ROBBING THE POOR TO GIVE TO THE RICH
BY Paul Morantz
(c) Nov. 3, 2011
in January, academic teaching came to an end in the Punk Squad. Academic materials were returned to the school curriculum library.it was decided that when children are too young to make a choice the staff is to make the decision, and not the parent. Parents should not get in the way.
In Feb 76 “Trust is a way of Knowing” became the slogan in Synanon, but this was just another extension of “act as if.” Don’t reason, just assume CED is right.
In Chicago, Synanon members appeared on approximately 20 different radio shows and 3 top rated TV programs. They also obtained publicity in that Daily News and the Chicago Times. Dan Sorkin was on the NBC live show while other residents appeared on the ABC morning show. Ted Dibble, boasting of his Synanon “savy” applied to run the Chicago House. The DeKoven Drug Chain put Synanon literature on their racks in their drug stores and held public Synanon speaking engagements. Steve Simon conveyed that Chuck ordered all who were in Chicago to listen to Home Place Party tapes (“no exceptions”) as they were in essence a class on how to play the game. They were to listen for one to two hours a day until completed. They reported compliance and “hanging on every word.” Synanon was looking to kep a house in Chicago but only if it received a large price break or donation, like a Holiday Inn hotel. It could house traveling ADGAP salesman and conduct business. But absent a gift of property, Synanon, “didn’t need Chicago.”
Synanon started the 402 club which was to provide services for the Boot Camp and Punk Squad by providing elders to provide the Synanon education. Richie Gross assumed the leadership. Tomales had 199 members. This special group were to play on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Any unexcused absences “will be dealt with.”
A splitee received a bald head for leaving, and it was announced this was inappropriate because shaving heads was no longer a punishment, but a symbol of Synanon commitment. It was not to be used again as punishment.
Hobby lobby caught on fire, each resident eager to please the Old Man so buying tools for the community became the new big expenditure; $20,000 to $30,000 was spent on wood and tools in a few months. People in mass sat around a big table, all bald heads and overalls, doing the same things: carving, cutting, gluing.
As always, things were tense with outside governments. On Feb 11, l976 Dep. Atty Gen. Asher Rubin wrote Synanon should be inspected to determine if it needed a community care license given elderly in population. Synanon refused allow health dept employees to inspect, and asked Rubin to issue inspections subpoena. Rubin was allowed to visit and wrote high praise and applauded what he saw as immaculate facilitates. He praised the personalities that escorted him around. Others critics claimed this was a typical “manicure show.” Rubin lost sight that he was not there to judge cleanliness, but whether sufficient medical care was being provided that required licensing, such as treatment of disorders other then drug addiction; not whether the place was clean or he was treated nice. The necessity for the “applauded” facilities meant the answer was yes. But Rubin, shown a good time, did nothing.
Of interest, checks daughter, Jady,file the report to the “Chair” (her dad) with some pretty good criticism. After examining rod Mullen’s Punk Program, she said the “little military system “is being taken entirely too seriously and “crying and punishment” is a general mode. She said that rod was going to fix this with more staff gaining. She also felt that Doug Robeson was jammed and confused about his roles and is priorities. In a couple of years that would turn out to be the understatement of the decade.
On the other hand, Jady also concluded that more gaining was necessary on the issue of children being Synanon’s versus “our children.” Further, the most important thing for the children is to play the game.
In March of l976 Pacific Sun did another of its continuing stories praising Synanon, referring to the “Synanon boom,” writing, and without realizing it, spoke of treatment of “other disorders” which calls for licensing:
“It is at once an incredibly self-sufficient society within a society; a highly successful business organization; a haven and life saving center for drug and alcoholic addicts as well as those with other disorders; a new life style for squares…Its most important function, though, is that of changing the individual who has become mired in bad habits for which he cannot alone to extricate himself. “
The Sun described the boot camp for newcomers, a basic training fit for juveniles. Those who are not obedient were put in the punk squad . They are routed out of bed at 5 AM, hair clipped, make their beds, and spend six months at hard work — digging, building, tree planting. Some split. Synanon had their hair “clipped”. While noting many disapprove of Synanon and believe they violate the zoning laws, the Pacific Sun concluded Synanon was “misunderstood,” the paper stating Synanon may very well be the “remodel for new, humane as successful penal system.”
CED now took a $75,000 salary. The year’s net income was $15.8 million while contributions and gifts brought in another $2.9 million; total assets $20.8 million, including its 7 airplanes and several boats.
From Tomales south to Marconi Cove, Synanon provided local communities with courtesy services including a scuba team and ambulances, all free.
In May of l976 Marin Sonoma Living, keeping up with the Pacific Sun and Fresno Bee Synanon love affair, did a two-part 8 page story praising—of all things– the punk squad, regardless of the fact the first story quoted schoolmaster Rod Mullen saying Synanon was like communities of 100 years ago that routinely took problem children behind the barn and “whacked them across the bottom with a two-by-four to get their attention.” The paper also saw nothing wrong with the statement that the kids received no traditional academic schooling for six months and were not allowed contact with friends or family. Not umtil after six months of earned community trust could a “punk” attend classes or apprentice a trade. Nor did the journalists seem bothered that the school kids were busy typing terms papers on the “character of Charles Dederich.” Years later experts would say this and the hatchery were good ingredients for growing ant-social adults.
But the second day newspaper report did tell of runways who claimed they were being “brainwashed” and “brow beaten.” Jeanette Prandi and husband Charles, sheriff department juvenile officers, believed there should be a state investigation into child abuse at Synanon, but as they worked under Sherrif Louis Montanos, a Dederich-Garrett sidekick , their ability to be a factor was limited. Prandi stated Synanon violated legal rights and the labor code; for these reasons neither the sheriffs nor local probation officers should recommend a child be sent to Synanon. It was also noted in the last year since Synanon’s savage attack against Alvin Gambonini, the rancher had helped another 9 runaways get home.
On May 25, 1976, Ron Cook wrote to a Mrs. N. Morantz in Montréal Canada. He was responding to a letter from Mrs. Morantz’s sister who read about Synanon in an Ann Landers column and was inquiring concerning possible help for Mrs. Morantz son’s drug addiction. Cook provided brochures and offered to take the boy, asking for only financial support according to ability to pay. The letter was actually buried in a box of irrelevant documents turned over by Synanon in discovery years later. I doubt even Synanon was aware of it or follow up if there was a connection. I came across it in the year 2000 and knowing that my father had originally from Canada I traced to find out if Mrs. Morantz was a relative. I found out she was, and learned sadly that the boy died. It is odd to think,ironies of all ironies, but there was a chance if he had come to Synanon he might not have died. He could have been saved by the very group that would try to murder me.
the same month, Steve Simon begin making contacts with publishing houses and rich private individuals who might wish to donate funds or assistance in the preparation and publishing of the complete works of Charles Dederich. Synanon had 8 psychological PhD’s to participate including Jerry Newmark, who would be my 2nd educator on Synanon following Al Bowman. by August, $1150 in contributions had been raised. Efforts were being made to raise another $120,000 from suppliers. A brochure was being prepared to state purposes of the project
On June 10, John F. Musser Jr. of Marshall wrote a letter to editor of Point Reyes Light thanking Warren Katz, Charlie Snoke and Mike Garrett for the Synanon ambulance rushing his wife to the Hillcrest emergency room on May 20. And on June 23 Synanon firefighters were the first hand crew to fight a blaze spewing 10 to 15 foot flames attacking heavy timber along the scenic ridges of the Point Reyes National Seashore. Synanon members, among 200 firefighters, faced the biggest fire in eight seasons, battling the flames for 16 hours.
A month later the 1976 Marin County Planning Department turned down Synanon’s bid to build a private 1,600-foot long airstrip at Walker Creek for use by 3 single-engine aircrafts which would be used three-times daily, about 1,095 takeoffs and landings per year. Synanon expressed also an interest in obtaining surplus lands at Hamilton Air Force Base.
The same month the Marin Grand Jury issued a positive Synanon report faulting the probation department (Prandi) for not placing children in Synanon while other counties seem to have confidence in the program. Synanon, it noted, charges $400 a month to take in kids on probation while other institutions charge $1,00 to $1,900. While kids were running away, the report said it was because of the “rigors of the program” and “desertion” has always been “a part of our society.” It made no mention of the lack of license. The report lauded Synanon for its ambulance emergency responses in five cases and candidly answering all of the jurors questions. The only negative the report cited was its interpersonal dealings and the attack on Gambonini. Unfortunately, in the latter the jury failed to see the pattern rising or pay attention to the proclamation of “whacking” kids.
At same time, Ed Siegel tossed in 100% capital stock of Reliable Mortgage Co.– Net assets $890,000—for a seat on the Synanon Board of Directors. The company had sales of $12 million per year.
The San Francisco Chronicle did a story on the Synanon school stating a staff of 45 serviced 90 children. In classrooms they played the game. Brooks Carder stated “A kid is a Synanon person. He is not (parents) property.” And “We educate kids according to the values we hold.” Another warning the grand jurors missed.
In June, Bill Crawford accused Ted Lukjanczyk of slashing 63 tires and security forces were beefed up.
In July 76 Synanon settled with Hearst for $600,000, for its story saying Synanon had devious bookkeeping practices, misled and was not concerned with addicts; Chuck having had private conversations with Randolph, sympathizing over Patty’s plight and suggesting Synanon might be of assistance with the SLA if the litigation was no longer in the way. But instead they proceeded with another suit for conspiracy to steal tapes and injure Synanon. The author of the story, it turned out, had a history for writing without sources. The paper ran a front page apology for the articles.
Synanon had the settlement placed in the Guinness Book of Records for largest libel settlement ever and the lawyers felt prim and omnipresent. And as I was settling my nursing home conspiracy case (See Escape from Golden State Manor) it could be said we were both cocky and looking for the next fight.
In August 1976, despite Tulare County Supervisors objection, Synanon went ahead with working on a building on its planned air strip. County Counsel Lita Blatner said there must be a public hearing and approval but Dan Garrett disagreed saying “that’s what makes a horse race.” Synanon bulldozers leveled the north-south airstrip preparing a large metal building to be used for storage and later a hangar. The project was overseen by Lee Otto, a pilot. The Strip lies north of Badger and six miles north of Synanon. Synanon now had ten airplanes– all single engine craft– used for Courier and transportation. Synanon claimed they could serve as air ambulances if necessary as part of its ambulance service for the Mountain country and small Mountain communities and recreational areas. Synanon also was developing a fire fighting team. Several residents who had been parachutists trained as “smokejumpers”.
Intake procedures change. Parents were now asked if they had medical insurance. 2nd, if the newcomer had any unusual coins, stamps or other collectible items the are to be given to the cashier and then disposed of by David Ross.
In September it was decided that new prospects are to be turned away if they are late for their interview, they must be cleaned and dressed neatly and pressed for a contribution of $500. At last resort, there was a $100 minimum.
In October 76 Marin County denied Synanon an excavating permit to build a road to the existing landing strip as the use as an airfield was also denied. Synanon went on landing planes on their property anyway.
A second Synanon facility was added in Badger.
Things were changing in this attempt to be Rome. Last of the originals, Jack Hurst, who had held the title President, and was once called a “son” by Dederich, left with $82 and a sack of clothes. He was running Santa Monica and Badger in l975 when suddenly, fearing he had too much adulation, Chuck demoted him to truck driver saying he should learn to work with his hands. Jack slept on the floor of his father-in-law until hired as an executive at a community workshop in Mil Valley for handicapped adults.
Eleven-year-old Steve Cheatham and 13-year-old Jeff Johnson, referred to Synanon by Las Vegas juvenile authorities, ran away from Synanon for a second time, making it to Gambonini’s Ranch who bought them tickets to Las Vegas and took them personally to the bus station in Petaluma. Johnson said he been struck on three occasions during the last six days and Cheatham said he been struck seventeen times during the three-week period. Gambonini also got a call from a Hazel Regleh in Torrance California saying Synanon phoned her to say they had thrown her daughter, who was retarded, out on the road. Gambonini found her daughter and arranged for her return home. A young girl Pat Adams was coming to visit Gambonini on Christmas Day but before she reached his ranch she was surrounded by Synanon people. She screamed as they took away her sack of clothes. Sadly, a runaway returned to Synanon by his parents, told other kids if they ran to go to Gambonini. For this, he claimed, Synanon made him go around in diapers and pushed a baby buggy with a doll in it for a week.
Dederich announced, “There is something thrilling and a little frightening about a bunch of people acting in unison. Whenever we in Synanon act in unison, like clip our heads or stop smoking cigarettes, we scare the hell out of the natives. Which is great, because if you scare them badly enough, they’ll do what you tell them. Somebody has to tell them what to do, for God’s sake. It might as well be us.”
In an Executive Committee Meetings CED stated he had “no reluctance to play God,” to let be known that he wanted “every talking God dam bum out of here.” While the “rich” buy immunity in Synanon who was to pay value of the 794 Synanon children who simply existed in Synanon and served no useful purpose. Dederich abandoned having a baby, pointing out a requesting couple was not contributing enough to be allowed to have a child and should be required to have abortion. His Chilbirth Unmasked speech was now a “a breeding policy,” which would be a new squeeze.
In 1976 David Gilmour attended a badger community meeting of residents who were upset over the lack of the state’s response to the fire in Badger. Apparently one badger fire station truck did not start during a fire. Mike Garrett offered continued Synanon services explaining the years of experience their fire department and ambulance service. The Badger people responded saying they did not want outside help.
In the spring of 1976 Synanon negotiated to purchase the Woodlake Airport but negotiations fell through in June. On June 30th the Foundation purchased the Stapp Meadow Airstrip for $895,000. Synanon claimed Bud Wall of Tulare County Planning Director told them the airstrip would conform to the necessary guidelines and was ideal for airport development. But on July 29th 1976 the Deputy County Counsel wrote that Synanon was required to get a special use permit for an airstrip. On March 22nd 1977 Synanon would file a lawsuit in United States District Court of Fresno claiming that the supervisors, planning commissioners, County Counsel and Lake City manager and others had conspired against them in the “spirit of religious discrimination” to keep it from operating its airstrip. Synanon purposely only went after the individuals, not the state agencies, hoping to keep the county from paying the bill for the defense. If the individuals had to pay for their own defense Synanon could bankrupt them and such a tactic might lead to the allowance of the airport. But the County defended.
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Most significant in 1976, the Founder gave the speech entitled “childbirth unmasked,” the court teachings stating “This movement doesn’t need children.” See the separate chapter on this speech.
By the years end, it was a proclamation. All males over 18 and in Synanon were to have vasectomies or get out. Within weeks the rush to comply turned to stampede. Synanon doctors, arguably like those in Germany some 30 years earlier, working ten hours day, seven days week eventually operated on 200 prior non sterilized men, while a small number left. Resister were gamed until they broke and then carried to awaiting doctors. The only exception was Dederich. He explained “I might want to have a few more kids.” CED Depo Volume five p. 130.
Fatathons were established in 1976 after Dederich and his wife went on a diet that he of course then sold to the entire population. Sugar and other fatting foods were removed. Those who could not lose weight were ridiculed. Fat-a-thons were held to encourage weight loss as the community was to all become lean normal.
In June of 76 Synanon held its first annual rodeo filled with cowboys and cowgirls with cropped hair. The highlight was a skydive from a l954 DeG\Haviland Beaver airplane circling 10,000 feet over the ranch, one of three owned, and dropping parachutists from the Pope Valley Parachute ranch near Lake Berryessa. Synanon’s own jumpers had not yet mastered pin point landings. There was roping, bull riding, calf roping, bull dogging.
The WAM and lottery moneys were required to be turned back for investment in the investment clubs or in reliable mortgage or in SCRAP or Synanon investment clubs. This was per CED’s idea to get money out of the non-profit foundation and into his pocket. If any resident refused to give back the money he/she was not to receive any further payments. Synanon took the turned over payments and invested the money in Home Place, Inc.– The new private corporation in Arizona that was building a monument to the Roman Empire. If the persons didn’t like it, he/she should “go file a lawsuit.”
Sandy Sturgess had donated her home to Synanon and sued for it back based on the crazy demands upon the Synanon residents. She was awarded $48,000 in 1976. Dederich still felt they were victorious as they had been able to use the funds for several years.
On August 13th 1976 the “the dope fiend” business still was pushed as the reason to make donations that in truth were to make its elite wealthy. Even the 1976 Family Report said that the new Synanon Instant Guide mentions drug rehabilitation only once and only in passing. The report author, Bill Crawford, said of this fact of the report: “I think this is our own truth in packaging.”
Also on August 13th 1976 it was stated by Dederich all their purposes and institutions were now convoluted and reconfigured.
Synanon became so concerned about the IRS coming after their money, Synanon began paying its paying the board salaries for the first time in 20 years. Investment trusts were established and assets were distributed to lottery winners who reinvested the winnings in the big shots controlled trusts. The First Thirty Trust paid $10,000 to each such resident who paid federal and state taxes before
investing in Synanon elite “Circle” stock market accounts.
ADGAP and hustling merged into one department. Together they visited 42 and 50 states with ADGAP setting a record for writing over 24,000 individual orders and booking $11 million in sales. 110 salespeople alone went to Chicago at one time and more than 20,000 supply contracts were made on the Chicago Mission along with over a million in goods committed. The donations included Christmas trees, sheep skins, beef on the whole, soap, radar, cowboy boots, a Cadillac convertible, live fish, clothes and food, and 3,000,00O cups.
In two years, Synanon had doubled its assets, not including its household goods, subsidiary Reliable Mortgage Loan and Investment company which produced 6.6 million in revenues for Synanon. Synanon totaled $8 million in cash, lifestylers providing 14 percent.
In 1976 the population was 1309.
Dederich called it “a very nice family business. But on April 6, 1976, at a board meeting, it was stated that Synanon was taxed over a million dollars for 1975 from it ADGAP income alone. On April 8, 1976, the Board, concerned over its “barrel of money”, Dederich saying he liked having $3,500,000, became concerned IRS could levy on Synanon’s land. So to protect real estate from seizure, liens were placed on the property to secure future payments to Dederich for a multiyear employment and consultation agreement. Synanon also filed for refund of taxes assessed in 1973.
On April 27th 1976 Dederich declared he wanted to be financially independent. He said he wanted along with his payment of $750,000 advance for $75,000 a year for the next ten. On August 13th the Board approved the $75,000 annual payment and the Board paid themselves a a total of $320,000 retroactively for the year and $345,000 for the next year. Bill Dederich, who came up with the idea got $50,000 in 1976 and $75,000 for 1977. Chuck, Junior got $30,000 and Jady $15,000. For year 76 and year 77 $50,000 thousand was paid twice to Ron Cook while Dan Sorkin and lawyer Howard Garfield, creator of the religion angle, each got $20 thousand twice for 76 and 77.
On August 13th 1976 the Board discussed ideas of transferring funds to Swiss bank accounts. Dederich said they were not yet to such a desperate position. But the idea clearly was to make collection of a tax liability impossible. In the works was a set up pension plans for Dederich and other executives. Drafts were made of Irrevocable Trusts that would be established for the benefit of certain Synanon residents. Employment contracts and consultation agreements for the Synanon elite had drafted liens securing the agreements attaching to deeds of trust on Synanon property. The idea was also to divert the money for salaries to elite controlled investment funds. Therefore CED’s new sales pitch was that no one keeping salaries, given their luxury support, were needed in the community. Out. Dederich justified the fraud of creating false “stockholders,” on grounds he had made Synanon so big he “wanted something back for his efforts.” Dederich said to his top cronies, “you guys are going to be so fucking rich in a few years you are not going to believe it.” They were all going to make “a gob of money.” There would be so much they would “not be able to count it all.”
California governor Jerry Brown wanted to be a different kind of governor in l976. To save the taxpayers money he lived in an apartment rather than the governor’s mansion. A bachelor, he dated starlets and singer Linda Ronstedt (media dubbed “First Chic”). His greatest legacy, however, were his appointments, many who were caught in illegal acts or just guilty of simple incompetence. He appointed a woman without significant legal experience as Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court and she was later recalled by special election. And in October of 1976 Gov. Jerry Brown, forgetting or perhaps never seeing Herb Cabral’s letter to the state about Synanon abuse of children, offered CED an appointment as Director of the Department of Alcoholism which had an $832 million budget. The governor also offered to Dederich a position with the California Youth Authority at a salary of $31,000. Having greater sources of income, The old man turned Brown down. Brown, who also gave posts to Jim Jones of the People’s Temple, later campaigned for President but didn’t get the nod. But as the public never learns, Brown (“Oh no, Mr. Bill) was re-elected to Govenor in 2011. I was asked by his opponent to do an ad re Brown’s past incompetence in giving out posts but said no.
On Oct 11 1976 People magazine wrote ”Chuch Dederoich still Rules Synanon,” stating he has 1,300 subjects and a $22 million Empire. It quoted CED as saying he was considering a ban on pregnancies but he hadn’t told anybody they can’t, bragging, “I’ve just planted the notion”—as he can see some good coming out of childlessness. The article discussed all the planes, a 5,000-foot “embryo” airport and noted ADGAP was second in nation as supplier of specialties ball point pens, wallets, t-shirts and give-aways. 15,000 had now passed through Synanon. 1/3 of current residents were squares. Minimum lifestyler contract was $450 month, $750 a couple and 400 each child. And the Old Man bragged again, “When kids get out of line they are knocked on theirs asses. That treatment turns them into woolly lambs in about a week.” Cook was quoted as saying in Synanon “I can live like a rich person and have meaning in my life too.
Perhaps most important Dederich told People Magazine its non violent position ended.
“Our position for years was, was interpreted as a traditional, all the time in whatever circumstances, one of nonviolence. Uh, we built our punk squad on the position of violence. Does everybody realize that? That we introduced quick violence into the handling of adolescent children, particularly the boys and, and found out that within a very short time we, we, we created one of the best schools for character in the goddam country with 150 pupils in it. By the simple device of saying that hell with the nonviolent approach. Every time a kid sasses you knock him on his ass. Uh, we now have cops in Synanon, uh we have martial arts in Synanon, things change I guess, things change. We have the guns up to our ass in Synanon you know, we have target practice and shoot at all kinds of good stuff, I keep a gun in my desk you know, and so on, you know, is anything wrong with that? I don’t think so, I don’t think so. Life as changed you know.”
And changing it was.
In November of 76 Warfield wrote he wanted to establish a model security system for the Home Place and the Strip in Badger. He suggested in addition to Gilmore and Charlie Snell that Bob Pitzele, my old high school classmate, that Charlie Snoke or Doug Cameron be added. Twenty-two people were suggested for reserves and it was requested that old pal Sheriff Louis Montanos get concealed weapon permits for eleven Synanon residents. Warfield wanted and got permission to make an $18,498.25 purchase of weapons and ammunition plus another $17,196 for Tom ball spraying and $3851.40 of weaponry for both Santa Monica and San Francisco Synanon facilities.
Bill Crawford, the famed musician, noted in the annual Synanon Family Report , “weapons were introduced into Synanon in large part this year, to a large degree this grew out of Ted Lukjancyk, caper. In fact, our whole security force began to grow up after Ted’s attacks on Synanon (See True History of Synanon’s violence. It’s vertically, he said, until then we became more successful and the underdog and target they were born to become more became less reliant on external forces like police departments:
“It doesn’t hurt to remember that there 17,000 or more disgruntled ex-residencts all roaming around ticking like time bombs because any one of them can become a Ted Lukjancyk, or Gil Faucette, all ready to bite the hand that feeds them.
“We have one armed uniformed security officer at this time, but all public safety people and many other men and women in the community are learning the martial arts, baton handling, crowd control techniques and other self-defense measures.”
The Family report also said they shave a head of a gas siphoner in Santa Monica as well as two guys in Tomales Bay accused of riding two girls off the road.
“Ron Eschenaur punched out Gambonini this year and he went to jail for his troubles. And the Synanon Eviction Co. became a force again with Lou Delgado and Ed Siegel heading it up. And once again at the Clump we had to evict some tenants who behaved very badly, and this eviction was done to circumvent the legal procedures which are just too slow sometimes, and we got rid of some unwanted pot smoking, disturbing tenants when we elected to take matters into our own hands. And we have a team with someone as big as Lou Delgado on it and somebody as mad as Ed Siegel, you’ve got a hell of an eviction team.”
Crawford said in his 76 family report couples wanting children were to let their intentions known in Synnaon games. If no approval they are expected to get contraceptive devices from Synanon’s medical services. The new childlessness was in action all must participate in.
And finally in 1976 the roots of ultimate power popped to surface. All laws relating to relationships between consenting adults were abolished and any couple over the age of 18 can make a valid contract with each other. Out of this came the three-year Love Match contracting each couple with each other but with Synanon as the third party– replacing the state in that role. Thirty-two love matches were formed in 1976.