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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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Start Time: Monday, July 28, 2014 @ 3:28pm
Location: Bell Springs Road/Milstead Road
Agencies Responding: CAL FIRE - Laytonville Fire - Palo Verde Fire
Vegetation: Grass to Woodlands
Acreage: 21 Acres ~ 100% contained Monday, July 28, 2014 @ 5:38pm
Resources: Air Attack ~ 2 Tankers ~ Copter ~ 11 Engines ~ 3 Crews ~ 2 Dozers ~ Battalion Chief ~ Prevention
Current Resources: 5 Engines ~ 2 Crews
Cause: Under Investigation

CAL FIRE will be doing extensive mop-up today.

The Springs Incident was only 1 of 4 fires that Mendocino Unit was responding to all within an hour. The other 3 were contained at ¼ acre to 3 acres. Unit Chief Christopher Rowney wants to remind residents, "with the ongoing drought increasing the high fire hazard conditions everyone needs to do their part "one less spark, one less wildfire".

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(Note: This is an updated version of a previous post. It includes a cursory account of where this terrible matter stands as of Monday. We'll have daily updates.)

by Bruce Anderson

Steven Berry is a Marine. He barely survived heavy fighting in both Iraq and Afghanistan, suffering such horrific injuries in Afghanistan that he was medically retired after ten years of service, four of those years as a Marine recruiter. The young father is now classified as one hundred percent disabled.

Barely emerging from the Middle East with his life, last week Mendocino County took another Taliban-quality whack at Berry when the County descended on his well-kept Ukiah home to steal his children and arrest his wife for a domestic assault that didn't happen.

District Attorney Eyster took one look at the police report and tossed it, but the two little girls were still in a foster home pending a Monday morning hearing in Judge Cindee Mayfield's court. (That hearing is described below.)

The confiscation of his two babies, ages two and one, has not helped the Marine's struggle to get himself all the way back from the terrors he's survived. The arrest of Mrs. Berry was not warranted, but the taking of his two children by Ms. Dale and Ms. Myer of Mendocino County's Children's Protective Services was, to say the least, arbitrary and not justified by any known domestic circumstances in the Berry home.

Mr. and Mrs. Berry's devotion to their girls is not in question; if it were their many friends and neighbors would put those questions to rest. But nobody asked friends and neighbors. Mendo CPS just grabbed the kids and drove off with them.

Lacey Berry does double duty as Steve's wife and in-home caregiver. The Marine, understandably, suffers frequent nightmares and flashbacks. He is medicated and commutes back and forth to the Bay Area for therapy at the VA Hospital. He also regularly sees a doctor in Ukiah. The attractive young family is presently on a waiting list to get into an intensive PTSD in-house program in Palo Alto. And now this trauma.

On Monday night last week, Steve Berry woke up from a frenzied nightmare imagining that his wife was attacking him. He called the police. His wife had not touched him. It was all in the Marine's haunted head.

Somehow the normally sensible Ukiah cops determined that Mrs. Berry had ignited the Marine's late-night terror. “Probable spousal abuse,” the cops called it in lieu of any evidence that spousal abuse had occurred. Five of them arrested the wife and left the hallucinating Marine alone with the two babies. A neighbor promised to check on the Berry home while Mom was held overnight at the Mendocino County Jail.

Mrs. Berry tells us what happened next. “I got bailed out. I went home. My girls had been up for hours because my husband was still asleep due to his medications. We went straight to all his doctors who wrote notes to the DA, the police department etc. The charges were all rejected on Thursday.”

But the previous day, a Wednesday, and two days after the Marine's screaming nightmare, the two social workers, Dale and Myers, appeared, just as the Berrys were getting back to their usual state of difficult-normal.

“They told me they were there because of the domestic violence charge," Mrs. Berry recalls. "They had us do a family plan where they wanted my husband to leave, which I didn't understand when I'm his caregiver. He walks with a cane, but they made him walk out. After that they gave me a drug test. I said I would pop for thc but that I have my 420 card and also an opiate from a prescription for dental work. I just didn't have the bottle that day. So they said they would bring in a police officer to give me a sobriety test. I asked the CPS woman what that would consist of, and she said a breathalyzer, touch your nose, walk a line etc. The police officer came. He was very nice but never gave me a sobriety test. The 4 of them, 2 officers, 2 CPS agents, went outside my home (which they mentioned is beautiful and clean) called me back in and said they are ‘detaining’ my children.”

The CPS workers were calling the tune. They had refused to read the letter in which the Marine's doctor explained that the DA had already tossed the charges against Mrs. Berry and that her husband, not to mention the couple's two children, needed to be with his family in the marital home of Mrs. and Mrs. Berry and their two babies. But the two social workers proceeded to take the kids anyway, oblivious or uncaring that Mrs. Berry is Sgt. Berry's full-time caregiver. He needs her, he needs his children, she needs him and her children. They're a family.

But Sgt. Berry now has a new trauma to go with the combat-induced traumas he lives with. Neither he nor Mrs. Berry know where or with whom his little girls are. This is a brand new terror for Mrs. Berry who doesn't remember seeing anything like a warrant or other official order authorizing the taking of her children.

CPS Mendocino County is not known for its intelligence or compassion. They are famously incompetent, as again established in the recent Wilson Tubbs case where they placed an infant with a known Fort Bragg meth head who proceeded to beat the child to death. Mendocino County has been ordered by the federal court to pay the dead infant's mother a hundred thousand dollars.

Mr. and Mrs. Berry have an attorney and an array of witnesses, including an official from the VA, who will appear with them in Judge Mayfield's courtroom Monday morning.

“I’ve never been away from my kids this long,” Mom says. “Ever. I'm a stay-at-home mom and caregiver to my husband. I just can't believe this happening. I'm sorry I'm crying. I hope this makes sense.”

It doesn't make sense.

Sgt. Berry gives it all he's got to beat back terrorists 13,000 miles from Ukiah only to be terrorized by Mendocino County? In Ukiah? In his home? Which CPS Mendocino County ordered him out of?

Monday morning. Mrs. Lacey went to court only to have the matter put over until tomorrow. According to the detention narrative produced by Mendocino County CPS, Sgt. Berry's children were taken because CPS was afraid that Berry would return to his own home and not honor the “safety plan” that CPS had Mrs. Berry sign.

It was not explained how exactly Sgt. Berry is a menace to his own children. It's not a crime to wake up screaming. Normally, the abusive person is asked to leave the home. But no one in the Berry home had been abused. Mrs. Berry had allegedly abused Sgt. Berry, but all she'd done, as she has done on countless late-night occasions, was to calm him when he woke up from a dream that he was back in Afghanistan and the Taliban were trying to kill him.

Mrs. Berry did nothing to warrant her arrest, less than nothing to warrant the loss of her children.

The Berrys are now concerned that their family is over, that their children are permanently gone, that Sgt. Berry will be left to cope as best he can without his wife and two little girls.

Welcome home, Sarge.

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THE SAD SAGA of the Berry family, though extreme, seems to be the tip of a much larger problem, specifically the suspiciously large number of women being arrested for domestic assault. The numbers seem to rival male woman beaters, and the numbers indicate that too many County cops seem happy to haul women off for no reason at all. I talked to a woman who was arrested a good hour after she and her boyfriend had argued. By the time two County officers arrived in response to her 911 call, placed by the woman in a panic after the boyfriend had grabbed her, ripping her clothing, the argument was over, the boyfriend fast asleep, the woman getting ready for bed. The scene was calm. The cops should have turned around and left. Obviously. But the boyfriend, roused from a deep sleep, said the woman had pushed him, and off she went in handcuffs. And she was treated with an entirely unnecessary harshness for the next four hours. Very few of the domestic violence cases get past the DA's office because they are so clearly bogus. It seems past time for police leadership in the County to take a look at arrest policies.

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FROM THE HANDBOOK produced by the Women's Justice Center, Santa Rosa (707 575-3150)

One of the effects of stricter laws and policies directing police to treat domestic violence as serious violent crime has been skyrocketing arrest rates of women for domestic violence. In some police departments the percentage of domestic violence arrests of females has shot up to 30 to 40 percent of the arrests. What's most revealing about this massive shift toward arresting more females is the fact that conviction rates for males vs. females remains basically unchanged. Between 90 and 95 percent of domestic violence convictions continue to be convictions of males. Or looking at it from another angle, a study in San Diego found that in cases in which females were arrested for domestic violence, only 6% of those cases resulted in prosecution.

What these and many other studies strongly suggest is that the evidence in most female arrests is so flimsy or non-existent that prosecutors can't justify filing charges, or even if the prosecutor does file, the evidence doesn't stand up in court and the case is quickly dismissed. Clearly, in a significant number of these cases, the officers are mistakenly arresting the victim of domestic violence and not the perpetrator. This is also the conclusion that we and many other victim advocates around the country have come to in dealing with these cases on a day by day basis. All too often, when women are arrested for domestic violence you're dealing with a victim who has been mistakenly designated as a perpetrator.

Women's advocates around the country feel the skyrocketing arrests of females for domestic violence stems from a combination of causes. In some cases outright officer hostility against women, or officer resentment of having to treat domestic violence as serious crime, motivates the arrest. In other cases officers are failing to properly determine the dominant aggressor. In a common variation of this problem, the officer fails to correctly identify defensive wounds and as a result they are arresting women who defend themselves, especially those women who defend themselves successfully. And in another whole set of cases, there are indications that domestic violence perpetrators themselves have gotten increasingly sophisticated at turning the law on women by doing such things as calling 911 themselves or by purposely injuring themselves before police arrive.

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Two steps backward, one step forward

by Sheila Dawn Tracy

Overcast skies on Monday, July 7th brought relief of the triple digit temperatures that had plagued inland residents over the weekend. The KZYX Board of Directors met that evening in an air conditioned room at the Willits Library. All members of the Board were present as July 1st begins the station's fiscal year with the principle agenda item being the review, discussion and subsequent vote to accept the proposed budget.

Unfortunately, I was delayed by an attempt to retrieve a Board member's forgotten notebook from the Space Theater and missed the beginning of the meeting. It seems that my letter to the Board, presented at the May meeting, was in the notebook and contained the only available contact information.

Upon entering, my attention was immediately drawn to the presence of professional recording equipment. It was there to record a dramatic confrontation between two Board members, John Sakowicz and Jane Futcher.

According to Sakowicz, a confidential email had been sent to the other Board members in advance of the upcoming meeting, informing them that he wanted a discussion of staff accountability to be placed on the agenda.

A letter written by an acquaintance, Kathryn Massey, to the General Manager, John Coate, concerning the unprofessional behavior of two staff members towards her on the KZYX premises had received no response. Not to be deterred, Massey aired her complaint in the July 6th edition of the Ukiah Daily Journal (and in the AVA), stating that along with Sakowicz not getting engineering support from the station's staff during his program, she had been subjected to the indignity of being screamed at by one staffer and spat at by another — acts she considered to be vindictive retribution for complaints both she and Sakowicz had filed with the FCC.

Seven months after the application for renewal was submitted to the FCC, the station's license still hangs in limbo. Legal fees are $8K higher than expected due to what Coate referred to in his budget notes as “problem people.”

Back at the Board meeting, Sakowicz was interrupted in his comments during a now routine agenda item noted as Matters from Board Members. As reported, Futcher rose from her chair and shouted for him to stop speaking as what he was addressing was a confidential personnel problem. Sakowicz replied that he had not named any individuals and was entitled to the same three minutes that were given to members of the public. Board President, Eliane Herring, gaveled Sakowicz into silence, declaring he was out of order and threatened to call a recess of the meeting if he did not comply.

Not having witnessed the above scenario, I called Futcher to get her perspective.

She commented that she was not opposed to having a private conversation by Board members on staff accountability, but felt that a public discussion was inappropriate. She felt that Sakowicz's repeated attacks on staff was bad for staff morale, affirming her belief that the GM is responsible for staff behavior and the conversation should take place at that level. Futcher added that in her previous experience on the KZYX Board, a discussion of the spitting incident would not have been permitted and was the reason she prevented Sakowicz from continuing his remarks.

Director Paul Lambert gave a report on planned outreach efforts to members through an electronic newsletter to be written by a “non member of the Board volunteer on a regular basis.” The intent is to keep members informed on the actions of the Board and the staff, on programming news, station events and volunteer opportunities as well as balance the image of KZYX from recent negative publicity. He also mentioned that the guests of upcoming public affairs shows will be announced in local newspapers. Listeners will be encouraged to visit the KZYX Facebook page as an alternative source of information which focuses on programmers and their activities.

An update on the July 25th Birthday Bash & Variety Show was given. Scheduled for Saturday, October 11th from 2-7 p.m. at the Boonville Fairgrounds, the event is a celebration of the station's continued success. Local bands and local talent will be featured with many contributions from the station's programmers. Certificates of appreciation will be awarded with input from KZYX staff. Local vendors and merchants will be encouraged to participate through vendor booths. It is a fundraiser as well as a chance for the community to connect with the station in a party atmosphere. Food and alcohol will be available and a raffle is planned. Volunteers will be “selectively recruited” for numerous tasks. Co-chair, Jane Futcher suggested a dunking booth which was a source of much humor from Board members, one of whom jokingly contributed the idea that they should have two booths side by side in which GM Coate and Board member Sakowicz were the candidates for dunking to see which booth earned the most money. Admission fee: $5.

House parties for the purpose of creating goodwill in the community, sharing information and raising money are being scheduled for the coast, Willits and Ukiah areas.

General Manager's Report

The May pledge drive raised $52K — considerably less than the goal of $85K. Due to revenue shortfall and an expected drop of $50K from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) grant, Coate has taken a cautious approach to incurring the additional expense of the Ukiah project at this time. The station's projected income for 2015 is $570K while projected expenses are estimated at $553K, leaving only $17K of discretionary reserves. The revised estimate for the signal relocation and Ukiah studio is almost $63K — an increase of $9K since the plan was first proposed in May. No mention was made at any time by either the GM or the Board of the $9K that was earmarked for the Ukiah studio in the 2014 budget. At last years budget meeting, Director Sakowicz was assured that the $6K raised by the Ukiah community a decade ago for a Ukiah studio would be matched by the station in an effort to quell sustained criticism regarding abuse of the public trust in breaking agreements by a previous Board.

Due to problems with the station's signal this Spring, $7.5K more was spent for engineering consultants than was budgeted. Interference in the transmission line was found to be caused by a bad cable inside the transmitter. An additional problem of signal strength was solved by realigning the 'send' antenna which had been knocked out of position. Despite acquiring back up equipment for various links in the signal chain, the transmitters and transmission lines have been in continuous service for ten years which, according to Coate, makes future equipment failures likely.

The station plans to do a summer mailing to bolster its revenues during the lean summer months. Postage and printing costs totaled over $5K in 2014 and more than $7K is budgeted for 2015.

Highlights of the 2015 Budget

The three salaried staff employees will get a pay raise due to an increase in the minimum wage to $9 effective July 1st. To avoid being paid time and a half for overtime, currently MCPB employees are paid twice the minimum wage.

$15K is budgeted for broadcasting equipment. This will include funding for a taller replacement pole for the Philo to Cold Springs STL to place it higher than the surrounding trees allowing more time to acquire the funding needed for the Ukiah project.

More money is budgeted for freelance news consultants though how much is unclear as the $27K figure also includes the cost of the new website mobile app.

Requests for the archiving of programs has resulted in the station subscribing to an archiving service from Pacifica for a monthly fee of $150. All programming will soon be available “on demand” and provide easier access to programming on mobile devices.

Revenues from donations are projected at $350K, up $7K from 2014. Hosted house parties focused on high end donors and increased revenue from BOM (bill of the month) donations are hoped to offset CPB cuts as that grant is tied to the amount of the station's earned income. $5K is currently brought in through BOM donations.

Income from fundraising events is estimated at $20K, up from an all time low of $9,200 in 2013 but still far short of the $30k raised in 2012. Planned events include a continued partnership with Tim Bray, a producer of Celtic concerts, participation in Beerfest, a comprehensive raffle, an online auction with Nevada Public Radio and the 25th Birthday Celebration event.

Underwriting income remains projected at $40k though income from underwriting trades is reduced by half to $20k.

The GM's plans to help pay for the Ukiah project through increased membership in Lake County by boosting its signal to reach that area has hit a snag. Mt. Konocti, the planned location for the signal booster is outside the station's legal perimeter. An alternative location, Cow Mountain has the drawback of less coverage and an increased possibility of interference with the 91.5 signal.

No programming information was included in the GM report but in spite of promises to include Doug McKenty as one of the rotating hosts in a reformatted listener call in show, a new show, Discussion, was aired this month in the former Open Lines time slot without him. W Dan Houck and Angela DeWitt were selected to be part of the four person rotating team in addition to the shows they currently host. In a phone conversation, McKenty related that after the new show was long overdue, he called Aigner, the Program Director to inquire why he had not been contacted. Her response was that it was his responsibility, not hers, to initiate the conversation. Apparently, the reception was so frigid, Mc Kenty decided to opt out stating he could no longer work in a hostile environment. He now produces an online video show called The Shift on Mendocino TV.

Public Comment

Six members of the public including three former Board members gave comments to the Board.

I spoke first, asking why the agenda did not include a review of volunteer policy as was agreed to at the May membership meeting. I reminded the Board that I had been recognized as Volunteer of the Month by station staff in '07 for my contributions as a news reporter and engineer of the Friday evening news programs. Now I had been banned from volunteering without even having a chance to present the facts of the events surrounding that decision.

I stated that if the Board was sincere in its desire to collaborate with people who have different views from their own, then they needed to learn to speak the language of respect and quoted some passages made by President Herring and GM, John Coate, in the legal brief prepared by MCPB's legal team in Wash. D.C., Garvey Schubert & Barer which was sent to each of the five people who filed Informal Objections with the FCC. Both Herring and Coate referred to me as a heckler and Herring dismissed my comments at Board meetings as part of a group of “professional dissenters who show up to hector the Board and act in a rude and vitriolic manner.” I noted that the present meeting was the first time the public would be allowed to comment on Action items on the agenda, a result of the suggestion I made in calling a point of process at last year's budget meeting when I was gaveled to silence by the Board President and declared “out of order.” To characterize my challenge to the Board as hectoring is one more example of the false assertions that peppered the declarations of both Herring and Coate in the legal document in regard to my involvement with the station. Such distortions make it difficult to improve communication with Board and management.

Erin Carney asked Sakowicz why he persisted in such negative and strange behavior, stating that it was unclear to her why he was on the Board. Sakowicz responded that he saw himself as a whistleblower and a catalyst for change.

King Collins asked the Board why they were ignoring the dialogue of members and listeners that had been going on through the kzyxtalk listserve. He stated that the Board needed to engage with those who have opinions rather than exclude them. He referred to the information he presented at the last meeting regarding the station's confidentiality policy being in conflict with the California Code for Non Profits, remarking that not one word of response was elicited from any Board member. He expressed displeasure with the conference call set up by Director Campbell between members and the Citizens Advisory Board (CAB) where access to the documents under discussion was not available to all and a three minute limit was given to all who were not on the CAB.

Paul Lambert asked to respond and continued though the Board President denied his request. He loudly accused Collins of repeatedly lying, making attacks against him and trying to trap him. When Herring tried to prevent Collins from responding, Collins stated he had a right to defend himself when publicly accused of lying. King heatedly said the situation needed resolution through dialogue; that Lambert needed to… Lambert rose from his seat and bellowed, “DO WHAT?” Herring pounded the gavel excitedly saying that the situation would be resolved offline! When Madrigal asked what did that mean, she replied “Not in this room.” Sakowicz quickly quipped, “In the parking lot?” dissolving the tension with humor. Lambert later apologized to both the Board and Collins for his outburst.

Fran Koliner spoke about not knowing what was going on at the station since she left the Board. She didn't know how the station had resolved problems with the signal going off the air until she read the GM's report and was glad to hear that a regular newsletter was planned to keep members informed.

Former Board member, David Hopmann said he would be away for the July 25th Birthday Bash. Bringing attention to one of the raffle prizes of horse manure delivery, he stated if he won that prize, he didn't want to it delivered to his apartment, winning smiles from around the room. Not content to leave the matter there, he continued that he thought there were several people in the room deserving of that particular prize, a comment that only Board President Herring found amusing.

He added that criticisms of the GM came with the territory stating that previous GMs had suffered attacks as well. He reminded the Board that they were all elected in an open election and all but one of them shared similar views, advising them not to back down.

The final comment came from Lindy Johnson who said that the station was much better than when she first started listening to it thirteen years ago. She felt the programming and DJs were much more interesting. She was so happy with the station, she planned to increase her donation this year.

I asked the Board to respond to why the volunteer policy was not on the agenda. Herring asserted she never agreed to it. Member Bob Page said he didn't remember the Board voting on it. I asked whether the agreement was recorded in the May meeting minutes. It wasn't. It appeared that the entire Board was suffering from a case of collective amnesia until Director Madrigal claimed responsibility for not following up on adding it to the Board agenda. Board member Courtney spoke saying it was her understanding that it was not a Board decision.

I asked who made that decision and why was it not discussed in public as promised? One of the station's Bylaws state that any decision reached by the Board outside of a regular Board meeting must be approved by the Board at the next meeting.

Madrigal backpedaled furiously, proposing that a handout of the volunteer policy be available to the public at meetings.

Page made a counter-proposal to make a commitment to me to respond to my letter.

Courtney falsely stated that I had been notified that the matter was not a Board decision. I corrected her statement that her response to me was that I did not have right to volunteer.

I insisted on transparency of Board decisions.

Madrigal suggested a compromise that guidelines for accepting or rejecting a volunteer be developed with input from the GM. Coate agreed to have a discussion of guidelines with her.

The Board moved on, taking up a general discussion of the proposed budget. Details of the archiving service were elaborated upon. Coate answered the Board questions on reduced employee insurance costs. Madrigal had questions on how to make progress on the Ukiah studio. She asked if fundraising goals were met in the future, could a specific sum be set aside for the project?

Making payroll was Coate's priority. Page thought infrastructure maintenance costs were a higher priority than expansion plans. Herring suggested that the planned donor parties might be a source of designated revenue.

Public Comment on the Budget

Erin Carney wanted to bring back Prairie Home Companion. Coate responded that it would cost the station $18K as it was carried by one of the services to which the station does not subscribe.

Hopmann asked if there were offsets — money saved from adding the Ukiah studio. Coate answered no, it was all an outlay of cash.

Collins asked for a more comprehensive report on the satellite studios. He said there was a curious lack of dialogue with the people who were interested in station affairs, reminding the Board of the $6K raised by inland residents years ago. He called those funds illusionary.

My comments on the budget expressed a desire to see more fundraising events in the community rather than fundraising directed toward private donor parties. I recalled former Board member Laviva Dakirs advocating for the hiring of a Fundraising Coordinator which would save the cost of staff time and energy. I noted that Madrigal had suggested reviewing fundraising costs to see why they were high, neither recommendation taking root. I pointed out that in the station's public file, under the job description of News Director, it states that the News Director has the power to negotiate the budget of the news department with the GM. In the current configuration of hiring the news staff as independent contract consultants, that power is negated. I felt that working without vacation pay and health coverage was contrary to what had been stated previously as the desire to have staff treated and paid well. I thought that the fact that the News Department was not getting the same package as the rest if the staff was not only unfair but affected the quality of the news being produced.

The Board voted unanimously to accept the proposed budget.

Due to the length of the meeting approaching three hours and the scope of the information provided, the CAB committee reports will be focus of a subsequent article.

No mention of the date of the next Board meeting was made. Following the quarterly schedule of the Board, the next meeting will be on Monday, October 6th in Anderson Valley.

CAB Reports to the Board

Stuart Campbell, the liaison Director of the KZYX & Z Board to the Community Advisory Board (CAB) gave a summary of two reports produced by the recently formed group of community volunteers whose mandate is to be a vehicle for effective community input to the station's governing board.

Both reports can be found on the station's website,

The first report tallied the results of the membership survey that was included in the election ballot package in March. It also included critiques of the current survey as well as previous online and commercial surveys.

Of the 782 forms that were returned, (representing one third of the membership vote) 591 responded to the questionnaire.

The survey stated that as a paying member of KZYX, an assumption of approval of the station was made. The survey was designed to ascertain the level of member approval. A second assumption was noted: If no response was made, it would be registered as what was considered to be a neutral response or Option B—Everything is mostly OK given past financial circumstances. Option A indicated a desire for change while Option C was a vote for the status quo.

Results: Option A — 34% voted for some changes

Option B —47% noted above as mostly OK

Option C—20% voted for continuing on as is

Without adding those that did not respond to the middle category, that percentage drops to 33%, with the remaining 13% in the grey area of the unknown— a much different picture of member response.

Of those wanting change, the highest percentage, 36%, chose the area of Local News. The second highest percentage, 22%, was in the category of Station Operations. Other categories: Talk show programming, 20%; National & International news, 12%; Music programming, 10%.

116 people added unsolicited written responses which added to the difficulty of the survey for the small group in terms of interpreting and categorizing the added information.

The breakdown was the following:

38%-Specific program changes

19%-Enthusiastic support of the station

17%- Constructive criticism

11%- Specific reference to Members for Change/more democracy/more transparency in station governance

6%- Preference for local news in the KMUD/Annie Esposito format

4%- Concern about broadcast equipment problems

4%-Concerns about the questionnaire

Some of the conclusions drawn by the CAB were that the survey was successful due to the high level of response; that inclusion in the election mailing lent credibility & added convenience to the survey and that the method should be continued as a surveying mechanism for future mailings to the members.

The CAB saw the fact that the survey only sampled the constituency of the members in a positive light by eliminating confusion of the population to which the results can be attributed. It can also be viewed in the light of being a limitation in that only a small fraction of the listening audience was reached.

The survey concludes that "concrete evidence was provided that the greatest proportion of the membership approve of the station." The added phrase "although many are already aware of this" indicates that those interpreting the survey may not have accounted for their own bias in favor of a desirable conclusion.

One critique the CAB did make was that an additional category of entertainment should have been included to the choices of programming where members would like to see change.

Although a great deal of good information was successfully gathered by the survey and those who did the difficult work of analyzing the results should be appreciated for their hard work, time and effort, there are several areas of the survey that merit a closer look.

The fact that the first question had not one but two assumptions attached to it did not seem to warrant concern by some members of the CAB.

The American Heritage dictionary defines assumption as a statement accepted as true without proof. A critique of the conclusion could be that the assumptions prejudiced the results. For instance, isn't it possible or even probable that some people may donate to the station because they approve of a program or a programmer rather than as a statement of approval of the station in general?

Another problem with the survey was the lack of transparency in the CAB process for the selection of the questions content and design. Who were the primary architects? What was the discussion among CAB members? The answers to those questions are unknown as the entire process occurred online after the December 2013 public meeting with zero input from the community.

The online public was invited to participate in a teleconference call in late June when the six CAB members voted on approval of the final two reports. However, those five members of the public did not have access to the documents under discussion. Campbell said the process of conference calling may be a way to solve the problem of the geographic distance between members so that they could meet more frequently.

It is understood that for volunteers that are new to the process of working by committee in the public interest, there is a steep learning curve and that through each effort more of the wrinkles of process and inclusion will be smoothed out. The community at large benefits from the dedication and commitment of each of these six individuals.

The second report from the CAB was a recommendation for improving communication with listeners.

In an introductory statement, the report acknowledges "the perception within the listening community of a lack of transparency into operations, internal decisions and governance of the station." It continues that, "While some feel shut out from making a positive contribution, current members of the board, staff and programmers feel misunderstood by being perceived as responding negatively."

To assist in the smooth functioning of the station, the CAB recommends:

The station air regular, short "News of the Station" segments to provide information on station operations including equipment problems, programming and programmer changes and Bd. of Director issues. The segments would be prerecorded, repeated at various listening times and be consistent in timing to allow anticipation by listeners.

Content would include controversial issues, be free of opinion and done with the perspective of a friendly conversation with listeners. In times of no dramatic or serious change, segments can focus on personnel, volunteer or programmer bios or station announcements.

Campbell spoke of a possible coordination with information that Director Lambert would be collecting for the electronic newsletter. Also mentioned was the use of an independent website, the KZYX Facebook page to generate listener feedback.

It is hoped that better communication between the station and the listeners would promote a sense of community that will help diffuse controversy.

Originally, the idea proposed to the CAB at its first public meeting was to have an interactive live program in the vein of a CAB or Board Open Lines. Pre recorded segments are still only one-way communication which is a large part of the current problem that remains unresolved. How can the CAB and the Board use the airwaves to have a dialogue with listeners?

Fear of hostility and fear of being live on air are the main stumbling blocks to moving forward with the idea of allowing a true conversation to happen. Perhaps breaking communication down into two progressive steps — first, more information to ratchet down what the CAB report describes as "highly emotional and extravagant public commentary" and secondly, should stormy waters subside into relative calm, provide the missing element of interactive dialogue of listener concerns on all issues through the station's airwaves.

This is a thoughtful and courageous first step towards making positive connections.

Bob Bushansky, the only CAB member present at the July 7th Board of Directors meeting where the report was given, spoke of the difficulty of coordinating the schedule of its members to meet physically or electronically as well as the varying amounts of energy each individual was willing to devote as volunteers to the considerable tasks of gathering, analyzing and reporting community input. He stated that he understood why it was so difficult to get a CAB to operate on a consistent and long term basis since the number of people willing to serve the community in this capacity was not very large.

When Campbell told the Board that they could give direction to the CAB in regard to areas they would like more information, an array of diverse questions were asked.

How to get information on non members?

How to have the views heard of the 34% that wanted change?

What were the current listening habits of the the community?

What specific changes were desired?

Bushansky cautioned the Bd. against giving the CAB too broad a mandate as the CAB was trying to reach consensus on ideas they had been working on. He thought it may not be possible to expand the scope of their focus into many different new directions.

He also acknowledged the efforts of Campbell in being a guide to the CAB, saying that Campbell had done a great deal of work to help the group function smoothly.

Campbell told Board members that information had also been gathered but not yet coordinated into usable data through questions asked at the recent pledge drive. He added that a better job needed to be done in training the phone volunteers and thought that the absence of a Membership Coordinator during the drive contributed to the problem.

He said he would send an email to the each of them to get additional questions and responses which he would then draft into a letter for the Board to review before sending it on to the CAB.

The Board thanked Campbell for his efforts.

* * *


Ramblin’ Jack Elliott Rolls On

With Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Jack Kerouac, Bill Clinton, and a Cast of Thousands

by Steve Heilig

Not so long ago, many American kids dreamed of becoming cowboys - but of course few really did. Teenager Elliot Charles Adnopoz of 1940s Brooklyn, however, made his dream come true, running away from home to live the cowboy life. While that career choice didn't last too long, it influenced the rest of his life, as he evolved into Ramblin' Jack Elliott, a true American musical hero - often called an "icon," a "living legend," a "pioneer." All of which he is.

Ramblin' Jack has lived in west Marin County for well over two decades. He was born on August 1st at least eight decades ago, but as he notes below, he is now "aging backwards." Hearing and seeing him play his guitar and sing, one tends to believe him. He still tours consistently, but given that "airports drive me crazy," his travels tend to be literally on the road, as he has been famed for since the 1950s. And all that traveling meant he had memorable encounters and friendships with many renowned figures - some of the most famed in modern American culture. Yet Jack himself remains about as down-to-earth a guy as one could ever meet, more prone to talk about transmissions and horses than anything else - although he'll talk about just about anything.

His musical career has been up and down, with fame first garnered in the 1960s, then a relatively fallow period, then a resurgence with his first Grammy for his CD "South Coast" in 1995 - in the "folk" category - and then another, for "blues," in 2009 for "A Stranger Here." He still tours, plays benefits, and sails a small boat on Tomales Bay.

So, how does a nice Jewish boy named Eliot Adnopoz from New York City become a folk legend named Ramblin’ Jack Elliott?

Well, I’ve been nice, but I wasn’t very Jewish. My dad was a doctor and the phone was always ringin’ all night long and he was running out on house calls to deliver babies and such. When I was nine I saw a rodeo in Madison Square Garden and when Gene Autry came splashing in on his horse through a disc of white paper with his hat saddle and spurs and came galloping around the arena that was it for me. I was a cowboy in my heart from then on.

And soon you were gone on the road yourself….

In September 1945 the war had just ended and I was fourteen and I heard hoofbeats on the street and it was a real cowboy. Not long after I took off with a couple of poets, hitchhiking, and at a truckstop a driver had room for only one person and I took it and never saw them again.

How long were you gone that time before your parents started looking for you? There’s this "missing person" sign from then your parents made that ends "May be on a ranch. Parents not opposed to him staying on ranch."

You think they wanted to get rid of me? They were tired of me roping the furniture. Anyway, with the cowboys I found I lived on flapjacks and one old rodeo clown knew my folks were lookin’ for me and said “If you stay here you will end up being a cowboy, but if you go to high school and get your dee-ploma you can do anything, including being a cowboy.” So I went home and thanked my parents for inviting me back.

How’d you pick up the guitar?

I was just strumming a bit but when I went back I got more serious about it.

And then something very important happened in your life, about 1951 – you met Woody Guthrie. His daughter once said you became his closest friend.

I was hanging out in Greenwich Village – this is a very unromantic story, I wish I could say I met Woody changing trains in a yard in Omaha, or something – but I’d heard from other singers he was not feeling very good already, and called him up. We spent a lot of time together over the next few years, did some travelin’, and sang a lot of songs together. He was a great influence and some of his songs are some of the greatest poetry describing man’s inhumanity and with some good ideas on how the world could maybe be a better place to live. He was the Walt Whitman of the working man, and he thought the communists had some good ideas and that caused him some trouble but they wouldn’t really have him as he was a bit too sloppy of dress.

Around then, I heard that Jack Kerouac read the entire manuscript of “On the Road” to you – how long did that take?

Three days, and three bottles of wine. I think he had a thing for my girlfriend. He came around many times to visit, along with other authors and poets.

Well, somewhere it says that both Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg thought you were the one who was very good at stealing other guys’ girlfriends…

Those writers were very biased, you know.

Then you got married and moved first to Hollywood and then to London…

We got to London in 1955 and were in and out of there for six years, with my wife Jan – I mean June – I crossed wives there, Jan’s another wife... we had a great time traveling around Europe on a Vespa motor scooter. Anyway, back in London they had these big tabloids and I recall seeing one reading “FILM STAR DIES” and it was one of June’s ex-boyfriends, a cat named James Dean who was just starting out. I’d met him some and serenaded him some in his white Porsche – the first Porsche in America, and the one he died in here in California.

When you got back to New York, there was this early sixties “great folk scare” scene going on…

That’s right, but I wasn’t aware of it as such; when you are in the middle of something it’s not like it was on TV or something.

And there was this other nice non-Jewish boy named Bob Zimmerman, or Dylan, around. He was a young kid who wanted to be a singer.

Yeah, Bob had just hitched in from Minnesota, to see Woody as much as anything, and was only 19 years old. I was there too, so we met.

In his book “Chronicles’ Dylan wrote, after he heard one of your records: “Damn this guy was great… he was so confident it made me sick… Elliott was far beyond me… I’d have to block him out of my mind, forget this thing, tell myself I hadn’t heard him and he didn’t exist. He was overseas in Europe, anyway, in a self-imposed exile. The U.S. hadn’t been ready for him. Good. I was hoping he’d stay gone. ” It sounds like you gave the young Dylan an existential crisis!

I didn’t mean to – I’d never heard of him yet at that point. But later I learned his song “Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right” from his record, over a bottle of Cutty Sark – the one with the clipper ship on the label – stuck in a nice warm cabin in a snowstorm for three days, - that was some kind of speed record for me as it usually takes me three to six months to learn a song – and when it thawed out we drove my 1950 Chevy truck motorhome up to New York City where they were having an open mike all sorts of folksingers, would-be folksingers, and has-beens, with my pals Dave Van Ronk, Peter and Paul – Mary was out shopping I believe - and I thought I’d get up on stage as the previous singer had been booed off the stage. I sang “Don’t Think Twice” and Bob was there, and it’s dark in there with only a little light sort of glinting off his halo and he said “I relinquish it to you.” I’d never had anything relinquished to me but it’s one of my favorite songs ever since.

Van Ronk wrote in his book that your parents finally came to see you play around then and your mom loudly said “Look at those fingers – such a surgeon he could have been!”

Yeah, sometimes they never let up on all that…

You kept on recording through the sixties and into the seventies, and then reunited with Dylan for his 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue tour, with Ginsberg, Sam Shepard, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Roger McGuinn, all sorts of people, and some of Dylan’s greatest performances.

That was great fun. There was too much whiskey. And there was a filmmaker doing a modern-day fairy tale, a very long one…

That was "Renaldo and Clara," Dylan's notoriously baffling 4-hour flick. After that you started recording in earnest again, and things seem to have took off for you, and you wound up with Grammys in both folk and blues…

Bob Dylan wrote me a letter of introduction to the great John Hammond Sr., who had signed Bob to Columbia Records and had practically discovered everybody from Bessie Smith to Billie Holiday to a long list, a charming man who I’d never met… Bob wrote "Dear John - I want to introduce Ramblin' Jack Elliott, who is my long-lost father..." etc, full of such nonsense. Obviously I'm not old enough to be Bob's dad, I'm only ten years older. It was great. And John’s son played on one of my records, in fact Dylan played harp on one too but couldn’t use his real name so he was “Tedham Porterhouse.” That record has just been reissued on vinyl, called just "Jack Elliott." I think I've done at least twenty LPs all total.

By 1997 you were in the White House getting the Presidential Medal of the Arts from President Bill Clinton. After all your hard traveling, what was that like? How was the food?

The food was very good, once we got to it. I didn't really know what to say to him, I don't really rehearse such things, I just kind of blurt it out, hoping that it's gonna be true. Now, I'd had one solid bourbon in the Abraham Lincoln Room and then two glasses of red wine before the dinner came and I got a little bit carried away - I get patriotic when I'm drinking and they were playing "America the Beautiful" and I was singing along "A-MERrrrica.." and my wife Jan was a bit embarrassed. She looked over at the Presidential table where Clinton was sitting with Gregory Peck but Clinton and he were just grinning with me. I was singing along with the United States Marine Marching Band. I don't know if they have a recording of that one.

Your latest record came out in 2009, called "A Stranger Here" and it is fantastic, with a wonderful band, recorded in a basement once owned by the widow of President James Garfield in Los Angeles, produced by Joe Henry with guys from Los Lobos and such, and is mostly blues-based songs.

I had little to do with putting that one together, actually. I listened to about 15 of the wildest and greatest old blues songs the record company guy had recommended, only some of which I'd heard and only one of which I already knew to play. I just sort of took a musical bath there and let the music flow by as I listened to them, and then when I went down to Pasadena and met the guys and started playing together I just thought, Oh, OK, this is gonna be no problem, no worries, in fact it's gonna be great.

And it sure was. I think Joe Henry writes in the liner notes "How many people in the seventh decade of their musical career are making the best music of their life?" It's just incredible stuff.

Well I thank you. And him.

I bet you've never counted, but how many songs do you think you know?

Hmm, I did count once way back once when I was a kid, and I probably knew more than 300. Woody wrote 2,000 of 'em. I only know about 25 of his now I think. But Woody once wrote a long long ballad about "The Grapes of Wrath" called "Tom Joad" and he put the whole big fat book into about 14 verses of a song. He later received a letter from John Steinbeck who was very pissed off and wrote "You little son of a bitch, it took me 600 pages to say what you did in that one song!"

How did you end up living in West Marin?

Well, I first came here right after I met Woody, and he told me to go across the street from the hospital where he was sick to meet his wife and kid. I then drove out in a car, and I've always loved boats... (Here Jack launches into a long involved technical description of boats and sailing and trucks with many names and dates and more about Woody Guthrie and touring with Cat Stevens and getting his favorite guitar stolen, all of it fascinating .. but never gets back to West Marin - but does demonstrate how he got his lifelong nickname "Ramblin").

Ok then; we can see now why Kris Kristofferson said about you "I never heard anyone so enchanting on subjects I didn't give a damn about."

Well I do sometimes get carried away on subjects and forget what I was talking about. Pete Seeger was singing me 'Happy Birthday" backstage at the Newport Folk Festival and I saw the cake and it said "80" on it and I thought, "Never been there, ain't going there" - so I double-clutched, got it into reverse, and I'm going backwards now, and I'm 78 now, goin' on 77. It's the best decision I ever made. And I still go out on tour just to get cat food and diesel fuel – I like trucks, and the sound of trains and trucks, horses snortin’…and some music. I'll keep making it as long as they let me. And then some.

* * *



Creepy that Steve Heilig is tracking where I am and where I go. But okay. After the creep move Steve proceeds to misrepresent my words. The point is that Steve, you cannot control and contain the content of music, all the more offensive that you're trying to denounce a music not even from your own people or country, but from a viciously downtrodden former slave colony. Mentioning songs about rednecks beating and lynching people I would say, Yes, Steve, YOU should be going to THOSE Country Music festivals and denouncing the music of your own people (white american) that is racist, sexist and all that bad stuff. The fact that you would equate the racialist speech of a Marcus Garvey inspired music with the racialism inspired by a system of brutal slavery, oppression and colonialism based here in the good ole U S of A truly reveals the infantile nature of your opinions on social reality.

On to your next calamitous statement when you write, “Reggae music was originally ‘conscious’ about uplifting a race, equal rights, and spiritual messages.”

Reggae music still is about uplifting a race, equal rights, and spiritual messages, you silly man, stuck in your opinionated elite white yuppie world of fantasy. You think you can dash away all the massive work done by modern artists that is 100% positive and unassailable, unless you are deeply afraid of black power.

Steve, are you afraid of black power? Don't you live in an all white yuppie neighborhood?

My writing may be garbled, but dude your mind is garbled. Your emotion based writing is garbled and your immaturity comes through clearly in your responses. You should have thought it out more. Good luck with your internet bullies!!!!

Just remember, Steve, those people would not hassle you if you did not come across as so fragile and fabricated in your writing. I am going to check out Abja and the Lions of Kush tonight with Ras Attitude, but those are righteousness chanting, militant resisters of cultural hegemony, burning Babylon in them song. You could come hold a meds and reasoning, Steve, but this is way too powerful business for you taste Steve. So stay at home and keep your crusty old opinions to yourself. To quote the great Sixto Rodriguez from the great tune Establishment Blues, “the systems gonna fall to an angry YOUNG tune.”

Capiche Steve.

As Always, Nate Collins, Berkeley

* * *



Remember when angry, demented, racist old Charlie Manson used to write the occasional garbled letter from prison to the AVA? Collins' latest reminded me of those. He is of a type — writes insulting, ignorant attacks and then goes even more ballistic when called out on it. That he does so in defense of misogyny, homophobia, even racism, and about an event he didn't even attend, makes it all the more pathetic.

But enough of such petty silliness. For anyone still curious about what happened at this year’s Sierra Fest, veteran photojournalist Lee Abel — who actually was there — has just had her story “Summer Solstice Brings Musical Heat to Boonville, CA” on, with many great photos. And she reports:

”Every festival has one or two emcees who sustain the good vibes while bands break down and set up. SNWMF has four top-ranking MCs, and they are the ultimate knowledge keepers. Reggae historian Junior Francis, renowned KPFA radio host Spliff Skankin’, music journalist Steve Heilig, and 9-time soundclash champion Irie Dole gave light to the incredible careers of the weekend’s performers, extending SNWMF’s unique contribution to the music, beyond just bringing in bands. This was about educating the people on the artists and their legacies."

Blush, Steve Heilig, San Francisco

PS: No, alas I have not written a book about Bob Marley. Collins must have me mixed up with somebody else he is angry about.

* * *


by Robert C. Koehler

“Israel regrets every injury to civilians. I call on the residents of Gaza: Don’t stay there. Hamas wants you to die, we want you to be safe.”

This is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as quoted in the Jewish Daily Forward, cleansing the nation’s collective conscience. Is it really that easy to sweep away the moral sting of violent action? A captive population is being pummeled with missiles. Well over 500 Palestinians have died so far in Operation Protective Edge, three-quarters of them civilians and, of course, many of them children. But “we want you to be safe” and wish we didn’t have to do this.

Netanyahu, pushed into a public relations corner by global sympathy for the Palestinians, also made this slightly more cynical, less regret-tinged comment: “They want to pile up as many civilian dead as they can. They use telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause. They want the more dead, the better.”

Glenn Greenwald compared this remark to a 1941 comment by Joseph Goebbels, belittling the Jews for plucking the sympathy strings of soft-hearted Germans: “One suddenly has the impression,” the Nazi propaganda minister wrote, “that the Berlin Jewish population consists only of little babies whose childish helplessness might move us, or else fragile old ladies.”

Violence begets violence in a never-ending cycle. And violence is almost always perpetrated against the powerless. The perpetrators have “interests” at stake but almost nothing to lose. Bombing a civilian population is the moral equivalent of torture. This is the story of Western civilization; it’s the story of “progress.” On and on it goes.

Writer Naomi Klein, who is Jewish-Canadian, put it this way when she spoke in Israel in 2009, according to Haaretz: “The debate boils down to the question: ‘Never again to everyone, or never again to us?’”

Nations aren’t formed around the first possibility, which requires an evolutionary leap we haven’t made as a species: to build collective structures that honor the whole of humanity. Nations require enemies. Last week, writing about nationalism, I quoted historian Michael Howard, who wrote: “From the very beginning, the principle of nationalism was almost indissolubly linked, both in theory and practice, with the idea of war.”

Israel is the contemporary poster child of this principle.

In an open letter addressed to the United Nations and the nations of the world, 64 public figures — among them, seven Nobel Peace Prize recipients — called for an arms embargo against Israel, whose “ability to launch such devastating attacks with impunity largely stems from the vast international military cooperation and trade that it maintains with complicit governments across the world.”

This is the hegemonic complicity, one might say, that rules the world. Richard Falk, former UN special rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, called it “accountability for enemies of the West, impunity for the West and its friends.”

He went on: “Such double standards highlight the tensions between law and justice. There is currently no greater beneficiary of this deformed political culture of impunity than the political leadership and military command structure of Israel.”

The most chilling sentences in the open letter signed by the Nobel laureates and others were these: “Israel’s military technology is marketed as ‘field-tested’ and exported across the world. Military trade and joint military-related research relations with Israel embolden Israeli impunity in committing grave violations of international law and facilitate the entrenchment of Israel’s system of occupation, colonization and systematic denial of Palestinian rights.”

Field-tested? There’s more going on here than alleged self-defense, or even the pursuit of territorial interests. This is about business. Israel is one of the world’s leading arms exporters, ranking number six globally in 2012, behind the United States, Russia, France, Britain and Germany, according to IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly. Periodically bombing the Gaza Strip is apparently the way it field-tests its weapons and maintains a position of global respect among the international war-mongering and moneyed classes — which own the world, or at least assume they do.

Indeed, Israeli journalist Yotam Feldman is the director of a 2013 documentary called “The Lab,” which asserts that the occupied territories, whatever else they are, have become a lab for testing and showcasing Israel’s weapons systems.

There’s such a thing as self-defense, but there’s no such thing as a principled, or legitimate, war. Murder is always murder: a zero-sum game of winning and losing through sheer, violent domination.

As individuals, we can look at the carnage that our own and other governments wreak and cry, from the depth of our souls, “Never again.”

When we band together in armed groups, we link in fear and hatred and cheapen our salvation. “Never again to us (and only us)” is a battle cry of the lost, guaranteeing perpetual war and everyone’s ultimate demise — even the profiteers’.

* * *


Requesting Solidarity.

Please know that it is timely for me to leave New Orleans, following over eight months of assisting the injured-by-police anarchist housing rights organizer, Bork, through her near-impossible situation here. Since I am receiving no response from anybody in the Washington DC area, and have not yet won the lottery, I might as well return to California, “follow spirit,” and keep on writing down the bones.

I need a place to go to in California. If you have a better idea, what is it?

Thank you, Craig Louis Stehr

Telephone messages: (504) 302-9951


Snail mail: 333 Socrates Street, New Orleans, LA 70114

* * *


Water: It’s one of the most precious resources on Earth, but its importance seems forgotten in the western world where its ease of access is often instantaneous. But for 768 million people worldwide, it’s a daily struggle to find safe water, and in result, 1,400 children under the age of five die from water-based diseases every day.

Inspired to offer a solution to this issue in a creative way, designer Arturo Vittori invented stunning water towers that can harvest atmospheric water vapor from the air. The nearly 30-foot tall WarkaWater towers can collect over 25 gallons of potable water per day, and are comprised of two sections. The first is a semi-rigid exoskeleton built by tying stalks of juncus or bamboo together; the second, an internal plastic mesh similar to the bags oranges are packed in. The nylon and polypropylene fibers act as a scaffold for condensation, and once droplets of dew form, are funneled by the mesh into a basin at the base of the structure.

The crisis of water shortage caught Vittori’s attention while traveling through Ethiopia. “There, people live in a beautiful natural environment but often without running water, electricity, a toilet, or a shower,” he says. It’s common for women and children to walk miles to worm-filled ponds which are contaminated with human waste. There, they collect water in trashed plastic containers or dried gourds, then carry the heavy load on treacherous roads back to their homes. This is a process which takes hours and endangers the children by exposing them to dangerous illnesses. It also takes them away from school — ensuring that a cycle of poverty repeats.


Hence, the creation of “WarkaWater”. Vittori shared, “[this] is designed to provide clean water as well as ensure long-term environmental, financial, and social sustainability. Once locals have the necessary know how, they will be able to teach other villages and communities to build the WarkaWater towers.” Each tower costs approximately $550 and can be built in under a week with a four-person team and locally available materials.

Digging a well might seem a more obvious solution, but that requires drilling 1,500 feet into Ethiopia’s rocky plateaus, and can be very expensive. After a well is dug, pumps and a reliable electrical connection must also be maintained – making it an unlikely proposition.

How did such an invention come to exist?

Vittori was inspired by the giant, gravity-defying, and dome-shaped Warka tree which is native to Ethiopia, sprouts figs, and is used as a community gathering space. “To make people independent, especially in such a rural context it’s synonymous of a sustainable project and guaranties the longevity,” says Vittori. “Using natural fibers helps the tower to be integrated with the landscape both visually with the natural context as well as with local traditional techniques.”

Without a doubt the design is beautiful, inspiring, and an intelligent way to wick moisture from the atmosphere to lessen the burden women and children are often subject to while striving to attain water.

Though the final product is handcrafted, Vittori has used the same parametric modeling skills honed working on aircraft interiors and solar powered cars to create a solution that is safe and stunning.

The finished design is an 88-pound sculpture, 26-feet wide at its broadest point, and just a few feet at its narrowest. It seems the two-year period of perfecting the design was worth the wait. But it continues to be improved, as Vittori and the team have tested this design in multiple locations, and continue to work on improvements that increase the frame’s stability while simultaneously making it easy for villagers to clean the internal mesh.

With such a design ready for action, their hope is to have two WarkaWater towers erected in Ethipioa by 2015. The team and world-wide supporters believe this is possible.

Vittori is also looking for financial rainmakers who’d like to seed these tree-inspired structures across the country.


* * *

IN TODAY’S WORLD of 21st Century Global Finance Capital, don’t expect capitalists to invest in real production and thus jobs and income in the US economy as they did decades ago. They are too busy making greater profits offshore and in financial asset speculation, leveraging the trillions of dollars of free money and credit created for them by the Federal Reserve. If real investment in the US economy is ever to return, it will have to come via major public investment initiatives. And if not, expect chronic economic stagnation to continue, as has been the case since 2010. (Jack Rasmus)

* * *

DEMONSTRATIONS For An End To The Attack On Gaza This Monday, August 4th At Noon, Gualala Post Office, and Mondays, Aug. 11th, 18th and 25th.

South Coast People for Peace invite everyone to join us This Monday, August 4th at 12 noon in front of the Gualala Post Office in support of the Palestinian people in Gaza. We Will Continue This Action Every Monday At 12 Noon At The Gualala Post Office.

Over 1000 people in Gaza have been killed in just three weeks. The atrocities committed by the Israeli regime keep piling up in Gaza. Over 70 people were murdered by relentless Israeli artillery fire in just one neighborhood alone, al-Shujayeh, and bombings of hospitals and schools take place on a daily basis--including a UN shelter where hundreds of civilians had gathered to seek refuge. This outrage must stop!

We call for:

  • Stop the massacre in Gaza!
  • An end to the killing of Palestinian children, women and all civilians
  • End the blockade of Gaza
  • Stop US Aid to the Apartheid State of Israel ( 4 Billion dollars a year)
  • End the collective punishment of Palestinians
  • End colonial occupation of Palestine
  • Free all Palestinian political prisoners

Please join us! Bring signs, flags, friends and neighbors. Please forward this email and help spread the word.

For The Read Deal, check out:

The Electronic Intifada at

Democracy Now! and hear DN on your radio on KGUA 88.3FM 8am, KZYX/Z 90.7FM at 4pm, and on KMUD 99.1FM at 12 noon, Monday through Friday. Don't believe the hype!

Information: 884-4703, 271-9170.

* * *


* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, July 28, 2014

Bailey, Bixler, Blackwell, Carillo, Cervantes
Bailey, Bixler, Blackwell, Carillo, Cervantes

SKYLER BAILEY, Willits. Probation revocation.

DANIEL BIXLER, Nice/Mendocino. Drunk in public, resisting arrest.

ERIN BLACKWELL, Ukiah. Drunk in public (frequent flyer).


VALERIE CERVANTES, Fort Bragg. Injection device possession, possession of controlled substance without prescription, probation revocation.

Cuevas-Perez, Curtis, Hensley (2009), Hensley (2014)
Cuevas-Perez, Curtis, Hensley (2009), Hensley (2014)

JESUS CUEVAS-PEREZ, Ukiah. Possession for sale, furnishing an organic drug to a minor, conspiracy.

KEITH CURTIS, Santa Rosa. Possession of hashish, parole violation.

CHARLES HENSLEY, Ukiah. Drunk in public, probation revocation.

Gayski, Jacobs, Mincitar, Morris, Murphy
Gayski, Jacobs, Mincitar, Morris, Murphy

BENJAMIN GAYSKI, JR., Willits. Domestic Battery, Probation revocation.


ROQUE MINCITAR, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

AMBER MORRIS, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public.

TERRY MURPHY, Fort Bragg. Court order violation, resisting arrest, probation revocation.

Ruelle, Sandoval, Shipman, Smith, Taylor
Ruelle, Sandoval, Shipman, Smith, Taylor

WAYNE RUELLE, Calpella. Resisting arrest.

MICHAEL SANDOVAL, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

JOHN SHIPMAN, Fort Bragg. Parole violation.

NIA SMITH, Mendocino. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer)

CARLA TAYLOR, Possession/Under influence of meth.


  1. Rick Weddle July 29, 2014

    Ramblin’ Jack…
    Scorcese’s ‘Blues’ compilation of music footage includes a few seconds of this character’s assessment of ‘skiffle.’ Check it out, then go wash your mouth out for using the words ‘music’ and Ramblin’ Jack in the same year.
    Jack just got upstaged and exposed as an insignificant talent. It might make it easier on him and us if he now just shut up, finally…and let somebody sing who means it.

  2. Jim Updegraff July 29, 2014

    Never Again to us

    In considering the wanton killing of innocent civilians and in particular women and child plus destroying numerous houses, apartment buildings and now the only power plant in Gaza I would have to say the IDF are the terroists.

  3. heilig July 29, 2014

    Re Ramblin’ Jack, I’ll just let Dylan, Johnny Cash, Enmmylou Harris, Joe Henry, the two Grammy awards, his many other admirers, etc etc attest to his artistic worth. But I will say that the great musician (?) Rick Weddle just posted the most idiotic remark on the AVA site I’ve seen in quite some time. Congrats!

    • Rick Weddle July 30, 2014

      Mingus or Monk, one of those giants, once told an interviewer he thought talking about music was like dancing about architecture. By this, he seemed to regard the writing as having little or no relation to the music. I thought it true and funny then, and even more so now that I’ve been blessed with SH’s Final Expert notes.
      I’ve been known to play at an instrument or two, but have always said I’m not a Musician (one who commits to it and works at it). One of the miracle deals about music is that someone with as little skill as myself can sometimes get together and play with players and singers who’re more competent. This works to make your playing ‘sound’ better, and gives you ideas along the way…and with a little practice, actually helps your playing. Though little of their talents have rubbed off on me this way, I’ve had the great good fortune to play with some of the all-time greats when we filled the room and rocked it…regularly.
      I’m curious, Steve-o, are you also a fan of Buck Owens?
      “…like dancing about architecture…” doesn’t keep folks like Jules Pfeiffer or you or me from flailing away at it.

  4. Jeff Costello July 30, 2014

    Mr. Heilig and Mr. Weddle are having a lively dance about architecture. It’s always been sort of interesting to me how non-musicians tend take it so seriously,adopt a favorite form of music, or musician, and take any less-than-wonderful opinions of same as a dreadful personal insult and are ready to fight back to the death. I recall with some amusement the jousting between Mike Bloomfield and Ralph J. Gleason in Rolling Stone sometime in the late 60’s. Gleason praised the Jefferson Airplane to high heaven but called Bloomfield’s music a “shuck,” in an article called “Stop this Shuck, Mike Bloomfield.” Bloomfield replied, re Gleason’s published opinion of the Airplane, “You can take shit and rub it all over your face and love it, but it’s still shit.” And so it goes.

  5. Steve July 31, 2014

    Again, re Ramblin’ Jack, I won’t “fight” about anything there; these judgements are subjective, but my longtime frustration is that people tend to express their opinions as fact. Weddle did so, and then added that I should ‘wash my mouth out’ for having an aesthetic opinion – one shared by many leading musical figures – differing from his. Which is supremely arrogant. If he’d just said “I don’t like Ramblin’ Jack’s music,” instead of implying he knows better than Dylan, Cash, etc etc, then, no problem.

    I have no real opinion about Buck Owens, not that that is relevant to anything here.

    (Weddle also misattributes a famous quote about music v. architecture, but, never mind).

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