- Bypass Suspended
- Ukiah Politics
- Secrets of SF
- Cockburn in Iraq
- Catch of the Day
- Digital Detox
- Lost Vocabularies
- Too Much Information
- Brazilian Unrest
- Philo Produce
- Girl Scouts
- Greywater Workshop
- Hassling Petitioners
- Hemp Hooray
- Media Perception
- Grower Advocates
- Postmodern Idiotic
THE U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS has suspended the construction permit for the Willits Bypass project. Army Corps staff visited the site earlier this week and Friday issued a letter saying the permit for the Willits Bypass is "conditionally suspended." The letter says Caltrans has "failed to complete mitigation site preparation actions in a timely manner." The Corps says no additional construction work is allowed in the wetlands area until Caltrans complies with its permit conditions. The Corps letter says Caltrans may continue to work on required environmental improvements as long they are "approved by the Corps in writing."
CALTRANS issued the following statement: "Caltrans is working closely with The Army Corps of Engineers to resolve any issues regarding the Mitigation project at the Willits Bypass. We will be meeting with the Corps next week with the intent to be able to resume construction soon. We are committed to environmental protection of the Willits bypass project."
UKIAH NEWS in brief: Phil Baldwin will run again for the Ukiah City Council. He also presently functions as mayor.
Red Phil takes a lot of abuse from the more primitive sectors of inland opinion, but his positions are certainly more consistent and reasonable than those of his two “liberal” colleagues, Benj ‘Little Benj’ Thomas and Mary Ann Landis. Doug Crane is always a sensible, steady hand on the Council when all about him are galloping off in irrelevant directions. The newest Council member, Steve Scalmanini, was appointed.
THERE ISN'T much apparent interest in Ukiah affairs, just as there isn't much interest in County government. Next door in Humboldt there are a half-dozen blogs focused on HumCo affairs with active commentary on most local news items. Here? Well, there's the AVA and then there's a lot of Big Think chat on a couple of listserves where loon-gibber prevails.
THE UKIAH CITY COUNCIL has voted to continue a half-cent sales tax to fund the always busy Ukiah Police Department, whose primary task these days is riding herd on the ever increasing number of dope heads, street drunks and unattended-to mental patients. “Liberal” Ukiah, along with “liberal” Mendocino County and a mostly “liberal” Superior Court, ignores the omni-present problem presented by the homeless, choosing instead to leave them to the police to manage rather than consider humane alternatives.
UNSOLICITED PLUGS: Laura Fraser is a well-known writer — a really good one, I should add — based in San Francisco. She's written for all the Bay Area papers and mags and Salon and has a New York Times bestseller , An Italian Affair, on her impressive resume. Laura has begun a website with an accompanying campaign to fund it called “shebooks.” The funding effort is described as an “equal writes campaign to fund women writers.” As Laura explains it, “We want to publish great reads by as many women writers as possible...because not enough women are able to get their work published — even the best women writers.”
THE AVA is regularly criticized for being heavy on the testosterone, that we don't have enough female contributors. In fact, we go for weeks without any writing by women, and it isn't because we exclude them. We don't exclude anyone except for a chronophage here and there.
NOT BEING A GUY to spend any more time on a computer than is absolutely necessary to get out the weekly blasts from Boonville, I came late to Tim Redmond's www.48hills.org — “the secrets of San Francisco.” There are lots of them, certainly, and Tim, formerly the main man at the SF Guardian, regularly reveals them here, the best source I know for San Francisco news, especially now that the Chronicle seems on the way out the door marked “Permanent Exit.”
THE BEST REPORTING on Iraq that we've seen is by Patrick Cockburn of England's Independent newspaper, also reprinted on the CounterPunch website. Cockburn has reported on Iraq for many years and is stationed in Baghdad. He's by far the most knowledgeable journalist at work on the fluid developments there.
CATCH OF THE DAY, FRIDAY, JUNE 20
JUSTIN BRAFFORD, Long Beach. Brought drugs into the jail, and they must have been a lot of drugs or some very bad drugs because bail was set at $135,000. At age 25, neck tats and a bad attitude, Brafford will be spending much of his youth behind bars.
WAYNE CAMPBELL, Ukiah. Revocation of felony parole.
ANTHONY LOPES, Willits. Arrested in Ukiah for drunk in public.
JUSTIN MALUGANI, Ukiah. Oft-busted Mr. M was popped this time for lurking at a place he's forbidden from visiting.
MELVIN NATION, Albion. Pot operation at which Mel, a felon, was caught with a firearm and ammo.
BENJAMIN PERRY, Lakeport. Burglary, using someone else's ID, fake currency, bad checks. All these charges but only $15,000 bail. Translation: The ID, currency, checks were so crudely drawn Perry was the only guy fooled. He probably stole the whole kid from a ten-year-old, hence the burglary charge.
FORGET THE DIET, how about a digital detox? Visit the weekend summer camp for adults where tablets, phones and Facebook are banned — and even your real name isn't used
Tired of the social media treadmill and hoping to unplug for a couple days? Consider this fast-growing summer camp three hours outside of San Francisco, where the first ritual involves handing over your personal electronics to volunteers in white lab coats.
Camp Grounded, now in its second year, offers hyperconnected attendees a brief respite from the incessant noise of Facebook, Twitter and a plethora of other media relentlessly battling for their attention.
Instead of relying on technology, campers participate in traditional summer camp activities like archery, capture the flag and arts and crafts projects.
Unlike a kids camp, Camp Grounded encourages campers to sneak out at night to explore what the grounds have to offer — like bonfires, musicians and games.
The rules of this 'digital detox' camp are clear: No work talk, no alcohol, no first names or discussion of ages, and most importantly, no phones, computers, tablets or watches.
Co-founder Levi Felix, who goes by the nickname 'Fidget Wigglesworth,' has stressed it is not just an experience for tech workers, although current and former Facebook Inc, Google Inc and Microsoft Corp employees were represented. This year, campers ranged from hipster college grads to recent retirees, he said in an interview with Reuters at the Navarro, California camp.
The project has gained rapid popularity, reflecting a growing need to unwind from the stresses associated with the Bay Area's tech boom. From just one weekend in the summer of 2013, this year's has grown to three consecutive weekends with several hundred people attending each session.
To be sure, the experience is limited to those who can afford it — it costs $570 for camping, meals and activities.
'I don't remember the last time I went for four days without checking a notification,' said Facebook designer Connie Yang, who tried out Camp Grounded this month.
Yang, who described the experience as 'powerful,' said she intends to check her phone far less frequently. She may even experiment with incorporating new product ideas into the Facebook experience to help people 'scale back.'
In recent years, the unplugging movement has been gathering steam, although it has been criticized by the press for stirring 'postmodern techno-anxiety' and failing to recognize the positive impacts of technology. Each March, thousands of people unplug from their devices for 24 hours, as part of an event organized by nonprofit organization Reboot.
Brian Solis, a principal analyst for Altimeter Group specializing in digital trends, expects that experiences like Camp Grounded will become more commonplace.
'If these technologies don't have your attention, they can't scale,' he said, describing the camp as a potential antidote.
Solis said it's unlikely that tech companies will tinker with products to make them any less habit-forming. But he predicts that consumers will increasingly crave experiences that help them 'reset' for a more balanced lifestyle.
David Stewart, founder of SocialStudio, a company making social media applications, said it can be a challenge for developers to strike a balance between engaging users and spamming them with notifications.
The former vice president of product management at Microsoft-owned Yammer said he was not surprised that the digital detox camp was teeming with techies. Stewart himself attended Camp Grounded in early June.
'People designing addictive products are the most aware of the occasional human need to be free from them.'
THE FORGOTTEN DIALECT OF THE HEART
How astonishing it is that language can almost mean,
and frightening that it does not quite. Love, we say,
God, we say, Rome and Michiko, we write, and the words
get it all wrong. We say bread and it means according
to which nation. French has no word for home,
and we have no word for strict pleasure. A people
in northern India is dying out because their ancient
tongue has no words for endearment. I dream of lost
vocabularies that might express some of what
we no longer can. Maybe the Etruscan texts would
finally explain why the couples on their tombs
are smiling. And maybe not. When the thousands
of mysterious Sumerian tablets were translated,
they seemed to be business records. But what if they
are poems or psalms? My joy is the same as twelve
Ethiopian goats standing silent in the morning light.
O Lord, thou art slabs of salt and ingots of copper,
as grand as ripe barley lithe under the wind's labor.
Her breasts are six white oxen loaded with bolts
of long-fibered Egyptian cotton. My love is a hundred
pitchers of honey. Shiploads of thuya are what
my body wants to say to your body. Giraffes are this
desire in the dark. Perhaps the spiral Minoan script
is not language but a map. What we feel most has
no name but amber, archers, cinnamon, horses, and birds.
WHEN YOU KNOW TOO MUCH information and you acquire it too easily, you tend to either use it in disagreeable ways, out of vanity, or you tend to be indiscriminate about it. I mean, in the old days, it was tricky, you had to go to various encyclopedias, you had to go to the library, maybe spend a day there, whatever. But in the end, if you found something, it was really exciting. Now you hit a couple of buttons and you get some information. Which, by the way, is almost always presented in that same goddamn mediocre style that characterizes the Internet for me. It is slightly deadening.
— Norman Mailer
BRAZIL WORLD CUP SCENES ESPN IS NOT SHOWING
BIDEN'S BOGUS THREE-STATE PROPOSAL
There has a some chatter among the talking heads and newspaper articles about Vice President Biden's proposal of a three-state division of Iraq. It certainly at this time is not feasible for the sunnis and the shi'ia. Further more it will not be feasible as long as wealthy families in Qatar, other Gulf states and Saudi Arabia (our allies!) continue to fund ISIS and other fundamentalist Islam groups abetted by money laundring by Kuwaiti banks.
The exception is the Kurdish territory which now functions as a de facto nation. Their taking of Kirkuk and adjacent oil fields as well as securing Irbil and adjacent land along with the new oil contract with Turkey has changed its political position. Plus the comment by the spokesman for the ruling party in Turkey saying it’s the Kurd's decision if they want to be an independent country assures it will become a de jure Kurdistan.
The US, of course, objects but it is just one more area where our opinion doesn't matter.
In peace, Jim Updegraff, Sacramento
THIS WEEK AT BLUE MEADOW FARM IN PHILO: Walla Walla Onions; Red Russian Kale; Green, Yellow & Striped Zucchini; Cima di Rapa; Cilantro; Strawberries & Sunflowers. Blue Meadow Farm, 3301 Holmes Ranch Road, Philo 707-895-2071
GIRL SCOUTS: GREEN BY NATURE
Girls in grades kindergarten through third grade living in the Anderson Valley area are invited to a very special FREE interactive workshop on Saturday, June 28th from 10am to 3pm at the Anderson Valley Fire Department. Girls will play charades with new friends to discover who lives in the Mendocino coastal waters, investigate who eats whom in a predator vs prey hide & seek, construct an octopus to take home, run a rain gauge relay and participate in many more interactive games. The program Includes materials, activities, snacks, songs & games and registration in the Girl Scout program. Call Cherie at 707.544.5472 x 3041 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
WATER CONSERVATION EXPERT Anna Birkas will host a weekend workshop on “New methods for moving water — installing a greywater system” at the Laytonville Ecovillage on the weekend of June 28-29. Classes run from 9 am to 5 pm on both days and will be taught by Village Ecosystems owner Anna Birkas.
Residential greywater, which is wastewater generated from domestic processes such as washing dishes, laundry and bathing, is a valuable water resource that can be recycled to irrigate plants. Decentralized, low maintenance, and low energy methods can be used to move, treat and use water. In this unique course, students will learn options for purifying and reusing water for home, business or community. Topics include: designing successful greywater systems; installing systems with common household plumbing; choosing appropriate greywater plants; legal and practical considerations for greywater reuse.
Instructor Anna Birkas grew up in Mendocino County and has lived much of her life off-grid using renewable energy and water systems. In 2008 she founded Village Ecosystems, which focuses on low-impact and energy-efficient design and construction in buildings and land use. She is also a long-term employee of Ridge to River, working on stream restoration, bioengineering, watershed monitoring and analysis, and more. As the current head of the MendoFutures Water Commons and co-founder of Sustain Local Mendocino (SustainLocal.com), Anna works on projects for sustainable community development and planning, advancement of Mendocino County's green industry, and water and energy-efficient demonstration and education. Cost for the workshop is $120. To register, go to www.solarliving.org and click on “Upcoming Courses” or call 472-2468. For information and directions for the Laytonville Ecovillage, visit the Solar Living Institute website or go to laytonvilleecovillage.com.
— Roberta Werdinger, Writer, Publicist, Editor
To the Editor:
An Open letter to Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman:
I have received a report that the manager of Raley’s in Ukiah is hassling petitioners. Here is the report, followed by an explanation of the recent settlement with the County and changes in the Sheriff's policies concerning free speech and petitioning.
My informant says: “The incident which took place on Sat May 24, 2014 around 12:30 p.m. to the best of my recollection went something like this. I entered Raley’s, store ... on 1315 N State Street and asked to speak to the Store Manager. I was directed to a tall elderly man with blondish, gray hair. I let him know that we would be petitioning for the five or so weeks to put an Ordinance on the ballot to ban fracking in Mendocino County. He told me that Raley's store policy prohibited petitioning and that there was a “No Soliciting” sign on the front of the store which made this clear. He went on to say it was illegal to petition in front of Raley's even off to the side because Raley's was private property and it was illegal to petition on private property. When I countered this, and said that this was not true, and that it had in fact been recently contested in court and had been decided otherwise, he clarified his statement and said, 'Yes, political petitioning is allowed, but only if it is for a statewide initiative and yours is for the county.” The manager then called Carla Dieffenbach, the store director to speak with me, who initially reiterated what the manager had stated which was that petitioning was not allowed. After a somewhat heated discussion, Carla softened her stance if just a bit. She walked with me outside and directed me to where she would like the petitioners to gather signatures with the stipulation that she/Raley's would be forced to put up a big sign behind the petitioners stating that Raley's did not approve of any solicitors at their store.
“Later on this same day, I went to Walmart and spoke to an Assistant Store Manager to inform Walmart of our campaign and intent to gather signatures in front of their store. He informed me that all petitioners needed to first get approval and schedule the times and dates in advance on Walmart's calendar through a Store Manager, and if the petitioners started petitioning without prior scheduling/approval, the sheriff would be called to force the petitioners to leave.”
The attorneys for Raley's say that their policy is supported by California law. The case they're relying on was decided in December 2012. It says that if a store is the “functional equivalent of a stand-alone store,” then it is not the equivalent of a town square, and thus not required to afford free speech protections. The rest of the case then describes various indicators as to what makes a store the functional equivalent of a stand-alone.
Their position is that all of the indicators must be present near the place of petitioning. Our position is that their presence anywhere in the shopping center or mall is sufficient to trigger the protections.
In the settlement and protocols, the County and the Sheriff acknowledge that free speech rights do indeed exist at private malls and shopping centers, though not at stand-alone stores nor right in front of the entrance (even the earlier cases said no to that). But for anyplace else, there will be a presumption that the area is protected for free speech purposes. The officer will not be put in the position of having to make a legal determination at the scene. As in similar situations, he/she will turn to the owner/manager and say, “This is a civil matter.” If the owner/manager wants the police to act, he/she will need to get a court order that a given space is, for some reason, either not protected, or is interfering with the normal course of business.
And why have we shifted the burden of proving that to the stores? Because (drum roll) you cannot deprive someone of an essential right without due process of the law. Fuentes v. Shevin. And the police should not be the tools of corporations in doing so.
I believe Sheriff Allman came to the same conclusion from the practical side of things. The settlement maximizes free speech, our most cherished right, while still protecting commercial interests. And it keeps his deputies from being put in the position of having to resolve disputes that are properly for the court. Everyone should support these protocols.
I am no longer an active member of the bar, so I cannot represent anyone.
Throughout this effort I have been supported by the good folks at the Mendocino Environmental Center. Their mission is to protect the Earth and to promote peace and social justice. Please consider becoming a member if you have not already. $40 per year. 106 W. Standley St, Ukiah, CA 95482. And listen to their radio station, KMEC 105.1FM (kmecradio.org) for more information about this and other important issues.
Thank you all for doing the good work, the essential work, of democracy.
Dennis O'Brien, Ukiah
THE POWER OF HEMP
AMERICA’S FAITH IN MEDIA AT ALL-TIME LOW
by Gregg Levine
Americans now trust television and print media about as much as they do the Internet, which is to say, not very much.
The latest edition of a Gallup poll that tracks confidence in media follows a decades-long trend that shows a declining faith in television and print news. The percentage of Americans that have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the three media formats now hover around one-fifth.
Twenty-two percent of respondents trust newspapers, 19 percent trust web-based news sites, and 18 percent say they trust TV. All three of those numbers are within the polls 4-point margin of error.
Faith in print media is down 29 points since its 1979 peak. TV peaked in 1993 with a 46 percent confidence rating. Oddly, Gallup hadn’t asked the question about the Internet since 1999, but the difference (from 21 percent then to 19 percent now) is statistically negligible.
While the numbers across all three venues are dreary, the trend lines are important. With the decline in faith comes a decline in traditional media’s ability to influence public opinion and political debate. If the trends continue (and it is hard to find a reason why they won’t), the Web would soon be the most influential media component in the national conversation.
Another interesting takeaway from this survey: Self-identified political conservatives trust in newspapers has tied its all-time low — 15% — while confidence among self-identified liberals, though still down over the last 10 years, is more than double that of conservatives: 34 percent.
Gallup does not say whether those that distrust newspapers actually read them.
There is, however, almost no split between liberals and conservatives when it comes to television — disdain for TV news spans the ideological divide.
You can trust us on that one.
(Courtesy, Al Jazeera America)
CANNABIS GROUP VOWS TO PROTECT MENDOCINO’S MOM AND POP GROWERS
by Jane Futcher
A new political action group that will advocate on behalf of local medical marijuana growers held its first public meeting Monday, June 16, at the Laytonville Grange.
The leaders of the Mendocino Cannabis Policy Council said they would work to ensure that county and state laws regulating medical marijuana are fair to mom and pop operations as well as local dispensaries.
The council was born earlier this month after two colorful and slightly chaotic public meetings at the Laytonville Grange with San Francisco political activists Matt Kumin and Terrance Allen of California Cannabis Action, a lobbying group. The duo warned farmers that unless they get involved in the local and state legislative and political process quickly, regulations could come down that would destroy their way of life.
“We don’t want to be treated in a Prohibitionist way anymore,” attorney Matt Kumin of California Cannabis Action told the Laytonville group on May 19. “We want fair licensing fees for cannabis farmers. We want them to be able to apply for licenses for production, distribution and cultivation.”
The Mendocino Cannabis Policy Council’s next community meeting is slated for 2 p.m., Tuesday, July 8, at the Little Lake Grange in Willits.
The urgency to unite growers stems from the fact that until late last month, two bills to regulate medical marijuana were making their way through the California Legislature. Tom Ammiano’s AB 1994, which Kumin and Allen supported and would have regulated marijuana much the way alcohol is, was voted down by the Assembly May 29.
State Senator Lou Correa’s SB 1262 is still alive, passing the State Assembly’s consumer protection committee on Tuesday, June 17. According to some pundits, SB 1262 stands a fair chance of making it to the Governor’s desk.
Co-sponsored by the League of California Cities and the California Police Chiefs Association, SB 1262 gives the Department of Consumer Affairs the authority to license dispensaries and play a role in crafting cannabis regulations. The bill continues to be heavily amended as it makes its way through the Legislature. According to Internet pro-cannabis Internet blogger Vern Nelson, the Correa bill contains a “poison pill.”
“Recommendations for medical marijuana,” Nelson writes on orangejuiceblog.com, “can now only be given by doctors who ‘have a bona fide doctor-patient relationship, with medical marijuana recommendations to be made by a patient’s primary care physician or by a physician and surgeon to whom the patient is referred by their primary care physician.’”
Nelson continues: “This would in effect cut off medical marijuana for the VAST majority of patients who need it and are currently (with any luck) getting it: Most primary care doctors are ignorant, indifferent, or hostile to medical marijuana, and for various good reasons are fearful of unpredictable, draconian Federal law.”
At Monday’s Cannabis Policy Council meeting, Humboldt environmentalist and lobbyist Hezekiah Allen, the Mendocino Cannabis Policy Council’s new Sacramento “liaison,” told the group he opposes the Correa bill and plans to ensure that Mendocino medical cannabis farmers have “a seat at the table” when lawmakers sit down to write a better, more farmer-friendly bill.
“The fundamental common ground is there needs to be a limit on how much cannabis people can grow,” Allen said. “Otherwise they’ll be larger and larger farms and the little guys will be out of business.”
Eleven members of the new steering committee introduced themselves at the Grange, declaring their intention to “interface” with medical cannabis growers and dispensary owners from across the county and describing the five committees they have created:
• The Structure Committee will shape the group’s format and operational functions.
• The Local Policy Initiative Committee will work to influence Mendocino County cannabis policies, including the creation of a 2015 special countywide ballot initiative asserting local growers’ demands if a statewide adult-use marijuana measure is on the ballot in 2016, as many political insiders think it will be. The committee will also work to support local candidates who understand the needs of medical cannabis farmers and the vital economic importance of the cannabis industry to Mendocino County.
• The Statewide Policy Initiative Committee will work to influence cannabis policy at the state level.
• The Fundraising Committee will raise money for lobbying and organizing efforts.
• The Media Committee will publicize the group’s work and reach out to the many businesses that profit from the cannabis industry in Mendocino.
“We need to influence legislation and regulation,” steering committee member Leo Stone told the group. “Get the money flowing, put people in office who represent our best interests and pass an initiative.”
The council encountered its first bit of discord after announcing its decision to co-sign a letter to the editors of local media from cannabis dispensary owner Sherry Glaser, whose Love In It cooperative was raided by the county and DEA in March. Her letter excoriated Mendocino County’s “Mendo shakedown” practice, in which the Major Crimes Task Force raids small local growers and dispensaries, destroys their plants and product, seizes their cash and often material assets, exacts fees and penalties for each plant and “worries about formal charges after the fact.”
“This program is not simply unlawful but criminal,” Glaser writes. “Many people are intimidated and living in fear. People are afraid to stand up for fear of retribution.”
The letter was quietly tabled when several in the audience expressed surprise that the council had endorsed the letter before giving the larger group a chance to digest and discuss the letter.
Humboldt dispensary owner and cultivator Kevin Jodrey of Humboldt County praised the Mendocino Cannabis Policy Council for taking the lead in organizing local growers.
“You are really the last of the cannabis culture — it’s your region,” Jodrey said. “If it’s not you that moves this forward, it will be screwed up. . . .I'm down as long as we can lay down core values so when I'm old I don't have to pay $600 an ounce for cannabis like they do Colorado. When it changes over the course of time, what happens to us? My family did time for this. I’ve paid the toll. We need to create some form of fairness. We’re right at the point where we see this potential.”
(Jane Futcher is the author of Women Gone Wild, a memoir about moving to Mendocino County. She lives seven miles south of Laytonville)
$8.22 IN THE BANK…
Subject: Happy Summer Solstice!
Please accept my most spiritually centered, sincere, enlightened, summer solstice greetings! Whereas my networking efforts with Washington D.C. participants for the past six months has not produced anything substantial, particularly in terms of doing direct action in the name of peace & justice and radical environmentalism, and whereas I need to move on from New Orleans where I have been assisitng the anarchist housing rights organizer “Bork,” I want you to give me cooperation to return to California. Hey, I need a ticket to get from New Orleans to San Francisco, and I need a place to go to upon arrival. Have you heard all of this before from me? Yes, you have! Is this all kinda stupid, maybe a little crazy, maybe a little postmodern idiotic? Well, ya, maybe it is. Am I feeling really frustrated and aggravated in postmodern secular America right now? Well, no, I am not, because I am identified with the eternal spiritual absolute, and not the body nor the mind. I'd like to leave New Orleans as soon as possible. I'm tapped out after sharing all of my resources with Bork for the last four months. I've got $40 bucks in my wallet, and $8.22 in the bank. If you also identify with the spiritual absolute, as opposed to the ridiculous postmodern whatever-the hell-it-is, then I want you to assist me in getting back to California, and I need a place to go to upon arrival. P.S. If socially knowing me in this absurdity of postmodernity is bothersome to you, there is nothing at all that I can do about it. On the other hand, if you think that where I am coming from is sane, then we don't have a problem. It's all really great, right?
Happy summer solstice, Craig Louis Stehr