the money come from?

Willful Defiance of Federal Court Order Keeps Costing the Guild More Money

Yesterday, Judge Shubb awarded the National Grange its attorney's fees and costs associated with enforcing the $145,000 attorney's fee award issued last September. As you will recall, Judge Shubb originally sanctioned the Guild for its "willful and deliberate" violation of the court order prohibiting the Guild from infringing any Grange trademarks. (You can read that order here.) Thereafter, the Guild engaged in a concerted effort to evade the attorney's fee judgment, requiring the Grange to expend significant time and resources tracking down the money. The Grange's efforts eventually led the Guild to pay it over $145,000, but that only represented part of what was owed, as the National Grange was entitled to recover its attorney's fees and costs in making the Guild comply with the sanctions award. Judge Shubb's order yesterday awarded the National Grange $50,283 in attorney's fees and costs, and declared that, "because [the Guild] has yet to pay the costs awarded [to the National Grange], the court will not state in this Order that defendant has satisfied the September 2016 judgment." As always, we encourage everybody to read the documents for themselves, and you can read Judge Shubb's order here.

In addition, the National Grange has submitted supplemental applications for over $19,896.62 of additional attorney's fees and costs that were not included in Judge Shubb's order yesterday. You can read the supplemental memoranda of costs here (1) (2) We will let you know when Judge Shubb rules on this application.

The $50,283 awarded yesterday brings the total cost of the Guild's violation of the court order to over $195,000. In addition, the supplemental applications for fees and costs will add another $20,000 to the Guild's tab. As a result, the Guild's refusal to obey the court will cost it over $215,000 (plus accruing interest).

And, of course, until the Guild fully satisfies the attorney's fee award, Judge Shubb's order assigning all dues and loan payments being paid to the Guild to the National Grange remains in full effect. (Read that order is here.) If your organization is paying the Guild, it must send that money to the National Grange pursuant to that order. I strongly encourage any such organizations to carefully consider the court orders and, if necessary, consult with independent counsel before sending any money to the Guild.

In the wake of all these orders, we ALL should be asking:

1. What type of leadership qualities are shown by the Guild when a federal judge orders these types of sanctions?

2. Are you being Willfully and Deliberately Deceived by the same individuals that Willfully and Deliberately Defied a Federal Judge?

3. After Mr. McFarland stated in a declaration signed (see it here)under penalty of perjury that the Guild had less than $2,000 in the bank, the Guild sent a check for $145,467 to the National Grange (see it here) -- where did that money come from? The Grange is investigating to ensure that this money did not come from Grange accounts or from charitable funds, and will take the measures necessary to seek redress if any money paid to satisfy the sanctions award came from any improper source.

4. Why does this continue? Despite the repeated and consistent rulings against it by multiple courts, there has been NO attempt by the Guild or Mr. McFarland to resolve this matter. And so we march on.

I appeal to ALL -

Tell the officers of the Guild to put an end to this. The Guild is squandering the hard-earned dollars received from Grange and Guild members alike in hopeless litigation, and the costs keep going up because of the Guild's leaderships refusal to follow court orders.

The California State Grange will continue its efforts to heal and build our Order in California.

With over 100 Granges and 4000+ members the California State Grange is not going anywhere except forward.

On Friday 8/4/17 Federal Court Judge Shubb denied the Guild (defendant) Motion for Summary Judgement in Trademark II, 2:16-cv-00201, in its entirety. Please read the order for yourself: See it here. The California State Grange and the National Grange's Motion for Summary Judgement in this same case is scheduled to be heard on Oct 2, 2017, we will keep you informed and updated.

Quotes from the order:

"Defendants cite no new facts, absence of facts, or law in the present Motion that support granting them summary judgment" .... "....being presented with no new information to rule otherwise, the court will not grant summary judgment to defendants"....

"Defendants misunderstand the law of the case doctrine."

"IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that defendants' Motion for summary judgment be, and the same hereby is, DENIED. "
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July 2017


Costs of Medication in CA. Reacting to the resolutions and advocacy on affordable health care in California, passed at our '16 annual session, the California State Grange supports the attached letter.

Click letter to view full size!

On July 24, the California State Grange and the National Grange filled a motion for summary judgement in the trademark lawsuit pending in federal court. The motion seeks summary judgment on claims for

(1) false designation of origin, false advertising and trademark infringement in violation of federal and state law;

(2)copyright infringement in violation of federal law,

(3) trade libel under California law; and

(4) trespass and conversion under California law.

Please Click To review Documents:

PLAINTIFFS’ MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT OF CROSS-MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT.

The statement of undisputed facts in support of the motion is here: Statement of Undisputed Material Facts

My declaration summarizing events since September 23, 2016, is here: Ed Komski Declaration

We are sending these documents in response to the delegates' request at our last annual meeting to be kept informed.

July 21, Judge Brown disqualified the Ellis Law Group from representing the California Guild, Robert McFarland, Kathy Bergeron, Takashi Yogi, or Bill Thomas against any party in the state court action (no. 2012-00130439 in Sacramento Superior Court), including the California State Grange. As you might recall, the National Grange had previously moved to disqualify the Ellis Law Group after it hired an attorney, Anthony Valenti, who had previously represented the Grange in the state court action when he worked at the Porter Scott law firm. Judge Brown granted that motion on May 9. However, he limited that ruling to the Ellis Law Group’s representation against the National Grange; he denied the California State Grange’s request to join in the National Grange’s motion because no evidence had been submitted as to the Ellis Law Group’s representation of the Guild against the California State Grange.

The Guild reacted to this ruling by sending out a bulletin entitled “Guild Attorney Survives Komski Motion to Disqualify” (you can read that bulletin here). Once again, however, the Guild put its inaccurate spin on the actual order by claiming that Judge Brown’s order was as a “victory”. Far from it. Those who ignored the spin and read the actual order saw that Judge Brown’s order was without prejudice to the California State Grange’s right to bring a motion supported by evidence to disqualify the Ellis Law Group. This is exactly what happened, and once this procedural hurdle was cleared, Judge Brown granted the motion and disqualified the Ellis Law Group for all purposes in the state court action.

The Court’s full July 21 disqualification order is well worth the read, and I encourage everybody to do so. Some highlights from that order:
  • “[T]he California State Grange and Ed Komski’s Motion for Order disqualifying the Ellis Law Group from representing Defendants California Guild, Robert McFarland, Takashi Yogi, Kathy Bergeron, and/or Bill Thomas against any party in this action is granted.”
  • “Valenti represented the National Grange when it was acting on behalf of the California State Grange during the period between the revocation and restoration of its Charter.”
  • “[T]here is no practical way that the Ellis Law Group can represent the Guild Defendants as to the California State Grange without implicating the National Grange’s confidential information. The National Grange and the California State Grange are too closely related, and their claims are too closely overlapping, for the Ellis Law Group to ever restrict its representation to ‘California State Grange issues’ only.”
  • “The Court also finds that the undisputed evidence establishes that the National Grange and the California State Grange have a ‘unity of interest’ in this litigation and should be treated ‘as one entity for purposes of the alleged conflict such that Mr. Valenti’s work for the National Grange disqualifies him from representing a client adverse to the California State Grange.”
  • The Ellis Law Group’s “purported ethical wall to screen Mr. Valenti from the Grange litigation was ineffective, if it was ever erected at all.”
  • “[O]n June 9, 2017, Roxy Chipak, the legal assistant to Mr. Valenti for over 6 months in 2016 and early 2017, attested that she was never informed of any ethical wall and that Mr. Valenti had full and unfettered access to the information about the Grange cases maintained at the Ellis Law Group. Thus, the evidence is even stronger here than in the previous National Grange's motion that any ethical wall failed to rebut the resumption that Mr. Valenti acquired confidential information through his representation of the National Grange.” See Ms. Chipak’s declaration here.

As usual, please don’t just take my word for it, read the full order for yourself here.

What does this order mean going forward? In its premature “victory” e-mail after the ruling on the National Grange’s motion, the Guild claimed that the Ellis Law Group would continue to represent the Guild Defendants in the state court action against the California State Grange. That was false – as the July 21 order makes clear, the Ellis Law Group is disqualified from representing the Guild, Mr. McFarland, or any of the other Guild Defendants against any party, including the California State Grange.

Moreover, the Ellis Law Group’s conflict created when it hired the Grange’s former attorney is not limited to the state court action. The same conflict exists in any representation by the Ellis Law Group of any person or entity against the Grange. The California State Grange will file a motion to disqualify in any case where the Ellis Law Group attempts to represent the Guild or one of its affiliates (to the extent that the Ellis Law Group even attempts such representation, given ethical constraints). As Judge Brown’s orders, and the two orders from the Third Appellate District, make clear, the Ellis Law Group’s conflict requires disqualification, and the supposed ethical wall (if it ever existed at all) was ineffective to cure that conflict.

We hope that everyone that has been influenced by Mr. Ellis and Mr. McFarland will be responsible to themselves and their members, and do the research to understand the various court rulings disqualifying the Ellis Law Group so that they may move forward with an understanding of the law and its responsibilities. I highly suggest that you present the court orders and the relevant facts to a reputable attorney with an expertise in the law of attorney conflicts and get an opinion. In any event, if you hear about or receive any type of correspondence from the Ellis Law Group regarding the Grange or the Guild, please notify us immediately. The California State Grange will take the necessary steps to ensure that the courts’ orders on disqualification are obeyed.

Click to read Ms Chipak's declaration.

Click to view Full Order!

After 4 days of hard work (and fun!) at our 142nd Annual Session, the California State Grange is moving forward with intense support and drive thanks to all the delegates who attended and all the Grangers and Patrons around the state who supported their delegates. We continue our sustained movement in a direction of growth and purpose. The following is an overview and you should anticipate receiving more details shortly, including copies of the resolutions and approvals, as well as pictures.

Thank you all for your participation and making the 142nd Annual California State Grange Session a great success.

Happy Tails - Can't wait until we meet again!

Super Granger 6th Degree was a hit. Hey bidder - bidder

Highlights Numbers ▪ 7 Charters were Presented ▪ 28 Granges with a net Gain ▪ 6 Granges Celebrating 85 years ▪ 3 Granges Celebrating 95 years ▪ 91 Granges eligible for representation ▪ 3861 members eligible for representation ▪ 16 members received the 6th degree

Over $2,000 raised to support Expo, Talent Show Best of Show trip to National Session, Youth and Junior Programs Speakers & Guest ▪ Undersecretary Houston, CDFA ▪ Burton Eller, National Grange Legislator Director ▪ Tom Gwinn, WA State Grange Master ▪ Tom McKern, GIA ▪ Jeffrey Skinner, Schiff Hardin

Commitee Work ▪ Ag & H20 - C-Evenson, VC-Scholten, King, Curry, Hyland, Stowell ▪ Audit & Budget - C-Abreim, VC-Bevans, Allen, Clouse, MacCtacken ▪ Citz & Trans - C-Moramarco, VC-Larson, Wingfield, Sayer, Watson ▪ Conservation - C-Turnquist, VC-Saxe, Moore, Golden, Simon ▪ Ed & Health - C-Saxton, VC-Peeler, Laskowski, Kelly, Sanchez ▪ Law, Growth & Devl - C-Booth, VC-Stefanoni, Hoel, Munerloh, Winegar ▪ Labor & Judic - C-Corraggio, VC-Kroeson, Box, Simms, Haley

denotes: C - chair, VC - Vice Chair

Presentations

▪ 1910 Bible Presentation - The Booth Family ▪ Annual Audit ▪ Tacy Curry, Fair Program ▪ Loree Lampkey - Western States Regionals ▪ Bill Booth Communication Director ▪ Emilee Turnquist, Youth Director Autumn Leaves - Bob Cancalini & Rosemary Hansen

Programs - Clinics ▪ Installation of Officer - Erica Kroesen - 3YR EC ▪ Clearing the Air - Allen & Booth ▪ Salute to Our Veterans - Katie Squire ▪ Expo Talent Show ▪ Memorial Service - Barbara Geiger ▪ Talent Show Winner - Josh Harper - Fund Raising Auction ▪ Expo Support - Fund Raising Auction ▪ Grange Basket - Youth and Junior Raffle

Resolutions Passed Grange Law/ Grange Growth & Development 2017-01: Change Annual Session Dates and Locations are Set 2017-12R: California State Grange Repeals 1940-1950 Historical Policy Regarding Japanese Americans 2017-09: New Grange Foundation 2017-11: Agricultural Census of Grange Members 2017-31: Grange Mission Statement 2017-36: Custodial Accounts POLICY Education & Health 2017-07R: Student Loan Forgiveness for Farmers 2017-29R: Grange Support for Universal Access to Health Care for All Californians through CA. Senate Bill #562 2017-32: American Sign Language in High School 2017-33: American Sign Language Education 2017-38: Affordable Hearing Aids POLICY Labor, Judiciary & Transportation 2017-08: Restricting of Driver's License by Child Support System 2017-39: Grange Support for Passenger Rail 2017-40: California Rail Transport Network POLICY Agriculture & Water 2017-13R: Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program 2017-15R: National Organic Certification and Cost Share Program 2017-16R: Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative 2017-17R: Eminent Domain for Pipelines Transporting Fossil Fuels 2017-18R: Specialty Crop Initiative 2017-23R: Farm Bill - Crop Insurance 2017-26 Right of Ownership of Farm Equipment - Right to Modify or Replace Software as Needed 2017-28R: Whole Farm Revenue Protection 2017-30R: Maintain & Increase Funding for National Organic Program 2017-30R: Maintain and Increase Funding for National Organic Program 2017-35: California State Grange AG Lobbyist POLICY Citizenship & Taxation 217-20R: California Primary Election 2017-21R: Agricultural Worker Protection Act of 2017 POLICY Conservation 2017-22: Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative 2017-25 Global Warming 2017-37R: Planting Trees POLICY

Audit & Budget 2017-34: Budget Submission at Annual Session POLICY

On January 19, 2017, the Charter of Bennett Valley Grange was revoked by the California State Grange. You can read the revocation decision here. On January 30, 13+ individuals applied to reorganize Bennett Valley Grange in accordance with the rules of the Order. That application was accepted and Bennett Valley Grange was reorganized and its Charter was restored.

The California State Grange, along with the National Grange and Bennett Valley Grange, has filed a lawsuit against the Bennett Valley Guild, an organization created by certain former members of Bennett Valley Grange that improperly holds Grange property belonging to Bennett Valley Grange. You can read the complete complaint here.

The causes of action are:
1. Declaratory relief for a declaration that Bennett Valley Grange was properly reorganized pursuant to the rules of the Order;
2. Declaratory relief for a declaration that the Bennett Valley Guild has no right, title, or interest in the Bennett Valley Grange Hall;
3. Declaratory relief for a declaration that the Bennett Valley Guild must relinquish possession and control of the Hall to Bennett Valley Grange;
4. Declaratory relief for a declaration that the Bennett Valley Guild must relinquish possession and control of all personal property of Bennett Valley Grange to Bennett Valley Grange;
5. Conversion of Bennett Valley Grange’s personal property;
6. Ejectment from the Bennett Valley Grange Hall; and
7. Quiet Title to return title to the Hall to Bennett Valley Grange.

As always – we encourage you to read the documents for yourself. Don’t just rely on the “spin” and propaganda from the Guild. If you don’t believe the court documents, ask an independent lawyer for an opinion, and point them to our website for legal documents and court rulings.

The lesson of this lawsuit is simple: any individual can leave the Grange at any time. But nobody may leave the Order and take Grange Property with them. A Grange Hall is the “home base” of a Grange that was built and maintained by Grangers and Patrons for decades (or, in the case of Bennett Valley Grange, well over a century) for use in the community, utilizing the structure of the Grange to facilitate care and oversight. A Hall is our venue to connect with the needs of our communities. The Grange is not about selling property, it’s about putting people in seats in a Hall to do the good work of the Order, as planned, designed, and valued by each individual Grange. Mr. McFarland himself long ago recognized that Grange Halls must stay in the Order, writing that “it is our responsibility to see that these halls remain in the Grange family.” (You can read Mr. McFarland’s article from the Spring 2010 issue of the California Grange News here.) The California State Grange takes that responsibility very seriously, and will continue to work to return Grange property to where it belongs: in the Grange.

We will keep you updated as the Bennett Valley lawsuit progresses.



June 2017


Sesquicentennial Information Packet Now Available

The Sesquicentennial committee has researched and compiled a packet of interesting information designed to assist Granges in making the most of the opportunity to learn about and to celebrate the rich history of Grange. The packet - which was earlier sent in hard copy to your State Master and Secretary - contains interesting historical facts, short biographies of important Grange leaders as well as suggested ways to celebrate. Lecturers or any other Grange member who is in charge of sesquicentennial events should find the information very helpful. Click Here for the Information Packet

Click here to get packet

IN THIS ISSUE:

• Ask New Generation to Join us as Do·ers
• Grange Welcomes Several Summer Interns
• Youth Set Sights on National Master, Others with Fundraiser
• Illinois Grange Gets Historic Designation
• 'Healthy' Food Definition Under Scrutiny by FDA
• Out of the Ordinary Community Service
• 5G: The Future of Wireless Internet
• 2017 Quilt Block Contest Reminder
• Cash In On Benefits
• Take Advantage of Sales
• Advertise to Whole Grange Family
• Grange Youth Photo Scavenger Hunt
• Four-Minute Movie Contest
• Make Last Stretch Meaningful for Distinguish Grange Application


Click here to view!

Attached please find 2 notice's, they were sent to the California State Grange from the CA Department of Food andriculture. They each address the Interior Quarantine emergency action in Alameda and Contra Costa // Solano and Dixon respectively focused on the Asian Citrus Psyllid. We will forward notices as they become available to California State Grange Members for information purposes and action if you or your Grange have interest in the subject.

Click here to view Alameda and Contra Costa Notice.

Click here to view Solano and Dixon Notices.


Burton Eller, Legislative Director
National Grange

The Summer Challenge for Congress

Will Congress be able to make major legislative achievements this summer before they break for a five week recess in August through Labor Day? There are only 31 legislative days left between the Memorial Day recess and the August recess. Here are some areas that have the best chance of at least some action before the end of the FY'17 fiscal year September 30:

Adopt a budget for FY'18

Congress was unable to pass a budget last year so the pressure is on the Republican majority to do better this time around. Republicans blasted Democrat-controlled Congresses in the past for going years without adopting a budget. The FY'18 budget year begins October 1.

Raise the debt limit

Congress has been notified by Treasury Secretary Mnuchin the debt ceiling may have to be raised sooner than expected, meaning before they leave for the August recess. Conservative members of Congress want to tie any debt ceiling increase to spending cuts. Liberal members of Congress counter that a clean debt hike bill could garner bipartisan support and avoid a bruising debt limit battle.

Avoid a government shutdown

Congress is way behind on its annual appropriations process. Appropriators concede there's not enough time to get every individual appropriations bill through committee and adopted on the House and Senate floor. So Congress is faced with passing a series of "minibuses" or a giant omnibus to keep the government open after September 30 and avoid a shutdown.

Replace Obamacare

The Affordable Care Act/Obamacare replacement passed by the House has something for almost everyone, including the Senate, to hate. Senate staffers have been working long and late on a legislative package to circulate to Senators when they return from their Memorial Day recess June 8. The Senate Republican leadership's goal is to pass repeal and replace legislation by the August recess.

Reform the tax code

Congress must find some way to pay for tax reform, unless they add it to the deficit, which means moving Obamacare repeal and the FY'18 budget or omnibus through the chambers first. With tax reform, everyone's ox gets gored somewhere. It will take time to float multiple concepts to members of Congress in hopes of finding a compromise with some chance to pass.

Push Back on Budget and Rural Development Reorganization

The Administration's Budget

President Trump's proposed budget for FY'18 is not making most folks around Washington happy except the defense industry. The reshuffling of funds cuts programs at practically all departments and agencies including USDA. Crop insurance, food stamps, international food aid, conservation programs, foreign market promotion funds, and several rural development programs including rural community development grants are all affected. Agriculture, food and rural advocacy groups were quick to point out that recently confirmed Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue was not involved in developing the budget which was crafted by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Congress was quick to clarity and reiterate its jurisdiction over the final budget and promised to make final judgment on program funding.

USDA Reorganization

Secretary Perdue's reorganization of USDA is getting mixed reviews. His most popular move was to create an Under Secretary for Trade. In what is considered common sense reorganization, the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the Risk Management Agency (RMA) were consolidated within a new Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. Secretary Perdue's decision to eliminate the Under Secretary for Rural Development (RD) and have those agencies within Rural Development report directly to the Secretary's office is controversial. RD supporters say the move is a demotion that will cripple rural development efforts across the country. Secretary Perdue insists rural development will now receive greater attention and his move in fact is an elevation in status for the rural development mission.

Health Care in the Cross Hairs

As the American Health Care Act moves from the House to the Senate, the goal of the Republican leadership is to pass a revised bill by the August recess. That will be a challenge. There is a definite bipartisan consensus that the House-passed version will need to be revised by the Senate. Priority concerns of senators seem to be adequate funding of Medicaid, getting rid of the age tax on older Americans, coverage of preexisting conditions, and allowing individual states some flexibility. Major health care industry groups are practically living at the Senate. Here are some of their priorities:

Insurers

The insurance industry wants assurance that crucial payments under Obamacare of about $7 billion will continue. They continue to be concerned about Medicaid cuts to cover under-insured populations and regions of the country.

AARP

Axing the proposed "age tax" in the House bill that would allow insurance companies to charge older adults five times more than younger people is AARP's top priority for the senate bill.

Health Care Providers

For the American Medical Association and other providers, it's all about health coverage. Providers want to 1) ensure that currently covered individuals do not lose access to affordable, quality insurance, 2) retain coverage for pre-existing conditions, and 3) ensure states that previously expanded Medicaid are not put at risk to lose that coverage.

Hospitals

For hospitals, it's all about coverage and the ability of people with health insurance stay covered under the new legislation. Adequate funding for the Medicaid program is another top priority since hospitals cannot turn patients away if they can't pay. Medicaid funding is critical they say to deliver care, pay costs and, in the case of rural hospitals, stay open.

Major Tax Code Reform Could Prove Elusive

Both parties agree that real tax reform is long overdue. That's where the bipartisan agreement ends. Both President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan have floated ideas for a legislative tax package. Congressional Democrats have been rather quiet and are content so far to let Republicans take the lead. With support waning on Capitol Hill for the border adjustment tax, it's back to the drawing board for House Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader McConnell. Then there is the dogged "pay for" rule in Congress that requires revenue lost through tax cuts be replaced with new revenue streams. If Congress can't pass a budget and dispense with health care legislation first, there's little chance of tax reform seeing the light of day for a while.

Immigration

For agriculture, immigration is all about access to a legal, stable work force that is not available in our domestic labor force. The current H-2A visa program is cumbersome, inflexible, and depends upon the involvement of several federal agencies. Many producers watch crops rot in the fields while they wait on foreign workers. Current federal interpretation of seasonal work prohibits H-2A use for many segments of agriculture, including dairy and livestock, leaving these industries without a legal mechanism to hire foreign workers.

It's no wonder then that farmers, dairymen, ranchers and others are forced to find labor wherever they can, legal or illegal. Many in Congress understand, are supportive and have even introduced strong legislation to create a reliable, timely, legal workforce to meet the country's short term and long term temporary labor needs. Unfortunately, there is an overriding belief among pro-immigration as well as anti-immigration members of Congress that passing any immigration-related legislation would undermine their efforts to leverage a larger immigration reform package in the future.

Robots might be the answer to labor shortages for bigger operations in some industries. Large dairies have already installed robotic milking machines with high-tech sensors, individual animal monitoring and automatic record-keeping. Machines yielding high pressure water knives harvest lettuce in California. Mechanical fingers pick berries in the Pacific Northwest. Huge investments in robots, however, are not the answer to labor shortages at this time for most food producers.

Regulatory Relief

Democratic senators Heitkamp of North Dakota and Manchin of West Virginia have joined Republican senators Portman of Ohio and Hatch of Utah to sponsor the Regulatory Accountability Act (S. 951). The bill proposes to ease regulatory burdens by significantly amending the Administrative Procedures Act for the first time in 70 years. New rules and regulations would be reviewed no less than 10 years after their effective date. Agencies would be required to consider cost-effective alternatives to the most expensive rules and to consider the best reasonably available science.

Did You Know? Making a New Laying Hen

The demand for cage-free and free-roam eggs is steadily growing and America's egg farmers are struggling to keep up with that demand. But their challenge is more than just producing more eggs. Layers bred for years to adapt to caged environments convert their feed energy into egg production and not muscle or bone structure. As a result, their offspring are having trouble adapting to flying, landing, running and jumping onto perches and laying boxes. Widespread bone and muscle injuries occur and egg quality scores are lower. Poultry geneticists now face the challenge of breeding a more substantial and traditional range layer.

Cutting Through Generations with Gene Editing Technology That new laying hen may not take ten generations of conventional breeding to develop. Unlike GMOs where a foreign gene is introduced into a species, genome editing modifies a gene that is already existing in the species to produce a desired trait.

Are Food Allergies Overdiagnosed?

The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology says there is confusion between food allergy and food intolerance. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the prevalence of food allergies rose 50 percent among adults and 18 percent among children between 1997 and 2007. Some experts speculate a combination of environmental, genetic, and lifestyle factors are to blame. A food allergy causes the immune system to overact to components in certain foods. Recent studies, however, indicate food allergies are being overdiagnosed and overreported and may actually be food intolerance on many cases. Food intolerance is caused by a reaction in the gastrointestinal tract as opposed to the immune system.

Feedback and questions are welcome. Call or email Burton Eller, (202) 628-3507 extension 114, beller@nationalgrange.org


May 2017


The 3rd District of Appeals DISQUALIFIED the Ellis Law Group from the two pending appeals (numbers C082338 and C080523) filed by the California Guild, McFarland, Bergeron, Yogi and Thomas (“Defendants”) in the state court litigation. In particular, the appellate court ruled that “the Ellis Law Firm is disqualified from representing defendants in this appeal,” and ordered that “Defendants shall promptly notify this court upon the selection and hiring of replacement counsel for the Ellis Law Group.” You can read the order issued in appeal no. C082338 at the link below; the court has also ordered that the Ellis Law Group is disqualified in appeal no. C080523, we will post that written opinion as soon as it is issued.

Appellate Disqualification Order Here 80523

Today the 3rd District of Appeals DISQUALIFIED the Ellis Law Group from the two pending appeals (numbers C082338 and C080523) filed by the California Guild, McFarland, Bergeron, Yogi and Thomas (“Defendants”) in the state court litigation. In particular, the appellate court ruled that “the Ellis Law Firm is disqualified from representing defendants in this appeal,” and ordered that “Defendants shall promptly notify this court upon the selection and hiring of replacement counsel for the Ellis Law Group.” You can read the order issued in appeal no. C082338 at the link below; the court has also ordered that the Ellis Law Group is disqualified in appeal no. C080523, and we will pass along its written opinion as soon as it is issued.

Click here to view Appellate Disqualification Order!

Please help us welcome Anderson Grange # 418 in returning to Good Standing in the State of California. By paying its dues and completing the required business reporting (available on the California State Grange’s website: www.castategrange.org, Anderson Grange # 418, Redding, CA,. Shasta County is compliant with the rules set forth in the National Grange’s Digest of Laws and the California State Grange’s Constitution and By-Laws.

The confusion created by all the "spin" and propaganda from the California Guild can be cumbersome, to say the least. The California State Grange has only our Fraternal Order in its heart, and we desire to continue to do business as we have for over 143 years as a Local, State, and National Organization.

Thank you to members of Anderson Grange and the leadership, they are in control of their grange destiny and they chose the path to stay a Grange.

Anderson Grange # 418
8085 Airport Rd.
Redding, CA CA




Please help us welcome Anderson Valley Grange # 669 in returning to Good Standing in the State of California. By paying its dues and completing the required business reporting (available on the California State Grange’s website: www.castategrange.org, Anderson Valley Grange # 669, 9800 Hwy 128, Philo, CA,. Menocino County is compliant with the rules set forth in the National Grange’s Digest of Laws and the California State Grange’s Constitution and By-Laws.

The confusion created by all the "spin" and propaganda from the California Guild can be cumbersome, to say the least. The California State Grange has only our Fraternal Order in its heart, and we desire to continue to do business as we have for over 143 years as a Local, State, and National Organization.

Thank you to members of Anderson Valley Grange and the leadership, they are in control of their grange destiny and they chose the path to stay a Grange.

Anderson Valley Grange # 669
9800 HWY 128
Philo, CA


Click here to view Anderson Valley Gange Facebook Page!

"SCULPTING YOUR PASSION INTO ACTION".....

..... is the theme of the Western Regional Leadership Conference this year in California.

The Conference will be August 4, 5 and 6th, 2017 at the Knott's Berry Farm Hotel. We will visit the Knott's Berry Farm Amusement park on Friday evening for fun, food, and fellowship.

Saturday will be a whirlwind of workshops including the National Grange Youth Team led by Charlene Espenshade, the National Grange Lecturer Chris Hamp, and leadership facilitators from the California State Grange to round out the program. Don't forget Grange Jeopardy, Public Speaking and Sign-A-Song Contests!!!

Sunday will continue the conference with time to get you on the road or in the air. This is an enthusiastic and interactive conference for all Grange leaders, members, Youth and Junior Grangers. New to the Grange? This is a good time to come and learn more!!

Registration fees include Friday evening will include entry to the Amusement Park - with surprise activities during the night!! Friday dinner will be on your own since there are so many things to choose from in the park. All meals on Saturday and a hearty buffet breakfast on Sunday are included.

Don't forget to order your Conference T-Shirt!!

Room rates at the Knott's Berry Farm hotel are $139.00 per night. Please contact the hotel directly (contact information is on the Registration Form) for reservations. The hotel has indicated availability to extend the conference group rate for one to two extra days if you want to visit other California fun places. Ask the Hotel directly.

Draft Schedule and Conference T-Shirt design will be on the Facebook page this week. California State Grange is ready to show you a great time!!



Click here to view registration form!

Willful Defiance of Federal Court Order Keeps Costing the Guild More Money

On Thursday, May 18th, Judge Shubb awarded the National Grange its attorney's fees and costs associated with enforcing the $145,000 attorney's fee award issued last September. As you will recall, Judge Shubb originally sanctioned the Guild for its "willful and deliberate" violation of the court order prohibiting the Guild from infringing any Grange trademarks. (You can read that order here.)

Thereafter, the Guild engaged in a concerted effort to evade the attorney's fee judgment, requiring the Grange to expend significant time and resources tracking down the money. The Grange's efforts eventually led the Guild to pay it over $145,000, but that only represented part of what was owed, as the National Grange was entitled to recover its attorney's fees and costs in making the Guild comply with the sanctions award. Judge Shubb's order yesterday awarded the National Grange $50,283 in attorney's fees and costs, and declared that, "because [the Guild] has yet to pay the costs awarded [to the National Grange], the court will not state in this Order that defendant has satisfied the September 2016 judgment." As always, we encourage everybody to read the documents for themselves, and you can read Judge Shubb's order here.

In addition, the National Grange has submitted supplemental applications for over $19,896.62 of additional attorney's fees and costs that were not included in Judge Shubb's order yesterday. You can read the supplemental memoranda of costs here (1) (2) We will let you know when Judge Shubb rules on this application.

The $50,283 awarded yesterday brings the total cost of the Guild's violation of the court order to over $195,000. In addition, the supplemental applications for fees and costs will add another $20,000 to the Guild's tab. As a result, the Guild's refusal to obey the court will cost it over $215,000 (plus accruing interest).

And, of course, until the Guild fully satisfies the attorney's fee award, Judge Shubb's order assigning all dues and loan payments being paid to the Guild to the National Grange remains in full effect. (View the order is here.) If your organization is paying the Guild, it must send that money to the National Grange pursuant to that order. We strongly encourage any such organizations to carefully consider the court orders and, if necessary, consult with independent counsel before sending any money to the Guild.

In the wake of all these orders, we ALL should be asking:
1. What type of leadership qualities are shown by the Guild when a federal judge orders these types of sanctions?
2. Are you being Willfully and Deliberately Deceived by the same individuals that Willfully and Deliberately Defied a Federal Judge?
3. After Mr. McFarland stated in a declaration signed (see it here) under penalty of perjury that the Guild had less than $2,000 in the bank, the Guild sent a check for $145,467 to the National Grange (see it here) -- where did that money come from? The Grange is investigating to ensure that this money did not come from Grange accounts or from charitable funds, and will take the measures necessary to seek redress if any money paid to satisfy the sanctions award came from any improper source.
4. Why does this continue? Despite the repeated and consistent rulings against it by multiple courts, there has been NO attempt by the Guild or Mr. McFarland to resolve this matter. And so we march on.

We appeal to ALL -

Tell the officers of the Guild to put an end to this. The Guild is squandering the hard-earned dollars received from Grange and Guild members alike in hopeless litigation, and the costs keep going up because of the Guild's leaderships refusal to follow court orders.

The California State Grange will continue its efforts to heal and build our Order in California.

With over 100 Granges and 4000+ members the California State Grange is not going anywhere except forward.


IN THIS ISSUE:

• Does Your Grange Have a Purpose?
• Fly-In Attendees Meet with Success
• Look for 150th Anniversary Mailing
• Youth ZOOM Meetings at Your Fingertips
• Grange Supply Store Clearance Items Announced
• Grange Legislative Round-Up
• Grange Kudos
• Focus on Photos
• 151st Convention Registration Open Now
• Good Day! May Issue Will Soon Hit Mail
• Sew Day a Success
• The Great American Quilt + Handicraft Expo
• Your Story Needed to Complete Picture of Rural Broadband Need
• Time to Promote Grange: Today, Always
• Film Project Gets Foundation Grant
• Cash in on Benefits
• Grange Youth Scavenger Hunt

Click to view latest newsletter!





Long Live Redwood Valley Grange

Pictures are of the big redwood sign that hangs now back on the Redwood Valley Grange Hall. We took it down at some point. Took it home, and glued it back together, repainted the letters, and with the help of other Grangers, hung it back up again.

We added our names to the back of it of course, along with the name of the original Granger who made the sign in 1963.

Added "Long live the RV Grange!"

A Note:

Been busy going through the archives for our grange. Most are stored at the Mendocino Historical Society, where they are safe and available only to RV Grange officers.

Redwood Valley Grange might be the most documented grange around! Found minutes....a continuous record of mostly handwritten minutes....from 1921 to present! Also quarterly reports from 1917. The dues were only 50 cents for men and 25 cents for women!

It has made me appreciate the Grange even more, and it has become apparent to me that we really need to honor all the hard work of those who have gone before us! One of the photos from 1967 is of Roger Koehler, a Granger and Master of the RVG for quite a while. He and his wife just recently moved back into the area and rejoined the RV Grange! We are so grateful to have him.

I'm also attaching a photo of the original Redwood Valley Grange Hall, which was used for a short while before the one we have now was built, which was finished in 1921. It was part of the Frank's winery, and was used for dances and Grange meetings. The land the current hall sits on was purchased from a local citizen for only $10, more of a donation!

Long live the spirit of the Grange.

Visit Facebook Page for more details.



Jim Houston, Undersecretary, California Department of Food and Agriculture, will be guest speaker at our 142nd Annual Session. He is scheduled to speak on Friday, June 23rd. See schedule for exact time.

Jim Houston was appointed by Governor Brown as undersecretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture in January 2015, after serving the agency since 2011 as deputy secretary for legislation and public engagement. He was a senior account representative at BGS Group Consulting Inc. from 2004 to 2010, representing numerous entities involved in agriculture. He worked for the California Assembly from 2001 to 2004, serving as Legislative Director for Assembly Member Simon Salinas. He received a law degree from Mc George School of Law in 2009.

Please welcome Inland Valley Grange to the Grange in the State of California. Inland Valley Grange has applied as a newly chartered Grange and all the appropriate paper work has arrived for submission to the National Grange.

Inland Valley is being formed with 23 founding members and Bob Knight has been voted in as Master. This Grange is head over heals into Agricultural in the San Bernardino and Riverside area (commonly know as the Inland Valley) and we are so excited to welcome them into our Grange Family.

Ed Komski, State President is looking forward to installing their new officers.

Inland Valley Grange
P.O. Box 534
Mentone, CA 92359


Please welcome back Geyserville Grange # 312 in returning to the Good Standing in the State of California. By paying its dues and completing the required business reporting (available on the California State Grange’s website: www.castategrange.org, Geyserville Grange # 312, Geyserville, CA,. Sonoma County is compliant with the rules set forth in the National Grange’s Digest of Laws and the California State Grange’s Constitution and By-Laws.

The confusion created by all the "spin" and propaganda from the California Guild can be cumbersome, to say the least. The California State Grange has only our Fraternal Order in its heart, and we desire to continue to do business as we have for over 143 years as a Local, State, and National Organization.

Thank you to members of Geyserville Grange and the leadership, they are in control of their grange destiny and they chose the path to stay a Grange.

Geyserville Grange # 312
1000 Hwy 128
Geyserville, CA


In a ruling issued on May 9th, Judge Brown granted the National Grange’s motion to disqualify the Ellis Law Group as counsel for the California Guild and Robert McFarland in the state court litigation.

In June 2016, Mark Ellis hired an attorney (Anthony Valenti) to work at his firm who had previously represented the Grange in the litigation against the Guild. Recently, in March 2017, the Ellis Law Group identified Mr. Valenti as an attorney of record for the Guild in a signed court pleading, and Mr. Ellis himself included Mr. Valenti on e-mails about Grange litigation. This is a very serious issue, as attorneys owe a duty of confidentiality and loyalty to their clients, and cannot “switch sides” to represent parties opposing their clients. Likewise, a law firm representing an opposing party cannot hire such an attorney because that would give that firm access to the client’s confidential information. But that is exactly what happened here with Mr. Valenti and the Ellis Law Group.



The facts and the law on this issue are very clear-cut. Judge Brown issued a lengthy and well-reasoned written opinion that systematically walks through the relevant facts and law and concludes that the Ellis Law Group must be disqualified. A few highlights from the order (“Plaintiff” is the National Grange, Porter Scott is the law firm representing the National Grange, and “Defendants” are the Guild and McFarland):

-- From Page 8: “On the evidence before the Court, through his work at Porter Scott as one of Plaintiff’s attorneys staffed on this case, based on the ‘substantial relationship test’ Valenti is presumed to have (and given his failure to affirmatively prove otherwise) did have actual knowledge of confidential information relevant to this lawsuit; nothing is being ‘imputed’ to him. The circumstances here involve only a ‘single imputation’ -- the imputation of Valenti’s knowledge to the Ellis Law Group.”

-- From Page 12: “even if the Court were to proceed to consider the evidence of the supposed ethical wall [that Ellis claimed kept Valenti from sharing information about the Grange], other evidence of record -- separate and apart from the emails -- raises serious questions about the wall’s effectiveness.”

-- From Pages 11-12: “Attorney Valenti undisputedly performed at least 26 billable hours of legal work (including legal research and client communications) for Plaintiff, with unfettered access to confidential client information and actual exposure to it, and then he switched firms to become a member of the firm representing Defendants in the very same case. Under Henriksen, these facts require automatic vicarious disqualification, and the Ellis Law Group must be disqualified. On a separate and independent alternative ground, even if Henriksen did not apply on the facts here -- and the Court finds that it does -- Defendants have not provided evidence revealing their ethical wall to be effective under Kirk. As such, again, the Ellis Law Group must be disqualified.”

In other words, the Court concluded that, by hiring Valenti, the Ellis Law Group was imputed to have knowledge of the Grange’s confidential information, and that any attempts that the Ellis Law Group made to “screen off” Mr. Valenti from the Grange litigation (if in fact any such attempts were actually made; the Ellis Law Group could provide no written documentation of such a screen) were ineffective based on the undisputed evidence. You can read the entire opinion here. This is going to require 2 cups of coffee. As always, I encourage everybody to get the facts for themselves, and not simply rely on “spin” and “propaganda” from the Guild.

In sum, the order disqualifies the Ellis Law Group from continuing as counsel for the Guild and Mr. McFarland in the state court lawsuit. Similar motions are pending in the other lawsuits involving the Guild and Mr. McFarland, and we expect those courts to reach the exact same conclusion as Judge Brown. We will pass along those orders as soon as they become available. To the extent that the Ellis Law Group seeks to represent the Guild or any of its affiliates in any other pending or future Grange lawsuits, that will not be permitted.

Click here to view Court Order!


Burton Eller, National Grange, Legislative Director is named the National Grange Representative for the 2017 California State Grange Annual Session!

In reviewing what California Grange Members might find invigorating, insightful, empowering, inspiring and sure to drive interesting conversations for this years state session I came to one conclusion, Burton. In my 3 years of attending National Session and last years Legislative days in New Hampshire, I find Mr. Eller to be one of the most interesting, well connected, insightful and passionate Directors of the National Grange team. Please help me welcome Mr. Burton Eller as our National Representative at our 142nd Annual California State Grange Annual Convention in Santa Rosa, at the Sonoma County Fair Grounds June 22-25th.

BIOGRAPHY of J. BURTON ELLER

Burton Eller is a product of and a strong proponent for agriculture and rural America. His roots still run deep into rural southwestern Virginia where he raises beef cattle, grass and hay on farmland that’s been in his family for nearly 150 years. He went to Virginia Tech to be an engineer. However he soon realized that working with living, breathing, animated objects were more to his liking, so he switched majors to animal science with an education minor. His master’s degree is in physiology.

Early in his career, Eller’s affinity for people and his dedication to agriculture brought him to the nation’s capital where he frequented the halls of Congress, weaved through the maze of regulatory agencies, walked the streets of Washington and developed a reputation as one of Washington’s top lobbyists and policy wonks. He headed a major government affairs office, became CEO of two different national associations and served as Deputy Under Secretary of Agriculture.

Burton is known as a coalition and consensus builder who coalesces disparate factions in the food, agriculture and natural resource sectors around policy, legislative and regulatory outcomes for mutual benefit. He manages issues and crises by developing options, strategies, and solutions for offensive and defense campaigns. Chief among Burton’s priorities today are raising the profile of the Grange’s leadership as the oldest farm and rural public interest organization in the country. He is charged with protecting rural America from government over-regulation, ensuring the future of family-owned land, farms and small businesses, expanding rural broadband, and promoting access to affordable health care. In summary, he is responsible for policy, advocacy and legislation at the National Grange.



Special Mother’s Day Weekend Concert with Jim Page and Jim n Paige at the Marshall Grange in Garden Valley Saturday May 13

Jim Page is on the road again and will be coming back to the Marshall Grange for an evening of music and song on Saturday May 13. Jim n Paige will open the show at 7:30 P.M. with a Bad Radio tribute to Mother’s Day. Tickets are available at Global Colors in Georgetown, the Local Take and bake Pizzeria in Garden Valley, and on line at www.brownpapertickets.com for $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Grange members tickets for $10, and high school students for $6 will be available at the door.

Jim is a topical folk singer in the tradition of folks like Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and U. Utah Phillips. His songs are stories of social relevance honestly chronicling the events of the day, told with enough empathy and humor to leave you feeling that there is still hope. As U. Utah Phillips said, “Jim Page’s songs get right to the point. He looks at the world clearly and reports what he sees with compassion, humor and a biting sense of irony. And boy! can he sing and play. If you’re ever going to get the message, this is the messenger to get it from.”

He learned his performance skills on the streets of New York and Europe, then honed them in Seattle after he got the city council to adopt an ordinance legalizing busking and opening up the city for it’s now famous street music scene. Jim’s songs cover a wide range of topics from sweet songs celebrating the good in the world to hard hitting songs about darker things like collateral damage in the Middle Eastern wars. His songs have been covered by notables including Christy Moore, The Moving Hearts, Dick Gaughan, Roy Bailey, The Doobie Brothers, Leftover Salmon, David Soul, John Trudell and others. Much of his catalogue has been archived by Smithsonian Folkways and the anti-nuclear anthem Hiroshima Nagasaki Russian Roulette is included on the Grammy nominated Smithsonian Folkways Collection Best of Broadside.

Like the troubadours and topical folk singers of old, Jim chronicles the events of our time, opening the minds and souls of those willing to listen and leaving them with a smile on their face and hope in their heart. Jim is an American Treasure, a versatile man, who will take you on a roller coaster ride of both the mind and the soul, and let you off with a smile on your face and hope in your heart. You can learn more about him and sample his music at www.jimpage.net.

Jim Holden and Paige Felton made their mark on the Georgetown Divide as hosts of the program “Bad Radio” on KFOK. They are taking their show of wit, the unexpected, and always fun, from the broadcast studio to the Marshall Grange stage for a special tribute to Mother’s Day. We are all in for a treat.

This is a delightful way to celebrate Mother’s Day with an evening of music, tasty treats and drinks, and at the same time support live music in the community. The Grange Hall is located at 4940 Marshall Road, in Garden Valley. Driving directions may be found at www.marshallgrange.org. For further information call 530-642-8671

Redwood Valley Grange #382 will be celebrating the Centennial of their Grange on Saturday May 20th. Redwood Valley Grange is located at 8650 East Rd, Redwood Valley, CA.

Click here to view Flyer!


The National Grange Fly-In

The National Grange Fly-In April 24-26 was a huge success. Seventeen Grangers from eleven states made the rounds for meetings in 31 congressional offices on Capitol Hill. The youngest member of the Granger Fly-In delegation, Daniel Wilkins age 10 from Texas, can be seen on the National Grange web site shaking hands with his home-state Senator Ted Cruz. The group was briefed at the National Grange Building next to the White House before departing to the Hill to discuss dairy issues with Canada, rural broadband, agriculture workforce/immigration, farm bill, infrastructure, healthcare, taxes, trade and numerous state specific issues.

The New Secretary of Agriculture


Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue was confirmed as the 31st Secretary of Agriculture by the Senate April 24. In a statement following the confirmation, National Grange President Betsy Huber said his strong background as the son of a farmer, a government administrator, businessman and the product of rural America make Perdue an excellent choice to be Secretary. The next day, the new Secretary walked into a meeting with USDA employees, peeled off his coat, discarded his tie, rolled up his sleeves, saying, "I was a farmer first. This Job at USDA is about work. It's about getting things done." Perdue then joined President Trump for a Farmers Roundtable at the White House where the President signed an Executive Order creating a task force on rural prosperity and making Perdue its chair. A couple days later, the Secretary hosted the Senate and House chairs and ranking minority members of the agriculture committees and agriculture appropriations subcommittees for breakfast at USDA, seen around Washington as a politically savvy move.

The Budget Deal

Congress finally reached a bipartisan budget deal to keep the government open through the end of the fiscal year September 30. The house passed the $1.1 trillion spending package Wednesday, May 9 with an overwhelming bipartisan vote 309-118. On Thursday, May 4 the Senate voted 79-18 to pass the bill with no Democrats voted against it. The budget deal adds $12.5 billion in new money for the military, $1.5 billion for new border security such as technology investments and repairs to existing border fencing, and infrastructure plus wildfire relief for the western states. The package does not include some of the administration's top priorities like money for a border wall, funding restrictions on Planned Parenthood or penalties on "sanctuary cities". Most agencies and programs will continue at existing level funding with last year's budget.

Budget negotiations unexpectedly caused a rift between cotton and dairy producers and their allies in congress. The stunning failure to agree on aid to dairy and cotton producers creates a multibillion -dollar budget hole as they prepare to write the 2018 farm bill. The cotton industry thought it had a deal in the budget package to establish cottonseed as an "other oilseed" so cotton producers would be eligible for Price Loss Coverage under the 2014 farm bill. But when Michigan Senator Stabenow and Vermont Senator Leahy tried to add a similar assistance program for dairy producers, the deal fell apart for both dairy and cotton. In the end, both programs fell victim to budget baseline limitations.

Healthcare

The House passed the American Health Care Act aimed at repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, May 4 by a narrow 217-213 vote. A similar measure had to be pulled in March because of a lack of votes. A series of deals the week of May 1 brought the conservative Freedom Caucus and wavering Republican moderates on board.

The ObamaCare replacement now goes to the Senate where the House-passed bill is expected to be heavily rewritten in hopes of garnering 51 votes under a special rule known as budget reconciliation. Democratic Senators will argue that various parts of the House bill will not meet Senate rules governing what can be included in reconciliation, thus requiring a 60 vote margin to pass.

Congress has been trying to figure out how to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act since January. Several replacement bill versions have come from the White House, the House Republicans and individual congressmen. None of these legislative packages could muster enough votes to pass. One version would have charged those over 55 years of age far higher insurance premiums. Another did not cover preexisting conditions. Yet another proposal would allow the states a plethora of options to run their own healthcare program.

The House adopted two amendments to the revised American Health Care Act that garnered enough support for the Act to pass the House. One amendment provided $8 billion over five years to help people with preexisting conditions afford their premiums (Health policy experts say that's not near enough money). The other amendment allows states to waive ObamaCare community rating rules which ban insurers from charging sick patients more than healthy ones (which could allow insurers to charge exorbitant premiums to sick people). The House decided to fast-track consideration of the replacement without the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analysis which could have taken another week or so.

The new American Health Care Act could face a dramatic overhaul over in the Senate where members are in no big hurry to bring it to the floor. A number of senators from both parties are concerned by analyses that the legislation would significantly cut federal subsidies for people between 50 and 65 especially in rural areas. Senators also question the potential amount of profit for insurance companies in the House bill.

Tax Reform

Revising the Internal Revenue Service tax code is a priority for President Trump. Job creation, economic growth and helping low-and-middle-income families who have been left behind by the economy were three priorities of the Trump campaign. Looking back to the Reagan era when tax cuts sparked the economy, the administration is again proposing major revisions to the tax code. The major code changes in the President's proposal are: • Reduce the current seven tax brackets to three at 10 percent, 25 percent, and 35 percent • Double the standard deduction so a married couple pays no tax on the first $24,000 of income • Set the top capital gains rate at 20 percent • Increase tax benefits for families paying for child and dependent-care • Repeal the death tax • Eliminate most tax breaks that mainly benefit high income individuals • Lower the business tax rate to 15 percent • Levy a one-time tax on overseas profits to encourage capital investment and job creation in the United States Of course, any tax code reform proposal will have to be passed by the House and Senate where it will undergo intense scrutiny and possible revisions. Tax reform is on Congress' priority list and should begin moving through the process soon.

Trade

It seems as though Secretary Perdue has convinced President Trump to use a scalpel instead of a meat cleaver to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The Secretary apparently explained the disastrous economic and political implications of terminating NAFTA outright after which the President committed to ..."give renegotiation a good, strong shot." Perdue said the three highest priorities for agriculture he heard during his Senate confirmation process were "trade, trade, trade." Ag groups were increasingly concerned with the President's talk of scraping NAFTA. Both Canada's prime minister and Mexico's president weighed in to persuade him to reconsider. Private and government economic analyses of totally dumping NAFTA show the big winners to be the services industry, IT and the biologics industry. Big losers would be agriculture and the automotive industry.

Feedback and questions are welcome. Call or email Burton Eller, (202) 628-3507 extension 114, beller@nationalgrange.org

To stay competitive, and continue to provide agriculture transport, California ports need the ability to make infrastructure improvements to accommodate the new cargo mega-ships (some as wide as a football field) that are clogging our ports and delaying shipments. For our ports to stay in business, an outdated provision of the Shipping Act of 1984 needs to be updated in order for them to be protected against the unfair consolidation in the global shipping industry.

California U.S. Congressmen Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon) and John Garamendi (D-CA Davis) the chair and ranking member of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Committee in Congress. There is a committee hearing regarding this issue on May 3. We need as many California voices as possible to communicate with the congressman. Will you help?

U.S. Ports are asking for a simple change to the Shipping Act of 1984 that removes the disadvantage they have with foreign shipping alliances. This will allow them to seek better agreements with the alliances and enable them to get private funding to improve their infrastructure and equipment in order to meet the demands of larger ships and increased volume.

If you can help, please send a message to California U.S. Congressmen Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon) and John Garamendi (D-CA Davis)

Click here to view!


April 2017


Brothers and Sisters -

Please help me Mendocino Pomona Grange #10 in returning to the Good Standing in the State of California. By completing the required business reporting (available on the California State Grange’s website: www.castategrange.org, Mendocino Pomona Grange #10 is compliant with the rules set forth in the National Grange’s Digest of Laws and the California State Grange’s Constitution and By-Laws.

The confusion created by all the "spin" and propaganda from the California Guild can be cumbersome, to say the least. The California State Grange has only our Fraternal Order in its heart, and we desire to continue to do business as we have for over 143 years as a Local, State, and National Organization.

Thank you to members of Mendocino Pomona Grange and the leadership of Kent Westwood, Master and his Officers.

Click here to view!


Tom Sawyer has been a rock as a Grange member in all the hats he has worn over the years. His leadership in his Subordinate, Pomona and The Grange Foundation was/is an invaluable gift to our organization. He always seems to fill the room with his smile!

I am sure that we are not crossing the line when we say "Happy 97th Birthday from your Grange Family, Tom"

On April 27th an Old Fasion BBQ, Ripon Chamber of Commer Mixer held at the Ripon Grange 4:30 to 6:30 pm

The community is invited to come, find out what the Grange is all about, and enjoy bbq hotdogs.

Ripon Grange is located at Ripon Grange Hall, 827 Ripon Avenue, Ripon CA 9536

For more infomation, please email ripongrange511@gmail.com

The Grange Expo showcases all of the contests for the California State Grange - this includes the Talent Show, Public Speaking, and Sign-A-Song contests along with the accomplishments of the artisans within our membership.

The Talent Show winners will be eligible to perform at the National Grange Convention in Spokane, Washington this year. The Public Speaking and Sign-A-Song winners will go on to the Western Regional competition. The winners of the Regional Competition will represent the west at the National Grange Convention at the Evening of Excellence.

Entry forms are due to Katie Squire, Expo Director by May 31, 2017.

Check the Expo Book for details!!!

The 2017 Expo Handbook is now available!



State Grange Lecturer and CA Expo Director presents new Central Union Grange member Rebekah Chamberlin with one of the first copies of the 2017 California Grange Expo Handbook. In the carrying crate is Snowflake, a white Silky pullet, who will be helping Rebekah enter one of the new Expo contests. Yes, you are "egg"zactly right, the Expo will include an egg judging. Now, scramble over to Dropbox or the California State Grange website and download your copy of the 2017 California Grange Expo Handbook. Don't forget to share all of your Grange members and volunteer to sponsor "Guest Exhibitors" to participate in any State Contest.

Click here to get 2017 Expo Handbook!

Click here to get 2017 Expo Entry Form!

Congratulations!

California Students Wins GIA Scholarship

Grange Insurance Association is pleased to announce that Morgan Roots of Ione, and Kristen Weldemere of Smartsville, California were awarded a Grange Insurance Association scholarship.

Each year Grange Insurance Association awards scholarships to qualified applicants. The applicant or their parents must be policyholders of Grange Insurance Association. In all, 27 scholarships were awarded this year among the 50 applications received.

Grange Insurance Association has made scholarships available since 1965. They may be used at any accredited school or college and are offered in the states in which Grange Insurance Association sells Home, Auto and Farm insurance. Grange Insurance Association is a mutual insurance company operating in the states of Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, Idaho, and Wyoming. The Home Office of Grange Insurance Association is in Seattle, Washington. Send a congratulation to the link below.

California State Grange Facebook Page

Click here to view Facebook Page!

Dear Patrons of Husbandry,

We are the Patrons of Husbandry for a reason: "To Rescue for Human Society the Native Values of Rural Life," as the inscription reads on Hilgard Hall, the original Agriculture Building on the UC Berkeley campus. Professor Eugene Hilgard, who is quoted, began his tenure about the same time the California State Grange was chartered.

I am writing you as the State Grange Chair of the Agriculture and Water Committee. This letter is for all our Brothers and Sisters, and especially to those of you engaged in Agriculture.

1. Committee Service Anyone wishing to serve on the Agriculture and Water Committee at the Convention? Please complete the attached form.

2. Resolutions If you want help in drafting resolutions, please feel free to contact me. Resolutions have a definite format and need to come to the committee with as much information as possible. The committee (made up of members with diverse backgrounds, experience, and opinions) work the resolution against public, information, current State and National Grange policy, current resolutions and the By-Laws and Digest. I can also help you if you are unfamiliar with the process. Remember “every resolution must stand on its own”. Only the Resolved appears in the Legislative Handbooks.. Also a reminder, the scope: obviously all resolutions submitted at state session would be a state issue but if it is intended to be national make sure it is labeled accordingly. It would be more clear if the last RESOLVED states, “This resolution will be forwarded to the National Grange for consideration.” Then there is no guesswork or inferences.

Fraternally Yours,

Michael Evenson,
Agriculturaly and Water Resolution Committee Chairman
Mattole Grange #569
evenson@igc.org
707-629-3506

Click here to email Michael!

By-Law resolutions are due 4/24/17 and can be submitted on the website. Those have to be mailed to all Granges no later than 5/22/17. All other resolutions are due 6/1/2017 in order to prep and print for the initial delegates packet at Session. Resolutions received after that date will be in a supplemental packet.

Resolutions can also be hand-carried to the Session and presented to the appropriate Resolution Committees. It is then up to the Committee to accept or reject the resolution in Committee. If accepted, it becomes a Committee Resolution and not attributed to the individual Granges submitting. This is per the Convention rules.

Click here for more Annual Session Information

MOVING FORWARD WITH GRATITUDE

Last night the Sebastopol Grange made a statement of support to our entire Grange family. We voted to approve a $1,000 donation to the California Grange Convention that will be held in our neighborhood at the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds. We also voted to approve scholarships to our members who would like to attend and could use some financial support.

It is so important that the greater Grange family meet, share our ideas and inner spark, find out who is in need and join hands under the Grange roof in our special way. Giving and sharing is at the core of the Grange.

Practicing our democratic process through resolutions and committee work allows us to experience parliamentary procedure and hear one another in respectful discussion. A process that unifies our voices around issues that are dear to us.

Our stories are so important and the Grange embraces 150 years of them. The convention is such a unique opportunity to share our rich stories, break bread and appreciate one another. Differences somehow melt away and become not so important. With the blend of storytelling from our Grange elders with the ideas and passions from our younger Grangers we discover what working for the greater good means.

The 2016 Orangevale Convention provided a heartfelt time to talk and heal the conflict struggle that some experienced over the past several years. There will be another opportunity to do so that is voluntary with the Clearing the Air Part II that is scheduled.

Looking forward there are some mighty good days ahead as more of us realize that the Grange is something special and this is where we want to plant our garden and a way to serve our communities.

I encourage you to seize the opportunity and attend the convention.

So let’s hear our stories and ideas….and celebrate!

Every day is a Grange day.

Kind regards

Sebastopol Grange Family

Hotels:

We did not secure a block of rooms this year because of the wide spectrum of pricing. The directory below can help you in your selection.

A friendly reminder - RV camping is available at very reasonable fees with full hook ups. (renting an RV can be looked at as an option)



Delegates for the State Grange Convention 2017

5.1.1 Delegate Body – The State Grange is a Delegate body. Each Subordinate/Community and Pomona Grange in California that is not more than one quarter in arrears for dues to the State Grange is entitled to representation at all State Grange meetings.

Click here to view pdf of list!

Through conversation, knowledge, respect, passion, transparency and understanding, one by one, with the old and the new, we are building our fraternal order and communities, toward a positive future, utilizing the strength within the Grange, proven through a 150 year commitment to our members.


Winton Grange Hall Dances

This picture of Merle Haggard was on the May 6, 1974 cover of "Time" magazine. Merle Haggard played at the Winton Grange Hall in the late 1960s. His hit record of "Swinging Doors" was out in 1966 and it was after that. Does anyone remember seeing him there?

Please welcome Winton Grange #531 in returning to the Good Standing in the State of California. By paying its dues and completing the required business reporting (available on the California State Grange’s website: www.castategrange.org, Winton Grange #531, Winton, CA,. Merced County is compliant with the rules set forth in the National Grange’s Digest of Laws and the California State Grange’s Constitution and By-Laws.

The confusion created by all the "spin" and propaganda from the California Guild can be cumbersome, to say the least. The California State Grange has only our Fraternal Order in its heart, and we desire to continue to do business as we have for over 143 years as a Local, State, and National Organization.

Thank you to members of Winton Grange and the leadership of Master Frank Tripp and his Officers, they are in control of their grange destiny and they chose the path to stay a Grange.

Winton Grange #531, Winton, CA,. Merced County

Please reach out and send Frank a note of WELCOME! eMail - Master, Frank Tripp

IN THIS ISSUE:

• Safety is Key for Youth
• Voters Favorable to Agriculture
• May Edition of Good Day! Magazine Coming Soon
• National President Appointed to FCC Committee
• New Program Honors Community Members
• Great American Quilt + Handicraft Expo
• National Grange Welcomes Team Member


Click here to view!

We have received a number of questions about whether the federal court order assigning the right to Guild dues and loan payments to the National Grange has been lifted. To be very clear: the answer is NO.

After Mr. McFarland’s message on March 27 and April 13th urging people to send dues and post-April 5, 2013 loan payments to the Guild, the National Grange contacted the Guild’s attorney objecting to Mr. McFarland's notice and making them aware that an emergency application would be filled by the end of the day (April 14th) requesting that any payments received by the Guild or McFarland be placed into an escrow account. Subsequently the Guild attorney agreed to have Mr. McFarland retract the notice(s) and make clear that the Federal Court order assigning the right of dues and loan payments remains in place and that any payments made after March 27 would be accounted for and forwarded onto the National Grange. Mr. McFarland on the same day sent out the below notice to certain Guild members.

If you or your Grange fell for the mistaken information spread by the Guild and sent a check to the Guild for any amount or reason after March 9, 2017, please let us know. The California State Grange will work with you to correct it and ensure that you face no consequences under the federal court’s March 9 order assigning all dues payments to the National Grange.

As always, we urge everybody to get all the facts and review the information themselves. Do not simply rely on the Guild’s “spin and propaganda.”

You can see the federal court’s full order assigning dues and loan payments to the National Grange here.

Click here to view!


State Grange Lecturer and CA Expo Director presents new Central Union Grange member Rebekah Chamberlin with one of the first copies of the 2017 California Grange Expo Handbook. In the carrying crate is Snowflake, a white Silky pullet, who will be helping Rebekah enter one of the new Expo contests. Yes, you are "egg"zactly right, the Expo will include an egg judging. Now, scramble over to Dropbox or the California State Grange website and download your copy of the 2017 California Grange Expo Handbook. Don't forget to share all of your Grange members and volunteer to sponsor "Guest Exhibitors" to participate in any State Contest.

2017 Expo Handbook

2017 Expo Entry Form

Come one, come all to the 2017 Western Regional extravaganza! At a top-notch theme park, Knott's Berry Farm. Great accommodations have been secured at the Knott's Berry Farm Hotel (a gate entrance away from the park), great meals and with an enthusiastic Grange crowd, it's sure to be a good time. The California State Grange is hosting this event with all the Grange activities we also have an evening scheduled in Knott's Berry Park with special activities.

Could this be the 1st National Youth Conference?

Registration will be open to All Western State no later than May 1st and as space permits to any Grange member across the United States after June 1, 2017. We hope to see youth participation from all over the nation. Knott's Berry Farm is minutes to Disney Land, a short distance to Southern California Beaches like Huntington, Venice and the famous Santa Monica Pier and of course Hollywood. We want to make this event fun, eventful, meaningful and a possible vacation for your whole Grange Family.

California Grange YOUTH will be subsidized through a donation from the Grange Insurance Association!

The GIA made a donation to the California State Grange and the Executive Committee voted to use the majority of this donation to subsides our youth registration. More to come as we receive registration participation numbers.

Thank you Grange Insurance Association for your continued support!**

Friday, August 4th - Sunday, August 6th Knott's Berry Farm Hotel

[See links below for web site, map and registration form and reservations.]

We have made arrangements for:
* Accommodations @ Hotel Thurs. - Fri @ $139.+ pp - Sat. @ $149.+pp
* Discounted Rates for Sunday and Monday ($129. + pp)
* Meals at the Hotel (Sat. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, Sunday Breakfast)
* Grange specific activities
* Discounted Park rates at Knott's
* Free Parking to registered guests
* and more to come.....

Hope to see you there - Your California State Grange, the proud host of the 2017 Western Regional Grange conference.

View Map

View Knotts Website

Get Registration Forms


Registration Now Available for the 151st Annual National Grange Convention

Please join us for the 151st Annual Convention of the National Grange hosted by the Western Region! Come join your Grange friends from across the nation at The RL Hotel (Red Lion) at the Park located in Spokane, Washington November 7 - 11, 2017.

Sign-up before September 1st and save $5 with the early bird registration. Online registration ends October 20th. See you in Spokane!

PLEASE VISIT THE NATIONAL GRANGE WEBSITE FOR FULL DETAILS


Hotel:

RL Hotel (Red Lion) at the Park Hotel 303 W. North Drive Spokane, WA 99201 (509) 326-8000

Book Online Now


Seventh Degree:

SPOKANE CONVENTION CENTER - INB PERFORMING ARTS CENTER Saturday, November 11th

Tickets: $30 REGISTER NOW!


Convention Registration:

Registration is now available.

GENERAL | YOUTH


Convention Schedule:

Download the full printable convention schedule (subject to change).

View/Download Schedule

5.1.1 Delegate Body – The State Grange is a Delegate body. Each Subordinate/Community and Pomona Grange in California that is not more than one quarter in arrears for dues to the State Grange is entitled to representation at all State Grange meetings.

Click here to Annual Session Information


When the Do'ers Are Gone.

For Grange Month 2017 this April, the Grange is celebrating what it means to be a do-er. Your meighbor who runs the local fair. The lady who arranges the clothing drive. They care, they give, and they inspire.

Because who want to see the world where the do-ers are gone?

One hundred fifty years—what a milestone! This year’s Grange Month should be filled with celebrations in every Grange, coast to coast! We have a proud history of supporting, educating, advocating, and entertaining rural Americans. Very few organizations last for 150 years so this is our time to celebrate.

Our theme for 2017 is “What Will We Do When the Do-ers Are Gone?” In other words, who will take your place when you are no longer able to volunteer and serve your Grange as you are now?

Click here for Grange Month 2017 Information.


March 2017


This is text of a letter sent to members of Fort Bragg Grange #672

Sent VIA Email and FedEx

Frank Menhams, Master / President Fort Bragg Grange #672

PO Box 1289

Fort Bragg, CA 95437

RE: Fort Bragg Grange #672

To the Former Officers and Members of Fort Bragg Grange #672: As you are aware, the Charter of Fort Bragg Grange #672 was revoked on March 27, 2017. Pursuant to the rules of the National Grange, the California State Grange, and Fort Bragg Grange, and California law, all “right, title, and interest” in all assets held by Fort Bragg Grange was transferred at that time to the California State Grange to hold until such a time as Fort Bragg Grange may be reorganized. Under those same rules, ALL assets will be returned to Fort Bragg Grange upon its reorganization.

Following the revocation of the Charter, I am now the President of the corporation known as “Fort Bragg Grange, No. 672,” entity no. C0237779. The SI-100 form filed with the Secretary of State reflecting this change is attached. Any attempt by you to file documents with the Secretary of State incorrectly identifying other individuals as officers of the corporation would constitute a knowing fraud and misstatement of fact, with all of the penalties that entails.

I have received information that several former Fort Bragg Grange members have joined the Guild and have purported to hold an unauthorized election of officers for Fort Bragg Grange, presumably with the intent to further a scheme to remove Grange property from the Order. This purported election is not authorized by the rules of the Order, Fort Bragg Grange’s articles of incorporation and by-laws, or California corporate law, and any such election, and any actions taken by any individuals supposedly elected, is ultra vires, null, and void.

Of course, you are free to do whatever you choose regarding your own continuing membership in the Grange. I sincerely hope that all members, including you, will remain a part of the Order and respect the obligation you each swore as a condition of admission into membership in the Grange. But I understand if you wish to leave the Grange and join a new organization. What you cannot do, however, is take Grange property with you to the Guild. You cannot operate, act on behalf of, hold yourself out as the officers of, or otherwise use Fort Bragg Grange’s corporation. Nor can you use the name “Grange” for any business dealings. This includes but is not limited to depositing any checks made out to “Fort Bragg Grange” or operating any bank accounts held in that name. Indeed, on April 20, 2016, the federal court explicitly restricted the Guild, or any parties acting in concert with it (such as individuals like you who have formed new local chapters of the Guild), “from using the word ‘Grange’ or any name containing ‘Grange’ in connection with its goods or services. This included ... endorsing checks using any name containing the word ‘Grange,’ and using bank accounts under any name containing the word ‘Grange.’” That order is enclosed in its entirety and highlighted.

Any use by you of the “Fort Bragg Grange” name after revocation of the Charter, including by writing checks on that entity’s account(s), depositing any checks made out to that entity, or engaging in any transactions using its bank account(s), constitutes willful and deliberate disregard of the federal court’s order. As you are no doubt aware, the Guild’s “blatant disregard for and violation of” the injunction ultimately resulted in an award of over $144,000 to the National Grange, and no doubt similar sanctions will be imposed on parties acting in concert with the Guild who violate the order.

Finally, I note that I have received the photographs below of Bruce Broderick, Elmer Whaley, Betty Lou and Jim Britt, with the encouragement of Ron Britt, breaking into and entering Fort Bragg Grange’s Hall and destroying Grange property.

I am also informed that, following the revocation of the Charter, Theodore Mattila and Bruce Broderick withdrew a cashier’s check made out to “Fort Bragg Grange” in the amount of $23,000 from MendoLake Credit Union. This withdrawal was unauthorized and a violation of the federal court injunction prohibiting parties acting in concert with the Guild from using the “Grange” name, as are any attempts to endorse or deposit those checks.

At this point, I ask that you peacefully return all Grange property, including the Hall and the money withdrawn without authorization from the MendoLake Credit Union account, to Grange representatives. If this property is returned promptly, Fort Bragg Grange and the California State Grange will not seek redress for the damages caused so far.

Fraternally,

Ed Komski, Master and President California State Grange

Fort Bragg 3We are pleased to announce that residents of Fort Bragg met on March 29, 2017, and completed their application for the reorganization of Fort Bragg Grange #672. They have voted a pro tem officer slate into office that is busy planning future meetings and events.

The California State Grange has requested a return of Grange property from certain former members of Fort Bragg Grange who have joined the Guild. We are hopeful that these former members will honor the solemn obligation they swore as a condition to being admitted into membership in the Grange and installed into office, including Master: "I, __, having been elected Master of Fort Bragg Grange, do solemnly pledge my honor that I will perform all the duties appertaining to the office, as far as in my power, until my successor is duly installed. I will support the Constitution and By-Laws of the National Grange, and of this State Grange, and the By-Laws of this Grange, and I will inculcate a strict obedience to all laws and edicts emanating from the proper authority. I will not take advantage of the position to bias, in any way, either directly or indirectly, the political or religious opinions of any member of the Order. And at the close of my term of office, or when legally required, I will deliver to my successor, or other property authorized person, all the property of the Grange, or of the Order, which may be in my possession. All of which I promise on my sacred honor." Any Grange property returned from these former members will be swiftly transferred back to Fort Bragg Grange #672 to continue the good work it has done within their community for the past 70 years, with faith, hope, charity and fidelity.

Let’s all join in congratulating the members of Fort Bragg Grange for their efforts to restore their Charter and return their Grange to good standing. In the face of all the spin and propaganda, it is no easy task. If you have any questions or would like any further information, please contact Ed Komski or Master / President Donald Peeler - Killerduck42@yahoo.com

Send congratulations and thank you to Fort Bragg Grange

On March 22, Ed Komski, Master of the Califoria State Grange, revoked the charter of Fort Bragg Grange #672. Here is the text of as sent to that Grange.

Frank Menhams, Master / President
Fort Bragg Grange #672
PO Box 1289
Fort Bragg, CA 95437

RE: Fort Bragg Grange #672 16500 N Hwy 1 Ft. Bragg, CA

Sent VIA: Email and FedEx

Official Notice of Revocation of Charter

March 22, 2017,

To the Officers and Members of Fort Bragg Grange #672:

I regret to inform you that the Charter of Fort Bragg Grange #672 is hereby revoked, pursuant to § 4.5.1 of the National Grange Digest of Laws and the California State Grange (CSG) Constitution and By-Laws. In particular, § 4.5.1 of the National Grange Digest of Laws provides that “it shall be the duty of the Master of [the] State Grange to … revoke the Charter of” any Subordinate Grange when certain criteria are met and the State Grange Master determines “that the good of the Order” requires revocation.

Under § 4.5.1(C) of the National Grange Digest of Laws, one criterion for revocation is when a Subordinate Grange is “in arrears for dues for one or more quarters.” Fort Bragg Grange is in arrears for dues for at least 18 quarters. Specifically, Fort Bragg Grange has not paid dues to the California State Grange, including the dues required by the National Grange, since at least September 2012. Payment of dues to the California State Grange is required of all Subordinate Granges pursuant to § 6.11.5 of the National Grange Digest of Laws and § 9.2.2 of the CSG By-Laws.

In addition, § 4.5.1(B) of the National Grange Digest of Laws states that the Charter of a Subordinate Grange may be revoked for “violation of the law and usages for the Order.” I understand that certain members of Fort Bragg Grange recently decided to order the office of Master vacated and replace that position with the Executive Committee. This action was ultra vires and also is in violation of the leadership structure of the Grange at all levels. Section 4.10.1 of the National Grange Digest of Laws explicitly provides that all Subordinate Granges shall have a Master, and that the office of Master shall have the highest rank in that Grange. Numerous other provisions of the Digest spell out the authority of the Master of a Subordinate Grange. There is no provision in the rules of the Grange at any level permitting the Executive Committee of a Subordinate Grange to vacate or abolish the office of Master.

I have determined that the revocation of the Charter of Fort Bragg Grange is for the good of the Order, as the deficiencies described above do not appear capable of being remedied.

Thus, pursuant to the National Grange Digest of Laws and the CSG Constitution and By-Laws, with the authority vested in me as the Master of the California State Grange, with the advice and consent of the Executive Committee of the California State Grange, and for the good of the Order, the Charter of Fort Bragg Grange #672 is hereby revoked, effective March 22, 2017.

Please note that pursuant to § 4.12.1 of the National Grange Digest of Laws, “[w]henever a Subordinate … Grange … has its Charter revoked, such Grange shall be determined to be an Inactive Grange. The net assets of Inactive Granges shall be retained by the Order for use in accordance with the general purposes of the Order.” Moreover, § 4.12.1(A) provides that “[a]ll right, title and interest as to all real and personal property owned by an Inactive Grange shall become the property of the State Grange having jurisdiction over the said Inactive Grange” to hold in trust for seven years or until the Inactive Grange is reorganized, whichever comes first. Section 6.2.8 of the National Grange Digest of Laws § 6.2.8 further explains that, “[w]hen [a Subordinate Grange’s] Charter is … revoked, all books, jewels, regalia, and seal of the Subordinate Grange revert to the State Grange having jurisdiction to be placed in a pool for the use of that Grange upon reorganization or used by another Grange as needed.” Either I or another representative of the California State Grange will be in touch shortly to arrange the orderly return of the Grange real and personal property in Fort Bragg Grange’s possession.

Pursuant to § 12.1.5 of the National Grange Digest of Laws and § 3.3.4 of the CSG By-Laws, this revocation is appealable for a period of 45 days, and a copy of the Notice of Revocation is being transmitted to National Master Betsy Huber.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.

Fraternally,

Ed Komski, Master and President

California State Grange

Hello Grangers,

We need your input.

I serve on the board of the SAY Project (Safety in Agriculture for Youth) whose purpose is to increase safety and health resources for youth working in agriculture.

Agriculture is a broad industry with a variety of regions and commodities, and Grange members have unique insight and information which is invaluable to the SAY project.

Since the youth experience in agriculture is invaluable, we want to keep them working, but working safely. However, existing safety and health resources can be outdated or limited. The SAY project has created a central clearinghouse of these resources for the agricultural industry and we need your help to develop more materials or update existing ones.

In order to develop national training materials, we need to know what tasks youth are performing on the farm or ranch and what kind of resources are available to them. To help us get this information, we created two short surveys for farm and ranch families and employers to complete. The links below are to surveys that simply ask what types of tasks youth are performing on the farm or ranch, which safety and health resources are available to them, and how effective these resources are. The information we are looking for involves the 12-15 age range. One survey is for parents or employers of youth who work or have worked on a farm or ranch, and the other is for adults 18-25 years of age who worked on a farm or ranch while they were in the target age range.

No personal information is required, and all data will be aggregated to ensure anonymity. If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact the researcher Alexander Whipp at Ohio State University, whipp.6@osu.edu. In order to keep youth safe, we need to know what they are doing and what kind of resources are available to them. A short amount of time spent taking the survey will go a long way to keeping our future agricultural professionals safe and injury-free.

Thank you for your time and assistance.

Fraternally,

Betsy E. Huber, Master The National Grange

Farm and Ranch Employer Survey Parents or employers of youth who work or have worked on a farm, ages 12-15:

Farm and Ranch Employee Survey Survey for 18-25 Year Olds Who Worked on a Farm or Ranch While 12-15

A Bit of Perspective:

Three months into the new 115th Congress and the new Trump Administration, the political climate in Washington is uncertain to state the obvious. The failure of the Affordable Care Act /Obamacare replacement legislation to pass the House of Representatives signaled a time-out for President Trump and the Republican majority in Congress. It wasn’t the Democrats who forced the healthcare bill’s demise but the conservative Freedom Caucus of Republicans in the House. So, it’s back to the drawing board for healthcare reform. How does this affect the other major legislative priorities on the Administration and congressional wish list? Will tax reform, infrastructure, trade and immigration see the political day and, if so, when? Congress will still have to revisit healthcare reform sooner or later even if it is just to patch up and revise the Affordable Care Act.

The House appears ready to move next to tax reform. This makes good logical sense in reality. Rebuilding infrastructure, reforming immigration, and revising healthcare will cost lots of money. Where to get the necessary revenue seems basic to a logical decision-making process. Perhaps tax reform is where Congress should have started in the first place.

The Federal Budget:

The loud noise Grangers heard around the country a couple weeks ago was not a sonic boom. It was the collective response to the President’s proposed federal budget. Budget reduction proposals cut into most agencies of the federal government except defense. It’s good to remember, however, that several past budget proposals from both President Bush and President Obama were figuratively stamped “Dead on Arrival” when those budgets reached Capitol Hill. The president proposes federal budgets but Congress writes and passes federal budgets and sends adopted budgets to the White House to sign or veto. Congress will go through the budget for each individual agency and ultimately decide where cuts will be made or funds restored. The budget is just one side of a larger debate. The other side is how to pay for budget expenditures and reduce the federal deficit at the same time.

Noting that agriculture has taken more than its share of budget cuts in recent years, National Grange president Betsy Huber issued a statement urging Congress to remember that net farm income is down about 50 percent over the last four years. Huber said, “I am most proud that the Grange has always lobbied with perspective. We understand the need for deficit reduction and accountability in government spending of taxpayer dollars. We have faith that Congress can work for the good of all people. We will continue to work with those in the administration and Congress to assure our food system’s security and affordability”.

Tax Reform:

Tax reform is one of those issues everyone agrees needs to be done but can’t agree what and how much to reform. Failure of the Affordable Care Act replacement bill to garner sufficient House votes to pass put a spotlight on the speed and procedures for tax reform. Many on the Hill pushed back against the speed with which the healthcare package came to the House floor. There was little opportunity to compromise on portions of the bill with growing opposition such as restricting state Medicaid expansion and new health taxes on the elderly. The Senate strategy was to take the House-passed bill directly to the Senate floor and bypass the committees of jurisdiction. Senators pushed back not only on the onerous parts of the bill but on the proposed Senate procedures as well. Look for cool heads and experienced hands to prevail as the tax reform agenda emerges between the Senate, House, Democrats, Republicans, and the White House. There won’t always be agreement on what to reform or how to accomplish reform but the process may garner enough compromise to eventually get a tax reform package. Without tax reform, most of the additional big ticket items (infrastructure, healthcare, and immigration) may become just a wish list.

Congress last overhauled the tax code in 1986 with a bipartisan effort. Unfortunately, times have changed and cooperation across the political aisle this time around appears less likely. The goal of broadening the tax base and closing loopholes is popular but difficult to accomplish and becomes a political minefield. The more tax breaks policymakers target to raise revenue to allow lower individual and corporate rates, the greater the number of interest groups that will fight to keep their loopholes out of tax reform.

Farm Bill:

Similar to tax and healthcare reform, farm bills are not easy to write or fast to adopt. In fact, the last farm bill failed on the House floor in 2013 before sufficient compromise finally mustered enough votes. This time around, Congress is starting the process early. House agriculture subcommittees have completed several hearings and more are scheduled to cover all titles in farm bill legislation. A key element of upcoming farm bill deliberations will be a strong and cohesive farm-food coalition committed to keeping agriculture and food assistance programs linked to together in one legislative package. If this alliance breaks apart, passage of a 2018 farm bill could be in jeopardy. The Farm Bill Grange has strong policy supporting the food assistance-agriculture linkage to provide long term food security to all American citizens. Non-traditional agriculture programs face reauthorization in a new farm bill. These programs include beginning farmer and rancher development, organic agriculture research, fruit and vegetable incentives for SNAP (food stamp) recipients, value added producer grants, rural micro-entrepreneur grants, farmers market and local food promotion, and organic certification cost share. Where does the farm bill money go? According to the Congressional Budget Office, projected cost estimate allocations for the five year Agriculture Act of 2014 (2014-2018) are 80% food assistance/nutrition, 8% crop insurance, 6% conservation, 5% commodities, and 1% all other.

Healthcare:

Limbo could describe much of the healthcare community after the failure to pass replacement legislation for the Affordable Care Act. But for now, the ACA remains in place as current law and will continue to function. Unfortunately, uncertainty has been created about how well ACA will meet patient needs going forward. Will the individual coverage mandate be enforced? Will more states have just one ACA insurance carrier? Will rates go through the roof? About the only counsel we can give on future comprehensive healthcare reform or revisions to the ACA is to stay tuned. Whatever the scenario, sooner or later Congress will have to tackle those provisions of the law that are not working well while trying to preserve those that are beneficial.

In the meantime, the National Grange will continue efforts to preserve Medicare Part D, restore Medicaid cuts to rural hospitals, monitor Medicaid expansion options to states under the ACA, and advocate for the expansion of telemedicine into rural areas.

Telecommunications:

Rural broadband seems to be enjoying a renaissance of sorts in Washington. The Trump Administration has endorsed rural broadband expansion. The new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (Ajit Pai) has made mobile broadband for rural America one of his digital empowerment agenda corner posts. The National Rebuild Rural Coalition has made expanding broadband to connect rural communities one of its priorities for rebuilding infrastructure in rural America. The National Grange considers broadband deployment a major rural infrastructure challenge of the 21st century.

Infrastructure:

The National Grange is a member of the Rural Infrastructure Coalition that recently asked President Trump to include rebuilding rural infrastructure as part of his administration’s comprehensive infrastructure renewal efforts. The coalition noted that past infrastructure initiatives often focused on urban and suburban infrastructure while not adequately addressing the unique needs of rural communities. Highways, bridges, locks and dams, railways, harbors and port facilities all need major investment if we are to get our agricultural products to market efficiently. In addition, the coalition also stressed critical needs in providing clean water for rural families, expanding broadband to connect rural families and communities to the outside world, and enhance the ability to supply affordable, reliable and secure power for the rural economy.

Immigration:

For agriculture, it’s really all about workforce, not immigration. Instability in the agricultural labor force has reached critical mass. Growing season is coming as farmers and ranchers face a new shortage of legally authorized and experienced workers. The cumbersome H-2A visa program is not adequate to serve as a safety net to meet agriculture’s workforce demands. Legislation is needed to provide farmers and ranchers, across all of agriculture, access to a legal and stable workforce. The National Grange is part of the Agriculture Workforce Coalition in Washington that is asking President Trump to include necessary reforms to address the agriculture labor shortage in his immigration reform initiatives and pledging to work with the President to restore respect for and enforcement of our nation’s laws.

Finally:

The nomination of former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue to become Secretary of Agriculture is finally moving through the system. The Senate Agriculture Committee has completed it hearings and is expected to confirm Perdue by a large bipartisan majority. The full Senate may vote on the new Secretary before going home for Easter recess that begins April 7.

Click here to view!

Date Deadline -- Deadlines for Grange Resolutions for the 142nd Annual Session in Sonoma County. All Resolutions amending the By-Laws of the California State Grange shall be received by the State Secretary no later than April 24, 2017 (Article XXI, Section 21.1.3).

All other resolutions, please have to the State Secretary by June 1, 2017 to prepare the initial printing for the State Session.

Resolutions can be submitted two ways: (1) Mail to California State Grange PO Box 1442, Paradise, CA 95967. or (2) Submit electronically through www.CAStateGrange.org

Click here to submit online forms!

The National Grange has had some more wins recently in the litigation against the California Guild, the organization formed by former members of the California State Grange.

As you may remember, both the state court and federal court judges ruled in favor of the National Grange in both lawsuits against the Guild in 2015. The Guild has filed appeals in both cases. Meanwhile, we have taken several actions to protect and recover the real and personal property belonging to the California State Grange.

In 2016, the federal judge awarded the National Grange $144,715.70 in legal fees that we were forced to expend due to the Guild's "deliberate and willful" violation of the court's order prohibiting the Guild from using any Grange trademarks. We still have not seen any of this money but we are continually trying to discover where the Guild's funds may be hidden. Discovery demonstrated that, after the order awarding the National Grange its attorney's fees, the Guild transferred large sums of money, including $80,000 into Robert McFarland's personal retirement account as "severance pay" and tens of thousands of dollars to third parties via cashier's checks. These transfers and other actions made it difficult for the National Grange to collect on its attorney's fees judgment. Thus, in early March 2017, the federal court granted the National Grange's motion to assign to it the right to collect dues and loan payments from Subordinate Granges and other entities that had been making payments to the Guild. The federal court held that the Guild "is hereby enjoined from assigning or otherwise disposing of the payments discussed [above] to any other person or entity until it has satisfied the court's fees order."

In the state court lawsuit, the California state judge issued an injunction requiring the Guild to place all rents received from the California State Grange headquarters property in Sacramento into escrow. Up until the injunction was entered, the Guild had been collecting and spending this Grange money for its own purposes. The state court has now ordered that to stop.

In a second ruling issued the same day, the state judge also ordered that the monthly disbursement received by the Guild from the escrow account holding rents paid by the Regents of the University of California for its use of part of the headquarters property would be reduced by almost 70% because of the Guild's failure to use those funds for their intended purpose. When these rents were ordered into escrow, the Guild was allowed to receive a monthly disbursement of over $5,000 to pay expenses related to the Regents building. Unfortunately, however, the Guild used most of this money for its own purposes and failed to pay many bills, resulting in late penalties and suspension of services by vendors. Confronted with evidence that the Guild was not using the money in the way it said it would, the Court ordered that all expenses (except the Guild's "management fee" of about $1,600) must be paid directly to vendors out of the escrow. As a result, the Court has ordered that this Grange money can no longer be diverted by the Guild for its own purposes.

The three recent orders from the federal and state court are the culmination of successful efforts to protect Grange property from further waste by the Guild. We will remain vigilant to ensure that the court orders are followed until such time as the California State Grange's property is returned. We continue to fight to uphold the organizational structure and legacy of the Grange for the benefit of all local Granges in California and across the country. We ask for your financial support of this effort by sending your donations to The National Grange, 1616 H Street NW, Washington DC 20006, marked "Legal Fund." Thank you.

Fraternally,

Betsy E. Huber, Master
The National Grange

This week, 2 additional motions (8 to date) were filed to disqualify Ellis Law Group from representing the California Guild and Robert McFarland due to conflicts of interest. The documents filed are available at the links below. We will keep you posted on how the court rules on these motions.

Click here to view CA Court of Appeals C 082338

Click here to view CA Court of Appeals C 08523

Here is a link to view the latest copy of the Patrons Chain from the National Grange.

Click here to view!

This week, 5 additional motions (6 to date) were filed to disqualify Ellis Law Group from representing the California Guild and Robert McFarland due to conflicts of interest. The documents filed are available at the links below. We will keep you posted on how the court rules on these motions.

Click here to view MOTION TO DISQUALIFY ELLIS LAW GROUP LLP AS COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT ROBERT MCFARLAND!

Click here to Federal Appeals Court 15.17179!

Click here to view Federal Appeals Court 16.826

Click here to view Federal Appeals Court 15.274

Click here to view Sup0erior Court 2012.00130439



The letter and information provided by the National Grange below is in follow-up to the State Masters Conference held in Connecticut in February. The California State Grange is excited to support our Subordinate Granges if they are interested in pursuing ANY grant of this nature. The value of a Grange Hall in a community should never been taken for granted. Improvements to a Hall, such as a kitchen upgrade, only increase the appeal, use, and value of the Hall to the community. We should always be striving to improve the places where we meet, eat, laugh, debate, and even dance.

The California State Grange remains firmly committed to supporting our members and communities to improve, care, and manage their Grange Halls, as we have since 1873. If you are interested in the kitchen upgrade grant, or have any questions about what the California State Grange can do to help you improve your Grange's Hall, please contact Ed Komski, State President.

Click here to view!

Today, March 10th, a motion was filed to disqualify Ellis Law Group from representing the Guild due to conflicts of interest. The documents filed are available at the links below. We will keep you posted on how the court rules on this motion.

Click here to vies Memorandum to Disqualify Ellis Law Group

Click here to vies Declaration of Martin Jensen

Click here to vie Proposed Order

On December 9th, the federal court granted the National Grange's motion to assign to it the right to collect dues and loan payments from Subordinate Granges and other entities that had been making payments to the Guild. In September, the court awarded the National Grange its attorney's fees of over $144,000 in connection with its motion seeking relief due to the Guild's "deliberate and willful" violation of the order prohibiting it from using any Grange trademarks. The Guild, however, had not paid any amount of this fee award, and discovery indicated that the Guild had transferred large sums of money in 2016, including $80,000 into Robert McFarland's personal account. Accordingly, the federal court held:

"(1) All membership dues due to [the Guild] now or in the future from the local chapters listed on pages one through four of [the National Grange's] Motion (Docket No. 178) are hereby assigned to [the National Grange] to the extent necessary to satisfy the court’s fees order (Docket No. 154).

"(2) All payments due to defendant now or in the future pursuant to loans [the Guild] made after April 5, 2013 to the local chapters listed on pages one through four of [the National Grange's] Motion are hereby assigned to [the National Grange] to the extent necessary to satisfy the court’s fees order.

"(3) [The Guild] is hereby enjoined from assigning or otherwise disposing of the payments discussed in (1) and (2) to any other person or entity until it has satisfied the court’s fees order."

A full list of all the Subordinate Granges and other entities covered by this order is below, and the National Grange's motion from which this list comes (Docket No. 178) also is available at the link below. The Guild is required to serve a copy of the order on all of these entities, so each should receive their copy shortly.

In opposition to the National Grange's motion, Mr. McFarland submitted a declaration signed under penalty of perjury in which he set forth some things that would happen if the court granted the motion (which it subsequently did). Notably, Mr. McFarland attested that "it is difficult to see how the Guild will survive" without the dues and loan repayments, and declared under oath that, "[i]f the Guild is shut down, all of the subsidiary Guilds that derive their IRS 501(c)(8) non-profit status under the umbrella of the Guild will lose that non-profit status if there is no one left to administer and maintain the Guild's IRS Group '1160' umbrella. All of the members would also lose various benefits, such as insurance benefits and other free or discounted services they derive from, or obtain through, their membership in the Guild." You can read Mr. McFarland's full declaration at the link below.

As Mr. McFarland recognizes, the federal court's order yesterday is extremely significant. Undoubtedly, members of the Subordinate Granges and other entities covered by the order will have questions. Please feel free to call or e-mail me if you need any further information to help your Grange figure out what to do. If your Grange is named on the federal court's list but has not been making payments to the Guild, please contact me. Likewise, if you are concerned about your organization's non-profit status in light of Mr. McFarland's declaration, let me know; the California State Grange has a group exemption available to all Subordinate Granges with an active Charter, and I am happy to explain what your Grange needs to do to return to good standing to take advantage of that group exemption. If you have any questions at all, or any concerns that you would like address, please feel free to contact Ed Komski

• American River Grange No. 172
• Anderson Grange No. 418
• Anderson Valley Grange. No. 669
• Atascadero Agricultural Hall
• Bachelor Valley Grange, No. 667
• Banner Community Guild
• Bayside Grange, No. 500
• Bennett Valley Guild
• Berry Creek Guild
• Big Valley/Clear Lake Grange No. 680
• Biggs Grange, No. 459
• Chico Grange No. 486
• Chino Valley Grange No. 845
• Cool Community Association, Inc.
• Coyote Grange No. 412
• Danville Grange No. 85
• De Sabla Guild
• Durham Grange No. 460
• El Paso de Robles Grange No. 555
• Elbow Creek Grange, No. 733
• Elk Creek Grange No. 441
• Elk Grove Guild
• Estrella Grange No. 488
• Feather River Grange, No. 440
• Fort Bragg Grange, No. 672
• Freshwater Community Guild
• Garcia Grange No. 676
• Gold Country Grange No. 847
• Gold Hill Grange No. 326
• Gold Trail Grange No. 452
• Golden Empire Grange No. 806
• Greenhorn Guild
• Hangtown Grange No. 464
• Happy Camp Grange No. 395
• Healdsburg Ballet Grange No. 400
• Hessel Grange No. 750
• Hilmar Grange No. 537
• Honey Lake Valley Grange
• Hornbrook Grange No. 391
• Imperial Valley Guild
• Jacinto Grange, No. 431
• Lake Francis Grange No. 745 dba Ag Society
• Lockeford Dist. Guild No. 579
• Lompoc Grange, No. 646
• Manton Grange No. 732
• Marshall Guild
• Martinez Grange No. 853
• Maywood Grange No. 479
• Meadow Vista Guild
• Millville Grange, No. 443
• Moro Grange
• Mt. Hamilton Grange No. 469
• Mt. Vernon Guild
• Muscoy Guild
• Nevada Star Grange
• Orchard City Grange No. 333
• Paradise Community Guilds
• Petaluma Community Guild
• Pleasant Valley Community Guild
• Redding Grange, No. 446
• Redwood Grange No. 504
• Redwood Valley Community Guild
• Rohner Grange No. 509
• Rough and Ready Grange No. 795
• Rubidoux Grange No. 611
• Rutherford Hall
• Sacramento Community Guild
• Sacramento Vegetarian Society Grange No. 850
• San Luis Obispo Guild Hall
• San Marcos Grange, No. 633
• Santa Ynez Valley Grange No. 644
• Scott Valley Grange No. 386
• Sonoma Valley Grange, No. 407
• Surprise Valley Grange No. 846
• Taylorsville Community Grange No. 439
• Thermalito Guild
• Tulare Grange No. 198
• Valley Oaks Grange, No. 368
• Van Duzen River Guild
• Welcome Grange No. 791
• Western Yolo Grange, No. 423
* Woodbridge Guild
• Concow/Yankee Hill Community Guild
Assignment Order http://sable.madmimi.com/c/8978?id=553272.4432.1.49688656fb1e8d403c461f06b17f8548 http://sable.madmimi.com/c/8978?id=553272.4433.1.f09da002f097b4f3a29fb0d99a8392b3 mailto:ekomski@CAStateGrange.org

Click here to view Assignment Order!

Click here to Mr. McFarland Decleartion!

Click here to Email Ed Komsli

Yesterday, the Sacramento Superior Court granted two motions to prevent the dissipation and waste of Grange property by the Guild:

(1) The Court issued an injunction requiring the Guild to place all rents received from the California State Grange headquarters property in Sacramento into escrow. Last year, rents from the Regents of the University of California had been ordered to be placed into escrow, but rents from other tenants of the headquarters property were not subject to that order. Up until now, the Guild had been collecting and spending this Grange money for its own purposes. The Court has now ordered that to stop.

(2) The Court also ordered that the monthly disbursement received by the Guild from the escrow account holding rents paid by the Regents would be reduced by almost 70% because of the Guild’s demonstrated failure to use those funds for their intended purpose. When the Regents rents were ordered into escrow, the Guild was allowed to receive a monthly disbursement of over $5,000 to pay expenses related to the building rented by the Regents. Unfortunately, however, the Guild used most of this money for its own purposes and failed to pay many bills, resulting in suspension of services by vendors and late penalties. Confronted with evidence that the Guild was not using the money in the way it said it would, the Court ordered that all expenses must be paid directly to vendors out of the escrow, and reduced the Guild’s monthly disbursement to about $1,600 for its “management fee,” which will not be paid for several months while the Guild refunds the escrow for amounts paid to the janitorial and trash removal services for past-due bills. As a result, the Court has ordered that over $3,400 per month of Grange money can no longer be diverted by the Guild for its own purposes.

A copy of the Court’s order granting the motions is attached. These orders will protect approximately $6,000 per month of Grange money from waste by the Guild until it can be recovered by the California State Grange.

Click here to view Court Order

This is the official notice of the next Board of Directors Meeting of the California State Grange.

Date: Saturday March 18, 2017 Time: Open Session 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM Closed Session 2:00 PM to close of business

Date: Saturday March 19th, 2017 Time: Open Session 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM This session will be cancelled if all business was finished on March 18th.

Location: Orangevale Grange Hall, Annex, Sacramento County 5807 Walnut Ave. Orangevale, CA 95662

All members in good standing may attend any open session meeting of the Board of Directors of the California State Grange. Closed sessions are called to discuss confidential legal or personnel matters. Any actions taken by the Board during a closed session are reported in the Minutes of the Board meetings.

If you wish to address the Board at the meeting regarding a specific issue, you must notify the State Secretary, Lillian Booth no later than the end of business on Sunday December 4, 2016, per Section 6.3.3(c) of the California State Grange By-Laws.


February 2017


WASHINGTON POLITICS - NOT AS USUAL

Washingtonians are still talking about the phenomenon commonly referred to as "Middle America". This is the vast expanse of geography between the coastal metropolises where folks feel ignored and forgotten. Rural economies continue to decline, small town businesses falter, factories shutter, hospitals close, schools consolidate and younger generations move away. Middle America's citizens turned out to vote for change and against the status quo. They voted not so much as Democrats or Republicans but as a common populace looking for hope and opportunity right where they are.

The Trump Administration aims to tackle some mighty big problems and quickly seize on some long-awaited opportunities. These include repeal, replace and transition the Affordable Care Act, control illegal immigration, reform the tax code, renegotiate trade agreements, rebuild the nation's infrastructure, and reduce federal regulations. National Grange policy is strong on all these issues which will require considerable time and attention from Grange leadership and staff. To accomplish most of these fetes, the President will have to enter uncharted territory for him...negotiations with Congress. While the President can implement some of his agenda by executive action, the heavy lifting on major issues cannot happen without Congress.

The President's choice for Secretary of Agriculture, Georgian Sonny Perdue, has good support on both sides of the political aisle and should be easily confirmed. Following Perdue's confirmation, the Deputy Secretary appointment should come down rather quickly but this position also requires Senate confirmation. Chances are good the Deputy Secretary candidate could come from either California or the Midwest. Nine Under Secretary and Assistant Secretary appointments, all requiring Senate confirmation, will follow. But don't expect USDA appointees to be in place any time soon. They're caught in a FBI background check logjam that's government-wide. The full regiment of top-tier leadership at USDA may not be in place for several months and could stretch well into summer.

HEALTH CARE

Affordable Care Act Executive Order

On Inauguration Day January 20, President Trump issued an executive order signaling his Administration's priority to roll back major provisions of the ACA. An analysis of the executive order was sent to state masters and legislative directors. Maintain Patient Protections and Access to Drugs

The National Grange cosigned a letter to incoming Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price asking the Secretary to ensure uninterrupted coverage and access to drugs for patients with preexisting conditions while the ACA is under review. Rural Hospitals

The Grange, through Grange Advocacy, is partnering with the American Hospital Association and the DCI Group to draw attention of the plight of rural and small town hospitals in the Affordable Care Act revamp. Under the ACA, hospitals saw huge cuts in Medicare reimbursements on the assumption that expanded insurance coverage would pick up the shortfall. Traditionally, rural hospitals treat a larger share of uninsured patients and those who are unable to pay. As Congress moves to create a new patient care system, they must consider restoring Medicare reimbursements to pre-ACA levels. Grange op-eds by Betsy Huber, Cindy Greer (Colorado), Jim Foster (West Virginia), Bob White Ohio), and Dwight Baldwin (Iowa, pending) appeared in numerous state and national media outlets.

Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)

The National Grange joined over a thousand patient groups, healthcare providers, and advocacy organizations to urge Congress to repeal the IPAB provisions in the ACA. The IBAB board is comprised of Presidential appointees charged with making Medicare cuts if spending growth reaches an arbitrary level. Their actions are not subject to administrative or judicial review. The groups are concerned about eroding patient access to quality healthcare.

Patient Access to Medication

The National Grange and twelve state Granges joined a large array of patient groups to urge Congress to oppose a proposal by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to interfere in private negotiations in Medicare Part D. the groups are concerned that that such proposals could undermine Part D's competitive structure and restrict access to drugs for millions of seniors and individuals with disabilities.

RURAL INFRASTRUCTURE

The National Grange joined with nearly 100 groups on a letter to President Trump asking for his Administration's support for rebuilding infrastructure in rural America. The letter pointed out those past initiatives often focused on urban and suburban infrastructure without addressing the unique needs of rural communities such as highways, bridges, railways, locks and dams, harbors and ports, and expanding broadband connectivity. The President's plans for public-private investment partnerships to fund infrastructure improvements are not financially feasible for rural infrastructure returns.

Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)

Following President Trump's announcement to pull out of the pending TPP, Master Huber issued a rather unique statement that was picked up by numerous media outlets including Bloomberg News, The Progressive Farmer, Farm Policy News, and Kansas Agland among others. The statement said, "With the Grange's primary interest in agriculture, food production and the marketing of American products to all available markets, we understand the potential value of the Trans Pacific Partnership to the American producer and our rural economy". The Grange also represents the interests of rural residents and small community citizens who produce other products and may not expect to fare as well in the proposed TPP agreement.

TAX REFORM

Stay Tuned

Expect broad and far-reaching tax reform proposals to come from the Senate, the House and the White House in the coming weeks. There will be close similarities and wide differences between some of the provisions contained in each proposal. Support or opposition will, of course, depend upon whose ox is getting gored. Death Tax Repeal

The Family Business Coalition (National Grange is a member) is again mounting a campaign in Congress to repeal the federal estate tax. Many studies show repealing the death tax would spur job creation and grow the economy. Estate taxes amount to approximately one half of one percent of federal revenue. Worst of all, the death tax is the primary cause of breaking up family businesses.

REGULATORY ROLLBACK

The executive order issued by President Trump requiring that for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination has the federal agencies buzzing. Though similar actions have been threatened in the past, this is the first time agencies expect the directive to be enforced. OnCapitol Hill, the House has passed and sent to the Senate its "Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny" Act (REINS Act, HR 26 and S 21). Under REINS any proposed regulation would die unless both chambers approve the regulation within 20 days.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Broadband Deployment

The new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman, Ajit Pai, has announced an aggressive digital empowerment agenda that includes a commitment for rural areas and small towns to have access to the same powerful high-speed connectivity taken for granted in most urban and suburban communities. National Grange President Betsy Huber wrote an op-ed expressing encouragement to see the ECC considering new and innovative ways to approach the persistent issue of rural broadband expansion. Daily newsletter The Hill in Washington published Betsy's editorial. FCC Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee

The National Grange has nominated National Grange President Betsy Huber to serve on this Committee whose charge is to encourage broadband deployment across America. Members are expected to delve into FCC's pole attachment rules, look at unreasonable regulatory barriers, encourage local governments to adopt deployment-friendly policies, and other reforms.

AT&T Advisory Panel

AT&T has asked National Grange Legislative Director Burton Eller to join its National Consumer Advisory Panel to represent rural and small community residents and engage in dialogue with AT&T executives on consumer, industry and policy issues.

FOOD AND AGRICULTURE

Farm Bill Hearings

The kickoff hearing for the 2018 Farm Bill was hosted February 23 on &&home territory in Kansas by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts. The second Senate Ag hearing will be scheduled in ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow's home state of Michigan. The House Agriculture Committee focuses on conservation policy and international market development in initial Farm Bill hearings February 28. Actual legislative language for the 2018 Farm Bill will probably be made public early next year.

Ag Loans

The National Rural Lenders Association, National Association of Credit Specialists, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, and the Rural Coalition joined the National Grange to urge the leadership of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to weigh in at the White House and ask that Farm Service loan officers be exempt from the Administration's hiring freeze. The number of FSA loans processed has increased more than 23% over the last five years while staffing levels of loan officers has decreased by six percent. Further, 2016 marked the third straight year of a depressed agriculture economy. Without sufficient loan servicing, credit delivery to rural America will drag down the farm economy even further. Dietary Guidelines Built on Alternative Facts?

A report released February 3 by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS)says the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services should be more transparent about their process of selecting members of the committee that develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans document. Members of Congress previously alleged the committee exceeded its scope by straying from traditional nutritional facts to make recommendations on wider policy like sustainability and tax policy. NAS' report suggested USDA and HHS use third party reviews by an organization or company without political, economic, or ideological identity.

Millennial's Food Preferences

The 10-to-34-year-old population demographic is rewriting the script in the food sector. Their preference for non packaged, less processed, natural, organic, sustainable and locally sourced foods is radically changing food and grocery marketing. Millennial's are willing to pay a premium for what they want and the trend is for them to shop for groceries online.

Welcome Bachelor Valley Grange #627 in returning to the Good Standing in the State of California. By paying its dues and completing the required business reporting (available on the California State Grange’s website: www.castategrange.org, Bachelor Valley Grange #627 is compliant with the rules set forth in the National Grange’s Digest of Laws and the California State Grange’s Constitution and By-Laws.

The confusion created by all the "spin" and propaganda from the California Guild can be cumbersome, to say the least. The California State Grange has only our Fraternal Order in its heart, and we desire to continue to do business as we have for over 142 years as a Local, State, and National Organization.

Thank you to members of Bachelor Valley Grange and the leadership of Master Ashley Duely and her Officers, they are in control of their grange destiny and they chose the path to stay a Grange.

Bachelor Valley Grange #667 (Lake County)
9355 Government St.
Upper Creek, CA

Visit Bachelor Valley Facebook Page!

Master Komski announced that residents of Bennett Valley & Sonoma County have met and completed their application for the reorganization of Bennett Valley Grange #16. They have voted a pro tem officer slate into office that is busy planning future meetings and events.

The pro tem officers have requested a return of Grange property from those former members of Bennett Valley Grange that decided to join the Guild. We are hopeful that these former members will honor the solemn obligation they swore as a condition to being installed into office, including Master: "I, __, having been elected Master of Bennett Valley Grange, do solemnly pledge my honor that I will perform all the duties appertaining to the office, as far as in my power, until my successor is duly installed. I will support the Constitution and By-Laws of the National Grange, and of this State Grange, and the By-Laws of this Grange, and I will inculcate a strict obedience to all laws and edicts emanating from the proper authority. I will not take advantage of the position to bias, in any way, either directly or indirectly, the political or religious opinions of any member of the Order. And at the close of my term of office, or when legally required, I will deliver to my successor, or other property authorized person, all the property of the Grange, or of the Order, which may be in my possession. All of which I promise on my sacred honor. "

Let’s all join in congratulating the members of Bennett Valley Grange for their efforts to restore their Charter and return their Grange to good standing. In the face of all the spin and propaganda, it is no easy task. If you have any questions or would like any further information, please contact me or Bennett Valley Grange’s President Pro Tem, Nancy Cadigan at mcgreenandnancy@yahoo.com>.

The National Grange in conjunction with the National Grange Sesquicentennial Committee is proud to announce the 150th Anniversary Four-Minute Movie Contest!

Break out your video cameras or even your smart phones and help us tell your Grange story through the medium of film! We want to commemorate our members and our stories through the production of four-minute movies that can be used to tell the world how amazing Grangers and the Grange are! Get creative as you or a group of participants put together your own four-minute-movie celebrating Grange! And here's the best part: The prizes sponsored by the National Grange Foundation!

The top three finalist submissions will receive up-to a $200 travel stipend, Friday and Saturday night accommodations (one room per submission finalist) at the 151st Annual Session of the National Grange in Spokane, Washington and two tickets to the Celebration banquet where the winning movies will be shown and first, second, and third place awards announced!


First Place  $1,000 Cash Prize!
Second Place  $500 Cash Prize!
Third Place  $250 Cash Prize!

All entries will be judged on content, quality, and creativity following a designated grading rubric (See attached). The top seven videos will be part of a social media popularity vote August 15 - August 31, 2017, with the top three favorites moving on to the finalist round at National Session in Spokane, Washington on November 11, 2017.

Some suggestions to get your wheels turning include, but not limited to:

How Grange has impacted my life A Specific Grange Story: Our history and heritage Why I love Grange! Specific Grange accomplishments, wins, and successes Why I joined the Grange, why I stay

Deadlines:

June 1, 2017: SUBMISSIONS OPEN August 4, 2017: SUBMISSIONS CLOSE, midnight PST August 15 - August 31, 2017: Top seven finalist popularity voting contest September 1, 2017: Top three finalist announced November 11, 2017: Prizes awarded at National Grange Celebration Banquet

Rules and Details:


• This contest is open to all Grange members!
• Videos must not exceed four minutes in length (not counting credits).
• Individuals may only enter one submission, but may also be included in an additional group submission.
• All entries must be accompanied by a completed submission form and waiver no later than MIDNIGHT (PST) on AUGUST 4, 2017.
• Late entries will not be accepted.
• The Sesquicentennial Committee reserves the right to close the Four-Minute Movie Contest at any time due to lack of interest or less than twelve quality submissions by close of submission deadline on Friday, August 4, 2017.
• All entries remain the property of the creator, but to qualify for any prizes, a waiver allowing the Grange to use the video for promotional purposes must be signed at time of submission.
• Members of Sesquicentennial Committee will qualify the top seven videos to move onto the public voting round. The top three videos will be judged by a qualified judge outside of the organization's membership.
• Members of the Sesquicentennial Committee reserve the right to remove any entries from judging due to quality, themes, language, or violence deemed inappropriate for an all-ages audience.
• Due to large file sizes, submissions should be uploaded to DropBox, Google Drive, or similar program. Submissions will be considered complete upon receipt of sharing link emailed with entry form to 150videocontest@nationalgrange.org

What we ARE looking for:

Smart, funny, poignant, and emotionally engaging four minute movies that celebrate a specific or personal story within Grange.

What we are NOT looking for:

• Slide shows or PowerPoints of still images/photos with voice over narration
• A broad history of the Grange
• An internal critique of the Grange
• An "How to" video for current Granges, i.e. "How to Grow Membership," or "Successful Lecturer's Programs"
• Negative or critical views of the Grange, Grangers or aspects of Grange History
• Quickly produced movies/low quality

Timeline:

February: Contest released to members (article placed in February edition of Good Day!)

March: Conference call for members, Q & A on contest, reiteration of what we are and are not looking for; date TBD

April: Lecturer's Program in a Box on short films (T.J. will do with Chris Hamp and Amanda)

May: Conference call for members, Q & A on contest, reiteration of what we are and are not looking for; date TBD

July: Conference call for members, Q & A on contest, reiteration of what we are and are not looking for; date TBD

Grading Rubric:

50 points possible: Up to 5 points maximum for each of the 7 graded categories (35 points) and up to 15 additional points distributed between categories or given to the project as a whole for outstanding excellence.

Click here to view Grading Rubric!

Last week, the National Grange’s attorneys filed a motion to add Mr. McFarland as a party to the federal trademark order awarding the Grange nearly $145,000 in attorney’s fees. As we all now know, Mr. McFarland deposited $80,000 into his personal account without any notification to the membership at large, supposedly as a “severance” or “retirement” package even though he continues to be employed by the Guild. The motion seeks the court’s permission for the National Grange to seek to recover money owed to it by the Guild from Mr. McFarland himself.

State Master Ed Komski said that "after reading the motion, I was struck by the Guild’s apparent attempt to conceal this information from all of us. Behavior like this is inconsistent with our Order’s rules and values, and as Master of the California State Grange, I can assure you that I will not tolerate any such clandestine actions with Grange property acquired by generations of generous, dedicated Grangers like yourselves."

In the link below, you will find a complete copy of the motion and exhibits including: Mr. McFarland's deposition, bank statements, cancelled checks, credit card statements, outstanding bills due ($92,000), expense reports, and tax returns.

Komski urged all current and former Grange members to review this information and ask themselves if they are comfortable with what is going on.

View Motion Here: (Note: it is a large document - 289 pages)


January 2017


The Guild recently produced minutes from several meetings of its Executive Committee. These minutes were marked as “Attorneys Eyes Only” and “Confidential,” apparently because the Guild and Mr. McFarland do not want the membership to see them. But those designations have now been lifted, and I believe these minutes address matters of general concern.

As you will see in the attached Executive Committee minutes, the Guild is planning to undertake efforts to collect “past-due” dues and loans from Subordinate Granges, including by hiring a collection agency to go after these Granges. Granges DO NOT OWE even one penny of dues to the Guild. If you receive a letter or other communication from the Guild or a collection agency purporting to collect dues, loan payments, or any other type of debt, KNOW YOUR RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS.

The California State Grange can help. If you or your Grange receive any communication from the Guild trying to collect any debt, please immediately forward the letter/e-mail to us, or if it is a phone call or other non-written communication, record the phone number, the caller’s name, and the time and date, send us that information, and we'll take it from there.

Severance Package Revisited

The attached Executive Committee minutes confirm "a severance package of 2 years take home salary" given to Bob McFarland "in the event the CSG legal process does not find in our favor and our structure fails." Apparently, the Guild is not as confident that its appeal will succeed as it has been telling you. The CSG Foundation (Leo Bergeron represents himself as the president, and now calls it the “Heartland Foundation”) was authorized to hold the funds for this “severance package.”.

In July, after the federal court ruled that the Guild and those acting in concert with it (including the Foundation) would have to pay the National Grange’s attorney’s fees in bringing its motion following the Guild’s ongoing violation of the trademark order, there was an email meeting of the Guild’s Executive Committee. As the attached minutes show, the Executive Committee directed that the “severance package” should "be deposited now in McFarland's IRA account." After this, the Guild transferred $80,000 to McFarland’s personal account, even though there had been no “severance.”

Sunlight is the best disinfectant – as always, we encourage you all to get the information and decide for yourselves what is right.

View EC Minuted of 9/16/2016

View EC Minutes of 03/18/2016

View EC Minutes of 07/21/2016

The IRS recently released an updated Form 990-EZ, Short Form Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, that will help tax-exempt organizations avoid common mistakes when filing their annual return.

The updated Form 990-EZ includes 29 “help” icons describing key information to help small and mid-size exempt organizations avoid common mistakes when filling out the form and filing their return. The icons also link to additional information available on IRS.gov.

Click here to view!

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Click here to view!

The revocation of Bennett Valley Grange #16 Charter was announced on January 18th.

The letter to Bennett Valley Grange #16 stated "We regret to inform you that the Charter of Bennett Valley Grange #16 is revoked, pursuant to California State Grange (CSG) By-Laws § 3.3.3 and the National Grange Digest of Laws § 4.5.1. Section 4.5.1 of the National Grange Digest of Laws provides that "it shall be the duty of the Master of (the) State Grange to ... revoke the Charter or any Subordinate Grange when certain criteria are met and the Master determines "that the good of the Order" requires revocation."

Further to the National Grange Digest of Laws § 4.5.1(C), one criterion for revocation is when a Subordinate Grange is "in arrears for dues for one or more quarters." Bennett Valley Grange is in arrears for dues for at least 18 quarters. Specifically, the Bennett Valley Grange has not paid dues to the California State Grange, including the dues required by the National Grange, since at least September 2012. Payment of dues to the California State Grange is required of all Subordinate Granges pursuant to California State Grange By-Laws Section 9.2.2 and National Grange Digest of Laws Section 6.11.5.

In addition, the National Grange Digest of Laws § 4.5.1(B) states that a Subordinate Grange may be revoked for "violation of the law and usages for the Order." We understand that on December 8th, 2016, the Executive Committee of the Bennett Valley Grange voted to change its name to the "Bennett Valley Guild," and the organization is no longer acting as a Grange. We previously informed Master William Allen and Secretary Patty Allen that the Bennett Valley Grange's failure to abide by the CSG By-Laws and National Grange Digest of Laws would result in the revocation of the Charter; however, no steps have been taken to address this deficiency.

Accordingly, we have determined the revocation of the Charter of the Bennett Valley Grange is for the good of the Order, as these deficiencies do not appear capable of being remedied.

Bennett Valley Grange will have 45 days to appeal the revocation order to the Master of the National Grange.

Click here to view Revocation Letter


The 142nd Annual Session of the California State Grange will be held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in beautiful Santa Rosa.

The Session Date are Thursday, June 22nd to Sunday June 25th.

We have started a webpage for the 2017 Annual Session. Click here to see map

Click here to see map

Please welcome the Reorganization of Quartz Hill Grange #697 in returning to the Order in the State of California. By paying its dues and completing the required business reporting, Quartz Hill Grange #697 is compliant with the rules set forth in the National Grange’s Digest of Laws and the California State Grange’s Constitution and By-Laws.

State President Komski said that "this is a very unique Grange - In all my travels I have never seen a more important, needed and useful asset in a community. I, on a unannounced visit witnessed a full house of attendees, 40+ on a Saturday afternoon with a hall filled with amazing energy. The Quartz Hill Grange facilitates 3 AA Meetings a day M-S and 2 on Sunday. As you all know a subordinate Grange is built around a community and this Grange supports this much needed program for those community members that want the power of the AA program. Thank you all for your commitment and valuable contribution within your community while reorganizing the Quartz Hill Grange to support the Grange fundamentals and our Fraternal work. Good job"

Quartz Hill Grange #697
41843 50th St West
Quartz Hill , CA

Please welcome the Reorganization of Redwood Valley Grange #382 in returning to the Order making it the 91st Grange in the State of California. By paying its dues and completing the required business reporting, Redwood Valley Grange #382 is compliant with the rules set forth in the National Grange’s Digest of Laws and the California State Grange’s Constitution and By-Laws.

They will be celebrating their 100 anniversary without interruption in 2017 – in light of not having being revoked for a full year. So a Happy Birthday is in order.

Thank you to members of Redwood Valley Grange and the leadership of Master Jeff Box, they are in control of their grange destiny and they chose the path to reorganize their Grange.

I look forward to coming up and installing their new officers.

Redwood Valley Grange #382
8650 East Rd.
Redwood Valley, CA

Redwood Valley Facebook Page

Redwood Valley Yelp Page

It has just been disclosed in documents filed by McFarland Attorney in the Superior Court, that Mr. McFarland received an $80,000 payment from the Guild last summer that he deposited into his own personal retirement account. This is in addition to his yearly salary.

This information was disclosed in a deposition of Robert McFarland taken on December 19th, 2016. In that deposition, it stated that "It was moved by Cheri Bunker, seconded by Richard Jones that President Bob McFarland received a severance package of two years take home salary in the event that the CSG legal process doe not find in our favor and our structure fails. The monies to be set aside now in a CSG Foundation in a designated account. Motion carried with a unanimous vote." That vote was taken at the March 18th, 2016 Guild Executive Committee meeting.

This vote was reaffirmed at the July 21st 2016 meeting of the Guild Executive Committee, that "the monies to be deposited now in McFarland's IRA account. Motion carried with a unanimous vote"

California State Grange President Ed Komski stated that "In all my years in the Grange, I have never heard of nor seen such an amount paid to any officer or member as a lump sum. Our Order was never meant to be a means for any officer, including the Master/President, to get rich."

Click here read Deposition (in part), taken under Oath.

Please use the link below to view 2016 National Grange Labor, Judiciary and Taxation Committee resolutions Adopted, Adopted as Amended, Present Policy and Policies included in the Policy Statement. These resolutions are taken out of the first ladies workbook (her penmanship is far superior to mine).

Be aware there may been some fine edits and spelling corrections that still need to be completed. The National Grange 2016 Journal of Proceedings will be the authoritative copy once published.

Keep in mind that the "whereas" have been omitted, further reinforcing the fact that all resolutions MUST stand on their own.

CA State Grange stats on Labor, Judiciary and Taxation:

Total submitted: 2 CA - 805 - 808
Withdrawn: 1 CA - 808
Present Policy: CA - 805

Click here to view!

The following is a New Years message from our State Grange President

Happy New Year The California State Grange is welcoming 2017 with anticipation, programs, structure, and events.

Anticipation

In 2017, we are anticipating continued success in the litigation against the Guild and its officers. We have won decisive victories in the trial courts in both the state and federal cases and expect similarly emphatic wins when the appellate courts reject the Guild’s appeals later this year or in 2018. While we are waiting for the appellate courts to rule, we will also continue working to protect the Grange property improperly held by the Guild. To that end, in early 2017, we expect to obtain an order from the state court that the Guild must return the headquarters property at 3830 U Street and other Grange funds to us. Notwithstanding the clear law and facts against it, the Guild still has made no attempt to contact us to resolve this dispute amicably. So while it is a shame that more time and money must be spent litigating to safeguard Grange property, the California State Grange is determined that the property that is the product of the effort of generations of Grangers will remain in the Grange.

Programs

USDA - We plan on expanding our successful USDA pilot meeting in San Diego to include those Granges that have expressed interest in hosting a meeting. These meetings are focused on agricultural projects of less than 9 acres. Contact:Ed Komski

Fair Program – This program is very instrumental in growing our organization and we have more Granges being formed to facilitate the demand for this program. Stay tuned for additional Granges organizing later this month. Contact: Tacy Curey IRS – Non-Profit – A review of all Granges’ status with both the IRS and the FTB will be handed by this committee. Contact: Inger Bevans

Property Needs Assessment – The California State Grange is obligated through our Constitution and By-Laws and the Digest of Laws to steward the Grange Community properties that have been surrendered and or revoked. A review of these properties is being conducted to evaluate: Insurance, General Structural and Property Condition, Tax Status and Re- Organization Efforts. Contact: Bob Clouse

Grassroots Initiative – In January, this program will begin gathering information through Survey Monkey. It is designed to extend the Grassroots efforts of our organization to all our members. Each voice will be heard, focusing in the areas of legislative interests, training, workshops, resolution writing, etc. The purpose will be to be responsive to our Member, Community, and Grange needs and additionally State and National legislative topics and develop a road map to achieve goals. Contact: Ed Komski

Structure

Pomona Granges redefined: Pomona Granges will be moving away from a county area definition designation and moving into a territory or regional/zone area designation. This will utilize the purpose and resources of the Pomona Granges to a greater efficiency. Deputies:

Deputies to the Master will be assigned to work in conjunction with the Pomona Granges and have the same area designation.

Convention Committee Chairpersons: We will be asking those chairpersons to be in place for the full year after their assignment. The purpose of that is for each chairperson to represent his or her committee and to facilitate any questions, concerns and interest of the membership in that particular subject. The goal will be not to have the same chairperson 2 years in a row.

Events

January and every odd-numbered month after: Officer and Master Meetings: A bi-monthly Officer& Master Meeting will be scheduled. The first meeting will be in January. These meeting are going to be “Meetings” via the web. All Officers of the California State Grange and Masters / Presidents of Subordinate Granges in good standing are invited. The meetings are designed to be management and think tank forums and will be scheduled to run no longer than 1 hour.

June: Our 142nd annual convention location has been announced – it will take place at the Sonoma County Fair Grounds. – Reminder: Expo Submissions and Talent and Speech competitions start planning now!

August: California will host the 2017 Western Youth Conference. We are working on firming up the details but the intention is to have it in either San Diego (Midway, LEGOLAND, and Sea World) or Orange County (Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm). Pricing will be the decision factor.

November: National Convention will be in Spokane, Washington. The Western States are the hosts. The California State Grange is responsible for organizing the Host Banquet and a day of a sponsored hospitality suite.

Cheers!

/s/ Ed Komski


December 2016


Please use the link below to view 2016 National Citizenship & Taxation Committee resolutions Adopted, Adopted as Amended, Present Policy and Policies included in the Policy Statement. These resolutions are taken out of the first ladies workbook (her penmanship is far superior to mine).

Be aware there may been some fine edits and spelling corrections that still need to be completed. The National Grange 2016 Journal of Proceedings will be the authoritative copy once published.

Keep in mind that the "whereas" have been omitted, further reinforcing the fact that all resolutions MUST stand on their own.

CA State Grange stats on Citizenship & Taxation Committee:

Total submitted: 3 CA-808 (MN - 304)- 324 - 317

2 Withdrawn - CA - 808 Almost exactly like MN 304 that went to LJT
CA - 324
1 Policy Statement - CA 317

Click here to view!

Please use the link below to view 2016 National Conservation Committee resolutions Adopted, Adopted as Amended, Present Policy and Policies included in the Policy Statement. These resolutions are taken out of the first ladies workbook (her penmanship is far superior to mine).

Be aware there may been some fine edits and spelling corrections that still need to be completed. The National Grange 2016 Journal of Proceedings will be the authoritative copy once published.

Keep in mind that the "whereas" have been omitted, further reinforcing the fact that all resolutions MUST stand on their own.

CA State Grange stats on Conservation Committee:

Total submitted: 1 CA-402
1 Policy Statement - CA 402

Click here to view!

Please use the link below to view 2016 National Grange , Grange Law Committee resolutions Adopted, Adopted as Amended, Present Policy and Policies included in the Policy Statement. These resolutions are taken out of the first ladies workbook (her penmanship is far superior to mine).

Be aware there may been some fine edits and spelling corrections that still need to be completed. The National Grange 2016 Journal of Proceedings will be the authoritative copy once published.

Keep in mind that the "whereas" have been omitted, further reinforcing the fact that all resolutions MUST stand on their own.

CA State Grange stats on Grange Law:

Total submitted: 3 CA-701 - 702 - 716
Withdrawn: 1 CA 702
Adopted as Amended: 1 CA 701
Adopted: 1 CA 716

PLEASE NOTE:

That OK - 705 is covered by GL - 720 and that OR - 703, OR - 708, NY - 709, OR - 713, NH - 714 are ALL Covered by GL - 721

Click here to view!

Please use the link below to view 2016 National Grange Growth & Development Committee resolutions Adopted, Adopted as Amended, Present Policy and Policies included in the Policy Statement. These resolutions are taken out of the first ladies workbook (her penmanship is far superior to mine).

Be aware there may been some fine edits and spelling corrections that still need to be completed. The National Grange 2016 Journal of Proceedings will be the authoritative copy once published.

Keep in mind that the "whereas" have been omitted, further reinforcing the fact that all resolutions MUST stand on their own.

CA State Grange stats on Grange Growth and Development:

Total submitted: 2 CA-605 & CA 604
Rejected: 1 CA 605
Adopted as Amended: 1 CA 604

Click here to view!

Please use the link below to view 2016 National Grange Education & Health Committee resolutions Adopted, Adopted as Amended, Present Policy and Policies included in the Policy Statement. These resolutions are taken out of the first ladies workbook (her penmanship is far superior to mine).

Be aware there may been some fine edits and spelling corrections that still need to be completed. The National Grange 2016 Journal of Proceedings will be the authoritative copy once published.

Keep in mind that the "whereas" have been omitted, further reinforcing the fact that all resolutions MUST stand on their own.

CA State Grange stats on Grange Education & Health:

Total submitted: None

Click here to view!

Please welcome Bodega Bay Grange #777 in returning to Good Standing in the Order. By paying its dues and completing the required business reporting (available on the California State Grange’s website: www.castategrange.org), Bodega Bay Grange #777 is compliant with the rules set forth in the National Grange’s Digest of Laws and the California State Grange’s Constitution and By-Laws.

State Master Komski was honored to be invited to meet with the members a few months back. They discussed what ever the members wanted ... "I am thankful for the opportunity to present the information that assisted in their better understanding of the Grange" Komski said. The confusion created by all the "spin" and propaganda from the California Guild can be cumbersome, to say the least. The California State Grange has only our Fraternal Order in its heart, and we desire to continue to do business as we have for over 140 years as a Local, State, and National Organization. Thank you to the members of Oakdale Grange for acquiring information and determining that they want to continue being a Grange.

Bodega Bay Grange #777 (Sonoma County) 1370 Bodega Ave Bodega Bay, CA

Visit Bodega Bay Grange Web Site

Welcome them on their Facebook Page

Bodega Bay Grange on YELP

Please welcome West Visalia Grange #782 in returning to Good Standing in the Order. By paying its dues and completing the required business reporting (available on the California State Grange’s website: www.castategrange.org), West Visalia Grange #782 is compliant with the rules set forth in the National Grange’s Digest of Laws and the California State Grange’s Constitution and By-Laws.

State Master Komski was honored to be invited to meet with the members a few months back. They discussed what ever the members wanted ... "I am thankful for the opportunity to present the information that assisted in their better understanding of the Grange" Komski said. The confusion created by all the "spin" and propaganda from the California Guild can be cumbersome, to say the least. The California State Grange has only our Fraternal Order in its heart, and we desire to continue to do business as we have for over 140 years as a Local, State, and National Organization. Thank you to the members of Oakdale Grange for acquiring information and determining that they want to continue being a Grange.

West Visalia Grange #782 (Tulare County) 327 N. Shirk Rd. Visalia, CA

Welcome them on our Facebook Page

Please welcome Oakdale Grange #435 in returning to Good Standing in the Order. By paying its dues and completing the required business reporting (available on the California State Grange’s website: www.castategrange.org), Oakdale Grange #435 is compliant with the rules set forth in the National Grange’s Digest of Laws and the California State Grange’s Constitution and By-Laws.

State Master Komski was honored to be invited to meet with the members a few months back. They discussed what ever the members wanted ... "I am thankful for the opportunity to present the information that assisted in their better understanding of the Grange" Komski said. The confusion created by all the "spin" and propaganda from the California Guild can be cumbersome, to say the least. The California State Grange has only our Fraternal Order in its heart, and we desire to continue to do business as we have for over 140 years as a Local, State, and National Organization. Thank you to the members of Oakdale Grange for acquiring information and determining that they want to continue being a Grange.

Oakdale Grange #435 (Stanislaus County) 30 N. Lambuth Oakdale, CA

Welcome them on their Facebook Page


November 2016


This is the official notice of the next Board of Directors Meeting of the California State Grange.

Date: Friday December 9, 2016 Time: Open Session 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM Closed Session 2:00 PM to close of business

Date: Saturday December 10, 2016 Time: Open Session 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Location: Sebastopol Grange Hall, Sonoma County 6000 Sebastopol Ave Sebastopol, CA 95472

All members in good standing may attend any open session meeting of the Board of Directors of the California State Grange. Closed sessions are called to discuss confidential legal or personnel matters. Any actions taken by the Board during a closed session are reported in the Minutes of the Board meetings.

If you wish to address the Board at the meeting regarding a specific issue, you must notify the State Secretary, Lillian Booth no later than the end of business on Sunday December 4, 2016, per Section 6.3.3(c) of the California State Grange By-Laws.

Click here to view notice.

In yet another favorable decision in the California State Superior Court, Judge Brown on Friday, November 18th, denied the demurrer (motion to dismiss) filed by the Guild regarding the Grange asset management account at Morgan Stanley. The Guild tried to argue that the account contains property that is owned by entities other than the California State Grange, but the state court disagreed. As required under the judgment, ALL property held by the Guild as of the revocation of the California State Grange’s Charter on April 5, 2013, must be returned to the Grange.

As noted by Judge Brown, "[t]here is nothing ‘uncertain’ about the allegations that the California State Grange owns ‘all right, title,and interest’ to the funds held in Morgan Stanley account number XXX-XXX374-040, but holds those funds pursuant to Grange rules.” With the demurrer overruled, the California State Grange will proceed on its claims to recover Grange property improperly in the Guild’s control.

Click here to view Order!

Federal Judge Shubb provided the National Grange and the California State Grange some very good news by denying the defendants (Guild and Robert McFarland) motion for a more defined statement and upholding our claims for:

   1. False Designation of Origin
   2. False Advertising
   3. Copyright Infringement
   4. Trade Libel
   5. Trespass
   6. Conversion (theft).

This is another good result in the ongoing effort to stop the Guilds infringement of the Grange's name and goodwill. We will continue to press to obtain all available relief from the federal court.

Click here to view!


October 2016



As the Western States prepare for the 151st Convention in Spokane, WA in 2017, we have developed a fund raising pin to be sold throughout the year celebrating the Granges 150th year birthday. This pin is a similar to the original founder's button, produced nearly 150 years ago. All proceeds will help defer costs related to the 151st convention.

Pre-orders and individual purchases will be available at the upcoming 150th convention (supplies are limited and first come first served). Purchases are also being taken NOW and will be available for shipment after the 150th Convention in D.C.

Cost $5.00 each or 5 for $20.00 + shipping

Click here to reserve pins!

In another decision that prevents the Guild from wasting Grange property, the California Superior Court granted the California State Grange’s motion and issued a Temporary Restraining Order preventing the Guild from modifying loans made to Granges or from collecting payments made on those loans.

The Court will hear oral argument on the matter on November 21, but has already issued a tentative order granting the motion that would prevent the modification of those loans and require that all loan payments be placed into escrow going forward.

We will advise on further developments. The Temporary Restraining Order is available (see below),and the tentative order is available (see below). If you are with a Grange with a loan, I strongly suggest you read the attached order and understand your Grange’s obligations and responsibilities.

Click here to view Temporary Restraining Order

Click here to view tentative order!