Adopt A Debt for the Mateel Community Center Rolled Out

Mateel logo

A popular logo from the Mateel’s 30th Anniversary


Darryl Cherney and the Mateel have announced the beginning of the Mateel Adopt a Debt campaign on with an accompanying FaceBook event page.  Cherney, along with a group of Mateel supporters, came into KMUD studios for an interview Saturday morning.

Darryl explained the Mateel Adopt a Debt and its purpose sayingThe Mateel is one of the hearts of Southern Humboldt County. Now that it has incurred a very large debt, we are faced with a question of whether our Community Center is going to go bankrupt or whether we are going to step up as a community and save our hall.

To me, in these troubling times, both nationally and locally, having this 700 [person] capacity hall in the center of town is essential to the survival of our community. So, regardless of what it takes, I decided to put myself out there and co-ordinate an Adopt a Debt program.

Cherney said, “the Adopt a Debt program takes the debts one at a time because that’s the way houses are built, that’s the way communities are built… one step at a time.”

The YouCaring page features a debt of the week, but also lists all the Mateel’s outstanding debts. Cherney says there are about $500,000 in debts to businesses and entities that provided services that haven’t been paid. And that the Mateel owes about $200,000 to community members who loaned the Mateel money. These are the ‘bridge loan’ holders. Cherney says these debts are also listed on the YouCaring page, but the names of the people who made the loans have been withheld for their privacy.

Cherney explained that when you make a contribution, you can specify which debt you want to pay toward. He also explained that the Mateel has opened a separate bank account for the Adopt a Debt donations, “You can be sure that the Adopt a Debt payments are not going to be used in ongoing operations at the Mateel.”

Cherney’s five-year-old daughter Abbey and her bestie, Paige Taliaferro, talked about their love for the Mateel. They fondly remember “Nature Joe” who brought a collection of exotic animals.

Paige’s mom, Cassandra Taliaferro, has been active with the Mateel since her teen years. She talks about the Nerf Battles she has recently been hosting at the Mateel. She said, “The Mateel is ‘us,’ so it’s up to each of us to use the center in the ways we want to see it used.”

Her idea was born at her son’s birthday party. “I had my son’s birthday party there last year and we had a Nerf Battle, and it was super fun.” From that she thought she could turn the Nerf Battles into an ongoing youth activity. She said, “I thought I could probably handle doing this about once a month, and we opened it up as a public event. We are doing it the last Friday of each month. We have about 20 kids and they have a blast.”

And Board Member Bruce Champee spoke about the depth of meaning the Mateel has in the unique community people call Southern Humboldt.

“A lot of synergy happens there for our community. There have been some amazing events there. People have been healed. People have been memorialized. People have been celebrated. The Mateel contributes to this community that we have, because we have this center to gather, to dance, to eat, and to enjoy each other’s company. That’s why we built it in the beginning.”

Champee said that despite the changes to Southern Humboldt from the economic boom and bust and despite the “green rush,” the Mateel remains a constant. He said,

“Children, young people, new people, old people have a place in the Mateel to come and gather, to enjoy themselves and to make culture together. Culture is how we do things around here, and it happens at the Mateel. We need our culture to continue otherwise, in this country, we have the culture of money and corporations.”

Champee remembered the Community Center has faced troubles in the past and said

“We’ve gotten through [tough times] before and I think we can get through it again. I’m especially hopeful the people who love the Mateel will stick with us, help us honor our debts and continue being patient with us, and that members and community members will step up and contribute to the ongoing success of the Mateel.”

Cherney reassured the community that it is his assessment that no “funny business” went on at the Mateel. He said, “I think the mistakes that were made at the Mateel were made of a genuine attempt to put on the best shows possible.” Cherney acknowledges oversight problems but says “They were not nefarious in nature, and that is one of the reasons I can be involved. I still believe the Mateel is an honest, good-hearted, blessed place.”

In addition to the Adopt a Debt program, the Mateel has other ways to contribute.  Lifetime Memberships are available for $1,000. Lifetime Members are eligible to vote for the Board of Directors for the rest of their lives.

The Mateel is also offering a Season Pass for $1,000. The Season Pass gets its holder into all Mateel events for an entire calendar year.

Taliaferro and Cherney explained that the Mateel’s bylaws prevent different “classes” of membership for lifetime vs annual members. Therefore, the Lifetime Membership cannot be used as the Season Pass.

Mateel interior from website

The interior of the Mateel Community Center highlighting the adoptable pillars. (photo from

And the Mateel is simultaneously beginning its Pillar of the Mateel fundraising. Cherney described the Pillar of the Mateel fundraiser saying,”For every $2,500 donation, one foot of height around a supporting column in the Mateel Hall will be painted with the name, phrase or image of the donor’s choice.”

Locals who prefer not to go online can also go into the Credit Union and donate to account number 13597-53 or ask for the Mateel Adopt a Debt account. In the memo, donors can stipulate which debt they are earmarking their funds toward.



  • Veterans friend

    I cannot laugh any harder than I am right now.

  • Cherney should “adopt” a couple hundred thousand of Mateel’s debt first before he asks others

  • This is a great idea, but you’ll not get a nickel from me until the board members who were asleep on their watches and responsible for the financial mis-management step down. If the dog bites you once, shame on the dog. If it bites you twice, shame on you.

    • Really? If there are Board members you think are responsible, and if you want them ‘punished’, you should want them to have to stay on the Board, where they are meeting for hours weekly (and have been all winter long, in an unheated hall). The Board members are under stress and public scrutiny like never before. No one is ‘Asleep”! The burden of bankruptcy and loss of the MCC weighs on their shoulders!

      • Welcome to the real world. Tired of the whining. Its time to grow up and be honest. Both the Mateel and KMUD have drowned out all non profits serving a community in extreme crisis. No consideration for anyone but themselves!! The ongoing lack of ethics & responsibility demonstrates that they will continue on with their negligent behavior.

  • 30 years of music ,art ,and drugs.
    Oh and tons of old grower pervs looking to turn out young females.

    • Anonymous Humboldtian

      Did a grower steal your girlfriend?

      • Mendocino Mamma

        Wrinkled old guys with chicks 20 plus years younger hanging off their arm lol. He wants to re live his glory days while she wants money. Neither see REALITY! No one is surprized, even “friends” when they split. He cozies up to her former bestie while she bolts with the Beemer and his newest baby. Him left with with his ego, her with a trunk full of cash! YIKES!

        • Ha Ha Ha! Got that right! Even funnier when he is busy working while she is at the hair salon, gym and yoga classes. No disrespect to the many good women around here but this is where the terms “grow-ho” and “potstitute” came from. (Yes- he’s a fool but we have no funny, insulting terms for him). I’ve seen a bunch of it go down and have brushed up against it myself.

          • Mendocino Mamma

            Us ladies have used the monikers “Growbro”, “Growdaddy” “JaunECash” and “Mr. Greenjeans” to name a few lol! Ladies that bust butt working that’s one thing for sure, they earn it! Then the ones at 1pm just waking up, doused in suntan oil deeply bronzed, with a trucker cap their long hair extensions, fake nails, plumped lips, Roxy bootie shirts and flip flops, paying for a $10 lunch with a 100 dollar bill that is a whole other ballpark! And a classic example of a ROTR attendee! Lol.

        • If they’re both adults and are happy, why would anyone care?

        • Preach ! Lol !

      • I have been growing and living in so humb for 18 years, until 2 years ago when most started to get depressed over prices and their mismanagement of their grown funds . I’m a non local, that did very well and bought up what land I could , to permit and flip it , Some hate that some don’t . And I never really understood the drug gatherings / parties / festivals these hill folks love . Mendo mama said it best below lol.

  • Diesel Dually

    There you go… SHCHD should have an “Adopt a Knucklehead Administrator” program…

    Just throw 1.3million in a jar every year, for the Board, Admin, and Managers of SHCHD to freely waste and mismanage.

    OH heck, you don’t have to “adopt SHCHD”, just vote for their crazy plan to raise $13,000,000 by taxing the property owners extra, to support the general chaos at SHCHD.

    Pay for their CT and the new “operator” who will be paid to be “on-call” every night…

    Good thinking, Matt Rees! Just what we needed!

    Jeeze, vote NO on F…

    I don’t know about “adopting the MCC debt” but I do think the current board of MCC should resign.

    • DD, this tax is the $125. Tax we have been paying all along. The hospital, in the recent past lost the vote for the tax that would build a new hospital. Not sure what your background is, or source of info comes from. I am voting yes, because it is what keeps the doors open. Much like the Mateel, there have been problems. Hopefully they both will continue to address them.

      • Diesel Dually

        Al in all, I would prefer to “adopt their debt” than sign up for 10 more years of paying for the setup which exists now!

        The 1.3 million/year is just mad money to SHCHD anyway. Think of it as frosting on their cake, the cake they want to have and eat too…

        SHCHD is a bad joke on health care. Just the way they treat their employees is enough reason to deny them the extra funds. Look at the photo on their website: 14 women and NO MEN. Do you want to support a public agency that discriminates against an entire gender?

        Use the money to buy helicopter ambulance service. You will be better off going to Fortuna or Willits, or ANYWHERE else!

        If the economy is tanking, the hospital will tank too! If the dopers can’t manage, neither will SHCHD or the Mateel. Who do you think pays for the hospital now? Medicare, and secret donations from major growers? SHCHD won’t talk about their finances or publish their financials.

        The problems you speak of are endemic to the culture in Garberville/Redway, and extending our already astronomical costs to live in SoHum will not help.

        The fire fee, the cost of water, the already high property taxes, the extreme gouging everyone takes just to live here: this tax is something you can avoid in the future! Just vote no on F!

        “It’s only $125”. What are you? High?

        And SHCHD will waste your money, mismanage your healthcare, charge excessive fees, and steadfastly promise to “fix the building” or “build a new hospital”… Rubbish.

        Here is what they will do: make poor decisions, mislead the public, hire contractors and travelers, some of whom are not even citizens of this country, do expensive PR, have secret meetings in a back room, and, maybe they are putting hypnotic drugs in the water!

        “It’s only $125.00”

        SHCHD – It’s not worth it.

        NO ON F!

        • Food 4 Thought

          so you want the value of your property to go down? no available er services=less property value for all So Hum

          • Groba dude trustafarian osnt

            That is more lies!

            Don’t buy this garbage,

            NO ON F!!

            • 1st off, its “Those are more lies!” not, “That is more lies!”

              2nd, when houses are appraised, anywhere in the US, 1st thing they do is check what services, schools & shopping are available.

              Its common knowledge that can be looked up with the internet. Or ask an real estate agent anywhere, in any state & they Will All Answer,
              “Yes, no access to emergency services can affect your property values.”

      • Veterans friend

        Wrong post for this comment😁😠🤣😊

  • Darrell is CIA ……..My opinion now that I know the truth about The drug trade

  • This is the type of community I remember and love. I appreciate and appluad this energy.

    From a business standpoint, it doesn’t look possible. I hope I’m proved wrong.

    But I adore the community who cling like barnicals to the sinking ship.

  • Ezra Morgan Hill

    Lose The Larf, would get more attention and response.

    What are they thinking, other than legal weed wrecked hippies?

  • ahhhhahaaahaaaa i needed a good laugh!!! what an absolutely stultifying request…such bold mendacity.

  • What will happen next? This is really so sad .

    I can’t even.. this is so overwhelming. The list of creditors? It goes on and on. And then there are more! Seriously ? The u caring has brought in $ 500 in 24 hrs. Donated in part by staff and board. While i totally appreciate leading by example, I am feeling pessimistic about this guy’s . Priming this pump might be futile .. The well is dry!! The hard core mateelies are a changing demographic, many of us that built reggae and the mateel nation tribe are older. Less energy , and for many, incomes are unstable at this time.

    I know it’s too late, but i’m questioning​ what has happened. We borrowed 200k cash ? From a member? By who’s decision? WTF is a bridge loan? And somewhere in there we also re-mortgaged the hall which had been already paid in full? Who signed off on that? Was the membership asked? AND how did we collect sale’s taxes on purchases and not at least pass that money on..What the heck!?

    Reggae on the river cleared the Mateel a quarter million dollars a year, for years.. Then the betrayal, the ill fated attempted reggae heist, the ensueing lawsuit, & the benbow phoenix reggae , clearing us our annual nut for a couple of years , and with Doug Green’s help, the triumphant return to French’s —only to squander our hard earned equity and restored name recognition? How? I’m absolutely shook . Who would have thought it would end like this? It was magic.. so magic.. and now this. 🙁

    • Yes. We all worked hard but enjoyed that work as we had a vision and a common goal. We built the Mateel Hall! That’s what Reggae on the River was started for- that’s what we were doing! How did the mortgage get thrown into a gamble with zero knowledge from the base?!! That was criminal. And incredibly stupid and careless. And now this is bullshit. We are much older and our economy is tanked. Yes- it WAS magic…but now it’s crap.

  • Now they resort to begging on the internet. Smh, what a bunch of fools.

  • Too much sinker….not enough bobber

  • Yea the mateel folks are delusional . Get over it . The mateel is not that great.. just a place but it’s run by goons and the children of old hippies and green rusher and people like Agnes. Never respect anyone of thing that gets into debt and then asks for help from the same people whos money they swunadered. I dknt doubt for a second they will use any money they can for continuing to put on bad music. If they really had done things right they wouldn’t need all this no sense asking for help. Pay your own fuckkn people bills bitch .

  • Mendocino Mamma

    You care funds are for people who had their house burn down or buried a loved one or need help with medical expenses. Shame on you Mateel to allow this begging on your behalf. Sure I myself have enjoyed Mateel events over the years. The warm fuzzy vibes are sure Fun! REALITY here is our schools are struggling, we need new playgoronds, disaster preparedness needs help. How about a you care for that! A few bouguasiebillies with paid for houses, nice cars and able to throw lavish parties with ponies for the wee ones give me a break! Average folk struggle to make rent, keep food on the table, have enough gas in the tank to get to work every day. Fun fact thats not so fun to even get pulic assistance help (like food stamps) a family of three has to gross less than 2300 a month. That’s before taxes folks! Seriously out of touch with a majority of the common folk. SMH! The money woes for Mateel have been churning down the river for a very long time and the rapids are about to be hit! Get a grip! I hear an AC/DC song in the backgrond…” We’ve got the biggest balls of them all!”…and crabs and crayfish…

  • I live in Arcata and wish they would talk more about what the Mateel does, is it really about kids playing with Nerf Blasters and music that sounds like sh!t!!!!
    Because those are things for summer time outdoors. Do these people have access to a park??????????????????????????? Much less expensive upkeep!!!!!!!

    • Mendocino Mamma

      Parks full of needles! So the out of touch keep their kids inside in a bubble!

    • In a rainy area, a covered community gathering place is necessary. The Mateel holds everything from Musical events, political gatherings like candidate forums, it has plays, acts, craft fairs, Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners by Veteran groups, it hosts high school plays, weddings, funerals, the Annual Golden Tarp awards, comedy events, etc.

      • Veterans friend

        The hall should be given to the VETERANS who know how to operate a COMMUNITY space.
        And they are not self aggrandizing elitists.
        The MATEEL has been our 1%ers and not served the broader community, just it’s own private vision.

      • Is there not a school auditorium or covered gym othat would benefit from renting it out to community members? It would generate income for needed upkeep and activities.

      • Mendocino Mamma

        Agreed on the rain. A nice covered park. Fresh air. No limits on occupancy. Setting sights on cleaning up our communities rather than seqeserting it inside a tidy bubble. If it is truly for the community non profits, senior centers and schools use should be at minimal to no cost. The non profit or charity based booths at Mateel sponsored events do not keep 100% of proceeds. A large sum is taken into their coffers.

  • The Mateel has changed now. As they are in crisis mode, they are limited in fully realizing their new direction and their learned fiscal responsibility. Yet without the need to be producing RotR each year, their efforts can be truly more focused to SUPPORT THE COMMUNITY and to help LEAD us through these challenging times.
    They fucked up, BIG time!
    Do they, like a person who has made BIG mistakes in their life (like maybe you, reader?) deserve to move forward, to take what they have learned and demonstrate their VALUE?
    The economy is way down. What exactly will happen in the next 5 years is not clear. What is known is that this community will SURVIVE, possibly be reshaped and THRIVE again.
    The Mateel Community Center will be needed. What can it be for us? That’s up to YOU!
    Forget about Darryl, and his tendency to narcism and as a polarizing person. Just ask what YOU can do.
    There are still millions of dollars in cash and assets in the area. Money still being made. And if you have been fortunate enough to benefit from our cannabis economy, look deep, and ask WHAT IS TRULY VALUABLE TO YOU.

    • Pay your own damn bills like the majority of people do. E beggars are the worst.

    • Veterans friend

      There is a phrase that applies here
      “Cut your losses”
      “Don’t throw good money after bad”
      The VETERANS are OWED a space. Give it to the Vets

  • And we still have yet to see the details of the HIGH TIMES contract. They’ve been promising to let the community know for weeks now, what’s the hold up?

  • unbridled philistine

    Wow! This kind of attitude is whats wrong these days! Really? Some people huh! Some nerve! Totally disgusted by the Mateel once again… Such bad form..

  • Yeah give us some transparency first in your income and spending of past and present, plus future projections.

  • Here is the 2016 tax return and audit from the MCC, the latest and greatest made public:

    Please note the MCC generated $2,564,299 in total revenue for 2016 and paid out $684,383.00 in “Salaries, other compensation, employee benefits”; and that’s up from $612,138.00 in 2015, up from $567,354.00 in 2014 and up from $517,841.00 in 2013, but down from $217,918.00 in 2012.

    What transparency? How can you be in debit for approx $700,000.00 (which includes a deed against the MCC assets) and pay out $2,381,716.00 in “Salaries, other compensation, employee benefits” from 2013 to 2016? Can the MCC account for this?

    And lets not forget what that $700,000.00 represents:

    “Southern Humboldt Community School District for shuttle buses $3,962; Piercy Fire Department $9000; Board of Equalization for sales tax $17,097; California Highway Patrol $7285; Salmon Creek Fire Department $8912; EG Ayes for Ice $645; Just Rent It for Equipment $3757; Action Rental for tents $4340; Humboldt Redwoods Inn $6238; Michael’s Transportation for Shuttle $24,000; Two Brothers for bridge installation and road grading $48,150; Payroll Taxes $67,238; 6 Rivers Portapotties $25,989; Randall’s Sand and Gravel $5769; Northcoast Journal for Reggae Insert $4192; Renner Petroleum for fuel $4819; Workman’s Comp $9050; Eco Imprints $14884 for Reggae souvenirs; Brian Rohan for music licensing $3500; True Value Hardware $2146 Arthur Family for site rental $42,926; Jesse Parsons for property $1000; C&K Market for food $1,132; ASCAP and BMI for music licensing $2950 & $3470; Greenway as Engineer $3500; Kaati for Festival Guide Ad $3611; Lotus Mountain $4,502 for t-shirt printing; Cash & Carry for Food; Blu for Shuttle $6500; Bede Smith for kids entertainment $3000; Benbow Inn $8305; One Log House for Parking $10,000; Recology for Garbage removal $9795; Shiloh’s traffic crew $9000; Magic Communications for 2-way radios $17,960; Misc. Advertising $16459; Jammin’ Coffee $3772; Humboldt Bay Coffee $1348; County Line Ranch $15,000 for parking; Loans from good hearted community members to keep the Mateel afloat: $187,850.”

  • According to the MCC tax returns, they had the following in “Total Expenses”:





    Now, with that being said; is any of the $700,000.00 debit included in any of these “Total expenses”? Since they list this “Total expenses” on their tax return; are they staying that expense was paid? Or do they mean it was debit? How can you claim an expense when it was not paid? It’s hard to know sense they don’t list their debit each year or when it occurs.

    So if the MCC has included some or all of this debit on their tax return already, how do they account for the income or revenue that comes in from this crowdfund or the Garth vs. Goliath crowdfund? Do they list it as in-kind donation or public support?

    It would seems there’s a lot of financial entanglements here. I thought the Humboldt Area Foundation gave the MCC a grant for financial counseling?

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