- Deon Oldenes
- John Jensen
- Ocean Warm
- Audio Editing
- Naked Cyclists
- Navarro Monitoring
- MCDH Dysfunction
- Local Documentary
- Yesterday's Catch
- 22,000 Days
- Corporate News
- Meaty Cancer
- Trump Clarity
- California Missions
- Systemic Fraud
- Private Radio
- KZYX Proposals
- Two Bills
- Report Card
- Flower Dump
- ÔãÑÇë ÌÒêäÇë
DEON OLDENES has been identified as the 14 year old Laytonville teenager who died in a fatal accident in a stolen van which crashed on Branscomb Road about 5am Sunday morning while four other teenage boys were joyriding. Oldenes was ejected onto the shoulder of the road where he was struck by the still-moving vehicle after it ricocheted off a tree near the roadway, killing him. The van had been stolen from the fleet at Laytonville High School. The CHP said none of the teenagers were wearing seatbelts. The as-yet unidentified teenage driver of the van was arrested on suspicion of vehicle theft and vehicular manslaughter and taken to the juvenile hall in Ukiah. No reports on the conditions of the other teenagers in the van have so far been forthcoming. Initial reports said drugs and alcohol were not involved.
JOHN E. JENSEN
John E. Jensen passed to a better place on October 9, 2015. John was born in 1952 in Reno, Nevada, the son of John and Dorothy Jensen. He grew up in Ferndale, California, where he was active in sports. John served two years in the United States Army, including time in Germany. After his service, John started Oak Valley Nursery (lately on a parcel Mr. Jensen leased from the City of Ukiah just south of the Ukiah airport] with his brother, Henry, in November 1974. The Nursery was a family affair with dedicated help and hard work by John’s father, John, his mother, Dorothy, John’s wife Sally, and his brother Andy. John was a popular, knowledgeable and dedicated nurseryman who loved helping people with vegetable and plant growing. John enjoyed playing golf, hunting and fishing, and watching his teams, the Seahawks and Giants. John was a life-long animal lover.
John was preceded in death by his parents, John and Dorothy, and his brother Henry. John is survived by his wife of 27 years, Sally, brothers Andy and Bo (Jan), sister Maja (Bob Reid) and several nieces and nephews. His hearty laughter, generosity, and loving spirit will be missed by his family and many, many friends. Donations to the Ukiah High School golf team or other charity in John’s memory would be appreciated.
OCEAN HIGH TEMPERATURE HIT 63.7F SUNDAY!
The ocean hit the highest temperature (we've witnessed) this year at NOAA Buoy 46014 located 19 nautical miles north of Point Arena - about 12 miles offshore Albion. We're missing 62 days of data, however, when the buoy malfunctioned from July 31st - October 6. The 63.7F high temperature was recorded at 5:10 pm Sunday. For most of Sunday/Sunday night, the temperature was 63.3F - 63.5F. This morning, at the 11:00 am reading, the ocean temperature was 62.4F - up from 62.2F @ 9:50 am.
THE AIG STRIKES AGAIN
Will Parrish Writes:
“I was the guest on Cal Winslow's one-hour KZYX program last week discussing regional timber politics, as part of a three-part series he is doing on forests. The pre-recorded interview aired Friday morning, and you can listen to it in the archives of the KZYX Jukebox. A few people who heard the program asked me why my only response to the question of where my work appears was that people can search for it on Google. Actually, my response was that my work regularly appears in the Anderson Valley Advertiser, as well as various alt-weekly newspapers in the Bay Area, and that people could search for it on Google if they want to learn about the full scope of my work. The part about my work appearing in the AVA and the other publications was removed from the interview in editing.”
FROM THE KING of Mendocino County's breaking news, MendocinoSportsPlus follows the Naked Bicyclists down the coast...
MendocinoSportsPlus (on facebook) follows the route of the two young nude male cyclists: "According to one woman who saw the "naked pair" south of Manchester, the front bicyclist was the "bolder" of the two. He was pedaling for all the world as if he had clothes on - the second bicyclist seemed a bit shyer, keeping his head down when her car went by and averted her stare."
Video interview from The MSP Investigative Unit:
A NAVARRO RIVER WATERSHED MONITORING PRESENTATION —Monday November 9th, from 6-9 pm at the AV Grange in Philo. Dr. Christopher Woltemade, Geography-Earth Science Professor from Shippensburg University, will be presenting on "Stream Temperatures in the Navarro River Watershed: 2014-2015 monitoring and Heat Source computer modeling"; Nancy Smith from the Nature Conservancy (TNC) will present on TNC's 2013-2015 flow monitoring analysis; Dave Ulrich, Fisheries Biologist from Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC) will present on recent surveys of Steelhead and coho Salmon populations in the North Fork Navarro sub-basin; and Kirk Vodopals, hydrologist for MRC, will give a quick update on recent restoration efforts that MRC has been implementing in the North Fork Navarro. There will be a potluck from 6-7 pm, presentations will begin promptly at 7:00 pm. Everyone is welcome. For more information call the Navarro River Resource Center 895-3230. — Linda MacElwee, Navarro River Resource Center
COAST HOSPITAL SUFFERS ANOTHER RELAPSE
by Malcolm Macdonald
The Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH) is in turmoil. Sure, if you go in for a routine blood draw, you will get prompt, positive service, and you won't even notice the pinprick. However, the administration of the hospital is an entirely different matter.
Longstanding members of the Board of Directors don't know who the managers of individual departments are. The Finance Committee summoned department heads before the committee. The department heads refuse to be summoned. The relatively new CEO, Bob Edwards, appears to be in open opposition to two physicians on the Board of Directors. The brand new CFO contradicts one of those doctor's statistics at the most recent meeting of the hospital's Finance Committee on October 20th, and nobody outside hospital employees bothers to attend.
Admission is free to such events. Many of the MCDH Board of Directors and committee meetings possess more tension and angst than any reality show. Do the doctors, administrators, and other employees at MCDH need to race big rigs across frozen tundra while pulling each other’s hair out to get the attention of the public?
In August, supporters of Dr. Diane Harris filled the MCDH's Redwood Room when it seemed that their physician was going to be summarily dumped from her position at North Coast Family Health Center (NCFHC) after an insulting contract offer from CEO Edwards and NCFHC administrator Ilona Horton. In subsequent MCDH meetings, attendance by the general public has dwindled to almost nothing.
As good as the Board meetings have been, for entertainment purposes alone you can't beat the Finance Committee. You can almost count on Board of Directors chair Sean Hogan to show up, flaunt the Brown Act, and go on a ten minute rant concerning everything from agenda issues to his Irish ancestry. After completing his most recent red-faced ramble at the Finance Committee, Hogan ambled by my seat, leaned over and whispered, “Of course, this entire meeting is off the record.”
The retired attorney may have a poor grasp of civic meeting rules, but he still displays a self-deprecatory sense of humor. The problem is, as much as everyone loves a show, there's serious bid-ness at hand.
MCDH owes a boatload of money in bankruptcy payments; they will be making those payments for years to come. The Hospital has done very little, if any, planning toward building a new hospital physical plant (which it will be required to do in fourteen years time); and it is not breaking even many months of this year. In fact, MCDH's own figures show a net loss from operations in September, 2015, amounting to $187,121. At the end of that month the hospital's debt service ratio computed out at .86. In the words of the hospital's Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Wade Sturgeon, this is a number "no longer in compliance with the bond covenant ratio requirement of 1.25."
The debt service ratio is a requirement of Cal-Mortgage, chief amongst MCDH's bond insurers. A ratio of 1.0 would mean that the hospital had precisely enough money to cover operating costs and current debts. A ratio of 1.0 is more or less a bare minimum. Cal-Mortgage is asking/requiring that MCDH show a positive side, ongoing 1.25 ratio. Get the picture of what a .86 ratio means? It means that Cal-Mortgage would be within bounds to pull the plug on Mendocino Coast District Hospital.
Let's get back to the October 20th Finance Committee meeting where the most promising item on the agenda was the long promised appearance of MCDH's department managers.
First up, the Emergency Room (ER). CEO Bob Edwards stepped in for the ER Department manager, stating that she was refusing to appear before the committee. He added that other department managers at MCDH would take a similar stance. Several of these department managers were present in the back of the room. Most acted like they'd never attended a civic meeting before, though many have been seen, if not heard before. The managers interrupted the agendized proceedings of the Finance Committee, insisting they be heard from. When the committee finally relented NCFHC administrator Ilona Horton spoke first, essentially saying that she felt disrespected by the committee and potentially intimidated. Her sentiments were more or less repeated by a couple of other interruptive department managers.
Keep in mind that Horton was a party to the contract offer, or lack thereof, to Dr. Harris earlier this summer. She doesn't have a lot of respect ground to walk on. As for the other managers, no matter how disrespected or semi-innocent they might be, how can someone managing an entire department at a hospital that has just barely survived bankruptcy proceedings recently expect to appear even slightly reasonable while rejecting the request of that hospital's finance committee to hear specific details about their department? To this outside observer, these department managers appear as whiny, spoiled brats, whose body language at such meetings is somewhere on the ultra defensive side before the meetings even commence.
The doctors on the MCDH Board of Directors who are also chairing the Finance Committee are very assertive fellows, but that does not excuse each and every department, and their managers, from explaining as best they can what's going on. This hospital will not survive without a detailed accounting about what works in the terms of making money for the institution and what must be pared in order to continue. It's as simple as that. Anyone balking at participating in this practice should be deemed expendable.
That's probably what these defensive managers are afraid of, losing their jobs. But it's not the explaining of potential money losses in their departments that would or should cost them their jobs, it's the refusal to explain anything at all that is tantamount to insubordination. Taxpayer money provides a healthy chunk of these managers' salaries. (The Hospital is a special district with elected officers and a parcel tax increment is imposed on each property owner in the Hospital’s north-coast district.) This writer is a taxpayer who helps support MCDH. MCDH department managers, how dare you display such arrogance in refusing to tell the publicly elected officials of MCDH's Finance Committee what's going on in each and every one of your departments?
The problem here is that new MCDH CEO Bob Edwards sided with these managers at the Finance Committee meeting. Edwards is one of those smiley faced liars who cannot be trusted. He seems intent on some sort of power play battle with the two physician members of the MCDH Board, Dr. William Rohr and Dr. Peter Glusker.
Reportedly Edwards has continued to engage in public lies about the Dr. Harris scenario. A reliable source states that Edwards appeared before a local non-profit group recently, claiming that Dr. Harris had retired voluntarily before the whole contract kerfuffle hit the fan. Included in this tale as backup information, according to Edwards, was a "misstatement" (polite word for prevarication) that Harris had a retirement party before the contract brouhaha occurred. The opposite was true: Once Harris was unceremoniously refused a contract extension by Edwards, her supporters gave her a "retirement" party.
Dr. Harris has decided to move on to the Fort Bragg Rural Health Center (FBRHC), presumably taking a large percentage of her clientele with her. Readers of coastal weekly newspapers may have noticed the half page ad taken out by MCDH and North Coast Family Health Center (NCFHC) last week celebrating Dr. Pankaj Karan's practice at NCFHC. The problem is Dr. Karan is leaving to practice elsewhere. Currently, NCFHC is three physicians short. Reportedly, administration is requesting the remaining NCFHC physicians bear an ever increasing patient/work load.
The powers that be at MCDH seem to think the way out of their self-inflicted economic debacle is another attempt at a parcel tax. A previous attempt, approximately a decade ago, failed. What cognizant taxpayer would pony up more money to an organization whose physicians are abandoning ship, who have to outsource bill coding jobs at $71 per hour, and whose managers refuse to tell the public what's going on in their departments?
“RUSSIAN RIVER: ALL RIVERS" on KRCB 22 TV, Nov. 12 & 19
This film is a must-see for all of us dealing with the wine industry, even more than once. It includes important footage of Will Parrish, who has spoken at various Wine & Water Watch gatherings and published recent articles on the covers of the Bohemian and East Bay Express about wine, water, and logging. --Shepherd Bliss
Russian River Documentary film to air on KRCB 22 TV
The Russian River: All Rivers – The Value of An American Watershed, a documentary film exploring the diverse forces influencing the health of California’s Russian River watershed, will be broadcast in two one-hour programs on KRCB 22TV, Thursday, November 12 at 8pm and Thursday, November 19 at 8pm. The film can be viewed on KRCB 22.1 throughout the San Francisco Bay Area on the air at 22.1HD, DISH& Direct Satellite TV on 22HD, ComcastXfinity on 722HD and AT&T U-Verse on 22HD. The Russian River: All Rivers– The Value of An American Watershed, produced by filmmakers living in the Russian River watershed, considers the complex, often problematic history of the Russian River as well as the theme of industrial “boom and bust” in this region.The film has been an Official Selection of the International Wildlife Film Festival, Columbia Gorge International Film Festival, and received the Marty Griffin Friend of the Russian River Award by Russian Riverkeeper. The feature-length documentary brings together live action footage and numerous compelling interviews to stimulate interest in, and motivate action about water use, water quality and the loss of irreplaceable biodiversity. The film also covers the river’s history, as a geological, biological and social entity, as well as the problems it currently faces – problems shared by rivers everywhere, especially in the Pacific Northwest. Interviews for the film include water activist Maude Barlow, author of Blue Future: Protecting Water for People and the Planet Forever; Marty Griffin, environmentalist, author and Founder of Friends of the Russian River; Jim Lichatowich, author of Salmon Without Rivers and Salmon, People and Place; Don McEnhill, Executive Director of Russian Riverkeeper; David Keller, Bay Area Director of Friends of the Eel River and many other scientists, and individuals representing public and private agencies and organizations. Created as a non-profit project, the film is fiscally sponsored by the International Documentary Association (IDA).
CATCH OF THE DAY, October 26, 2015
MARINA CANNIZZARO, Ukiah. Petty theft, fake ID.
VANESSA GAFNER, Ukiah. Petty theft, fake ID.
JOAQUIN GARCIA-HERNANDEZ, Oakland/Ukiah. Possession of meth, suspended license.
DERRICK HALLBACK, Tampa, Florida/Ukiah. Pot sale, transport, furnish.
BLAIME HARPER, Ukiah. Pot cultivation, possession for sale, armed with firearm.
DONESHA HATTER, San Francisco/Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JULIA HEWITT, Fort Bragg. Possession of meth and meth for sale and controlled substances and paraphernalia, maintenance of drug use/sales facility, offenses while on bail.
JOSHUA KLARER, Fort Bragg. DUI.
CLARA LAZARO-LOPEZ, Ukiah. Domestic assault.
JOSEPH MENARD, Bakersfield/Ukiah. Community supervision violation.
JOSHUA MOORE, Willits. Possession of tear gas, violation of county parole, resisting.
DONOVAN PALMER, Fort Bragg. Drug court program sanction.
ENRIQUE QUINTERO, Laytonville. Trespassing.
NIKKO SHERMAN, Point Arena. Pot possession for sale.
DANIEL STURMFELS, Ukiah. Battery, probation revocation.
ALLESANDRO TREVISAN, Milan, Italy/Laytonville. DUI.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I am 22,000 days old today and one realization is the future is really hard to predict. Back in 1981 when the Moody Blues came out with that song “22,000 Days” I did the math and was imagining what the future would look like when I reached 22,000 days. I have to say things are quite different than what I had imagined.
A WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION STUDY released Monday categorizes processed meats like sausage and bacon as “carcinogenic to humans,” along with asbestos and smoking. The study adds that red meat likely causes cancer, too. Though the 22-member panel behind the study was not unanimous, the research has raised alarms in the beef industry, which takes in some $95 billion a year. “We simply don’t think the evidence support any causal link between any red meat and any type of cancer,” a spokesman said.
WHY TRUMP IS MOSTLY RIGHT ON MIDDLE EAST
by Patrick Cockburn
In 1989 I met Donald Trump several times in Palm Beach in Florida where he was trying to stop jets from a newly expanded Palm Beach International Airport from roaring over his enormous mansion. This was Mar-a-Lago, a magnificent house with 58 bedrooms and 33 bathrooms which Trump had bought four years earlier without realising it was under the flight path.
I learned about Trump’s problem because I knew a Canadian paper and pulp magnate who had bought a house near Mar-a-Lago and was also suffering from the airport noise. He was bitter that the people who had arranged for him to visit his new home prior to purchase had carefully chosen a brief moment when there were no planes passing overhead. The two multi-millionaires had set up an organisation that aimed to unite the less well-off people living in West Palm Beach and the plutocrats of Palm Beach, who were not natural allies, in order to get something done about the planes. There was plenty to complain of because, after an airport expansion the year before, there were 200 planes taking off every day.
I had mentioned what was happening in Palm Beach to a friend on a magazine in New York who promptly asked me to write a piece about it. I suspect that the idea was that I would produce a knock-about account of the farcical failure of Trump’s self-serving efforts to unite mansion owners, who lived there irregularly, and the less well-heeled but permanent population. In any event, the article was never published, possibly because I wrote that Trump’s campaign to reduce the noise level, involving a curfew on night-time flying, a ban on the noisier aircraft and the enforcement of existing airport noise restrictions seemed perfectly sensible.
In the long term, the agitation combined with the threat of legal action by Trump and my Canadian friend must have worked, since I noticed a year later that Palm Beach airport had just become the first airport in the American South to limit and possibly ban the noisiest planes. But all was evidently not entirely well, because in January this year, a quarter of a century after I had been in Palm Beach, Trump was suing Palm Beach County for $100 million alleging that officials had pressured the Federal Aviation Administration into a “deliberate and malicious” act by routing planes from the airport over Mar-a-Lago.
I remembered Trump and his anti-noise campaign when watching him in recent weeks being repeatedly interviewed as presidential candidate about the Middle East. The interviewers for television and newspapers were generally hostile, or at least patronizing and incredulous, when Trump spoke positively about Russian intervention in Syria, the need to combat Isis and the disastrous state of Iraq and Libya. Most of what he was saying was common sense, but it is a measure of the degree to which propaganda slogans have replaced realistic discussion of these problems that his remarks were immediately dismissed or derided by politicians and the media.
Asked by an NBC news presenter if Iraq and Libya had been better off when Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi were in power, a question most politicians would have dodged, Trump said: “Iraq is a disaster … Libya is not even a country. You can make the case, if you look at Libya, look at what we did there — it’s a mess. If you look at Saddam Hussein with Iraq, look what we did there — it’s a mess.”
This should not be controversial stuff. Many Iraqis and Libyans are glad to be rid of the old dictators, but they have no doubt about the calamities that have befallen their countries since the change of regime. But how often in the British general election was David Cameron challenged for his part in reducing Libya to primal anarchy?
Speaking about the White House’s policy of supporting the Syrian armed opposition, Trump truthfully said the administration “doesn’t know who they are. They could be Isis. Assad is bad. Maybe these other people are worse.” He said he was bothered by “the concept of backing people they have absolutely no idea who they are.” Again, US officials admit that they have armed opposition fighters who, on entering Syria promptly handed their weapons over to Jabhat al-Nusra, the local representatives of al-Qaeda. Trump added: “I was talking to a general two days ago. He said: ‘We have no idea who these people are’.”
What is striking about these interviews is the self-confidence with which the American and British interviewers regurgitated gobbets of government propaganda and expressed surprise when Trump disagreed with them. The journalists questioning Trump appear to have accepted, without much thought and against all the evidence, the rebranding of al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham, which is extremist Islamist and close to the Muslim Brotherhood, as anti-Assad “moderates” from the moment they were attacked by Russian aircraft and missiles.
Trump discounts the widespread belief that Putin wants to destroy these mythical moderates and for some unexplained reason will not attack Isis. He has objected strongly to long discredited nostrums such as “nation-building,” suggesting in another interview that it is wrong “to tell people who have [had] dictatorships or worse for centuries how to run their own countries.”
It is worth viewing or reading these interviews with Trump and taking them seriously, because in Britain and much of the United States, Trump is demonized as an exotic celebrity with no understanding of what is happening in the world. Also noticeable is the depressing degree to which the interviewers parrot an uncritical establishment line on developments in Iraq, Libya and Syria. This media blindness compounds government misjudgments and prevents lessons being learned from previous disasters.
It is not that Trump shows any great clairvoyance, but his words resonate because there is such a vacuum of clear thinking in Washington and Western Europe about the wars that are sweeping the Middle East and North Africa. Most politicians are afraid of being pilloried as unpatriotic if they stray far from the official line. In Britain, debate on possible use of British aircraft in bombing Isis in Syria ignores the real political and military landscape in which there is a shortage of warplanes to drop bombs and allies on the ground able to identify targets.
It should be clear by now that defeating Isis and bringing an end to the Syrian and Iraqi civil wars can only be brought about by agreement between the five main outside powers involved in the war: the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey. They alone have influence over allies and proxies inside Syria and Iraq to force them to negotiate seriously. This is very unlikely to happen while all sides inside and outside Syria believe that war still gives them the best chance to survive and to win. It is a measure of the failure of Western leaders to understand the crisis in the Middle East that, in speaking of it, none of them show the same clarity of mind as Donald Trump.
(Patrick Cockburn is the author of The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution.)
TOUR CALIFORNIA’S MISSIONS
by James Kunstler
Ben Bernanke’s memoir is out and the chatter about it inevitably turns to the sickening moments in September 2008 when “the world economy came very close to collapse.” Easy to say, but how many people know what that means? It’s every bit as opaque as the operations of the Federal Reserve itself.
There were many ugly facets to the problem but they all boiled down to global insolvency — too many promises to pay that could not be met. The promises, of course, were quite hollow. They accumulated over the decades-long process, largely self-organized and emergent, of the so-called global economy arranging itself. All the financial arrangements depended on trust and good faith, especially of the authorities who managed the world’s “reserve currency,” the US dollar.
By the fall of 2008, it was clear that these authorities, in particular the US Federal Reserve, had failed spectacularly in regulating the operations of capital markets. With events such as the collapse of Lehman Bros. and the rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, it also became clear that much of the collateral ostensibly backing up the US banking system was worthless, especially instruments based on mortgages. Hence, the trust and good faith vested in the issuer of the world’s reserve currency was revealed as worthless.
The great triumph of Ben Bernanke was to engineer a fix that rendered trust and good faith irrelevant. That was largely accomplished, in concert with the executive branch of the government, by failing to prosecute banking crime, in particular the issuance of fraudulent securities built out of worthless mortgages. In effect, Mr. Bernanke (and Barack Obama’s Department of Justice) decided that the rule of law was no longer needed for the system to operate. In fact, the rule of law only hampered it.
Mr. Bernanke now says he “regrets” that nobody went to jail. That’s interesting. More to the point perhaps he might explain why the Federal Reserve and the Securities and Exchange Commission did not make any criminal referrals to the US Attorney General in such cases as, for instance, Goldman Sachs (and others) peddling bonds deliberately constructed to fail, on which they had placed bets favoring that very failure.
There were a great many such cases, explicated in full by people and organizations outside the regulating community. For instance, the Pro Publica news organization did enough investigative reporting on the racket of collateralized debt obligations to send many banking executives to jail. But the authorities turned a blind eye to it, and to the reporting of others, mostly on the web, since the legacy news media just didn’t want to press too hard.
In effect, the rule of law was replaced with a patch of official accounting fraud, starting with the April 2009 move by the Financial Accounting Standards Board involving their Rule 157, which had required banks to report the verifiable mark-to-market value of the collateral they held. It was essentially nullified, allowing the banks to value their collateral at whatever they felt like saying.
Accounting fraud remains at the heart of the fix instituted by Ben Bernanke and the ploy has been copied by authorities throughout the global financial system, including the central banks of China, Japan, and the European Community. That it seemed to work for the past seven years in propping up global finance has given too many people the dangerous conviction that reality is optional in economic relations. The recovery of equity markets from the disturbances of August has apparently convinced the market players that stocks are invincible. Complacency reigns at epic levels. Few are ready for what is coming.
(James Kunstler’s third World Made By Hand novel is available! The Fourth and final is finished and on the way — June 2016. “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)
PUTTING THE PUBLIC IN PUBLIC RADIO
Only contribute to a public radio station that pays its airpeople as much per hour as it pays their boss. There are plenty such stations around. Look them up.
In a post to the MCN Discussion listserv, titled /F*** [actual stars, yes] a Wage, Take Over the Business: A How-To with Economist Richard Wolff/, Del Potter quotes Richard Wolff saying:
...In neoclassical economics here’s how it works... The worker is understood to be one of the partners in a production relationship. The employer is understood to be another partner in the relationship. And in this view, the worker brings his/her contribution, brain power and muscle power, to the process, and the employer brings his/her contribution, variously described as entrepreneurship or managerial talent or some similar characteristic. The output is then divided with the proper reward given to each contributing partner.
The workers get back out of the joint product the wage, and the employer gets back the profits. And so, this is a world of fairness, a world of shared output, in which everybody more or less gets out of the process a reward corresponding to what they contribute. If profits go up it is explained, because the clever owner/manager/board of directors did a fine job, right. And this is appropriate because if they got more it’s because they contributed more.
Marx in response to this heaps ridicule. He says the logical flaw is that these morons need to infer that because the capitalists get money, profits, they must have contributed something. The whole point, says Marx, is to understand that they don’t. They didn’t contribute crap, zilch, nothing! And the mystery is only that the workers accept that a portion of what they produce goes to somebody who didn’t produce anything at all...
Marco here. Okay, now think of it in concrete, local real-world terms. You've got a supposedly public radio station, KZYX, where Uncle Sam, in the form of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, pays about $150,000 a year to keep it going, to pay for everything -- roof, rent, water, electricity, repairs, wires, replacement tchotchkes, NPR programs ($25,000 there), tower dues, music publishers' fees -- really, everything, and 150 gees is about three times enough money to do the whole job. That's just one grant. And the bigger government grant is in the form of control of the broadcast licenses for the main transmitter and the two translator stations. You have to practically commit murder before the FCC will yank the license from you once they've granted it, and they granted the license for KZYX more than a quarter century ago. 26 years times $150,000 equals almost FOUR MILLION DOLLARS our taxes paid to MCPB, the local corporation that maintains the fiction of public radio that is KZYX.
KZYX management just only counting last year disposed of $575,000. In that year they didn't buy a new transmitter or establish a new translator station or build a new studio or do any appreciable maintenance. Where did that money go? About half of it, the handful of bosses paid themselves -- over $250,000 -- and they somehow found a way to piss away the rest, and so they need to run pledge drives and donation drives to get that money back, basically to ensure they continue to be able to pay themselves, not because the station needs the money to exist and run, because it doesn't (see previous paragraph). The general manager refuses to divulge the individual salaries, but a good guess for what David Steffen, the "business underwriting coordinator", was paid is in the $40,000 to $50,000 range. His efforts, such as they are, do not even return the investment in him, but he's the loudest of the lot at MCPB meetings in vilifying the sort of people who point these things out. To him, they're (we're) crazy, ignorant haters who want to tear down the station. He's just one example. I don't need to -- do I? -- go again into a rundown of the details of all the office people and their frantic periodic (pledge drive time) pretense of how busy and valuable they are. No one with a brain in his head would give those people a tenth of the money nor power that they feel entitled to. They're just used to getting the money and keeping the power. To them, it's theirs, so shut up.
The bosses pay the airpeople, the workers, nothing, but dragoon them into giving up a good chunk of their airtime to begging for money to "keep the great shows on the air." The shows are not even the airpeople's shows; the airpeople don't have creative control. The station manager, Mary Aigner, flies into a rage when anyone diverges even in the slightest degree from the limits in the agreement she extracts from them. You might have read that recently Mary declared to the board that she won't be allowing even the tiny amount of freedom afforded by the Safe Harbor rules, and the board went, Sure, fine, whatever. You know best, Mary.
Years ago everyone who had any kind of a free spirit and a sense of experimentation in the radio arts was weeded out of KZYX -- by Mary, actually -- and now you've got NPR and a bunch of mindlessly repeating cookie-cutter recorded crap from the East Coast and a pack of timid puppies who are just so grateful to be on the air at all, and they're going to keep showing up on time and working, and they're not gonna squawk.
And they're not gonna take over the business so they can be paid. That was the point that I was getting to.
Oh, right, I almost forgot. Look up Lorenzo Milam in Wikipedia, learn a little about him, and then read this essay he wrote for Salon in 2001, titled National Private Radio: http://www.salon.com/2001/07/02/npr1/
PROPOSALS FOR MCPB KZYX ELECTION AND BOARD POLICIES
To the MCPB/KZYX Board of Directors:
Below is my reply concerning the proposals for amending the Election and Board Policies. I am sending this to each director to make sure it can be considered before next week's meeting, as there have been reports that the public is unable to reach the full board using the address on the website, i.e., that the communications are being "filtered". Unfortunately, I will be having minor surgery on my back that day and will be unable to attend. If anyone has any questions or wishes to discuss the proposals, please contact me.
Dennis O'Brien, Member
The following proposals were sent to MCPB/KZYX Board of Directors on September 23, 2015, asking for specific changes to the written Policies and Procedures for the Board and for Elections. The responses by Board President Meg Courtney are in italics, followed by my replies. The first six proposals concern elections, the last six communications. They will be presented to the full board for possible action at the November 2 meeting.
One. Allow members who join in January and February to vote in the election that year by extending the deadline for voting eligibility from December 31 to February 28 (the list is certified March 1).
This is problematic. It takes Diane a fair amount of time to come up with a complete and accurate list of members who are eligible to vote. Neither our membership database (Donor Perfect) nor our accounting systems are set up so that we can get that information with just a few mouse clicks. There are quite a few parameters to consider, and it takes consultation with the staff to make sure that all volunteers are included. So, practically speaking, we could not delay the process as long as Dennis suggests and still have time to get the list, create the mail merge for the letters, ballots, etc., order the printing of all the materials (envelopes, different colored paper, etc.) and get this all put together in a timely way to meet the timings for the candidate forum and voting window. It just seems like a lot of work & disruption for dubious benefit.
Although the logistics of maintaining a membership database must always be considered, it is difficult to imagine that any of the tasks that you describe would take two months to complete. Given proper management, all of the information could be entered and ready to finalize at the end of February, with perhaps the addition of a few last-minute memberships. Not having an automated database that can do this instantly suggests that our current data storage system needs to be reviewed and possibly replaced.
Even if the above tasks cannot be automated, it would not take more than a week to manually prepare a list. Thus there is no reason that the deadline for becoming a member-eligible-to-vote should be any earlier than February 21. This would not create any additional work, as all the memberships need to be input anyway. And it would not be a disruption to work, as there is plenty of time between now and then to spread out the necessary tasks.
Nor are the benefits “dubious”. By generating more interest in the station, its policies, and the candidates for the board, the later eligibility date will increase total memberships and increase member participation/engagement in station governance. Both of these goals are enshrined in our bylaws and in the laws/regulations that govern membership nonprofits and public radio stations.
Two. Publicly announce the availability of Simple Living and Volunteer memberships during the election period, including the winter membership pledge drive and the January mailing to the members.
Both of these get announced at various times and places. We do not want to make a big deal out of either one, because frankly, we are seeking higher paying memberships. People tend to give what is asked for. There really is no good reason to make it more public than it already is, and certainly not announce it in print mailings or during a pledge drive when we are trying to maximize our income.
This is a moral question for the board and the organization. By your statement, you are placing the bottom line ahead of the fulfillment of the individual listener and maximum public involvement in public radio. For many of us, that is simply wrong. It is certainly contrary to our bylaws and regulations which encourage us to maximize public participation. In addition, your assumption that announcing the simple living and volunteer memberships will reduce income is unsupported by any statistics. We may very well increase income from having more members, enough to offset any who choose to pay the lower amount. Having more members on the books will also encourage funding sources like the CPB to increase funding. Finally, a station that is honest and open about its member’s options is more likely to retain a core of loyal members. There’s a lot to be said for the economic benefit of doing things morally right. If we at least tried it for a year and compared the results the board could make a more informed decision.
Three. Facilitate communication between candidates and the media/public by asking candidates for their email addresses and permission to disclose to any media or other person/group seeking to contact them.
Because people are running for election to a non-profit Board does not make them public figures, necessarily, nor eliminate their right to some privacy. Anyone who really wanted to get in touch with a candidate could do so through the office, and I see no reason to make this change. What is the real benefit to the station?
During last year’s election, when the media contacted the station in order to contact the candidates, management refused to provide contact information. Therefore, your statement that the media “could do so through the office” is historically inaccurate. Asking candidates for their permission to release contact information addresses any privacy concerns. Indeed, if it is really your position that the media/public can get this information from the office, then you MUST obtain permission from the candidates to release it. The real benefit to the station is an increase in public awareness and participation, and an increase in information for members to make an informed vote. These serve the goals of increased membership and member engagement, as noted above.
Four. Provide written notice of the annual membership meeting with the election materials.
Sure, we could add that into the letter, and/or on the ballot.
Thank you very much for agreeing to do so. Two years ago, when I pointed out that such notice was required by state law, the then-President and General Manager spent a lot of time and energy in opposition. In order to make sure that future boards/staff do things properly, I again ask that you memorialize this decision by amending our Election Policy.
Five. Prohibit use of the organization's resources by board and staff for campaigning for or against any board candidate.
In principle, there is no problem with this. However, would it prohibit staff from expressing their preferences in private emails or on phone calls to members they happen to know. It would be impossible to sort out the source of that contact information. We could prohibit any staff member from using our database to look up a member’s contact information in DPO for purposes of campaigning, but the GM, for instance, has lots of member’s contact information in their personal phone and personal email address book. Some is gotten from them personally, but some is a result of station business, and there is no way of making a determination of which source. The staff all use their personal phones to conduct station business, because our business phone costs for local calls are so high, and it saves us money to use personal phones that have unlimited talk & text time.
This proposal would have no effect on an individual’s use of their own phone or email account, even if people use their personal resources for station business. It is directed only at the use of the station’s media resources, including its internal email lists. If “the organization's resources” is too vague, then I request a specific prohibition against the use of internal email lists for campaigning. It is the hidden campaigning, under the guise of official communication, that is the problem. Such a limited prohibition would not trigger any of the concerns you have raised.
Six. Establish written procedures for replacing ballots.
Yes, we can certainly do this.
Thank you very much for agreeing to do so. Could you please make sure that such procedures are adopted no later than the January 2016 board meeting, and subsequently included in the election materials that are sent to the members? Last year there was confusion, causing delay and possibly missed votes. Also, please make sure that the written procedures are made part of the official Election Policy so that future boards/staff have guidance.
Seven. Create member email list for periodic notices, schedules, and outreach.
We have some email information now, and do ask for it, but many don’t provide it. We are not using this information in any way, and have no idea whether or not that information in DPO is accurate. This is a larger issue, one that needs to be discussed in depth. It’s not so simple a thing to adopt these changes.
It is difficult to imagine a membership nonprofit NOT using the internet to stay connected with its members, especially a public community radio station that is supposedly media-savvy and has a duty to engage with the membership/public. It would be very simple to input the currently known email addresses into a new list, using the same programming that now maintains the internal list serve (see above). We already routinely request member’s email addresses on our membership form, and it is a required field for online donations. All that is needed now is the will to use the information. The immense benefit to the organization and its members from such communication (e.g., a quarterly post with station news and the current program schedule) should make the policy decision simple. Indeed, your response seems to agree with the policy, though it suggests that membership information is not routinely being updated by the staff assigned to do so.
Eight. Either establish an interactive internet discussion service on the kzyx.org website, or announce the availability of member-established services, e.g., KZYXTalk.
People can interact through our Facebook page. It would take staff time to moderate a kzyx.org interactive forum, because we could not just allow anyone to post anything they wanted; it could become a free-for-all. As for posting information about the KZYXTalk listserv on our station webpage, wouldn't this establish a bad precedent? Wouldn't we then have to do the same for any other group? What would the standard be? The station webpage should be for official station business only.
I can understand not wanting to dedicate staff time to maintaining an interactive internet discussion service. But there is no reason why you cannot let people know that such a service has been established by one of our members. You can use the usual disclaimers to let folks know that it does not represent KZYX policies, etc. Nor would this open the floodgates for anyone to demand access to the official website. The board of directors can make an individual determination as to whether a member’s offer of time and resources will benefit the station by fostering communication and engagement.
The underlying issue seems to be that the board does not want to announce any forum that might have comments in opposition to current policies and procedures. But that is precisely what engagement is all about. Without a diversity of viewpoints, and the ability to share them, the station will stagnate. It is far better to allow discussion and benefit from it than to spend time and energy fighting it.
Nine. Create a Programmers Page for information about programmers.
Good idea, but who is going to create it, write it, manage it as things change, etc.? We have no one to do it, and there are more pressing needs. Cannot not spend staff time on this; not a high priority.
After further research, it looks like the website already has this capability (see, e.g., http://kzyx.org/index.php/music/music-rock/dead-air). It appears that each programmer can use the "blog" function to post their playlist and other information, though it also appears that this function has been dormant for a long time. Perhaps the Program Director can help facilitate the use of this resource by the programmers. I recommend that the PD input contact information for each programmer in the title field for each show (a one-time task that the programmers can't do). The programmers themselves would be responsible for any additional postings about their show in the blog section. The programmers should also be allowed to post information about their other activities, which would also encourage their use of the site. Right now those pages are an underused resource.
Ten. Improve outreach to members for membership on standing and advisory committees.
Yes, the Board could do a better job of this. But why do we need a policy change? Not everything needs to be immortalized in policy. The Board could take responsibility for making on-air announcements, and we could establish a webpage for it. Though right [now] Stuart is the person managing the website changes (with John’s help), and do we want the GM’s time spent on this just now?
As with the other proposals, I am asking for a change in the written policy so that the current board actually commits itself to such action, and so that future boards will be required to do so. As for the time needed, adding a notice to the election materials concerning the committees and how to apply would take only a few minutes. Ditto a posting on the web page. At this time, I request you adopt a policy that such an announcement must be included in the election materials, and then explore further means of outreach once a permanent GM is hired.
Eleven. Provide all requested non-confidential information.
We are already doing this. We answer requests for information a number times a day from people calling the station, writing the station, emailing the station, etc.
Thank you for agreeing with the policy. However, as noted above, a personal willingness to do something does not mean that it will always be done, or that those who follow will also do it. Indeed, some of your predecessors were not so willing to provide information. That is why each of these proposals includes a specific change to Policy language. If you are already doing something that you believe is proper, then there is no reason not to adopt this change. It will provide direction to those who follow while assuring the membership that they will be provided all the information that they are guaranteed by law.
Twelve. Fully implement the Programming Policy, including the Program Advisory Committee.
The issue of the defunct Program Advisory Council does need to be addressed. This needs to be taken up at a later board meeting.
I respectfully disagree. The president of a board cannot unilaterally declare a policy to be defunct and thereby refuse to implement it or indefinitely delay discussion. The Programming Policy, including the Program Advisory Committee, was adopted by the MCPB Board of Directors in 2009 and remains in force. The current board and staff have an obligation to abide by it. Indeed, the decisions currently being made by the Program Director, such as elimination of the Safe Harbor hours, are invalid unless they are made in compliance with the existing policy.
As you are no doubt aware, programming and the process of determining programming are among the most contentious issues facing a public community radio station. The current policy is the result of extended discussion and community input. It represents an effort to comply with CPB regulations and our own bylaws, which state that our programming and processes are to be controlled by the members. You must at this time direct the staff to comply with the current policy. That's their job, especially the Program Director's. If you believe the policy needs to be changed, you can do so, sooner or later as you see fit. But the current policy is now in force, and it must be implemented.
Thank you again for your consideration of these proposals, and for your detailed response. It appears we agree on the benefits of most of the proposals, though we disagree on priorities and implementation. Please remember that each of these proposals is intended to help our goals of increasing membership and increasing member participation/engagement. These goals should be the touchstone for every director when making decisions about our public community radio station.
BROWN SIGNS TWO OIL SPILL BILLS, BUT MARINE PROTECTED AREAS STILL AREN'T FULLY PROTECTED
by Dan Bacher
Governor Jerry Brown this October signed two bills that will require more frequent oil pipeline inspections and improve oil spill response, but the questionable "marine protected areas" created under the privately-funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative still fail to protect the ocean from pollution, fracking, oil drilling, military testing, corporate aquaculture and all human impacts other than sustainable fishing and Tribal gathering,
The two bills, authored by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), arose in response to this year’s Refugio Oil Spill in Santa Barbara County. They represent a first step forward in preventing future oil spills from devastating sea mammal, bird and fish populations and the ocean ecosystem along the California coast. Unfortunately, authentic ocean protection along the California coast won't become a reality until the Marine Life Protection Act of 1999 is enforced fully and not selectively and unjustly as it is now.
“These two key oil spill bills arose out of the devastation caused by the Refugio Oil Spill this year in my community and the very serious threat it posed to our wildlife and economy," said Senator Jackson. "I do believe that if the pipeline that ruptured and caused the spill had been inspected annually, the corrosion would have been detected and we would have been able to prevent this spill. This legislation represents a very important step forward for our environment and our beautiful and economically vital coastline.” (http://sd19.senate.ca.gov/news/2015-10-08-governor-signs-jackson-refugio-oil-spill-and-climate-change-legislation)
Jackson’s Senate Bill 295 requires annual oil pipeline inspections by the State Fire Marshal. Previously, pipeline inspections had been done every two or more years.
Jackson’s Senate Bill 414, the Rapid Oil Response Act, seeks to make oil spill response faster and more effective.
Directs the Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) to report to the Legislature on how to best utilize commercial fishing vessels and crews in response to an oil spill;
Requires OSPR to notify the Legislature within three days if dispersants are used in response to an oil spill. It also requires a follow-up study on negative impacts that the use of dispersants have had, and;
Requires OSPR to study the best achievable technology for oil spill clean-up and use that technology to respond to spills, among other things.
In his signing statement for these bills, Governor Brown wrote, “The devastating effects from the oil spill this year in Santa Barbara county impacted birds, mammals and other marine life, and caused the closure of beaches and fishing resulting in economic losses. Our coastline and surrounding environments contribute to the great and unique landscape of California. These bills improve planning for and prevention of oil spills and our response when spills occur.”
Jerry Brown continues to promote fracking
Unfortunately the same Governor who signed the two bills is a fervent advocate of the expansion of the environmentally destructive practice of fracking and oil drilling in California - and just appointed an oil industry executive, Bill Bartling, to a key regulatory post in the Department of Conservation. (http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/33235-california-gov-jerry-brown-appoints-big-oil-executive-as-industry-regulator)
The Brown administration also lived up to its reputation as one of the most Big Oil-friendly regimes in California history by approving nine new plans for extensive new offshore fracking near the California coast - just weeks after the devastating Refugio Oil Spill that started on May 20, 2015.
While Brown tries to portray himself as a "climate leader" in conferences and photo opportunities across the globe, the reality is much different. The state’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources approved the permits for nine new fracking operations in Long Beach Harbor, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. These new offshore fracks are the first approved in state waters since 2013.
“Haven’t we seen enough dead wildlife and polluted beaches?” said Kristen Monsell, a Center attorney, in a news release. “Every offshore frack increases the risk of chemical pollution or another devastating oil spill. Gov. Brown has to recognize that halting offshore fracking is critical to protecting marine animals and coastal communities from this toxic technique.” (http://www.laprogressive.com/brown-approves-offshore-fracking/)
Intensive lobbying by Big Oil this year resulted in the elimination of a key provision of SB 350, the renewable energy bill, and the defeat of several other industry-opposed bills in the State Legislature. The Western States Petroleum Association, headed by President Catherine Reheis-Boyd, lobbied heavily against table Senate Bill 788, legislation to protect a State Marine Reserve created under the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative from new oil drilling, and SB 248, a bill to keep toxic oil and gas and fracking wastewater out of drinking water. As a result, both bills were table until next year.
In an enormous conflict of interest that the corporate media refuses to discuss, the same Reheis-Boyd whose organization lobbied against Senate Bill 788 CHAIRED the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called "marine protected areas" in Southern California! The Big Oil lobbyist also served on the MLPA Initiative task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast. (http://www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa/brtf_bios_sc.asp)
Senate Bill 32, a measure that bill author Senator Fran Pavley said "aimed at bolstering California’s efforts to combat climate pollution well into the 21st Century," will become a two-year bill taken up again when lawmakers return to the Capitol early next year. (http://sd27.senate.ca.gov/news/2015-09-10-senator-fran-pavley-statement-senate-bill-32)
CALIFORNIA'S REPORT CARD
California doesn't make this list:
…Water may remain scarce, but legislators don't seem overly bothered. They prefer to designate transgender restrooms, ban plastic bags at grocery stores and prohibit pet dogs from chasing bears and bobcats. Never has a region been so naturally rich but so poorly run by its latest generation of custodians. California endures some of the highest gasoline taxes, sales taxes and income taxes in the nation. Yet its roads and public schools rate near the very bottom of U.S. rankings…
Thanks to CalWatchdog.com
Cannas shiny as slag,
Whole beds of bloom pitched on a pile,
Carnations, verbenas, cosmos,
Molds, weeds, dead leaves,
Turned over roots
With bleached veins
Twined like fine hair,
Each clump in the shape of a pot;
But one tulip on top,
One swaggering head
Over the dying, the newly dead.
— Theodore Roethke
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