Press "Enter" to skip to content

Letters (March 15, 2017)

* * *


Dear AV Community,

There is a strategic planning process being undertaken at the Anderson Valley School District that is open to the public. The meeting that is open to the public takes place Wednesday March 15th at 6pm at the Grange.

I am not affiliated with the board. I have two children at the school and am interested in how I can help to create a robust education for my children in this valley.

Board meetings for the past year as a parent observer, trying to get a sense of how our public education system works. Two things that I have learned are that the state loves acronyms and that a school board cannot truly serve the needs of their community without the participation of that community.

It is the job of the board to listen to teachers, parents, community members, administrators, and advisors and to make decisions based on their input. When groups show up to present their concerns, I have seen the board listen respectfully, engage in dialogue, and make decisions balancing the needs presented.

It is a massive undertaking to be on the school board and I am grateful that we have such a committed group of board members - many of whom have children in the schools currently.

I am writing to encourage community members, parents in particular, to attend board meetings. It is actually quite an interesting process to observe. It is one way to advocate for the youth of Anderson Valley. The decisions made directly affect the students now and in the future. I am often the only parent in attendance. Granted the meetings can be up to three hours long. You don't have to stay for the whole thing and there is a lot of hand sewing, knitting, crocheting or the like that you can get done in three hours.

If you are going to go to a board meeting I would suggest bringing a thermos of tea, a small lap blanket should you get cold, and some sort of handwork to pass the time, open ears, and an open heart. I certainly appreciate the opportunity to voice my opinions on the issues raised and by keeping my hands busy I find that I listen more patiently and indeed look forward to the monthly meetings. Anyone want to join me?

Now is quite an exciting time to participate in board meetings. TONIGHT (March 15) the board is hosting a strategic planning process that is open to the community in order to help shape the vision and direction of our schools. How can we best give our students a foundation for an interesting and engaged life? What inspires you about other schools whether they are in California or throughout the world? How can our Anderson Valley schools lead the way in education that inspires families? These are a few of the questions that I have. I urge everyone to consider sharing your ideas tonight at the Grange at six o'clock.

Thank you,

Saoirse Byrne

Anderson Valley

* * *



My wife and I have Kaiser health insurance. Before the Affordable Care Act, I was paying $1,200 a month for myself and $650 for my wife every month. Since then, the rates have dropped to $780 for both of us. I think that the Republicans are picking a few select cases where the square peg doesn’t fit the round hole to eliminate this move toward health care for all.

We are one of the few nations that doesn’t have universal health care. If we want to make America great again, shouldn’t we be healthy to enjoy it? Or maybe Congress could give us all the health care plan its members enjoy at our expense.

Jordon Berkove


* * *



The Accreditation Council For Graduate Medical Education Endangers The Public Health And Repudiates Scientific Evidence.

I was shocked and horrified to read in the New York Times on March 11, 2017: “Rule for First-Year Doctors to Allow for 24 Hour Shifts”. Officials at the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education released these guidelines effective this July 1. These guidelines show a grievous disregard for years of overwhelming scientific evidence that demonstrates how sleep deprivation of 24 hours can cause significant cognitive decline. These new guidelines place patients’ and Medical Doctors lives at risks. These guidelines violate the Medical Professions oath to above all do no harm.

The National Institute of Health documents the dangers of sleep deprivation in an article entitled: “Neurocognitive Consequences of Sleep Deprivation-NCBI-National Institute of Health, September 9, 2009 https|//>articles

Important quotations are as follows:

“Following wakefulness in excess of 16 hours deficits in attention and executive function tasks are demonstrable though well validated testing protocols.” … “Studies of shift-workers, truck drivers, medical residents, and airline pilots all show an increased risk for crashes or near misses due to sleep deprivation in these populations.” … “As continuous daytime waking exceeds 16 hours, psychomotor performance deficits increase to levels equivalent to Blood Alcohol Concentration between 0.05% and 0.1%.”

How many will now die or be injured due to these irresponsible and extremely dangerous new guidelines?

If Medical Professionals are dedicated to protecting the Public Health, we must demand these guidelines be changed, consistent with scientific evidence.

Dr. Nayvin Gordon, Board Certified Family Physician for 40 years.


* * *



Correlation doesn’t necessarily imply causation, but is it too much of a stretch to suggest that the way in which the presidency is organizing and implementing the “America First” ethos may have something to do with the recent spike in xenophobic based bomb threats, desecration and hate crimes? Also, an “Ugly American” image seems to be resurfacing that is based upon power, supremacy and entitlement and making it dangerous to travel outside the fortified walls and across the ocean moats of the island castle. But, rest assured, the King has proclaimed that we are safe within its confines and can survive off the discards dumped down from its turrets.

Raymond Vespe

Santa Rosa

* * *



My family — my father was not a very nice person according to Rachel B, the lead “Democrat.” He was better than “Trump.” He remained a hero to the Italian community until Pearl Harbor.

My mother’s side of the family (arrival in Boston in the 1800s) were German: Wagners.

My name was a Wagner but had a “Jewish soul.” Go figure. They thought the “death camps” were allied propaganda.

During WWI the Biritish claimed the Germans were sticking “Belgian children” on sword points (a lie). Only when the Allied armies broke into Germany, could the horrible truth be known.

The RAF bombed Dresden with such force that a firestorm broke out that took the oxygen out of the air and killed everything above ground. That however did not bring back the Slavic and Hebrew children. Where did they get the people who would throw babies into ovens? We ponder this question in my night- and day-mares forever.

Alan ‘Captain Fathom’ Graham


* * *


Dear Editor,

Please renew my concernedly desperate subscription to your paper. Should millions more be necessary contact my Nigerian banker who I’ve given many millions to over the years.

Rich Garant

Bangor, Maine

* * *


Mary Pat Palmer wrote:

Dear Marco:

I have a radio show.

This radio show allows me to popularize alternative and complementary medicine which I consider extremely important.

This radio show exposes me and my name to a far greater number of people than any other means I can achieve without buying advertisements.

We who have shows are not stupid Marco, however much you might like to insinuate that. I do not begrudge the payments to the hardworking staff. I wish everyone everywhere received $60,000/year. I see how hard the staff work, and, particularly after the several months preceding Diane & Rich's returns, what a very good job they do, and I know how hard we all work - I don't simply count the beans.

It is not about "no money to pay the airpeople", it is happiness that the staff are paid for their hard work. Nothing REQUIRES us, as airpeople, to raise money on air for the management. It is voluntary. All public radio stations do this. No, I am not a "little person". I am someone who uses my intelligence to promulgate issues I deem important and raise money, in the time honored way, for a public radio station of which I am a part. Although the concept seems to escape you, I consider myself part of a team and am regarded as such. I certainly don't feel I have "bosses" there. What I do have is people working hard to do tasks that I don't want to do.

I have opinions that sometimes counter those of the staff. I simply voice them. I certainly agree with Meg Courtney. I don't feel I "beg" for money for KZYX - I ask people to honor the station if they listen. I do beg that no one votes for Sakowitz.

(signed) Mary Pat Palmer, co-host Holistic Health Perspectives.

* * *

Marco here. Okay, Mary, you think of yourself as being part of a team, doing a service for the public, serving the greater good, and so you don't care if none of you are paid. How about teachers? Aren't they part of a team, serving the greater good, and so on? Do you think schoolteachers should show up for work day after day, year after year, and get paid nothing, while the administrator and the secretary and bookkeeper and school board trustees keep and somehow vanish all the money both public and private? That would be objectively nuts, and it's the same thing. Waitresses and nurses bring hungry people food and bandage their wounds and fluff their pillows and listen to their complaints and give them a shot. Valuable, arguably creative services. If the hospital administrator and the restaurant owner are being paid, shouldn't the waitress and nurse be paid? Newspaper reporters should be paid if the publisher is being paid. (Insert a catalog of public-serving occupations and the owners of means of production here.) Further: How would you feel about it if an autocratic administrator at KZYX were to kick you out and keep you out, and no-one on your wonderful team would take your side in this, because they're afraid they'd get kicked out too. Because that happened to Mitch Clogg in 1989 at KZYX, and then to me at the turn of 1990 for bringing Mitch on my show anyway, and we're both still banned, and nothing has changed in 27 years. This happened to plenty of others including, recently, four-or-five-term Mendocino County District Supervisor Norman De Vall, who was relieved of his airtime for merely starting a listserv forum for people to freely share information about KZYX unfiltered by management, because no-one was or is allowed to do that on the air or off, under penalty of losing their show. If someone starts talking about it on a call-in show they sabotage your call. Well, they pre-sabotage their weekly call-in show. Listen to just the first part of it and see. (Seven minutes of warnings and admonishments to be respectful and make no negative statements, and threats of being buttoned out by the delay system. In contrast, when someone calls and I'm doing my show at KNYO, I put aside what I'm reading, put them directly on the air and say, "You're on KNYO-LP Fort Bragg. How can I help you?" and that's all there is to it. Sometimes they talk for half an hour, and they say what they need to say, and that's radio.)

If you think of the benefit of having a show on KZYX as being to promote any part of your health business, as it looks like you're implying, that's absolutely unethical; KZYX is in the noncommercial educational FM band. I hope that's not what you're doing. Even if you don't promote quack homeopathic or other placebo treatments that you or your guests sell, if you're merely fortunate enough to be able to work for free, less and less of the world is. I have maintained a roller-coaster of between two and five part-time day-jobs all my life. I give my show and equipment and technical help for free to KNYO and KMEC now, but I don't feel bad about it because no-one, not even the manager is being paid at KNYO, and I think also KMEC's manager is getting little or nothing. KMEC's yearly budget is about $25,000. KNYO's is less than half that, and KNYO has a performance space/studio downtown in Fort Bragg for events both on the air and off, and has a growing number of remote studios to broadcast live events (they just did one earlier tonight from Eagles Hall) and in some cases broadcast from home (I do every other show live from my wife's apartment in the Bay Area, using a studio setup that cost less than $200 to assemble, where KZYX spent $15,000 and several years trying to put a single remote live studio in Ukiah and they still haven't done it), and KNYO has internet and phone lines, and a rather innovative system for interconnecting studios and the transmitter, and all the necessary fees get paid, and all the necessary paperwork gets filed. Bob Young, manager of KNYO, has to do everything the manager at KZYX does to maintain a radio station both legally and electronically, and Bob accomplishes these tasks in a lazy afternoon per month. He does this work for free, so there'll be a radio station for him do his show, and for the rest of us to do ours. The only reason KNYO can't broadcast to the whole county the way KZYX does is the terms of the low-power license. The difference in operating cost between a 100-watt transmitter and a 4,000-watt transmitter is about $15 a day. The rest of each radio station's expenses should be essentially equal. That they're so very unequal is due to a toxic combination of stupidity and incompetence on the part of the board and management of KZYX.

Why should the manager and other office people of KZYX, who for the most part have no apparent interest in doing radio themselves, get $250,000 a year for all the same easy jobs the manager of KNYO does by himself for nothing but the love of radio? If you feel the manager and the other superfluous people in the KZYX office really deserve to be paid, and maybe they do, why not pay them all by the hour for just the few hours they actually work at doing what needs doing, alongside paying the airpeople for doing the real work the radio station is there for in the first place?

Mary, when you work for no money, for people who are not only being paid quite well but are keeping all the money for themselves, where people who are good at radio and need to be fairly paid are unjustly kept from work, you're a scab. That's the word for that: scab. And I think it's worse at KZYX than at other workplaces because Mendocino County Public Broadcasting Corp. gets from the U.S. government the priceless gift of control of three frequencies in Mendocino County, one of them high-power, and also gets a six-figure grant of tax-derived money, totaling well over $4,000,000 over the course of KZYX' existence.

I'm gonna repeat that in all caps: OVER FOUR MILLION DOLLARS. When radio is nearly free to operate compared with any other collective human enterprise. Once the transmission system and studio equipment are in place, which was done and paid for at KZYX almost thirty years ago, and you have permission to switch on the transmitter, it costs just a few dollars an hour to run even the most complicated system. And even the most elaborate Rube Goldberg contraption of studio-transmitter links and translator stations is no more complicated nor expensive to maintain than the ordinary internet connection and wireless and wired home computer network in everyone's house. Broadcast equipment is rock-reliable. It's more reliable than a refrigerator. When's the last time you had to repair or replace your refrigerator? Transmitters typically go decades without maintenance; the only moving part is the cooling fan. The only thing a manager has to do to "keep the great shows on the air and keep the station strong" is to not lock the airpeople out and not stumble drunkenly into the transmitter shack and kick the plug out of the wall.

So a broadcast license is practically a license to coin money. Yet if it hadn't been for those fat undeserved grants, MCPB (KZYX) would have gone between $120,000 and $140,000 into the red and failed every year of its existence; this year, last year, the year before, the year before that, all the way back to 1989. KZYX has mysteriously pissed away well over half a million dollars every year. Not too long ago there was a single year where they blew $760,000. For that much money you could run thirty radio stations like KMEC, sixty like KNYO. That's not just a few beans to count or not count, Mary, that's how bad the people who run KZYX are at it, in addition to their having kicked out and kept out some of the best radio people anywhere, because they pissed them off by being who they were, instead of sucking up to the poobahs the way you do. And in some cases very talented and valuable paid people were shoved out the door, like Christina Aanestad. She was the news director when John Coate, who had no interest in radio at all and clearly hated creative airpeople, fired the entire news department so he could continue to be paid to, you know, cut expenses around here. K.C. Meadows, Facilitator One (Joanna Schultz), Els Cooperrider, Beth Bosk, Phaedra Savage, Sheila Tracy (a crackerjack reporter), Doug McKenty... more, there's quite a list. Of course I don't think there's anything wrong with shoving someone out the airlock if the crime warrants it. There was that 40-or-50-year-old guy in the middle 1990s who was fucking a fourteen year old girl on the chair in the main studio when her mother arrived at the station unannounced. I'm sure they got a new chair in there since then.

In flagrante delicto. That's the phrase I was looking for. Isn't that fun to say? In flagrante delicto. Say it.

KMFB was a commercial station that had the same reach KZYX has. KMFB got zero dollars in government grants. And it had a yearly budget of less than a third what MCPB mysteriously shreds, none of the old people at KMFB flagrante delicto'd any fourteen year old girls in the broadcast booth, as far as I know, but other than that everyone was free-er to do their art and their craft (and in some cases just to goof around and enjoy themselves) than anyone has ever been at KZYX, and KMFB paid all its airpeople. So it's clearly possible. When I was at KMFB from early 1997 to late 2011, Mary, if you had come in wanting to do your show there I would have helped make that happen. When I was doing my variety public-access teevee show in the middle-late 1980s in Fort Bragg, and later editing the Mendocino Commentary and then publishing Memo countywide, if my worst enemy were to want to do a segment of the show or have a regular column, all they had to do was show up and meet the deadline. Or call it in. All my life if I had any power at all over publishing or broadcasting I used that power to let people in and lift people up, give them the tools and get out of the way. I've built mixing boards and amplifiers and lighting systems from parts. I've made puppet theaters and musical instruments and microphones; I'm still using a powered microphone for a guest mic that I made 25 years ago. Remember Eduardo Smissen? Didn't he sound good on KZYX? I made the microphone he used in his home studio to prerecord his shows. I've built whole working radio stations; I put one of them in a trailer at the Albion Whale School for the kids to play with. One of those radio stations, in 1985, in Mendocino, was entirely automatic. You'd call the number on the phone, and a tape loop would identify the station and put you on the air, and you'd be on until you hung up, and then the next person could use it. Earlier than that I was teaching recording tech and radio production and writing and producing and staging live radio drama at the Community School. I make sound environments for theater shows. Whenever there was more money than a project of mine needed, which hardly ever happened but it happened, it was distributed among the people who helped make it possible. Right now I put 20+ hours of concentrated prep into every one of my weekly six-to-eight-hour written-word radio shows, and even so, I leave the door open when I do the show from the studio in Fort Bragg, so people can come in off the street and use the radio station for what they need to use it for. That's real radio. I am exactly the sort of radio person that KZYX should have been actively recruiting all along, and yet instead they have been maliciously shutting me and my ilk out.

The reason KZYX doesn't pay airpeople is not that it can't. It easily could if it were being managed properly. The reason is rather that the people who've been mismanaging KZYX all this time have got used to not paying the real workers. Management feels entitled to not pay you. Here, look: Somebody on the Announce listserv read what I wrote last week and sent me a creepily Donald Trump-sounding story about how, from his experience in business and as a landlord, nothing's wrong with paying yourself and not paying the workers, because, he said, "It never works to pay people you don't have to, that's how you go broke." Just take a moment and savor that. I wrote back, thanked him for the article and told him I'd read it on my show so he could listen, and he wrote to tell me not to do that nor publicize his writing in any way, because it was private. And when he writes for the listserv and puts his name on it, he's all sweet and warm and nice and loving-sounding and not at all like the Star Trek Ferengi he is in private. That's the low level of integrity a person like that has. Exactly like the people running KZYX. They are all sweet and warm and nice and loving-sounding in public, and in private, look out, and it's been like that since Sean Donovan set the tone for it. It interests me how many times someone has told me over the years that they think Sean Donovan's vile spirit somehow haunts the place. I feel it myself.

Maybe the new guy will be different. But Parker's the fifth manager they've had in just two years. None of the other ones, nor the ones before them, took a single step to reform the situation at the station, to free the system for real radiopeople to use it. Maybe he'll be an honorable man, go for the respect, change things now, shake things up. But how likely is that, Mary, do you think? He's had three months and nothing's rumbling yet. The water in the glass on the table is dead still. If the so-called directors of Mendocino County Public Broadcasting thought Jeffrey Parker was the sort of person who would change anything at all, he wouldn't be there now collecting over half of all the yearly membership money in his own bank account for just showing up and saying good morning, would he.

Oh, right, you mentioned John Sakowicz. He's currently doing world-class shows on KMEC, interviewing nationally prominent guests, fighting the good fight. He had a show on KZYX, but he was kicked out and banned. When he was treasurer, on the board of MCPB, the other boardmembers colluded with the manager to keep important corporate financial information secret from him. Everything that was complained about to the FCC and CPB, and more, was deserving of complaint. There are plenty of management problems deserving of complaint now. You don't like him for the board, fine, vote how you feel like voting, but he does good radio, better than many of you, and his show should be on KZYX, and there isn't a chance of that happening, either, because KZYX isn't at all a meritocracy; it's way more like a feudal state, which was the point I was trying to make in my last letter.

PS. I wanted to call Sean Donovan vile and venal, but I wasn't sure venal was the right word, so I went to for the first time in a long while and I'm so glad I did. When you give it a word to find synonyms for, now there are slider bars to tweak the organization of the results. There's a slider for complexity, and one for length. And you can choose whether the results show up in alphabetical order or in order of relevance. What a useful tool! Venal is pretty close to the right word. But vile works fine by itself.

Marco McClean



ED NOTE: Just got my KZYX ballot although I'm not enthusiastic about the enterprise, but do hope the new boss can achieve at least a plausible reputability. A vote for any of the incumbents is a vote against hope for any improvement. A vote for John 'Sako' Sakowicz is a vote for tumult, therefore I'm voting for Sako, because whatever his perceived deficiencies of personality Sako demands answers to all the right questions.

PS. Good one, Marco. As the Senior Banned Person at KZYX, I'm grateful you've acknowledged my lofty status as first among the many exiles. Donovan, may he writhe eternally with no company but Women's Voices, banned me and any and all mention of Boonville's beloved weekly, BEFORE the station went live, a ban that continues to this day. KC Meadows, for the record, was permitted to do a weekly LOCAL news chat show so long as I specifically was not included. Predictably, the morons, reinforced by the stoner community, fired her for, gasp! expressing an opinion as she deftly moderated a lively discussion on dope legislation. I'm not complaining, mind you. But over these long years, I've watched this and that person ostracized, but not one of those persons has gone to bat for any other non-personed person as that person was being non-personed, except, natch, the ava, without which most Mendo people would be unaware that another local had been offed by the cretins entrenched at Philo. To me, the greatest crime the station commits is its irrelevance to the lives of most people who live here, and this sad state of affairs exists while the station is tax-supported. Ever hear a conventional person, a logger say, or any other work-a-day citizen complain that the local public radio station had nothing for them? You won't, because it doesn't and, like most people they simply ignore it. 

PPS. REASSURING that return ballots go to Dawn Ballantine of Dawn Ballantine Business Services of Boonville, an absolute rock who can be trusted to safeguard the KZYX board election. Was it ten, fifteen years ago that some of the lady pwogs at the station, unhappy with another programmer, managed to rig the vote to their liking? Major! You've got the key to the crypt. See if you can find the story on that one.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *