Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

Archive for January, 2009|Monthly archive page


In Dave Smith on January 7, 2009 at 10:39 pm

via Dave Pollard


stand still. the trees ahead and bushes beside you
are not lost. wherever you are is called Here
and you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
must ask permission to know it and be known.
the forest breathes. listen. it answers,
i have made this place around you.
if you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
no two trees are the same to Raven.
no two branches are the same to Wren.
if what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
you are surely lost. stand still. the forest knows
where you are. you must let it find you.

( — david wagoner)

See also Wild Foresting

Art Class Announcement

In Guest Posts on January 7, 2009 at 9:08 pm


From Tom Johnson
Potter Valley

Re-Beginning art program starting up at the educational annex of the Corner Gallery soon.

I am looking for interested people from 8 to 80 to meet for 3-4 hours on a Saturday or a Sunday. Also photographers of all stripes, neo-silver nitrate, nouveau digital, those interested in developing a portfolio, meeting other photographers to share notes and experiences.

Uncertainty required, risk mandatory, come and join in the fun. 203 S. State, or drop in the gallery to sign up, leave your name, etc.

New Housing Enforcement Policy Targets Hand-Made Houses

In Dave Smith on January 7, 2009 at 2:32 pm

From Annie Esposito

Mendocino County went through a housing war against ‘hippies in the hills’ in the 70′s. The issue was the illegality of outhouses – something that isn’t a real problem for anyone. More than a thousand people fought ferociously to save their homes – and they won.

But for reasons that are unclear, the County recently issued threatening letters to several hill home owners in the Comptche area – notifying them that they must evacuate and demolish their homes. Former Supervisor Norman DeVall brought this to public attention on his KZYX&Z public affairs program recently.

So, several decades later, the ‘war against hippies’ has been renewed. It’s difficult to say what’s behind it – is it more fallout from the Measure B people who want to eliminate marijuana? Is it the pressure of development coming north? Is it a job saver for inspectors that don’t have new homes to inspect? Whatever is going on, there are still plenty of people who were active in the fight to save their homes in the first war. And if they have to, they will resurrect “United Stand” and fight again.

One of the leaders of the old United Stand is Anon Forrest of Potter Valley. She has a short history of what happened when their homes were threatened the first time – and people can find her lively article in Richard Johnson’s Mendocino Country newspaper.

The City Council’s Obama Moment – Will it Last?

In Around the web on January 7, 2009 at 8:21 am

From Janie Sheppard
Mendocino County

Monday, January 5, when the Ukiah City Council convened (minus Council Member John McCowen) in a Special Meeting to appoint a new member to fill the remainder of departing McCowen’s term, over 40 people attended.  Seeing so many members of the community interested in its proceedings, the Council did itself and the community proud.

Seven residents of the City of Ukiah filed applications for McCowen’s job.  Among them were John Graff, well-known representative of the Employers Council of Mendocino County, and Mary Anne Landis, respected member of the Ukiah Planning Commission, educator, and prominent proponent of the principles of “Smart Growth.”

Because three of the City Council members were likely to support Landis, and the fourth, Doug Crane, was not, the entire matter could have been handled in a matter of a few minutes.  One of the Council members could have nominated Landis, another seconded the nomination, and a roll call vote could have garnered the requisite three votes.

Instead, the members took their time, after first quizzing Dave Rapport, City Attorney, on possible procedures to fill the remainder of a departing Council member’s term.  Lacking a definite procedure to follow, the members heard the presentations of the seven applicants, asked them a couple of questions, and then heard the presentations of interested citizens.  The citizens spoke respectfully; enunciating criteria they felt were relevant to the selection of a new Council member.  A few endorsed a particular applicant.

After the last speaker, the Council members began deliberations.  Benj Thomas said he believed it was important to measure the applicants against certain criteria, and Doug Crane made a pitch for a conservative-leaning applicant.  Mari Rodin, noting that it sounded “like kindergarten,” spoke up for the qualities of respect and kindness.  She explained that Council members need to be respectful and kind to the City’s staff, other members, and citizens who attend and speak at Council meetings.  “Reaching across the aisle,” as our President-Elect Obama would say (my comment).  When Rodin spoke, a light came on:  rather than bringing the matter to a vote quickly, the members were showing kindness and respect for each other, the applicants, and the speakers.  Ah, I thought, Obama comes to Ukiah.  I get it . . .

So what? a cynic could say.  Well, here’s what:  in the end, Doug Crane voted with the other three Council members, making the vote unanimous.  He had been heard, his candidates treated with respect, but in the end he acted to welcome Landis to the Council.  How in the spirit of Obama I thought.

If the actions by the City Council are indicators of what is to come I foresee the Board acting in harmony in these difficult times.  Thank you Ukiah City Council for showing us the way.

Watching the torching of Gaza

In James Houle on January 7, 2009 at 8:18 am

From Jim Houle
Redwood Valley

As I watch the Israeli onslaught in Gaza, I must ask who really controls American Middle East policy. Our strategic interests in the region are clear:

1st: We have much to gain through peaceful relations with the oil producing nations of the Middle East. Israel produces no oil or gas.
2nd : The major petroleum producers in the Arab nations buy our shaky treasury bills and keep much of their cash in our bank vaults. Israel by contrast receives $3 billion per year in economic aid to keep their economy afloat and another $3 billion to keep their military machine well oiled.
3th : We supply the F-16 jets, the anti personnel mines, and the missile systems Israel employs to keep their neighbors at bay.
4th : Without America’s weapons and money, Israel would have had to come to a lasting peace with its neighbors after the 1967 War, in accord with UN Resolutions.

So, do the majority of Americans feel we have some sort of obligation to support Israel in their battles with the Hamas, their continual suppression of the Palestinians in the West Bank, and with the Hezbullah in Lebanon? Is there any logic in our encouraging Israel to operating outside of the Nuclear Proliferation Agreement?

The answer is no: The American Jewish Lobby, representing no more than 2.2% of Americans, has managed to take control over what we can read in the press, what we can hear on our main stream broadcast media, and what our elected politicians in Washington can safely say on the subject of Israel. No politician, no television news show host, and no newspaper editorialist will dare to question the pro-Israel position. The power of the American Jewish lobby, working through the American-Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC) and similar groups, has effectively stifled all dissent.

You will find far more dissent with Israeli policies in the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz than ever makes its way into print in the U.S.

Knowing One’s Place

In Dave Smith, Garden Farm Skills on January 6, 2009 at 9:57 am

By Gene Logsdon (1991)

Dave Haferd sees his farm with eyes that are 200 years old. He knows every foot of its 180 acres, on top and underneath. Walking across his land, he discourses endlessly and joyfully upon almost any rock, post, tree, clod, weed, or building that his eye falls upon. The gully that cuts deeply into the hill going down to the creek is where the road used to go years and years past, he says. The boulder in the fence corner required two days of hard work to move out of the field, he says, which reminds him that over in another field—he waves his arm in a southerly direction—there is a stone so huge embedded in the soil that he has never been able to move it. He worries, now that he is thinking of retiring, that the next farmer will break his plow on it.

Continue reading Knowing One’s Place at

Mary Anne Landis Appointed To Ukiah City Council 1/5/09

In Dave Smith on January 5, 2009 at 7:05 pm

… as of 10 minutes ago.


See earlier post about tonight’s meeting


In Dave Smith on January 5, 2009 at 10:38 am


From Earl Brown

We are the threshold between form and not-form, multi-dimensional in being, poised on the edge of the Infinite and the Void, the event horizon of a conscious Universe.

If you could go backward in time to be witness when our first human ancestors stood at the edge of their forest home, where the protection of the trees and plants blended into the wide expanse of grass savanna, as they saw the great herds and diversity of animals, the vast openness, and hearing the roar of the lions, what might it be like? What would you feel? Would you feel their fear, their curiosity, their apprehension about going “out there” armed only with spears and cunning? Were they in their hearts looking out at their fate, driven by unspoken purpose, or were they in their heads dreaming of conquest and empire? What skills did they have to take with them and what would be discovered out in the great unknown? What pain and suffering awaited them? What joy? Would you, walking forward with their generations, recognize the gifts that were discovered within themselves, or were given by others; by the Spirits, by animals, plants, the Earth and the Cosmos? Could you see how those skills and gifts; fire making, tool making, dance, music, weaving, storytelling, cosmology, agriculture, and more, helped to bring us to this time in place and consciousness?

If you had the opportunity to leave a message for, or speak to, one of your descendents, ten generations in the future, telling them your feelings about war, poverty, wealth, justice, health, sickness, and the dangers of radio activity, or nuclear waste, what would you say? Could you imagine the world in which they must live; tell if their lives were miserable, difficult, or maybe doing well? Would they sing songs to our ability to overcome great odds, or would they be cursing us for using it all and leaving them without? They would surely know about us, about our excesses of power and destructive weaponry, about the poison in the air, water and soil. They would be living with whatever we leave them. What would they say to you, their ancestor? Would they ask how you found the strength and courage to make the needed changes in our society, or would they ask how could you have possibly forgotten them and cursed them with continual suffering?

What if there was an opportunity to be chosen by a non-human entity such as an animal, plant, body of water, or element such as the wind, or sky and speak on its behalf? Could you identify with it deeply enough to allow it to speak through you, listen with its ears (or other senses) and share its wisdom in a counsel of other non-human Beings as well; a “Council of All Beings”? As a surviving old-growth Redwood, a Coho Salmon, Grey Fox, or Polar Bear, what could be said to our Human cousins that would help make a difference, what advice and gifts could be given to help remind them they are not alone, or separate? What inspiration could be left them that would help them to make good choices during this time of great change, this “Great Turning”?

We must hear and feel within ourselves the pain and the suffering of all of the other beings who share this planet with us and even of the planet Itself. This is to say that in order to solve the crises we are in we must find within ourselves our connection to all other things, our “deep ecology”. We must remember we are connected to the Earth, to the plants, animals, and minerals, connected to each other and the cycles of the stars. We are a vital part, or aspect, of the Earth’s body.
Group activities such as “Open Questions” and “Gathering the Gifts of the Ancestors” are designed to help one experience ourselves in deep-time, to feel the connection of our long time association with life on planet Earth. The Earth is now said to be somewhere around thirteen billion years old and having arisen from this planet our history goes back equally as far. All Its potential, including human potential, was created at Its, the Earth’s, moment of conception. Buried deep within our bodies, possibly stored within our DNA, proteins, cell walls, or energy fields, is information encoded from the Beginning. It is there and available to us. This same information is also encoded into everything else, like Pribams “Holographic Universe”, each part contains the knowledge of the whole; we are all connected.

Realizing this deep interconnection we share with all things is critical to the development of strong, healthy, vibrant communities. If we can rest in gratitude we can begin to see ourselves in others as well as in the natural environment and elements. From our stand of gratitude we can allow our hearts to feel and express the truth of how we see and sense the world and our place in it. From there we can see the situation, or event, or crises, from a new perspective having gained information from listening to our individual and collective pain. We can then develop new strategies, methods and means of bringing about the changes we desire from a stand on inclusiveness, cooperation and respect for all Beings.

On Tuesday, January 13, from 3 pm till 9 pm, above Three Sisters at 112 S School Street, Ukiah, there will be an open discussion, Salon style, about Joanna Macy’s, “The Work That Reconnects”. I will be giving an overview of the work and describing basic concepts, purposes and activities. My purpose is to utilize this meeting space for study/activity groups interested in learning together about ourselves, each other and what it means to be in a meaningful, authentic, community.

Other salon discussions:

Thursday, January 22, from 3 pm to 9 pm- The Intention Experiment and the Global Coherence Inititive. Hear about Lynne McTaggart, science investigator and author (The Field and The Intention Experiment), her research in studies of intention and Zero Point Field Theory and her global initiative called, “the Intention Experiment”. Her work is closely related with the HeartMath Institute, in Boulder Creek, and their Global Coherence Initiative, Learn about coherence, how it helps our physical and mental bodies, how we can build personal and group coherence and how to use it with our intentions to help create positive change in the world.

Tuesday, January 27, from 3 pm to 9 pm- Power vs. Force. Open discussion about how the body with its subtle energies is a reliable information that is always correct and how kinesiology can be used to access this information. “Power vs. Force, the Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior” is a book by David Hawkins M.D., Ph.D., who has been researching and lecturing on human mental processes for years.

17th Annual Professional Pianist Concert This Weekend 1/10 & 1/11

In Guest Posts on January 5, 2009 at 9:32 am


From Spencer Brewer

For 17 years, local keyboard artists have put together sellout concerts benefiting local schools or foundations. In January, there will be two performances in Ukiah: The first concert is Saturday, Jan. 10th at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 11th at 2 p.m. at the Mendocino College Center Theatre (1000 Hensley Creek Road, Ukiah).

Tickets: $10/students and seniors; $15 general and $25 “I ‘Wanna’ See the Hands” limited seating. For more information call (707) 462-8863 or go to Tickets are available at Ukiah Music Center, Mendocino Book Co in Ukiah, Leaves of Grass in Willits, Watershed Books in Lakeport or online at

By popular demand, the concert will feature all the pianists on stage throughout the concert! These popular musicians will be trading stories and songs with two pianos on stage to accommodate impromptu collaborations. This concert is an annual sellout because of the diversity and quality of all involved. The musical selections range from classical to jazz, boogie woogie to Cuban.

Continue reading 17th Annual Professional Pianist Concert

Ukiah City Council Public Input Tonight 1/5 At 5:30

In Dave Smith on January 5, 2009 at 5:27 am


From Dave Smith

There will be public input tonight at a City Council meeting at which the seat vacated by John McCowen’s County Supervisor election will be filled by appointment.

The candidates are Mary Anne Landis, Mary Elizabeth Tracy Bell, Michael Whetzel, Erika L. Pierce, Brian D. Kornegay, Jeanne K. Metcalf and John Graf.

I hope and expect that the City Council will appoint the best qualified candidate whose values, effectiveness, and track record of public service most closely match those of the person elected, John McCowen, and those of the majority of the City Council. The democratic will of the voters will thus be fulfilled.

For those reasons, and many more, that candidate is clearly Mary Anne Landis.

To somehow argue that a prior election loser should be appointed is to subvert the will of the majority and set the City Council up for the petty bickering, incompetence, and dysfunctionality suffered by the County Board of Supervisors these past few years.

No thanks.

10 Reasons to be Hopeful for 2009, and 3 Reasons to be Terrified

In Around the web on January 4, 2009 at 8:27 pm


From Yes Magazine
by Sarah van Gelder

We’re entering a new year at a time unlike any other in recent memory. Here are 10 reasons I’m filled with hope as I look ahead at 2009—and three reasons I’m terrified.

  1. Young people are stepping up. They know that they formed the backbone of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and that their work infused the country with the “Yes, we can” spirit. Now that these young people know what success feels like, many will be in it for the long haul.
  2. Election protection is working. Grassroots vigilance, successful lawsuits, and media exposure are making voter suppression efforts less successful. More remains to be done, but the trends are in the right direction. (One terrifying note, though, is the death in a December 19 plane crash of GOP IT expert Michael Connell, who many believe was poised to reveal secrets related to vote stealing.)
  3. There is now overwhelming support for universal health care. This grassroots commitment coupled with Obama’s leadership could make this the year when we finally overcome the roadblocks big insurance and drug corporations have placed in the way of progress. A majority of Americans favor a tax-supported single-payer system like Canada’s. The Obama plan, while it’s not single-payer, is nonetheless a good plan—as long as it retains the option for all Americans to join a public health insurance plan.

Continue reading 10 Reasons to be Hopeful for 2009 at Yes Magazine

When sending no message is the message

In James Houle on January 4, 2009 at 10:59 am

From Jim Houle
Redwood Valley

Comments to:
Excerpt from

A biweekly news blog commenting upon our 44th President’ s actions and providing a scorecard on promises made and kept, promises undone or abandoned, and compromises made.** Our intent is not to tell you what to think, but to give you a few facts and let you think for yourself. We will not tell you where to mount your protests or how you can change the world.

Israel’s intensive 5-day bombing of the world’s most densely populated refugee camp, the Gaza Strip, has put the incoming Obama Administration in an untenable position: While Obama has defended Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket’s fired into Jewish settlements from Gaza, he has avoided any support for the Gazan’s right to medicine, water, electric power, and even food. Neither has he condemned the targeting non-military buildings and densely-packed housing for bombing by Israeli F-16s.

When does his studied neutrality become an implicit approval of genocide? Most international observers do not believe that prevention of relatively harmless attacks by home-made short-range rockets is a justification for bombings by US made F-16s that have so far killed 450 Palestinians. The efforts of Israel to terrorize the civilian population were indicated in a January 1 report by the /New York Times/, which wrote: “Tens of thousands of Gazans have received recorded phone calls from the Israeli Army warning them that their houses have been marked as targets because they harbored either militants or weapons facilities like rocket workshops. Noncombatants were urged to clear out. Hundreds of thousands of leaflets gave the same message.” In an area 25 miles long and only 3 to 7 miles wide, the 1.4 million Palestinians have no where to go to avoid becoming targets for the F-16s.

Israel has now initiated a very ill-advised ground invasion of Gaza. Hamas is well dug-in and, while lacking tanks and artillery, is said to be as well-prepared to disable IDF tanks as the Hezbullah was in the summer of 2006 in South Lebanon. Now is the opportunity for a few sane words from Washington by both Obama and Rice. By maintaining silence, they are both complicit in further Israeli actions.

Celebrating Ukiah Valley Trail Group’s New Bridge

In Around the web on January 3, 2009 at 3:07 pm


From Janie Sheppard
Mendocino County

The occasion of the best New Year’s Day party in the Ukiah Valley was a celebration of the Ukiah Valley Trail Group’s new bridge near Lake Mendocino.  Hikers carried all manner of delicious homemade goodies to the party, including champagne, sparkling cider, hot tea, coffee, cinnamon rolls, pate, cookies and delicious cakes.  Really, it was a feast befitting the dedication of this gorgeous addition to our local trail system.

Continue reading New Years Day On Ukiah Valley Trails

Introducing Mendo Time Bank

In Dave Smith, Mendo Island Transition on January 2, 2009 at 11:36 pm


[Local community advocate Julia (Dakin) Frech is heading up a local effort to organize a Time Bank. Mendo Time Bank website is here. The link to join Mendo Time Bank is here. How Time Banks work is here. Time Banks are active in many parts of the world and are a very successful way to build community. What a great way to start off a challenging new year here in Mendocino County. What follows is a brief overview. -DS]

Excerpted from No More Throw-Away People
by Edgar Cahn

“Time Dollars” in a “Time Bank” are a local currency, issued locally, and honored locally. Instead of money that flows to the highest return, we need a local currency that will stay put as a kind of safety net. It functions as a reward for sinking roots, staying in place, accepting responsibility, building community, keeping family together. “Co-Production” elevates the non-market economy as the only possible shelter from the vicissitudes of the global market economy. As a complementary economic system based on maximizing self-sufficiency, it represents a buffer in a world where money’s mobility and global interdependence can mean ubiquitous vulnerability.

There is no doubt that money rewards self-interest, greed, ruthlessness and material acquisition. We need an economy that rewards decency, caring, civic participation, and learning as automatically as the market now rewards unbridled self-interest, winner-take-all competion, and runaway specialization. Time Dollars devalue specialization and assert that the most special and important thing a human being can do is to be a Human Being. That is about as unspecialized a job description as one can get. They are a new tool, available as a kind of appropriate technology to enable the nonmarket economy to compete for a larger share of energy, time and talent and to enlist the capacity of those whom the market devalues or excludes.

Time Dollars simply count the hours people put in. But even when people don’t spend the Time Dollars they earn, something else happens. Observers note that turnover in Time Dollar programs is far lower than in volunteer programs. It was less than 10 percent in all of the original programs, and less than 3 percent in the largest Miami based one. The only thing done differently is to count. And people earn Time Dollars without stopping whatever volunteering they are already doing.

Counting counts. Recording something makes a difference. It confers value. It invests an act with a degree of permanence. It means that what is learned or done will not be forgotten. It just might shape the future.

A user-friendly information and accounting system serves two functions. First, it makes knowledge of what people can do into a shared resource. Information is wealth. Shared information is shared wealth of a new kind. This is one kind of wealth that is not diminished by sharing. In fact, it is increased.

Most of us do not know what our neighbors can do. And we don’t ask. But when that information is in a data base, we don’t mind phoning up and saying, “Do you have anyone in the computer who could take care of my dog this weekend or help my child with homework?” That’s not a question we are going to go up and down the street asking. Nor is it information that would normally be volunteered by a neighbor in casual conversation. Information systems create a new social etiquette that breaks down old barriers. Any email user knows that.

Merely the issuing of Time Dollar bank statements operates as a kind of reward. Those of us who enrolled in frequent flier miles programs know how pleased we are to see the mileage grow, even if we know we may not be able to use those miles for months or even years.

Time Dollars as a currency with restricted purchasing power may be inferior for certain purposes, but it sends out a message: Maybe we don’t really want all the things we value most – our future, our fate, our lives – monitized and determined by market value… up for grabs to the highest bidder. And perhaps we need a currency that, regardless of the market, enables us to use our time to secure a kind of self-sufficiency, that can’t be eliminated by cutbacks in Medicare or eroded by inflation.

Time Dollars in a Nutshell

1. Members list the services they can offer and those that they need

2. All agree to both give and to receive services

3. Everyone is interviewed and provides references

4. Every hour giving help earns the giver one credit, a Time Dollar

5. Members ‘buy’ the services they need with their credits

6. The computer matches the task, the giver, and the receiver

7. Every transaction is recorded on a computer ‘time bank’

8. Members receive a regular ‘bank’ statement

9. One hour is one credit regardless of the skills one offers

10. Members can donate credits to friends or to the ‘credit pool’

11. Everyone is seen as special with a contribution to make

12. All activities maintain set standards of care and a code of ethics

Report from Redwood Health Information Collaborative

In Guest Posts on January 2, 2009 at 10:13 am

From Will Ross

On Wednesday December 17th the Obama-Biden Healthcare Transition agenda was discussed by 15 people at the December meeting of the Redwood Health Information Collaborative, held at Public Health in Ukiah.  After the meeting, a draft discussion document was developed by several of the attendees, working together by email. The Collaborative response is posted here.

The Collaborative response was submitted yesterday to operated by the Obama-Biden Transition Project.

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here…

In Around the web on January 1, 2009 at 6:01 pm


From The Automatic Earth

And may you find the strength and wisdom to lower your expectations when it comes to money and material possessions. A lot of dreams will be shattered in 2009, a lot of things once taken for granted will disappear and never return. My biggest fear looking forward is probably that many of us will not be able to adapt to the vision of a future with less of almost everything. The reactions of younger generations to the realization that the vast majority among them will not be able to do as well as their parents could be rough and violent. Millions upon millions in the western world who are today reasonably well-off, and expect to retire with a nice pension, will find when the time comes that that dream is gone too.

[Predictions are based on the past. The future is up to how the we respond to the challenges that present themselves, not the worst case scenarios. Hope, our family and friends, and our local community intelligence are all we've really got. Are we up for the job? -DS]

See also Local Money In Britain

Continue reading The Automatic Earth

Start er up…

In Dave Smith on January 1, 2009 at 10:29 am

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