Here’s a fun fact about THC – we love protests (especially the bra-burning type). However, after the past week full of protests, we were forced to stop and ask, “Why so many protests? And who is behind them?”
The conclusion we came to was shocking and disturbing, and THC is certain that you’ll agree.
Our story starts with a woman named Renee Saucedo. Over the past couple years, Ms. Saucedo has become increasingly involved with various communities in Humboldt County, and has acted as an organizer for underrepresented groups. Most notably, she has been involved in the McKinleyville Organizing Committee (MOC) and the True North Organizing Network (TNON).
Maybe you’ve heard of Saucedo before. People in the Bay area certainly have – Ms. Saucedo hails from the Bay Area, and at one point ran for Supervisor in San Francisco. She has a long – and do we mean long – history of political activism. Which, in our opinion, is all hunky-dory.
However, some of her past rabble-rousing tactics caused us to raise an eyebrow. Take this article, for example, which details her work on the behalf of day laborers in San Francisco. Or rather, her work on behalf of some laborers, and her abuse of laborers who didn’t agree with the b.s. she was force feeding them. THC quotes:
“”Saucedo puts her political agenda before the need for workers to get jobs.“” and, ““The purpose of the program is to get people jobs,” Quintana said. “But it’s really a political football. She’s not interested in talking. She calls anybody who disagrees with her a racist.“”
Now, those slightly ugly interactions with the people she was supposed to be representing aside, we don’t think Ms. Saucedo is evil or anything. She believes in something and fights (sometimes fights dirty) for it.
But why, after such a long career in the Bay Area political scene, did she come to Humboldt to ply her trade?
Well, it’s because the Humboldt Area Foundation – and more specifically Patrick Cleary, HAF’s Executive Director – recruited Saucedo to push a very specific political agenda in our area.
You may remember that Mr. Cleary ran for 5th District Supervisor, and lost. One of Cleary’s suggestions prior to his defeat was the formation of the McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee, or MAC. The MAC was formed anyways, but didn’t necessarily align with Cleary’s political leanings. In response, the MOC was born – and the MOC is headed by none other than Renee Saucedo.
And this is the point where The Humboldt Consequential calls bullshit on the Humboldt Area Foundation for funding political activism through the money they make off of the good will of Humboldt’s charitable donations.
You remember, don’t you, that HAF is “A non-partisan and inclusive place for people to come together to define community issues and search for solutions” (taken from HAF’s own Mission, Vision and Ethics statement).” Keep in mind the whole non-partisan thing – HAF seems to have forgotten about it.
What?? You don’t believe us? Well, that’s fine. Go ahead and contact HAF and ask them. And while you’re at it, go ahead and ask True North as well. It shouldn’t be too hard, because the contact information for HAF…
But don’t stop there. While you’ve got them on the phone, ask them about any job opportunities with True North – because Humboldt Area Foundation is the organization responsible for soliciting True North job applications and for hiring True North employees. We wonder who recently got the job for the True North Organizer in Del Norte – the job posting isn’t listed on their website anymore. But here is a bare bones copy of it. Also note, from HAF’s employment opportunities page, that only applicants for jobs with True North are required to provide:
Gadzooks, Humboldtians: the Humboldt Area Foundation – our County’s beloved *cough* non-partisan *cough* benefactor of all things community – not only finances True North Organizing Network and is the party responsible for hiring True North’s employees, but is also the primary point of contact for the organization? How..how weird.
True North may not come out and say they’re preying on Humboldt’s political scene or putting words in our residents’ mouth. But, check this little tidbit out from a LoCO post earlier this week.
Notice two things: First, True North provides slogans for the people it enlists. Where does that ring a bell from? Oh yeah, that article we linked earlier (and linked again here) where Saucedo got some impoverished day laborers kicked out of their own organization for not falling into line. Second, notice that True North denies sponsoring the protest at Eureka City Hall. No, they only created a Facebook page promoting it, and provided catchy slogans that would pull at the political and emotional heart strings of passerby. Sounds like prime avoidance strategy if you ask us.
But then again, Ms. Saucedo is a smart cookie. She knows her game – and Pat Cleary knew exactly what he was getting when he hired her. A politically savvy organizer. Guess who organized the pipeline protest held by the Hoopa Valley Youth Council last weekend?
We’ve got plenty more on HAF’s questionable practices, and we’ll expand on that in the future. But we just wanted you to ask some of the same questions we started asking, like: Why the f*** are portions of our charitable donations to HAF going to fund any sort of political activity. We also wonder whether any of the other HAF donors throughout the County would share the same concern.
Now, let’s be very, very clear here. Our beef is not with True North, nor Renee Saucedo, nor the protesters, nor any of the specific issues that those individuals and organizations are addressing. More power to them, and good luck in their efforts.
No, our beef is with HAF, and their backhanded attempts to hijack the politics and voices of our community through the once-proud reputation and influence of a storied “non-partisan” organization.
Part of HAF’s stated mission is to “strengthen our communities.” THC wonders how much more close-knit Humboldt’s neighbors are now that HAF is funding political protests at the headquarters of our County Seat on one of the most divisive and heated topics to trouble our County at this time.
The Humboldt Consequential