Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

Archive for June, 2009|Monthly archive page

Revisiting The Cluetrain Manifesto – 10 Years Later

In Small Business Skills on June 5, 2009 at 7:37 am


[A 10th Anniversary edition with added chapters is about to hit the bookshops. Here is the manifesto. You can't get much better at business market forecasting and the impact of the internet than this. -DS]

If you only have time for one clue this year, this is the one to get… We are not seats or eyeballs or end users or consumers. We are human beings. And our reach exceeds your grasp. Deal with it!

Online Markets…

Networked markets are beginning to self-organize faster than the companies that have traditionally served them. Thanks to the web, markets are becoming better informed, smarter, and more demanding of qualities missing from most business organizations.

…People of Earth

The sky is open to the stars. Clouds roll over us night and day. Oceans rise and fall. Whatever you may have heard, this is our world, our place to be. Whatever you’ve been told, our flags fly free. Our heart goes on forever. People of Earth, remember.

95 Thesis

  1. Markets are conversations.
  2. Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.
  3. Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice.
  4. Whether delivering information, opinions, perspectives, dissenting arguments or humorous asides, the human voice is typically open, natural, uncontrived.
  5. People recognize each other as such from the sound of this voice.
  6. The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media.

When Whiners Whine About Whining Whiners

In Dave Smith on June 4, 2009 at 12:29 pm

From Letters To The Editor
Anderson Valley Advertiser 6/3/2009

Tourist Alert

To The Editor:

To any tourists who just happens to be in Mendocino County this time of the year I say welcome to whine country. Not “wine” country as in a good grade of Ripple, but “whine” country, as in the sound made by the constantly complaining Mendocino County Progressives. I truly believe that these progressives were dyed in the wool brats who got anything and everything they wanted by continuously whining at their parents until they did, and I think they feel that this type of behavior should be just as successful for them as adults as it was when they were children.

I know that I am not the only one who is growing weary of this constant carping. But, as usual, out of adversity rises opportunity. I think I’ll go into the earplug business and I can make a bloody fortune selling plugs to others who are as fed up listening to the whining progressives as I am.

[Name witheld by UB]


Gardeners and Farmers Less Fearful of Death?

In Garden Farm Skills, Guest Posts on June 4, 2009 at 6:32 am

Garden Farm Skills

June 4, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

When our bed of irises (in the photo above) bloom for one brief but glorious week in late May,  I think, strangely enough, of a letter a friend of mine received from a doctor in Minnesota.  The doctor observed that in his medical practice, rural people face the prospect of dying with more equanimity than urbanites.

He  theorizes that people who live close to the natural world and to farm life have their thinking shaped by the way life and death follow each other up and down the food chain every day.  They understand that death is the unavoidable way of nature and it applies to everything and everyone. Urban people more often live in a sort of surrealistic plastic bubble where they never see a nice neighborhood doggy tear the guts out of a lamb or a cute raccoon slaughter a henhouse full of chickens.  They have never seen a hog die after having its throat slit to bleed properly so that the meat tastes the way they want it to taste. They do not associate their eating with anything dying. They become paranoid at the realization that they must die too and try to find ways to avoid every possible or even imagined threat of death that comes their way. That doctor didn’t say it, but mine would add that this paranoia is adding 500 billion unnecessary dollars to the cost of Medicare and Medicaid programs according to recent statistics.

I suppose that there are quite a few urban people living in areas of high crime rates who are even more conscious of the inevitability of death than rural people who care for animals or must deal with the wild animal kingdom, but generally speaking, I think the good doctor has it right. I would add gardeners in the group of those who accept death philosophically. There is an underbelly of sadness to the delights of gardening. The flowers in the photo above, mostly irises, are the result of my wife’s nearly year-round care, but peak bloom lasts Read the rest of this entry »

Ukiah City Council Unanimously Opposes Monster Mall

In Dave Smith on June 3, 2009 at 9:38 pm


June 3, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California



WHEREAS a request for Ballot Title and Summary for an initiative has been filed with the Mendocino County Clerk to Amend the Mendocino County General Plan and the Inland Zoning Code of Mendocino County, and to enact the Mendocino Crossings Mixed-Use Masonite Specific Plan; and

WHEREAS the Mendocino Crossings Mixed-Use Masonite Specific Plan would allow approximately 650,000 square feet of commercial development and 150,000 square feet of residential development on approximately 74 acres north of and in close proximity to the City of Ukiah; and

WHEREAS the City of Ukiah has reviewed and discussed the Mendocino Crossings Mixed-Use Masonite Specific Plan; and concludes that build-out of the Masonite site pursuant to the provision of the Specific Plan could result in potential impacts to the City of Ukiah; and

WHEREAS the potential impacts include:

1) Traffic congestion resulting from the future connection of the Orchard Avenue Extension to proposed Valley Drive that would serve commercial and residential development rather than previously assumed industrial development;

2) Traffic congestion associated with the uncertainty of the effectiveness of the 5 additional traffic lights on North State Street proposed as part of the Specific Plan;

3) The cumulative build-out of the greater Ukiah Valley area has already negatively impacted public safety services within the City of Ukiah. The proposed project increases these negative impacts on police and fire services. These impacts include Read the rest of this entry »

Self-Sufficiency for our Bioregion

In Books, Dave Smith, Mendo Island Transition on June 3, 2009 at 7:35 am

Dwellers in the Land: The Bioregional Vision (1991)

June 3, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Far from being deprived, far from being thus impoverished, even the most unendowed bioregion can in the long run gain in economic health with a careful and deliberate policy of self-sufficiency. The reasons are various:

1. A self-sufficient bioregion would be more economically stable, more in control of investment, production, and sales, and hence more insulated from the cycles of boom-and-bust engendered by distant market forces or remote political crises. And its people, with a full close-up knowledge of both markets and resources, would be able to allocate their products and labor in the most efficient way, to build and develop what and where they want to at the safest pace, to control their own money supply and currency value without extreme fluctuations—and to adjust all those procedures with comparative ease when necessary.

2. A self-sufficient bioregion would not be in vassalage to far-off and uncontrollable national bureaucracies or transnational corporations, at the mercy of whims or greed of politicians and plutocrats. Not caught up in the vortex of world-wide trade, it would be free from the vulnerability that always accompanies dependence in some degree or other, as the Western world discovered with considerable pain when OPEC countries quadrupled the price of the oil it depended on, as the non-Western world experiences daily.

3. A self-sufficient bioregion would be, plainly put, richer than one enmeshed in extensive trade, even when the trade balance is favorable. Partly this is because no part of the economy need be devoted to paying for imports, a burden that severely taxes even an industrial country like the United States—where, try as we might, we have not escaped a severe trade deficit in the last fifteen years—and that simply drains nations heavily dependent on imports, such as Britain, Brazil, Mexico, and most of the Read the rest of this entry »

Monster Mall – City Council Final Vote Tonight, June 3, 6pm

In Dave Smith on June 3, 2009 at 6:49 am


Big bucks used to corrupt initiative process

June 3, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

From a local citizen: “DDR has spent $1,000,000 on marketing, legal and political services just to get this monster to market, even before the current filing. If you add in the most recent $186,336 [UDJ 5/31/09], and if DDR only needs 12,000 voters to win this election, DDR has already spent $98.86 for each one of those targeted voters – almost $100 per voter!”

From Financial Times May 29 2009:

California’s system of direct democracy, while laudable in aim, is another headache. “Ballot initiatives” were introduced in 1911 by Hiram Johnson, then governor, who wanted to curtail the influence of the mighty Southern Pacific Railroad and return power to the people. Since then, any issue can be put to a state-wide vote, provided half a million or so signatures are gathered to support a change in the law. Ballot initiatives were intended to give a voice to voters. “It was supposed to be about mom and pop talking about something around the dinner table and then getting all their friends to sign a petition,” says Dan Mitchell, professor emeritus at the UCLA Anderson School of Management and the School of Public Affairs. “But most initiatives on the ballot don’t start that way.” Instead wealthy individuals and special interest groups “pay a couple of million dollars to employ people to collect signatures outside of supermarkets”.

DDR Spokesperson response?  “I don’t believe this to be buying a campaign.”

Tonight, Wednesday June 3 the Ukiah City Council will consider a resolution about Developer Diversified Realty’s (DDR) ballot measure to change the Masonite site from industrial zoning to a huge shopping mall. The item will come up early on the Council’s agenda, possibly 6:15 p.m.

10 Ways to Limit Health Risk from Cell Phones

In Around the web on June 2, 2009 at 8:00 pm

From The Daily Green

June 3, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

French schools have banned cell phones because of concern over electromagnetic radiation. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself and your children.

  1. Do not allow children to use a cell phone except for emergencies. The developing organs of a fetus or child are the most likely to be sensitive to any possible effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields.
  2. While communicating using your cell phone, try to keep the cell phone away from the body as much as possible. The amplitude of the electromagnetic field is one fourth the strength at a distance of two inches and fifty times lower at three feet.Whenever possible, use the speaker-phone mode or a wireless Bluetooth headset, which has less than 1/100th of the electromagnetic emission of a normal cell phone. Use of a headset attachment may also reduce exposure.
  3. Avoid using your cell phone in public places, like a bus, where you can passively expose others to your phone’s electromagnetic fields.
  4. Avoid carrying your cell phone on your body at all times. Do not keep it near your body at night such as under the pillow or on a bedside table, particularly if pregnant. You can also put it on “flight” or “off-line” mode, which stops electromagnetic emissions.
  5. If you must carry your cell phone on you, it is preferable that you orient the keypad toward your body and the back is positioned toward the outside of your body. Depending on the thickness of the phone this may provide a minimal reduction of exposure.
  6. Keep your conversations short. Only use your cell phone to establish contact or for conversations lasting a few minutes as the biological effects are directly related to the duration of exposure. For longer conversations, use a land line with a corded phone, not a cordless phone, which uses electromagnetic Keep reading→

Reinventing the Informal Economy

In Around the web on June 2, 2009 at 5:22 am

From Sharon Astyk

June 2, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

…Now the informal economy isn’t perfect. Unless you join the criminal parts of it, or are a natural scrounger, you probably won’t get rich off of it.

But the truth is that the informal economy is more resilient (being vastly larger) than the formal economy – markets, as we all know, long preceeded “the market.” That is, human beings always have economies – they are simply not always formal.

In most cases, people live partly in one, partly in the other – the formal economy is needed for the paying taxes and debts, for some projects, while the informal economy meets other needs. The more cash money you have, the less you may rely on the personal ties and subsistence labor of the informal economy, but also, the more unstable, complex and vulnerable the formal economy is (and these are the defining characteristics of modern finance), the more the informal economy is necessary – family ties take over for retirement accounts, barter when neither of you has any cash, subsistence labor replaces money labor for some people, so that you need to earn less.

Keep reading→

Transition Towns Sweeping The World

In Around the web on June 2, 2009 at 5:19 am

From The Guardian UK
May 31, 2009

June 2, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Within three years it has gone from an idea to having 170 towns, villages and cities signed up as transition communities, working in 30 countries, and thousands more all over the world using the transition model. It is viral, catching on faster than its founder, Rob Hopkins, can track.

Its message is that peak oil and climate change demand dramatic changes in the way people live, and, given that no one has the answer, communities themselves must start working out how that change might come about.

It offers no answers, no solutions, only some tips in a handbook for how to get started. Transition lays the challenge squarely at the door of everyone. This is too big and difficult for government alone to tackle, too overwhelming and depressing for individuals to face alone.

Transition is rooted in a new politics of place: geography matters again as people look to the community immediately around them to devise the solutions for sustainability and resilience.

Keep reading→

The Outer World

In Guest Posts on June 1, 2009 at 6:37 am

Mendocino County

June 1, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

[This article first appeared in the current Anderson Valley Advertiser 5/27/09. Used with permission.]

Marcia and I just returned from three weeks in the outer world. We gave nine house concerts, two bookstore performances, and visited a couple dozen bookstores from Mendocino all the way to Lummi Island, Washington and back, with layovers in Arcata, Coos Bay, Astoria, Seattle, Bellingham, Port Townsend, Portland, Medford, Ashland, and Sacramento. Our concerts were a mix of guitar/cello duets, cello solos, songs, and short stories. We had audiences as large as fifty, as small as five. Since I rarely go anywhere outside of the Big River watershed, this was a monumental and highly stressful journey for me. For Marcia it was pure fun.

Here are some of the things I discovered en route.

Keep reading→


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