Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

Archive for October, 2010|Monthly archive page

Herb Ruhs: Tyranny

In Around Mendo Island on October 15, 2010 at 11:05 pm


Tyranny: “cruel and oppressive government or rule.”

It is comforting for me to read Hedges’, in his article “How Democracy Dies: Lessons from a Master,”calling the current political situation one of outright tyranny.  For at least twenty five years now I have been doing the same as “tyranny” is the only term in English that generalizes sufficiently to describe the political situation in the US as I have viewed it developing.  Highly centralized command and control structures in civil society, the giant banks and corporations in our case, are the soul of tyranny. As Hedges points out eloquently, the success of such rule is dependent on people not clearly understanding its true nature until it is way too late.

On the positive side, tyranny is also a society wide learning opportunity.  Apparently it is difficult  to learn that you can never trust ambitious people – ever –  since they can not trust themselves to moderate their compulsive drive to control others.  Our Achilles heel is that we identify with our oppressors and predators vicariously.  Something small and dark in all of us wants to be free of fear by achieving dominance over other, weaker, people.

Worship of this grasping nature is not so much evil as it is primitive.  Small autonomous groups can work to sublimate and limit this “will to power” by encouraging identification with the group as the true agent of ambition. Large scale groups, societies, corporations, the military, organized More Herb Ruhs…

Todd Walton: Prostitution

In Around Mendo Island, Guest Posts on October 15, 2010 at 7:18 pm


“Working in Hollywood does give one a certain expertise in the field of prostitution.” Jane Fonda

I have never heard of a workshop for writers that teaches the efficacious use of sex to make it big in theatre or publishing or the movie business, but any writer who has toiled in Hollywood or New York, or in the outposts of those Babylons, knows that sexual linkage to people in power is of paramount importance to success in The Biz; and anyone who denies this is either a phony or grossly naïve.

Grossly naïve describes moi when the sale of my first novel to the movies landed me in Hollywood circa 1980, though my naïveté was not so much intellectual as grounded in a fierce unwillingness to accept reality. That is, I knew a good deal about the sexual machinations of the theatre world, yet clung to a mythic notion that by creating highly desirable plays and books and screenplays I would be allowed to travel sexually unmolested into collaborations with creative people possessed of sufficient clout to get books published and movies made and plays produced.

The sale of my first novel to a major New York publisher and the subsequent sale of the movies rights to a Hollywood studio were accomplished More: Todd Walton…

Mendo Island Transition: Saved by peas

In Around the web, Mendo Island Transition on October 14, 2010 at 7:52 pm

From “JAN”
A reader’s comment
The Contrary Farmer

I recently was told a story by some 90+ year old ladies about how their father’s farm was saved by peas.

They remembered that they were about to lose the farm and talked with the bank and the bank worked with them in contacting a local facility that canned peas and other vegetables. The processor provided the pea seed and loaned (not rented, mind you) them a planter and harvester.

They had a good year, a good harvest and the farm was saved. This was done without government help … but what they had then was a local bank and local processing facility and a community that worked together to really help farmers. If some of the government subsidy money went into really creating a local economy again through processing facilities, etc., maybe we’d be better off. Of course, they were growing real food then (peas) and not “commodities” that can’t be used locally anyway. Wrong kind of wheat, corn and beans….

Grow hard winter wheat for bread and encourage local bakeries. Grow sweet corn and process frozen and canned corn and good cornmeal. Grow all sorts of dry beans (kidney, black turtle, soup, etc.) and teach people how to cook them again or have a canning facility for them.

When I mention these things to conventional farmers they look at me like I’m nuts. Suggesting adding animals back to their farms and they just laugh. They tell me it’s too much work….

Michael Laybourn: Why I am voting for Dan Hamburg

In Around Mendo Island on October 14, 2010 at 7:46 pm


I live in the 5th district and am highly interested in the outcome of this race. I spent 35 years in this county with various small businesses, some more successful than others. So I come from a background of a small business owner.

As I have watched the campaign move along, I have seen that Dan Hamburg is supported by many small business owners. He is also supported by many of the major entrepreneurs in our county that have had businesses go national to some degree. Businesses that started from ideas only and became successful.

We now have a broken economy. So what can we do here in Mendocino County?

Small business and startup businesses are the engine of our national and local economies. That is a fact.
So it follows that to repair Mendocino County’s economy, we have to work to create a local economy that is more than entry level jobs. We need startup businesses that can hire people.

We have to build an economy that can feed ourselves and make many of the things that we need. We need to support the coastal small businesses that exist. We need to use the talents and creativity in this county to build a strong local economy.

Dan Hamburg clearly understands these things.

We have a national and state economy in what I consider a depression – no matter what some fool economist says – if there are not jobs for people, then an economy cannot happen.

Here is the real difference in the 5th District Supervisor race: More: Why I am voting for Dan Hamburg…

Radio Curious: Barry Vogel Interviews Wendy Roberts and Dan Hamburg (*Updated with Transcript)

In Around Mendo Island on October 13, 2010 at 11:00 pm


Radio Curious
Thanks to Richard Shoemaker

[Local attorney and host Barry Vogel asks them both the same questions, independently of one another so you can compare their answers. A fifteen minute interview with each candidate makes the differences between them exceedingly clear. Well worth the time. -DS]

Go here for audio

[*Updated with Transcript especially for those in our county who are on dial-up. -DS]

Welcome to Radio Curious, I’m attorney Barry Vogel.

In anticipation of the election for 5th District Supervisor, we have two interviews: first with Wendy Roberts, and second, with Dan Hamburg… both candidates for 5th District Supervisor. I interviewed them both in the studios of Radio Curious in the last week of September 2010.

I asked them both the same questions in the same order, outside the presence of the other, so that you may compare their answers.

B: Wendy Roberts, welcome to Radio Curious.

W: Thank you.

B: I heard you give a talk at a picnic in Redwood Valley, and you referred to extremist ideologies, which you said have led to our decline. More: Interviews with Wendy Roberts and Dan Hamburg…

Big News! Locally-Grown Grains Now Available! Wahoo!!

In Around Mendo Island on October 13, 2010 at 9:00 pm

Westside Renaissance Market (WRM)

Grains from Ukiah? Yup. The Mendocino Grain Project has just delivered its first monthly installment. This time it is whole grain Durum Wheat, Red Fife Wheat & Sonora Wheat — all whole grain, which means you would need your own grinder to make flour (or you can try it as a cereal).

In future months there will be lots of different grains, flour, and some beans. You can find out more about the project here: As you will see, the grain project is a subscription offering for which people pay for a share of the whole year’s crop in advance.

This year’s subscription is sold out … but they will soon start taking subscriptions for next season by emailing Meanwhile, you can stop in the WRM to see or purchase some Ukiah wheat. To provide a chance for people who did not commit to a full season to support local grain production, WRM purchased some shares that we will make available to you on a per lb basis.

Tomorrow we will have another to go meal offering from Ellery Clark Catering. This time its Green Coconut Curried Chicken or Tofu and Seasonal Veggies over Brown Rice. Ingredients: tofu or chicken, brown rice, vegetables, coconut milk, basil, parsley, cilantro, ginger, lime, cumin, coriander, fennel, salt and pepper. Feedback on these takeout options More: Locally Grown Grains Now Available… Locally…

Meca Wawona and Tom Liden: Dan Hamburg Endorsement LTEs

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around Mendo Island on October 13, 2010 at 6:05 pm

5th District west of Ukiah

Dear Editor,
Don’t be confused by green-washing, there’s a clear choice between Dan Hamburg and Wendy Roberts for 5th District Supervisor. Hamburg has a track record as an elected representative standing up over decades to those who would choose short-term profiteering while despoiling our environment and diminishing the sustainability of our local economy. In 1981, during his tenure as 2rd District supervisor, Hamburg led the opposition to annexing the “Lovers Lane” property in north Ukiah Valley when out-of-town developers sought approval to roll-out 1,100 houses over 15-foot deep ag-zoned soils. As our congressman, Hamburg demonstrated back-bone when he took on Maxxam/Pacific Lumber and authored the Headwaters Forest Act, a bill that both protected old-growth redwoods and guaranteed timber jobs well into the future.

Hamburg’s an informed, passionate spokesperson for protecting our local forests and coast. He has consistently advocated green business development by relocalizing food-production via a bioregional, sustainable farm and food-processing industry. He is also a long-time supporter of the non-fossil fuel energy economy that is on the rise here on the north coast. more…

Janie Sheppard: Vote Yes on Measure C (Updated)

In Around Mendo Island on October 12, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Mendocino County

[As a local retailer who will be negatively affected by Measure C, I am voting for Measure C as a citizen. -DS]

A vote against Measure C, which, if passed would increase the sales tax by ½ % to pay for county services, is not going to bring to justice any wrongdoers in connection with the county pension fund, as John Dickerson ( would have us believe (see John Dickerson’s argument below, and the rebuttal by John McCowen).

A taxpayer lawsuit would, however, accomplish that.

Meanwhile, the county needs revenue to provide services.

The issues are separate. Don’t get confused.

Vote Yes on Measure C and encourage John Dickerson to bring a taxpayer lawsuit. That way the county can have much-needed revenue and justice can be served.



I understand that the Mendocino County Democratic Central Committee will be reconsidering whether or not to endorse Measure C.


Wendy Roberts – Treehugger (video)

In Around Mendo Island on October 12, 2010 at 3:06 pm

[Joe Wildman has posted this video on YouTube (which were her opening remarks at the Ukiah debate) here, along with his comments: "A politically tone deaf attempt to claim the middle ground" and "When my wife saw this she said 'If she wants to hug trees when she sees them standing up, what does she want to do when she sees them lying down?'" -DS]

Rosalind Peterson: Update! Congressman Mike Thompson got the Navy to extend the Final FEIS Public Comment Deadline to October 24, 2010 Three Cheers!

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around Mendo Island on October 12, 2010 at 7:57 am

Redwood Valley

Toll Free Number (1866) 220-0044

Senator Barbara Boxer
Senator Dianne Feinstein
Congressman Mike Thompson, California
Congresswomen Lynn Woolsey

Three items:

1) Extend the U.S. Navy Final Environmental NWTRC public comment period. (Northwest Training Range Complex)

2) Ask for U.S. Congressional Hearings

3) Make any personal comments about the destruction of marine mammal sanctuaries and reserves or your own comments.

October 12, 2010

The Honorable Congressman Mike Thompson

I understand that you are working to obtain an extension of the final Navy Public Comment period.  We appreciate your efforts on our behalf.


Soils and Souls: The Promise of the Land

In Around the web on October 11, 2010 at 10:00 pm

Energy Bulletin

[...] Re: The Land Institute’s Prairie Festival annual gathering in Salina, KS.

In the search for alternatives to our dead-end industrial agriculture system, Land Institute researchers are pursuing plant breeding programs that just may be the key to post-oil farming. But beyond the science, “The Land” — that’s how everyone there refers to the Institute in conversation — provides a fertile space for mixing the ideas of people as well as the genes of plants. In both cases, the hybrid vigor — the superior qualities that result from crossbreeding — is exciting.

With the rain providing an intermittent backbeat on the barn roof throughout a Saturday in late September, the 2010 Prairie Festival began with three talks — by poet/novelist Wendell Berry, economist Josh Farley, and biologist Sandra Steingraber — that were insightful on their own, but even more intriguing as an intellectual mash-up. The three were telling the story of how sin brought us to this place, how we must redefine success if we are to atone, and how essential that change is for our own safety. I had come expecting those kinds of insights and analyses, but surprisingly I left the barn that day with one revelation burning in my brain: While evil lurks in many places, it is most concentrated in fossil fuels.


Wendell Berry: Those who piss in our cistern are wealthier than the rest of us

In Around the web on October 11, 2010 at 9:58 pm

Orion Magazine 2004

WE ARE DESTROYING OUR COUNTRY—I mean our country itself, our land. This is a terrible thing to know, but it is not a reason for despair unless we decide to continue the destruction. If we decide to continue the destruction, that will not be because we have no other choice. This destruction is not necessary. It is not inevitable, except that by our submissiveness we make it so.

We Americans are not usually thought to be a submissive people, but of course we are. Why else would we allow our country to be destroyed? Why else would we be rewarding its destroyers? Why else would we all—by proxies we have given to greedy corporations and corrupt politicians—be participating in its destruction? Most of us are still too sane to piss in our own cistern, but we allow others to do so and we reward them for it. We reward them so well, in fact, that those who piss in our cistern are wealthier than the rest of us.

How do we submit? By not being radical enough. Or by not being thorough enough, which is the same thing.

Since the beginning of the conservation effort in our country, conservationists have too often believed that we could protect the land without protecting the people. This has begun to change, more…

Mendo Island Transition: What we can do if governments won’t

In !ACTION CENTER!, Mendo Island Transition on October 11, 2010 at 7:28 am

Transition Culture

This week sees the launch of Alexis Rowell’s Transition Book, “Communities, councils and carbon – what we can do if governments won’t”, which will be available here at Transition Culture from early next week. It’s a blood, sweat and tears account of life as an elected eco warrior trying to encourage local government to work with communities to make the world a greener place, packed with great case studies and tips for Transition initiatives and Councils alike… and to whet your appetite, here is my foreword for the book…

“In late July 2008, the Transition Network office had a phone call from Somerset to tell us that the previous night Somerset County Council (SCC) had passed a remarkable resolution pledging its support to its local Transition Initiatives. It acknowledged the work of Transition Initiatives in Somerset, subscribed the Council to supporting the ethos of Transition, committed the Council to offering ‘support and assistance’ to those Initiatives, and committed SCC to becoming the ‘first Transition Local Authority in the UK’. The caller asked, in the light of the resolution, whether we could tell them what a ‘Transition Local Authority’ actually is. We said we had no idea, but that we would be fascinated to explore it with them.


Pension Fund and Measure C in Understandable Language (Updated)

In Around Mendo Island on October 10, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Mendocino County

[This is a must-read if you want to understand Measure C and the Pension System. John McCowen explains below how the pension system works and the relationship to Measure C (the money from Measure C will not go to pay debt). Please read and pass along to anyone who truly wants to understand the financing of the Pension Fund.

Update: The main reason, in my opinion, that Dickerson and Sakowicz complain that “no one listens” to their rants on the state of the debt and unfunded liability is (1) they seem incapable of explaining their position in plain English and (2) the county has addressed the issues that could be addressed, including making sure payments on the debt are being made, not deferred. In reality, there is nothing left to gripe about regarding the county debt, except for the unavoidable fact that it’s there. The county could get in worse shape if revenue is not increased. Then who would be to blame? I think the blame would fall squarely on deluded voters.

Please read John’s post and then VOTE IN FAVOR OF MEASURE C. -JS]

Original message from Supervisor John McCowen:


Joe Wildman: Follow The Wendy Roberts’ Right-Wing Real Estate Developer Money

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around Mendo Island on October 10, 2010 at 3:15 pm

Gated Mansions Shutting Us Out Of Our Beloved Coast?

Mendocino County

Recently, after reviewing previous campaign contribution reports, I wrote a letter to the editor exposing 5th District supervisor candidate Wendy Roberts as part of Mendocino County’s anti-environmental, anti-regulation, right-wing community. An examination of her most recent report confirms that she is backed by the most regressive forces in the County.

Leading the contributors on Ms. Roberts’ recent report is Farm Bureau president Mike Anderson of Anderson Logging, with a total of $5,000. Another big contributor is Ross Liberty, the benefactor of all Republican causes, who is listed at $2,200. Sadly, my union brothers and sisters at the Operating Engineers put up $1,000. (In the past, they’ve supported Michael Delbar, river gravel mining, more…

Why We Love Fiction

In Around the web on October 10, 2010 at 3:14 pm


Stories play a large part in our lives, not only as a pastime. More important is that fiction has helped humanity survive. Even though science can explain the need of fiction, it cannot replace it.

When did you last immerse yourself in the pool of make-believe? In a television drama, or a film, watched from the sofa or a cinema seat? A story you just read to your children? The comic strip you read in this morning’s newspaper? A joke you heard at work or around the table? The novel you read last night? A love song on your iPod? Chances are that the last fictional story you encountered was not long ago, and the previous one not long before that.

Why do we spend so much of our time in story worlds, from pretend play and fairy tales to novels, comics, TV sitcoms and vampire series, movies from Hollywood to Bollywood and arthouse, and the stories in poems, song lyrics and computer games? Wouldn’t you expect a successful species, as we seem to be, to spend its time focusing on what’s true in the world? But we, uniquely, often distract ourselves with what we know to be untrue. more…


In Around Mendo Island on October 9, 2010 at 9:21 am


In Around Mendo Island on October 9, 2010 at 9:19 am


In Around Mendo Island on October 9, 2010 at 9:17 am

‘Ripe For Change’ Film, Today Saturday 10/9/10 2pm, Civic Center

In Around Mendo Island, Mendo Island Transition on October 8, 2010 at 10:44 am


Film focuses on Food, Agriculture, and Sustainability

The Grace Hudson Museum will host a free film screening followed by a panel discussion on Saturday, Oct. 9 at 2 p.m. in the Ukiah Civic Center. “Ripe for Change,” an award-winning PBS documentary which was partially filmed in Mendocino County, examines historical and current debates over food, agriculture and sustainability.

A post-film panel discussion will be led by the film producer, Jed Riffe. Other participants in the panel will be Paul Dolan, Mendocino Wine Company partner and leader in the organic and biodynamic wine movement; Scott Cratty, Ukiah Farmer’s Market Manager and Westside Renaissance Market owner; and Kathleen Rose Smith, Bodega Miwok & Dry Creek Pomo artist and writer on California Indian native foods.

This program is being held in conjunction with the Grace Hudson Museum & Sun House’s current exhibition, “Seaweed, Salmon and Manzanita Cider: A California Indian Feast,” which will be on display until Nov. 5. The Grace Hudson Museum is a part of the City of Ukiah’s Community Services Department. The Ukiah Civic Center is at 300 Seminary Ave. in Ukiah.

From Producer JED RIFFE

California — always a fascinating marriage of opposite extremes — is at a cross-roads in agriculture. Many Californians are struggling to fend off overdevelopment and the loss of farming lands and traditions while embracing innovative visions of agricultural sustainability. At the same time, California is where fast food was born and a center of the biotechnology industry and large corporate agribusiness. The debates raging in California over issues of food, agriculture, and sustainability have profound implications for all of America, especially in a world where scarcity more…

Todd Walton: Desnatchification

In Around Mendo Island, Guest Posts on October 8, 2010 at 7:26 am

Under The Table

“Bodies devoid of mind are as statues in the market place.” Euripides

Have you ever seen Invasion of the Body Snatchers? I’m thinking particularly of the 1978 remake starring Donald Sutherland. I remember two things most vividly about the movie. First, the invading fungus (or fungus-like alien) left everyone it snatched seemingly unchanged on the outside, but on the inside those who got snatched were full of fungus. Hence the expression: the fungus amongus. Secondly, I had the distinct feeling the film was not fiction, but rather a docudrama. It seemed to me that Americans by the millions were being snatched and having their hearts and minds turned into sticky gray fungus; and I kept meeting these people and dating them.

“The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them.” Albert Einstein

Now it is 2010, thirty-two years since I saw Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and here comes the news that a wealthy television producer just won a MacArthur Genius Award. If nothing about this news strikes you as strange or untoward, then I would say you have been snatched. The news that an award intended to support daring unknown artists has been given to a well-known commercial hack reminds me of that terrible day some years ago when the abominably sophomoric musical fungus A Chorus Line won the Pulitzer Prize. When I heard that news, the first thought that came to my mind was, “Those judges have been snatched.”

“Of one thing we can be sure. The quality of our life in the future will be determined by the quality of our thinking.” Edward de Bono

What do I mean by snatched, assuming the snatchee’s body and brain isn’t actually filled with alien fungus? To my way of thinking (which I grant you is not necessarily a simple or popular way of thinking) a person qualifies as snatched when he or she has surrendered his or her powers of discernment to propaganda disguised as contemporary culture. Sadly, horribly, fungaciously, more…

Can You DIY?

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around the web on October 8, 2010 at 7:24 am

From YES!

Sweeten with honey, darn a sock, and refrigerate without electricity: Learn how to do what your grandparents knew

Stock up on raw, local honey in the summer when it’s been freshly collected. The freshest and purest honey will crystallize rapidly—and this is a good thing. It’s what preserves the quality of the honey.  more…

Darning a Sock. YES! Magazine Graphic, 2010 Put an old lightbulb or glass jar into the sock so that it shows through the hole. That keeps the material supported and gives a smooth surface for your needle work. Thread a large needle with thread similar in weight to the thing you’re mending.  more…

spacer CAPTURE WILD YEAST Make your own bread. YES! Magazine Graphic, 2010
You don’t need a package of yeast from the store to make a loaf of bread. Mix 1/2 cup filtered or spring water with 1/2 cup of rye flour and 1/2 cup of white bread flour in a glass bowl. Cover the bowl with a wet towel to let air in but keep bugs out.  more…

Saving Kale Seeds. YES! Magazine Graphic, 2010 SAVE KALE SEEDS
Kale is a winter green and offers more nutrients per serving than any other vegetable. In mild climates it can be a four-season crop.  more…

The pot-in-pot cooler uses the evaporative power of water to draw heat energy away from the contents. Refrigerating without Electricity. YES! Magazine Graphic, 2010 In a well ventilated dry area, place a small clay pot inside a larger clay pot. Fill the space in between them with wet sand and keep it moist.  more…

A terrible dependency of mind

In Around the web on October 7, 2010 at 11:33 am

North California

As I watched snippets of President Obama’s town hall-style meetings around the country recently, I was struck by how often questioners demonstrated the mindset that solutions to their problems will come from some central authority, in this case, the federal government. It’s not surprising to see this in the modern industrial state. The other central authority would be large, globe-spanning corporations that provide the essentials of modern life including food, fuel, transportation, and a wide array of industrial and consumer goods. They even supply much of the entertainment.

I see no easy way for a modern person, especially someone living in an urban setting–as the vast majority of people in the United States do–to avoid such dependencies altogether for now. To disengage from them completely would mean certain death for many if not most. For nearly everyone alive in wealthy countries there has never been a time when we were not faced with extreme dependence on the two most centralizing forces of the modern era, central government and behemoth corporations.

So, given the current economic mess it seems natural for people to turn to the twin citadels of central power and demand that they alleviate our suffering. This demand assumes that those running our governments and corporations have the ability and the desire to respond to such suffering.

In a world where various occupational niches are disappearing never to return, the extreme specialization which has become the norm in modern labor has doomed many to long-term unemployment. The market no longer needs them because they have the wrong skills or because demand for what they do is very low.

And, the promise that the economic downturn will be temporary further enslaves the minds of those already out of work and out of luck. It deals them a second blow of suffering, the second being the false hope that things can return to what passed for normal in, say, 2006.

This terrible dependency of mind results in paralysis for some and rage for others. It leads people to believe more…

A Round-up of What’s Happening out in the World of Transition

In !ACTION CENTER!, Mendo Island Transition on October 7, 2010 at 11:32 am

From Transition Culture.

It’s October already, so it’s time to share September’s Transition activities from across the world…  we have lots of news from Transition groups in the Netherlands. Their Renewable Energy Project has 75 households involved in it, which between them will have about 800 solar panels on their roofs in the coming spring. Also their first Local and Interest Free money project was launched at the end of September, and they also recently held a Post-fossil Festival, with lots of interesting activities going on. Their ‘Share your stuff – with people you trust’ social website, launched in August, has seen 688 people share 832 goods…wow! They’ve also been making ‘eatable façade gardens’ in the heart of the old city of Deventer, and there’s a great video too…

It’s October already, so it’s time to share September’s Transition activities from across the world…  we have lots of news from Transition groups in the Netherlands. Their Renewable Energy Project has 75 households involved in it, which between them will have about 800 solar panels on their roofs in the coming spring. Also their first Local and Interest Free money project was launched at the end of September, and they also recently held a Post-fossil Festival, with lots of interesting activities going on. Their ‘Share your stuff – with people you trust’ social website, launched in August, has seen 688 people share 832 goods…wow! They’ve also been making ‘eatable façade gardens’ in the heart of the old city of Deventer, and there’s a great video too…

Article with videos here

Debora McGillivray: Together We Can

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around Mendo Island on October 6, 2010 at 11:04 pm

Together We Can! Mendocino

Dear Members and Friends of Together We Can! Mendocino,

Wow!  It’s been a very busy October and we’re still in the first week!  Thank you to all of you who have been volunteering and signing up.

We have one new posted volunteer event this week, the first Trail Work Day for the 2010-11 season.   This is from Ukiah Valley Trail Group’s newsletter:

We know you’ve been waiting with baited breath, we’ve just been catching our breath. We accomplished so much in the last trail building year. A 60 foot bridge and a mile and a half of brand new trail on steep hillside. Phew! Over 800 hours of volunteer time (that doesn’t include CCC hours) is a lot in a community this size and is a reflection of how important trails are to us. Can we do even more this year? If you all pitch in, yes!

The location hasn’t been determined yet, but it’s always fun and rewarding.  Here’s the link to sign up:  Trail Work Day – October 31st.

In addition to the Trail Work Day, we have a couple of other volunteer events you may be interested in.  These events are not posted, so please contact the person listed for more information.

The first is helping Plowshares with their massive once a year mailing:

Plowshares can use your help in preparing a once-a-year large mailer.  Work will start Monday, October 11, running between 9 and 7 daily, and continuing until the mailing is ready to send out.   The activity will take place in the Plowshares community room which is the room on the northern leg of the L-shaped building.  If you find the room locked, please go into the main dining room;  more

Gene Logsdon: Picking Blackberries Without Bleeding To Death

In Around the web on October 6, 2010 at 7:49 am

Upper Sandusky, Ohio

Summer has passed but I am still savoring a memory that I did not find a way to write about earlier. Until this year I have not been a real fan of blackberries. The big thornless ones we grow in the garden are only really juicy sweet when they are dead ripe, that is a day after they fall off the vine. Before that, the core inside the berry is rather hard and tasteless. The wild ones that we sometimes pick instead have very little bone but lots of tooth and are often too scrawny to have much taste.

But this year, with abundant rains through May, June and July, the wild blackberries ripened plump and sweet. Only one problem. How do you pick them without bleeding to death?

Carol has stories to tell about picking blackberries. For her family in Kentucky, wild blackberries were a cash crop. Her mother would sally forth into the puckerbrush with her children every summer to pick them by the gallon. They sold the berries along with other produce from garden and orchard at local farm markets. The blackberry money was used to buy new school shoes.

In July and August the interior of a blackberry patch in Kentucky is several degrees hotter than the nether regions of hell. The blackberries are not only guarded by thorns cunningly arrayed on the vines to snag anything that passes within ten feet, but by chiggers and mosquitoes. So despite the heat, mother and children wore long sleeves and heavy clothing and rubbed sulfur on wrists, ankles, and around waists to fend off the bugs. A person must have a great desire for new shoes to endure that experience. more

Young Farmers to Convene in Redwood Valley

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around Mendo Island on October 6, 2010 at 7:48 am

Grassroots Event Signals the Emergence of New Agricultural Leaders

MENDOCINO COUNTY – The Greenhorns, a national nonprofit organization led by America’s new generation of farmers, will host a free event for young and beginning farmers at Frey Vineyards on Friday, October 15th, 2010. This grassroots gathering is in alliance with diverse local organizations working in sustainable food and agriculture.

The Redwood Valley Young Farmers Mixer is a multi-purpose event that will boost solidarity and next generation entrepreneurialism in a county where food and farming has a vital history. Participants will celebrate the rich regional cuisine, rural life, and the movement toward a local food economy. Professional resources will be on-hand for over 100 young, aspiring, beginning and even veteran farmers. Attendees will mingle and learn while enjoying free farm-fresh food from local sponsors, and while listening and dancing to live music from The Freys and Friends, and Ed Masuga. Aaron Gilliam will present a very special workshop: The Galatina di Pollo: Learn how to stuff a chicken using a traditional Italian method!

This event is organized by the Greenhorns nonprofit organization, which has seeded twenty similar events in the last year all over the country. There will be a screening of “The Greenhorns” documentary film about America’s young farmer movement, slated for wider release in 2011. Co-sponsors include Frey Vineyards, the Mendocino County Farmers Market Association, and the Mendocino Organic Network.

As in much of the country, California’s young farmers are at the center of a quiet but evident shift in agricultural demographics. USDA statistics show that California’s farmers are aging overall, with an average of 58 years old more

Michael Foley: An (Almost) Open Letter To KZYX & Z About Democracy Now Time Change

In Around the web on October 5, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Diane L. Hering
Membership Outreach Coordinator
Mendocino County Public Broadcasting

Dear Ms. Hering:

We are responding to your recent letter asking that we renew our membership. Currently, my wife and I seem to have two memberships, involving monthly charges of $15 each to two different credit cards, both in my name.

The recent decision to switch Democracy Now! from morning to 4 pm has distressed our whole household. Our exchanges with Station Manager John Coate and Program Director Mary Aigner have not been satisfactory. In fact, Coate was downright rude when I wrote to protest. He had to be told I was a member before returning to civility. They contradicted one another regarding the weight of the so-called survey that attempted to appraise listener preferences (I say “attempted” because, as a former social scientist, I know that this sort of “survey” is the least reliable of all methods for getting a true sample of listener opinions).

We started our day with KZYX when Democracy Now! was broadcast at 8 am, and we often continued with the 9 am programs, despite a busy farm schedule. We no longer do so. We will not listen to NPR’s politically compromised pablum any more than we have to, and we don’t have to.

The result is that we listen to KZYX much less than half the time we used to, and that is unlikely to change, given our schedules. There are many fine programs on KZYX, NPR news shows excepted, and we would like to continue to support the station. We would also like to see a change of leadership. But that is another matter.


Neil Davis: Transition Town + Town Bike = Transition Bike!

In Around Mendo Island, Guest Posts on October 5, 2010 at 8:33 am

Mendo 2 Mile Challenge

This idea of “transition towns” is pretty new to me. If it’s new to you here’s the skinny (if it’s not you can skip the rest of this paragraph); many communities, primarily as grass roots efforts, are responding to the reality that we’re going to run out of oil. These folks acknowledge that as the world’s oil supply dwindles, energy costs will soar with myriad nasty effects. So instead of hiding their heads in shopping bags, they are getting together in small self guided “support groups” and working together to reduce their energy dependence. In the process they’re reconnecting with their neighbors and finding joy in community

That’s pretty cool.

So my google search of “transition town” got me loads of info – all very inspiring. But as I waded through this stuff I was struck by how little talk there was about the energy glutton that is our single passenger vehicle. It’s probably that I just naturally love bikes, but it seemed to me that leaving our cars at home (or better yet, at the dealership) would be the big easy win, but maybe that’s a bad assumption. So back to my guru, and I found this:

“Counting the overall energy demand for use in homes, versus cars in 2008, the EIA estimates U.S. consumers use … about 30 percent more energy in their homes than their car. (These numbers don’t include diesel fuel or commercial energy usage.)”

“The numbers point out that consumers can make a bigger difference in saving energy by insulating doors and windows, buying energy efficient appliances, and installing programmable thermostats, for example, than by buying the latest hybrid car.”

- Consumers Report: Cars Blog August 27, 2009 – more

Bruce Patterson: Animal Husbandry

In Around Mendo Island, Guest Posts on October 4, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Anderson Valley

Wheeling his pickup to town for an after work beer, Dale glanced at his Lady sitting all dainty-like beside him. What a fine young thing she was. Her nose out the open side window, her ears flapping in the wind, the tip of her long tail gently tapping the seat, Lady was just as pleased as punch to be off the ranch and taking in the smells and scenery. “What a sweetheart,” Dale thought to himself. “What a pal.”

Dale never did believe in keeping animals as house pets. With every living thing, counting humans, having to earn its daily bread, why would Dale want to make an exception for, say, a kitty cat? Even the best damned kitty cat sleeps about 90% of the time and, if it ain’t sleeping, then it’s sitting and hallucinating, or sharpening its claws on your curtains, or licking itself from one end to the other. About the only time a cat ever gets interesting is in the dead of night when a person is trying to sleep, and Dale never would stand for that, not with him rising with the sun. So every cat he’d ever owned he kept as a barn cat. He’d feed and water it enough to encourage it to stick around to fill out it’s diet with field mice, wood rats, pocket gophers, fence lizards and what all. If the cat was a decent enough hunter, it’d stay fat and happy and, if it was to its liking, Dale would bring it inside the house often enough to show his appreciation. While relaxing on his couch, he’d even let the cat rub and rub on his pants leg while he stroked its flagpole tail. Then when a mouse invaded Dale’s bedroom, he’d bring in the cat at sundown, shut his bedroom door behind it, sleep on the couch and, come morning when he let the cat back outside, it’d have a cute little bump in its belly.

Who’d ever pay good money for a yappy little pedigree lapdog? Better yet, how about buying yourself a yappy little lapdog with a pedigree face as ugly as a moldy, dripping honey bun? more

Dan Hamburg: Take Action! Urge the governor to sign Forest Forever’s AB 2575!

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around the web, Mendo Island Transition on October 4, 2010 at 8:45 am

Vote Hamburg for 5th District Supervisor
Mendocino County

AB 2575, written by Forests Forever and guided through the legislature by our own Assemblyman Wes Chesbro, awaits the governor’s signature. It represents a major step forward (though it should have become law decades ago!) in terms of assessing cumulative impacts of logging operations on impaired salmon runs.

Forests Forever was founded in 1989 in order to save the Headwaters Forest in Humboldt County. It then provided grassroots advocacy for the passage of the Forests Forever initiative mentioned by Rita Crane in her message this morning. I’ve been a member of the Board of Directors of this organization since 2004.

Some of you will no doubt remember long-time coastal activist Luke Breit who currently serves as legislative director for Forests Forever. Some will also recognize the name of Richard Gienger, a member of Forests Forever’s Advisory Board and one of the heroes of the struggle for sustainable forestry over the past several decades.

Legislature passes Forests Forever’s AB 2575!

Forest Land Recovery Act now headed to governor’s desk

By a vote of 50-24 the California State Legislature on Aug. 23 gave final approval to Assembly Bill 2575, the “Comprehensive Forest Land Recovery and Restoration Act,” sponsored by Forests Forever and authored by Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro (D-North Coast).


Bill Maher: Republicans ‘A Deadly Enemy’

In Around the web on October 4, 2010 at 8:44 am

[Local context: Although Wendy Roberts is registered Democrat, she is Republican through and through. A friend calls her a "ringer" could look it up. For Mendocino County and our environment, she and her supporters are, in deed, the deadly enemy. You can diss the Democrats all you want, and you can decry the choices you have to make, but if your vote is a vote against, rather than a vote for, it is still truly needed to hold off the local forces of destruction. FYI: For this "non-partisan" election, my personal endorsement is enthusiastically for Dan, a Green, not against Pretend-Democrat Roberts. I'm just saying... -DS]

“When it comes to voting, when we only have two choices, you got to grow up and realize there’s a big difference between a disappointing friend and a deadly enemy,” said the “Real Time” host during his “New Rules” segment.

Maher continued the campaign speech saying Democrats “are all that stands between you and darkest night.”

“You know why the Republican symbol is R?” he asked his audience. “Because it’s the noise a pirate makes when he robs you and feeds you to a shark”

BILL MAHER: And finally, new rule: someone has to explain to me how it is that the Democrats can’t talk about their accomplishments while the Republicans actually campaign on their fuck-ups. Last week President Obama had the frankest town hall meeting I’ve ever seen, and a woman named Velma Hart took the mike and told the president, “I’m exhausted defending you.” Well, if you’re like Velma and you’re tired of making excuses for Obama, just imagine how tired he is of making excuses for you.


I know. Unemployment is high more

More Ou(s)ting Wendy Roberts (and her response). Update: the community responds

In Around Mendo Island on October 3, 2010 at 5:54 pm

Anchor Bay
Mendo List Servs

Wendy Roberts wants to be your Supervisor (Mendo 5th District) so she can bring a “balance” between environmental concerns and good jobs. What a pile of malarkey.

Those of us who’ve lived here for a few decades can remember when the county roads were clogged with logging trucks bringing virgin redwood timber logs to mill. No more. Now, you’re lucky to get stuck behind a ragged load of redwood carcass. Why? The moguls took all the damn trees and with them all the logging jobs, the mills, and every service sector job that supported the timber industry. Oh, and on their way out the door they silted up the streams and killed the fishery too. No more fishing jobs, the harbors are now empty of a once robust salmon fishing fleet.

Yesterday mom could stay at home while dad was out at sea for a week bringing in a load of high-quality wild salmon. Now-a-days dad’s got a low-wage job at the hardware store and mom picks up seasonal work trimming Mendo bud for $25 bucks an hour. Heck, “reefer madness” is the only viable agriculture we have left in what was the richest forest/fishery in the world.

Who tried to stop the destruction of Mendocino County? Those pesky environmentalists. The one’s Wendy Roberts now calls extremists. She wants to bring “balance” to the political discourse in Mendo’s supe chamber so the corporate clowns can do some more slash and burn. It’s good for business.

If we had listened to simple reason, cut trees for maximum _sustainable_harvest, we’d still have young families able to buy a home and pay for it, the world’s best Doug fir and redwood timber logs for building and export, and we just might have a robust fishery too.

But reason is now branded extremist. more

Todd Walton: Meaning of Meaning

In Around Mendo Island, Guest Posts on October 2, 2010 at 7:29 am

Under The Table

“A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes.” Ludwig Wittgenstein

I first encountered the writing of Ludwig Wittgenstein in 1967 when I was eighteen, a freshman at UC Santa Cruz. Wittgenstein’s little treatises The Blue and Brown Books were required reading for all freshmen enrolled at Stevenson College, the campus within the campus named after Adlai Stevenson and dedicated to the social sciences. I was a gung ho anthropology major, though my gung ho-ness would soon be replaced by the awareness that anthropology was a deeply conflicted realm best avoided by the already conflicted likes of me.

But in my early weeks on that lovely campus, free for the first time in my life from my parents’ incessant intrusions, the breezes eloquent and optimal for Frisbee, the bevies of braless beauties making of life an erotic potpourri, I was inspired to give academia the old college try. So I dove into my studies with youthful zeal, and things went swimmingly for a month or so, and then…Wittgenstein.

I beg the forgiveness of any Wittgenstein devotees who may read this dispatch. My sense of the man, based on a few biographical sketches and the four pages of his work I have labored through, is that he was an intimidating German charlatan for whom Oxford and the higher realms of academia were a field of clover, he a ravenous cow. But I don’t know.

In the introductory lecture on Wittgenstein given by a professor who would soon thereafter kill himself, we teenagers were told that the brilliant German transplant was initially intrigued by the meanings of meanings of words, but soon grew tired of such pedestrian mental gymnastics more

Lucy Neely: Crazy about ‘maters

In Around Mendo Island, Garden Farm Skills, Guest Posts on October 2, 2010 at 7:28 am

From Lucy Neely
The Gardens Project

I felt like I needed to buckle down and really write some news, instead of just musings. I asked myself, ‘what’s the news right now? What’s happening?’ It only took a short moment: ‘Ah hah! Tomatoes!’

What is it about tomatoes? What makes them arguably the most popular vegetable plant with United States of American home gardeners? What makes them hold such a place in our hearts and minds? And what is the state of tomatoes in Mendocino County and in Ukiah?

Mendocino County Agriculture Commissioner Tony Linegar estimates that 40% of households in Inland Valley Mendocino County have at least one tomato plant. Ukiah Mayor Benj Thomas estimates that 30-40% of households in Ukiah have at least one tomato plant.

Scott Cratty, manager of the Ukiah Farmers Market and co-owner/operator of the Westside Renaissance Market (WRM), the most local food store in Ukiah – says that a lot of people won’t come to the Farmers Market until there are tomatoes. Cratty theorizes that tomatoes symbolize summer, abundance, and eating dinner outside. Melanie Underhill, an AmeriCorps VISTA with First 5, points out that she can really tell the difference between a fresh tomato and a not fresh tomato, more so than with other vegetables. Is the tomato the symbol of the glory and importance of fresh food?

Linegar tells me that tomatoes are technically a berry (as are grapes) and that Inland Mendocino County has “some of the best tomato growing conditions in California. more

Janie Sheppard: The Pro-Development Money Supporting Wendy Roberts

In Around Mendo Island on October 1, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Mendocino County

[Vote for Wendy Roberts and before we know it there will be gated mansions up and down our beloved Mendocino Coast. -DS]

Fur is flying over mistakes in Dan Hamburg’s campaign statements (Form 460) required by the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).

To see all the statements, go to:

But let’s not get distracted.

Instead, consider how valuable the FPPC is to the integrity of state and local elections in California. A creature of the California initiative process, voters passed the Political Reform Act (Prop. 9) in 1974.

Since then, the FPPC has served as a model for the nation and the rest of the democratic world, according to Wikipedia.

Indeed, thanks to the FPPC we know who contributes the big bucks to local campaigns.  With that information, we can construe what’s really at stake in the 5th District Supervisorial Campaign where Dan Hamburg and Wendy Roberts now vie for 5th District votes.

Big bucks contributors to the Roberts campaign include:

1.    John Mayfield, longtime conservative, contributed $500. A supporter of a mega mall on the old Masonite site, who paid for front page ads in the Ukiah Daily Journal in favor of Measure A, which, had it passed, would have changed the zoning to allow a Ohio developer (DDR) to place a mega-mall on the old Masonite site.

2.   California Real Estate Political Action Committee (for North Bay Association of Realtors), pro-development PAC, contributed $500 more

Tea & Crackers (Updated)

In Around the web, Aw, ya selfish greedy bastards ya on October 1, 2010 at 11:54 am

Rolling Stone
Thanks to Todd Walton
(See update below)

How corporate interests and Republican insiders built the Tea Party monster

A hall full of elderly white people in Medicare-paid scooters, railing against government spending and imagining themselves revolutionaries as they cheer on the vice-presidential puppet hand-picked by the GOP establishment. If there exists a better snapshot of everything the Tea Party represents, I can’t imagine it…

“Let me get this straight,” I say to David. “You’ve been picking up a check from the government for decades, as a tax assessor, and your wife is on Medicare. How can you complain about the welfare state?”

“Well,” he says, “there’s a lot of people on welfare who don’t deserve it. Too many people are living off the government.”

“But,” I protest, “you live off the government. And have been your whole life!”…

Vast forests have already been sacrificed to the public debate about the Tea Party: what it is, what it means, where it’s going. But after lengthy study of the phenomenon, I’ve concluded that the whole miserable narrative boils down to one stark fact: They’re full of shit. All of them. At the voter level, the Tea Party is a movement that purports to be furious about government spending — only the reality is that the vast majority of its members are former Bush supporters who yawned through two terms of record deficits and spent the past two electoral cycles frothing not about spending but about John Kerry’s medals and Barack Obama’s Sixties associations. more

Neil Davis: My New Old Bike

In Around Mendo Island on October 1, 2010 at 8:37 am

Mendo 2 Mile Challenge
Ukiah Valley Trail Group

My good ol’ mountain bike; so many miles, so much fun. Then one day a new mountain bike came into my life. A sexy little single speed, so light, so fast. My good ol’ mountain bike slowly receded to the back of the bike barn.

But she’s back! The ol’ steel Trek 970, like a phoenix, has re-emerged as my newly beloved utility bike. With a little ( OK, a lot) of help from Dave of Dave’s Bike Shop she’s showing her core, timeless beauty.

Last year I replaced the aggressive stem/bar combination I had used for mountain biking with an upright combo. Nice and laid back for my town trips. Then I put a kickstand on it. Pretty good, serviceable. But then last week I took it into Dave’s and had him complete the transformation. Full fenders, rear rack, front basket and the coup of all coups – a chainguard. It’s got the works, baby! All the new pieces are black and I like to think it matches the dark gray frame very nicely, even if the paint is chipped and scratched in a few places.

Now I must admit I’ve been drooling over some really beautiful “retro” bikes like the retrovelo the gazelle opafiets and the velorbis bikes , but let’s face it – they’re all over a thousand bucks, and some of them are twice that.

Now I look at what I’ve got, my old bike with a few hundred dollars of upgrades, and it looks an awful lot like those bikes. And it’s a sweet ride. While Dave was giving my Trek a beauty treatment I had to ride my sexy single speed mountain bike around town – and don’t get me wrong I love the bike – but for town riding it’s atrocious! All hunched over in the power-producing, aero position it’s just hard to relax and hard to see anything. I got the Trek back and it was like sitting down in my favorite easy chair. A fella needs the right tool for the right job, and this bike is the right tool for errands and short commutes around town… Complete article here


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