- Herbicide Meeting
- Frost-fan Season
- Woodhouse Impression
- FB Council Meeting
- Catch o'the Day
- NCRA v CEQA
- Degrees of Crazy
- Burl Poaching
- Contemptible Heroes
- Hot Mannequins
- Medical Insurance
- Museum Exhibits
- Ukiah Artwalk
- Melcher v Sakowicz
- Pledge Flop
- Mental Health Meeting
ATTN: COMPTCHE & BEYOND: Voice your Concerns to MRC, Thursday evening, March 5, at the Comptche Community Hall.
Please come to the Comptche Community Hall, Thursday, March 5, 2015, from 5-7pm to listen, learn, ask questions, and tell Mendocino Redwood Company what you think about their forest practices in your community.
For years, we've watched miles of dead trees appear all over our county, the result of a poisoning process called hack and squirt. Along with fears of extreme fire behavior that endangers our homes, many are concerned about how MRC's use of toxins affects our water and the health of the forest. The effects of their actions do not stop at their property lines. Mendocino Redwood Company's only justification for this practice is how much money it would cost them to do otherwise.
Representatives from MRC will be present from 6-7pm to listen to your concerns. We are hoping that representatives from Calfire, local fire departments, and the Board of Supervisors will also attend; any assistance making that happen would be greatly appreciated.
The Comptche Community Hall is located on Comptche-Ukiah/Orr Springs Rd., east of the Comptche Store & Post Office. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
FROST FANS in vineyards northeast of Central Boonville kicked on Monday and Tuesday morning about midnight, as did the sprinkler system in the vast vineyard in the same general area. There were also a couple going full blast in the Philo area. The din probably disrupted the sleep of several hundred people two days running, with frost expected again Wednesday morning, as the Anderson Valley begins a very long spring, this year starting a month early.
A READER WRITES of the newly elected 3rd District supervisor, "Mr. Woodhouse was advertised as a solid citizen who could be relied on to take a practical and common sense approach to governance, making tough decisions when called on to do so, but nothing so far supports that idea. So far, everyone he meets is clearly above average with selfless dedication and a shining vision of the future that is only surpassed by the next individual or group that he panders to. As he picks up a bit more jargon and starts peppering his blather with "delineated", "sustainable", and "programmatic" he will certainly be a match for former 4th District supervisor, Kendall Smith."
THE FORT BRAGG CITY COUNCIL MEETING, THE CHASTE VERSION
CATCH OF THE DAY, Feb 24, 2015
ALEJANDRO DIAZ, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
ANTONIO FLORES, Boonville. Domestic Assault, court order violation.
SAMUEL GIBNEY, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
JACK GOUBER, Ukiah. Criminal threats of death or great bodily harm, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
ROY HANSEN JR., Oakland/Ukiah. Pot possession for sale.
LEONARD LEUM, Point Arena. Resisting arrest.
MICHAEL MORAN, Simi Valley/Ukiah. Pot possession for sale.
JESSE RODRIGUEZ, Ukiah. Burglary, Under influence of controlled substance, driving on suspended license, receiving stolen property, false info/ID.
AMANDA SIZEMORE, Redwood Valley. Manufacture controlled substance by chemical extraction, child abuse/endangerment, possession of pot for sale, keeping a place to sell narcotic substances, armed with firearm.
ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS FIRE FIRST SALVO IN THEIR SUPREME COURT BATTLE AGAINST NORTH COAST RAILROAD AUTHORITY
by Hank Sims
Back in December, the Outpost’s Ryan Burns told y’all that the California Supreme Court had agreed to step into the long-running fight between two local environmental groups and the North Coast Railroad Authority, the public agency that manages the mostly dead tracks between here and the Bay Area.
Today, those two groups — Friends of the Eel and Californians for Alternatives to Toxics — have filed their opening brief in the case, which seeks to undo the railroad authority’s late-in-the-game claim that it is not bound by state environmental law. (You can read the whole brief at this link.)
To recap a little bit: Back in 2013, the NCRA — an agency of the state of California — reversed course and decided that it was not subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). It made this decision not only after taking lots of taxpayer money that was explicitly conditioned on compliance with the act, but after taking more taxpayer money specifically earmarked for paying for the environmental studies that the act required. (The Outpost had some coverage of the authority’s decision to ditch CEQA here and here.)
At the time, it was a pretty novel for an agency of the state to unilaterally claim it was above state environmental law. After all, CEQA explicitly requires all public agencies to comply with the law. But compliance had become inconvenient for the railroad authority after it became clear that the environmental impact report it did prepare would not pass court muster, and it found a section of federal railroad law which it used to argue that railroads could not be regulated by state governments. The lower courts sided with the railroad authority and that was that, until the California Supreme Court agreed to review the case.
In their opening brief, CATS and FOER make several interlocking arguments about the relationship between federal and state law in this matter. To boil it down: They argue that California is not regulating the NCRA’s railroad operations with its environmental law. Rather, the Environmental Quality Act is something that the state imposes on its own agencies, the NCRA being one of those. It’s not a regulation imposed on a third party in this case; it’s a set of standards it imposes on itself.
As the brief puts it:
The environmental review and decision process here is no more “regulation” of rail transportation than would be the internal corporate decision process of a private rail carrier evaluating whether to reopen the rail line. For example, a private carrier might assess market potential, evaluate local support or opposition, investigate environmental liabilities associated with moving forward, and undertake myriad other due diligence activities to gage the wisdom of proceeding. This internal decisionmaking could affect future rail transportation because the outcome would determine whether and how the private carrier finalizes and implements its project. But it does not constitute “regulation of rail transportation” under the [Interstate Commerce Commision Termination Act], and no one could seriously argue that the ICCTA intrudes on such internal corporate business planning activities.
A self-imposed environmental impact report, in this reading, is akin to any sort of planning document that a private party might want to undertake before undertaking a business venture. The federal government isn’t going to preempt private railroad owners from doing that; why would it have any grounds to preempt public owners from doing the same? Quote:
"Preemption not only would affect operation of the line’s Russian River Division, but also would preclude State environmental review of the Eel River Division, which traverses sensitive ecological areas. Without adequate CEQA review, the State could be saddled with ongoing and substantial liability for operation on that unstable part of the line."
There are 70-odd pages backing this argument and exploring its various implications — including the ironies of the authority using taxpayer money to perform environmental review, only to later deny that it is required to do environmental review — but that is the nut of it. That, and the argument that citizen groups such as their own do, in fact, have standing to bring suit under the California Environmental Quality Act.
The latter point is an important one. You might ask yourself: Hey, why isn’t the state of California stepping up and enforcing its own environmental laws? Why isn’t it slapping around its own railroad authority for refusing to follow its own laws? Why do Humboldt hippies have to do it for them?
Well, it might have something to do with the fact that the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown now has some skin in the game. His own pet project — high-speed rail from the Bay Area to Los Angeles — has been facing the same fight with environmental groups and local governments in the Central Valley. In that project, which dwarfs our own on every scale — money, most importantly — the Brown administration has been actively arguing against the idea that a California-owned railroad should comply with California environmental law. That fight looks to be headed to federal court. Courthouse News Service has a decent overview here.
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Russia and the U.S. won’t go nuclear over Ukraine; it just doesn’t make any sense. If there really is a cabal of elites running things, they’d have to be stupid to wreck the world. What rational human being would prefer living underground ruling everyone else as a mole man with no trips to the Caribbean, Hawaii, Santa Barbara, or anywhere else? Just because someone’s a psychopath doesn’t mean they have completely lost touch with reality.
In 1962 we almost went nuclear with Russia over missiles in Cuba, the key word being “almost”. Khrushchev was no wimp. He was known as “the Butcher of the Ukraine” and deserved the name. Yet when faced with nuclear war, he backed down, which cost him the Soviet chairmanship 2 years later, as he knew it would. I don’t imagine Barry and Vlad not being able to ultimately work things out, even if it costs both of them something.
What is particularly worrisome is if a radical Islamic group comes into possession of a nuclear device. They are not rational. Just like any crazy person, their actions make a kind of sense if you think it through. What man wouldn’t want to go to heaven, be in the presence of God, and be serviced by 72 virgins? However, this is another topic for discussion.
My point is, enjoy being alive, appreciate what you have and wait for new sources of energy to come on-line.
TWEAKERS HAVE BEEN POACHING REDWOODS, SO…
Senator McGuire Introduces Bill To Protect Redwood Trees From Burl Poachers
Sacramento, CA - State Senator Mike McGuire introduced legislation this week to protect old growth redwoods -- the tallest trees on the planet - and put a stop to the devastating practice of burl theft from our state and national parks and California's forests. Burls - the dormant, knobby material that grows at the base of redwood trees - are the primary method of redwood tree regeneration. When burls are hacked away, it significantly injures, and can actually kill the state's beloved old growth redwoods.
Cases of burl poaching have continued to increase, destroying old growth redwoods and causing substantial damage to our cherished state and national parks, threatening endangered species and wasting valuable public resources. Over the past five years, there have been more than 100 cases of old growth redwood burl theft from North Coast Redwoods. SB 288, introduced Feb. 19, would make redwood burl theft a felony crime carrying a fine of up to $10,000.
"Burl poachers are literally carving away our state parks and threatening some of our nation's most beloved treasures - old growth California redwoods. We must act now to protect these majestic trees and to prosecute these butchers who are causing irreversible harm to our forests for personal profit," Senator McGuire said.
The incidents of redwood burl theft have increased, and so has the size of the burls being taken. Poachers are able to sell the beautiful, hard wood, which is used to create decorative products and trinkets, at high prices. Currently, the crime is a simple misdemeanor with no fine.
Senator McGuire represents the largest tract of old growth redwoods in the world. The Redwood National and State Park - a United Nations World Heritage Site - is 133,000 acres, 40,000 of which is home to spectacular old growth redwood. Only about 5 percent of the old growth redwood remains from the original 2 million acres.
SB288 is co-authored by State Assemblymember Jim Wood and has already garnered the support of local District Attorneys and state parks representatives.
Humboldt County District Attorney Maggie Fleming: "I appreciate Senator McGuire's rapid and well-reasoned response to the issue of redwood burl theft, which I hope will prevent irreparable harm to the natural resources in our national and state parks and other lands. If such crimes do occur in the future, the Humboldt County DAs Office will take full advantage of the legislation in dealing with offenders."
Del Norte District Attorney Dale Trigg: "We are truly blessed to live in this unique part of the world where we are surrounded by the majestic Redwoods. It is our obligation to the world to protect these treasures.
I applaud Sen. McGuire for his efforts to protect the Redwoods and fully support and endorse this legislation." Liz Burko, Acting Superintendent, North Coast Redwoods District, California State Parks: "Burl poaching along the North Coast is a major concern to our iconic state parks. Cutting burls from redwoods can cause irreparable damage to the historic trees."
For more information or questions, please contact Kerrie Lindecker, Communications Coordinator, at 707-319-3654, or email her at email@example.com. Photo courtesy National Park Service attached: Wildlife biologist Terry Hines stands next to an old growth redwood tree near Klamath that was gutted by burl poachers in 2013.
Burl poaching in the news:
The icy sky at night
Paddles cut the water
In a long and hurried flight
From the white man
to the fields of green
And the homeland
we've never seen.
They killed us in our tepee
And they cut our women down
They might have left some babies
Cryin' on the ground
But the firesticks
and the wagons come
And the night falls
on the setting sun.
They massacred the buffalo
Kitty corner from the bank
The taxis run across my feet
And my eyes have turned to blanks
In my little box
at the top of the stairs
With my Indian rug
and a pipe to share.
I wish a was a trapper
I would give thousand pelts
To sleep with Pocahontas
And find out how she felt
In the mornin'
on the fields of green
In the homeland
we've never seen.
And maybe Marlon Brando
Will be there by the fire
We'll sit and talk of Hollywood
And the good things there for hire
And the Astrodome
and the first tepee
Marlon Brando, Pocahontas and me
Marlon Brando, Pocahontas and me
— Neil Young
From Sophie Scholl to Paul Robeson
by Clancy Sigal
This Sunday is an anniversary of the execution by beheading of young SOPHIE SCHOLL, her brother Hans and their school friend Christopher Probst who formed the shortlived anti-Nazi “White Rose conspiracy” in Munich, Germany in WW2. Medical students in their early 20s, they were religiously-inclined skiing and hiking pals caught handing out leaflets asking for passive resistance to the Hitler regime. A school janitor turned them in for tossing leaflets down a stairwell. Although there are streets, schools and plaques to their memory in Germany, none of the White Roses survived to tell their story. In court before the notoriously sadistic Judge Freisler, Sophie said: “Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don’t dare express themselves as we did.” As if to prove her words, at the time most Germans kept away from this deeply Lutheran family.
The Scholls and young Probst are what I call contemptible heroes. That is, someone who risks doing a good thing against the collective wisdom of the herd and usually gets punished for it.
Contemptible heroes can be “difficult” and are not always the nicest people to have around. They embarrass or scare us.
Such a man or woman often suffers terrible isolation and feelings of “Am I crazy to do this?” It can be very lonely.
Here are a few more examples.
Warrant officer HUGH THOMPSON, a Vietnam helicopter pilot, who risked landing his plane in the hot zone between the dead and dying My Lai villagers and Lt. Calley’s Company C gone-berserk U.S. army soldiers. Thompson told Calley that he’d shoot any American soldier who fires on the Vietnamese, thus stopping the massacre. For this act of defiance Thompson was called a “traitor”, got death threats, and was nearly courtmartialled and jailed. His fellow officers and some of his neighbors back in Stone Mountain, Georgia do not take kindly to his act of decency.
JULIANO MER-KHAMIS, half Arab half Jewish ex Israeli paratrooper who creates the Freedom Theatre in Jenin to bring together Jews and Palestinians. He makes films and stage plays in the Disputed Territories, and is assassinated by a “fuckedup Palestinian” for trying to bring people together.
EMILY DAVIDSON, the English suffragette, who dies attempting to place a “Votes for Women” scarf around the neck of the King’s race horse during Epsom Derby. She is mourned by militant suffragettes and despised by most men, many women and animal lovers.
Sgt. JOE DARBY, a guard at Iraq’s Abu Graib torture prison, who exposes officers and fellow guards who abuse prisoners. Darby and his wife have to pack up and flee their Maryland home and seek protection in a witness protection program.
ROCKY BRAAT, American hippie who spends three years caring for AIDS children in a village in India. When one kid dies in his care the healthy villagers blame him.
FRANK SERPICO, the first NYPD cop to come forward to expose police brutality and corruption. At the time most other cops detested him and almost caused his death by refusing to back him up in a drug raid. Famous after Al Pacino’s film, a bullet-deafened Serpico went into prolonged exile in Europe.
PAUL ROBESON, internationally celebrated Rutgers University all-American football player, African American singer/actor and socialist. His spectacular career was ruined by McCarthyite blacklisting when he spoke up for “oppressed colonial peoples”. He stubbornly refused to renounce his Cold War pro-Soviet and Stalin-loving politics despite criticism by Jackie Robinson, Eleanor Roosevelt and even Malcolm X. Under brutal intimidation and surveillance by FBI, CIA and foreign security cops, he became paranoid and ill and died in seclusion in Philadelphia.
Sometimes it’s just personal. A NAMELESS FRIEND, a civil liberties activist, married with a loyal wife and family, who on a speaking tour startled himself by falling in love with a married housewife. His family was devastated. When he chose love over obligation many of his friends and associates, who had revered him, treated him as a pariah.
A contemptible hero can be any kid or grownup, male or female, who stands up against the pressure of family, friends and peers. You don’t have to be a whistleblower, just defiant, different and decent. Probably in each of our lives we’ve had such moments.
In the 16th century one of the most widely read and influential books in the English language was Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Does it need updating?
Do you have a favorite contemptible hero? Suggestions?
(Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Hemingway Lives.)
COVERED CAL ENROLLMENT EXTENDED
I am writing you to make you aware that, Covered CA has extended their enrollment period Feb. 23 - April 30th 2015. Covered CA is now inviting all those who were not able to get enrolled during the regular enrollment time to do so now, during this Special Enrollment period. All consumers will have to meet with a Certified Enrollment Counselor or call Covered Ca. at (800) 300-1506 to get to take advantage of the Special Open Enrollment period.
If you were not aware, there are stiff tax penalties to those that cannot prove they had Medical Insurance for the entire 2014 year. Likewise, there will be even larger tax penalties for those that do not have coverage during the year of 2015.
The Anderson Valley Health Center has been providing a service to all those who need assistance navigating this path to affordable health insurance in Covered CA. Mitzi Wagner/Covered CA certified enrollment counselor has helped hundreds of people obtain Affordable Medical Health Insurance and or MediCal for themselves and their families for the 2014 and 2015 years.
All our community should take advantage of this Free Service and call today to make an appointment for a private, no cost consultation and get on board to Covered CA. There are hundreds of testimonials of people in CA and in AV that have finally gotten to see the doctor and have saved hundreds of dollars for their Medical Health Insurance.
Mitzi Wagner Outreach & Education Coordinator
Emergency Preparedness Coordinator
Anderson Valley Health Center 13500 Airprort Rd.
P.O Box 338
Boonville, Ca 95415
707-895-3477 / 707-895-2035
GRIT & GRIEF:
Concert of Civil War songs reveals Grace Hudson family legacy
by Roberta Werdinger
On Sunday, March 8, from 2 to 3:30 pm, the Grace Hudson Museum will present a live performance of music from the U.S. Civil War, featuring songs from sheet music in the Museum's collections belonging to Grace Hudson's family. "Somebody's Darling," a group of local musicians specially gathered for this performance, will perform the songs. The event is free with Museum admission. Refreshments will be served.
The U.S. Civil War (1861-1865) forever changed the American psyche, introducing death and destruction on an unprecedented scale. Current estimates place the death toll between 600,000 to 750,000, which was at least two percent of the population at the time. As on every battlefield in every era, an impromptu culture arose which saw soldiers developing songs and sayings that gave them strength and expressed their grief. The word "grit," as an adjective connoting fortitude, is said to have arisen from this era, while the phrase "somebody's darling" was used to describe the body of a fallen soldier. Fragments of songs would freely cross enemy lines at night, as soldiers sat by campfires and recuperated from the day's battles, unknowingly planting the seeds for the musical genre now known as Americana or roots music.
At the performance, Karen Holmes, Interim Curator for the Museum, will introduce each song, as well as provide background information on the lives of Grace's mother and father, Helen and A.O. Carpenter, and grandmother, Clarina Nichols, all active Union sympathizers. Performing in "Somebody's Darling" are Roxanne Oliva on tin whistle and accordion, Elizabeth Vega on ukulele, guitar, and vocals, Dru Rodgers on guitar, mandolin, and vocals, and Eric Neilson on double bass and vocals. There will also be a chance to hear a few notes played on the Museum's melodeon, a 19th-century reed organ probably once owned by Grace's mother, Helen.
Since 2015 is the Sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) of the Civil War, the Museum staff felt this was the right opportunity to bring alive some of the 15 songs represented in the Civil War sheet music that Grace Hudson's family owned (now in the Museum's collections), part of a larger archive of about 300 pieces of sheet music gathered by various Carpenter/Hudson family members. The family's Civil War sheet music collection is also currently on display in the Spriggs Foyer.
In addition, March 8 is the last day to view "Jules Tavernier: Artist & Adventurer--The Illustrations," in the Museum's main gallery. A recent arrival from France, Tavernier (1844-1889) traveled from East Coast to West on assignment for "Harper's Weekly" only a few years after the end of the Civil War. Accompanied by artist Paul Frenzeny (1840-circa 1902), they skillfully and sympathetically recorded the changing face of the American heartland during a time of great cultural upheaval. Equally adept at capturing human drama and the natural grandeur of the West, Tavernier's wood engravings are an able document of the time.
The Grace Hudson Museum is at 431 S. Main St. in Ukiah and is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 am to 4:30 pm, and Sunday from noon to 4:30 pm. General admission is $4; $10 per family; $3 for students and seniors; free to all on the first Friday of the month; and always free to members. For more information please go to www.gracehudsonmuseum.org, or call (707) 467-2836.
MARCH FIRST FRIDAY ARTWALK
March 6, from 5-8 pm in Ukiah
Enjoy one or all of the venues, art, music, and refreshments!
Ukiah Valley Artist Cooperative Gallery
The Days Before the Digital Camera, a personal collection of black and white photography. “My love for photography began in the darkroom. To me, it was magical watching an image slowly come to life.” Deborah Briggs, Photographer.
The Ukiah Valley Artists Gallery is located at 518 E. Perkins, in the Pear Tree Center.
The Great Outdoors in Infrared Photography by James Eldridge. Having been a digital photographer for a number of years James found digital Infrared a new and exciting way to look at black and white photos. The goal of his art is for someone to be enchanted by the wonder of the world that is not visible by the naked eye.
Also featuring Handmade Bird Houses by George Knauss of Lakeport. His hobby of the last 15 years has been making Bird Houses. Just in time for spring!
The Corner Gallery is located at 201 S. State Street Ukiah, 462-1400 www.cornergalleryukiah.com
Art Center Ukiah
Time Will Tell, an Art Clock Exhibit at the Art Center Ukiah.
For the spring daylight savings leap ahead in March, local artists have created whimsical Art Clocks. The clocks will be on exhibit March 6th -27th at the ACU Gallery where you can vote for your favorite. Live music and refreshments during Art Walk opening. The clocks will be silent auctioned to benefit ACU, with final bids accepted at a special reception held on March 27th 5-7 pm.
Art Center Ukiah, 201 S. State St. 462-1400 www.artcenterukiah.org
Grace Hudson Museum
The Grace Hudson Museum won't have any special events, but two exhibits will be on display: in the main gallery, the Jules Tavernier exhibit, featuring wood engravings the artist made during a journey through the American West in 1873-74; and in the Spriggs Foyer, sheet music from the Civil War that belonged to Grace Hudson's family.
The Grace Hudson Museum is located at 431 South Main Street, Ukiah. 467-2836 www.gracehudsonmuseum.org
Main Branch Library
The Mendocino County Library, Ukiah Branch is hosting Re-use and Use ANew. Enjoy making folded paper boxes from last year's calendars and magazines. On Friday, March 6th, 5-7:30pm at the Mendocino County Library enjoy live music with Stephen Winkle and yummy treats.
105 N. Main St. Ukiah CA Contact us for more info: 463-4493
Kit Elliott Gallery
In March Molly Huddleston showing her photography from her trip around the world, including some new pictures for this month.
She traveled for 3 months from Washington, DC to Greece and taking ferries to various islands and finally arriving in Fethiye, Turkey. From there, she worked her way up the coast, visiting more ruins and museums. After Istanbul, Australia, and then the North Island of New Zealand she stopped in Honolulu before flying home. These photos are just some of the many from her travels.
The Kit Elliot Gallery is located at 116 S. State Street, Ukiah.
T.A.P.S. The Arts And Performance Studio
In the front window, Taps will be showcasing beautiful Valentine themed canvas bags, decorated by the children of the MCOE Special Education Low Incident Program. Ages ranging from 5-17.
The rest of the gallery will be temporarily converted into Wonderland, featuring a collection of paintings and sculptures that include the Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat and Alice.
T.A.P.S. is located at 203 S. State Street, Ukiah.
Arts Council Of Mendocino County
Pomolita Middle School Art, presents their first annual show of student art work this March at the Arts Council of Mendocino County. The reception for the artists will be Friday March 6th from 4-6pm. The show will include artwork from over 150 student artists, as well as 7th and 8th graders from Pomolita Middle School and the advanced art class of Ukiah High School.
Arts Council gallery is located at the Ukiah Depot, 309 East Perkins St. in Ukiah. For more info, contact Rose Easterbrook at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ukiah Civic Center
“Touching the Wild” opens the International Wildlife Film Festival's Post-Festival Tour, Six Friday evenings of captivating films.
The Redwood Valley Outdoor Education Project (RVOEP) is pleased to again bring an engaging selection of films from the International Wildlife Film Festival of Missoula, Montana, now in its 38th year. It begins on February 20th and runs Friday evenings ending on March 27th. Viewers will journey to remote and magical places as the films explore ocean habitats, bears of the last frontier, spirit creatures of southern Africa, Ireland's longest river, the raccoon nation, and the wild islands of the Philippines. Each evening offers an opportunity to reflect upon the interrelationship between people and animals as we work out ways to share our mutual home, Planet Earth.
All the films will be shown at the Ukiah Civic Center at 300 Seminary Avenue, with live music and snacks starting at 6:15 pm and the films beginning at 7pm. Tickets are available at the Mendocino Book Company and at the door for a suggested donation of $10 for adults and $5 for children.
GOEBBELS, STALIN, O'REILLY, HANNITTY… & JOHN SAKOWICZ
by Tom Melcher
Attack, attack. Take no prisoners.
With every word I write here, I am preparing for the knockout aggression that will surely come in response. Because that’s how it’s always done: if you dare to criticize the self-righteous, the megalomaniacs, those beyond reproach, you will pay. You will pay dearly.
But I won’t sit for this any longer. Have you no shame, sir?
Most people — correction, all people — want to succeed in this life, want to be happy. Ironically, this includes every man and woman who will grow to become a tyrant or who will display tyrannical nature. Tyrants are a class of humans (most often males) whose yearning for love and perfection is entwined with discipline, gifts of speech and fury about fault of any kind, real or imagined.
Before getting to our local incarnation, let’s take a quick tour through examples from the century of slaughter just past, brilliant men, who pursued power by convincing followers to abandon their decency in pursuit of ‘higher goals.’ After overthrowing the despicable tsar Nicholas II, Russia’s middle-of-the-road Menshevik party was caught flatfooted by the blood terror of the Bolsheviks (you’ve heard of Stalin) who murdered them in the first six months of 1917. Mussolini learned to play the system to ruin his own people. Little mustachioed Hitler caught the attention of a humiliated post-WWI Germany and convinced enough men to threaten the rest of the population with death if they did not go along. Mao wanted to help his people, but learned to sacrifice them in pursuit of that same goal by turning them on each other at regular intervals. Rivers ran red.
And make no mistake; tyranny is not a disease only of the Left. With the help of US corporations and US troops brought into protect profits from peasant revolts, right-wing dictators flourished in Central and South America. George Orwell beautifully caught this dance of tyranny in his allegorical tale “Animal Farm.” After overthrowing the miserable farmer Jones, the pigs—the smart ones—turned the screws on all the other animals to gradually create a more vicious society than Jones could ever have imagined or intended.
How, you ask, can this happen? How can good people be so confused or buffaloed? To paraphrase Joseph Goebbels, The bigger the lie, the more often it is told, the more fervently it will be believed. Another time, he said lies containing a mote of truth can always be defended as true. Joseph McCarthy ruined countless lives with his Red Scare inquisitions. In recent times, even semblance of truth has become unnecessary. Science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard invented the ‘religion’ of Scientology from whole cloth and proceeded to abuse and fleece his members.
Angry over years of progressive gains in this country, conservative talk radio has elevated the exploitation of the downtrodden into a formidable obstruction of democracy. That pursuit is now thoroughly manipulated by a billionaire class, a class that has always been the destination of the kind of tyrant who dislikes blood.
Now our US media is being purchased by corporate ideologues. Their intent: control the narrative and pass legislation, so their crimes can proceed without interference. Among these ‘news’ outlets—with its purveyors of hatred and distortion like Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly—Fox News is the poster child. (Praise be that the AVA is still a real paper.)
Watching history reveals a startling fact: all activist movements attract tyrants-in-the-making. In the beginning, pure reformers are pleased to have these articulate spokesmen roar out the indignation they are incapable of expressing. But by the time their tyrant shows his true colors, the naive have already been marginalized. (Stalin’s friends faced firing squads.)
In this tiny little world of Mendocino, an enclave that fashions itself a bastion of idealism and freedom, we have a little public radio station, KZYX&Z. The beauty—and misfortune—is that it took root in an isolated valley soon to be overwhelmed by vineyards and trees growing enough to stifle radio transmission. Though it now has an incredible array of volunteer programmers, the cast that founded the station made capricious mistakes that ran it into debt and considerable ill will. Though the effort of current management and community has placed its finances in the black, it still suffers from that history of partisanship and malfeasance.
So what’s the connection between tyranny and radio? A few years ago as the station was righting itself, along came John Sakowicz. An articulate man, a powerful man, he got elected to the station’s board of trustees and soon found it an excellent vehicle for his megalomania. (Because he has never shied away from naming people he attacks, it is only fair to level the field by naming him and countering some of his ‘facts.’) Gathering enough disgruntled former volunteers by torchlight, he has spent the last eighteen months doing all a powerful fellow can do to bring the station into his vision of revolution. Counter to his avowed love for the station, his actions show he cares not if it disappears. Past investigations in this paper and elsewhere reveal his history of self-aggrandizement and formidable ‘creativity’ with his resume. Virtually none of his claims about thirty years in Wall Street can be verified by the entities in place to know about him. As if a good student of Goebbels, he chants his fabrications enough for other angry or disempowered people to chant with him. These pages never fail to carry his rants.
Like other vengeful people before him, when faced with counter-narratives, Mr. Sakowicz responds by raising his attacks to levels that trusting and well-meaning folk who run things never thought they would have to face. Remember the Mensheviks. Granted, the staff at KZYX&Z is not perfect. The charter that binds them is not perfect. The implementation is not perfect. The infrastructure needs upgrading. Yet remember, it is all the result of dedicated people who try. And still the station broadcasts a wide variety of programming that delights enough people in the county to bring it out of debt.
Rightly or wrongly, the staff has chosen to not respond to lies, vilification or ad hominem attacks. But the attacks take a toll. They bring out the vulnerability that all normal people feel when attacked. When an agitated dog/tyrant senses fear in a stranger, it barks louder; it lunges. If the stranger is understandably shaken, the dog reads that nervousness as malfunction, maybe threat, and is quick to bite.
And here we are. Mr. Sakowicz’s attacks against the station are numerous and can’t all be refuted here. But they have been repeatedly directed by name at the station manager and the program director. I’m not making the case FOR the administration, but I’m happy to state that they are not the wholly evil people they are portrayed to be, day in and day out, in the papers, online, in public meetings involving the station and elsewhere. In fact, they are responsible for the station that functions in spite of his threats and deleterious actions.
Imagine where this laughably trivial microcosm of human endeavor (a little radio station) would be if Mr. Sakowicz had applied his gifts of his responsibility to the station. Imagine where it would be if he had placed one quarter of his negative energy into honestly working for the changes that need to be made. (Oh, mind you, he will be sanctimonious in response about his best good wishes for his enemies and democracy. Beware of his other hand. Off-screen it wields a knife.) Imagine if he had mentored each of the people he has rallied in dissent to create something better through the station, explaining to them the reality about how slow change is. Imagine how proud we would all be if, instead of building fires against the outside walls, he had joined with others these eighteen months enhancing John Coates’s gifts and tempering his failings, which most people acknowledge are like anyone else’s, and bringing relief to Mary Aigner’s indefatigable energy and helping to train her understudy.
Instead, he has issued loud screeds calling on members to not fund the organization he says he serves. He has filed complaints against the station with the FCC for slights and untruths of his design. Citing no proof, he says elections are rigged and corrupt. He chants his misinterpretation of the bylaws. Then he protests his show being canceled as petty retaliation for his righteous ‘work,’ when he was actually dropped for saying the F-bomb over live microphones. (Any programmer should expect the same treatment.) He vilifies the senior staff and calls for their firing. Recently he has accused the station of not advertising for a news director position. (When the station produced the ads to show him wrong, he went mum and no-showed at the board meeting, where any decent fellow would have issued an apology and a retraction.) This goes on and on. Now to change the subject, he’s again writing to the FCC and to SF Examiner—as if the latter should care about a local despot whose misbehavior is costing the station legal fees that could go the infrastructure he says is so in need of funds.
Because Mr. Sakowicz is a demagogue on an order we simple Mendoland-types don’t normally encounter, he must be called out. But to mentor him, though he has never found anything to praise in the people he has made into enemies, I will honor his gifts here. Mr. Sakowicz is very intelligent. He has an organized mind. He speaks beautifully. He is insightful. He is tenacious. He is capable of great things.
The problem is his gifts are in reverse proportion to qualities that humanity also requires to function; kindness, listening and hearing, empathy, a proclivity to honesty, a sense of irony involved with being human, which leads to tolerance of others and the greater quality of sense of humor. Then there is leadership. Absent these instincts, his intellect falls into extensive manipulation, creating arguments that rival the best Republican operatives and Fox News anchors, who look to dismantle a two-hundred-year old experiment in democracy. Mr. Sakowicz finds fault where it hasn’t yet occurred. His form of loyalty is limited to those who lift Molotov cocktails, so long as their trajectory appeases his wounded ego. I grieve for his friends.
If his letters to the FCC accusing KZYX of gross negligence find their target and the station is sanctioned, if John Coate and Mary Aigner are shown the door, I predict Mr. Sakowicz will find he has no interest or ability to pivot and work with people on a day-to-day basis in a way that inspires them to do well for no pay. His hangers-on will also find themselves crippled by anger and ideology enough to lead to missteps. And when things stumble, Mr. Sakowicz will deflect blame faster than flames leaving a gas fire. Then the poor folk who wanted to do well will be left demoralized, without sufficient skill. And the previous supporters may leave the station, rather than sign on to such intransigence.
In March, there is an election coming for the board. Some candidates share Mr. Sakowicz’s views and have advocated not supporting the station—what my mother would call the “holding your breath until you turn blue” method of getting what you want. They profess wanting to help the station while seeking an overthrow. I urge all members to listen to the Candidate Forum on March 5th at 7 pm to distinguish which ones carry the Sakowicz virus from those who genuinely want to roll up their sleeves. In the meantime, Mr. Sakowicz, I suggest you rethink the employment of your gifts. If KZYX is corrupt, you’ve called it out; stand back and let it fall. But don’t push and burn a viable system just because you need another platform for your ego.
RESPONSE TO TOM MELCHER, A.K.A.TOM POPE, AKA POPE TOM
by John Sakowicz
The name Tom Melcher rang a bell. So I did a little research. Isn't this the same Tom Melcher who ran for the KYX Board in the last elections cycle?
Indeed it is!
Melcher was recruited by KZYX management to split the vote against Doug McKenty!
What a guy!
To review a little recent past history, Doug McKenty is a former KZYX Board member and popular radio show host. In fact, he had several shows on the schedule.
A few years back, Doug McKenty started to ask all the right questions about mismanagement at the station. He challenged sketchy facts, and weak excuses, and the almost total dominance of the station by General Manager and Executive Director, John Coate, and Program Director, Mary Aigner. Doug McKenty promised much-needed reform. Consequently, Doug McKenty was purged. He was summarily kicked off the air. His programming privileges were indefinitely suspended and his shows were cancelled. In other words, he was offed by station bullies John Coate and Mary Aigner.
For those not familiar with the day-to-day operations at KZYX, John Coate and Mary Aigner run KZYX like Stalin ran the Kolyma Gulag.-- and I am familiar, because, not only am I an KZYX Board member, I had a radio show at KZYX for going on seven years.
Yes, Coate runs KZYX like a Gulag.
Or like how the feds ran the Apache reservation at Fort Still, Oklahoma.
I'm not overstating the case. Programmers like myself, Doug McKenty, Norman De Vall, Johanna Schultz, Jay Johnson, Beth Bosk, and many others all have been purged over the years by Coate and Aigner. All for speaking out against Coate and Aigner. Many other excellent programmers, like Marco McClean, who broadcast their shows from low power stations elsewhere in Mendocino County, and who are critical of Coate and Aigner, never even get a chance to air their shows at KZYX. Same reason. Speaking out. Challenging Coate's and Aigner absolute, almost military, authority.
So back to recent history.
Once he was purged, Doug McKenty ran for the KZYX Board. It would have been his second term as a Board member. He promised reform.
What reform? Was Doug McKenty really so "revolutionary"?
No, not really. Doug McKenty wanted the station's 2,300 members to be more involved in governance. Right now, the KZYX Board has ceded all control of station operations to Coate. By all control, I mean all control.
I'll give six simple examples.
Two different women have suffered battery at the hands of men on KZYX premises. But Coate and Aigner refused to have the incidents investigated by the Sheriff's Office. Why?They don't want outsiders prying into things, thank you very much
Membership wants to make the programming choices. But right now, Aigner is the sole decider on what shows get put on the air. She is the sole arbiter of style and content. The listenership is the big loser. Ever since Norman De Vall got canned for starting email@example.com, we've had no really solid local programming. Also see the comments in the Anderson Valley Advertiser's "Mendocino County Today" February 23, about the lack of real content at KZYX.
Transparency and accountability in station finances is nonexistent. Even a simple thing like staff salaries aren't disclosed at KZYX. Also, $5,000 raised by the community for a Ukiah studio, and another $5,000 from a family foundation grant stipulated for a Ukiah studio, have both gone missing. Ten thousand dollars in missing monies. That's a very bad thing at a nonprofit corporation like KZYX.
Broadcast equipment fails, and fails often. The listeners of KZYX often get dead air or irritating scratchy signals. Why? Because our equipment is old and held together by bailing wire and masking tape. Money goes to salaries instead of equipment and technology.
We need a studio in Ukiah. KZYX's main studio is in Philo, population 349, and far from anything that's newsworthy. We have no studio in Ukiah, our county seat, population 16,075. Why Philo? Is it because three of the station's four managers live in the Philo area?
Station management scoffs at the spirit of the law for affirmation action and equal opportunity. They should advertise or post all jobs, even part-time jobs. But they don't. Jobs go to friends and friends of friends.
Long story short, Melcher got 19 percent of the vote. Not enough, but just enough. Just enough to cause Doug McKenty to lose. Mission accomplished. A station loyalist and card carrying blowhard named Paul Lambert got elected over Melcher and Doug McKenty.
So who is Tom Melcher? Besides being a shill for Coate and Aigner, who is this Tom Melcher, a.k.a., Tom Pope?
According to his bio, Melcher, a.k.a., Pope, is a "seed collector" and "food blogger".
Only in Mendocino County!
Can person really make a living being a seed collector or a food blogger?
And what's with the Pope name? Is it Tom Pope? Or Pope Tom? Pope Thomas Aquinas? Or Pope Thomas Beckett?
And this Melcher, a.k.a. Pope, accuses me of megalomania!
Back to the facts. Melcher, a.k.a. Pope, does a lot of mudslinging. So let's establish a few facts.
Know this much: I've been vetted every which way by the state, by the county, by law enforcement, and by underwriters. A "snapshot" of my FINRA file which can be located at the County CEO's Office documents working most of my adult life on Wall Street. Additionally, I received training as a public trustee at Stanford Law School, received advanced training in the management of public monies at both UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business and UCLA's Anderson School of Management, was a recipient of commendations for community service from both the Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives, earned an MA and BA from the Johns Hopkins University. I've worked for law enforcement. I've had the clearance that got me into General Bob Kehler's Christmas party at the Space and Cyber Command at Peterson AFB. I'm a bonded fiduciary. I've served on grand juries.
Additionally, I've appeared many times as a guest on national and international media, including on Al Jazeera, opposite President Obama, on November 13, 2010, in Yokohama, Japan, at the APEC Conference.
Check it out, Pope Tom: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia-pacific/2010/11/20101113431621378.html
I''m sorry if I don't have any seed collecting or food blogging credentials.
Another thing, Pope Tom. What you read online is disinformation. Google has as much disinformation on it, as it has information. Did you know I could create a few blogs, write you up as someone who is into kiddie porn, create hyperlinks among those blogs, and when I'm finished your name and kiddie porn would be my first hit on you in a Google search? Did you know that? That why firms like reputation.com are making a killing right now. Billions. Reputational harm is easy peasey in the digital age. You can't un-Google yourself. You can only bury the disinformation way down in the search results.
Another thing you should have fact checked, Pope Tom. It's about my being getting kicked off the air for "dropping the f-bomb," as you say. The incident occurred about seven months ago when I had retired CIA senior analyst, Ray McGovern, on my show. My call with him dropped several times. The fourth time, Aigner stepped into the studio. She ordered me off the engineering board. She took control of the show, as she attempted to get Ray McGovern back on the air. I uttered the f-word once while standing a foot or two behind Aigner, which was three or four feet from the engineering board. I had every reason to believe she had potted down the board. In any case, the f-word was ambient sound. The bottom line is Aigner ordered me off the board and had control of the show. I repeat: Aigner had control of the show. And there were witnesses to the incident. Also, the FCC received no complaints about the incident following the show.
Aigner should have apologized to our guest, me, and the audience.
Nope. Apologies aren't in Aigner's job description.
When I attempted to appeal my suspension, I requested that an objective third-party, who is external to KZYX, hear my appeal. My request was denied, which is absurd. A clear conflict of interest exists between myself and the two-headed hydra of Coate-Aigner (sort of like Melcher-Pope, but different).
Any questions, Pope Tom?
Final thing. I worked my ass off when I was with KZYX. The last show when I hosted a pledge drive show -- Fall Pledge Drive, 2013 -- I raised $2,500. One hour. $2,500. In my six years of hosting a show on KZYX, I raised thousands of dollars. I never didn't meet the pledge drive goals set for me.
I also got great guests -- A-listers -- for the entire time of going on seven years that I had a show on KZYX. Who you may ask? Members of Congress. C-level executives. Nobel Prize winners. Pulitzer Prize winners. Top guys from the military, national security, and intelligence. Top law professors, bankers, traders, leaders in any number of fields. Even an FCC commissioner. No. Actually, two FCC commissioners.
It was a gift, Pope Tom. My gift. My gift to KZYX and its listeners. Twice a month. For going on seven years. And not once did Coate or Aigner help me schedule a guest, help me prepare, help me archive my shows, or even thank me.
All I got was to have my youngest daughter read in the Anderson Valley Advertiser of how Coate didn't "approve" of me. Didn't approve of me? He made my daughter cry with his asinine comment. She knew how hard I worked for KZYX. For years I put in good work.
I'm still working for KZYX. I've moved my show to KMEC, but I'm working as a KZYX Board member. I'm working to change KZYX. To save the station. Coate and Aigner simply have to go. The reservation mentality has got to go.
If you don't agree with my tactics, that's okay. I can live with that. I take my inspiration from Geronimo. He and his band of Apache refused to live on the reservation. They fought hard. Attacks and counter-attacks were common. The war with the feds lasted for years. It was bitter, terrible fighting. In the end, Geronimo lost. The pursuit of Geronimo and his little band of Apache by the feds wore them down. They had no time to rest or stay in one place. The feds were tenacious and in constant pursuit. Geronimo surrendered. He was subdued, but his spirit was never dominated. He wouldn't shut up. Geronimo brought attention to the plight of Native Americans. How the white man betrayed Native Americans. Broke treaties. Stole land. Massacred Native Americans. Impoverished them. Enslaved their children. Raped their women.
History remembers Geronimo kindly. When Geronimo surrendered he had in his possession a Winchester Model 1876 lever-action rifle, with a silver-washed barrel, and receiver bearing Serial Number 109450. It is on display at the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.
Finally, I continue to do good shows. At KMEC. Sid Cooperrider and I just interviewed NSA whistle blowers Bill Binney and Kirk Wiebe. That's pretty damn good for a low-power station, all-volunteer station. We hope to have Tom Drake on soon. We're even hoping that we can connect with Edward Snowden. Also, Laura Poitras, who just won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 2015 Oscars for Citizenfour.
So, what should the good people of Mendocino County do?
Support KMEC, KNYO, KYBU, the low-power, all-volunteer stations in Mendocino County. Support them until real and meaningful change comes to KZYX.
Starve the beast. Coate and Aigner don't deserve your money.
MCPB Board of Directors (2013-2016), Board Treasurer (2014)
PUT ON A HAPPY FACE
To the Editor:
So from what I can gather, the KZYX Winter Pledge Drive was a flop. I'll explain.
The drive ended on Sunday night. The fundraising goal was $70,000. Sensing that Macro McClean's excellent op-ed in local newspapers -- an op-ed titled "Not a Dime" (see link below) -- as to why the public should withhold their pledge support, the $70K number had already been knocked down by KZYX's power elite to $70,000 from $90,000.
Historically $90K is KZYX's usual pledge drive goal.
Toward the end of the pledge drive, Sunday morning, only $37,000 had been raised. So by either standard -- $90K or $70K -- the pledge drive was turning out to be a huge flop.
But then a curious thing happened. According to KZYX's Facebook page, a whopping $13,000 was raised on Sunday.
Management says this $13K is a "one-day record". But something smells fishy. I suspect what really happened is that a few Board members all chipped in on Sunday to bail out the station and to save face from what would have been a really disastrous pledge drive. I really don't think a flood of new people came forward at the last minute to become new members at $50 a pop.
Back when I was a programmer and did pledge drives, I saw this a lot -- management would jack the numbers with all sorts of tricks. The most common trick was the "anonymous matching pledge" or something like that. It was all a fiction.
So why did the pledge drive flop?
Mr. McClean op-ed piece, "Not a Dime", published in the AVA remains the best argument as to why the public needs to boycott KZYX at this time. Why, indeed? Because KZYX needs a new business model. No highly-paid salaried staff. No staff except for one person. A really talented chief engineer. And we need to also make capital investments in new broadcast equipment and technology. And we need to move KZYX's main studio from Philo to Ukiah. If there's any dough left over, give it to the station's 100 programmers in the form of gas money -- they're the real talent at KZYX, not highly paid, do-nothing managers who resist job descriptions, work logs, and job performance evaluations.
Folks needed to withhold financial support during this pledge drive to save the station, not destroy it. Current management needs to go. They're the problem. John Coate, a pompous guy who is KZYX's Executive Director, General Manager, and Master Martinet -- yes, his business card lists all three titles -- has ten years in.
Business Manager, David Steffen, and Operations Manager, Rich Culbertson, have more than ten years in.
Mary Aigner, a really viperous gal who is KZYX's Program Director and The Real Power Behind the Throne -- again, from her business card -- has 25 years in.
All of the above expect lifetime job security.
The only way Coate, Steffen, Culbertson, and Aigner will go is to starve the station's finances. The Board of Directors won't fire them, despite the fact that the station's broadcast signal is often down -- it was down even during the last pledge drive. Karma's a bitch!
The Board won't do diddly. Why? Because the Board is complacent. It's a rubber stamp Board . It's handpicked by management. Coate and Aigner have always meddled in Board elections.
So what's a person to do?
I had a bumper sticker printed up. I distributed it to over a hundred people all over Mendocino County. It read: "KZYX -- Starve the Beast!"
Starve the Beast! People understood. They didn't need to think about it. No explanation was necessary. No pledges at this time, thank you very much. The people of Mendocino County want their public radio station back. It doesn't belong to Coate and Aigner. They want it back.
And that's why KZYX's Winter Pledge Drive was a flop.
Mendocino County Public Broadcasting Board (2013-2016), Board Treasurer (2014)
Link to Marco McClean's op-ed, "Not a Dime": https://www.theava.com/archives/40629
MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES ACT MEETING MARCH 5 Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Workforce Education & Training Program meeting The Mendocino County HHSA Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Workforce Education and Training Program meeting will be held on Thursday, March 5, 2015, from 3:00-4:00 p.m. at the HHSA office located at 1120 S. Dora Street in Ukiah, Conference Room 2. Please check in at the front desk. Members of the public, consumers and family members, MHSA Stakeholders and community agencies are encouraged to attend to provide suggestions and ideas to increase the number of diverse, qualified individuals in the public mental health system workforce to remedy the shortage of qualified individuals to provide services to address severe mental illness, and, to expand the capacity of California’s incumbent public mental health workforce to meet California’s diverse and dynamic needs. Additionally, in developing the public mental health workforce, these programs facilitate a robust statewide, regional, and local infrastructure. Meeting agendas are published at: http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/hhsa/mhsa.htm For further information, contact: Robin Meloche, MHSA Coordinator at 707-472-2332.