Was the Sonoma Equity Office Driving the COVID-19 Narrative?
‘Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive’
By Adina Flores, April 14, 2023 4:29 pm
As we enter into Spring 2023, Californians have just passed the three year benchmark for what seems like a never ending pandemic. Under Governor Gavin Newsom’s leadership, questionable COVID-19 policies have resulted in negative consequences including the decline of youth education, increased domestic violence, increased mental health issues and closure of small businesses.
Within the County of Sonoma, California, concerned citizens have expressed their apprehension and frustrations to local government and the local media, yet have been disregarded. As inquiries go unanswered, the Democratic narrative driven by profit rather than public interest is surfacing ever closer. As recently reported in the Globe, Governor Newsom’s close colleague, Mr. Darius Anderson, owns all major media sources within Sonoma County under the umbrella of Sonoma Media Investments, as well as Platinum Advisors lobbying firm. The Platinum Advisors portfolio reports major players in the pharmaceutical industry including Pfizer, Sutter Health and Anthem. Former lobbyist for the firm, Donna Kaylor, happens to be the current Director, Government Relations and Public Affairs at Pfizer.
As previously reported in The Press Democrat (included in the Sonoma Media investments portfolio), Sonoma County Health Officer Sundari Mase received a DUI while she had the county under COVID lockdown.
“The incident happened on December 2nd, 2020 when Dr. Mase was seen driving erratically on I-80 in Oakland. She was followed by CHP as she merged onto 580, and they say she nearly hit another vehicle as she transitioned to the slow lane. After several attempts to pull her over, including use of lights and the officer’s PA system, she did exit the freeway and came to a stop on the side of the road. Officers say that Dr. Mase appeared intoxicated and she was asked to perform field sobriety tests. Court documents say that she failed to complete the tests properly and she was placed under arrest.”
At the time of the arrest, Sonoma County was in the most restrictive tier of the state’s COVID response. Dr. Mase was exempt from these restrictions as she is a resident of Alameda County. According to KSRO:
“Dr. Mase initially faced two misdemeanor charges: driving under the influence of alcohol with a prior offense; and driving with a blood-alcohol level above .08 percent, the legal limit in California, with a prior offense. The prior offense refers to an incident in San Diego in May 2014 when she was arrested on suspicion of DUI. That case was dismissed and expunged in 2016. In the wake of the December 2020 arrest, Dr. Mase was eventually convicted of misdemeanor reckless driving with alcohol involved after pleading no contest. She was given a year’s probation which will end on July 23rd this year and she was fined $530. Dr. Mase was also ordered to complete a DUI course.”
According to The Press Democrat, “Mase earned her medical degree from UC San Francisco in 1993. She worked 18 years as a tuberculosis expert for three agencies: California’s Department of Health Services, the CDC in Atlanta, and the WHO.” “The Medical Board of California has issued a “public letter of reprimand“ to Dr. Sundari Mase, Sonoma County’s health officer, for her misdemeanor DUI arrest two years ago in Oakland”.
April 7, 2023, Dr. Mase officially resigned from her post as Health Officer for the County of Sonoma. Per The Press Democrat, within Mase’s resignation letter to the Board of Supervisors, she gave no further information as to her decision to step down. The timing of resignation is interesting in relation to the circumstances involving her spouse, Oakland Attorney Gregory A. Mase. Mr. Mase is former Senior Counsel and Co-Chair to the Appellate Practice Group for the legal firm Ericksen, Arbuthnot, Kilduff, Day & Lindstrom, Inc.
According to the firm’s website, “as of December 31, 2022, the law firm of Ericksen, Arbuthnot, Kilduff, Day & Lindstrom, Inc. closed its practice, is in dissolution, and is no longer providing legal services to any client.”
On February 03, 2023 Ericksen, Arbuthnot, Kilduff, Day & Lindstrom, Inc. dba Ericksen Arbuthnot, filed for chapter 11 protection in the Northern District of California (Case No. 23-40134). This is intriguing given that the firm previously received a $1.5M PPP loan which was fully forgiven. The firm previously offered several practice areas including product liability cases. Dr. Mase has blatantly ignored the public’s outrage in reference to the serious adverse effects following COVID-19 inoculation. One might inquire about the relationship between Dr. Mase’s negligence and the case matters represented by her husband’s firm.
The County of Sonoma Board of Supervisors has continually applauded Dr. Mase despite the negative feedback from their stakeholders. It appears that ulterior motives may possibly lie behind the direction being given.
The County of Sonoma Equity Office has been largely involved with advocating for equitable vaccine access in underserved communities. The Equity Office is headed by Alegria De La Cruz, Seismic Safety Commission appointee by Gov. Gavin Newsom and former Chief Deputy County Counsel to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.
Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore is a former Obama Appointee to the USDA, Second Vice President of the National Association of Counties, and President of the California Association of Counties.
Supervisor Gore’s spouse, Elizabeth Gore is the Former Resident Entrepreneur and Vice President of Global Partnerships to the United Nations. She previously founded several grassroots initiatives for the U.N. including Shot@Life, a global vaccination campaign which is partnered with the WHO, CDC, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, etc.
Conversations between Supervisor James Gore and Newsom appointee De La Cruz have raised some eyebrows. The text messages below were received from a public records request filed with the County of Sonoma. The discussion references dissatisfaction regarding vaccination rates of farmworkers, winegrowers leveraging their money and matching investments. Sonoma County Board Supervisor Lynda Hopkins is also mentioned towards the end of the thread.
Further communications between Supervisor Gore and Equity Officer De La Cruz mention The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds on several occasions. Per the County of Sonoma’s website, “the federal government allocated $96 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to Sonoma County ” The Equity Office played a role in supporting the equitable distribution of American Rescue Plan Act funds with an emphasis on supporting the needs of underserved communities. If the board accepts the funds but takes no budgetary action, the ARPA funds are restricted until budgeted by the board. Supervisor Lynda Hopkins is also referenced in several of these messages. Per Best Best & Krieger Law, “conversations, whether in person, by telephone or other means, between a member of a legislative body and any other person do not constitute a meeting (Section 54952.2(c)(1)). However, such contacts may constitute a “serial meeting” in violation of the Brown Act if the individual also makes a series of individual contacts with other members of the legislative body serving as an intermediary among them”. In this situation, Equity Officer De La Cruz could potentially be considered an intermediary, therefore in violation of The Brown Act.
Questions have arisen within the County regarding the relationship between Health Services, Administration and the Treasurer’s Office.
According to the County of Sonoma’s 2020 & 2021 GASB31, an external investment pool included both Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. The former Assistant Administrator for the County of Sonoma Maria Christina Rivera (current Administrator) served alongside her spouse, Jonathan Kadlec, Assistant Treasurer on the The Sonoma County Public Financing Authority until he recently resigned. Treasurer Erick Roeser’s wife, Kimberly Roeser was hired as the Deputy Analyst & Chief of Procurement for the County’s Health Services department from October 2020 – May 2021.
As of 2022, the County was warned by the Fair Political Practices Commission as the bulk of their designated filers outlined in the conflict of interest code did not complete a required statement of economic interest. As indicated in The Press Democrat, Mr. Paul Gullixson, County Communications Manager, was the designated spokesperson for this matter. Mr. Gullixson is the former Editorial Director to The Press Democrat (Mr. Darius Anderson’s publication). It was interesting that Mr. Gullixson was selected as spokesperson given that he also did not complete a Form 700, and was required to complete the FPPC’s Political Reform Education Program (PREP) course regarding Statements of Economic Interests (SEI).
With the lack of transparency and refusal to address public inquiries, the residents of the County of Sonoma are eager for closure.Paul-Gullixson-202200344_Redacted
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3 thoughts on “Was the Sonoma Equity Office Driving the COVID-19 Narrative?”
Thank you for the work you have done here, Adina Flores. A lot of funky connections revealed and questions raised. It almost needs a flow chart. This is useful beyond Sonoma County, which is likely a template of sorts for what is happening in many other California counties. Glad that what you have uncovered is now on the record here at The Globe. I probably shouldn’t be but I’m still always surprised by the sheer NUMBERS of people who seem more than willing to sell their souls for a mess of pottage.
Is Jonathan Kadlec related to Dr. Robert Kadlec of Emergent Biosolutions and who had documented foreknowledge of “covid”?
Good job Adina.