Why Do We Need Local Money?


From ROB HOPKINS
Transition Network UK

[Foreword to the book 'Local Money']

The power of holding your community’s own money.

September 2009, Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton. On a beautiful evening with just the first hint of autumn in the air, hundreds of people are packed into the large room for the launch of the Brixton Pound. In the days running up to the launch, the media was full of stories about the currency; it even made the front page of the BBC website on the day. Alongside explanations of how it is intended to work and interviews with advocates were mainstream economists who, somewhat patronisingly, assured readers that this could never really work and that it was all tremendously naive and foolish. Clearly that was a sentiment that those gathered in the hall, and the 70 traders already keen to accept the notes, had chosen to overlook – or, more likely, would fervently disagree with. This event was both a celebration of the new currency and, perhaps most importantly, of Brixton itself.

Derrick Anderson, the Chief Executive of the local council, which had partly funded the initiative, told the audience that he would be using Brixton Pounds, that he hoped they would become ‘the currency of choice for Brixton’, and that he was delighted that this was a good news story about the area. When I spoke to him later, I explored with him how deep the commitment of the council to this new currency would actually run. Would it accept the currency in payment of Council Tax? Would it accept rent from stallholders in Brixton Pounds? The answer to both questions was yes: a national first.

At the end of the evening, the notes themselves were unveiled to rapturous applause. Each note featured a prominent Brixtonian, chosen via a community-wide ‘Vote the Note’ poll. They showed Vincent Van Gogh on the £20 note; C. L. R. James, a local historian, political theorist and cricket writer on the £10 note; Gaia theorist James Lovelock on the £5 note

Organic Seed Preservation



Certified Organic Bowl Gourd Seeds by Dave Smith

From ORGANIC SEED ALLIANCE

MISSION:
Organic Seed Alliance supports the ethical development and stewardship of the genetic resources of agricultural seed. We accomplish our goals through collaborative education, advisory services, and research programs with organic farmers and other seed professionals.

VISION:
Seed is both our common cultural heritage and a living natural resource fundamental to the future sustainability of food production. Proper stewardship of our genetic resources necessitates not only its conservation, but careful management in a manner which allows seed to continually evolve with challenges of the environment, cultural practices of sustainable agriculture and the need to feed people. Through advocacy, collaborative education, advisory services, and research we work to restore and develop seed varieties for current needs while safeguarding invaluable genetic resources for future generations.

PROGRAMS:

Education, Information, and Advocacy:
Educational opportunities, workshops, and publications aimed at increasing genetic conservation, and improving organic seed production, plant breeding for organic agriculture, and developing healthy seed systems.

Collaborative Research:
Research that develops healthy seed systems,

Who Owns Nature?



Certified Organic Mountain Blue Lupine Seeds by Dave Smith

From ETC GROUP

SEED INDUSTRY

Bottom line: …Patented gene technologies will not help small farmers survive climate change, but they will concentrate corporate power, drive up costs, inhibit public sector research and further undermine the rights of farmers to save and exchange seeds.

In the first half of the 20th century, seeds were overwhelmingly in the hands of farmers and public-sector plant breeders. In the decades since then, Gene Giants have used intellectual property laws to commodify the world seed supply – a strategy that aims to control plant germplasm and maximize profits by eliminating Farmers’ Rights.

Today, the proprietary seed market accounts for a staggering share of the world’s commercial seed supply. In less than three decades, a handful of multinational corporations have engineered a fast and furious corporate enclosure of the first link in the food chain.

According to Context Network, the proprietary seed market (that is, brand- name seed that is subject to exclusive monopoly – i.e., intellectual property), now accounts for 82% of the commercial seed market worldwide.

Genetic Modification Watch


From GM WATCH

Introduction to the GMWatch video collection

We’ve trawled the web in search of the best videos on GM and related issues. You’ve sent us your favorites, and together we’ve created a fascinating and informative collection. Please let us know anything we’ve missed.

We’ve divided the videos into categories (like Must-see, Agriculture, Corporations, Latin America) and created an Index of speakers, where you can check out who’s in the videos, and an Index of GM crops and foods.

Must-see

This section contains some of the most compelling videos we’ve come across. They cover a wide variety of topics as we’ve cherry picked from all the different categories.

Among our absolute favourites is this extract from the film The Corporation about how Monsanto got Fox News to kill an investigative news report into its genetically engineered cattle hormone.

Another treat is hearing razor-sharp economist Dr Raj Patel put the case against globalized corporate agriculture, including GMOs, and its efforts to marginalise the planet-wide push for a more environmentally sensitive approach to food production (agroecology).

Agriculture

This section contains films that place GM in the wider context of corporate control of agriculture and food production and that show how farmers and consumers’ interests are being overridden.

Look out for The Future of Food, a groundbreaking documentary released in 2004, that distills the key regulatory, legal, ethical, environmental and consumer issues surrounding the troubling changes happening in the food system today… More here…
~~

Stieg Larsson: Did All The Coffee Kill Him?


From DAVID KAMP
NYT

If you’re a latecomer to the Stieg Larsson phenomenon, here, briefly, is the deal: Larsson was a Swedish journalist who edited a magazine called Expo, which was devoted to exposing racist and extremist organizations in his nativeland. In his spare time, he worked on a trilogy of crime thrillers, delivering them to his Swedish publisher in 2004. In November of that year, a few months before the first of these novels came out, he died of a heart attack. He was only 50, and he never got to see his books become enormous best sellers — first in Sweden and then, in translation, all over the globe.

“The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” is the third installment of the ­trilogy; its predecessors, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and “The Girl Who Played With Fire,” have already sold a million copies combined in the United States and many times that abroad. All three books are centered on two ­principal characters: a fearless middle-aged journalist named Mikael Blomkvist, who publishes an Expo-like magazine called Millennium, and a slight, sullen, socially maladjusted, tech-savvy young goth named Lisbeth Salander, the “girl” of the books’ titles, who, in addition to her dragon tattoo, possesses extraordinary hacking abilities and a twisted, complicated past. Together, Blomkvist and Salander use their wiles and skills to take on corporate corruptos, government sleazes and sex criminals, not to mention these miscreants’ attendant hired goons…

More here
~
See also The Afterlife of Stieg Larsson
~~

Brains, Bats, and Implanted Thoughts: The Perpetual Life of Philip K. Dick


From BOOKSLUT

The legacy of World War terminus has diminished in potency; those who could not survive the dust had passed into oblivion years ago, and the dust, weaker now and confronting the strong survivors, only deranged minds and genetic properties. Despite his lead codpiece, the dust — undoubtedly — filtered in and at him, brought him daily, so long as he failed to emigrate, its little load of befouling filth. So far, medical checkups taken monthly confirmed him as a regular: a man who could reproduce within tolerances set by law. Any month, however, the exam by the San Francisco Police Department doctors could reveal otherwise. Continually, new specials came into existence, created out of regulars by the omnipresent dust. The ads ran: “Emigrant or degenerate! The choice is yours!” Very true, Rick thought as he opened the gate to his little pasture and approached his electric sheep. But I can’t emigrate, he said to himself. Because of my job. — Philip K. Dick,  Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Most people know Philip K. Dick for the story that inspired movies such as Blade Runner, a film that defined the language of latter day science fiction cinema and its extraordinary advances in special effects. After writing hundreds of stories, numerous novels, essays and screenplays, Dick joined those writers who turned aside from their work and made an eccentric public life their final art, though his work as a serious writer was never that far from serious readers’ attentions.

He died in 1982, broke, decrepit, most probably mentally ill… More here
~~

After the Econolypse


From FRONT PORCH REPUBLIC

Just about everyone I know is adjusting to downward mobility.

When remembering a family-owned grocery store in rural Virginia, a first image comes to mind, even though I did not actually witness it. This is my boss, a woman standing all of five feet tall, in the front parking lot after closing time in her “shooting stance” with her gun out. While counting the money for the night, she watched two young men pull up in a car and start removing various firearms from their trunk. Walking around from the side exit, she got the jump on them. What she then said (edited for sensitive eyes) was: “I don’t know what (censored) you’re doing, but I’m the only one licensed to have a gun on my (censored) property. If you try to use that gun, you might hit me. But I will kill you.”  They left.

The second image I have is of their grown son, my manager, calling all of the store employees in for a meeting one evening and yelling for an hour straight at us. Some of the kids working there were less than cordial to the customers. A partial transcript (also edited for language): “Look! This is my store! This is my livelihood! And you are not going to put me out of business because you can’t be (edited) polite to the customers! When they come in, say hello! Stop whatever the (edited) you are doing and go talk to them! Get to know their names and what they come here for! And, you know what, ask them how they’re doing! The only way we can beat the big grocery stores is if you get to know these people and treat them better than those stores do!”

So we did. We knew all the customers, their kids, what sort of beer they drank, and spent at least half our working hours chatting (or jawboning, if you’ll indulge me) with them.

Mendo Moola: Ukiah Businesses Create Local Money


From DAVE SMITH
Ukiah

Three local business are now creating and circulating our own local currency, Mendo Moola: Oco Time Japanese Cuisine, Mulligan Books, and Ukiah Brewing Company. The Mendo Moola Blog explains how and why a local currency works. Almost 20 other locally-owned businesses in Mendocino County, listed on the blog, accept and trade Mendo Moola as payment for goods and services; they include Local Flavor Bake House, Paula’s Hair Salon, Westside Renaissance Market, Mendocino Bounty, Mendocino Lavender Farm, Incognito Fun Store, and RespecTech.

Money connects buyers and sellers. Communities across the country and around the world are issuing local currencies, as they have for many years, to protect themselves against recessions, depressions, bank failures, tight money, credit crunches, risk aversion, hoarding, and leakage that dries up the money supply, kills jobs, and destroys local economies. The more money that is available to be used locally and kept circulating locally,the more jobs are created and the more a local community becomes prosperous and sustainable economically.

During the Great Depression, more than 5,000 local currencies helped keep Americans alive. Over the past two decades, over 2,500 local currencies have sprung up nationally.

Over the past 50 years, the expansion of national businesses into local domestic markets, and now the Internet, has diverted and redirected circulating money to centralized corporate coffers. ‘Leakage’ occurs when, every night, money spent that day in chain stores and franchises is sucked out of our community electronically to their headquarters elsewhere.

An Interview with Peter North, author of Local Money


From TRANSITION CULTURE

In past recessions and depressions, a popular response from communities has been to create their own forms of money. How can local money help communities in times of hardship and cut as much carbon out of their economies as possible?

Pete North’s new book ‘Local Money: how to make it happen in your community’ will be formally launched at the 2010 Transition Network conference and will be available to order here at the end of this week.  The latest book in the Transition Books series, ‘Local Money’ is a comprehensive overview of local currencies, and how to plan and implement such a scheme.  It is written with Transition initiatives in mind, drawing from the experience of Transition currencies such as the Brixton Pound and the Lewes Pound, but it also tells the fascinating stories of other alternative currencies, including the story of how local money was a key element of how communities survived the Argentinian crash.  To celebrate the launch of the book, I interviewed Pete about the book, and about local currencies….

‘Local Money’ is about to be published… can you tell us, in a nutshell, what the book covers?

In a nutshell, the fruits of looking at local currencies over the past nearly 20 years distilled into 240 pages. I’ve tried to cover both the longer standing alternative currencies like LETS and Time Money and the newer kids on the block, transition currencies, in as much detail. I’ve also tried to give the reader an understanding of why money is in the form it is now, what is good about different forms of money, and how it could be improved.

Have We Reached Peak Food?


From MARKET SKEPTICS

If you read any economic, financial, or political analysis for 2010 that doesn’t mention the food shortage looming next year, throw it in the trash, as it is worthless. There is overwhelming, undeniable evidence that the world will run out of food next year. When this happens, the resulting triple digit food inflation will lead panicking central banks around the world to dump their foreign reserves to appreciate their currencies and lower the cost of food imports, causing the collapse of the dollar, the treasury market, derivative markets, and the global financial system. The US will experience economic disintegration…

Specifically, the USDA has declared half the counties in the Midwest to be primary disaster areas, including 274 counties in the last 30 days alone. These designations are based on the criteria of a minimum of 30 percent loss in the value of at least one crop in the county. The chart below shows counties declared primary disaster areas by the secretary of Agriculture and the president of the United States…

The same USDA that is predicting record harvests is also declaring disaster areas across half the Midwest because of catastrophic crop losses! To eliminate any doubt that this might be an innocent mistake, the USDA is even predicting record soybean harvests in the same states (Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Alabama) where it has declared virtually all counties to have experienced 30 percent production losses. It isn’t rocket scientist to realize something is horribly wrong… Facts and figures here
~~

This is us. This is on us. No one will rescue us.


From LAURENCE LEWIS
Daily Kos

[There is nothing more beautiful than a group of pelicans skimming just above coastal waters, calmly and majestically, at sunset. I have stood and watched a colony of pelicans in a Monterey inlet for hours at a time. This horrible destruction of nature cannot stand. -DS]

A mining disaster. An oil rig disaster. Honest working people killed just trying to make a living. Environmental devastation that is beyond our imagining, despite our imagining being based on truly terrifying scientific facts. There is no clean coal. There is no safe oil production. From those that suffer on the front lines of the extractive industries to all of nature suffering from the burning of what is extracted, this has to end. It has to end as soon as is possible. In the short term, that will mean much mutual sacrifice, but in the long term not only will it mean jobs, opportunities, and a new wave of economic growth, it will mean the possibility of a sustainable future for all humankind.

Even some right wing politicians now seem to be awakening to the specific dangers revealed by the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The Long-Distance Runner


From DAVE SMITH

If you still hold the values of peace, freedom and justice, as we children of the sixties and seventies learned and demonstrated for, then you appreciate the values of the loyal and the true.

Back then, along with many others, I responded to John F. Kennedy’s call to service. We believed we could and would change the world, and we did. Along with our protests and marches for civil rights, farmworker’s contracts, and the environment, we organized free universities, cooperative food stores, and small alternative community businesses. Our memories of that time are overwhelmingly positive. Dan Hamburg was there and involved.

We had passionate faith in the future and look back now with pride at our accomplishments. We stopped a war. We put civil rights into law. We shut down the building of new nuclear plants. We passed the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act — every one of them now being chipped away by the culture that was then being countered.

Doug Mosel: Why I’m Voting for Dan Hamburg


From DOUG MOSEL
Anderson Valley

Dan Hamburg has my vote for 5th District supervisor.

The main reason I’m working to get Dan elected is that he will be a reliable advocate for agriculture in Mendocino County.  As our next supervisor he will work to grow a local food economy that will be good for farmers and ranchers.  That in turn will be good for ag-related businesses and for those of us who want to get our meat and produce from someone we can trust.

To make this happen we will need committed and capable leadership with a long view of the future. We can count on Dan to pay more than lip service to re-localizing our farm economy.  He will, for example, help bring an animal processing operation to Mendocino County, which will benefit meat producers and livestock alike.

As never before, we need a supervisor who will be present and accessible all over this large and diverse district.  After he’s elected, I know Dan will remember Anderson Valley, the south coast, Comptche, Hopland, Mendocino, and south Ukiah–all of the 5th District.

In profoundly challenging times, we need a supervisor who will do his homework, which I know from personal experience Dan will do.  He combines deep and broad experience with the discipline to study issues carefully and the commitment to hear all points of view to make decisions or find solutions that are realistic and for the common good.
~~

Victor Frankl: Why Have Ideals?


From TED
Via Andrew Sullivan

TED passes along a wonderful talk about idealism and the potential of the human race:

In this rare clip from 1972, legendary psychiatrist and Holocaust-survivor Viktor Frankl delivers a powerful message about the human search for meaning…
~~

Janie Sheppard: I’m Voting For My Good Friend Dan Hamburg



From JANIE SHEPPARD
Mendocino County

I met candidate for 5th District Supervisor, Dan Hamburg, in 2003 during the campaign to ban the cultivation of GMOs in Mendocino County.   During that campaign I realized we shared a vision of a Mendocino County based on a locally based economy.  Since then, we have shared that vision in several campaigns:  opposing the Ryder Homes plan to develop the Masonite site, impeaching then Vice-President Cheney for his role in starting the Iraq War that continues to suck the life blood from Mendocino County; and opposing Measure B because it would do nothing to address the real problems with marijuana while punishing medical marijuana patients and harming a potential source of much-needed tax revenue.  More recently, in opposing Measure A, that, had it passed, would have put a monster mega-mall on the old Masonite site.   Those campaigns are just the most recent of the many campaigns to preserve Mendocino County from corporate greed.

Over the intervening years, we have traded articles and comments on the major issues facing the nation and our county.  I know the depth of Dan’s commitment to preserving what we value about Mendocino County:  the forests, the rivers, the farmers, the artists, musicians, local theater, our local businesses and the unique Mendo way.  Simply put, love of place is the most important part of Dan’s life.

As the county absorbs the blows from the economic meltdown, Dan will keep that love of place.  With the leadership Dan will bring to the Board of Supervisors, the Mendo way will prevail.   We will grow our own food, make our own entertainment, harvest our forests sustainably, restore our rivers and educate our children.

I live in the 5th District and I’m voting for my good friend, Dan Hamburg.  If you value our unique place in the world, I urge you too to vote for Dan Hamburg.
~~

Liberated from Libertarianism: How’s that whole deregulatey depressiony thing working out for ya?


From DAVID MICHAEL GREEN
Common Dreams

[...] Where libertarianism breaks down is in assuming that we can all just do what we want and it will work out great. And in assuming that all private actors are essentially well intentioned. Neither of these is true, and a libertarian society would leave each of us at the mercy of these twin fallacies. And that’s an ugly place to be, let me tell you.

Suppose you bought a house and had a fat mortgage outstanding on it. Now the guy who owns the plot next door decides to build an abattoir on his land. You can’t live in your house anymore because of the nauseating, permeating, stink. You also can’t sell it, because no one else wants to live there either. And you’re still stuck paying the mortgage, probably plunging you into bankruptcy since you’re now also paying rent to live somewhere else. Why did all this happen? Because you voted for that libertarian city council, and they threw out all the zoning laws on the books, preferring maximum freedom for use of private property instead. Aren’t you thrilled about how that worked out?

So you pack all your belongings in your car and decide to drive away. But you turn around after going just a couple of miles, because everybody drives on any side of the road they want to, whenever they want to, and it’s scary dangerous out there. Why?

Outing Wendy Roberts – Supervisor Candidate 5th District


From CHUCK HENDERSON
On Local ListServ

[Update: Wendy Roberts Responds, and Chuck Henderson wraps it up below.]

Ms. Roberts,

You make yourself sound so reasonable… and yet:

You accuse your opponents of “rejecting every possibility for the economic revitalization that is essential to sustain our families and communities.”

Would you explain this please? Just what possibilities for economic revitalization are the “others” rejecting that you would embrace?

Please be specific...

Are you talking about pouring pesticide on forest land so it can be converted to grapes? (never mind the emaciated fish spawning downstream)

Are you talking about off-shore eyesores and navigation hazards disguised as “green” energy?

Are you talking about increased gravel mining in once-salmon spawning streams?

Are you talking about end-runs around the planning process to sneak in mega-developments like Walmart?

Again…. be specific.

You say we here in the 5th District have elected Supervisors who are:

“heartfelt individuals who lack either the technical expertise or the political will to get our outdated planning documents up to legal snuff”

Just what documents are you talking about?

Are you talking about the Gravel Ordinance component of the General Plan which _industry_ has prevented from coming to completion because they like the “limbo” of no gravel ordinance and reject the rigorous environmental controls we here in the 5th District have been insisting on?

Certainly you can’t blame DeVal and Colfax just because they have represented environmental interests in their pursuit of a decent Gravel Ordinance.

Or is it because you favor the idea of carving up our hillsides to promote the pesticide-dependent (and largely out-of-county and illegal immigrant based) wine industry?

You reject the idea of “swinging [away] from a century of destructive over-harvesting” in our forests to something a little more green (as if the environmentally-minded are some kind of nut cases). But you fail to understand that run-away industry has nearly turned Mendocino into one of its “dead zones.” No fish, no forests, just wine and tourism (and untaxed pot).

We watch in horror the growing “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico… brought to us by the same mentality that destroyed Mendocino County’s forest industry. The last thing we need is another representative that panders to the short-term interests of the “dead-zone” makers… and that I’m afraid is who you would represent.

Chuck
~

Wendy Responds in Capital Letters:

Ms. Roberts,

You make yourself sound so reasonable… and yet:

You accuse your opponents of “rejecting every possibility for the economic revitalization that is essential to sustain our families and communities.”

ACTUALLY, I’VE NEVER SAID ANYTHING REMOTELY LIKE THIS ABOUT MY OPPONENTS.  I HAVE SAID THIS ABOUT SOME INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE DEDICATED TO WHAT I SEE AS DESTRUCTIVELY EXTREME POSITIONS.

Would you explain this please. Just what possibilities for economic revitalization are the “others” rejecting that you would embrace?

Please be specific…

Are you talking about pouring pesticide on forest land so it can be converted to grapes?  NO.  I BELIEVE YOU MEAN ‘HERBICIDES,’ BUT IN EITHER CASE THAT IS CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR, WHETHER IT IS FOR LEGAL OR ILLEGAL CROPS.

Are you talking about increased gravel mining in once-salmon spawning streams? NO.  AND I’VE HEARD OF NO SUCH PROPOSALS.  THE ONLY SPECIFIC GRAVEL MINING I’M AWARE OF RIGHT NOW IS ON AN INDUSTRIAL SITE AND WOULD NOT IMPACT ANY SUCH SALMON SPAWING STREAMS.  I AM INCLINED TO THINK THAT, TO THE EXTENT POSSIBLE, IT IS BETTER TO MINE ESSENTIAL GRAVEL PRODUCTS LOCALLY, KEEPING CAPITAL AND DOLLARS IN THE COUNTY, THAN TO HAUL THESE MATERIALS FROM SOMEONE ELSE’S LOCAL ENVIRONMENT, USING FOSSIL FUEL TO DO SO.  OBVIOUSLY, EVALUATING WHERE TO SITE SUCH PROJECTS IS CRITICAL.  AN ALTERNATIVE IS TO STOP ALL CONSTRUCTION AND ROAD MAINTENANCE. I DON’T SEE THAT AS REALISTIC.

Are you talking about end-runs around the planning process to sneak in mega-developments like Walmart? NO.  (THE ONLY WALMART IN MENDOCINO COUNTY IS IN THE CITY OF UKIAH.) I DID NOT SUPPORT THE USE OF AN INITIATIVE TO DEVELOP THE MASONITE PROPERTY, BECAUSE ALL SUCH PROJECTS NEED TO GO THROUGH A TRANSPARENT PUBLIC PLANNING PROCESS.  I STRONGLY SUPPORT THE COUNTY’S ADOPTION OF A COMMUNITY IMPACT REPORT SIMILAR TO THAT USED IN SONOMA COUNTY (IN ADDITION TO AN ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT) TO EVALUATE ALL PROPOSED LARGE SCALE DEVELOPMENT.  WE NEED TO KNOW THE QUALITY AND QUANTITY OF JOBS A PROJECT WILL CREATE, ITS IMPACT ON LOCAL HOUSING AND SERVICES, AND BOTH FAVORABLE AND UNFAVORABLE ECONOMIC IMPACTS.

SOME SPECIFICS INCLUDE: THE PROPOSED MEAT PACKING PLANT.  IT IS STILL AT THE CONCEPTUAL LEVEL AND IS RECEIVING QUITE A LOT OF SUPPORT FROM LOCAL RANCHERS AND THE LOCAL FOOD PEOPLE.  MANY ARE ALSO ASKING FOR A PORTABLE UNIT THAT COULD BE TAKEN TO SMALL FARMS.   OTHER CANDIDATES HAVE ALSO SUPPORTED THIS AT THE CONCEPT LEVEL.  WE’LL NEED TO BE ATTENTIVE TO THE DETAILS, INCLUDING LOCATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS.

I’VE ALSO BEEN ATTENDING MEETINGS OF MENDO FUTURES AND THE BIOMASS PROJECT. BOTH GROUPS ARE LOOKING AT WAYS TO DEVELOP A RESTORATION ECONOMY AROUND SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY, LOCAL FOOD PRODUCTION AND RESTORATION-RELATED TOURISM, INCLUDING ECO-TOURISM, FARM TRAILS PROMOTION AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE.

I STRONGLY SUPPORT LEADERSHIP FROM COUNTY GOVERNMENT FOR DEVELOPMENT OF COUNTY-WIDE BROADBAND INFRASTRUCTURE.  WE NEED IT FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, EDUCATION AND DELIVERY OF MEDICAL AND OTHER SERVICES.

THERE ARE INFRASTRUCTURE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FUNDS AVAILABLE RIGHT NOW. ADJACENT COUNTIES ARE APPLYING FOR THEM.  AT THE BOS ECONOMIC REVITALIZATION WORKSHOP I ATTENDED ON MONDAY, THE SUPERVISORS WERE URGED TO START DEVELOPING AND SUBMITTING PROPOSALS…AND NO ACTION WAS TAKEN TO MOVE THIS THOUGHT FORWARD.

You say we here in the 5th District have elected Supervisors who are: “heartfelt individuals who lack either the technical expertise or the political will to get our outdated planning documents up to legal snuff”

Just what documents are you talking about?  ALL OF THE CANDIDATES HAVE ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THIS IS A PROBLEM, AS HAVE THE INCUMBENTS.  WE NEED A BOARD THAT WILL STOP RESTATING THE PROBLEM AND GET THIS WORK DONE.

THE UKIAH VALLEY AREA PLAN, LOCAL COASTAL PLAN, MENDOCINO TOWN PLAN AND GUALALA TOWN PLAN ARE ALL MANY YEARS OUT OF DATE AND NO LONGER IN COMPLIANCE WITH CURRENT LAWS.  THE COUNTY GENERAL PLAN WAS UPDATED BUT IMPLEMENTATION CODES HAVE YET TO BE WRITTEN FOR IT OR ANY OF THE OTHER LEGALLY MANDATED PLANNING DOCUMENTS.  THE ABSENCE OF CLEAR, LEGAL PLANNING DOCUMENTS AND PERMIT PROCESSES CREATES GRAVE FINANCIAL HARDSHIP ON PROPERTY OWNERS AND DELAYS OR PREVENTS EFFORTS TO DEVELOP OR EXPAND BUSINESSES AND CREATE JOBS. ONE COASTAL EXAMPLE IS NOYO HARBOR.  IT IS LITERALLY FROZEN IN TIME BECAUSE IT IS CURRENTLY ZONED FISHING VILLAGE.

Are you talking about the Gravel Ordinance component of the General Plan which _industry_ has prevented from coming to completion because they like the “limbo” of no gravel ordinance and reject the rigorous environmental controls we here in the 5th District have been insisting on?

Certainly you can’t blame DeVal and Colfax just because they have represented environmental interests in their pursuit of a… Or is it because you favor the idea of carving up our hillsides to promote the pesticide-dependent (and largely out-of-county and illegal immigrant based) wine industry?

ACTUALLY, GIVEN THAT INCUMBANT POLITICIANS HAVE FAILED TO COMPLETE SUCH ESSENTIAL AND BASIC TASKS OVER A PERIOD OF A COUPLE OF DECADES, I THINK IT IS AN ENTIRELY FAIR QUESTION TO ASK WHETHER REINSTATING THEM IS LIKELY TO RESULT IN A DIFFERENT OUTCOME IN THE NEXT DECADE.

I AM ALSO EXTREMELY CONCERNED THAT WE HAVE A BOARD WITH THE FINANCIAL EXPERTISE AND SENSE OF FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY TO BALANCE THE BUDGET AND REDUCE THE ACCUMULATED DEBT.  IT IS A SIMPLE FACT THAT MUCH OF THIS DEBT IS THE DIRECT RESULT OF FAILED FISCAL OVERSIGHT AND AN UNWILLINGNESS TO SPEND WITHIN OUR BUDGET.  WE CAN’T AFFORD TO CONTINUE THIS BEHAVIOR.

You reject the idea of “swinging [away] from a century of destructive over-harvesting” in our forests to something a little more green (as if the environmentally-minded are some kind of nut cases). But you fail to understand that run-away industry has nearly turned Mendocino into one of its “dead zones.” No fish, no forests, just wine and tourism (and untaxed pot).

THIS IS SIMPLY INACCURATE.  I HAVE SPECIFICALLY SUPPORTED ‘SWINGING AWAY.’ WHAT I REJECT IS SWINGING SO FAR IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION THAT WE SIMPLY TRADE AN ENVIRONMENTAL ‘DEAD ZONE’ FOR AN ECONOMIC GHOST TOWN.  NEITHER IS ACCEPTABLE AND NEITHER IS NECESSARY.  WE CAN HAVE A LIVABLE, PROSPEROUS AND ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE COUNTY AND THERE ARE MANY GOOD PEOPLE WORKING HARD TO CREATE THAT REALITY.

I LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH THEM AND WITH YOU.

REGARDS,
WR
~

Chuck Returns Volley:

Wendy,

So if we extrapolate your statements into one complete thought? you think there are: “Some individuals who are dedicated to what [you] see as destructively extreme positions” that “[reject] every possibility for the economic revitalization that is essential to sustain our families and communities.”

This is the problem Wendy? The pro-corporate (short-term profit, out of county, LP-types) would like to paint folks who I consider really good people, citizens really keen on healthy environmentally sound solutions, as extremists.

Personally I don’t know of anyone in the Mendocino County political milieu that I would paint as extremist. But evidently you’ve got some folks in your mind that have some extreme positions and getting their voices out of the Supervisor’s chamber so you can make changes is a cornerstone of your campaign.

So please tell us who these people are and tell us what their “destructively extreme positions” are.

What I fear, and why I don’t see how I could bring myself to vote for you is that you buy into the notion that passionate environmentalists should be branded “extremists” and they should be excluded from the political process? in fact you believe they are the problem.

You say you don’t want to “trade an environmental ‘dead zone’ for an economic ghost town.”

Who in the hell is talking about policies or ideas that would lead us into that economic ghost town? I’m glad you admit our forests have become a “dead zone.” But our forests aren’t working because of a total lack of enforced forest regulation over the last 100+ years.

Let me tell you a little story? I had the honor to work with the late Mendocino Country resident Dr.
Hans Burkhardt who wrote a wonderful book entitled “Maximizing Forest Productivity” in which he outlined how reasonable forest practices could lead to an endless healthy vibrant forest industry right here in Mendocino County. But the corporate forest owners branded him (and the rest of us supporting regulated forest rules) as “extremists.”

The out-of-state corporate forest owners and their lawyers got their way (thanks to then Governor Wilson) and now we’ve got our “dead zone.” The forests are gone and their logging practices silted up the streams so the fishing industry is gone too. Essentially they killed the goose that would have perpetually laid the golden egg of a healthy forest and a healthy fishing industry? with plenty of good jobs.

So please don’t hang your hat on the extremist label and hope to cleave the dedicated environmental community from the general voting public.

Time is short. Dead zones are appearing all over the globe. We need real honesty making important decisions in that windowless supervisor chamber for the 5th District, not a corporate ideologue dressed in “progressive” clothing.

Chuck
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Ukiah: Young people create films on importance of shopping locally


From MONICA STARK
The Ukiah Daily Journal

Fifteen-year-old David MacDonald may be quiet on the surface, but when he starts talking about music and making movies, it’s not too long into the conversation that he discusses musicians who make music in nontypical ways and what he has done from their inspiration. “What if I can create a percussion track for a song using a bunch of different sounds from local businesses?” he asks when talking about his latest film, which won first place in the Localization Film Project and was recognized along with runner ups at this week’s Mendocino County Board of Supervisors meeting.

MacDonald’s film shows him sitting in Alex Thomas Plaza so frustrated with his computer that he smashes it on the pavement and then goes wandering about local businesses whilst his own music plays in the background. The viewer, meanwhile, gets a sense of community from the customers who know from whom they are buying their goods and services and hence feels some relief. The brewery, the Farmer’s Market, Mendocino Book Company, to name a few were places MacDonald visited.

His story is like that of a few other teens who together took a crash course on film making at Ukiah Valley Community Television and got a rundown of why shopping locally is important. From then on, a competition between them began and the teenagers had two months to create short two- to three-minute films, which UVCTV operations manager Jason Killilea says will be shown all summer on Mendocino Access channel 3.

Jenne, 19, the second-place winner, called her film the “Mr. Rude Commercial” and featured an online camera shopper who gets on the phone only to feel disgruntled from the incompetent customer service. “Dad was playing Butch, the cheesy online salesman,” Jenne laughs. Before filming, she and her dad cluttered the set of his workplace, and so when watching the film, the viewer gets a humorous glance of Butch who tries to play off two roles – that of a lowly know-nothing receptionist and his all-knowing boss, who ironically couldn’t answer the caller’s question about a particular camera lens.

A split screen enabled the viewer to see both the customer and Butch, a scene that when shown at Tuesday’s meeting, caused the audience to howl in laughter. The solution was, of course, to shop locally at Triple S Camera. Jenne said she really didn’t know much about shopping locally until she went to the localization training “and I realized that shopping locally creates a lot of jobs in the community … Money goes back into it.” More here
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Michael Laybourn: No on Prop 16!


From MICHAEL LAYBOURN
Hopland

The Ukiah City Council unanimously approved A Resolution to Formally Oppose Proposition 16 “The New Two-Thirds Vote Requirement Form Public Electricity Providers Initiative Constitutional Amendment” April 21st. I’m astounded that the UDJ and AVA, to my knowledge, had no mention of this important decision.

The Supervisors should do the same for the County.

Consider a rich bully with endless money, unlimited political spending recently legalized by the Supreme Court, up against a small group who has no way of raising that kind of money and up against cities that manage or want to manage their own utilities. Why, that’s a description of PG&E.

“Peter Darbee, who was paid $10.6 million dollars last year, told company shareholders that the goal of Prop 16 is to defeat local power choice “once and for all,” instead of having to continually fend off the specter of customer defection.

Darbee speculated that California voters would be receptive to Proposition 16 if the initiative’s campaign exploited the current anti-government anger over the economy and state budget deficit.” – Dan Aiello

Don’t believe those slick Yes on Prop 16 fliers telling us the initiative is a voter safeguard against local governments wanting to spend unlimited amounts to get into the energy business. Don’t believe the flood of ads claiming this is your defense against big spending government. Don’t believe this protects your right to choose right to vote. It is a lie. This is not about more choice, it is about restricting your choice because a nothing gets passed with a 2/3 majority.

The deluge of Prop 16 TV ads doesn’t mention that the initiative was written to guarantee that PG&E’s high priced electricity monopoly will never be challenged. Prop 16 takes away a community’s right to choose to buy their own power by imposing the 2/3 vote requirement. Ironically, it doesn’t take a 2/3 majority to change the California constitution with this proposition. PG&E  simply wants to get rid of the competition. PG&E’s CEO didn’t ask ratepayers for approval before spending over 35 million of our dollars to get rid of its competition.

Book Review: ‘War,’ by Sebastian Junger


From PHILIP SEIB
The Dallas Morning News

Junger observes that “civilians balk at recognizing that one of the most traumatic things about combat is having to give it up.”

On assignment for Vanity Fair , Sebastian Junger made five trips to Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley during 2007 and 2008. What he found was a war that is unknown to Americans whose exposure to the rest of the world consists of skimming a front page or website or glancing at a few minutes of television news. He found skilled and courageous U.S. troops facing an enemy that is so fierce and well organized that it is capable of overrunning American outposts.

Junger, best known as author of The Perfect Storm, spent his visits in the midst of combat, talking to grunts rather than generals. The soldiers he lived with were line infantry: “They fought on foot and carried everything they needed on their backs.” His descriptions of firefights are bloody and thrilling, but the most valuable aspect of his book is his thoughtful examination of what it means to be a fighter – the individual and collective psychology of combat.

He writes that being in battle “is insanely exciting,” and adds, “There’s so much human energy involved – so much courage, so much honor, so much blood – you could easily go a year here without questioning whether any of this needs to be happening in the first place.” He notes, “The moral basis of the war doesn’t seem to interest soldiers much, and its long-term success or failure has a relevance of almost zero.”

What is relevant is keeping yourself and your friends alive, which requires skills that Junger learned to appreciate. “Stripped to its essence,” he writes, “combat is a series of quick decisions and rather precise actions carried out in concert with ten or twelve other men.”

For much of his time in Afghanistan, Junger saw combat almost constantly and watched what it did to the troops he lived with. He learned to understand fear, which he says “has a whole taxonomy – anxiety, dread, panic, foreboding – and you could be braced for one form and completely fall apart facing another.” One soldier observed, “It’s okay to be scared; you just don’t want to show it.”

More here
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Rachel Maddow: Why Rand Paul Doesn’t Get It


From FIREDOGLAKE

In 1964, the United States enacted the Civil Rights Act outlawing discrimination in all public facilities, whether privately owned or public. Kudos to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow for displaying the language of Title II, which establishes as the law of this land, enforceable by injunction, the following fundamental human rights:

All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities and privileges, advantages and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion or national origin.

Notwithstanding the members of the Texas School Board and the sensibilities of libertarians, every American should read, understand and cherish these words. They establish the basic democratic principle — still not complete — that America will demand our businesses and government institutions treat all of us fairly. I don’t know how you can have a democracy worth defending without that principle.

Despite claims of principle, Rand Paul does not appear to accept this core American value. His opposition is not principled, though he would have you believe so. When pushed to explain his real beliefs, whether with local press, CNN, or Maddow’s show, or even in politically dictated clarifying statements, he has repeatedly evaded the central question, changed the subject or distracted the questioner with some irrelevant point that just so happened to be more dog whistles to his fanatical supporters.

Paul has been asked at least a dozen times whether he agrees with the core principle that America’s businesses should not be allowed to discriminate. But instead of saying “yes,” he’s told us he’s not racist himself, though no interviewer has made that charge. He’s said he doesn’t approve of discrimination and wouldn’t join a private club that discriminated, but that was never the issue. He’s said we should worry about gun rights, though no interviewer made any connection between the 2nd Amendment and the core principle of non-discrimination. And he’s tried to go off on free speech, when that has nothing to do with whether or not he supports using government to end discrimination in accommodations.

It’s appalling enough that Rand and his supporters would reopen an issue whose history of violence and inhuman treatment remains an indelible stain on who we’ve been, and who some would remain…

More with Video here
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Ukiah Farmers Market Today Saturday 5/22/10



Springdale, Utah

From SCOTT CRATTY
Ukiah

Friends of the Farmers’ Market,

Greetings.  It seems timely to remind everyone that, whatever the weather, your loyal local farmers will be out on School Street in Ukiah Saturday morning with farm fresh goodies, and heaps of other good stuff grown, raised, or made right around here.

Perhaps you have been interested in trying lamb but not sure how to prepare it?  Be at the market Saturday at about 10:15.  Chef Jacquie Lee will be providing this season’s first Ukiah Natural Food’s sponsored cooking demonstration.  She can show you how to do great things with lamb and you will get an opportunity to sample some of the excellent Owen Family lamb that is available every week at the Saturday Market.

Robinson Creek Flower Farm is expected back at the market, plus two long-time Willits vendors plan to try out the Ukiah market this weekend: Sweetie Pies (who make pies) and a new craft vendor.

Last week we had 23 agricultural (farms, nurseries, ranches, sea foods) vendors and 14 prepared food and/or craft vendors.  That is a total of 37 shopping options in one compact location.  To give you a sense how the market has evolved, on the same week of the season in 2007 we had a total of 18 vendors, in 2008 there were 28, 2009 brought 35.  This Saturday we might hit 40.  That makes for a dynamic and interesting market, but it also requires a lot of consistent community support to maintain.

You can also enjoy free live music by Bob Laughton and Kristine Robin.

Please plan to come enjoy the market, and bring a friend.

8:30am to noon, on School Street starting at Clay St, Ukiah
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