Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

Archive for October, 2009|Monthly archive page

Call To Action: Please read…

In !ACTION CENTER!, Dave Smith on October 30, 2009 at 8:45 am

From THE AUTOMATIC EARTH

Firstly, I would say that the energy prices that currently seem stubbornly high should fall substantially as the speculative premium evaporates and demand falls on a resumption of the credit crunch. The sucker rally that has spawned all the talk of green shoots is essentially over in my opinion.

The result should be a reversal of a number of trends that depend on the ebb and flow of liquidity – we should see stock markets and commodity prices fall, a significant resurgence in the US dollar and a large contraction of credit. The scale of the reversal should be substantial, as should its effects on energy demand. Demand is not what one wants, but what one is ready, willing and able to pay for, and in a severe credit crunch the capacity to pay for supplies of most things will be severely reduced.

As demand falls, and with it prices, investment in the energy sector is likely to dry up. Many projects will be uneconomic at much lower prices, meaning that the projects which might have cushioned the downslope of Hubbert’s curve (and the much steeper net energy curve), are unlikely to be developed. In this way a demand collapse sets the stage for a supply collapse that could place a hard ceiling on any prospect of economic recovery. That is a recipe for extremely high energy prices in the future…

The scale of the problem has been temporarily concealed by a market rally and the shovelling of tens of trillions of dollars of taxpayer’s money into a giant black hole of credit destruction. This has done nothing to reignite lending, but the temporary (and entirely irrational) resurgence of confidence has restored a measure of liquidity. As that confidence evaporates with the end of the rally, that liquidity will also disappear.

Deflation is ultimately psychological. Without trust we will see hoarding of the cash which will be very scarce in the absence of the credit that currently comprises the vast majority of the effective money supply. The combination of scarce cash and a very low velocity of money will be toxic.

Money is the lubricant in the economic engine and without enough of it that engine will seize up as it did in the 1930s, when farmers dumped milk they couldn’t sell into ditches while others were starving for want of the money to buy food. There was plenty of everything except money, and without money, one cannot connect buyers and sellers…

In my opinion, we stand on the brink of truly tragic circumstances.

See original article here

Local Money Supply Solutions: Mendo Time BankMendo Moola
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Mendo Time Bank News

In Guest Posts on October 30, 2009 at 7:58 am

From CODY CHRISTOPULOS
Ukiah

Thanks to everybody who responded to our requests for help!  Jenny Crawford and Courtney Senna will be doing orientations every two weeks at the MEC so please send your friends. Orientations for new members will be held the first and third Wednesdays of each month starting on Nov 4th. 6 – 6:30pm. Kip Webb and Daniel Frey will be posting flyers to help spread the word.

There is still more to do!  We need your help to organize social events, write a paragraph for the newsletter, update the website and organize group projects.

If you’re not quite ready to make a commitment, the best thing you can do to support the Time Bank is to use it. Be part of the change you want to see, help build our community. There’s no better way to save money, support your neighbors and friends and encourage positive movement toward a more sustainable future.  It won’t work without you.

Time Bank Radio Show

Jenny and Courtney are also starting up a radio program which will air for the first time on Wednesday November 4th at 6:30 pm. Tune in to KMEC. You will hear about what’s being offered and requested, answers to frequently asked questions,  and other useful and entertaining information. A reminder and more info from the hosts to follow.

Progress Report

Congratulations Time Bankers!  Together we have traded over 930 hours so far this year!  Our exchanges include yard work, house sitting, farm fresh eggs, healthy garden produce, tickets to the Ukiah Players Theatre, haircuts, massages and so much more.

Success Stories from our Time Bank

My Time Dollar Retirement by Rose Dakin

Every financial analyst will tell you that the key to successful investing is diversifying your assets. Your savings should be carefully invested in a mix of bonds, stocks, cash, gold and real estate. I have decided to use my account at the Mendo Time Bank to supplement my retirement plan, because time is an overlooked investment, and my retirement will require a lot of other people’s time. Not only that, but the value of time has increased with less volatility and more predictability than any other asset in the traditional asset mix. I feel well diversified, now, thanks to the Mendo Time Bank. more→

This is dedicated to the DDR Carpet Baggers for their plane ride home to Ohio and Texas

In Dave Smith, Vote No on Measure A on October 29, 2009 at 5:12 pm

buh-bye…
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Maybe Farming Isn’t Supposed To Make Money

In Guest Posts on October 29, 2009 at 3:30 pm

From GENE LOGSDON
The Contrary Farmer

Talk about heresy. What if food production should not be part of either a capitalistic or a socialistic economy. The first commandment of agriculture states that you must put back into the soil the fertility you take out of it. That being so, the only real profit from food production is how good the food  tastes and how well it sustains health and well-being. Any actual money profit beyond that might simply be a sign that the farming is flawed. Failed civilization on top of failed civilization suggests that idea, but every new civilization that flourishes for awhile believes it can beat the system.

Farming has to be subsidized in modern economies because nature  can’t compete with money interest. An ear of corn, even the record-shattering 15-inch ear I found in my field yesterday,  has never heard of six percent interest. An ear of corn grows at its own sweet pace, come recession or inflation, which is the modern version of hell or high water. Every attempt to make it grow at a pace that matches the way we can manipulate paper money growth, results in some downside. (Eventually it happens with money too.) GMO scientists crow about their new seeds but there is little significant increase in yield from them, in fact in some cases, documented decreases. When an increase does occur it usually comes from lack of weed competition not an actual genetic increase in yield. Most above average increases in crop yields  come from  good weather. Monsanto and Dupont are trying to take the credit for the big corn crop this year when their very same seeds that produce a good crop on one farm result in only half a crop  two miles down the road where timely rains did not fall.

More at The Contrary Farmer
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Doin’ the Dead Dino Stomp – No On A Letters (Updated)

In Vote No on Measure A on October 29, 2009 at 6:26 am

[FLASH!! DDR will spend over a million dollars to kill our downtown! They have spent $800,000 so far according to the Press Democrat. That's 10 to 1 spending against our local citizens and local democracy. Vote NO on A. -DS]

Letters to the UDJ

From BARRY VOGEL
Ukiah

Running up the score

If you haven’t voted “No” on Measure A yet, Here’s why you should, now:

1. If Measure A passes, no environmental local regulation or control will be necessary for anything that is built on the old Masonite property by the current or any future owner.

2. If Measure A passes, the old Masonite property will be sold. “Everything is for sale,” Jeff Adams, the project director for DDR said at the October 8, 2009 debate on the merits of Measure A. Scott Wolstein, DDR’s top boss may be seen on http://www.reit.com stating that due to its economic condition, “DDR will not build any new projects.” DDR stock had a value of $74 per share in 2006 which dropped to $1.50 in March 2009 and was then declared ”junk” by respected organizations that value stock.

3. If Measure A passes, the so called “mixed-use” zoning would give the owner unlimited and uncontrolled choice and discretion on what is built or done there. DDR rendered its so called “specific plan” meaningless when it repeats, over 80 times, that the “plan is conceptual only and subject to change according to regional and market conditions.” Further no owner, present or future will have any responsibility to pay any consequences of what is built there.

4. If Measure A passes, all surrounding road work and public safety costs would be paid with county money leaving no funds for our already neglected roads and public safety needs everywhere else in Mendocino County.

5. DDR and Mendocino County Tomorrow, the local group it supports report they spend $514,871.89 as of September 19, 2009, on their campaign. All the money came from DDR; no local money.

6. There are no “yes” yard signs. No one wants one. All DDR can do is send glossy mailers and make meaningless promises on radio and TV.

7. DDR doesn’t give a rodent’s posterior about Mendocino County or we who live here.

more→

Bailouts For Dummies

In Around the web on October 28, 2009 at 9:41 pm

From DAVE POLLARD
How To Save The World Blog

Lately I’ve been reading more about economics, in self-defence against all the corporatist-government thievery and lies going on out there.

I’m aware that most people find what is happening in our economy and financial systems unfathomable, so I thought I’d try to simplify the complex. I confess up front this is a substantial over-simplification, and I’m not a professional economist. Recent events really boil down to governments doing what they’re told to do because their self-serving advisors have made them so terrified of the consequences of not doing so, that they feel they have no alternative. It’s not so much “too big to fail” as “failure is not an option”.

Our modern economic system is founded on a false premise — that unregulated ‘free’ markets are the most efficient (free of waste) and effective (they will produce better ‘collective’ outcomes than markets that government manages or intervenes in). This has been repeatedly shown to be false, but it still governs mainstream economic, and conservative, thought. In most countries (other than the US and struggling nations) experience with the failures of the ‘free’ enterprise market system — laissez faire capitalism — has led governments to play a significant, if not dominant, role in economic regulation and decision-making. These are what are called “balanced economies”, where governments intervene to limit the excesses of self-serving private interests and to provide goods and services (like health care and education) that the majority believe should be available to all, regardless of wealth or income.

Where there is no balance, as in struggling nations where the government is weak or hopelessly corrupt, the result is a hegemony (total dominance) by a wealthy elite that effectively owns and dictates policy to politicians, regulators and judges. This near-monopoly of consolidated power is variously called corpocracy, corporatism, or fascism. Many right-wing ideologues like Mussolini believed such a hegemony was the much-sought “benign dictatorship” that would act in the collective interest more knowledgeably and efficiently than any democracy. There is a second school of right-wing libertarian ideologues, especially in the US, who believe that the ‘market’ is able to act in this fashion, and that any government intervention will necessarily worsen every situation.more

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Flogging (and Blogging) a Dead Dino

In Vote No on Measure A on October 28, 2009 at 7:48 am

More Letters to the Editor UDJ

No Property Rights
Clear Democratic Opposition

From DAVID SMITH-FERRI
Ukiah

For months now, proponents of Measure A, most especially Jeff Adams of DDR, have been complaining about how poorly they’ve been treated by the County Board of Supervisors and by the planning process as a whole, which they suggest has been hostile, dilatory, and incompetent. Because of this, they say, they were forced to fall back on the only democratic process left to them: the initiative process.

I’ve heard this sad story told in the Ukiah City Council Chambers and in County BOS meetings. I’ve read it in this newspaper when proponents of Measure A have been quoted. I’ve heard it so often I’m afraid that voters may view it as true instead of seeing it as a political strategy intended to cast DDR as the good guy just trying to exercise its private property rights and move its progressive project along. In this fairy tale, local government staff and officials, of course, are the bad guys getting in the way of progress.

I want to remind everyone who cares about this ballot initiative of a few simple facts that seem to have been forgotten. First, when DDR purchased the land, it was zoned industrial (as it is now). Presumably, they knew this. They have never had a private property right to build a retail mall on the land nor does County government have to bow to their desire to change the zoning.

Second, as we all know, the current BOS is opposed to rezoning the former Masonite property precisely because John McCowen and Carre Brown replaced two supervisors who favored it. Let’s not forget that Mr. McCowen and Ms. Brown campaigned strongly against the rezoning. Their large electoral victories were not only democratic but a clear statement of opposition to the DDR project. It was not a hostile local government nor an incompetent planning process that forced DDR to bring in a guerrilla team of signature gatherers to put Measure A on the ballot. It was desperation. And all the whining to the contrary can’t change it.
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Monster Mall Unnecessary

From JANNA OSTOYA
Ukiah

more→

What are the Differences between Bio-Intensive Agricultural and Biodynamic Agricultural Practices?

In Guest Posts on October 28, 2009 at 7:32 am


From CHARLES MARTIN
Willits

Background

The above question has been asked of Charles because he has gardened and farmed both Bio-Intensively and Biodynamicly for over 20 years. In the above case, the author’s farm was certified biodynamic by the Demeter Association of the United States, a division of the International Demeter Certification Organization and Organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers Association (CCOF). Prior to this, the author gardened organically for over 20 years, employing the original organic method developed by Sir Howard of England and adopted by John Rodale in the United States. These organic practices have since been corrupted and diluted by both State & Federal CDFA & USDA governmental regulatory agencies.

From 1985 until 2000, Bio-Intensive practices were employed in his market gardens of the Certified Organic biodynamic farm in Compche, California. During that period, the author also served on the board of Directors of Ecology Action until 2004.

Discussion

The criteria normally used to judge farming practices is to ask if the practice is sustainable & do the farming practices employ any method or material that would be detrimental to ones health by eating the food grown by these methods? Both the Bio-Intensive and Biodynamic and the older form of Organic practices (pre-USDA), complied with both of the above two criteria.

The oldest of the above practices is the Biodynamic method. It was synthesized by Rudolf Steiner in 1924 from ancient folk & peasant practices employed in the Orient and Persia over 6,000 years ago and more recently by Russian & European farms over the last 1,500 years. The Oriental farming practices have been proven to be sustainable for over 6,000 years. Bio-Intensive evolved from Alan Chadwick’s interpretations of R. Steiner’s biodynamic concepts.

Now to the differences between BI & BD practices

more→

Simple lifestyle tweaks key in climate change fight

In Around the web on October 27, 2009 at 8:28 pm

From GRIST

WASHINGTON—The United States could cut greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of France’s total annual emissions by getting Americans to make simple lifestyle changes, like regularly maintaining their cars or insulating their attics, a study showed Monday.

If U.S. households took 17 easy-to-implement actions—like switching to a fuel-efficient vehicle, drying laundry on a clothesline instead of in a dryer, or turning down the thermostat—carbon emissions could be cut by 123 metric tons a year by the 10th year, the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found [PDF].

“This amounts to … 7.4 percent of total national emissions—an amount slightly larger than the total national emissions of France,” showed the study led by Thomas Dietz of Michigan State University’s department of sociology and environmental science and policy.

“It is greater than reducing to zero all emissions in the United States from the petroleum-refining, iron and steel, and aluminum industries, each of which is among the largest emitters in the industrial sector,”  the study said.

But the lifestyle changes come with a much smaller price tag and no great change to the way Americans live.

At present, U.S. direct household energy use accounts for 38 percent of the country’s carbon emissions, or 626 million metric tons of carbon—a whopping eight percent of global emissions “and larger than the emissions of any entire country except China.”

To quickly bring down those numbers, the researchers suggested greater focus on consumer behavioral changes and less on efforts to develop new technologies and put in place so-called cap and trade regimes.

The researchers grouped 17 actions Americans could take to reduce carbon emissions into five groups: weatherization, switching to more efficient equipment, maintaining equipment, adjusting appliance setting—such as the temperature on water heaters—and modifying daily personal use.

more
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DDR Thrashes – Last Gasps – Death Throes – Celebratory Cheesecake Anyone?

In Vote No on Measure A on October 26, 2009 at 8:03 pm

More campaign disputes on Measure A as election nears

The Daily Journal, October 25, 2009

More battling about campaign advertising is afoot this week over statements by an economics professor, statements by DDR’s CEO and statements by a former Greenpeace activist.

Mendocino County Tomorrow (the proponents of Measure A to rezone the old Masonite property and build a shopping mall) Thursday accused the No on A campaign known as SOLE (Save Our Local Economy) of misleading voters on a mailer which includes a quote from Robert Eyler, chairman of the economics department at Sonoma State University.

The quote comes from a story in the Ukiah Daily Journal about a November, 2008 meeting sponsored by MCT which paid Eyler to give a talk about the future of the economy of this area. The quote – excerpted accurately from the Daily Journal story – reads: “You could make the same mistakes Sonoma County made. That creates congestion and that drives good businesses away.” MCT executive director Robin Collier issued a press release Thursday outraged that SOLE would “misquote and misrepresent” Eyler’s comments. “No on A clearly misrepresents Professor Eyler’s position on Measure A,” Collier wrote. “His name and the quote attributed to him are displayed on the mail piece in a clear attempt to fool and confuse Mendocino County voters. The quote used by No on A is nearly a year old and does not concern Measure A at all, nor the Mendocino Crossings project. Professor Eyler’s quote instead was addressing ‘untempered growth.’ Further, Professor Eyler does not believe Measure A or the Mendocino Crossings project are examples of ‘untempered growth,’ and believes No on A representatives have misrepresented his position on Measure A.” [Yeah, right. You'll be even more outraged with the No On A Landslide - 60 - 40 No On A. -DS]

In fact, Eyler has no position on Measure A. In an interview Friday, Eyler said he knows nothing about Measure A or Mendocino Crossings and has made no evaluation of either one pro or con. He said he was surprised when MCT contacted him to let him know he was being used in some way and was disturbed by it, although he hadn’t seen it and MCT hadn’t told him what the nature of the context of his quote was. more→

Resilience Thinking – Transition Culture

In Around the web on October 26, 2009 at 7:33 pm

 


 

From ROB HOPKINS
Transition Culture

The latest edition of Resurgence is timed to coincide with the Copenhagen talks, and looks at resilience as a key aspect of the climate change debates.  Here is the article I wrote for it.

Resilience Thinking. Why ‘resilience thinking’ is a crucial missing piece of the climate-change jigsaw and why resilience is a more useful concept than sustainability: by Rob Hopkins.

Resilience; “the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganise while undergoing change, so as to retain essentially the same function, structure, identity and feedbacks”

In July 2009, UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Miliband unveiled the government’s UK Low Carbon Transition Plan, a bold and powerful statement of intent for a low-carbon economy in the UK. It stated that by 2020 there would be a five-fold increase in wind generation, feed-in tariffs for domestic energy generation, and an unprecedented scheme to retrofit every house in the country for energy efficiency. In view of the extraordinary scale of the challenge presented by climate change, I hesitate to criticise steps in the right direction taken by government. There is, though, a key flaw in the document, which also appears in much of the wider societal thinking about climate change. This flaw is the attempt to address the issue of climate change without also addressing a second, equally important issue: that of resilience.

The term ‘resilience’ is appearing more frequently in discussions about environmental concerns, and it has a strong claim to actually being a more useful concept than that of sustainability. Sustainability and its oxymoronic offspring sustainable development are commonly held to be a sufficient response to the scale of the climate challenge we face: to reduce the inputs at one end of the globalised economic growth model (energy, resources, and so on) while reducing the outputs at the other end (pollution, carbon emissions, etc.). However, responses to climate change that do not also address the imminent, or quite possibly already passed, peak in world oil production do not adequately address the nature of the challenge we face. more
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Dead Dino Rest In Perpetuity – No on A Letters To The UDJ Editor

In Vote No on Measure A on October 25, 2009 at 7:45 pm

From SUSAN SHER
Ukiah

It has become apparent that locally-owned businesses remain the life blood of our community. CEOs and boards of directors of the large chain stores with which DDR promises to populate its mega-mall simply do not have the interest or commitment to sustain our community.

Recently, as a member of a board of directors for a local non-profit organization with an upcoming benefit event, I had the task of requesting raffle prizes from local businesses. Virtually all of the local merchants who were approached generously donated to the cause despite the fact that many were facing challenging financial times themselves. In response to the same request made to some of the chain stores which have all ready infiltrated Ukiah, I was told that the management of the local store did not have the discretion to make a donation; I should submit a written request to out-of-town corporate headquarters. No doubt, staff in these corporate headquarters would not have heard of this Ukiah non-profit agency, the corporate executives would not be attending the event and having no familiarity with the community in which one of its many chain stores was located, would have no concern for the wellbeing of local folks relying on the services provided by this local non-profit.

Throughout this campaign, Ohio-based corporate giant, DDR has argued that changing the zoning of the Masonite site from industrial to commercial/retail use and the resulting construction of its mega-mall would be an economic boon for our community, a way to put substantial amounts of cash into our dwindling local coffers.

While DDR has made many illusory promises of future benefits, it has thus far, provided one concrete example of the hypocrisy of its purported concern for the economic vitality of our community. Last month, the UDJ compared the campaign spending of both DDR, the only contributor to the Yes on Measure A campaign with that of Save Our Local Economy (”SOLE”), the grass-roots community group opposed to Measure A.

As of September 19, 2009, DDR had contributed over $500,000 to its own campaign. During this past filing period, large amounts of campaign funds were not spent locally; rather, DDR patronized a Marin County law firm, political and marketing consultants from San Francisco and Santa Rosa, and out-of-town printers and graphic designers. more→

McKibben Versus Hedges’ Clash of Worldviews: How Do We Solve the Environmental Crisis?

In Around the web on October 25, 2009 at 2:02 pm

From CHRIS HEDGES and BILL McKIBBEN
Yes! Magazine and TruthDig, via Alternet and OCA

Bill McKibben believes we must reduce our carbon emissions immediately, or else face disaster. Chris Hedges says that until we defeat corporate power, we can’t address anything.

Editor’s Note: The following two articles below by Bill McKibben and Chris Hedges illustrate a key point of debate in thinking about how to solve our environmental crisis. Environmental activist and writer McKibben, in YES! Magazine on October 15, writes that we can’t let the atmosphere contain more than 350 million parts per million of carbon dioxide, or else face total environmental catastrophe, problem being that we’ve already passed this number. He’s helped organize a day of action on October 24 to push and make it happen. Chris Hedges’ response in TruthDig channels the radical thinking of Derek Jensen and argues that there is no possible way to address the release of carbon dioxide without addressing the way industrial society without addressing corporate power: “The reason the ecosystem is dying is not because we still have a dryer in our basement. It is because corporations look at everything, from human beings to the natural environment, as exploitable commodities. It is because consumption is the engine of corporate profits.” A very important debate, arguably on potentially the most important issue of our lives –

350: The Most Important Number in the World

by Bill McKibben, YES! Magazine

From Mt. Everest to the Maldives, people worldwide are turning an arcane number into a movement for a stable climate. Bill McKibben asks: Will you join them?

Let’s say you occasionally despair for the future of the planet. In that case, the place you need to be this week is the website for 350.org.

Every few minutes, something new arrives at our headquarters, where young people hunched over laptops do their best to keep up with the pace. News that activists in Afghanistan-Afghanistan-have organized a rally for our big day of action on October 24. They’ll assemble on a hillside 20 kilometers from Kabul to write a huge message in the sand: “Let Us Live: 350.” more→

Greetings from the Farm

In Around the web on October 24, 2009 at 11:45 am

From DON SANDERSON
Mendocino County

Well, in truth, far from being a farm. Maybe a third to half acre depending upon what we’re counting. Our home is under a grove of maybe two hundred year old valley oaks between a stream, which is dry two thirds of the year, and a red oaked ridge to the west that finally stretches wildly up a couple of thousand feet. It’s very quiet, except for the bird “clamor,” and nights are starry. Our water originates from a spring that is shared by others; in spite of the drought, it so far continues to flow – with wonderful water.

Wow, it rained, thanks apparently to El Niño and a warming ocean. The plants look so thrilled. The winter garden is being planted: beets and carrots, peas, lettuce and broccoli, cabbage, spinach, chard, and kale, Asian greens, and onions, garlic, and leeks. We’ve planted a thousand onion and garlic bulbs, or so it seemed. We learned from Peaceful Valley’s fall catalog that we can also plant potatoes. Wow, and no watering. Of  course we can’t grow tomatoes, corn, beans, and squash, but winter is otherwise a wonderful time to garden in our climate. But, lest we forget, the cooler summer and rain are vagaries of ever-changeable weather and solar sunspot cycles and not indicative of climate trends – greenhouse gases continue to accumulate.

I was born and raised on a Great Depression/WWII Iowa farm and would likely be there still, if I could have found a way to afford to stay. When I graduated from high school, the industrialization of agriculture was well on the way, beginning with heavy mechanized equipment expenses. I always wanted to return, as Wendell Berry did, but could never find the means. I sometimes tell Marlene of my continued wishes for a real farm, to which she laughs and asks me how I would have the energy to operate it. OK, I’m almost 74 years old and, since I insist in “farming” without power tools, I have about enough to keep me busy. This is especially true since time is wasted reading and writing and walking and just poking around.

Both the problem and the fascination with this place is that it is like no other in which I’ve gardened: Iowa, the Northwest, the old cooler, wetter Bay Area, or Kauai. Wendell Berry’s old farmers insist that one can’t learn farming from books; more→

350 – in every corner of the globe – (Updated)

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around the web on October 23, 2009 at 8:02 pm

UPDATE – Go see the photos: 350 Day of Action



go to video→

Fresh Batch of Dead Monster Mall Community Outrage – Letters to the Editor

In Vote No on Measure A on October 23, 2009 at 7:43 am

Letters to the Editor
Ukiah Daily Journal

From Stephanie T. Hoppe
Ukiah

What exactly is in the proposed Measure A? For all we can tell, if it passes, it could authorize the slaughterhouse discussed some months ago, and no one in the county would have any say about it.
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From Ron Lippert
Willits

Thanks for publishing all the various opinions on Measure A. I support No On A. Vote, have an opinion. We must come together and unite to create the future which we all will and do want.
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From John Arteaga
Ukiah

I hope that a lot of folks planning to cast ballots in the upcoming election had the opportunity to hear the debate between the opposing sides of the Measure A issue, which was simulcast on KZYX, and also to listen to Barry Vogel’s Radio Curious program today on KZYX 91.5 fm, where he detailed a great many of the less savory facts about DDR’s proposed development.

My wife’s reaction to the debate was something like, “sounds like they’re coming to town to swindle the country bumpkins; do they think that we all just fell off the turnip truck yesterday?”

While today’s bleak jobs picture may prompt some to vote for jobs, any kind of jobs, if one takes a longer view, the passage of Measure A will surely be selling out our birthright and that of our children for a mess of pottage today. If we allow its 68 acres to pass from industrial to ‘mixed-use’ (i.e. what ever any developer wants to do with it, forever exempt from the normal planning and zoning constrains everyone else has to abide by) it will close off forever the possibility of good, well paid, productive, industrial jobs locating any kind of sizable plant in Ukiah Valley.

As the American dollar continues to weaken against the currencies of all those countries which produce goods to trade with other countries around the world, eventually this country will have to rebuild its manufacturing base, which was so rashly shut down and sent off to China or some such cheap labor destination, during the Bush-Clinton ‘free-trade’ era.

Think of how unique and irreplaceable the Masonite site is; strategically situated on a rail siding which may, sometime in the future, come back into operation, with copious water sources and easy access to the freeway, with a great many well-educated potential employees willing to work for far less than the wages demanded in the Bay Area or LA. more→

Competitive Meditation

In Around Mendo Island, Books on October 22, 2009 at 10:16 pm

From TODD WALTON
Anderson Valley

What a silly idea, competitive meditation. Yet in America all things become competitive and hierarchical as reflections of the dominant operating system. Twenty years ago the notion of competitive yoga would have been just as absurd as competitive meditation, yet today yoga competitions are all the rage with big cash prizes for top asana performers ranked nationally. An asana is a particular yoga pose. Could league play be just around the corner?

The history of Buddhism, with meditation as its foundation, is a fascinating study in what happens to a non-hierarchical, non-competitive, crystal clear philosophy when it comes into contact with different societies, each with entrenched systems of social organization and religious dogma. Because Buddhism in its purest form is not a religion, it is easy to discern how in coming to China, Tibet, Japan, and now the United States, the original tenets of Buddhism have been deformed to fit the pre-existing religious or pseudo-religious structures.

Organized religions universally feature a head priest or priests, priest lieutenants, their favored adherents, the less favored, and so on down the steep slope of the pyramid. Trying to fit the fundamental Buddhist notion of the essential emptiness of reality into such a pyramidical structure is akin to building a complicated factory in order to produce nothing. Delusion, greed, arrogance, jealousy, all of which Buddha called enemies of enlightenment, are, ironically, the building blocks of organized Buddhism in America.

One of my favorite stories about Freud, not to change the subject, is that he said to his American cohorts on several occasions before his death, and I paraphrase, “Whatever you do, please don’t make being a medical doctor a prerequisite to being a psychiatrist.” He made this plea because many promising psychotherapists in Europe, among them Erik Erikson, were not medical doctors, and Freud didn’t want to preclude this valuable source of input to the field.

Sadly, the Americans did just what Freud feared they would do, and we suffer the consequences to this day. Why didn’t the Americans heed Freud’s advice? Because greed, arrogance, and most importantly the desire to control who gets into the exclusive club, won the day. more

Dead Monster Mall: DDR CEO “Mothballs” New Development (video)

In Vote No on Measure A on October 22, 2009 at 9:10 am

[Belly up, sucker. It's all over but the shoutin'. -DS]

From DDR
Somewhere in Ohio

Diversified Developers Realty CEO Scott Wolstein “Mothballs” New Development for Better Investments.

“Development is a problem… Access to capital to finance development is very problematic. But even if the capital were available, the yields today are not sufficient to justify investment.

“So we’re finishing up what we are committed to and everything else we’ve mothballed for now. It isn’t worth it to us to devote new capital to build a project that might return 7 or 8 percent…”

Measure A organizers and supporters fooled and betrayed…

Thank you for voting NO ON MEASURE A MONSTER MALL, and for preserving our unique, locally-owned businesses, neighborly small town values, and livable human-scale communities.

Go to video here
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Michael Moore’s Action Plan: 15 Things Every American Can Do Right Now

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around the web on October 22, 2009 at 8:48 am

From MICHAEL MOORE
Flint, Michigan

Friends,

It’s the #1 question I’m constantly asked after people see my movie: “OK — so NOW what can I DO?!”

You want something to do? Well, you’ve come to the right place! ‘Cause I got 15 things you and I can do right now to fight back and try to fix this very broken system.

Here they are:

FIVE THINGS WE DEMAND THE PRESIDENT AND CONGRESS DO IMMEDIATELY:

1. Declare a moratorium on all home evictions. Not one more family should be thrown out of their home. The banks must adjust their monthly mortgage payments to be in line with what people’s homes are now truly worth — and what they can afford. Also, it must be stated by law: If you lose your job, you cannot be tossed out of your home.

2. Congress must join the civilized world and expand Medicare For All Americans. A single, nonprofit source must run a universal health care system that covers everyone. Medical bills are now the #1 cause of bankruptcies and evictions in this country. Medicare For All will end this misery. The bill to make this happen is called H.R. 3200. You must call AND write your members of Congress and demand its passage, no compromises allowed.

3. Demand publicly-funded elections and a prohibition on elected officials leaving office and becoming lobbyists. Yes, those very members of Congress who solicit and receive millions of dollars from wealthy interests must vote to remove ALL money from our electoral and legislative process. Tell your members of Congress they must support campaign finance bill H.R.1826.

4. Each of the 50 states must create a state-owned public bank like they have in North Dakota. Then congress MUST reinstate all the strict pre-Reagan regulations on all commercial banks, investment firms, insurance companies — and all the other industries that have been savaged by deregulation: Airlines, the food industry, pharmaceutical companies — you name it. If a company’s primary motive to exist is to make a profit, then it needs a set of stringent rules to live by — and the first rule is “Do no harm.” The second rule: The question must always be asked — “Is this for the common good?” (Click here for some info about the state-owned Bank of North Dakota.) more→

Rural Matters

In Dave Smith on October 21, 2009 at 10:55 pm

From SHEILAH ROGERS
Redwood Valley

From the Rural Entrepreneurship Newsletter:

Global Entrepreneurship Week – November 16-22, 2009
Once again, people around the world are getting ready to celebrate entrepreneurship during Global Entrepreneurship Week, scheduled for November 16-22, 2009. Partner organizations are planning unique events for that week and there are plenty of resources for you to tap in support of a celebration of entrepreneurs – young and old – in your community. To access the many resources the organizers have gathered, go to http://www.unleashingideas.org.

For one week, millions of young people around the world will join a growing movement of entrepreneurial people, to generate new ideas and to seek better ways of doing things. Countries across six continents are coming together to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week, an initiative to inspire young people to embrace innovation, imagination and creativity. To think big. To turn their ideas into reality. To make their mark.

From 16 – 22 November 2009, Global Entrepreneurship Week will connect young people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. Students, educators, entrepreneurs, business leaders, employees, non-profit leaders, government officials and many others will participate in a range of activities, from online to face-to-face, and from large-scale competitions and events to intimate networking gatherings.

Through this initiative, the next generation of entrepreneurs will be inspired and can emerge. In doing so, they will begin to acquire the knowledge, skills and networks needed to grow innovative, sustainable enterprises that have a positive impact on their lives, their families and communities.

Global Entrepreneurship Week 2008 was a great success……in 2009, we aim to unleash young people’s ideas around the issues that matter most to society, from poverty reduction through to climate change, and to foster a global culture which recognizes entrepreneurs as drivers of economic and social prosperity.

Seven days, four goals

Inspire. We introduce entrepreneurship to young people under the age of thirty who otherwise might not have considered it as a career path.

Connect. We network young people and organizations across national boundaries to discover new ideas at the intersection of cultures and disciplines.

more→

Swine Flu’s Real Exposure

In Around the web on October 21, 2009 at 9:40 pm


From Front Porch Republic

The most haunting, awful scenes in Thucydides’s history of the Pelopponesian war are those describing the Athenian plague.

The plague emerged in the second year of the war, moving quickly from the port of Piraeus into the heart of the city. People who had been in good health, Thucydides tells us, “were all of a sudden attacked by violent heats in the head,” then beset by sneezing and retching and violent spasms. The skin of plague victims became ulcerated, and they could not bear clothing of even the lightest sort. Nor could they sleep. They suffered from “agonies of unquenchable thirst, though it made no difference whether they drank little or much.” Most died within a week. The few patients who recovered were often “seized with an entire loss of memory,” or left blind.

The disease was so potent, Thucydides says, that the birds of prey who came to feast upon plague victims also died. Birds disappeared from the city.

There were so many plague deaths that the traditional burial and cremation rites were upended. Thucydides describes the way in which the plague turns Athens into a city of “lawless extravagance.” Citizens, fearing that their lives were not long for the world, started doing just what they pleased. They spent lavishly, pursued pleasure without honor, and generally acted without fear of god or law. They figured that no witnesses would survive to punish or judge them.

But “by far the most terrible feature in the malady,” Thucydides says:

was the dejection which ensued when anyone felt himself sickening, for the  despair into which they instantly fell took away their power of resistance, and left them a much easier prey to disorder, besides which, there was the awful spectacle of men dying like sheep, through having caught the infection in nursing each other. This caused the greatest mortality. On the one hand, if they were afraid to visit each other, they perished from neglect; indeed many houses were emptied of their inmates for want of a nurse; on the other, if they ventured to do so, death was the consequence.

What Thucydides helps us to see in that description, as George Kateb has written, is “the ways in which fear of death through contagion disorganizes all human relations”: more
~~

Press Democrat Editorial: No On Monster Mall

In Vote No on Measure A on October 20, 2009 at 8:43 pm

From The Press Democrat

[You can smell it in the air, can't you? It's a dead Dino in the middle of the road stinkin' to high heaven. -DS]

The heated debate surrounding Measure A in Mendocino County hits on some familiar themes of our time:

• Attracting big box stores vs. protecting locally owned mom-and-pop retailers.

• Creating low-paying retail jobs now vs. the hope of creating higher-paying industrial-type jobs later.

• The urgent need for economic development vs. the glacial pace of local planning.

But the central issue in the Ukiah Valley is this: How does Mendocino County want to decide on its major developments, through the traditional county planning process or through the ballot box?

We strongly believe in the importance of a local review process and, for that reason, encourage voters to reject Measure A on the Nov. 3 ballot.

This initiative seeks direct voter approval of the Mendocino Crossroads project, a massive mixed-used development targeted for the site of the former Masonite wood-processing plant just north of Ukiah. The project could include up to 800,000 square feet of retail space and 150 residential units.

We use words like “could” and “up to” because there are so many unknowns about what voters would be approving. The wording of the ballot measure and specific plan are fuzzy, and there are no real guarantees, other than the fact that the project, if approved, would be exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act.

The petitioner, Ohio-based Developers Diversified Realty, never had its project officially rejected by the county.

Jeff Adams, the project manager, says DDR had no choice but to go directly to the voters because the project was getting bogged down in process, including having to wait for completion of the Ukiah Valley Area Plan, still a work in progress.

“It’s a process with no end,” Adams told The Press Democrat Editorial Board. “There is no process.”

It’s true that local governments, including Mendocino County’s, need to do a better job of reviewing development proposals in a consistent and timely fashion. more→

R. Crumb’s Awesome, Affecting Take On ‘Genesis’

In Books on October 20, 2009 at 5:52 am

From NPR

When I first heard that R. Crumb had illustrated the Book of Genesis, I thought: “Oh. This oughta be good.” Crumb, after all, is the godfather of the cartoon counterculture. He’s penned such infamous “underground comics,” as Zap, Snatch, and Weirdo, and his most recent project was a book titled Robert Crumb’s Sex Obsessions.

His depiction of the Bible, I assumed, would therefore be the funniest, most subversive, most profane ever.

But, to my surprise, The Book of Genesis Illustrated is straight-faced. The illustrator writes in the introduction that he has “faithfully reproduced every word of the original text,” and the result is 224 pages of meticulous drawings that situate Genesis in a distinct culture and place.

It’s a cartoonist’s equivalent of the Sistine Chapel, and it’s awesome. Crumb has done a real artist’s turn here — he’s challenged himself and defied all expectation.

You’d expect, after all, that in Crumb’s Genesis, God would look like Crumb’s own iconic creation, Mr. Natural. And he does — but only in that he’s an old white man with a long beard. (God creates the world in this excerpt.) Otherwise, this God is a somber, craggy, commanding presence. There’s not an Earth shoe or wisecrack in sight.

This isn’t say to that the illustrations aren’t in Crumb’s trademark style. Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, and the multitudes of Canaanites, Hittites and Egyptians are a grungy bunch. They’ve got coarse features, freaky hair and fleshy builds. Everyone here looks like they could use a shave — including some of the women. And, we all know there’s sex in the Bible — and Crumb reproduces this, too.

But, the pictures, like the stories themselves, are serious.

So: What’s it like to read?

I have to tell you, it took me a while to get used to…

Keep reading at NPR
~~

How a Doctor learned about health from his farm

In Around the web, Garden Farm Skills on October 20, 2009 at 5:28 am

From DR. ROBERT GROSS
Cooper Mountain Vineyards
Cooking Up A Story

On the surface, the practice of medicine — both the traditional and non-traditional approaches — would seem to have little in common with the growing of wine grapes. For Dr. Robert Gross, there is a strong connection between his training as a Psychiatrist, and viticulture. This episode draws upon the rich interplay between two completely separate fields, each helping to enhance better understanding with the other.

It’s hard to tell how agriculture is influenced by medicine, and how medicine is influenced by agriculture because it kind of flows back and forth

My main job is being a psychiatrist, a medical doctor in which I practice mostly psychotherapy with some medication, and I mix that with alternative medicine which includes acupuncture and homeopathy.

And then I run Cooper Mountain Vineyards. Grapes are a lot like human beings in that when they’re real young they don’t show the same maturity that an older vine, or older person, might show. And so the grapes become much more elegant, sophisticated, and balanced as human beings usually do too as they get older. Then, of course, at some point in life, or in the age of the vine, they start fading.

My growth as a Doctor, and as a Farmer and Winemaker, have fed each other. As an example, I know in this plot here, in the early 1980s, we were using some chemicals that were available and were used to keep the birds off these grapes. We would apply the chemical fairly close to the harvest. The birds would eat it and eventually vomit because it affected their nervous systems. We were all told that these chemicals disappear. There were 10 days [after application] that we didn’t pick.

And then Canada decided they were going to measure the amount [of that chemical] that was left in the wine… something that most of us hadn’t thought about because we had been told it was all gone. Canada eventually banned the substance because it was a neurotoxin… a neurotoxin not just for birds, but a neurotoxin for human beings too.

That knowledge came from agriculture… learning about birds and what it does, and realizing that Keep reading→

No on Measure A – Way More Letters to the Editor

In Around Mendo Island, Vote No on Measure A on October 18, 2009 at 10:12 pm

To the Editor -  Ukiah Daily Journal

Legacy of Deceit

From KUMAR PLOCHER
Hopland

As a manufacturer of local goods, and a Ukiah provider of 15 good-paying jobs, I worry about the effects a mega-mall nearby would have on my business, Yokayo Biofuels. Our biodiesel production plant is located on Orr Springs Road. We send out and receive truck deliveries (including 18-wheelers) throughout each business day, and each of these routes must pass through the corridor between Orr Springs Road and the onramps to Highway 101- the exact area threatened with massive congestion if Measure A passes and a bunch of stoplights are installed. I have tried to quantify the negative impact of these potential developments for my company in dollars and cents, but it’s very difficult. Frankly, I fear the unknown in this case.

I’ve been worried for the last several months that Measure A may indeed pass. It seems that many well-intentioned, intelligent people are very impressed with the promise of more shopping choices here in Mendocino County. That notion might appeal to me too, but it seems to be a very superficial promise. DDR, the company behind Measure A, has always attached disclaimers to every vision they put forth for the future of the Masonite property, and it seems the only thing that they are 100 percent committed to is changing the zoning. As a businessperson with some experience in commercial and industrial realty in this county, I can understand why. Once they’ve got the zoning switched from Industrial, they should be able to sell the property for a much higher price. This is the thought that keeps me up at night: if Measure A passes, we really don’t know what will end up at Masonite. DDR will have enabled a situation, through a corruption of the democratic process, by which they can sell a property free of many important regulatory hurdles to the highest bidder. That highest bidder could be a very bad neighbor, but we would have already lost a lot of the rights to contest their entrance into our community. Again, I’m not an “ignorance is bliss” kind of guy, but in this case, I fear the unknown.

Back when the petition that resulted in Measure A being on the ballot was being circulated, I recall hearing about the petition-hawkers’ claims regarding the nature of the petition. Many were saying that it was about “cleaning up Masonite.” By that time, I had been able to take a close look at the details, and the petition was obviously Keep reading→

Organizing the Biggest Day of Action the World Has Ever Seen

In Around Mendo Island on October 18, 2009 at 9:23 pm


From BILL MCKIBBEN

Even two years ago, I was in complete despair about our chances of fighting climate change. But something’s changed. It’s not the science, which has gotten steadily worse. It’s the first signs that the planet’s immune system–conscious citizens ready to make a difference–is finally kicking in. Bloggers, in this metaphor, are key antibodies–they recognize threats, and rally people to take the steps needed. So this year’s Blogger Action Day is, in a sense, a test: is the planet now wired together in a way that will let it act swiftly, nimbly, decisively against the great trouble we’ve ever faced?

In particular, we at 350.org need your help spreading the word about what’s quickly turned into the biggest day of global action on climate ever–and perhaps the most geographically widespread day of political action the planet has ever seen. On October 24–a week from Saturday–citizens will hold thousands of rallies and events and demonstrations in almost 170 nations to demand that our leaders take tougher action heading to Copenhagen.

It’s the first day like it ever devoted to a scientific data point, the number 350. As in 350 parts per million carbon dioxide, which scientists began telling us two years ago was the most we could safely have in the atmosphere. It’s a tough number, because we’re already past it, at 390 parts per million and rising. And it’s tough because to get back to it we’d need much stronger and quicker action than most of our leaders–and even some of our old-line environmental groups–support.

You would have thought therefore that we’d have had a tough time organizing the world around such an arcane and controversial point. But instead it’s been amazing. We’ve used the web, and it’s developing world sibling the cellphone, to reach people in every corner of the earth, and they’ve responded with an unbelievable outpouring of art, of music, of commitment. There are big actions organized for almost every city on earth on the 24th, including 120 in China, at least that number in India–and even in tough places like Kabul, like the Sudan, like Iraq. Iranian organizers have set up a Farsi website to coordinate their demonstrations–on and on. Keep reading→

I Was So Wrong

In Around the web on October 18, 2009 at 9:11 pm


From GARRISON KEILLOR

Even people who oppose regulation and don’t mind manufacturing hamburger contaminated by E. coli deserve healthcare

OK, it was wrong of me to say last week that we should deny healthcare to Republicans except for aspirin and hand sanitizer, and thank you to the many readers who kindly took me to task. It was so wrong. And I withdraw the idea that death panels should circulate through red states searching for the obese and slow afoot, the wheezy and limpy, spray-painting orange stripes on their ankles, marking them for future harvest. That was very, very bad.

Republicans have the same right to quality healthcare as anyone else, and you can quote me on that. Even people who are crazed stark raving berserk by the thought of a president with three vowels in his last name deserve to be treated with kindness and dignity, and shot with tranquilizer darts by game wardens and wrapped in quilts and taken to refuge.

What has come along to change my mind? Fall, magnificent fall, in all its grandeur, when the maples are blazing with glory, like young romantic poets dying as they are writing their best stuff. John Keats died at 25, Shelley at 29. Stephen Crane was 28. Franz Schubert was 31, and Mozart was just a young married guy with a couple of little boys, neither of whom did much in their lives. One of them had musical talent but was crushed by the burden of his father’s fame. (Great men probably shouldn’t have children, so keep that in mind if you are young and wildly brilliant: Use a condom.)

The maple trees stand in the yards of we stolid Midwesterners and they cry out for unbridled passion and heartbreaking beauty and fabulous golden yellows and blazing reds, and they tell us to quit our jobs and fly away in pursuit of hopeless romance and a life of dance and poetry and spending your life creating masterpieces that the world will ignore, and of course we don’t listen to the bad advice of trees, we go right ahead fixing our children’s lunches and arranging little enriching experiences for them and asking them what they want to be for Halloween, and then the rain falls and the wind blows and romanticism is gone, a heap of rotting leaves on the ground. Sic transit gloria mundi, pal.

Keep reading→

Three Presidents (and a First Lady)

In Around Mendo Island, Guest Posts on October 15, 2009 at 9:44 pm

From TODD WALTON
Anderson Valley

For most of my sixty years on the planet I have been a social recluse. Yet through no conscious intention on my part, I have come face-to-face with three presidents of the United States (and a First Lady).

In 1962 I was in the seventh grade in Menlo Park, California. I was a baseball fanatic and not much interested in politics, though I was fascinated by Fidel Castro and the possibility of nuclear war.

“Class,” said Mr. Arbanas, our perpetually befuddled teacher. “President Kennedy is coming to the University of California to give a speech. Each core class will elect two students, one boy and one girl, to attend. If you want to go, raise your hand.”

We all raised our hands. By secret ballot and the intercession of angels, I was the boy chosen to represent my class. On the morning of March 23, 1962, I boarded a school bus with several other students and a gang of teachers, and we rumbled across the San Mateo Bridge and up through Oakland to Berkeley. We had been advised to bring a sack lunch and binoculars. I was one of those unfortunate children whose mother had no interest in making my lunch. Ever. From the age of five I made my own lunch, the same lunch, every day: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, an apple, and a carrot. This is the lunch I brought and ate on that historic day.

I did not have a pair of binoculars, but everyone else had a pair, so my plan was to borrow. We most definitely needed binoculars since our seats were the very highest in the stadium, the podium on the stage at midfield barely visible to our naked eyes.

There came a great parade of men and women in caps and gowns representing their illustrious alma maters, the day being the 94th anniversary of the charter establishing the public universities of America, which is what Kennedy spoke about. To my twelve-year-old ears and mind, the speeches preceding Kennedy’s speech, and his speech, too, were numbingly boring. I certainly enjoyed my glimpses of Kennedy and his marvelous hair through borrowed binoculars, and I thrilled to his voice, but not nearly so much as I thrilled to the myriad alluring females filling the stands around us.

Keep reading on Todd’s Blog
~~

Ukiah Chamber of Commerce Needs To Regroup Around a New Reality and New Alliances

In Around Mendo Island, Dave Smith on October 15, 2009 at 9:20 pm

From DAVE SMITH
Ukiah

When the national organization of our local Chamber of Commerce takes a stand against the best interests of American citizens, it’s time to withdraw from national membership and seek the new alliances necessary to flourish in the new century.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce “faces increased opposition from its members about the Chamber’s obstructionist approach to climate change science and responsible climate/energy/green jobs policy.” (Politico)

The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) “took a look at the Chamber’s board of directors and their public positions on global warming and gee, what we found… it turns out that the staff of the U.S. Chamber appears to be projecting the views held by a tiny sliver of its board of directors – just four out of 122 members on the board. The Chamber’s oft-stated views, which question the scientific consensus on climate change and reject the need for federal regulation to reduce global warming pollution, stand in sharp contrast to the views expressed by 19 members of the Chamber’s board that support federal regulations with goals to reduce total US global warming pollution.”

For years, the national Chamber lobby has played a key role in blocking consumer-protection legislation, a shareholder bill of rights, labor-law reform, and financial regulation. In other words, the Chamber of Commerce has worked against the people who invest in, purchase from, and make the products for, the companies they represent. That would be stupid in a small town, but arrogant transnationals don’t give a damn about anyone or anything other than growing their profits.

Its current legislative priorities include opposing a consumer financial-protection agency, opposing a shareholder bill of rights, and opposing “flawed health care proposals,” which seems to mean any health-care proposal made by a Democrat, according to The New Yorker magazine.

Apple Computer, Pacific Gas & Electric, PNM Resources, and Exelon are all leaving the Chamber, and Nike is leaving its Board of Directors, because of its public stance on climate change.

Locally, despite solid leadership of staff and its more progressive Directors, some of its members continue to rain down wing-nut wrath whenever they deem it straying from what they consider its sole mission: helping businesses make maximum profits regardless of its negative effects on local small businesses, the environment, and our citizens… otherwise known as sociopathology. Lord help us all.

Keep reading→

Locally Cleaning-Up

In Around Mendo Island on October 15, 2009 at 7:34 am

From SCOTT CRATTY
Ukiah

From humble beginnings a few years back, it seems that the localization movement has become … well, a movement. Its adherents, hard as they may have worked, can only claim a jot of responsibility for the achievement.

The localization movement has received boosts from an amazing array of unaligned places such as a great many gluttonously greedy global corporations and CEOs, plunging petroleum reserves and peaking prices, a pompous pandering national media, consistently clueless experts and dangerously dysfunctional governments – all of which lead people to wonder if they might not just be better off without placing lots of faith in distant, unaccountable entities.

Still, the signs of any real world impact from “localizing,” such as the advent of Mendo Moola or year-round farmers’ markets in Anderson Valley, Ukiah and Willits, are small. Local economic systems are certainly not booming and may not even be improving, just yet. In most ways an economy that is sustainable or self-reliant is as distant as ever.

Yet it is obvious that “local” has again become important. Many people who did not think much about where things come from, and what that means for the future of their families, are now doing so. You can tell because the corporations that would be disadvantaged if people started caring too much where things come from or the means by which things are produced have started trying to advantage themselves by playing off people’s desire for the small, the humane, the real and the local.
It has been at least a year since I have picked up any grocery store advertising insert that did not feature a claim about having “local” produce.

A September 4, 2009 article by Jonathan Hiskes that I happened across on the Internet drives the point home with pictures. It shows advertisements by a wide range of companies, from Barnes & Noble and Wal-Mart to Citgo and HSBC “the world’s local bank,” all of which stake a claim to being local or having local products. If you are paying attention to the Mendocino County Measure A debate, you have even seen examples of a corporation claiming that a huge, big box store anchored shopping center, to be filled with crates of rock-bottom-priced stuff, is good for the environment and the local economy. Advertising is all about finding something we care about and trying to link it in our minds with something that is for sale. Keep reading→

“No One With Land Should Be Without A Job”

In Garden Farm Skills, Guest Posts on October 14, 2009 at 10:07 pm

From GENE LOGSDON
Upper Sandusky, Ohio

The sentence nearly leaped off the page and knocked me down: “No one with land should be without a job.” Jennifer McMullen, writing in Farming magazine in the current Fall, 2009 issue (“Good Food Depends On Local Roots”) was quoting Jessica Barkheimer, who, like Jennifer, is deeply involved in developing farmer’s markets in Ohio. I was at the time wrestling with a closely related concept but had not thought to put it in those words. I might have said it a bit differently— “no one with land is without a job” but the meaning would be the same. If you have some land, even an acre, you have the means for making at least part of your income and in the process gain a more secure life. Surely that is what it means to “have a job.” Our society hasn’t endorsed that notion yet, but I think that we are evolving toward that kind of economy.

We are only beginning to recognize how many income possibilities that a little piece of land can provide. We know about market gardening but most of us do not yet appreciate its reach. It’s not just sweet corn and tomatoes. It’s about all the fruits and vegetables on earth. Tasted any pancakes made with cattail pollen lately? Neither have I but it is treasured in some gourmet circles, I understand.

Market gardening goes beyond the plants themselves. A whole new world of marketing can open up from inspired ways to package the products. At a market in Bellefontaine, Ohio, a couple of weeks ago, shelled lima beans were going fast at five bucks for a half pint!

There are far more products you can grow than just fruit and vegetables. Meat is beginning to show up at farmers’ markets, as well as dairy products and grains. Flowers, fresh and dried, too. Uncommon seeds are a possibility, especially of heirloom varieties or uncommon wildflowers and trees. Medicinal herbs. Mushrooms. Nuts. Baked goods. Plants for holiday decorations. We are all familiar with the success of pumpkins, but have you ever seen corn husks that in the autumn develop streaks of red and green and purple in them, fashioned into wreathes and bouquets? Magnificent. Keep reading→

You keep a-knockin’ but you can’t come in! No way! No on A!

In Vote No on Measure A on October 14, 2009 at 4:45 am

The letters keep arriving at the Journal

From LAWRENCE AMES
Ukiah

Stop the Sprawl Right Here, Right Now

It seems that DDR has tipped their hand a bit and revealed some of their corporate vision for the city of Ukiah. At the recent town hall meeting in Willits, DDR senior development director Jeff Adams admitted that DDR intends to widen North State Street to five lanes, and add five additional traffic lights between Ford Street and Orr Springs Road, timed at 60 second intervals.

This is sounding more and more like the Santa Rosa-Rohnert Park-Windsor urban sprawl megalopolis. When I moved my family to Ukiah 20 years ago, it was to get away from five lane boulevards and high density traffic lights, with their resulting gridlock. This is not the vision that I have for Ukiah’s future! If you envision something better for Ukiah than uncontrollable urban sprawl, curb the corporate madness. Vote no on Measure A.
~

From Chas E. Moser
Ukiah

Make Masonite Meaningful To The People

In all the ads for approval of Measure A I have never seen anything about making jobs available for the people of Ukiah in a field that they would be proud to work in. We are big on verbal support of something we believe in but we are slight on physical support.

If they are going to develop that piece of land why not do it with an industry that would help the people of Ukiah and not just add more people to the mix, dumping into our water treatment plant and using what we consider a dwindling resource, water.

If construction is to be done, why do we have to depend on strangers to come in and do it? If development takes place why not use local people to do it? Keep reading→

Vote No On A Now!

In Vote No on Measure A on October 13, 2009 at 11:15 pm


From CLIFF PAULIN
SOLE@pacific.net
(707) 462-1900
NoOnA.com

This message is of the utmost importance, please take the time to read it and pass it along to everyone you know in Mendocino County.

It’s time to get out and vote No On Measure A. This ballot initiative is arguably the most important local initiative in years. Mail in ballots have arrived or will arrive shortly. Save Our Local Economy (SOLE) will be conducting Get Out The Vote efforts to ensure a No Vote. We will be targeting our calls to those mail in voters who have not yet returned their ballots, so it is critical to get your ballot in early to help us maximize our efforts.

Everyone registered to vote should have received a card from the elections office several weeks ago stating that you are either a mail in voter or identifying your polling place. If you did not receive that postcard please call the election office at (707) 463-4371 ASAP to ensure you are registered. The last day to register is October 19, 2009. Be aware that many polling places have been closed or consolidated over the past few years, and 70% of the voters in Mendocino County are voting by mail in ballot. Make sure you know your status before the 19th.

This election is crucial to our ability to shape the direction of our county, so make sure you vote and remind friends, family, and associates to do the same. It is even more vital that we motive those around us because many will not vote due to the lack of national and statewide elections.

Vote, Tell Your Friends, and Get Involved. Below are ways to contact SOLE to help. Thank you for doing your part to ensure victory for NO ON A!
~~

Jeez, if we had no Big Boxes, what would we do for stores?

In Dave Smith on October 13, 2009 at 10:52 pm

From DAVE SMITH
Ukiah

I’ve read most of the letters to the editor that the Measure A proponents have sent in, but this one has to be either written by the DDR PR firm who brag about their abilities to “coach” letter writers, or the writer thinks that we’re a bunch of local yokels with no thinking skills: “Much has been made lately about the fact that an Ohio based corporation owns the former Masonite site and is pushing their way into our community. If we pause for a moment, and look at the other out of town corporations in our community and where we would be without them right now, it is frightening. How would our locally owned stores or other service providers fare if we did not have these employers in our community? Sure there would be less competition here locally, but the unemployment rate would be so high that nobody could afford to shop in any store. How would our city government operate without the sales tax revenues that come from these stores? Over 42 percent of our general fund budget for the city comes from sales tax revenues. What would our police and fire department look like? What kind of recreation department would we have for our youth?”

Well, first off, let’s “do the math”. If every new Big Box eliminates 1.4 jobs for every job they create, that would mean that if they never came here, we would have 1,000 jobs for every 700 they have brought us. It’s not that hard to figure out. So, if we “pause for a minute” and ask ourselves “where we would be without them right now”, the answer is we would probably have half the unemployment rate that we have now. Not so frightening!

“How would our locally owned stores or other service providers fare if we did not have these employers in our community?” Well, we would probably have twice as many locally-owned stores that would keep all of our revenue and profit dollars circulating locally instead of leaving for the headquarters of the Big Box stores. Not so frightening now, is it?

“How would our city government operate without sales tax revenues?” Much better as they would have more tax revenue without the additional costs of infrastructure and safety that Big Boxes bring.

Keep reading→

NO! CostCo Does NOT Endorse Measure A and Demands That Its Name Not Be Used On Any Future Yes On A Material

In Vote No on Measure A on October 13, 2009 at 9:45 am

From Save Our Local Economy – No on Measure A

[We keep hearing Measure A proponants "personally offended" by the SOLE group's so-called "hyprocrisy" because the DDR folks can't seem to understand that No on Measure A is supported by those with different views of Big Box Retail. It's not that hard! But here's a big dose of hyprocrisy AND dishonesty for you! Dead Dino in the middle of the road -DS]

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE:            October 12, 2009

COSTCO DOES NOT ENDORSE MEASURE A AND DEMANDS THAT ITS NAME NOT BE USED ON ANY FUTURE YES ON A MATERIAL

Costco does not endorse Measure A, and has not authorized the use of their logo on Developers Diversified Realty’s (DDR’s) “Yes On A” mailers.  Members of Save Our Local Economy (SOLE) have investigated the use of the Costco, Target, TJ Maxx, and Petco logos on the Yes On A county-wide mailer of October 6.

Colin Olin, the General Council for Costco, informed SOLE today that DDR used the Costco logo without their permission and that the company does not endorse Measure A.  Mr. Olin also reported that Paul G. Moulton, Executive Vice President of Real Estate for Costco, had contacted the Measure A proponents to express Costco’s extreme displeasure with their use of the company logo and demanded that no future material use the Costco logo.

Target, TJ Maxx, and Petco are also listed on the October 6 mailer, and were contacted regarding this issue.  None of these stores have authorized the use of their company logos, and all are considering sending cease and desist letters to the Measure A proponents.

DDR, the company behind Measure A, has consistently misrepresented that these stores are ready to move in should voters approve Measure A in November. Keep reading→

Race to the Bottom: Pilots on Food Stamps

In Around the web on October 13, 2009 at 7:43 am

From MICHAEL MOORE

We’re on the descent from 20,000 feet in the air when the flight attendant leans over the elderly woman next to me and taps me on the shoulder.

“I’m listening to Lady Gaga,” I say as I remove just one of the ear buds. I know not this Lady Gaga, but her performance last week on SNL was fascinating.

“The pilots would like to see you in the cockpit when we land,” she says with a southern drawl.

“Did I do something wrong?”

“No. They have something to show you.” (The last time an employee of an airline wanted to show me something it was her written reprimand for eating an in-flight meal without paying for it. “Yes,” she said, “we have to pay for our own meals on board now.”)

The plane landed and I stepped into the cockpit. “Read this,” the first officer said. He handed me a letter from the airline to him. It was headlined “LETTER OF CONCERN.” It seems this poor fellow had taken three sick days in the past year. The letter was a warning not to take another one — or else.

“Great,” I said. “Just what I want — you coming to work sick, flying me up in the air and asking to borrow the barf bag from my seatback pocket.”

He then showed me his pay stub. He took home $405 this week. My life was completely and totally in his hands for the past hour and he’s paid less than the kid who delivers my pizza.

I told the guys that I have a whole section in my new movie about how pilots are treated (using pilots as only one example of how people’s wages have been slashed and the middle class decimated). In the movie I interview a pilot for a major airline who made $17,000 last year. For four months he was eligible — and received — food stamps. Another pilot in the film has a second job as a dog walker.

Keep reading→

Monster Mall? I just don’t want it!

In Around Mendo Island, Dave Smith on October 12, 2009 at 8:33 pm

From DAVE SMITH
Ukiah

A letter writer (UDJ 10/9/09) states the following: “What I have come to notice is that some in this County are against Measure A simply to be against Measure A. They do not have any factual evidence supporting any of their claims. I just wish more voters would be like me and dig a little deeper into these issues. If you are against something just because you don’t want it, then say that. Do not run a game on all of us with weak and false claims.”

OK! I’ll say it! I’m against the Monster Mall because I just don’t want it. I like our small town and the Monster Mall will ruin it. I like our small locally-owned business community, and your Monster Mall will put our downtown out of business. I just don’t want it. I’m happy that we haven’t yet been seduced by sprawl that contributes to climate change, and instead we demand smart growth, not dumb growth. I absolutely adore owning a small local business in town and I would never re-locate into a soulless Monster Mall. I just don’t want it.

I moved away from all that years ago. I’ve traveled along the freeways down south and can see what big-time mall, condo, traffic, mall, condo, traffic, mall, condo, traffic brings. It’s sprawl hell the Monster Mall is projecting onto our communities here. When I visit down there, I cannot wait to turn around and get back to small-time Mendocino County.

Really, I just don’t want the Monster Mall here. And thanks for asking.


[More Letters from the UDJ]

Monster Mall a Slick Con Game

From Edith Lucas
Owner of The Dragon’s Lair
Ukiah

I’ve been thinking a lot about Measure A and how I feel about it both as a small business owner, and as a citizen of this town. In both areas I like to apply what I call the double bottom line: what is good for the pocketbook and what is good for the soul. After much reading and thinking, I’ve decided that it is very important to vote no on A. It not only doesn’t meet the double bottom line, it could pull the bottom line right out from under us! Keep reading→

We need more organic leafy greens, not less

In Around the web on October 12, 2009 at 8:12 pm

From MIKE ADAMS
Natural News

[Last] week, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) released a “risky foods” list aiming to reveal the top ten riskiest foods responsible for most food-borne illnesses. Number one on the list is “leafy greens.” Does this mean people should stop eating leafy greens? Of course not: The list itself is flawed from the very start.

There’s nothing inherently “risky” about leafy greens. There has never been a single food-borne illness caused by a leafy green. What causes food-borne illnesses are the bacteria that get onto the leafy greens. Putting the focus on the food item itself is not only scientifically inaccurate; it’s also misleading to consumers.

The real question is how do foods get contaminated with e.coli? And that answer involves the growing and processing of those foods. Foods that are grown near factory animal farms are far more likely to be contaminated with e.coli than those grown in more natural settings. Foods grown using methods of biodynamic gardening are far more likely to be free from e.coli than those grown as monoculture crops.

What really causes foods to be contaminated are conventional mass-agriculture farming practices, not the foods themselves. So buying leafy greens from a local organic market is completely different from buying leafy greens grown with a corporate-controlled monoculture approach.

Don’t blame the veggies!

It’s a shame to see CSPI blame the veggies for all this, especially when fresh produce is precisely what more Americans need to be eating (or drinking as raw juice smoothies) in order to prevent degenerative disease and enhance their health. By publishing this list, the CSPI perpetuates the myth that only “sterile” food is healthy. With this list, they are implying that dead foods are better for you than living foods, and yet that’s completely the wrong conclusion from all this. Keep reading→

No On Monster Mall Measure A – More Letters to the Editor

In Vote No on Measure A on October 11, 2009 at 6:28 am

Editorial Opinion of the Ukiah Daily Journal

The Ukiah Valley has a lot at stake in the Nov. 3 election as the entire county votes on Measure A.

As mail-in ballots arrive at homes and as our readers think about what they will do at the polls, we urge a No vote on Measure A.

There is big money at stake here for the developers, and big changes at stake for this valley. Passions are high and we hope that means citizens are engaged and thinking carefully about their decision.

There are lots of things to discuss about whether to rezone the Masonite property for a mall of as much as 800,000 square feet.

But for us it comes down to one overriding issue: the local businesses that have worked hard and supported our community, businesses which would undoubtedly be harmed, if not destroyed, by a big new mall to the north.

Developers Diversified Realty, the mall developer, has promised Costco, Petco, TJ Maxx and Target right away. None of these stores has actually said they’ll come, but what if they do?

What will that mean to dfm Car Stereo? Mendocino Book Company? Schat’s Bakery? Poma TV? Rainbow Agricultural Services? Mendocino Barkery? Little Brown Bear? The Coffee Critic? The Crow’s Nest? Rod’s Shoes? Pardini Appliances? D. Wm. Jewelers? Lustre Jewelry? Jitterbox Music? Mendo-Lake Office Supplies? Thompson Party Rentals? and others like them?

These local businesses are successful because they have worked hard and contribute to the community. We have seen these businesses on Little League uniforms, scholarship awards, donations to local non-profits and in school programs.

Think about the ripple effect outside the valley in Willits and Fort Bragg where other small businesses will be crushed by the weight of competition with these four large mega-stores carrying everything from appliances and TVs to clothing and shoes, to pet supplies, books, gifts and music CDs. Not to mention all the other stores, kiosks and food outlets also in the plans. Keep reading→

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest – Stieg Larrson

In Books, Dave Smith on October 10, 2009 at 9:03 am

From The Guardian UK

[This third book of the trilogy by Stieg Larsson will be published in the US June 2010. Available now for rent, $5 for 2 weeks, at Mulligan Books. -DS]

A couple of years ago I was in a supermarket in Carcassonne, looking for a book to read on holiday. I noticed that something called Millennium seemed to be numbers one, two and four on the bestseller list – yet I had never heard of it. That was my introduction to Stieg Larsson’s meaty trilogy of thrillers. Now the story of the author is as well known as his characters. He died suddenly in 2004, having delivered the text of the trilogy to his publisher. Larsson was editor-in-chief of the anti-racist magazine Expo, and an expert on anti-democratic, right-wing extremist and Nazi organisations. He used this background to good effect in the creation of the campaigning fictional magazine, Millennium. He also used his knowledge of SAPO, Sweden’s secret police, and the jostling for position after the end of the cold war between Europe and Russia.

The first in the sequence, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, introduced readers to diminutive Lisbeth Salander. A brilliant computer hacker, she’s a woman prepared to use violence to achieve her ends, a vigilante with no faith in the authorities, someone who – we gradually learn – has been the victim of a colossal miscarriage of justice. She is the daughter of a brutal, psychopathic Russian defector, Zalachenko, whose perceived importance to the state and national security is deemed more significant than the fact that he is a wife-beater and abuser. At the age of 13, Salander is declared insane and locked away in a psychiatric unit in order to prevent her blowing her father’s cover. The second book in the sequence, The Girl Who Played With Fire, develops these themes of the abuse of legal power, of retribution and debts being paid, rough justice all round, and finishes with an extraordinary shoot-out during which Salander is buried alive.

Now comes The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, with Salander fighting for her life in intensive care, her father lying a few doors along the corridor as a result of wounds inflicted on him by Salander herself. Keep reading→

Why become a seed saver?

In Around the web, Garden Farm Skills on October 10, 2009 at 7:29 am

From About.com
Via The Oil Drum

Seed saving is as old as gardening. There was a time when gardeners considered seed from their favorites plants to be treasures well worth saving from year to year. These days, seeds and seedlings are relatively inexpensive and there are new plants to try every year. So why be a seed saver?

Aside from the politics, capitalism and biotechnology arguments that are making the news, the bottom line reason for saving seeds is because you have a plant you love and want to grow again. It could be the perfect blue campanula, the best tasting tomato or a champion pumpkin. You never know when a seed company will discontinue your favorite seed to make way for new varieties. Saving your own seed is the only guarantee.

What Seeds Can Be Saved?

Open Pollinated or heirloom, self-pollinated plants are the only varieties that will grow true from seed, meaning the seedlings will be exactly like the parents. These are the seeds worth saving.

Seeds that have been hybridized will grow into a variety of plants with some characteristics of either or both parents. Many, if not most, of the plants being sold now are hybrids. Hybridizing can create a plant with desirable traits and affords some job security for the seed company. Seed saving is not really an option with hybrids, unless you are looking to discover something new. You could however try taking cuttings.

Additionally, plants that are pollinated by insects or the wind may have cross pollinated with plants from another variety and again, will not grow true. To save seeds from these plants requires a bit of extra care, as explained below.

All that said, there are still many plants that will grow true from seed and saving and sharing these seeds has given birth to the seed savers phenomenon. Self-pollinated plants are the easiest to save and include: Beans, Chicory, Endive, Lettuce, Peas, Tomatoes. You can also save many heirloom flower seeds such as: cleome, foxgloves, hollyhock, nasturtium, sweet pea, and zinnia.

Keep reading here

Is this what we heard in the Monster Mall debate?

In Vote No on Measure A on October 9, 2009 at 8:21 am

From TOM DAVENPORT
Redwood Valley

It is vital that voters inform themselves, register & vote in the coming election.

You can also help by passing this blog post link on to local friends and acquaintances.

A fairly painless way to inform ourselves on Measure A is to listen to any of the following audio recordings of radio broadcasts featuring the official spokespersons for both sides as well as questions from members of the public.

This morning’s (Friday) Access Show, presented by multi-term former Supervisor Norman DeVall, hosted another round of the Measure A debate and can be listened to online  here – one hour play time – Guests were former Supervisor Richard Shoemaker and Organic beef rancher Guiness McFadden representing SOLE/No on A and Mendocino County Tomorrow Executive Director Robin Collier, representing the Yes on A campaign committee.

The excellent half hour broadcast of Barry Vogel’s Radio Curious on KZYX, featured Mendocino County Tomorrow Executive Director Robin “Cheezecake Lady” Collier as guest. The number of times she responded with either “I don’t know” or “I can’t answer that” to questions from the host was staggering. Listen to an MP3 of the broadcast here.

Yesterday evening’s event at the Ukiah City Hall can be listened to here.
~

From RICHARD SHOEMAKER
S.O.L.E. No on A Campaign

At tonight’s debate Jeff Adams of DDR revealed that he had secret meetings with at least two supervisors in which they “begged him” to not proceed with DDR’s application to re-zone the Masonite property before the November Supervisor’s election.

Mr. Adams also stated he had spoken with three supervisors. If this is in fact true then he and those supervisors violated the State of California’s Open Meeting laws otherwise known as the Brown Act. Brown Act violations may be prosecuted as felonies with steep fines or jail time. Keep reading→

Of Trees & Money

In Guest Posts on October 8, 2009 at 9:51 pm

From TODD WALTON
Anderson Valley
Under The Table

This is about firewood, water, the San Francisco Giants, and Single Payer Healthcare, among other things.

Marcia and I rent a house on Comptche Road, our backyard abutting a vast redwood preserve last logged some eighty years ago. In the wake of that clear-cut came madrone, manzanita, pine, fir, tan oak, spruce, and redwoods. Now, left alone for the span of three human generations, the redwoods have re-established their supremacy on the north-facing slope and the “transitional forest” is swiftly dying in the persistent shade of the towering monarchs.

Thus our backyard is both fabulous forest and graveyard to thousands of dead and dying trees—fallen, falling, or easy to fell. It has become my practice to harvest a tiny portion of this perfectly seasoned wood with a buck saw and ax to help keep us warm through the winter, give my body a good workout, and to absent myself now and then from the human realm.

I walk down into the forest this morning en route to a copse of several dozen dead fir trees, their trunks eight inches in diameter, each tree about sixty-feet tall, the whole bunch of them sun-starved by an uphill gang of surging redwoods springing from the trunks of giants cut down a moment ago in redwood time. I’m thinking about the San Francisco Giants, another exciting and frustrating baseball season about to end, our valiant squad ultimately no match for the big money teams, and I have a vivid memory of Jack Sanford, a heavyset right-hander who threw for the Giants from 1959 to 1965. My memory is of a picture of Sanford in the off-season staying in shape by sawing up logs and chopping wood. The picture, which must have appeared in the Chronicle, shows Jack working next to his small house. Big-time professional baseball player. Small house. Chopping wood.

As my buck saw cuts into the standing firewood, I realize that when I was a kid idolizing my Giants, it never once occurred to me how much money any of the players made, and most of them didn’t make much to speak of. Doctors and lawyers and plumbers Keep reading→

Ukiah Police Chief Concerned About Monster Mall and Measure A Ads

In Vote No on Measure A on October 8, 2009 at 9:13 pm

From CHRIS DEWEY
Director of Public Safety
Ukiah Police and Fire Departments

[DDR is clearly being irresponsible and misleading in their deluge of slickster mailing pieces. I had a gentleman walk into my store this morning asking where he could get a No On A sign for his house. He said that he was very upset with all the Yes On A mail he was receiving and said: "I'm not a whore! I cannot be bought off!" -DS]

To the Editor:
Ukiah Daily Journal

Recently, a Yes on Measure A flyer was sent to the residents of Ukiah and the County of Mendocino, with a picture of a blue Police Officer’s uniform with a “Police Officer” badge, and a Firefighter on the cover.

The flyer suggests public safety funding would be improved as a result of this measure.

I do not want voters to be confused by the “Police Officer” badge which is clearly shown on the ad. As Director of Public Safety, responsible for police and fire services within the City of Ukiah, I feel it is important that I clarify public safety funding. Currently, there is no distribution system in place that would provide property and sales tax revenues in the support of City police and fire services from this proposed project.

Ordinarily, when projects such as this are proposed, a public development review process is used to mitigate potential problems. The Ukiah Police and Fire Departments worked extensively over the last two years with the County Planning Department as they worked on the Ukiah Valley Area Plan to comment on proposed changes to the plan which would have authorized uses for the Masonite property now being proposed by Measure A.

Since Measure A bypasses the normal public development review process, the Ukiah Police and Fire Department can not clearly understand the impacts this project will have to public safety in our community and no agreement or other mechanism is in place to provide additional revenue to the Ukiah Police and Fire Departments for any increased costs resulting from the Measure A development. Keep reading→

Santa Rosa Rejects Big Box and Goes Local

In Vote No on Measure A on October 8, 2009 at 5:31 am

From New Rules Project

[This puts the lie to the recent DDR Monster Mall mailing that Sonoma County loves Mendocino County residents coming down to shop in the National chain stores. They're trying to save their own locally-owned stores like Friedman Brothers FROM the National chains like we are. Don't Californicate Ukiah! VOTE NO ON A! -DS]

Two weeks ago, in a public hearing room crowded with more than 100 people, including dozens of local business owners standing alongside environmentalists, affordable housing advocates, and labor leaders, the city council in Santa Rosa, California, soundly defeated a proposed Lowe’s store on a 5-2 vote.

For a city facing a sizable budget shortfall, it was a remarkable decision. The conventional wisdom, especially in California’s sales tax-dependent and financially strapped cities, is that big-box retailers are cash-cows and those cities that do not welcome them with open arms will be left behind in the regional competition for revenue.

Lowe’s pushed the sales tax angle hard as it lobbied city officials. But, in the end, most councilors did not buy it, thanks largely to information and testimony submitted by local business owners, who argued that Lowe’s would not bring in new money, but only siphon revenue away from existing businesses, eliminating jobs and shifting wealth out of the community.

“It was our collective action that demonstrated to the city council that this was not a good project,” Keep reading→

Letter to the Editor: Measure A is not what it appears to be

In Vote No on Measure A on October 7, 2009 at 10:06 pm

From INGO WAGNER
Ukiah

To the Editor: Ukiah Daily Journal

What’s the big deal about rezoning a piece of land and maybe building a shopping center (and I do mean maybe)? The big deal is that by placing the rezoning issue on the ballot in the form of Measure A, the proponents of this charade are bypassing urban planning rationale. DDR, with its large campaign fund, is buying its way past the same planning and zoning process that you and I must conform to. Measure A, if passed, will set a precedent that we will all regret. Measure A is not about whether or not you or I like shopping centers. We have an abundance of vacant land zoned for commercial and retail use. Measure A is about letting DDR buy its way past the same procedures that you and I must go through. If Measure A passes, we will not be guaranteed more shopping choices. All that is guaranteed is that the Masonite land will become more valuable. At that point, the developer can either flip the property for a profit, or maybe some day build something on it, but who knows what.

All it takes is a few bucks to put an issue on the ballot, and I know a lot of people who may lend me a few million, unsecured of course, so that I can tear down my house in an R-1 zoned area and convert my land use to a pig farm. Keep reading→

Why Sustainable Family Farms are Crucial to the Future of the World

In Guest Posts, Industrial Agriculture on October 7, 2009 at 9:57 pm

From John Ikerd
Professor Emeritus,
University of Missouri,
Columbia, MO

Family farms have always been an important part of our “better history.” Historically, farmers were held in high esteem in the United States and around the world. Thomas Jefferson believed strongly that the yeoman farmer best exemplified the kind of independence and virtue that should be supported by the new democratic republic. He believed financiers, bankers, and industrialists could not be trusted and should not be encouraged by government. In light of our current economic situation, “Jeffersonian Democracy” still makes a lot of sense.

Adam Smith, in writing the Wealth of Nations, noted that no endeavor requires a greater variety of knowledge and experience than does farming, other than possibly the fine arts or liberal professions. He observed that farmers ranked among the highest social classes in China and India, and suggested it would be the same everywhere if the “corporate spirit” did not prevent it. Smith also suggested a role for government in ensuring that “they who feed, clothe, and lodge the whole body of people, should have a share of the produce of their own labor as to themselves be tolerably well fed, clothed, and lodged.” Keep reading→

The Compassionate Life: Bringing Heaven Down to Earth

In Around the web, Books on October 6, 2009 at 10:28 pm

From Joanne Stepaniak

Some people believe that a beautiful existence awaits us only after we depart this earth and that misery is simply a part of the basic human condition. Although it is true that much woe surrounds us, we are each responsible for the suffering we create within ourselves and for the distress and sorrow we bring to others. Every moment we make choices that have a positive or negative impact on us and those around us. Each of these choices is like a boomerang — the love or heartache we give away is always returned back to us.


Because veganism espouses a reverence for life — all life — it requires practitioners to think about the impact of their actions and the good or harm their deeds will cause. Although veganism is not a theology, does not postulate religious ideology, and welcomes everyone regardless of spiritual affiliation or belief, veganism comprises the basic principle of compassion that all the world’s major religions espouse. Beyond this, however, it provides a clear and practical path for infusing compassion into every area of daily living, not just our interactions with other people.

Keep reading at author’s website
~~

The Vegetarian Myth – Food, Justice and Sustainability

In Around the web, Books on October 6, 2009 at 10:05 pm

From Lierre Keith

Why This Book?

This was not an easy book to write. For many of you, it won’t be an easy book to read. I know. I was a vegan for almost twenty years. I know the reasons that compelled me to embrace an extreme diet and they are honorable, ennobling even. Reasons like justice, compassion, a desperate and all-encompassing longing to set the world right. To save the planet—the last trees bearing witness to ages, the scraps of wilderness still nurturing fading species, silent in their fur and feathers. To protect the vulnerable, the voiceless. To feed the hungry. At the very least to refrain from participating in the horror of factory farming.

These political passions are born of a hunger so deep that it touches on the spiritual. Or they were for me, and they still are. I want my life to be a battle cry, a war zone, an arrow pointed and loosed into the heart of domination: patriarchy, imperialism, industrialization, every system of power and sadism. If the martial imagery alienates you, I can rephrase it.

Keep reading at author’s website
~~

The Monster Mall Plot is a Local and National Job Killer – Vote No On A (video)

In !ACTION CENTER!, Vote No on Measure A on October 6, 2009 at 8:41 am

Save Our Jobs – No On A (video)

From DAVE SMITH
Ukiah

Allowing a Monster Mall into Mendocino County will only make unemployment worse here, as it has across the country. Fact: Independent studies show for every job the Monster Mall Big Boxes bring, 1.4 are lost. That means the 700 slave-wage jobs advertised by the Monster Mall will destroy almost 1,000 current, better-paying jobs. The reason is simple: the job losses are larger than the gains because Big Boxes accomplish the same volume of sales with fewer employees, and pay poverty-level wages. The money circulating locally from those lost jobs go somewhere else. Not only that, they have killed millions of non-retail jobs nationally by pushing our manufacturing jobs overseas.

Thank you for voting NO ON THE MEASURE A MONSTER MALL PLOT, and for preserving our unique, locally-owned businesses, neighborly small town values, and livable human-scale communities.
~

See also The Wal-Mart Dilemma

… and listen to a Monster Mall plotter’s evasive and unconvincing defense of Measure A on Radio Curious
~~

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