My first OpEdNews interview is the Honorable Gary Mondfrans, former Mayor of San Bruno, California, one of the most outspoken pro-Bernie Mayors in the United States. Gary has been (CEO) & Videographer at G-Shots TV Video Production, Artists' Agent at Pacific Passion Promotions, Former 911 dispatcher in San Francisco, former Mayor and Council member in San Bruno, and has studied at four colleges and universities. He lives in Pacifica, California.
Fox: Please tell me how and why did you come to support Bernie Sanders.
Gary Mondfrans: My mom had actually been telling me about Bernie Sanders for sometime, but at that time, I was excited that Hillary was running and at first thought that Bernie Sanders was too old and too socialist to win. However, as August of 2015 moved on, I felt that Hillary Clinton's "baggage" was dragging her down, and knew that she would certainly loose under scathing criticism from Donald Trump, whom even then I recognized as a Public Enemy #1, and I was looking for someone to inspire young people to carry on our future.
I meet a Bernie supporter on-line, Sabrina Geisler of Wyoming, and she inspired me to create my first Bernie video. I already had the song in mind and after listening to Bernie's Clear Lake, Iowa speech, I published the video first on Facebook, then a shortened version suitable for YouTube. Here it is, and please just listen to the words and lyrics of the song matched with Bernie Sanders words and a visual picture of a better more compassionate world and nation and you too will become inspired to follow Sen. Bernie Sanders.
"Like a small boat on a ocean...." This is OUR "Fight Song", too!! (Rachel Platten's "This is My Fight Song"
Fox: How have you campaigned for him, precisely, and for how long, and for an average of how many hours each day? Have you given speeches, or been on the radio for him?
Gary Mondfrans: I have primarily campaigned via Facebook and other web postings since mid-August of 2015, and it covers probably at least 10 to 18 hours a day, seriously. This is my passion, and there is nothing more important than getting Sen. Bernie Sanders' elected as our next President and leader of the free world. I have also participated in local voter registration drives in both San Mateo and San Francisco Counties, and attended three of his rallies here in California: Sacramento, Stockton, and the one just last week near under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
I have also been to other minor events and have been to his headquarters office twice, and met with his paid organizers several times, although the overwhelming number of us are nearly almost all full-time volunteers. I have spoken at local events, but not been on the radio, except for local water issues on a Lake County Community Radio Station where I might have mentioned Bernie Sanders.
Fox: I am NOT speaking here of Exit Polls (which the DNC did away with for California, another obvious step in doing away with all potential evidence), but what sense before the primary did you have that he was ahead in California, especially in the affluent and progressive Silicon Valley communities?
Gary Mondfrans: San Bruno is north of Silicon Valley and is decidedly very middle class. It seemed like everyone I met smiled at my Bernie T-shirts and my obvious enthusiasm for Bernie. I actually felt that he was going to win California and all the polls here showed that he was in a statistical tie.
I suspect that the "loss" of California to Bernie Sanders was a pre-planned set-up along with the out-and-out voter fraud known to plague places like New York and New Jersey where machine political rule like in the days of the old Tammany Hall.
Fox: What about the rest of California?
Gary Mondfrans: I have just come from the Lake County Voter registrar's office and they are just going to do only a 1% sampling next week, and I am certain that the last minute provisional ballots are not going to be fully counted, which would show a likely 80% Bernie plurality, considering that #NeverTrump Republicans would have voted on provisional ballots, and certainly not for Hillary Clinton.
Bernie here alone earned 500 more votes than Donald Trump, and the Trumpster only pulled 71% of the GOP vote considering he was the only Republican on the ballot. I don't vote up here but I am a property owner and very much concerned about the environmental effects upon Clear Lake and the high cost of Water here in Lucerne where my rentals are.
Fox: We saw rallies televised with as many as 100,000 in Oakland for example, with almost empty Clinton rallies. We know the votes aren't counted, quite yet, only one week after the primary, but does a Clinton victory in CA even seem accurate?
Gary Mondfrans: The very idea of a Clinton victory is so bogus that it stinks to High Hillary!! The Bernie rallies I saw and attended were major love fests and most of the college age young people are now out of school and available to work this summer for Bernie Sanders. That is why I am working to keep this political movement afloat, which include my latest video set to the late Karen Carpenters' "On Top of the World":
I plan on attending the Philly "Love Fest" for Bernie, which I am calling the Philadelphia Freedom Convention. I will be driving there after the Trump Hate Fest in Cleveland. This is history, and this is the American Revolution of our next millennium, and I want to be part of this political revolution. To assure that this will not be a repeat of the Shameful '68 Mayor Richard Daley's Chicago Damn Convention, I am already organizing with people in Pennsylvania to have training of the demonstrators and pro-Berners to assure that #Change2016 is quite different.
By the way: The hashtag groups #FeelTheBern, along with #BlackLivesMatter and about 20 other Facebook groups and pages are mine, along with several anti-Trump pages and those also go way back to August of last year.
I have been planning this for a very, very long time. For we need real change in 2016, not more of the same which Hill+Billy will bring us even is she survives an all-out assault by Trump, which is doubtful. Bernie out-Trumps Trump nearly two to one!!
Fox. What do your friends and colleagues have to say now about whether they will participate in the rest of the election, or will they focus more on specific issues, despite the Presidency being the largest issue of them all?
I hear much talk from both my Democrat and Republican friends, who do not like Donald Trump, and certainly don't like Hillary Clinton, and the talk is along the lines that they may just sit on their hands come this November. My Dad has created his own "Mickey Mouse" for President signs, and I swear, I could not make this up! 1968 changed my life forever. Two assassinations, and the onset on the dark ages of the Nixon Administration.
Fox: Please talk about your experiences with Facebook. I believe all in all it has a positive effect on American Politics, until you start examining the censorship and group posting restrictions.
It has been very frustrating to me to spread the word via Facebook and for Eric King, a prior FB suspension has had a chilling effect in the means and manner in which he posts. This was our very recent conversation. I think it would make a great quote in your article.
Mondfrans: Eric, a question for you? How are you able to post so fast without getting blocked by Facebook? I just got zapped for the umteenth time and am in Facebook jail again until the end of the week.
Eric: I try to limit myself to ten posts of a specific topic. I got put in FB jail for a month in March. Since I've done my limit of ten of a particular post in ten groups, I've not had an issue.
Another response from a friend: "MVP Worland posted this in a chat room I just added you to Delegate for Bernie! so you can link up with him about his Facebook woes.
"You are not alone. I have been blocked for two weeks. There apparently are David Brock teams who gang up with complaints to take down Bernie sanders activists. Anyone have any ideas how to get blocks removed?"
Fox: Please tell us a little about your own political history, your track record:
I registered to vote as soon as the voting age was lowered to 18 but the City Clerk would not give me a receipt as California had not yet lowered the age to 18 in California. I kept coming back until he did. Within two years I was running for my first political office, for San Bruno City Council. I didn't win but I didn't come in last, and by my 3rd try, at age 23, I was elected Councilman. When I ran again, I got more votes than the incumbent Mayor, and by age 25 I was Mayor of the City of San Bruno, oh, and by the way, replaced the City Clerk with one of my political allies by helping her get elected, and then she served for over 30 years.
Fox: Please explore those restriction problems with Facebook (and please know that although I have had my own problems with Facebook, I still consider it to have had an enormously beneficial effect on politics)
Honestly, it has been very frustrating to me to spread the word via Facebook as I keep ending up on suspension or the posting restrictions which have been referred to as "Facebook Jail". I have never group posted anything anti-Hillary. I am a Democrat after all, but I did cross post one anti-Trump video, this one set to Carly Simon's aptly named "You're So Vain":
All the others have been quite appropriate pro-Bernie Sanders posts and I belong to something like 2,000 Facebook pages and groups. Initially, I had no problem. I would quick post from my cellphone, a Sampson Galaxy S5, sometime from 9 pm until 6 am the next day. I am a retired 9-1-1 Dispatcher so I am used to working odd hours and staying up late. I usually start my post after midnight when few others are posting, then I had little trouble.
But within the past few months, I get locked down in Facebook Jail within about a hour or so of the start of my postings and this is cutting into my ability to help the Bernie Sanders campaign as well as limit my Freedom of Speech. After all we #Berners are spread out all over the nation and in various regional and associative groups, and it it important to reach as many as we can via Social Media considering the Main Stream Media virtual "Blackout" of Bernie Sanders.
My latest restricting ends later this week, and in the meantime I can still post directly to my 5000 Bernie friends and engage them in chat rooms. There is always a "Plan B," and if that "Plan B" fails, then we go on to another "Plan B."
Fox: Mayor, clearly you are a major creative force with an insightful and experienced political mind. When you look around California, are there any crusading journalists left? For example, I just yesterday suggested to a sincere friend that she call the Sacramento Bee with some routine questions about vote discrepancies in the slowly returning counts of the uncounted votes, and their political reporter jumped all over her and said "you must be one of those Bernie
conspiracy theorists"! I have personally talked to really brusque and insulting reporters and editors of very large California papers who didn't want to hear anything about the hijacked NY primary, and certainly not my insights that the same thing was coming your way in California. When you were Mayor and as an activist in general is it all on alternative news websites, or are there any open minded newspapers and true investigative reporters left in your state?
Mondfrans: Most of the really great reporters are gone, the corporations have swallowed up the hometown papers. Only some good "reporters" and commentators exist but those are usually found over local community radio stations and those by and large are all "Labors of Love."
Fox: Robert Reich, in my mind, was always an esteemed major brilliant supporter for Bernie, one of the top ones, but when it came right down to the crunch on efforts to get a new NY primary, he ignored us entirely, not even to say "take a hike." "Us" included hundreds of people emailing him directly and calling his office. Did you ever meet Reich? Why do you suppose so many legislators and major figures were never asked to put it in writing and submit it to editorial pages in California? Even Bernie did this only once, that I know of, against fracking, and it was on the editorial page in USA Today, the largest circulating paper in America. What happened? Is the Battle of the Editorial Pages a thing of the ancient political past? What an impact it would have had on the primaries if they had made a point of doing that?
MONDFRANS: I follow Robert Reich, and he and Bernie Sanders are
substantially on the same page. I would like to see Mr. Reich on the Supreme Court as Bernie's first pick of 2017. Far to many people stood silent when the could have helped Bernie Sanders, and while I am not familiar with the NY issue to me Elizabeth Warren has been a big disappointment, although she can certainly out trump Trump on Twitter and would have been a major asset to Bernie had she chimed in earlier.
FOX: I like your idea of training demonstrators. The campaign should have been doing that all along to combat the skilled operatives in the Clinton camp. As to the convention, I have suggested that there be an alternative for the demonstrators, maybe calling it "Reshaping the New Democratic Party," and get these people off the streets and out of the faces of the Super delegates. What do you think of that?
MONDFRANS: I have actually met with people here in Northern California, as well as on-line chat with people I will be staying with in Philly and have been using the working title of "Camp BernieMan" for non-violence training. Susan from Chico, California, has a friend who is actually a trainer in protests and demonstrations, and I know a couple of people in San Francisco, the most demonstrated city in the nation whom I plan to contact. "Camp BernieMan" will follow the train-the-trainer concept we used in the SFPD and Dept. of Emergency Service where I retired from after 31 years. It is not possible to train every #Berner and Berniecrat who shows up out side what might be the walled convention center at the Philadelphia Freedom Convention, but we can show by example how to behave in the traditions of Jesus, Gandhi, MLK and Nelson Mandela--we must reverse Chicago '68 and truly give peace a chance.
Fox: A very serious question: I believe Hillary would lose to Trump, especially after a half billion or more in ads tearing her up, like the Koch brothers 246 million they spent in 2014 and won all sorts of
legislators and statewide spots. Would the Democratic party then dump its blindsided DNC, and recover, or would it ever recover?
MONDFRANS: Oh my God! The Democrats have so much to loose sticking with a straight Hillary course, possibly straight into Trump Hell. The only thing that can truly save us if if the Super Dooper Delegates get a clear sense as to what is at stake and look at what Bernie Sanders "Purple" grass roots movement has created. A great purple tidal wave washing out the do-nothing Republicans from Washington, to state houses to city councils and county seats. The #BlackLivesMatter folks can see the opportunity to change sheriffs, police chiefs and judges from coast to coast and the resulting smiling faces will be real come this November.
FOX: What do you foresee down the political highway, if Hillary gets the nomination, and not Bernie? Those super delegates might shake loose if her legal "baggage" more or less explodes (in a figurative sense, of course....)
MONDFRANS: Backtracking a bit about journalism:I think by and large that the People Media, the internet, and in major part "Facebook" and Reddit especially have filled that gap by and large, and that is a good thing for local papers are no longer economically viable and actually digital media can reach more people instantaneously and without editing, yet with limitations now imposed by corporatists like Maark Zuckerberg directly or indirectly limiting our Freedom of Speech and ability to reach out to the very groups they so eagerly recommended to us in the first place it is having a dampening effect upon this election.
Fox: Last questions: How many times has Facebook restricted you and what percentage of the time have you been up vs. what time down?
Mondfrans: For the past two-three months I have been unable to post into the pro-Bernie groups and pages I belong to and that has been most frustrating.
FOX: Does this discourage you?
MONDFRANS: Yes, it means that each time I must redouble my efforts and ask others to post things for me or to endlessly post on individual pages and chat rooms. But you know, where there is a will there is a way, and this has opened up even more opportunities to get Bernie's cause out before the people and getting interview by people like you, so thank you kindly, Stephen Fox.
FOX: You are not far from San Mateo, and so you could go down to Facebook Headquarters at 1 Hacker Way. If you could talk with one of the executives for five minutes (and I recommend their lawyer, Colin Stretch, who already knows about your situation), what would you say to them, Mayor?
MONDFRANS: I do plan to go down there to talk with him as I told you previously, and I especially would seek out Counselor Stretch: I would ask him to open up to the what-if this will be eventually be called the "Facebook Revolution" and that Mark Zuckerberg has created something amazing for us to instantaneous communicate with anyone, anywhere and what are their plans for the next generation in Outer Space: Spacebook!!
FOX: Is it necessary for them to exercise such censorship, or it is a doubtful case of algorithms and numbers piling up for vigorous posters? They should be glad to have us doing what we do, to counter the Hillary Trolls posting pornography to get pages shut down for groups that have 400,000 members, the night before five primaries, as happened just a few weeks ago.
MONDFRANS: You and I are on the same page; many, many, in fact too too many people have been wrongly censored by Facebook, some possibly targeted in the extreme. I don't think it's just mathematics, but something quite as unseemly as election fraud back east and digital distortions here in California. In the end I think we will all be better for it.
Fox: What is the big picture now for Bernie Sanders?
In the overall larger scale overview, there are 51 ways Bernie Sanders can ditch the Democrats and go on to win a majority of the 51 separate elections to be held in November, which all lead to the all-important "electoral college" vote on December 19th, where the Next President of these United States of America is actually elected.
Indeed "51 ways", and with Sen. Bernie Sanders being the "King of Amendments" in both the House of Representatives and in the U.S. Senate: he knows every one of them and all the options and opportunities those present.
Addendum of Videos produced by Gary Mondfrans:
Harvey Milk Fought for Gay Rights: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLg1tPGQEt7Rs-67iESMKSKZcH-ZQkBvzU
Early in the 2016 Primary campaign, I started a Facebook group: Bernie Sanders: Advice and Strategies to Help Him Win! As the primary season advanced, we shifted the focus to advancing Bernie's legislation in the Senate, particularly the (more...)
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