- MRC Boycott
- KZYX Crossroads
- Algae River
- First Hospital
- True That
- Navarro Grill
- Intern Season
- Angry Men
- Bay Ballparks
- Odd Location
- Police Reports
- Garden Fundraiser
- Yesterday's Catch
- Coming Attractions
- Greek Crisis
- Independence Day
- Fireworks Illegal
- Marco's Comment
- Green Mountains
MRC WORKERS THREATEN BOYCOTT
by Will Parrish
In an historic development, employees of Mendocino County's largest timber firm, Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC), are threatening to boycott the company in response to recent management decisions that have undercut their wages and hours.
In a meeting roughly a week ago, 18 disgruntled loggers met to air their grievances with MRC Chief Executive Officer Bob Mertz, a long-time timber industry executive who has been with MRC since July 2011. In the words of one logger who took part in the meeting, Mertz “just about crapped his pants” when he saw how many employees had filled the room, being that they consisted of most of MRC's long-term workforce and included employees from all areas of the county (Fort Bragg, Anderson Valley, Ukiah, and elsewhere).
At issue are Mertz' decision in the last year to import crews from the Sierra Nevadas to carry out all aspects of the company's timber harvests (i.e., cutting down trees and hauling them away). These include fellers, riggers, yarders, and skidder operators. Consequently, many long-time MRC employees have been displaced. According to two loggers I interviewed for this story, MRC has also made a habit of waiting until other timber jobs dry up elsewhere, before offering the loggers far lower wages as a quid quo pro for giving them any work at all.
In the meeting with Mertz, the loggers' complaints fell on deaf ears. The CEO of Mendocino County's largest timber firm refused to reverse his decisions. In the words of one logger who participated in the meeting, “What happens now is anyone's guess.”
Prior to assuming the helm of MRC's day-to-day operations, Mertz worked as general manager for more than a dozen years at California's largest timber firm and landholder, Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI). With 1.9 million acres of timberland, 3,600 employees and 14 sawmills, most of which are in California, Sierra Pacific has title to nearly two percent of California's landbase. Since arriving at MRC, Mertz has simultaneously cut employment costs — everything from wages to office supplies — while investing more money in MRC's Ukiah sawmill along North State Street, located at the confluence of Ackerman Creek and the Russian River.
“Mertz was sent here for one reason — to cut throats,” one long-time Mendocino County logger, who has worked extensively for MRC, tells me. “Many of us were born and raised here. We raised kids here. We pay taxes here. This is where we live. There are 15 to 20 really mad loggers who feel exactly the same way I do."
He continued, “And we are mad enough that we are prepared to boycott if the company doesn't address our grievances, which are basically that the company is trying to squeeze us into accepting less money, less work — less of what we need to survive and feed our families.”
Many environmental activists who have opposed MRC and Humboldt Redwood Company logging plans (those two companies being one and the same, in two counties) discovered the tenor of the company's present management regime through interactions with Dennis Thibeault, the company's new vice president, Thibeault is a Bob Mertz man. (Mertz hired him away from Sierra Pacific Industries).
Whereas MRC President and Chief Forester Mike Jani and other company foresters, such as John Anderson, have distinguished themselves by being approachable — even friendly — in interactions with environmentalists (“A lot of environmental NGO staff members have crushes on them,” one long-time environmental activist joked to me earlier this year), Thibeault has been confrontational and defensive. In a tour of the Railroad Gulch THP in Albion, an MRC logging plan encompassing a whopping 758 acres that was filed last year, Thibeault admonished critics that “you just want us to go away, which frankly, won't work for us as a company.”
That THP raised alarms because it initially entailed a timber volume removal of 72% across a vast amount of acreage. A more typical MRC plan involves roughly 45% timber volume removal. Linda Perkins of the Albion River Watershed Protection Association, who tallied up the timber volume removal figures and has been doing it for years, complained to Mike Jani about the extent of logging, and Jani responded by having the plan scaled back. He claimed the initial THP had essentially contained clerical errors that led to the high volume removal. Some environmentalists have feared that such incidents point to a new, more extractive approach to logging. While most critics don't like MRC's existing timber harvest operations, they may like Sierra Pacific Industries' old-school logging pratices even less.
Former MRC President Jim Holmes, who is Mertz' immediate predecessor, generally had a strong relationship with employees. One logger I talked to praised Holmes as “a good and honest man.”
One local logger warns that he and his colleagues are fully prepared to enter into an alliance with “Earth First!” and other environmentalists “if it comes to that.” (A threat that seems more symbolic than practical.) Several were near the beginning of their careers during the 1990s Timber Wars era, when Louisiana Pacific (previous owner of MRC's huge land holdings) engaged in highly destructive cut-and-run logging of their largest timber stands, which also had the effect of putting many loggers and millworkers out of work.
“If the Earth Firsters get involved with us, it's going to cause the company an awful lot of trouble,” he says.
Between MRC and its so-called sister company, HRC (their Humboldt holdings), the company encompasses roughly 440,000 acres of Mendocino, Humboldt, and Sonoma counties. They own two of the only redwood sawmills remaining in California. The company dominates the redwood timber market. One of the only other games in town is Hawthorne Timber (formerly Georgia-Pacific), which owns 110,000 acres in Mendocino County but is selling its holdings. MRC is rumored to be the lead contender to buy that land. There are few other places for workers to turn.
We will continue to follow this story in the AVA.
(Author's Note: I have postponed part two of my study on MRC's historic timber harvest methods until next week to address this important breaking story.)
GORDY BLACK: THE MAN WHO NEVER GETS IT
KZYX Radio General Manager Leaves Amid Conflicts, Criticism
by Frank Hartzell
After nearly seven years running KZYX radio, executive director and general manager John Coate resigned effective July 1, saying the move was to spend more time with his family.
His vocal critics believe the move was because he didn't want to respond to questions they raised about finances. The move brings renewed questions for everyone at the station about how local public radio will proceed.
Coate inherited financial deficits which his administration helped reduce and nearly retired. He brought an energetic mandatory team approach to the station, a style which didn't sit well with opponents. They saw his administration as being less open and intolerant of any critical input.
Coate was consistently supported by the majority of the board of directors. Candidates who disapproved of Coate and the board's direction were unable to prevail in membership wide elections. Board member John Sakowicz who has been an impassioned and confrontational critic of Coate and is the outcast of the board says he hopes for a new direction at their June 29 meeting at 6pm in the Willits city council chambers.
Coate believed he modernized the management of the radio station, something the minority thought did injustice to a more communal and eclectic management history. He was legendary for his involvement in The Well and SFgate.com. The Well is remembered as one of the world's first and most beloved social media adventures, founded by Stewart Brand who also created the Whole Earth Catalog.
"My nominal title was marketing director, in truth I am the first person to make my living as an online community manager," Coate wrote in his blog. (Attempts to interview Coate for a story have so far been unsuccessful.)
Coate and other early staffers of The Well were former residents of The Farm. Coate's blogs reveal he was 18 in the Haight-Ashbury when he met the guru who started that famous Tennessee hippie bus back to the land commune.
Not so ironically, it was often the other old counterculturalists and freethinkers who attacked Coate and disliked his style which was much closer to corporate teams than The Farm.
Many of these resisted the polish and conventional viewpoints that National Public Radio programming brought. The internal conflict which had been going on before Coate arrived is rooted in different views of Mendocino and the Anderson Valley.
Relocated dream house retirees who often remake themselves as artists have emerged in the past 20 years as the center of local culture. Longtime residents who dislike any strict order and preach progressive rebellion have found themselves even further outside than usual. Traditional American cultures in Ukiah, Lake County and Fort Bragg present another dynamic to any broadcast, web or print media that tries to reach "the county."
Coate dealt with near constant problems with old equipment and even growing trees on the ridges between the coast and inland which figure to make a countywide station more difficult as time goes on. Those struggles show in his monthly reports that he posted online. That openness conflicted with what critics say he said behind the scenes, particularly by email and in what he was willing to reveal from nonprofit records. The Anderson Valley Advertiser has posted leaked emails between board members and Coate which show Coate as as negative and dogmatic as any of his critics. Former Supervisor de Vall said he has received emails himself from Coate that "rude would be a nice way to describe them." Coate's strong hand of management included being involved in news content direction at times, resulting in conflicts with an ntentionally motley crew that had done the news before he arrived and with professional news director Christina Aanestad. Coate expected everybody to enthusiastically support the station. Many media outlets don't require cheerleading from their journalists and in fact many journalists even at corporate owned newspapers and radio stations often report openly on negative stories involving their employers.
Critics have been saying publicly that Coate left because he was unable to answer questions about the station's finances.
"…Coate resigned only one day after he was served with a demand letter for financial disclosure at the station. The latter was prepared by a legal team and it was signed by three current or past KZYX board directors including myself, Doug McKenty and King Collins, one past member of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, Norman de Vall, and one member and recent board candidate Dennis O'Brien," Sakowicz wrote.
"The demand letter was prompted by Coate's refusal to answer questions asked by me about staff salaries when the station's audit was presented at the May 4 annual meeting."
"The refusal by Coate to answer questions from a board director about important financials at a public meeting is a violation of the corporate California corporate code," he wrote.
Mendocino County public broadcasting board president Stuart Campbell refuted the notion that Coate's departure was tied to the challenge letter.
"The other matter is pending, and unrelated. To connect the two is to commit a post-hoc fallacy," said Campbell.
"My kids and my grandkids are in Sonoma County and my 90-year-old mother lives alone in Berkeley," Coate said in a letter about his resignation posted on Facebook. "My older brother developed serious health issues last winter and can no longer care for her and the rest of the family the way he used to. That responsibility is now on my shoulders. In short, I simply cannot do a good job at KZYX and take care of my family in the ways that they want and need."
Coate got thanks from the board. "John was ready and on call 24 hours a day if it meant keeping the station on the air," said Campbell, president of the KZYX board of directors. "He has implemented sound financial procedures and dispatched the huge debt and generally navigated the KZYX ship through quite choppy waters, under lots of stress and he has done so with aplomb. He will be missed."
De Vall, a former county supervisor, named several prominent people who had come to him recently baffled about the continuous furor at KZYX. He said now is the time for the board to remember lessons about how to deal with diverse opinions. De Vall says the board should immediately survey nonmembers and non-listeners about what they want. De Vall has been a member and supporter of the station since the beginning, despite conflicts with Coate's administration. He says the real challenges lie ahead.
"Is it public radio or community radio?" said de Vall. "Those who are proposing change and a more open process want more access. We own a part of it. If people continue to be excluded from it, KZYX will lose programmers and audience to other outlets," de Vall said.
De Vall feels the board erred in being charmed by Coate's impressive resume as an Internet pioneer.
"The board hired him because of his Internet experience. That has never been KZYX's challenge. KZYX's challenge is the same as that of the Ukiah Co-op. Find ways to produce a better product and get more members. John Coate never got to his real job. He could have become one of the best known people in Mendocino County. He and whoever replaces him should be out making speeches, giving interviews and getting to know the entire community."
Anyone who met the tall, handsome Coate would be surprised that the personable manager whose handle on The Well was "Tex," was not more outreach oriented. He certainly could have been better known.
De Vall said Coate was simply unable to stomach strong criticism or move past it. De Vall said the station needs to remember the value of politeness to all and compromise as it moves forward. As a county supervisor, de Vall suffered scathing criticism and also dealt with factions that found it difficult to find common ground. He said he accomplished lots in 16 years, despite being in the minority on a split board the entire time.
"It was through compromise and hard work. I don't see that happening at the station. I don't see any room for compromise," he said.
And yes, critics had dramatic conflicts with management before Coate came. "People who are raising these issues have been in the game a while and they are used to winning and to losing and they are used to being in the game, not excluded," de Vall said.
De Vall was on the board 27 years ago when the station began. He said access for all was a big part of the original contract with the community. "Going back to the beginning (then supervisor) John Cimolino was very interested in free speech and minority participation in the station."
Those were much different days in local radio. De Vall remembers numerous locally produced talk shows and local content filling the airwaves at KDAC nad KMFB (now KUNK), ranging from right wing to liberal.
* * *
HELLO K.C. (Meadows, Editor of the Ukiah Daily Journal),
Above is an article from the Beacon and Advocate on the retirement of John Coate from KZYX&Z, followed by my critique of the article, distributed on the KZYX programmer listserv, and also with my published letter of response.
I thought that this might be useful to UDJ as background information.
Volunteer programmer, KZYX&Z
Attached: Response to Hartzell’s article:
Here are my comments on "KZYX radio general manager leaves amid conflict, criticism," in the Mendocino Beacon and the Fort Bragg Advocate News, June 18, 2015.
Reporter Frank Hartzell notes simply that John Sakowicz is "the outcast of the [MCPB] Board," then drops the subject. Why is he "the outcast?" Is Sakowicz right and the rest of the Board wrong? What is the point at issue? Hartzell gives no further information. Unmentioned are Sako's letters to the FCC, demanding rejection of the very broadcast license which he has a fiduciary duty to protect. This FCC correspondence has causal relevance; why is it overlooked?
Hartzell refers to "professional news director Christina Aanestad." Does he have a source for this inaccuracy, or is this an error of his own? Paul Hansen was news director, never Christina. This inaccuracy properly requires a note of correction in the papers. Hartzell continues: "Coate expected everybody to enthusiastically support the station." Did he? Whose judgment is that? It's certainly beyond Hartzell's experience. "Many media outlets don't require cheerleading from their journalists and in fact, many journalists even at corporate owned newspapers and radio stations often report openly on negative stories involving their employers." Hartzell implies that Aaanestad reported negatively regarding her employer. Can he cite any such instance? I think not.
"The Anderson Valley Advertiser has posted leaked emails (sic) between board members and Coate which show Coate as negative and dogmatic as any of his critics." This may be a first for the coast papers: referring to the AVA as a credible source. We recall several pages of a faked interview with Congressman Doug Bosco. But the rest of the members of the Board publicly excoriated Sakowicz for the leak, which was a singular instance, not plural, and which again violated fiduciary trust. We have only Hartzell's opinion as to the balance of "negativity and dogmatism" between Coate and his critics; but we certainly could press the investigative reporter further regarding the truth or falsity of the claims from both sides.
Then we get to the 16 column inches of Norman DeVall, from the total of 40 inches for the article. "DeVall, a former county supervisor, named several prominent people who have come to him recently baffled about the continuous furor at KZYX." Unnamed people, prominent for what? Perhaps it's best to leave them unnamed. What continuous furor? Oh! that continuous furor! Language fails, words can't describe! Actually, issues can be identified and described.
"DeVall said he has gotten emails himself from Coate that; 'rude would be a nice way to describe them.' " Hartzell inquires no further, but lets the slur float, and that's that. Perhaps he's suggesting that prudent persons should send no emails to Norman. We are left to assume that Norman's notes were nice and unprovocative.
There are several inches of Norman talking about his career as a supervisor, which inches might better have been placed elsewhere in the paper, and which I'll skip. But he does claim, "John Coate never got to his real job. He should have become one of the best known people in Mendocino County…making speeches, giving interviews, and getting to know the entire community." Well, that's the "real job." Sounds like something Norman could handle. Coate merely saved MCPB.
Norm repeats a point that the detractors continue to falsify, that there's an attitude of "exclusion." In Norman's lengthy self-description, he does not mention that he himself was a programmer, and walked off his post under questionable circumstances. " 'People who are raising these issues have been in the game for a while and are used to winning and to losing. But they are used to being in the game, not excluded,' DeVall said." However, with every case I know---name it---the persons excluded themselves.
Finally, here's my letter of response, published this week in the June 25 Beacon only, although editor Chris Calder indicated that it would go in both papers, plural. So the atmosphere left by Hartzell's piece in the Advocate continues to hover in Fort Bragg.
Norman DeVall must be running for something, Last week's hit piece against retiring General Manager John Coate included 16 column inches from Norman. His picture should have been featured instead of Coate's.
Confidence in Norman waned after he'd interviewed all the county supervisorial candidates a few years ago for KZYX, on condition that he'd stay in his interviewer post and not abandon it to run himself, as a former supervisor. He broke that promise, got thumped embarrassingly by Dan Hamburg, and left the station hanging for the time slot.
The world can love a gracious loser and restore him, but Norm has a way of complicating things.
Gordon Black, Mendocino
Volunteer programmer, KZYX&Z
* * *
Frankly I am unable to see the reason for your outrage at this article which I haven't run but which I might now that I have seen it. The first two columns are all positive things about Coate. As for quoting the AVA as a source, you say at least one of the leaked emails exists. But it's easier to swat at the AVA, which has been a constant critic, the only one the folks at KZYX have not been able to shut up. Whatever her position at the station was, Christina was thought of, by me and many others, as the first real news gatherer that station had had in years and a good one. To lose her tells me there was something wrong there. Also, Norm de Vall, like him or not, says a few very astute things about what Coate's role should have been. Again, criticizing KZYX and its supporters, even mildly as here, brings on a campaign of corrective action.
KZYX is at a crossroads it seems to me. As usual it also seems the in-fighting among people who think it's "their" station continues and will destroy it in the end — and that may well include the people trying to take the reins right now, I can't say.
I will say what I have been saying for years. KZYX is an insular, unbalanced, not very good public radio station. I was astounded to find out that it receives half a million in funding each year. I am not surprised that people are attached to it and maybe Mr. Coate tried to change things and couldn't, but until the station moves to Ukiah, until it welcomes the views of more than a handful of people, until it throws off its ludicrous "counter culture" culture, it will just languish where it is now, as the backwater of a community that has passed it by. KZYX is no longer cool I'm afraid. It is a sad result of too many years of inbreeding.
THE STATE OF THE NAVARRO
These days I'm starting to feel a little guilty when I take a bath instead of a jump in - jump out shower. We're talking about 50 gallons of water twice a week. This morning I walked to the River to find Jeffery Skoll's Shenoa pump humming away. Collectively he, Wentzell and Balo have probably sucked over five acre/feet in the same one week period. That's over one million, six hundred thousand (1,629,257.135) gallons. Goldeneye has pulled their pump - good for them. These are the folks that my weakening knees are able to watch. There are over 40 water rights to Anderson Creek water that I have not been able to monitor and 26 rights to the Navarro River. I won't let their rapacity downgrade my personal sense of responsibility. The rate of declining flow in the River has slowed. The algae has stopped blooming and started to decay forming scummy patches along Rivers edge and a layer of almost fluffy stuff on the River's bottom that billows somewhat like dust when you wade along. This morning I heard a bull frog below Goldeneye which reminded me that a couple weeks ago on a rare walk downstream from the Philo/Greenwood Rd. bridge my friend Joshua and I saw several big frogs in one place and a bunch of 3 to 4 inch pollywogs. In another place where a riffle fed a deep pool we watch as repeatedly a bunch of little 2 to 3 inch fishies jumped out of the water as I've seen them do when otters are around - but this time without that predator present, just us watching. Maybe they thought we were otters. Three weeks or so ago I came across the first dead deer of the year on the bank just above the River. Last year over a month or two I came across five and that was the first time in 30 years of River walking I'd seen any. Remember, dry farming grapes is not only possible it had been done for millennia until the University of California Ag people convinced the industry that shallow rooting and watering was a better way.
— David Severn
HISTORICAL TIDBIT From The Kelley House Museum, Mendo's 1st Hospital Opened 128 Years Ago
A PLEASANT young man from Hopland named Tom Reed stopped in a couple of weeks ago to drop off the State of Jefferson Declaration and related material, all of it being a pitch for us NorCal people becoming a new state called the State of Jefferson or State of Northern California or Shasta or "whatever people may vote to call it." Mr. Reed didn't have to do a hard sell on me. The smaller the better, I say, and good riddance to the present arrangement which, as summed up by the Jeffersons, amounts to "Politicians in the California political establishment believe a tiny ruling elite is justified in making decisions for the rest of us." True, that. As is the next paragraph: "You know your own life better than any government bureaucrat. Legislators from distant densely populated areas do not understand our rural lives, our issues, our values, what is important to us." True that, too.
MEAT TO THE HEAT! Beginning this Friday, with maestro Guy Kephart on the grill at the Navarro Store, the very best grilled burger in all of Mendocino County, plus grilled hot dogs, chicken, tri-tip and everything else that tastes better grilled. Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Mondays, 11-4.
SUMMER at your beloved community newspaper brings three (count 'em) interns, all three high school kids, all three very smart and helpful as they sprightly volunteer for the most tedious tasks. Whether or not our interns will profit from the experience of long summer hours cooped up in a dingy office with a pair of seriously alienated old coots and the other alienated old coots who stop in all day to chat, is for them to decide. But our prob, which we've discussed, is adjusting to the presence of teenagers who, to us, might as well be Martians, in that we share zero social-psycho-cultural anchors because we seldom have any contact with persons under the age of fifty. Translation: Gotta tone down the more estranged remarks. Myself, I'm not one for patronizing the young. Ask a question, get a serious answer, and hope the answer is clear enough that it's helpful and not simply scary for a young person to hear, as in, "Things are coming apart, kid. It's going to get rough out there. Keep yourself physically strong, stay off dope, don't get into thinking you need a lot of stuff or a lot of money to be happy, learn practical skills like small-scale farming and cooking, affiliate with people who have practical skills." Etc.
ATTENTION MR. STERN
I just read the article “Balo’s Barn,” in last week’s AVA. My first thought was: David Stern, you have way too much time on your hands. And you must be a nightmare of a neighbor. They’re parking tractors in what they called a horse barn? Have you ever considered applying for a job with the NSA?
* * *
ANGRY YOUNG WHITE MAN DENOUNCES ANGRY OLD WHITE MEN
Re: “Balo’s Barn,” by David Severn. AVA 6/24/2015.
So basically your whole point, at least on the surface, is Balo pulled the wrong permit, but it’s a pretty, well-built barn that has farm equipment instead of horses? Oh yeah, and then they said they were going to do one thing then did another, but really didn’t break any laws. That’s front page news? Seems to me like Mr. Mullins is part of a small handful of people with money who have also done some pretty good things for this Valley, maybe not things you want, but things a lot others can appreciate. (I’ll keep the growing list of those things of which I’ve heard second hand to myself as incentive for you to actually try to write a balanced investigative article sometime.) Seems to me that there is a huge difference between a Tim Mullin’s and his vision for AV and say a Kendall-Jackson. But how would you know that if all you do is throw stones from a distance?
I also recall you guys were quite wrong about it being Balo’s pump in Indian Creek. Did you retract those statements? My point is this…if you were ever presented yourself as anything other than anti-development, anti-money, anti-any change in AV you might actually get some of the big-money types to share their vision for the Valley. We might actually learn a thing or two. You might actually influence some of their thinking before it happens instead of crying about it after it happens.
What I just read was, yet again, nothing more than another takedown piece by a collective of angry old white men with an endlessly unchanged agenda that gets us nowhere as a community.
Matt Barnes, Philo
* * *
DAVID SEVERN REPLIES: I'm sick and tired of having rich people tell me they are of any benefit to the community. I recommend people reread Matt B as in Barnes and 3 Dog Farm for the silliness it contains. The Napafication of Anderson Valley is a huge negative. The Hippies of the 70s brought good ideas and a real love for this place. Loggers and ranchers created a real economy. The wine industry has brought us environmental degradation but nothing amounting to an economy.
PS. Though he too misses the point of my article, I feel John Rensen's somewhat humorous reply was more intelligent. The last time I was called Mr. Stern was some years ago when I complained to the Sonoma State professor who was using Robert Mailer Anderson's novel "Boonville" to teach California History.
TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAMES
by Nate Collins
A's Versus Giants Ballparks
If going to a ballgame at Giants Park in San Francisco is considered a step up in the major league baseball fan experience, well then going to an Oakland Athletics game may be considered a step down, and that is not the fault of the players nor the storied franchise.
I had the joy Saturday of attending an Oakland Athletics home game versus the Kansas City Royals commemorating the Kansas City Athletics of 50 years yore. My favorite moment was when former Athletics John 'Blue Moon' Odom and Bert Campaneris made their way around the field absolutely beaming with a magical glow before simultaneously throwing out the honorary first pitch. Both men were members of the 1965 Kansas City Athletics, and they both looked impressively young and chipper. I absolutely marveled that these men had played pro baseball 50 years ago. Amazing! That alone was worth a trip to the ballpark.
One thing the Athletics definitely got right was these throwbacks, honoring old players and promoting a sense of history among the fanbase, especially in a city like Oakland where the glory of its franchises seems to be a thing of the past (who knows?).
Although I do enjoy both Bay Area pro baseball teams, the A's make it harder to be a serious and consistent fan because frankly their stadium sucks and by extension so does their current semi-absentee ownership (of extremely dubious political and corporate affiliation).
Here are some major differences in the fan experience.
Giants park is always sold out so you know what to expect, a scarcity of seats.
At the A's game my son and I were rousted from our seats in the top of the 4th by an usher. I stood up and said "Really?!?" as I peered at hundreds of open seats in every direction. We moved two seats to the right and the people only sat down for two innings. Amatuer fans.
What actually grinded me was being reminded of seating and sales again. It was annoying to be reminded again about ownership and the financial "tightness" of this seemingly god-forsaken team whose management rides it into the ground without fail nor regard year after year. These types of damning thoughts seem to race through my mind every time something annoys me at A's park, it all comes down to the cursed owners, it gets tiresome.
The MLB All-Star break is fast approaching, and the A's were swept by the Royals this weekend, so just wait for this year’s fire sale brought to you by… Your Oakland Athletics.
On a more vain point, at Giants park the good looking women are over 35, while at A's games the good looking women are decidedly under 25. While the Giants got the southern boy thing going and a slew of foreign players, Stephen Vogt of the Oakland A's looks like a white homeboy straight out of the East or North Bay.
Gotta love that though.
You can get Speakeasy beers at Giants park which is the best beer I have ever had inside of a ballpark.
I skip the 12 dollar Coronas at A's games, cheap beer makes me want to fight especially when consumed inside the Coliseum where one can begin to fume about so many lost opportunities and outright self-defeating moves by the team ownership.
Giants park can take about 30 minutes to get from Bart to the stadium, while the A's stadium is a 2 minute walk from Bart which is a great perk.
I think they should build on the current location for the A's and the Raiders should move elsewhere. But who knows what priority the Raiders may receive in the Bay being that the formerly beloved 49ers went to the darkside and moved to silicon valley over 50 miles away from the cool gray city of love.
You cannot beat the views of the Bay, McCovey Cove and China Basin in and around Giants park.
In Oakland, A's park is in a fairly industrial area, they could build some green spaces in the vast area surrounding the park, but they won't.
The A's Coliseum seems decidedly dumpy and unkempt in a crappy area as an indication that the A's serve a far less wealthy demographic than the Giants do. What does the talk say, the A's don't have the corporate backing in Oakland to fill the skyboxes in order to build a new ballpark.
As far as the views inside the Oakland ballpark — well, it was absolutely ruined by the Mount Davis skyboxes which completely blocks any view of the east bay hills and has fuckall to do with baseball.
Giants park feels intimate at every corner and turn while A's stadium can seem vacuous and abandoned.
The Giants have established a culture of victory and it can't help but be contagious when you experience that ballpark. Conversely the A's have an aura of failed expectations, unmet goals and a culture of mediocrity down to the very physical experience of the ballpark.
I was a bit depressed after attending the A's game on Saturday. I am never depressed after a Giants game, win or loss.
What I am most grateful for though is that we are blessed to have two major league baseball teams in the Bay Area in immediate proximity to one another. So when I wanted to go to a major league baseball game on Saturday afternoon and decided to miss the silly circus in the City this weekend, I simply took a left at downtown Oakland instead of a right and caught a swingin’ A's game in the Town instead.
Two of the greatest teams are in a locale 10 actual miles gate to gate from the National League (NL) to the American League (AL). I cannot help but recall my blessed youth packed full of Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox games, NL and AL respectively, 8 miles gate to gate.
Major League Baseball has been generous to some of us, and we give thanks. Honestly I have four MLB franchises in my pantheon, a wealth by any regard. We wish the tightwads that hold the Oakland Athletics hostage at this time would relent from their damned mediocrity. Their quest for mediocrity does not fit the mold for the honor of major league baseball nor the storied and winning franchise of the Philadelphia then Kansas City and now Oakland Athletics.
Cheers, and here's to three more months of baseball, maybe more!
Nate Collins, Oakland
KATY TAHJA WRITES: Since some readers of the AVA feel “corrections” are an important part of journalistic tradition, contributor Katy Tahja wants to point out that Odd Fellows Hall in Mendocino, featured in Bob Dempel’s excellent “Dr.4-H” story, is on Kasten and Ukiah streets in Mendocino. She inadvertently gave Dempel the wrong address and humbly apologizes for her error in the June 24 issue.
READER SUBMITTED PHOTO
Babies hiding under mom's wings. My daughter took this in Hawaii. — Susie DeCastro, Fort Bragg
BEATNIKS? I'll show you beatniks... (with Gary Snyder sat nite....) — Steve Heilig
PARENTS OF THE WEEK
ON JUNE 27, 2015 just a few minutes prior to midnight, a Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputy was traveling southbound on Highway 101 Ukiah at about milemarker 29. The deputy observed a vehicle swerving out of the traffic lane and conducted a traffic enforcement stop. The Deputy contacted the driver, Orlando Munoz, 20, of Ukiah and his passenger Mychell Vega-Ayala, 21, of Ukiah, and observed both subjects appeared intoxicated. Also in the vehicle were Munoz and Vega-Ayala’s one-year old toddler in a child restraint seat in the rear passenger area of the vehicle. Munoz was administered a set of field sobriety tests and was subsequently arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) and child endangerment. Munoz was on felony probation for a prior DUI and his driving license privilege had been suspended. Vega-Ayala was too intoxicated to care for her own safety or that of her 1 year old daughter and she was taken into custody for child endangerment and public intoxication. The one-year old toddler was released to a responsible relative and Munoz and Vega-Ayala were transported to the Mendocino County jail with Munoz being held without bail due to a his felony violation of probation and Vega-Ayala being held on $25,000 bail.
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GO, JOHNY, GO!
ON JUNE 27, 2015 at approximately 12:28am, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were traveling southbound on Highway 1 in near the town of Caspar. Sheriff's Deputies attention was drawn to a white Acura sedan, with equipment violations. Sheriff’s Deputies began pacing the vehicle and observed it was traveling at approximately 65 MPH, in the posted 55 MPH zone. The driver of the vehicle, later identified as Johny Delgado, 19 years of age out of Fort Bragg, turned on to Point Cabrillo Drive from Highway 1. Delgado had difficulty maintaining the vehicle in his lane of traffic and deputies believed that Delgado was possibly driving under the influence. A traffic enforcement stop was attempted at Caspar Beach, but Delgado failed to yield and continued to drive south bound on Point Cabrillo Drive. Sheriff’s Deputies activated their emergency lighting and siren but Delgado increased his speed to approximately 70 MPH in the residential area of South Caspar. Delgado sped to the south intersection of Point Cabrillo Drive at Highway 1, failing to stop for the posted stop sign and turned northbound onto Highway 1. Delgado continued northbound on Highway 1 at speeds in excess of 120 MPH, until turning east onto Simpson Lane. Delgado drove east on Simpson Lane at speeds in excess of 90 MPH, and then turned south onto Mitchell Creek Drive. Delgado turned onto Franklin Road and continued to Simpson Lane, where he turned west. Delgado turned back onto Mitchell Creek Drive and then onto Franklin Road again. Delgado turned west on Simpson Lane again and then turned onto Turner Road. Delgado continued on Turner Road until he reached the cul-de-sac at the end. Sheriff’s Deputies attempted to position their vehicles to block Delgado’s path but Delgado drove around the front of the vehicles, narrowly avoiding a collision into the patrol vehicles. Delgado continued east on Turner Road and then across Mitchell Creek Drive onto Franklin Road. Delgado turned west onto Simpson Lane and drove toward Highway 1. Sheriff’s Deputies requested assistance from the Fort Bragg Police Department to have a tire deflation device placed across the roadway. Fort Bragg Police Officers positioned themselves at the traffic circle intersection of Simpson Lane and Highway 1 with a "stop stick" tire deflation device deployed in the westbound travel lane. Delgado drove over the "stop stick", which resulted in immediate deflation of the vehicle’s tires. A Fort Bragg Police Officer was injured while deploying the tire deflation device and was subsequently treated at the Mendocino Coast District Hospital Emergency Room for his injuries. Delgado continued to drive on the flat tires southbound on Highway 1 and then turned onto Old Coast Highway. From Old Coast Highway, Delgado drove across Highway 1 onto Ocean Drive. Delgado was traveling at approximately 25 MPH to 30 MPH on flat tires to the dead end of Ocean Drive. Delgado stopped his vehicle at the end of Ocean Drive and fled into the brush holding a can of beer. Mendocino County Sheriff’s K9 "CAM" was deployed and located Delgado a short time later hiding in a small creek. Delgado was taken into custody without further incident. Delgado displayed signs of alcohol intoxication and it was determined that his driving privileges had been suspended and he had been placed on probation for a prior DUI conviction. The pursuit of Delgado covered 20.5 miles over a 17 minute period. Delgado flailed to obey any posted speed limits or stop signs and drove his vehicle in the opposing travel lane at speeds in excess of 100 MPH numerous times. Delgado was booked into county jail for violations of 2800.3CVC [Evading a Peace Office with Injury], 2800.4CVC [Evading a Peace Officer – Wrong Way Driving], 14601.2CVC [Driving on a Suspended License for DUI] and 1203.2PC [Violation of Probation], where he was held in lieu of $105,000 bail.
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ON JUNE 25, 2015 at about 10:50 PM Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to the Mendocino County Animal Shelter regarding several canines being loose in the area. Deputies responded to the location and when they arrived they observed several dogs (10-15) running around in the parking lot of the animal shelter. Also, in the parking lot was suspect Joseph Viltrakis, 20, of Hydesville, with the canines. Viltrakis told deputies he was at the animal shelter to retrieve his girlfriend’s "service dog." Viltrakis noted the dogs in the parking lot all escaped the animal shelter after he had been helped by an unknown employee who had left just prior to the deputies arriving on scene. Upon further investigation deputies determined no shelter employees had assisted Viltrakis, that he had entered the animal shelters kennels by forcing open two locked gates. He then forced open approximately 25-30 locked kennels causing damage to the kennel gates latches and then letting several dogs free from the kennels. Several of the dogs managed to exit the facility altogether and were in the parking lot running around in a pack when deputies arrived on scene. Viltrakis was arrested for burglary and felony vandalism and incarcerated at the Mendocino County jail, to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail.
SUMMER FUNDRAISE AT STONEY BOTTOM
Benefit for the AV Land Trust
Saturday, July 25, 2015, 5:30-8:30pm
Please join us at Stoney Bottom Gardens* in Boonville for a farm-fresh dinner featuring vegetables, fruits and meats from local products, prepared by renowned chef Shannon Hughes. AV wines and the music of Bob Day will complement the evening, and there will be tours of the gardens. The Silent auction will feature a variety of unique art collectibles, tours, overnight accommodations and special cellar selections from local vintners.
Tickets: $100 per person, includes food and wine. Purchase tickets on our website events page: www.andersonvalleylandtrust.org/events, or contact us at AVLT@mcn.org or 707/895-3150. (*AVLT would like to thank Ginger and Walt Valen for the opportunity to host this event at Stoney Bottom Gardens.)
CATCH OF THE DAY, Jun 29, 2015
KELISHA ALVAREZ, Ukiah. Battery on peace officer, resisting arrest, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
WAYNE CAMPBELL, Redwood Valley. Drunk in public.
LEE CROCKETT, Clearlake/Ukiah. Domestic assault.
SYDNEY FORD, Laytonville, Domestic battery.
MICHAEL FREEMAN, Covelo. Probation revocation.
CESAR GARCIA, Ukiah. Community supervision violation.
RANDOLPH GUEVARA, Ukiah. Suspended license.
ANDREW HOLM, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
OLE HOUGEN, Santa Rosa/Willits. Drunk in public, refusing to provide ID, resisting arrest.
GALEN HUME-GREENLEE, Fort Bragg. DUI.
ALEXANDER JOHNSON, Fort Bragg. Possession of meth for sale.
RUTHIE MARTINEZ, Torrance/Ukiah. Drunk in public.
BRENDON OLSON, Willits. Domestic battery.
THOMAS SANDERS, Willits. Drunk in public, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
ERIC WRIGHT, Ukiah. Petty theft, false ID.
SYSTEMIC TURMOIL, STRUCTURAL REFORM
by James Kunstler
“The problem with the post-2007 world is that we are not in a cyclical recovery; we are in a structural depression defined as a sustained period of below-trend growth with no end in sight. The U.S. has caught the Japanese disease. Structural depressions are not amenable to monetary solutions, they require structural solutions.” –James Rickards
Can anyone stabilize this bitch? At daybreak, anyway, the Federal Reserve governors were all bagging Z’s in their trundle beds. Maybe after a few pumpkin lattes they’ll jump in and tell their trading shills to BTFD. The soma-like perma-trance among those who follow markets and money matters appears to be ending abruptly with the recognition that sometimes robots and humans alike run shrieking to the exit. A pity when they get to the door and discover it opens onto a cliff-edge. Look out below.
All this trouble with money comes from one meta problem: aggregate industrial growth has ended. It has stopped more in some parts of the world than others, while in the USA it has actually been contracting. The cause is simple: the end of cheap energy, oil in particular. At over $70-a-barrel the price kills economies; under $70-a-barrel the price kills oil production. The bottom line is that, in the broadest sense, the world can no longer count on getting more stuff, except waste, garbage, political unrest, and the other various effects of entropy. From now on, there is only less of everything for a global population that has not stopped growing. The folks on-board are still having sex, of course, which has a certain byproduct.
This dynamic was plain to see a decade ago, but the people who run finance and governments thought it would be a good idea to maintain the appearance of growth via the usufruct mechanisms of central banking: ZIRP, QE, market intervention, and universal accounting fraud. It’s not working so well. Debt was generated in place of the missing growth, and now there is too much of it that can’t be repaid on a coherent schedule. Many nations, parties, and entities are in trouble with debt and the prospective defaults are starting to pile up like SUVs on a fog-bound highway. Greece is just the first one fishtailing into a guard-rail.
The magic moment will come when it becomes obvious that these systemic quandaries have no solution. The system itself is programmed for implosion, in particular and most immediately the banking sector, where most of the untruth and illusion is lodged these days. As it stands exposed, the people are compelled to shake off their faith in what it represents: order, authority, trust. Institutions fail and each failure acts as a black hole, sucking air, light, and even time out of the system.
In the natural course of things, structural reform can occur, but that natural course entails some degree of disorder and loss. If Deutsche Bank or Goldman Sachs founders a lot of people will be living in their cars — a first stop perhaps to not living at all. Sooner or later, though, the survivors will all have to live differently. Structural reform means, for instance, that you can no longer count on getting food the way you were used to getting it. No more 3000-mile Caesar salads and take-out tubs of Kung Po Chicken. That will be very traumatic in the early going. Eventually in the places where it is possible to grow food on a smaller scale, it will be done. Maybe not so much in the Central Valley of California anymore, but in other places: Ohio, Michigan, even New Jersey (“the garden state”). And once grown, it will be sold by means that differ from the supermarket.
Americans think that WalMart and its brethren are here to stay. They’re mistaken. Structural reform means reorganizing many layers of commerce around town centers — Main Streets — while the disintegrating strip malls await the salvage crews. Are we ready for that? Rebuilding local economies would put a lot of people back to work doing real things. All the blabber about “job creation” for the moment is only about increasing the share price of predatory corporations and the bonuses of their mendacious executives. Will the world miss them? Can we still make some things and move them around and put them up for sale? I think so.
Are you disturbed about the pervasive racketeering in health care (so-called) and higher education. Well, those grifts are eating themselves alive. Structural reform probably means far fewer and smaller colleges and far more and smaller local clinics free of the stupendous insurance chicanery that mystifies the public while it swindles them. There will be a lot of useful work for people who want to take care of other people, and certainly fewer MRIs.
Do you fear the end of mass motoring and the suburban infrastructure that it operates in? Maybe your children and their children will be happier in walkable neighborhoods — outlandish as that sounds. There is a hell of lot of rebuilding to do. It may not involve materials like strand-board and vinyl siding, but the newer and smaller buildings will probably last a whole lot longer and look better. And a lot of hands will be needed to do the work.
Will we ever again know banking on the JP Morgan scale? Not on any horizon I can imagine. But there are other ways to establish mediums of exchange, stores of value, and pricing mechanisms. You can be sure that banking will never again occupy 40 percent of gross economic activity in this land.
Today may not be the true event horizon for our diseased status quo, but it is probably, at least, the coming attraction trailer. Try not get puked on.
(Kunstler’s new World Made By Hand novel is now available! “Kunstler skewers everything from kitsch to greed, prejudice, bloodshed, and brainwashing in this wily, funny, rip-roaring, and profoundly provocative page- turner, leaving no doubt that the prescriptive yet devilishly satiric A World Made by Hand series will continue.” — Booklist
THE GREEK CRISIS
OK, this is real: Greek banks closed, capital controls imposed. Grexit isn't a hard stretch from here — the much feared mother of all bank runs has already happened, which means that the cost-benefit analysis starting from here is much more favorable to euro exit than it ever was before.
Clearly, though, some decisions now have to wait on the referendum to secede from the Euro/Union.
I would vote no, for two reasons. First, much as the prospect of euro exit frightens everyone — me included — the troika is now effectively demanding that the policy regime of the past five years be continued indefinitely. Where is the hope in that? Maybe, just maybe, the willingness to leave will inspire a rethink, although probably not. But even so, devaluation couldn't create that much more chaos than already exists, and would pave the way for eventual recovery, just as it has in many other times and places. Greece is not that different.
Second, the political implications of a yes vote would be deeply troubling. The troika clearly did a reverse Corleone — they made Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras an offer he can't accept, and presumably did this knowingly. So the ultimatum was, in effect, a move to replace the Greek government. And even if you don't like Syriza (Tsipras’s left-wing political party), that has to be disturbing for anyone who believes in European ideals.
— Paul Krugman
COUNTY OFFICES WILL BE CLOSED Friday, July 3, 2015 In Observance of Independence Day and will resume their normal hours of operation on Monday, July 6.
Library Services: All branches of the Mendocino County Library will be open on Friday, July 3, 2015. All branches will be closed on Saturday, July 4, 2015.
Mendocino County Museum: Open Friday, July 3, from 10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., and Saturday, July 4, from 12 noon – 4:30 p.m. These are the Museum’s busiest operating days of the year so plan accordingly if you wish to visit the Museum.
The County wishes residents and visitor alike, a happy and safe 4th of July.
For more information, please contact the Mendocino County Executive Office at (707) 463-4441.
FIREWORKS ARE ILLEGAL
CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit Chief Christopher P. Rowney warns that fireworks pose a major danger to California’s safety. Many serious injuries occur nationwide due to the careless handling of fireworks. In Mendocino County all types of fireworks are illegal and their use is punishable by law. Anyone possessing, transporting or using fireworks in Mendocino County is in violation of the law.
Fireworks are inherently dangerous and can quickly change a safe and happy Fourth of July holiday into a sad and costly one. Children are at the greatest risk of injury. Parents or guardians are responsible for any willful acts of minors which results in injury or death to another person or damage to another person’s property. This would include the reimbursement costs for fire suppression caused by illegal actions and negligence.
Chief Rowney encourages Mendocino County residents and tourists to enjoy the Fourth of July by watching professional fireworks displays available in a few communities within the county.
Have a safe Fourth of July and help prevent unwanted fires. One Less Spark, means One Less Wildfire.
For more information on how to be ready for wildfire visit www.ReadyForWildfire.org.
TO THE BOARDMEMBERS OF MCPB
My public comment:
"I can't make it to the meeting this time. So when you get to the public comment period I want a board member to read my public comment aloud into the record. Any board member or former board member will do. It takes three minutes.
"MCPB spent $575,000 over the last twelve months. KNYO spent $12,000 in the same time. KMEC spent $19,000. The difference between operating KNYO at 87 watts and operating KZYX&Z at a total of about 5,000 watts is about $15 a day in electricity. KZYX is spending 20 times what it needs to, even figuring in the NPR show dues. And KNYO and KMEC have some valuable features that KZYX lacks, like, for example, downtown performance-space studios on the street in Fort Bragg and Ukiah and an easily configurable remote studio system that doesn't require anyone to babysit the main studio; remote broadcasts are controlled by the remote broadcaster with one click to go on the air and one click when his or her show is over. Any airperson can have a durable, portable, high-quality remote studio for two or three hundred dollars and be up and running in ten minutes. Those are only a couple of examples; there are more. So when angry people defend the status quo and KZYX's hemorrhaging of half a million dollars every year on the grounds that KZYX really needs to blow through that kind of money to keep the shows on the air, that's just not true; they have it all wrong. You're doing everything in the most complicated, byzantine, oppressive way possible, just as you've been doing for the past 25 years, and the only reason KZYX didn't fail financially every year of its existence —including this year — is you've been bailed out by the annual CPB grant. By anybody's measure, and in any business, that's appallingly bad corporate management. That's banana-republic-government-quality management.
"I know you have a hard time seeing that, for the same reason people swear by expensive alternative placebo medical products and procedures. You've already invested so much faith and money — in the case of KZYX, other people's money — and you just naturally have to defend it so you don't feel like a fool. And anyone pointing out what's wrong with that becomes a threat to your authority, because if everyone can see what's wrong, then you not only feel like a fool, you look like one, too. It's just human nature to get huffy and blame everybody else for the consequences of your own actions. I understand.
"So John Coate's going, now. If you must have an imperial manager and pay him $60,000 a year to hang around the station and do the lazy afternoon per month of crucial tasks that keep the station legal, that person might as well be doing a real radio station manager's work, which at KZYX would include the positions of David Steffen and Mary Aigner, and so you can let them go. That single suggestion, if you follow it, saves you $800,000 over the next ten years, and I have other suggestions that will save you even more money. I recommend you use that fountain of money to pay the airpeople, the ones listeners turn on their radios to hear in the first place.
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NO, MARCO, WE WON'T READ YOUR LETTER
KZYX Board Chair Stuart Campbell replies: I'm sorry Marco, but public comment has always been an opportunity for those present to speak. We have no provision for reading statements by proxy during that agenda item. If you can find someone on your own to use their time to read your statement, that is, of course, yours & their choice. That being said, Director John Sakowicz had asked for an agenda item to discuss stripping staff members of their salaries, and it is on the agenda as an item from a Board member. So, it would appear that your idea will be brought up.
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MARCO MCCLEAN REPLIES: This is exactly what I'm talking about, Stuart. "No provision during that agenda item"? Is there no public comment time unrelated to a specific agenda item? You're sitting right there in plain sight. Three minutes is three minutes. And my "idea," in this case, is not to "strip staff members of their salaries" but to remove goldbrickers from the trough and get the real workers paid. Meetings are too few and far between, and this week I'm on a job, a four-hour round trip from Willits, and people sympathetic to good radio and good governance have their own bits to bring up in their allotted three minutes of squeak time. I am getting someone to read my comment: someone on the board; if not you then another, and if each of you refuses, wow. Stuart, you've already prevented the public and membership from communicating out of your control via the public resource of the air, nor via any kind of open forum on the website, and you play information goalie to prevent free communication between the public and the board via email, and you and your cabal have actively prevented my excellent literacy-project show from ever being on KZYX at all, so… All right, you've always been like that, you'll continue being like that; it's who you are. Put what I wrote, and what I write, into the station's public inspection file. That, anyway, is an explicitly spelled-out law.
GREEN MOUNTAINS HERE I COME
Leaving Boston for Earth First! Gathering in Vermont. Good morning Boonville, Spent the evening at the Krishna temple in Boston, enjoying a festive evening of chanting and feasting. Have a print of Krishna astride a large rooster with battle implements...a rare image! Am now leaving for a farm in western Massachusetts, ready to journey to the Green Mountains. Onward!
Craig Louis Stehr