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Mendocino County Today: January 15, 2014

TINFOIL HAT ALERT, ALBION! Verizon is asking the County's Planning Commission for permission to erect "a 105-foot monopole supporting 12 panel antennas, including two GPS antennas" one mile south of Albion on property owned by Wolfgang and Brunhilde Funke. The antenna would be disguised as a pine tree, a very lonesome pine tree in an otherwise empty pasture visible from Highway One. The installation would also include a "30 kilowatt diesel generator, a 132-gallon propane tank and a 192-square-foot equipment shelter." The matter will be heard by the Planning Commission at 9am, Thursday, January 16th in the Supe's chambers, 501 Low Gap, Ukiah.

DOUG MCKENTY is looking for a Willits person will­ing to put him or herself on the dissident slate for the KZYX board of directors. To be a candidate, you're got to be a station member. Deadline is coming up quick.

THE WORST FANS, on-line comment of the day: "As a Packers fan, I've been to games in Oakland, Dallas, Den­ver, Minnesota and even Chicago and was never treated as badly as the last two games I went to at Candle­stick. Other teams may have vocal or even obnoxious fans, but the 'stick is overrun by bangers, little guys looking for trouble and fat drunk women mouthing off and trying to get their boyfriends to fight people for them."

MY SUNDAY RITUAL is to watch the 49er game at my parents’ apartment in the Inner Richmond neighborhood of San Francisco. Because my mother has waited on our entire family hand and foot for decades, I occasionally feel a twinge of guilt and try (when not oversleeping) to bring over sandwiches or a sack of apricots. Luckily for me, the Clement Street food corridor never sleeps in. So if you’re stumbling around the area only minutes before kick-off, you could do worse than these places. First, and my Anquan Boldin of cheap good food, is Café Bunn Mi on Clement between 5th and 6th. Excellent sandwiches for around five bucks. I’m partial to the lemongrass steak and the grilled pork (minus the paté). For the cost, if you’re real hungry, you can get two for ten bucks, though if I’m with Robert we’ll split three sandwiches. The second option is a place we call Rude Girls, a dim sum place with a pink façade on Clement between 7th and 8th. After 30 years, I still don’t know the name of Rude Girls, except that it’s Rude Girls. Great shrimp dumplings, pork buns, and assorted other strange little things that tempt and delight. For you cartographers, Rude Girls is next door to its sister establishment, Clement BBQ. Directly on the other side of Rude Girls is another Chinese deli-like place where a three-item combination place with rice or noodles is only $5.75. It’s a lot of food at a modest price. Actually, it’s more sweet and sour pork than you need. But you won’t believe me, so go ahead and try. If it’s a big game, I suggest sticking to the spicy chicken wings. Cooked with slivers of jalapeno, they are just the thing to celebrate Navorro Bowman stir-frying Russell Wilson in a hot wok of pain and horror. For dessert, there’s a fruit stand on the corner of 8th and Clement that has the best oranges in the city. Big Jims are an especially sought after brand. And for 69¢ a pound, tearing off the thick peels and attacking the citrus center is heavenly. So Jesus, if you’re hungry, please check out Clement Street before the game this Sunday. And please also bring a 49er victory and maybe also cause an earthquake to destroy the Seahawk stadium (with no one in it). —  ZA




by Fred Gardner

Dennis Rodman's recent trip to North Korea with a team of retired NBA players to take part in an exhibition game was akin to John Lennon and Yoko Ono going to bed in public to end the war in Vietnam, or Dennis Peron saying "I dedicate my life to world peace" as he began selling marijuana in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. Real hippies dream of peace and some try to make it happen with desperate, hopeful gestures.

The Korean War began in 1950 and a cease fire was arranged in 1953. The war never officially ended, and thousands of U.S. troops are still stationed in South Korea.  Not coincidentally, 1950-53 is known in the U.S. as "the McCarthy era" in honor of the rightwing Senator from Wisconsin whose stated goal was anti-Communist but whose actual achievement was to roll back New Deal reforms. MSNBC's Chris Mathews says we Americans have put McCarthyism behind us, but the video clip of Rodman losing his cool that Mathews showed to his "Hardball" viewers was the equivalent of a doctored photo.The context had been airbrushed out.

Rodman's now infamous expression of outrage came during a January 7 interview by Chris Cuomo on CNN, in response to Cuomo's ill-concealed disrespect. Rodman had been dissed in the media ever since he announced his plan, during a previous trip to North Korea, to return with a team of his NBA contemporaries. NBA Commissioner David Stern, a financially secure Jewish American, had the gall to say that the African Americans accompanying Rodman had been "blinded by money." By the time Rodman and his comrades were interviewed by Cuomo, an Italian American, some of them had been advised by family members and business associates back home that the trip was setting them up for trouble. Kenny Anderson's wife was worried about their kids taking heat in school.

During the interview by Cuomo, Rodman was sitting to Charles Smith's left. They were flanked by the other retired players who had made the trip. (Kenny Anderson didn't take part.) Cuomo pointed out that the planned exhibition game was being presented as a birthday gift to bad, bad Kim Jong Un. Smith said that the players had been invited by the North Korean Olympic Committee, which had chosen the date.

Charles Smith organizes exhibition games featuring retired NBA players, and Rodman had turned to him to put together a roster for his Pyongyang venture. Funding for the trip reportedly came from HBO and Paddy Power, the Irish gambling site that sponsored Rodman's previous visit, then withdrew support, then chipped in belatedly. The retired players did not take money from the North Korean government.

Smith is eminently sensible and dignified. He often pauses to find the right way to put something. "Understand this," he said to Cuomo about Rodman: "He is not here and I am not here —none of these guys are here— to talk sense into any politician." Smith said they were practicing  "basketball diplomacy... using the relationship with others through basketball which we did today with the North Korean team."

As for delivering State-Department-type messages, Smith told Cuomo, "Do you really think that (after a long pause) the leaders here are going to listen to anything that we have to say? And that's not what we're here to do. We're here specifically to put smiles on people's faces. Everlasting memories in the minds of individuals... We're going to be an example of how we are as Americans when it comes to the sport of basketball. So please don't continue to put politics into that. This is not what we're here for."

Cuomo interrupted with annoyance in his voice: " I get it. I get why you're there. But it's more complicated than basketball. It just is. it's more complicated than basketball, Charles, I'm sorry."

Smith replied, "You say it's more complicated than basketball. Basketball is not complicated to us. And that's what we do. We're not here for complications. And again, we apologize for the kind-of-a-storm that has been created by our presence. We're not apologizing for doing what we do. Those people today —the North Korean team, meeting the citizens— we're connecting people to basketball and people to people. It's all relational."

Cuomo's tone turned from impatience to a kind of baby talk as he introduced the subject of Kenneth Bae, a religious missionary who became a tour guide in North Korea and was apparently busted for proselytizing.  "I respect what you're doing," said Cuomo as he ignored Smith's explanation of the basketball diplomacy. "I'm just concerned, with the family of this man who is held there. And I'm concerned as many Americans are, about giving a birthday present to a man who is seen as a despot who just had his uncle executed. Dennis, you understand the issue..."

Smith had just spent five minutes explaining that the players were not there to talk about politics. Cuomo was aiming at Rodman but Smith intercepted, using the term "activites" to describe the detention of Bae and the offing of Kim's uncle (who was reportedly organizing a military coup). Charles Smith told Chris Cuomo (the son of New York  Governor Mario Cuomo and brother of the current governor, Andrew), "You continue to talk about the different activities that take place here. We have activities that take place..." Two point four million in prison, he could have added, and drones that drop bombs on wedding parties. "There's activities that take place all over the world."

As Smith resumed talking about his interactions with people in North Korea, Cuomo cut him off with finality: "And I wish you good luck and effectiveness in influencing the people there. I hope it's a good cultural exchange. Dennis, let me end on this. You do have a relationship with this man. You've said it many times. We've seen it demonstrated. For whatever reasons. Are you going to take an opportunity, if you get it, to speak up for the family of Kenneth Bae and to say 'Let us know why this man is being held. That this is wrong. That he is sick.' If you can help, Dennis, will you take the opportunity?"

By now Cuomo was sounding like the character in Peter Pan who asks if Tinker Bell should be allowed to live. Smith started to respond, but Rodman said "I got it guy." He was so angry that he was hardly coherent, but what he had to say was the truth: thanks to Cuomo and those of his ilk, the players were going to take abuse when they got back to America. After about two minutes of anger, Rodman recovered his equanimity and repeated his hippie vision: "Someday this world will open wide..." Then Charles Smith calmly provided a brilliant, uncompromising analysis of how Cuomo had baited his good-hearted friend.

In the McCarthy era, the mere association with a capital-C Communist was like a crime in and of itself —grounds for firing a public school teacher if she refused to explain the nature of her association to the Investigators. This guilt by assocation was called "red-baiting." But we have put McCarthyism behind us, says Chris Mathews. Ditto the legacy of slavery.

So why do we suspect that if Fran Tarkenton had led a trip of ex-NFL players to North Korea, and if John Elway had explained that "football diplomacy" was not about delivering State-Department-type messages, Chris Cuomo would not have baited him with questions about Kenneth Bae?



by Dan Bacher

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on January 10 announced a new requirement for oil and gas corporations to publicly report chemicals dumped directly into the ocean from offshore fracking (hydraulic fracturing) operations off the Southern California Coast, but the new procedure won't stop them from continuing to pollute the ocean.

The notice, published in the Federal Register, announces the changes as part of a new permit for water pollution discharges from offshore oil and gas operations in federal waters off California. The reporting requirement will become effective March 1, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

The EPA action was spurred by an Freedom of Information Action request and subsequent investigation by the Associated Press and revealing that fracking operations had been conducted over 200 times since 1990 in state and federal waters off the California coast.

The final National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) general permit for offshore oil and gas exploration, development and production facilities in Federal waters off the coast of Southern California will replace the 2004 permit.

The permit will cover 23 offshore petroleum production platforms, including those located in the Santa Barbara Channel and off of Points Arguello and Conception. "The permit authorizes no new offshore platforms in Southern California and is limited to regulating discharges from existing platforms," according to a statement from the EPA.

"NPDES permits are needed to establish controls as well as monitoring and reporting requirements on discharges from these offshore facilities," said Nahal Mogharabi, Public Affairs Specialist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Mogharabi said the final permit is similar to the one issued in 2004, but now incorporates updated discharge controls and toxicity testing as well as new study requirements to evaluate the potential effects of cooling water intake structures on fish and larvae that may potentially get sucked up and harmed by equipment used at the platforms.

While most water discharges in California are regulated by the State Water Boards, discharges from facilities located more than three miles off the coast are permitted directly by U.S. EPA, Mogharabi stated.

Mogharabi also emphasized that the new requirement by the EPA is not a "rule," as some press reports have stated.

"This is a Clean Water Act (NPDES) General Permit issuance. EPA generally provides public notice of issuance of General Permits through Federal Register Notice," Mogharabi said.

Environmentalists were glad that EPA announced the new reporting requirement, but called on the federal government to go further and ban the environmentally destructive practice of fracking.

Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said, "Requiring oil companies to report the toxic fracking chemicals they’re dumping into California’s fragile ocean ecosystem is a good step, but the federal government must go further and halt this incredibly dangerous practice. Banning fracking in California’s coastal waters is the best way to protect the whales and other wildlife, as well as surfers and coastal communities. It’s outrageous that the EPA plans to continue allowing fracking pollution to endanger our ocean."

She said the EPA revised the offshore oil and gas discharge permit to require reporting of the chemical formulations of any fracking fluids discharged by oil companies in response to the controversy generated by recent reports of fracking of oil and gas wells along the California coast.

"Approximately half the oil platforms in federal waters in the Santa Barbara Channel discharge all or a portion of their wastewater directly to the ocean, according to a California Coastal Commission document. This produced wastewater contains all of the chemicals injected originally into the fracked wells, with the addition of toxins gathered from the subsurface environment," Sakashita said.

A recent Center analysis of 12 fracking operations in state waters found that at least one-third of chemicals used in these fracking operations are suspected ecological hazards. Drawing on data disclosed by oil companies, the Center also found that more than a third of these chemicals are suspected of affecting human developmental and nervous systems, according to Sakashita.

“The EPA’s new reporting requirements underscore how little is known about offshore fracking,” Sakashita said. “This risky practice has gone essentially unregulated. Until recently, no one even knew that our oceans were being fracked. To protect our coast, we need to stop this dangerous practice in its tracks.”

Not only does the new federal requirement allow oil companies to continue polluting, but the alleged "marine protected areas" created under California's privately-funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative fail to protect the ocean from fracking, offshore oil drilling, pollution, military, wind and wave energy projects and all human impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering.

In one of the biggest conflicts of interest in California history, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), chaired the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called "marine protected areas" in Southern California waters. She also served on the MLPA Initiative task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast. Reheis-Boyd is a relentless advocate for the expansion of fracking, the construction of the Keystone Pipeline and the evisceration of environmental laws.

The oil industry is the most powerful corporate lobby in Sacramento, so it is able to wield enormous influence over state and federal regulators and environmental processes. The result of this inordinate money and influence is the effective evisceration of the Marine Life Protection Act of 1999 during the MLPA Initiative process and the signing of Senator Fran Pavley's Senate Bill 4, the green light for fracking bill, by Governor Jerry Brown on September 20, 2013.

A report recently released by the American Lung Association revealed that the oil industry lobby spent $45.4 million in the state between January 1 2009 and June 30, 2013. The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) alone has spent over $20 million since 2009 to lobby legislators. (

For more information on oil industry power and money, go to:

For more information about offshore fracking, see the Center of Biological Diversity's offshore fracking webpage at:

Link to permit:

Link to the federal register notice:

A link to the Fact Sheet Addendum:


MTA BOARD MEETING JANUARY 23, 2014 — The Mendocino Transit Authority (MTA) will hold its monthly Board of Directors meeting at 1:30 PM on January 23, 2014. The meeting will be conducted at the Ukiah Valley Conference Center, Riesling Room, 200 S. School Street, Ukiah and video-conferenced with Fort Bragg in the MTA’s Diana Stuart Division’s Conference Room at 190 East Spruce Street. Among the agenda items are the Facility Solarization and Modernization Update, Mobility Management Update, Review of Proposed Procurement Policy and Procedures, and Amendment to Sec.125 Cafeteria Plan. The public is welcome to attend the meeting to address items that are on the agenda, or bring other transit related items to the attention of the Board. Time limit is three minutes per speaker. (Glenna Blake)

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