- Redwood Bowl
- Flanders Fields
- Catch of the Day
- FB Incumbents
- Northcoast Water
- Prison Discipline
- Toy Boat
- Mexican Meth
- Palestinian Mayor
- Chase Whistleblower
- Fair Board
- Fermentation Fest
- Wildoak Living
- Collective Survival
- Inside KZYX
SECOND ANNUAL REDWOOD BOWL WAS ‘GAME OF PLENTY’
Panthers Beat Mendo 50-30 In NCL III Championship
by Paul McCarthy, Mendocino Sports Plus (on facebook)
If you had to characterize the Second Annual NCL III "Redwood Bowl" played in Boonville Friday night, the term "game of plenty" comes to mind: Plenty of scoring, plenty of bone-jarring hits, plenty of great plays by both squads, plenty of game-changing turnovers and, unfortunately, plenty of penalties.
Anderson Valley ended the 2014 season with a clean slate (7-0 league, 10-0 overall) after a convincing 50-30 win over Mendocino at the Boonville Fairgrounds.
Here's the information to see the flow of the Championship game though:
Mendocino 08 08 08 06 = 30
Andervall 12 22 00 16 = 50
9:13 AV - Cesar Soto 41-yard run. PAT run failed. MENDO 0, AV 6
8:14 Mendo - Kyle Moore 32-yard TD reception from Preston Salmans. Mendo 8, AV 6
6:03 AV - Erin Perez 30-yard TD reception from Tony Pardini. PAT rush failed. Mendo 8, AV 12
11:23 AV - Pardini 9-yard run. PAT pass to Erin Perez. Mendo 8, AV 20
7:43 AV - Soto 34-yard run. PAT Pardini run. Mendo 8, AV 28
7:12 AV - Erin Perez 20-yard Interception return. PAT rush failed. MENDO 8, AV 34
6:39 Mendo- Akin Anderson 7-yard run. PAT run Anderson. Mendo 16 AV 34
11:33 Mendo - Akin Anderson 24-yard run. PAR run Salmans. Mendo 24, AV 34
8:39 AV - Pardini 1-yard run. PAT run Jared Johnston. Mendo 24, AV 42
1:29 AV - Pardini 5-yard run. PAT run Jared Johnston. MENDO 24, AV 50
44 seconds Mendo - Savion Cook 19-yard TD pass from Preston Salmans. PAT rush failed. Final Score: 50-30.
* * *
ANDERSON VALLEY HONORS VETS BEFORE GAME
PDPreps Howard Senzell Weighs In On Redwood Bowl
As they have the past two seasons, the Anderson Valley football team honored (three of) Boonville's military veterans before the game (more on this ceremony later).
Of course, going undefeated for the season attracted the attention of the Press Democrat (besides posting the stats MSP phoned in on our new "fancy pants" smart phone).
Here's what our pal, writer Howard Senzell, had to say this morning.
The piece was titled: " Anderson Valley wraps up perfect football season with NCL III title"
Here it is:
"Anderson Valley wrapped up a perfect season Saturday night by defeating Mendocino, 50-30, in the Redwood Bowl in Boonville. Mendocino led 8-6 after one quarter, but by halftime it was 24-8. ‘The whole offensive line played great,’ coach Danny Kuny said. ‘I’m kind of speechless because I have so much respect for my players. It’s a group that has an outstanding work ethic. They worked so hard to achieve this. I knew at the start of the season that we had talent, but I’m amazed that we went undefeated.’ Kuny, who returned to coaching at Anderson Valley two years ago, will lose only two players to graduation.”
(Courtesy, Mendocino Sports Plus)
IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
--Lt. Col John McCrae
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 9, 2014
MARICRUZ ALVAREZ-CARILLO, Covelo. Domestic battery, parole violation.
BRIAN ARIAS, Boonville. Driving without valid license.
JOHN BOLTON, Willits. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
TAD BROWN, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
JOSEPH CLANTON, Ukiah. Under influence of controlled substance, possession of injection-smoking device, probation revocation.
BRADLEY CONNOR, Hyampom/Ukiah. Domestic assault.
JOHN CUNNAN, Failure to appear, probation revocation.
SUNNY EDWARDS, Sacramento/Fort Bragg. Harboring felon, possession of smoking-injection device, probation revocation.
BENJAMIN GAYSKI, Willits. Possession of nitrous oxide, driving without valid license, probation revocation.
TILMAN HARRIS, Ukiah. Dirk or dagger.
MARIA LLAMAS-ORNELAS, Fort Bragg. Battery of custodial officer, false imprisonment, driving without valid license, probation revocation.
SHEA MORRIS, Ukiah. Metal knuckles, possession of controlled substance, resisting arrest.
BARRY MURPHY, Ukiah. DUI.
MARIO NARANJA-ROJAS, Santa Rosa/Willits. Pot cultivation, processing, possession for sale.
RICHARD POOLE, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.
DANIEL SCHNEIDER, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
LEANDRE SIPERT, Sacramento/Ukiah. Prison escape without force.
DALAN SNOW, Ukiah. Domestic assault.
LEONEL VALENZUELA, Talmage. Dirk/Dagger, brandishing, court order violation.
SEAN WILSON, Willits. Under influence of controlled substance, probation revocation.
NICOLE WINGERT, Upper Lake/Ukiah. DUI, misdemeanor hit and run.
DANIEL YEOMANS, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public.
THE FORT BRAGG CITY COUNCIL, long dominated by the silly wing of CoastLib, was somewhat tempered by the presence of former GP Forester Jere Melo. As long as Jere was on the job, conservatives seemed to be reassured that the Council would not go too far astray, “envisioning” the City into bankruptcy with nutty deals like the looming new trash transfer station. But when Madeleine Melo, Jere's widow, was defeated by political newcomer Heidi Kraut in a low turnout special election to fill Dan Gjerde's seat a couple of years ago, suspicion began to creep in. And those suspicions centered on City Manager Linda Ruffing who was accused of wielding the real power with the City Council functioning as a complacent rubberstamp. Peters and Cimolino were recruited to throw the bums out, with Madeleine Melo acting as campaign manager for Peters. In a move that may have backfired, Iacuaniello was recruited by Councilmember Scott Dietz, thinking he would join incumbents Turner and Kraut in making a clean sweep of the three seats up for election. As it turned out, it was the incumbents who were swept out of office.
KEEPING TABS on North Coast’s water use (except for grapes, that is)
JAIL DISCIPLINE, 1939
William J. Lewis, guard boss of both San Quentin's 'last mile' and its 'Siberia,' testified yesterday at the prison board hearing that the rubber hose used to beat 41 convicts at the prison last March had been loaded with lead shot.
"I made the hose myself," Lewis said, "and loaded it with bb shot."
It was Lewis, according to his own statements, who originated the "standing system" in the prison's punishment block.
"When I came here, convicts had no fear of solitary. Lifers, degenerates and others were all thrown together. They couldn't be controlled. They attacked guards. And talked like magpies, read, smoked, and did whatever they wanted. I was put in charge and given only one order, to keep order, to keep order in solitary, and make it a place of punishment, not a place to loaf."
One of the first things Lewis did was to deprive the felons of reading material, he said. Then he took their tobacco away. He had them make their bunks up military fashion and forbade them to sit on them during the day. "I stopped all talking and made the men stand in line for five hours a day. The line was uneven so I had circles painted on the floor. The men were allowed to stand on one leg but not allowed to turn around. The men who refused to stand on the circles were licked. They were taken out of their cells and spanked."
He repeatedly used the word 'spanked' to describe the beatings.
"They were all bad boys," Lewis said.
He addressed his next statement to Governor Olson.
"You know a man cannot be a spineless jellyfish."
"I understand," the Governor told him. "We'll go into that later."
(SF Chronicle, November 1939)
It's only when you see a mosquito land on your testicle that you realize that there is always a way to solve problems without using violence.
— Ron Adams
ABILIFY is a powerful anti-psychotic designed for people with severe mental illness, but it's widely prescribed for people who are merely neurotic, and is now the most heavily prescribed drug in the U.S. "While Abilify’s advertising depicts it as a kind of supplement to antidepressants, with sad women giving it a try when mother’s little helper no longer seems to help, Abilify actually is like a bazooka to conventional anti-depressants’ revolver. Critics such as Britain’s Joanna Moncrieff have argued that anti-psychotics don’t treat anything at all; they just zone people out so they don’t notice much. They’re effective in the short term, but essentially, that’s because they are really just powerful tranquilizers. This makes sense for their primary use: antipsychotics like aripiprazole are administered to seriously ill people like schizophrenics. Abilify is a close cousin of Thorazine. Yet, now it’s the most profitable drug in America. In fact, the present trend has been going on for some time. Two years ago, Dr. Richard Friedman wrote in The New York Times about the disturbing rise in the prescription of antipsychotics for routine complaints like insomnia. Since then, Abilify has risen from the fifth-most-prescribed drug to the top of the heap. Most users aren’t even aware that it’s an anti-psychotic drug that’s used to treat schizophrenia.
— Joy Michaelson
AMERICAN CRYSTAL METH USERS turn to cheaper, purer imports produced by cartels in Mexico instead of making their own
'The great news is that meth from Mexico doesn't explode, doesn't burn down your house and your neighbor's home, doesn't contaminate your property, doesn't kill children the way meth labs have done here in the U.S. for decades,' said Jason Grellner, the chief narcotics officer in Franklin County, Missouri.
Meth lab seizures peaked nationally in 2004, when nearly 24,000 labs were seized. The Drug Enforcement Administration reported 11,573 seizures last year (the most recent available), up 363 from 2012.
Grellner's county has often topped 100 meth lab seizures in a year, but have only had about a dozen this year. Statistics provided by the Missouri State Highway Patrol show 558 meth lab seizures occurred statewide for the first six months of 2014, putting Missouri on pace for 1,116.
That would be a 34 percent drop from the 1,496 meth lab seizures in 2013, and only a little over half in 2012.
The decline is more pronounced in other high-meth states.
In Tennessee, lab seizures are down 40 percent this year, said Tommy Farmer, director of the Tennessee Meth and Pharmaceutical Task Force.
Oklahoma had 160 meth lab seizures through September and is on pace for 213 — about half last year's seizure total, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics spokesman Mark Woodward said.
One only needs to go to the morgue to know that, despite fewer lab busts, the meth problem isn't going away.
In Oklahoma, which tracks meth-related deaths, 167 died of meth overdoses last year — up from 140 in 2012 and 108 in 2011, Woodward said. Figures for 2014 weren't available. 'I don't think meth use has ever been higher in the state of Oklahoma,' he said.
The Mexican cartels have long controlled the market for illegal drugs such as cocaine and heroin. Meth was trickier.
For years, many U.S. users have chosen to make their own, first in homemade labs that often caught fire or ruined houses. The Drug Enforcement Administration's website lists thousands of homes contaminated by meth.
When federal and state lawmakers began implementing laws limiting the sale of key meth ingredient pseudoephedrine in the mid-2000s, it became difficult to obtain enough for large batches. Users turned to 'one-pot' or 'shake-and-bake' methods — mixing a couple of cold pills with household chemicals such as lighter fluid or drain cleaner in a 2-liter soda bottle.
Meanwhile, Mexican cartels have upped their meth-making, turning to an old recipe known as P2P that first appeared in the 1960s and 1970s. It uses the organic compound phenylacetone — banned in the U.S. but obtainable in Mexico, according to the DEA — rather than pseudoephedrine.
Chemists in Mexico have refined the process to the point where the meth is both potent and cheap. The purity of Mexican meth increased from 39 percent in 2007 to essentially 100 percent today, said Jim Shroba, special agent in charge for the DEA's St. Louis office. The price over that same period has fallen sharply, from $290 per pure gram to around $100 per pure gram.
Marijuana is by far the most seized drug in the United States, with DEA statistics showing 268,000 kilograms seized in 2013. That compares to 22,500 kilograms of cocaine, 3,990 kilograms of meth and 965 kilograms of heroin.
Shroba and other experts say there are other reasons, too, why meth seizures are down. Two states — Oregon and Mississippi — now require a prescription to buy pills containing pseudoephedrine. And federal law requires strict monitoring and limits on pseudoephedrine purchases.
At first, the Mexican meth was aimed mainly at big cities and suburbs. Indiana's meth suppression commander Niki Crawford said it is increasingly showing up in her state's mid-sized cities — Evansville, Terre Haute and Kokomo.
The imported drug has even reached rural areas. Woodward cited recent large-scale busts of distribution rings in communities like Lindsay (population 3,000) and Okmulgee (population 12,000). And Shroba said huge seizures of Mexican meth have occurred in rural areas of western Nebraska and Iowa.
'If they're smoking weed or doing heroin in small-town America, there's going to be a market for methamphetamine, too,' Shroba said.
Woodward said the reduction in meth labs has 'wonderful collateral benefits,' meaning narcotics officers can turn attention to stopping trafficking.
'We all know that if we get a handle on meth labs, we will still have meth addicts who will work very hard to get their drug,' Crawford said. 'This is where the Mexican cartel meth will fill the void.'
PALESTINE MAYOR TO SPEAK IN SANTA ROSA
Re: Land Confiscation
On November 17th at 7pm, Mayor Ahmad Sokar will be speaking at First United Methodist Church on 2150 Giffen Ave, Santa Rosa. Sokar is the mayor of Wadi Foquin, an agricultural village in the West Bank. Wadi Foquin is under threat of destruction, as the Israeli Government has issued land confiscation orders for more than 1000 acres of Palestinian land in the West Bethlehem district for the expansion of Israeli settlements. The United Methodist Church is connected to the village through the Friends of Wadi Foquin partnership. Through this partnership, many Methodists and others from Northern California have traveled to the West Bank. On these trips, they have witnessed firsthand the threats to Palestinian ancestral lands, as well as how actions taken by the Israeli Government make daily life unmanageable for both Palestinians and Israelis. Join us for a presentation by Mayor Sokar about his hopes and dreams for his village, followed by a discussion about how concerned citizens in Sonoma County can connect to Wadi Foquin and other justice movements in the future. The event is handicap accessible. Refreshments will be provided. Bring a snack to share if you can.
— Mary Moore
MEET ALAYNE FLEISCHMANN,
the woman JPMorgan Chase paid one of the largest fines in American history to keep from talking.
IF YOU ARE A VOTING MEMBER of Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show, please attend the meeting Monday at 7:00 pm, in the Dining Room at the Fairgrounds in Boonville, to cast your vote in the election of our new Fair Board members.
The AV Foodshed 3rd Sunday Potluck this month is on Sunday Nov 16, beginning at 3 pm with the potluck about 6 pm, at the AV Grange in Philo. It is entitled Fermentation Fest 2, to follow up on last year's very successful Fermentation Fest. There will be a flyer out soon with details.
The next live broadcast of Wildoak Living,
the radio program about living sustainably in Mendocino County and beyond, airs on Monday, November 10 at 9am PST.
Defending Beef: The Case for Sustainable Meat
Cooking with Wild Mushrooms
Grief and the Holidays
Wildoak Living host and producer Johanna “Wildoak” talks with:
Nicolette Hahn Niman, about her new book Defending Beef: The Case for Sustainable Meat Production. The manifesto of an environmental lawyer and vegetarian turned cattle rancher.
Alison Gardener and Merry Winslow about their new cookbook The Wild Mushroom Cookbook
Dick Lumaghi, grief support coordinator of Hospice Ukiah, about an upcoming workshop about Grief and the Holidays.
More information about these program topics:
Listen to Wildoak Living live every other Monday at 9am Pacific Time on Mendocino County Public Broadcasting and on the web at www.kzyx.org. Listen anytime to archived podcasts of Wildoak Living and find more information about previous topics and guests at here.
You can listen to Wildoak Living on KZYX (Mendocino County Public Broadcasting): on the radio at 88.1, 90.7 and 91.5 in Mendocino County and in Northern Sonoma, Lake and Southern Humboldt counties.
Please support your public radio station. You can donate to KZYX and become a member at www.kzyx.org
Thank you for listening to Wildoak Living and for supporting public/community radio!
ENTROPY & EMPIRE
by Ted Dace
By 167 BC, so much revenue was pouring in from conquered territories that Roman citizens no longer had to pay taxes. 140 years later Caesar Augustus, faced with stiff resistance from Germanic tribes, wisely put an end to expansion. Lacking new sources of plunder and tasked with maintaining rule over a sprawling empire, Augustus was forced to reinstate taxation in Rome. Still, as long as Egypt fed the empire and poor Romans received cash assistance, life was good.
By the middle of the 3rd century AD, the state was spiraling into bankruptcy. Romans were constantly at war, not only abroad but among each other. The middle class was under siege, inflation and crime out of control. Civil services and public works were falling into disrepair while commerce declined. Only the rich flourished under the new conditions of desperation.
In 284 Diocletian transformed the empire, ramping up both the army and bureaucracy while adding roads and fortresses. In an atmosphere of conformity and obedience, the state directed people into occupations, much as the Soviet Union would do 17 centuries later.
But all this only delayed collapse. Because taxes were high but not progressive, ordinary working people were hit hardest, and family farms couldn't survive without going into debt. A single bad year could result in foreclosure, at which point farmers became tenants on land they'd previously owned. Still taxed mercilessly, when they couldn't pay they were jailed and their children sold into slavery. With productive land deserted, nearby cities suffered. By the time the “barbarians” were at the gate, they were welcomed with open arms. The once proud Roman people couldn't wait to get the empire off their backs.
The Romans dug their own grave. As Edward Gibbon put it, “the causes of destruction multiplied with the extent of conquest.” One-time windfalls were followed by centuries of costly rule until “the stupendous fabric yielded to the pressure of its own weight.” Rome was sacked for the last time in the summer of 476.
From day one, the United States was envisioned as a new Rome, only this time things would turn out differently. For starters we'd maintain the republic, and ordinary people would prevent elites from sabotaging our collective future. Moreover we'd pursue economic growth and technological development as a means of overcoming the stagnation that precipitated Rome's collapse. But the same underlying factor that brought down Rome is at work even now in America, quietly consuming the foundation of our prosperity.
The enemy is entropy.
As the Russian people discovered by the end of their 74-year Soviet experiment, you can't place the entire economy under central command, abolish poverty — with factories and tower blocks for all — and everyone lives happily ever after. This is not a steady state world. At all times we're either moving forward or falling back. The problem is that every instance of progress sets the stage for regress. Nature gives freely of its limitless wealth, but the more we grab, the more those riches drag us down.
This is not an ad hoc observation about human society but a principle of physical existence, codified in the second law of thermodynamics and commonly expressed in the phrase, “nature abhors a vacuum.” If Y is empty but X and Z are brimming with energy, before long the excess energy of X and Z has flowed into Y, eliminating the gradient between them. Because nature likes everything evened out, any system that swiftly breaks down gradients is rewarded with energy.
Heat a pot of water on a stove, and a temperature gradient emerges between the water and the air above it, causing heat to rise off the water. But nature is impatient; it wants to close the gap now. The result is convection, which efficiently conveys heat through water to its roiling surface and the air beyond. Though molecular movement is ordinarily random, in a convection cell millions of molecules act in tandem. The same is true of a whirlpool, which systematically drains water 30 times faster than letting it simply fall straight down. Nature encourages complex energized systems so long as they promote evenness by annihilating gradients. But as soon as gradient-reducing systems begin hoarding energy, they themselves become a target of entropy.
A convection cell and a living cell have a lot in common. Both are shaped by the energy flows unleashed in the act of reducing gradients. The difference is that the living cell “selfishly” stores some of the energy it harnesses, enabling it to continue thriving even when the external gradient is no longer present. Turn off the flame under the pot of boiling water, and convection disappears. Not so for living things. Life is continual struggle because hoarding energy generates a gradient between ourselves and our surroundings, and nature doesn't like gradients.
To live is to be out of balance with the environment, and the further out of balance a system is, the more energy it takes to keep it there. We maintain our boundary and our highly specialized internal conditions by harnessing and channeling energy. But energy, according to the first law of thermodynamics, is neither created nor destroyed, which means it's still there even after it's been used to perform work. This sounds great until we take into account the second law. Because of entropy, energy degrades during use, no longer concentrated enough to do anything beyond heating things up. For whirlpools and convection cells, this is no problem because they dissipate energy in the act of freeing it. Whatever energy is drawn into a vortex is instantly distributed elsewhere. When energy stored as fat or sugar is later used and degraded, it has to be exported, requiring even more energy.
The job of a tree is to draw water from the ground to circulate through its branches and twigs and leaves. Circulation is very important because energy that's been degraded, whether through maintenance of old tissues or stimulation of new growth, must be removed. If we could detect infrared, we'd see a fountain of heat carried on vapor streams from the top of every tree. Without water to dissipate degraded energy, trees heat up and die.
It takes energy to circulate the water that dissipates degraded energy. The bigger a tree gets, the more energy it can harness from sunlight but also the more degraded energy it has to get rid of. Life is a balancing act. You want lots of energy but not so much that it can't all be exported once it's degraded. Not just the bowels of an animal but any living system can get constipated, clogged with the waste energy accruing from prior activity. This is why all successful species limit their growth and intake of energy.
Somehow the human race has unlearned this all-important lesson. Cities and empires have a long history of periodically going off the rails. As William Ophuls observes in his nifty little handbook on the end of the world, Immoderate Greatness, every civilization originates in a living web and dies in a Petri dish, choking on its own waste.
Entropy hits us twice, not only in the form of garbage and pollution from current activity but decaying infrastructure left over from prior development. Infrastructure yields huge returns at first but gradually transforms into a cost. In the fight against entropy, we never stop paying for prior development. The bigger our cities and power grids and irrigation systems and networks of roads, levies, sewer lines and aqueducts, the bigger the drag. A never-ending succession of problems is met with ever more complex solutions involving new technologies, specialties and bureaucracies. In the end we're running just to stay in place.
As a mode of transport a car may seem far preferable to a horse, but there's a catch. In contrast to a horse, which grows naturally from an egg, a car has to be built in a factory. A horse needs only hay, water and oats to operate, whereas a car requires oil wells, refineries, tankers, gas stations, mechanics and paved roads. From a thermodynamic standpoint, a horse is all paid up. Energy that goes in is quickly dissipated in the form of eco-friendly liquid and solid waste. A car, on the other hand, carries a huge load of thermodynamic debt. The toxic waste accruing from a car-friendly transportation system takes decades to process, long after the car itself is junked.
Petrochemical fertilizers seem like a miracle, but they amplify entropy by increasing the quantity of energy consumed per unit of output. As Ophuls puts it, industrial agriculture is a "biological machine that turns petroleum into calories at a ratio of approximately ten to one." Traditional agriculture delivers food not only far more efficiently from an energy standpoint but without the burden of the associated infrastructural, ecological and medical costs of Big Ag.
Historically the response to the crisis of overdevelopment is more development. This is why so many civilizations undergo their most intensive building activities in the final years before collapse. New investments in complexity help pay off the entropic debt load accruing from prior development but at the cost of even more debt until it's too big to pay.
Aside from maintenance costs, infrastructure casts a shadow on the mind, limiting our perception and flexibility. According to Ophuls, "entrenched habits, patterns, structures, institutions, ideologies, and interests prevent adaptation to altered circumstances." Rather than abandon costly diversion of water to Central Valley agribusiness, for instance, the state sets about diverting even more. Never mind that baby salmon have to be captured and trucked past pumping stations to the ocean. The costs of maintaining a system profitable for the elite are simply deferred to future generations.
The underlying problem is exacerbated by capitalism, which fragments society into competing private interests concerned only with immediate gain. Unable to coalesce into a public body rationally charting our collective course, we're locked into the suicidal trajectory of empire.
As bleak as this sounds, collapse is far from imminent. In fact prospects for the current century look promising. Though the power elite are fighting it tooth and nail, the inevitable transformation to a post-carbon energy system, already underway, will trigger a new round of growth and complexification, making us richer than we've ever been though even more vulnerable to collapse.
A truly long term strategy requires not just renewable energy and organic agriculture but decentralization. Right now we're suffocating under the weight of centralized systems in energy, food and manufacturing. This is not by accident. Capitalists like everything centralized because it concentrates social power under their command. Contemporary "monopoly capitalism" is much like the old Soviet Union, which abolished the soviets — the worker councils that briefly coordinated a decentralized economy after the 1917 revolution — in order to consolidate power under a state bureaucracy destined for collapse. Mammoth corporate bureaucracy is hardly a sound alternative.
Global civilization is a succulent slab of concentrated energy just waiting to be devoured. Challenging elite power isn't just about social justice; it's about collective survival. Politically, we can fight federal subsidies for Big Ag and fossil fuel industries while demanding environmental protections that punish polluters and reward the responsible. Economically, we can divert our dollars to local, small-scale producers. The goal is to reduce our reliance on top-heavy, complex systems that leave us vulnerable to the ravages of entropy. Only with the left hand of political agitation working in concert with the right hand of economic self-reliance can we rediscover our human capacity for self-determination. Otherwise we're just cattle being fattened up for slaughter.
(Ted Dace is author of Escape from Quantopia, an impassioned plea to restore our integrity and sense of reality in a world reduced to numbers.)
LEGAL/POLICY ANALYSIS OF KZYX
The following is a legal/policy analysis of the current situation at Mendocino County Public Broadcasting, aka KZYX&Z. In the spirit of nonviolent communication, it will focus on actions, policies, and the law rather than on judging individuals.
In March 2006, the Board of Directors of MCPB/KZYX adopted a change to the Board Policies and Procedures Manual, transferring the authority to make all hiring and firing decisions to the General Manager. From then on, the Board of Directors would only hire/fire the General Manager.
“Section 11.3: The General Manager is responsible for the hiring, firing, and evaluation of all Staff positions.”
In 2009, the current General Manager used that authority to fire the News Director. Correction: as the General Manager explained at the time, he did not fire the News Director; he eliminated the position entirely for financial reasons. He also cut the most popular NPR shows from the Station’s programming, including Prairie Home Companion, This American Life, Car Talk, Piano Jazz, and the BBC. The Community was stunned, as all of these decisions had been made unilaterally, without public discussion or consultation.
It appears that the General Manager exceeded his authority by making a policy decision to eliminate the full-time News Director position, a service valued by the Community, rather than merely an administrator’s decision on hiring and firing. However, the Board of Directors, then and now, has endorsed the action, at the very least by not reversing it. Indeed, the current Board has stated explicitly that it supports this model of governance, and now forbids any individual Director from overseeing the work that is being done by the General Manager or any other Staff, even though such oversight is each director’s responsibility.
This policy change means that the Program Director and the rest of the Staff are now insulated from any oversight by the Board of Directors, and are thereby one more step removed from the Members and the Community. Prior to the change, Members could go to Board meetings and discuss programming and other issues with the board. Now, the Board still allows public expression, but no longer responds to questions and comments, and has declared it will not intervene in Management/Staff decisions. Even written requests for information from a Member and a Director have been ignored or given incomplete response.
In response to public outcry at such lack of transparency and accountability, the Board of Directors reconstituted the Community Advisory Board, which is required by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the largest funder of the station. However, the CAB has failed to hold any public meetings, opting instead for a telephone conference during their one private meeting. Many Members signed up but could not participate due to technical limitations. At that meeting, the CAB adopted a report, previously prepared without any public input, which stated the station was doing just fine and that no changes were needed beyond “News of the Station” reports. The CAB relied on a survey that was distributed to some (but not all) Members during the latest election balloting. The methodology of the survey was flawed, e.g., a respondent had to state that they thought something was wrong with the station before being allowed to prioritize what changes they wanted. In spite of these limitations, local news received the plurality of votes for most-needed change, followed by station operations and talk shows:
10% (Music programming)
20% (Talk show programming)
36% (Local news)
12% (National and international news)
22% (Station operations)
The full report and survey are available at http://kzyx.org/index.php/about-us/station-business/community-advisory-board.
The diversity of the membership of the CAB itself, required by the CPB, has also been questioned, as one of the members has the same address as one of the directors. In spite of these shortcomings, the CAB felt it was necessary to sound the following alarm:
“The CAB is very concerned about the perception, within the listening community, of a lack of transparency into operations, internal decisions, and governance of our station. This has generated a barrage of criticism, outright attacks, and negative comparisons with other media.”
Alas, its sole recommendation was to air short “News of the Station” segments. Though such an effort would no doubt be helpful, it cannot replace the transparency and accountability required by law, regulations, and bylaws (below).
[Note: Apparently a Programming Advisory Committee was developed at the Station to broaden the decision-making process, but is now inactive. Requests for the PAC Policy have been ignored, so no analysis is possible at this time.]
Meanwhile, those programmers who have questioned the current policies have lost their shows or have otherwise been reprimanded. The more that Members and Community leaders, including elected officials, plead with the Board of Directors for more openness, the more the Board digs in and asserts that its role is to support and protect the General Manager and Management. An impasse has arisen that has led to sharply divided elections whose legitimacy is questioned, public name-calling in the local media, and legal challenges to the station’s license renewal.
Applicable Laws, Regulations, and Bylaws
Mendocino County Public Broadcasting is a nonprofit membership corporation chartered under the laws of the State of California. It holds a license issued by the Federal Communications Commission to operate on three different frequencies, allowing it to reach most of Mendocino County. It also receives a large grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Thus it is subject to three sets of laws/regulations, along with its own bylaws.
The California Corporations Code describes in detail the rights of Members, the rights and responsibilities of Directors, and the responsibilities of the organization to the Community. MCPB/KZYX, its Directors, and its Staff must follow these laws or risk having its nonprofit corporate status, and its license to broadcast, revoked.
“Section 5210: Each corporation shall have a board of directors. Subject to the provisions of this part and any limitations in the articles or bylaws relating to action required to be approved by the Members (Section 5034), or by a majority of all Members (Section 5033), the activities and affairs of a corporation shall be conducted and all corporate powers shall be exercised by or under the direction of the board. The board may delegate the management of the activities of the corporation to any person or persons, management company, or committee however composed, provided that the activities and affairs of the corporation shall be managed and all corporate powers shall be exercised under the ultimate direction of the board.”
It is proper under this section to delegate the management of activities to a general manager, but a board cannot abdicate its responsibility to set policy, maintain proper oversight, and interact with the organization’s members. Even the largest corporations must do that; the holder of a single share can question Warren Buffet at the annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway. It is not impossible or even impractical for the board of a nonprofit with significantly fewer stakeholders to answer questions about the policies and operations of the corporation. The current Board’s policy of not responding has added to the perception that there is no transparency or accountability and has increased frustration and tension within the Membership and listening Community.
The Board and General Manager have also withheld information that has been properly requested by a Member and a Director. But the Corporations Code requires such transparency:
“Section 6333. The accounting books and records and minutes of proceedings of the members and the board and committees of the board shall be open to inspection upon the written demand on the corporation of any member at any reasonable time, for a purpose reasonably related to such person's interests as a member.”
“Section 6334. Every director shall have the absolute right at any reasonable time to inspect and copy all books, records and documents of every kind and to inspect the physical properties of the corporation of which such person is a director.”
The right of a Member to inspect records is further guaranteed by the Bylaws:
“Section 11.06 Member Inspection Rights: Members shall have the right at all reasonable times to inspect all of MCPB’s records which are or should be maintained at the principal office except personnel records and other items that would violate the privacy of a specific individual or are otherwise protected under Federal or California law.”
The right of inspection also includes the right to copy.
When a written request was made by a Member for all of the policies of MCPB/KZYX, only the policies of the Board were released, not those of the Station, including the Station Manual which was specifically requested. The refusal to release records when access is guaranteed by both the Code and the Bylaws is not just a violation of the law. It defeats transparency and accountability, destroys faith in the board and management, and threatens the very existence of the organization and its license to operate a radio station.
MCPB/KZYX is also a grantee of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The CPB requires a Community Advisory Board as a condition of funding. Here are the minimum requirements:
“A. Each station that is not owned by a State, a political or special purpose subdivision of a State, or a public agency must do the following --
- establish a community advisory board that is independent of the community licensee's governing body;
- undertake good-faith efforts to assure that --
- its advisory board meets at regular intervals;
- the members of the board regularly attend the meetings of the advisory board;
- the composition of the community advisory board is reasonably representative of the diverse needs and interests of the communities served by the station.
- In addition, each licensee required to have a community advisory board must also permit the community advisory board to perform the following activities:
- establish and follow its own schedule and agenda, within the scope of the community advisory board's statutory or delegated authority;
- review the programming goals established by station;
- review the community service provided by the stations;
- review the impact on the community of the significant policy decisions rendered by the station; and
- advise the governing board of the station whether the programming and other significant policies of the station are meeting the specialized educational and cultural needs of the communities served by the station. The advisory board may make recommendations to the governing board to meet those specialized needs.”
“The station may exercise a reasonable degree of discretion in selecting advisory board members. The board should be reasonably representative of the diverse needs and interests of the communities served by the station. . . . The composition of the community advisory board must reflect its independent role, and may not include members of the station staff or governing body in anything other than an ex officio or administrative capacity.”
The full regulations are available at http://www.cpb.org/stations/certification/cert3.html.
For MCPB/KZYX to have a legitimate Community Advisory Board, it will need to add or replace members to ensure both independence from the board and representation of the diversity of the Community. It should also require the CAB to meet “at regular intervals” that are more than one private meeting per year. Otherwise it will appear to be nothing more than a rubber stamp for the Board and Management.
The CAB itself needs to expand its outreach to make sure that it does, indeed, reflect the Community it represents. Properly noticed public meetings are a minimum. These could be run as caucuses or general assemblies using the Occupy model. Although this may seem intimidating at first to those who have not experienced it, the model allows the maximum of public expression while still maintaining order. During this process, the CAB must review the Station’s programming goals, community service, and the impact of significant policy decisions, as required by the CPB. It must then advise the Board of Directors if the Station is meeting the educational and cultural needs of the local Community.
As the holder of a broadcast license issued by the FCC, MCPB/KZYX is a steward of the airwaves and thus subject to regulation. If the station is large enough, with at least five full-time employees, then it must abide by the employment policies of the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, including adequate outreach when filling positions. The recent complaint filed with the FCC alleges that the organization has failed on that point. However, by eliminating the full-time News Director position, the General Manager reduced the number of full-time employees to four and effectively removed all of the employment protections provided by federal law. This, again, is a policy decision that should have been made by the Board of Directors. The effect of the decision has been to increase the power of the General Manager to make personnel decisions without restriction or oversight, which has increased the perception that the General Manager and Management are unresponsive to the Community.
Proposed Changes (Board Actions, Possible Bylaw Amendments)
- Membership Rights
- Allow any Member to inspect and copy any and all records of MCPB/KZYX, other than confidential personnel records.
- Send a written notice of the annual Membership meeting to all Members (likely with ballots in order to save postage while meeting time requirements).
- Allow Members to put a Bylaw amendment on the annual ballot if they obtain the signatures of at least five percent (5%) of the Membership on a petition in support of the proposed amendment.
- Respond to all Member questions at the Membership meeting and all Board of Directors meetings, as time allows.
- Post online any sound/video recordings of any Membership or Board meeting.
- Programmers Rights
- No Programmer shall be disciplined for expressing an opinion concerning MCPB/KZYX, its policies, and/or its operations.
- There shall be no restrictions on communications between and among the Directors, the Management, and the Staff, except for confidential personnel matters.
- Any disciplinary action taken by Management can be appealed to the Board of Directors.
- Directors Rights and Responsibilities
- Rescind the recent policy change which restricts the oversight rights and responsibilities of Directors, individually and collectively.
- Guarantee every Director absolute and total access to all records of the organization.
- Guarantee freedom of communication between Directors and Staff.
- Community Advisory Board
- Reconstitute/expand to guarantee independence and reflect the diversity of the community.
- Hold regular public meetings.
- Facilitate maximum public participation.
- Use surveys that measure the favorability of each specific proposal.
- Return all hiring/firing authority to the Board of Directors.
- Restore full-time News Director position.
- Abide by applicable EEOC employment regulations.
- Require General Manager, Program Director, News Director, and Station Engineer to attend Director/Member meetings and respond to questions as time allows.
Theoretically, all of these changes can be made by the Board of Directors. But some of them are so essential to the operation of the organization that the Members may wish to make them part of the bylaws, which would control future boards.
“MCPB is a membership-based organization dedicated to serving the entire community of Mendocino County and contiguous counties. The primary purpose of MCPB is to engage in providing high-quality, independent, community and public radio and other media products and services.”
This is the Statement of Purpose and Governing Principles written in the original Bylaws some 25 years ago. It still applies today, perhaps more than ever. If the Directors and Members of MCPB/KZYX hope to fulfill this mission, they must take a close look at their current policies and procedures. Rather than being transparent and accountable, as envisioned by both the founders and the law, the organization has become closed and reactionary, doing whatever is necessary to support decisions made by only a few, or by one, that are perceived in the community as being arbitrary and capricious.
A membership nonprofit that operates a community radio station with taxpayer money must be open and accessible. Otherwise, it will defeat the efforts of generations that have sought to make the airwaves a resource for the people. And it will fail. Only by making essential changes can MCPB/KZYX achieve its best destiny, to be a shining city on the hill for a county, and a nation, that so desperately need one.
Dennis O’Brien, Ukiah. November 2014