Darryl Cherney Hopes to Help ‘Save the Mateel, One Debt at a Time,’ Will Present Proposal at Tonight’s Meeting

              Inside the Mateel Community Center.                [Photo from the Mateel.org website]

Well-known local activist and community member Darryl Cherney will formally present a complete $700,000 fundraising strategy to the Mateel Community Center Board of Directors at its meeting Tuesday evening. Cherney says he loves and supports the Mateel wholeheartedly, but at the same time, he needs to know that a future board will never again incur such a large debt.

Cherney explained he wants to step forward because he sees the Mateel as vital to the community as the place we gather when there is need of a plan, need of a conversation, as well as when its time to celebrate.

In addition, says Cherney, “There is an enormous amount of blood, sweat, and community tears invested in the building, from the wood that was cut and the floor that was made to the actual construction of the site by volunteers. This building was built by the community and if we have to pay for it twice, so be it.”

Cherney says the Mateel’s purpose and depth of meaning were driven home by his five-year-old daughter Abigail. He mentioned to her while they were driving to school recently that the Mateel might go out of business. She was distressed and cried as she said, “That’s where I see my friends; that’s where all the good parties happen. Daddy, that’s where I see Santa.”

Cherney suggests we look to the kids for direction on forgiveness and the need for community–especially as times feel like they may get tougher moving into the future.

His proposal includes a unified, organized fundraising campaign that combines a statement of reconciliation to the community for this calamity with bylaw and policy changes designed to prevent a future debt crisis.

Saving the Mateel, One Debt at a Time

Cherney points out that 700 Lifetime Memberships would eliminate the debt. he proposes that people or families donate to the Mateel with $1,000 Lifetime Memberships receive premiums such as free attendance to Mateel events for a year. People who donate more might become “pillars of the community” and get the name or message of their choice painted on the supporting columns inside the hall. Someone who really digs deep might get their name or cause placed prominently on a stage.

But Cherney says the centerpiece of his fundraising campaign is an “adopt a debt” campaign. Cherney says, “We can save the Mateel one debt at a time.” He is urging the Mateel to create a list of creditors and make it public so people can “adopt” a specific debt and pay the amounts owed to the Highway Patrol, or the school district for shuttle services, or the portable potty bill, for examples.

Cherney comes with a history of successful fundraising and organizing. He estimated he’s raised “over $2 million over the last 30 years” for a large number of projects and causes such as the Headwaters Forest campaign, to pay for the lawsuit by Judi Bari and him against the FBI, and for various members of the community who have fallen ill. And he raised several hundred thousand dollars to ensure the documentary, Who Bombed Judi Bari, chronicling her life and work got made as part of a broader campaign to stop the FBI from destroying the car bomb and other evidence from the crime committed on Bari and Cherney.

Cherney says, as a community, “We are in the business of cultivating miracles.” And in that spirit, he simultaneously is calling out to the community at large, asking them to search their souls for forgiveness and suggesting they look at the bigger picture of the Mateel’s role “as an essential gathering place to exercise our freedom of assembly and freedom of speech in these most urgent of times,” says Cherney.

Truth and Reconciliation

Cherney’s proposal hinges on what he’s calling ‘truth and reconciliation’ between the Board of Directors and the community. He sees a need to rebuild the trust so the community can feel assured their donation will be spent wisely and the Mateel will be safeguarded in the future. Cherney also intends this campaign to be comprehensive; it will be designed and organized to raise the entire amount needed to pay the debts.

The Board of Directors has already seen Cherney’s proposal and will respond at the public meeting on Tuesday, March 20, 5:30 p.m., at the Mateel Community Center in Redway.



  • Waste of time and money

    Is this only for the hippie pot growers or will they include the whole community ?

    • To Waste of Time and Money, if people would get over the whole ” hippie pot grower” thing, then yes it does mean the whole community.

    • The mateel is for everyone and always has been. You can rent it for an event just like anyone else. Ive been to weddings, funerals, fundraisers, music, comedy nites, birthday parties, cooking classes, teen youth performances, and pretty much any kind of event you can think of at the mateel.
      The mateel events were a good wsy to meet people especially if youre new person. Its a gathering spot for all! If you feel ostracized for some reason im sorry for that and encourage you to attend a community event.

      Thank you Daryl for taking the time to work on this. The mateel is so important for the kids, lets keep that focus in mind and make sure the spirit of the place continues as all inclusive&available.
      A book about the history of the mateel needs to be written, a true community built place. Its so amazing what the now elder generation built here!!!!

    • This sounds like a good time to check out the meeting save or grave lots of thing’s need to happen should be run Like a business can’t just have events to pay for the Dept and keep things going after got to have a plan I hear the fire department’s still need to be paid they’re part of permit for summer art’s from last rotr if they restart the Mattel meals I will definitely donate again

      • unhappy fire wife

        yes i believe you are correct, fire depts from piercy to salmon creek have yet to be paid. even making contact and discussing the issue would be a step in the right direction. our micro community vols were there for the mateel in your time of need, please at least make contact and discuss the issue. wont you need some of us for summer arts emergency services? permitting? and permit signoffs?
        i hope you have every intent to listen to darryl, as these debts and the lack of even basic salutations or contact has been a spit in the face of our local fire vols. we in the vol fire community dont have the luxury of going this far into debt to be bailed out by members of our community. we tell our members first what we need, then fundraise all season, vol at other events such as rotr and samf to have all reimbursements go directly to our yearly operational budgets. when we see surplus, we invest in our own infrastructure. proper order of operations
        we would like to see bylaws enacted to prevent this in the future. debts paid even one at a time and then removed from a list the public can see. and a complaint procedure that will provide some level of customer service and communication if and when things fall through.
        that is the only acceptable way to move forward. its been almost a year since many of our vfd chiefs were summoned to your aid for the 2017 season. they came, some participated, some did not, but in the end the mateel benefited greatly for the contributions of the fire teams that did participate. without our local vfd chiefs there are no permits for these large events.
        please take darryls lead and try to reconcile these debts.
        best of luck.

  • Sounds awesome to me. How they avoid heavy debt in future is the trick.

  • Money better spent up north on pool and ice rink

    A noble endeavour Darryl! Unfortunately many are now bewildered by the free falling mkt crash, bleak approaching season, and most are struggling, or will soon be desperate to meet their own debts!! That’s the truth.. Buy it (mateel building) twice? Hard to make that sound like a good thing . Santa or not, reality is it’s a party hall and nothing more. The useful and neccesary 2nd and 3rd phases of construction (in 30 years!) were NEVER prioritized or implemented. They include dressing rooms & meeting rooms in additional construction that would occur to the west, over the parking lot. Instead resources and assets have been foolishly frittered away. Zero planning for the future occured and someone actually took out a second mortgage on our free and clear building , for what? The trauma of the reggae heist and subsequent lawsuit were enough. We rose and we prospered . But now, in the end big spending trumped caution and wise budgeting. I can’t invest in that. No amount of “forgiveness” puts me back in the arms of my narcissistic lover, just saying . Forgive, never forget.

    • Forgive and never forget, and don’t let it happen again.

      If there is a way to save the Mateel, it might only be for those big growers that are still in business to pony up. Fat chance of that happening though.

      Party Hall? That’s the real loss.

      Party’s over I think.

      What happened with the Mateel is happening in other places too. Kind of sad.

      • The mateel is ego

      • I will never forget the Opening Event at the new (present) location. The first thing I see as I approach the entrance is a big sign that says, “NO ARGUMENTS PLEASE “. That was like a harbinger of things to come…there was already discord with KMUD & more. Sorry, but that was a true turnoff. Darryl always has my respect- I may even go hear his plan tonight.

  • Ask Santa for the money. Oh, wait, mythical being. Community asked to pay for prior bad acts, again. No thank you.

  • Where are the 2016 tax returns (990) and 2016 financial records (RRF-1)? They have not been filed with the IRS or the State. Last filed tax return was 2015. The Mateel is a Tax Exempt Corporation and its membership serves at the pleasure of the Mateel Board. They need to become the community service, public benefit and charitable organization they claim to be.

    Cherney’s plan will only work if everything is made public and every person is accountable…


  • I think they should turn it into a teen center were only kids and teenagers can go to have fun maybe some pool tables and a bowling alley and put a swimming pool in the back above Redwood Towing. And open up a Salvation Army or and have meals at the churches like they do in every other town and how might you be able to do this perhaps you could apply for grants because the kids aren’t going to have enough activity and work shops to keep them out of trouble I guess this could be done at the community park but The Mateel Community Center is already built and get the third and fourth,fifth phase built, they should maybe ask the Chinese to come and build a sky scraper in 90 hours then there will be plenty of space for all activities.

  • I like it.

    Darryl, thank you for stepping up, being part of the community, and offering to lead the way out.
    Whether or not you wholeheartedly accept his idea, he’s trying to do something concrete and to make it right after a disastrous turn of events.

    We all should step up and get behind this, unless you or I have a better idea in mind. I don’t think we do.
    And then to make sure we don’t find ourselves in this jam again!

    • Just put a jar of peanut butter in the bears mouth.

    • he’s trying to do something concrete and to make it right after a disastrous turn of events.

      So Rosie, who caused the “disastrous turn of events”; the community or the MCC Board?

  • Then maybe the bad news bears won’t have a den were they can fight and mate.

  • And be Beary careful !

  • “as an essential gathering place to exercise our freedom of assembly and freedom of speech in these most urgent of times,” says Cherney.

    The only time I went to the MCC was for a Community Park meeting in 2009; where I and 5 to 6 other people were called out and ostracised in public, before we were even given a chance to speak. So much for “freedom of speech”. at the MCC. In fact, after the meeting, I was told by a group of people that I should leave, or my truck could blow-up. Yeah, real nice “gathering place to exercise our freedom of assembly and freedom of speech”. Most of the people (200) that attended that meeting were members of the MCC.

    • Well spring is almost here just in time for mateing season. They probably meant to blow up some Kamino’s not your Elcamino is probably going to be there come back.

    • ed you know its 2018 right?

      • Yes and what has changed? Besides the Community Park has spent over $375K and in debit from rezoning the Park into a private Rent-A-Park and the MCC is in debit for $700K. So yeah, its 2018 and what’s new?

  • Redwood County Mama

    Interestingly, the board only knows what staff reports to them. Salaries, positions, and chain of accountability must be examined. Often board members are only present for board meetings and fundraising activities, but staff is there daily with the hands-on operations. Justin stepped down. Who else knew and said nothing? Why do we wait until there’s a crisis to act? Look around all of our boards– college, school, water, hospital districts are strapped for cash, yet they pay big bucks out to contract services to out-of the-area service providers, especially for” consultation fees”. The only difference between special districts and non-profits (of which there are 33 in our region) is that they can not pass their irresponsible expenditures along to property owners. Thanks, Darryl for saving the Mateel in consultation fees.

    • Yeah for example they could have drilled a well at Reggae but then no one will be able to see all the hot chicks 🐥 skinny dipping there will be plenty of well fed mosquitoes and don’t forget about the singing flees that know Ti Chee. And by the way how do I post my profile picture so everybody can see who I am ?

      • In order to use an avatar (that’s what those images are called) you have to sign up for a gravatar account. https://en.gravatar.com/site/signup/ which means you have to have a WordPress.com account. The whole thing probably takes 10 minutes to do which isn’t terrible but I wish they would make it simpler.

        • Thanks I will try this later when I reassess my internet expenditures since compliance is so costly I have to be careful not to get nickel and dimed to death 💀 sorry for being so sarcastic all the time everyone I hope the Mateel can recoupe I think everyone should probably chip in before love goes out the window and we got to find it somewhere ……..quick!

  • I am with you Darryl. I can’t give 1,000 but I can do $20 here and there and volunteer my time at future events. Forget the haters, because you know what they will always do. Like the guy who went to the MCC one time 9 years ago… don’t spend more time hatin than you do helpin

  • It seems like the MCC should be the gem of a community which is otherwise fractious and uninvolved in anything at all besides the pursuit of personal gain and singleminded involvement in being on drugs 24/7.

    If other public agencies and NPO’s in SoHum had the spirit of community involvement invested at such a level, the whole community could eventually evolve and build a place where normal folks would want to settle and raise families.

    It is too bad that the Mateel board and employees made so much cash disappear while avoiding the application of income to bills!

    If I were you, SoHum, I would dispose of ALL of the current board members, and try again!

    I am glad, however, that someone has a cogent scheme to rescue the MCC from itself and the mismanagement of the current board.

  • We are all responsible. The board-meetings are open to the public. If we failed to attend any, failed to notice what was happening with the financials, failed to participate in the plans and discussions we too are culpable of the the bad decisions by our failure of engagement.

    • We are not responsible for the ignorance, ego and malfeasance of the board members, present and past. It is not what you say it is, because the board, for decades, has not listened!

    • Now that’s a hell of a logical fallacy Sonia. Its funny, because over 2 years ago I sent a copy of this letter to the MCC Board and then another and another and another. And sometimes copied KMUD News, Kym and other local newspapers. Guess what, never heard back from the MCC Board or MCC staff. You can take a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink…





      BTW, you sound like the MCC Board, blaming the community for everything, like it was the communities fault the MCC lost money on Reggae 2017 or the MCC is not paying their bills?

      Have you read the MCC audited financial statements for 2014 and 2015? Maybe you should. I doubt the MCC is handing them out to the public. They don’t even post their current tax returns or financials on their website…

      2014 https://drive.google.com/open?id=1nfT4yVRtvgpXCgA05ZeCplLU1oMSk1C-

      2015 https://drive.google.com/open?id=1NRdJwaCFcuDPqEDWVELoYF33HxaE2m_1

      • You do not live in our community, but have been, for reasons unclear to me, a destructive force in any community effort that we have worked on for the last 10 years. There is no SoHum organization that you like; you dislike everything we do for ourselves. I will give you credit, however, for having a name.

        • There is no SoHum organization that you like; you dislike everything we do for ourselves.

          No one needs to live in Southern Humboldt to protect the South Fork Eel River. When anyone degrades the South Fork you effect everything and everybody, not just yourself. Where were you when I did live in Redway and Garberville. where were you when my family owned our homes and property from 1961-2015. Did you attend school in Southern Humboldt K-12? Did you graduate from South Fork High School?

          Freedom of speech does not just apply where you live…

      • The community ( Mateel membership) has to take some responsibility, Ed, because they voted in Board Members that openly spoke (on KMUD and with advertising) about removing the Board Members that wanted to be fiscally responsible and keep ROTR at Benbow State Park. Those Board Members were voted out by the community and the new Board was able to initiate their grand plan to recapture the glory days of Reggae, which was pretty much the beginning of the end.

      • StephenVerchinski

        Get a better, scarier wizard. See Tina Mion the painter and her Wizard of Oz. One for our times.

    • I am afraid that attending the board meetings, and affecting the decisions made by the board and staff, and the attendant vanishing of funds, are two different things…

    • Miss Sonia, with all due respect, suggesting that we are all responsible seems akin to telling a battered wife she should have fought back harder.

      • No, attending board meetings only seems like a battering of the senses, but that is our responsibility, if we want the outcome to reflect our desires. The board are only unpaid people trying to do their best. We are all in this together.

  • Was money stolen or just grossly mismanaged (or both)? If there was theft it should be prosecuted. If there was mismanagement those responsible should not manage the money again.

    • i go to meetings and am so proud of the current board and all their efforts. the mateel has cut their monthly bills from the high 20k to well below 6k. the plans for repayment of debt are real and tangible; phone lines cut, trash service removed, refrigerators unplugged ,heaters turned off. the bi-laws that were written to control spending are being adhered to. the transparency is real they have started to post minutes on the web and have always made this data available to all in the office. i would like to say thank you current board you guys are great and if there is anyone else out there that wants a seat on the board step up. even daryl should recognize their efforts and not come riding in on their coat tails and energy. acting like he is the savior of the mateel the current boards love and commitment is what has dragged the mateel out of the ditch. the amount of people who have been repaid already is staggering and they have promised “to repay all”. if someone were needed to be the scapegoat for all this justin is that goat. his ponzi like tactics and fiscal mismanagement is what put the mateel in this position. if i were them i would have thrown justin under the bus months ago

      • Justin was acting at will of the board. We are all responsible. All of us who did not come to monthly board meetings and participate in the past two years. What is your name?

  • Well no one will like it if darel gets his way. No more mismanagement of funds. He was great with headwaters money

  • I don’t think a “pillar of the community” is necessarily one that can fork out $1000. And wasn’t this idea floated months ago but not many people stepped up to become a lifetime member? Maybe the board can report on this?

  • Pretty fucked that pillars ate made of money… Shows how far all these back to lander hippies came. Thankfully there are some of us younger folks who see the egos involved here. The mateel.is not as important as you all think. It’s just isnt. Maybe it was, but those days are gone. And the music sucks!!?

  • I guess people have forgotten about his role in the death of Judi Bari

    • Judi Bari died from cancer. As far as the car-bombing goes, they were both bombed by motion activated device designed to kill someone in a moving car. After they were arrested but never charged, they sued and before a jury, were awarded $4.4 million for being falsely blamed because of their political beliefs. Both preached and practiced non-violence in their long history of activism.

  • Sonia, the advantage of posting anonymously is that u are free to express yourself without someone blindly dismissing or applauding your opinion because of their low or high ” opinion ” of u or where u live . This mess could not have been avoided by any of us making a point to attend BOD meetings. The reason we elect a board who hires and oversees staff is so that the membership of any/every non-profit and some for-profit corps isn’t burdened with micromanaging every aspect of their beloved organization!!! And the folks in charge of day-to-day tasks aren’t burdened with a meddling membership.
    . It’s a trust thing. Again trust has been betrayed…

    • Nonsense. We are responsible for who we elect and we are responsible for monitoring how our board carries out our desires, as they are responsible for sharing the decision making with us. When we are honestly working to be responsible in forming our opinions and and working to actualize them, we are not afraid to attach our names to them. It requires involvement and work, not “trust”.

      • This is exactly why the Mateel is where it is today….people can’t stop arguing.

      • You are right about one thing- it did not require “trust”. Because look where “trust” got us. They gambled away OUR hall on their ego-blast blowout of Reggae and now we have YOU blaming US for trusting the board?! Ha Ha Ha! Oh- and my name is Valentine Michael Smith. Good luck with your game…

  • I have been suggesting lifetime memberships as well for several months now, glad to see Darryl bringing it to the board meeting as I haven’t seen any follow-through for my suggestions on their kmud radio show… As I recall the main problem with this debt (lots of infrastructure needed to be upgraded down at the site) was the low attendance of 2017 Reggae on the River and the statistics show that all the festivals were low in attendance… People are short of money all over and going to a festival for a weekend cost $1,000 minimum so that is an expense many can’t afford or Justify… If Reggae on the River had been sold out like almost all the years in it’s running we wouldn’t be in debt right now

    • However, they would still be dumping 44,000 gallons of wastewater into leachfields on site, on the river. This wastewater increases the e-coli level in the river to more than 3 times only during and after the event, not before.

      This wastewater is generated from thousands of people per day taking showers and personal hygiene, its septic. Why do they leave it behind? Because the Mateel doesn’t care about the community of wildlife habitat in the South Fork Eel. The river means nothing to the Mateel; if it did, they would not be doing it…

  • I’d like to know more about the “truth and reconciliation” phase.

  • Pingback: Reggae Festival Guide Magazine and Online Directory of Reggae Festivals – Mateel Announced Deal With High Times For Reggae On The River

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