Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

Archive for the ‘Dave Smith’ Category

Geezer Watch: Jerry Lee Still Shakin’

In Dave Smith on September 11, 2010 at 9:08 pm


Please indulge me. This man’s music, along with Chuck Berry and Elvis, shook many of us out of our high school stupors into a whole new world of freedom and fun-lovin’ craziness. In performance he would often kick the piano bench clear across the stage, and pound the keyboard with the heel of his boot. Many days at lunchtime I would walk a block to Bill’s Breeze-In from Miami Senior High School, order a burger and fries, drop a nickle in the jukebox, and play Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On. “Hey, Bill, turn it up!”…

See also Million Dollar Quartet on Broadway

Scott Cratty: Ukiah Farmers Market Saturday 9/11/10

In Dave Smith on September 9, 2010 at 10:33 pm


Friends of the Farmers’ Market,

Greetings.  Yet again, we should have a strong, peak season market, produce does not get better or fresher.  A bit about this Saturday’s market below …. but first:

Mark your calendars for this Friday evening’s Ukiah chili cook-off. The event, a benefit for the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Ukiah, is from 6-10pm in Alex Thomas Plaza. If you have not been before this is the year to check it out … otherwise you will miss your chance to try the Ukiah Saturday Farmers’ Market entry. It is being prepared by market favorites the Owen Family Farm and features their all-natural, Hopland pastured lamb.  This should be a great lamb and black bean chili that also features an array of local farm inputs such as Cinnamon Bear Farm peppers, Covelo Organics tomatoes, Creekside Farm garlic, Olivino olive oil, and Redtail Farms onions.  Take your friends with you and help promote the market by voting for the best chili.  When you try the chili you can get a coupon good for 10% off at the Owen Family Farm booth on Saturday September 11.

Back to the Saturday market.  Although Aqua-Rodeo oysters will have the week off, we will still have an amazingly robust meat section.   In addition to the Owen Family, I expect Heahl Creek Ranches lamb, Bar-Bell Cattle beef, Magruder Ranch pork and beef, Fish Peddler fish, John Ford Ranch beef, Inland Organics pork and Mendocino Organics chicken. more

Local Political Dustup: Anna Taylor takes on Wendy Roberts vs. Janie Sheppard (Updated)

In Around Mendo Island, Dave Smith on September 2, 2010 at 9:07 am


Janie Sheppard writes a Ukiah Blog post: Wendy Roberts — The Company She Keeps accusing Roberts of illegally leaving her campaign signs up after the election on a supporter’s property in the Russian River Estates, stuffing mail boxes with her propaganda, also illegal, and accepting money and support from the conservative ruling class while pretending she is a liberal. Anna Taylor posts it on the local listservs.

Roberts, writing defensively without naming the very credible Janie Sheppard, responds:

This post from Anna Taylor, Dan Hamburg’s spokeswoman, requires a response. It originally came from one of his supporters in Russian River Estates:

1. I have supporters in Russian River Estates as a result both of personal friendships and campaign outreach.
2. The owner of the property at the entrance to RRE kindly offered to let me post a sign on his property. We were late in removing the small sign placed there during the primary, but did so a few weeks ago. I replaced it when the 90-day window for signs arrived and have now placed a larger sign there.
3. I do not apologize, for one moment, either for my personal voting decisions or for having a broad base of support in my campaign for this non-partisan position. more

Book Review: Walking Your Blues Away — Thom Hartmann

In !ACTION CENTER!, Dave Smith on September 1, 2010 at 9:30 pm


[See my previous review here. This is a very important book, so I'm drawing attention to it again. Here are some other random reviews... DS]

“Just as a person with a severe hemispheric imbalance can be badly disconnected from emotions such as empathy, and thus sanction or even encourage actions such as mass murder that is war, so too can an entire society. In the opinion of some researchers, societies that are hemispherically unbalanced are more likely to be patriarchal, hierarchal, and violent, whereas societies that are hemispherically balanced are more likely to be egalitarian and democratic, and employ violence only in self-defense.” – From the book

Remember the caricatures of stage hypnotists brandishing a swinging pocket watch while intoning “Look into my eyes…” ? Well, according to author Thom Hartmann, this type of hypnosis was actually a bona fide psychiatric therapy in the late 1700′s and early 1800′s. In fact, Franz Anton Mesmer (“mesmerize”) was the first person to develop a system of bilateral cross-hemispheric stimulation by waving his fingers side to side while a patient followed with their eyes. Mesmer discovered that his system was quite effective in resolving non-organic physical and psychological problems. That is, psychosomatic conditions or issues rooted in emotional trauma. more

Dave Smith: Congestion? What congestion?

In Around Mendo Island, Dave Smith on August 19, 2010 at 9:29 pm


To the Editor, Ukiah Daily Journal

Referring to your front page article (UDJ 8/19) “Businessmen suggest Brush St. for courthouse”, I smell a rat. Quote: “Two Ukiah businessmen are suggesting a location for the new Mendocino County Courthouse they say would significantly reduce downtown congestion…” Well, one man’s “congestion” is another man’s vital traffic where his business was positioned years ago to take advantage of “location, location, location” as the Real Estate brokers continuously crow.

Our core downtown is a vital part of this community, and much of its survival as a downtown depends on the courthouse. Moving it a couple of blocks away would help maintain our downtown businesses. Moving it to property on Brush Street will help kill the downtown.

Congestion? Take a trip to the Bay Area. That’s congestion! Other than some mild backups in the morning and late afternoon when businesses are opening and closing, there is no congestion to speak of. The noon lunch rush is what we small downtown businesses live on. That’s called livelihood, not congestion.

No, it’s obvious this is about a property owner’s self-interest against the community’s interest in having a vital downtown, and downtown business owners’ self-interests, not about congestion.

And, oh yeah, these two guys, Mayfield and Selzer, pushed the Masonite Mall by talking about how much new business would be brought to downtown Ukiah. Phony balony!

Keep the courthouse near downtown, and brush-off any suggestions that Brush Street might be a better choice.

Sheilah Rogers: Rural Matters

In Dave Smith on August 19, 2010 at 7:48 am

Westside Renaissance Market, Ukiah

Redwood Valley

The Rural Microbusiness Investment Credit has been introduced in the House (H.R.5990) and as an amendment to the U.S. Senate Small Business Jobs Bill and will build on the Rural Entrepreneur Assistance Program in the 2008 Farm Bill.

Microenterprise is always a critical source of employment in most rural areas, but it is especially critical during a recession. During our last recession, between 2000 and 2003, employment grew in microenterprises while growing slowly or falling for larger employers. Nationwide employment grew in microenterprise 9.17% while falling 1.8% in larger firms.

Microbusinesses, particularly under-capitalized rural ventures, have always faced significant barriers securing financing from traditional banks and the increasing competition for limited credit is hitting microentrepreneurs particularly hard. As conventional bank lenders pull back on their small businesses lending entrepreneurs are forced to look for alternative sources of financing.

The Rural Microbusiness Investment Credit (RMIC) is designed to generate investment in both startup and expanding rural microbusinesses by providing a federal tax incentive, in the form of a 35 percent tax credit, to entrepreneurs who invest in their businesses. Beginning farmers and ranchers are also eligible. more

Dave Smith: Sales Tax Blues

In !ACTION CENTER!, Dave Smith on August 6, 2010 at 9:10 am


To The Editors:

Buying Online to Avoid Sales Tax Costs Us Locally

While economists nationwide argue over whether we have begun to recover from the Great Recession, one financial reality is beyond dispute. Our state, our county, and our town of Ukiah, continue to face the biggest budget challenge in decades. Even in a slowly rebounding economy, California is faced with continuing budget shortfalls, which means that local governments — even if they raise school and property taxes — are going to be cutting support for such essential services as policing, fire fighting, and schools.

The enormous irony in these troubling times is that California is allowing hundreds of millions of dollars in sales tax to go uncollected by allowing remote online retailers with a significant business presence in our state to ignore their obligation to collect sales tax.

Given the sums involved, you would think there would be many in the state calling for this situation to be remedied. There are not. Perhaps it’s because opponents of sales tax equity have, so far, managed to obfuscate the issue through a combination of misinformation and scapegoating.

Under current sales tax law, any out-of-state retailer is required to collect and remit sales tax for purchases made by residents in California if the retailer has a physical presence in our state. more

Michael Foley: Local Produce Price Comparisons — Farmers Markets This Saturday 7/31/10

In Dave Smith on July 29, 2010 at 10:05 pm


Friends of the Market,

Get set for another booming farmers’ market Saturday morning.  We will likely set yet another record for vendors in attendance.  At the moment I am expecting 36 food vendors, then there are the local crafts. Why not customers as well?

Joining us this weekend for the first time this season will be Elmer’s Orchard with Ukiah area peaches. Barlow Farms from Willits will debut. Red Tail Farm from Potter Valley will be back as will Glowing Lotus farm… tomatoes are starting to happen (but you may still need to be early to get yours) and overall School Street will be one giant salad bowl.  Plus we will have a full range of local meat, seafood, and more for your weekend grill.

Are you one of, apparently many, people who think they cannot afford farm fresh food in these tough economic times?  If so, please read the excellent article by Willits market manager Michael Foley that is pasted below.  Share it with your friends as well.

The market is open every Saturday 8:30 to Noon in Alex Thomas Plaza at School and Clay Streets.


Isn’t Farmers Market more expensive than the supermarket?  Well, no.
by Michael Foley

Surveys have shown that most customers at farmers markets think the produce is more expensive when in fact it isn’t.  That seems to be true for Willits as well.


Scott Cratty: Ukiah Farmers Market This Saturday 7/17/10

In Dave Smith on July 15, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Ithaca, New York


Friends of the Farmers’ Market,

Greetings.  This Saturday we should set yet a new high water mark for the number of local small farms and ranches at the Ukiah Saturday Farmers’ Market.

We have had several new farms at the market over the last couple of weeks (e.g., Black Dog and Amber Phamily).  Joining them and our usual array of great vendors this weekend for the first time will be Ellery Clark bringing a range of Ukiah-grown produce and Triple Creek from Laytonville, a second blueberry vendor.  Jack and Mimi Booth of Cinnamon Bear Farm will be returning for the first time this season and they expect to have our first Mendocino grown tomatoes … but you will have to be at the market early to get them.

Don’t forget that we have so much going on, most of our ranches and our fresh seafood have moved into a new section in the parking lot at School and Clay.

Speaking of meat, Lovers Lane Farm wanted me to let you all know that they will be having a “pork blowout” for the next 2 weeks at all the farmer’s markets. “In order to make room for a new batch of 100% Berkshire (Kurobuta) hogs, we will offer $5 off all roasts. This includes smoked ham roasts, bone-in picnic roasts, & boneless Boston butt roasts. Also smoked hocks will be buy one get one free. We still have a good supply of smoked jowls, sliced and whole. These make an excellent substitute for bacon, in fact you may not be able to tell the difference.” More about another Lovers’ Lane offer below.

Joanne Horn of Afterglow Naturals will be at the market for the 1st (and possibly only) time this month.

We will again have BEANS, an NCO-sponsored educational project.  This weekend the BEANS crew will be providing a range of activity for kids, including coloring, hula hooping, tin can stilts, nutrition information, recipes and more.  Plus, they will be sharing corn and bean fiesta salad. As usual, the market will feature a story time reading for kids at 10:30am in the park.  Then there is the jump house.

For you adults, we will have UC Master Gardeners to answer all of your questions.  This week they will feature information on weed & pest control. The good folks of the Ukiah Valley Medical Center will provide diabetes testing and information. more

Mendocino County: Stop Local Privatizing Scams

In !ACTION CENTER!, Dave Smith on July 11, 2010 at 7:39 pm

To the Editors

Heads up!
Reference: Food and Water Watch, Gartner Group

Corporate privateers are milking our current economic turmoil for all its worth. They are approaching cash-starved states, counties, cities, and towns with offers of money in exchange for their public services.

Criminal justice services (including the operation and management of prisons and jails), police protection and health care services to mentally disabled citizens are services now being massively provided throughout the country by private vendors. The lure of lucrative contracts and high profits continue to attract private industry to go after water, waste-water treatment, garbage and recycling systems, education, fire control, road maintenance, parks, transportation, etc.

We have frightened our elected officials of even contemplating tax increases because of anti-democratic propaganda that “government is the problem” and private enterprise is more efficient.

It’s all a despicable, greed-driven lie. more

Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune

In Dave Smith on July 8, 2010 at 10:09 pm


Show me a prison, show me a jail
Show me a pris’ner whose face has grown pale

And I’ll show you a young man
With many reasons why
There but for fortune, go you or I

Show me an alley, show me a train
Show me a hobo who sleeps out in the rain

And I’ll show you a young man
With many reasons why
There but for fortune, go you or I

Show me the whiskey stains on the floor
Show me a drunk as he stumbles out the door

And I’ll show you a young man
With many reasons why
There but for fortune, go you or I

Show me a country where the bombs had to fall
Show me the ruins of buildings so tall

And I’ll show you a young land
With many reasons why
There but for fortune, go you or I
You or I

Henry Miller: Revolutionaries of the Heart

In Books, Dave Smith on July 8, 2010 at 8:55 am

Nothing But The Marvelous

Always we are led back to the heart. It is there that everything is determined. A community must be organized around the heart, otherwise, no matter how rational the theory, how stout the principle, it will fall apart. This is the true theatre of operation: the heart. What happens outside in the world, as they say, is only the echo of the passion play which goes on in the soul of every individual.

Saviors of the World
For me the only true revolutionaries are the inspirers and activators, figures like Jesus, Lao-Tse, Gautama the Buddha, Akhenaton, Ramakrishna, Krishnamurti. The yardstick I employ is life: how men stand in relation to life. Not whether they succeeded in overthrowing a government, a social order, a religious form, a moral code, a system of education, an economic tyranny. Rather, how did they affect life itself. For, what distinguishes the men I have in mind is that they did not impose their authority on man; on the contrary, they sought to destroy authority. Their aim and purpose was to open up life, to make man hungry for life, to exalt life more

Let Your Flags Fly!

In Dave Smith on July 2, 2010 at 8:29 am

What does patriotism mean to you?

The Nation wants to know…


Independent Locally-Owned Store and Farm Finders

In Dave Smith on July 2, 2010 at 8:15 am

Independent Local Store Finder Here.

Local Farms Finder Here.


Leo Tolstoy: The Law of Love and the Law of Violence

In Dave Smith on June 29, 2010 at 3:53 pm

to be of use

[The Last Station, the wonderful film about Leo Tolstoy's relationships with his wife and followers, and his last days, is now available on Netflix.]

At the end of his wistful last book, The Law of Love and the Law of Violence, Leo Tolstoy wrote:

Put the good of your life in the progressive liberation of your mind, freedom from all the illusions of the flesh, and in the perfecting of your love for your fellow man — which is in essence the same thing. As soon as you begin to live like this, you will feel a joyous sensation full of liberty and happiness. You will be surprised to find that the same external conditions which caused you such anxiety, and which were far from what you wanted, will not prevent your experiencing the greatest possible happiness.

And if you are unhappy — I know that you are — reflect upon what is proposed to you here, which is not the product of my imagination merely, but of the thoughts and feelings of the best minds and hearts. It provides the only way to deliver you from your unhappiness and give you the greatest good you can get in this life.

That is what I have wanted to say to you, my brothers. Before I died.

Victor Frankl: Our Search for Meaning

In Dave Smith on June 15, 2010 at 10:27 pm

To Be Of Use

Internationally renowned psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, who endured years of unspeakable horror in Nazi death camps, wrote this in his groundbreaking book Man’s Search for Meaning:

I published a study devoted to a specific type of depression I had diagnosed in cases of young patients suffering from what I called “unemployment neurosis.” And I could show that this neurosis really originated in a twofold erroneous identification: being jobless was equated with being useless, and being useless was equated with having a meaningless life.

Consequently, whenever I succeeded in persuading the patients to volunteer in youth organizations, adult education, public libraries, and the like — in other words, as soon as they could fill their abundant free time with some sort of unpaid but meaningful activity — their depression disappeared although their economic situation had not changed and their hunger was the same.

Frankl developed “logotherapy.” Logos is a Greek word that denotes “meaning,” and his therapy was based on the “striving to find a meaning in one’s life,” which he felt was “the primary motivational force in man.” What matters is “not the meaning of life in general, but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment. … Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life to carry out a concrete assignment which demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is as unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it… The more one forgets himself — by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love — the more human he is and the more he actualizes himself … self-actualization is possible only as a side-effect of self-transcendence.”

More from Man’s Search For Meaning (1959)

Man’s search for meaning is the primary motivation in his life and not a “secondary rationalization” of instinctual drives. This meaning is unique and specific in that it must and can be fulfilled by him alone; only then does it achieve a significance which will satisfy his own will to meaning. There are some authors that contend that “meanings and values” are nothing but defense mechanisms, reaction formations, and sublimations.” But as for myself I would not be willing to live merely for the sake of my “defense mechanisms,” nor would I be willing to die merely for the sake of my “reaction formations.” Man, however, is able to live and even to die for the sake of his ideals and values! more

Ukiah Farmers Market Saturday 6/12/10

In Dave Smith on June 11, 2010 at 10:12 am

Anacortes, Washington


Friends of the Farmers Market,

Greetings!  The market has been slow the last couple of weeks, but I know that you will not be able to resist all of the cool stuff going on this Saturday.

For starters, we will have an interactive chef demonstration showing how to prepare your own great salad dressings from scratch, using what is available at the market (even at this lean point in the season).  To participate meet up with Jini Reynolds at 10am under the pavilion and join her as she shops the farmers’ market for fresh ingredients.   She will then show you how to make a range of fresh-made dressings.  Then you get to taste them.

The market will also share space with two important benefits.  The Peregrine Audubon Society’s annual rummage sale will be in the park at Alex Thomas Plaza.  It is your opportunity to find something interesting and support a good cause.  We will also host a raffle supporting for the upcoming Death to Meth concert and educational event (see today’s UDJ for more about this event).

For the kids, our series of 10:30am story time features kicks-off this week with a reading by librarian Eliza Wingate with assistance from Joplin the therapy dog.  Look for it near the Jumperz play house.

In the street the oysters are likely to be back, Covelo Organics should be with us for the 1st time this season, Richard Jeske will be at the market for the 1st time with goji berry plants, table grape plants selected specially for inland Mendocino Co, tree collard plants, and shiso plants. You will also have the opportunity to visit with Stephen Decater of Live Power Community Farm under the pavilion.  Plus, Diamond Edge Knife Sharpening will be on hand to tackle your most difficult sharpening challenges.

All of that plus our usual array of excellent local farms and ranches.

Finally, follow the link below to our revamped Ukiah Saturday Farmers’ Market TV commercial.  It should start to play on Comcast as early as next week.

As usual, the market is 8:30 to noon at the corners of School and Clay St in historic downtown Ukiah.

Mendo Moola: Ukiah Businesses Create Local Money

In Dave Smith, Mendo Island Transition on May 27, 2010 at 3:32 am


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. more→

The Long-Distance Runner

In !ACTION CENTER!, Dave Smith on May 24, 2010 at 8:09 pm


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. more→

Roasting Tommy Wayne Kramer

In Around Mendo Island, Dave Smith on May 2, 2010 at 9:53 am


Those who do not have power over the story that dominates their lives —the power to retell it, rethink it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change— truly are powerless, because they cannot think new thoughts. —Salman Rushdie

I’m not sure why Tom Hine aka Tommy Wayne Kramer still stirs up so much venomous hostility after writing for several years here in Mendocino County. The complaining letters to the editor get particularly interesting when either someone’s personal ox gets gored, or someone already hates the ox and enjoys the goring. I’ve enjoyed my own goring.

Surely someone else has drawn this comparison, so I may be repeating what has already been offered by others, but the way I interpret Tom’s humor is like celebrity roasts. Most of the celebrity roasters and roastees know and love each other, and the better they know each other, the more they are able to hone in on weak spots and really cut to the bone.

I’ve met Tom, and he seems mild-mannered and friendly enough. Much like Bruce Anderson, Publisher/Editor of the Anderson Valley Advertiser, harmless in person, wicked with the pen. Unlike some of the silly rantings of our more clueless and humorless wingnuts, these are talents, rare and creative, who know and love our community. Our character and strength may be found in how we respond to them.

May they continue to be goring, and never boring.

Mendo Farmers Markets Opening Day This Saturday, May 1st 2010

In Dave Smith on April 30, 2010 at 7:21 am

Fairport, New York


Farmers’ Market Fans,

This Saturday is Opening Day for the new farmers’ market season.  The Saturday market will start opening at 8:30.  (The Ukiah Tuesday market will also open this week and runs from 3-6pm.)

At the Ukiah Saturday Market we will celebrate with free Jumperz for the kids (Jumperz will hopefully be a regular attraction at the market this season, but it is only free this Saturday).  The Fish Peddler reports that they will have some local fresh sablefish, snapper, pertale sole, halibut and some frozen salmon.  But, get there early as they have been selling out. They hope to start bringing fresh salmon from Oregon as early as the second week of May … but that is hopeful.  I just hear from the Potter Valley Garden Club that they will be joining us with their annual benefit sale day. Add that to Spiral Gardens, Lovin’ Blooms and Blue Sky Nursery, all starter plant specialists, and should have a huge selection of starts for you – in addition to all of the usual produce and other treats.  With the new season we will have a heap of new activity including UC Master Gardner instruction on the 3rd Saturday of the month.  2nd Saturdays will feature presentations with Q&A by Kermit Carter of Flowers by the Sea, starting with how to grow tomatoes in and around Ukiah.

Tomorrow’s Ukiah Daily Journal will include my final Market Message column. It is pasted below in case you want to preview it…

One Last Market Message


Deal with it

In Around Mendo Island, Dave Smith on April 29, 2010 at 1:01 pm


To The Editors:

It is unfortunate at a time when we are all struggling to find solutions to our common problems, that we get the kind of haranguing rants by John Hendricks (Utopia it ain’t, etc. UDJ), who has apparently taken it upon himself to be the local voice of conservatism, decrying the so-called evils of “socialism”. Such divisive screeds are a disservice to our community, our democracy, and true conservatism. Rather, we need calm, reasonable, and firm voices such as, on a national level, Thom Hartmann, Wendell Berry, and John Ikerd.

We have always had a mixed economy of both capitalism and socialism, as has the European industrial nations. America and England, especially beginning with Reagan and Thatcher, has leaned to the capitalist side… Europe to the socialist side. Finding the right mix for the right times has always been the democratic struggle among industrialized nations. And socialism has always been, and will always be, a part of that mix. Deal with it.

Unfortunately, American-style economics has been converted by neo-conservative ideology into a highly-destructive form of capitalism: oligarchic monopoly corporatism. We’ve swung way too far to the right, and it is now our job as democratic citizens and political representatives to repair the damage and get us back to a more fair economy.

As for me, I hope we swing way too far to the socialist side and recover our humanity, our social safety net, and a conserving way of life in the process. We may never reach our personal utopias, but for sure, the future will reward survival of the cooperative.
See also Sanctimonious Deficit Hawks Target Social Safety Net

Mendo Slaughterhouse: The Community Comments

In !ACTION CENTER!, Dave Smith, Mendo Slaughterhouse on April 28, 2010 at 9:28 am

From Ukiah Daily Journal

[Reader comments on UDJ slaughterhouse article -- no longer available -- gathered into paragraphs for readability. A very few repetitious ones eliminated. The photo above is from a photo documentary of how sheep are humanely led to slaughter and processed down on the farm, in Romania, as has been done for thousands of years all over the world. Small-scale, on-the-farm, meat processing with mobile units, outside our population centers will be encouraged. The horror, filth, and unhealthiness of centralized slaughter in our Ukiah Valley will be resisted. Let's hear it for the NIMBYs! -DS]

[Wendell Berry: There’s  a lot of scorn now toward people who say, “Not in my backyard,” but the not-in-my-backyard sentiment is one of the most valuable that we have. If enough people said, “Not in my backyard,” these bad innovations wouldn’t be in anybody’s backyard. It’s your own backyard you’re required to protect because in doing so you’re defending everybody’s backyard. It is altogether healthy and salutary.]

Traveler didn’t read the story. to quote: “Concerns about a dirty, smelly, offensive operation are addressed in the concepts used in New Zealand where plants are “clean enough to provide tours to the public.”
Study writers need to demonstrate — not just claim!– that a small meat plant does not have to be a smelly nuisance. How about posting some video from New Zealand? How about talking to neighbors of Redwood Meat Co. on Myrtle St. in Eureka? In this thread,… neighbors say they don’t notice odors.
Our Mendocino County grass-fed beef is delicious, and our cattle lead lives outdoors eating grass like cattle should. Let’s work together to find a location that works, to get our good beef to urban customers who want it, and who can pay for it, and to give good jobs to those who need it here.


Rural Entrepreneuring

In Dave Smith on April 25, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Redwood Valley
Rural Matters

From the Center for Rural Affairs:

There is a developing broad agreement among researchers, policy advocates and others that the traditional economic development models of industrial and business recruitment simply do not meet the needs of rural communities.

Entrepreneurship has been lifted up as an economic development model that will better serve rural people and rural places. For example, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City states that, “Rural policymakers, who once followed traditional strategies of recruiting manufacturers that export low-value products, have realized that entrepreneurs can generate new economic value for their communities. Entrepreneurs add jobs, raise incomes, create wealth, improve the quality of life of citizens and help rural communities operate in the global economy.” Federal rural policy must begin to recognize the importance of entrepreneurship as a rural development strategy and provide the resources necessary for rural people and rural communities to leverage the spirit, creativity and opportunities entrepreneurship creates.

Asset- and wealth-building strategies are equally important. Greater income alone cannot lead to economic well-being for individuals and families; asset- and wealth-building through home ownership, business ownership or enhanced education lead to important long-term psychological and social effects that cannot be achieved by simply increasing income. While income is an important factor, income can be achieved nearly anywhere in varying degrees. Assets, like businesses, bond one to a place and help to build sustainable communities. A commitment to rural asset- and wealth-building strategies like microenterprise development can lead to a stronger individuals, families and communities.

Agriculturally-based entrepreneurship and innovation must also continue to play a vital role in rural development policy and can be easily linked to microenterprise development. more→

Vote Dan Hamburg for 5th District Supervisor

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around Mendo Island, Dave Smith on April 22, 2010 at 9:06 pm


I support and endorse Dan for Supervisor, and agree with his stands on the issues of our county. Dan is not a “one-issue candidate” nor does he ignore any meaningful issue that confronts our citizens. He is experienced and effective. He has been on the front lines of progressive social change all his adult life. See the excellent interview with Dan in this week’s AVA and online at The Dan’s website is

From DAN HAMBURG’s Website

Dan Hamburg has committed to positions on issues that matter to Mendocino.


· Mendocino County has more organic acreage than any county in the nation.
· Mendocino County has the most biodynamic acreage in the state
· Mendocino County has more artists per capita than anywhere else in the nation
· Mendocino County boasts more houses “off the grid” per capita than anywhere else in the nation.
· Mendocino County is the first county in the nation to ban the growing and production of genetically modified crops and animals (GMOs).

Let’s build upon these resources. We have the ingenuity, the will and the heart to create a vibrant and more prosperous County. All that’s stopping us is our own imagination.


Women’s History Month Celebrated In Ukiah Last Sunday (3/14/10)

In Dave Smith on March 16, 2010 at 10:22 pm

Ukiah Poet Laureate Theresa Whitehill with honorees
Katarzyna Rolzinski, Molly Dwyer, and Peg Kingman


The Women’s History Month celebration in Ukiah was this Sunday (3/14). It’s a great tribute to originator Val Muchowski that the event is now in its 27th year.

This year’s honorees were local women authors Peg Kingman and Molly Dwyer, and women’s history scholar Katarzyna Rolzinksi.

Vivian Sotomayor Power presents Neil Bell with an appreciation
of his late wife Susan Bell, for her extensive help in the community

The Developing Virtue Girls’ School Orchestra
playing traditional Chinese instruments

Kingman talked about the fun of writing a novel – a piece of fiction.  She actually did do a lot of research around her new novel, “Not Yet Drown’d.”  She got a laugh by saying that research is her favorite form of procrastination.  more→

Again: Slaughter On The Farm With Mobile Units!

In Dave Smith, Mendo Slaughterhouse on March 13, 2010 at 10:05 pm


[As we have been advocating for several years, mobile units are the best alternative for local meat. We do not want a regional slaughterhouse that processes hundreds of animals a day to supply distant markets. That is a no-go. Rather, keep it small, decentralized, on the farms, and local. Compost the waste on the farms. Here is some history, and here is the answer for our local ranchers. Follow the links. Also, see Scott Cratty's comments below. -DS]

As supporters of sustainable food production, many of us know that finding an alternative to the industrial meat supply chain is difficult but by no means impossible.  For the typical sustainable meat buyer, when one thinks of local meat, he most likely pictures a ranch, and then a steak or pork chop.  Unless he is willing to do the work of slaughtering and processing the animal himself, his access to a local abattoir is as difficult to find as local beer without the brewery. This is the marketplace reality that many small-scale ranchers face today.

As the daughter of a former butcher, I recently asked myself how we got ourselves to large-scale meat processing and what our alternatives are. Giant feedlots that truck thousands of cattle to large-scale processing facilities have not always been the favored manner of putting steaks on plates in the U.S. Rapid consolidation in the U.S. meatpacking industry, starting in the late 1970s, greatly impacted the way meat began to be produced, packaged, sold and consumed in the U.S. Earlier, in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, there were many independently owned and operated meatpacking plants that catered to local customers within a few hundred miles of their facilities.

My parents operated one such plant just outside of Eugene, OR from 1980-86. They slaughtered about 100 head of sheep and cattle per week (primarily animals raised on our ranch) and sold the meat to restaurants and hotels in Oregon and Washington.  more→

Stop The Garbage Grab Now!

In !ACTION CENTER!, Dave Smith on March 2, 2010 at 12:14 pm


Every time they privatize a piece of our common wealth, we lose a piece of our democracy.

They privatized and grabbed the voting machines, and stole a national election. They privatized and grabbed our prisons, and now lobby for longer sentences. They privatized and grabbed our wars, and now they decide who gets killed. They privatized and grabbed our sick care, and now they only insure the healthy. They privatized and grabbed the oceans, and we’re running out of fish. They privatized and grabbed our manufacturing, and now we have no jobs.

They are privatizing and grabbing our water systems, and tripling the rates. They want our schools. They want our social security. They want our internet. They want our air. They want all of the universe and space.

Locally, they privatized and grabbed our forests, and now we are out of trees and jobs. And now they are coming for our garbage. Does greed have boundaries? No it does not. We citizens and our representatives have to set the boundaries and stop them at the fence line.

The shortcomings of privatization are well documented. It replaces living-wage employment with lower-paying jobs that offer few or no benefits and no union representation. Privatization rarely results in significant savings to taxpayers. More often, costs go up because the privateers are forced to choose between quality services and higher profits, leaving us citizens with the worst of all worlds… poorer services and higher costs. more→

The Briarpatch Way

In Dave Smith on February 20, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Excerpt from To Be Of Use

During the seventies and eighties, two businesses I cofounded, Briarpatch Cooperative Market and Smith & Hawken, were members of the Briarpatch Network, an informal business association centered in San Francisco. The network was a group of like-minded small-business owners who shared ideas and values about business. I also cofounded a branch of the network on the San Francisco Peninsula, soon to become famous as Silicon Valley, and met weekly with small local businesses at Jesse Cool’s Late for the Train restaurant in Menlo Park. We were a thriving community that shared expertise and resources in the best tradition of mutual aid, and that periodically got together to square dance and whoop it up.

One key to Briarpatch values was the ability to live on less. By participating in a community that supported and valued frugality and rejected the symbols of material success and conformity that demanded one’s participation in their acquisition, we gained the freedom to experiment with alternative ways of doing business. In short, changing the rules of the game made the game a lot more fun. Radical political analysis had taught us the direct connection between the bombs we were dropping on other people in Vietnam and the materialist addictions of our culture. But rather than just protesting and picketing, we were creating new, alternative models for human livelihood. Along with these values, we embraced voluntary simplicity in our personal habits, living conditions, and buying patterns, which made it possible to focus less time on generating income to pay the bills. more→

Take Action! Mendocino County: Demand Community Input On New Leadership! (Updated)

In !ACTION CENTER!, Dave Smith on February 10, 2010 at 11:57 am


Let’s abolish the title and function of CEO. It should be Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) who is a servant of the citizens and reports to our elected Supervisors. Of course, the title means nothing if the CAO acts like a CEO, as has been the history in this county whatever the title.

We must also have a responsive CAO who will work with our local expertise in moving to alternative energy systems rather than spending millions on consultants from elsewhere.

[Update: And while we are at it, change Supervisor meetings to evenings at citizen's convenience, instead of Supervisor's convenience!]

How do we make this happen?

Your thoughts?

Mendocino County CEO Tom Mitchell Finally Resigns (Updated)

In Around Mendo Island, Dave Smith on February 10, 2010 at 10:20 am

February 9, 2010

Honorable Board of Supervisors
of Mendocino
501 Low Gap Road

, CA 95482

Dear Madam Chair and Members of the Board of Supervisors:

After much deliberation and thought I have decided to resign from my position as Chief Executive Officer effective March 9, 2010. This was not an easy decision to make but it is one that I believe to be in the best interests of both the County and my family.  I wish all of you well and much success in your future endeavors particularly with a very difficult budget process that is ahead of you.  I would also like to state that I have thoroughly enjoyed working with all County Department Heads.  Their work and dedication to this County is to be commended.

I will be out of the office beginning tomorrow but will be available by phone to assist with any issues that may arise in my absence.   Carmel Angelo will be in charge of the office during this time.

Very truly yours,

Tom Mitchell

Rural Matters – Local Food

In Dave Smith on February 6, 2010 at 10:15 am

Redwood Valley

From the Center for Rural Affairs/Blog for Rural America:
Addressing All the Components of Local Food
by Steph Larsen

These days it seems the most popular person to be in the food system is the “local farmer”. Farmers markets are popping up everywhere, and their size and popularity grow all the time. Local food is trendy – even the First Family is in on it.

But as anyone who has ever raised grain or livestock can tell you, the farmer is not the only person in the chain of players from her farm to your fork. In addition to producers, your food chain includes processors, distributors or transporters, and retailers.

In other words, to have a truly local food system, we also need local butchers, bakers and millers, local truck drivers, local grocers, and a community that supports them in all their efforts.

In the world of farm and food policy, we’ve paid a lot of attention to production end of the food system. It’s an obvious place to start. We have programs within the Farm Bill to develop new or “beginning” farmers, help them secure loans and down payments, and transition to organic agriculture. But most products aren’t made to eat directly out of the field. Even salad greens or apples, things we typically eat raw and straight from the field, must be washed and sorted before your local farmer will sell them.

As Tom Philpott pointed out in early November, the infrastructure for small-scale processing is woefully inadequate, having suffered decades of atrophy – to the point where an otherwise profitable farmer can be driven out of business because she has no where to take her pigs for slaughter, her grain to be milled or her tomatoes to be “sauced”.

Small-scale, certified community kitchens, like this one in Montana or this one in Tennessee, are beginning to fill some of this need. There are a few mobile slaughter facilities gaining traction, but not enough to meet demand and too new to measure their long term viability. Not many community colleges offer classes on how to humanely kill and butcher an animal anymore. more→

Listening to Benj

In Dave Smith on February 4, 2010 at 9:54 pm


This is something for us Seniors. You young’uns best move on to something else because you ain’t gonna be interested in this at all. Duke Ellington? Roy Orbison? Louis Armstrong? Frankie Lymon? Janis Joplin? Albert Ammons? Like I said, move along now.

Geezers! Ever wish you had your own personal Disk Jockey? I don’t mean going online and programming your own music channels. I mean, having someone local you know, play the music you love, interspersed with just the right amount of intelligent bits and pieces about the music and the musicians you remember, told by someone who really, really loves the music. Benj Thomas puts his shows together in themes and sequences in such a way that it means something and is really fun to listen to whether you want to be engaged with it, or just want something in the background while you’re doing other things. It’s the difference between a cup of coffee and a lattè.

Here’s the thing. You can tune in each Saturday afternoon at 4pm for a couple of hours, but here’s something very cool. Sid Cooperrider has archived all of the shows on KMEC. You can go here, click on one of Benj’s shows, and it will keep playing all the way through to the last one recorded just this past Saturday. Hours and hours, over two years of weekly 2-hour programs, are there to listen to.

Most any time you walk into Mulligan Books, that’s what you’re going to hear. Benj music. It’s the best music ever created. Period.

New! Conservers Club Tracking Polls

In !ACTION CENTER!, Dave Smith on February 1, 2010 at 9:22 am


To the Banksters and Titans of Industry, you and I are considered consumers. Not citizens. Not human beings. Just gaping pie-holes that needs stuffing with more of their stuff. They spend billions and billions of dollars trying to get our attention to sell us more stuff.

More and more stuff is killing our earth and our future.

Enough, already!

Conserve or consume. We have a choice. The future is up to us.

We can cut our energy use in half and have more fulfilling lives.

Or we can continue in status quo mode and face a grim and disastrous future.

We each make a thousand decisions a day that lead to our shared future.

We can go it alone, or we can choose to help each other into a better life.

How are you doing?

Good News: The future is about conserving and higher-quality lives

In Dave Smith on January 31, 2010 at 7:01 pm

Post Carbon Institute (transcript, audio)
Address to the Commonwealth Club
Thanks to Mendo Conservers Club

Chris is a former Vice President of an international Fortune 300 company and used to be living in a large waterfront house until he came to the same realization that something isn’t quite right with society. About 5 years ago, Chris terminated his former high-paying, high-status position. He produced the hugely popular, on-line economics Crash Course. His children are now home-schooled, and the big house was sold in July of 2003 in preference for a small rental in rural western Massachusetts. The family grows a garden every year; preserves food, knows how to brew beer & wine, and raises chickens. Chris and Becca are making sure their family and community are becoming more self-sufficient and are sharing much of their wisdom with the online community on his website.

[...]  within our lifetime and that of our children, these disparate facts will coalesce into the greatest economic and physical challenge ever faced by our country, if not humanity.

It is also my opinion that if we do not develop a clear picture of the world we wish to create, the economic chaos and turbulence that we are now experiencing will prove to be the opening salvos in a long, disruptive period of adjustment.

It is my belief that we still have the time, resources, and know-how to create a brilliant future of our own design but that by putting our energies into sustaining the status quo we will default into a future shaped by disaster…

…we have everything we need right now to align our economics and resource use with reality. And we don’t need any new understandings to be developed. Brilliant people have been working at the margins for decades defining the issues and finding new ways of doing more with less.

What we lack is political will.

But there’s good news here too because more and more people are waking up all the time to the fact that humanity’s long experiment with “more” is about to end and an exciting new chapter is about to begin. Where people’s minds go, politics will eventually follow.

The really excellent news is that if we manage the transition elegantly we can actually improve things. A life with less pollution, more free time, meaningful jobs, more happiness, less stress and greater connection to each other as well as to nature are all within the realm of the possible. But only if we correctly diagnose the predicament and respond intelligently.

Our challenge then is not to find vast new resources to exploit, but to undertake the far more sophisticated and worthwhile task of using what we’ve got more wisely.

Q and A:

Q. How do we get off our addiction to oil?

A. We have to start telling ourselves different stories. When I go to Europe, I find that they lead a pretty comfortable lifestyle. And they exist on half the energy Americans do. We can do so much with conservation. That’s the first thing that should be out of our lips: not how do we get a better technology, not how do we find more oil really deep down, but how can we conserve? I believe we can cut our energy consumption in half which will buy us a lot of time which we can use for reorganizing ourselves. Electrified trains, reorganizing how we work and play so they are closer together, barge networks that move things on water, which is the most efficient way to do it. Get by with less.

The status quo is not going to be changed in Washington D.C. Women’s Rights, Labor Rights, the Environmental Movement, Civil Rights… all of these were brought kicking and screaming from the outside in.

We change our minds. We create a groundswell of what we want, and the politicians will follow. We will have to put enormous pressure on them… it will have to be an old social movement again.

I like what Sweden is doing. The 2020 plan. They’re going to be off imported oil by 2020 if they execute it. Efficiency standards, new building design codes, etc.

We also need a network of currencies. Currencies are commodities. We need other kinds of currencies that are not based on debt. Why does our government have to borrow money?

I purposefully cut my standard of living in half,  and I doubled my quality of life. Where we get our happiness and satisfaction is about the community we’ve got, the connections that we have… the ways we have fun is a lot less consumptive than a lot of families and we haven’t noticed it. We have absolutely high quality lives.

Complete presentation here

Comments on Draft Scaramella For County Supervisor!

In Dave Smith on January 24, 2010 at 11:15 am

Original article here


I like Mark’s ideas a lot and would like to steal many of them (even if he does run). His observations make one wonder, though, if county government is truly as totally incompetent as he portrays. For example, Sonoma County is looking at a $30 million deficit over the same period of time (18 months) that Mendocino is facing a $7 million deficit. Are Sonoma County officials also totally incompetent? A comparison to nearly all other jurisdictions (city, county, state and federal) would yield the same result; ie, the entire country is awash in red ink.

I don’t know why “monthly departmental reports” aren’t part of the Board’s agenda but I assume (maybe mistakenly) that the CEO is getting such reports. I’d think that these reports “identify cross-department cost-drivers, staffing, outside contracting, etc.” If not, they certainly should. I’d like to see the Board more involved and wonder whether reverting back to old CAO system might not help in this regard.

In any case, there needs to be a formal system for keeping track of priority items. If the CEO is failing to do this, as Mark charges each week in his column, he should be replaced.

Enlisting local retirees and volunteers to scrutinize each departmental budget might be a good idea. It would depend on who the “local retirees” and “volunteers” were, their skills levels, and whether they had political axes to grind.

Of course, one of the main things that drives county costs is mandates from the state and federal government (which provides 53% of county revenues) and the demand for services from an increasingly impoverished population.

I agree with Mark that salary cuts are coming. The Board realizes it too. They are making some cuts and more will come in the near future.

I also agree that supervisors would be “responsible for the predictable financial and organizational meltdown that looms.” But they would share that responsibility with jurisdictions at higher levels that have beggared local government. Unfortunately counties and cities are at the bottom of the food chain when it comes to allocation of funds in this country.

Every government budget in the state of California continues to be affected by the misbegotten Proposition 13. more→

Draft Scaramella For County Supervisor!

In !ACTION CENTER!, Dave Smith on January 22, 2010 at 8:28 am


If you’ve been reading Mark Scaramella’s insightful weekly reports on the County Board of Supervisors for the past few years in the Anderson Valley Advertiser, or gone to any of their meetings, you realize how utterly ineffective the Supervisors and CEO have become. With county budget deficits growing by the day, it is now alarming. Isn’t there somebody around in the 5th District who has the history, experience, smarts and toughness to ask hard questions, demand real answers, and help make reasonable decisions?

How about Mark?

Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry/Enology from Fresno State University. Ten years as USAF officer in aircraft maintenance management, defense acquisition and contract management, and logistics engineering. 15 years in defense and commercial contract engineering management, computer programming and consulting, technical writing, and part-time community college instructor.

Nephew (and political student) of the late former 5th District Supervisor Joe Scaramella, the best and most popular supervisor Mendocino County has ever had. Almost 20 years at the Anderson Valley Advertiser following county issues and politics in depth. 15 years as public rep on the Anderson Valley Fire Department Budget committee.

I asked him if he were a candidate for Supervisor in the 5th District what he would do about our looming problems…

Basic platform: Until basic management reporting and information systems are implemented and dealt with — such as monthly departmental budget reports developing a basis for follow-up, tracking and accountability over time, identifying cross-department cost-drivers, staffing, outside contracting and current problems, projects and priorities, there’s no point trying to address the so-called “issues.”

The only real county issue at this point given the badly declining revenues and state gridlock is how to introduce staff and contracting efficiencies, particularly in general fund departments. Revenue increases can be considered, but they won’t help in the short term. more→

Mendo Slaughterhouse? Kill ‘em Where You Raise ‘em! (Updated)

In Around the web, Dave Smith, Garden Farm Skills on January 17, 2010 at 9:06 pm

From Grist

Whole Foods’ new mobile slaughterhouses

Massachusetts poultry farmer Jennifer Hashley has a problem. From the moment she started raising pastured chickens outside Concord, Mass. in 2002, there was, as she put it “nowhere to go to get them processed.” While she had the option of slaughtering her chickens in her own backyard, Hashley knew that selling her chickens would be easier if she used a licensed slaughterhouse. Nor is she alone in her troubles. Despite growing demand for local, pasture-raised chickens, small poultry producers throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, and even New York can’t or won’t expand for lack of processing capacity…  Full article here
Update: [As a carnivore, I support our small, local, pastoral farmers. Our weekend lamb-shank soup/stew (simmered for 4 hours with local organic veggies), from Owen Family Farm in Hopland, was superb! (They'll raise lamb, goat, or Black Angus beef for you - 707-744-1615.) Other than our much-respected vegan/vegetarian community, previous opposition centered around outside investors imposing a large facility on our population center to serve distant markets. I believe that the healthiest, sustainable farms are small, "garden farms" that include grass-fed livestock, with agricultural practices such as Biodynamics. Whether using mobile units for chickens, or more permanent structures for larger animals, sustainable community principles for local meat-processing include: humane slaughter, small-scale, location on the ranches or ranch-lands outside population centers, environmentally-friendly, wastes composted, locally-owned. -DS]

See also: Save The Planet: Eat More Beef

…and Favorite Veggie Burger recipes

Ukiah Farmers Market Saturday 1/16/10

In Dave Smith on January 14, 2010 at 11:31 pm

Neosho, Missouri


Farmers’ Market Fans,

Greetings.  Please come out Saturday to enjoy the Ukiah Saturday Farmers’ Market debut of musician John Craigie.  (More at or )

John John reports that gopher activity has been spotted in the valley.  You can take action to protect your summer crops now by planting Gopher Purge, which John happens to have, in gallons pots and six packs.

When you get to the market Saturday (remember that we are starting at 9:30) you will notice that we are starting to ramp back up from the holidays, as describe below in the Market Message column slated to appear in this Friday’s Ukiah Daily Journal.  Here it is:

Food Not Drugs

Growth is not inherently better any more than turning up the volume makes bad music better.  Just because a farm is filling bins and bushels with food does not mean the food is fit to eat.  Remember, cancer is a growth-unregulated and uncontrolled growth.  Does anyone what to see a growth in the number of wars?  The number of abortions?  The number of high school dropouts?

Through modern technology, we have learned to produce bins and bushels without nutrient content.  It’s like giving tons of high school diplomas without knowing the information. more→

Dave responds to Tommy Wayne Kramer’s scurrilous attack

In Dave Smith on January 11, 2010 at 6:39 am


Letter to the UDJ Editor:

Closet Environmentalist

Can one truly say they have “arrived” in Mendocino County unless they have been called out and made fun of by columnist Tommy Wayne Kramer? After living in and out of the Mendocino County for over 20 years, yes, I’ve finally arrived. In the Sunday paper (Building a Skatepark with SOLE?, Ukiah Daily Journal 1/10/2010), I was smeared as an environmentalist and S.O.L.E. (Save Our Local Economy) fellow traveler by this man, and lumped in with Eddie Bauer wannabes, Prius drivers, and Evian slurpers. I suppose he also thinks I walk to work, bicycle to the Co-op, and watch birds in my free time!

This is the height of hypocrisy! I’ve seen this guy walking around town like other environmentalists do so they won’t contribute to global warming or peak oil. Oh, you may say he’s just skulking around looking for something to make fun of, but no… I’ve seen him stop and look up into trees! There ain’t nothing up in a tree to make fun of. He’s looking at birds!

Recently, I saw a man coming towards me with his hoody up over his head and as he drew closer I saw it was Tommy Wayne. As I turned to watch him pass, sure enough, printed on the back was “100% Organic Cotton!”

This guy has got to cop to his secret life, or we can never again trust the journalistic integrity of this newspaper.

Ukiah Farmers Market Saturday 1/9/2010

In Dave Smith on January 8, 2010 at 2:10 am


Friend of the Farmers’ Market …

We’re back!  The holiday break is over and the Ukiah Saturday Farmers’ Market is back.  Through April the market’s hours will be 9:30 to noon, in Alex Thomas Plaza at the corner of School and Clay Streets in beautiful, historic downtown Ukiah.

We should have lots of great, fresh local food including Ortiz Brothers produce, Green Uprising salad mix, and lots of other goodies such as crab and the first local bacon in some time.  We also expect to have a supply of Redwood Valley farm fresh eggs.

Food Stamps/EBT/Advantage welcome.  Come to the market table (where the coffee is) to swipe your card.

Live music provided by Jerry Krantman.

See you at the market!

Mendocino County: Fire the CEO and Open Up the Planning and Budgeting Process!

In Dave Smith on January 7, 2010 at 7:28 am


[After overwhelmingly defeating the Monster Mall with Measure A, citizens are outraged to learn that the county CEO is still trying to get a Big Box store on the Masonite site. This is anti-democratic and he should be fired forthwith! Further, the title of CEO should be eliminated as it pumps up the power-seeking, games-playing politico. The position is an administrative public servant. We need someone who will open up the democratic process and get this county moving forward again. -DS]

Wikipedia: Participatory budgeting is a process of democratic deliberation and decision-making, in which ordinary residents decide how to allocate part of a municipal or public budget. Participatory budgeting allows citizens to present their demands and priorities for improvement, and influence through discussions and negotiations the budget allocations made by their municipalities.

Participatory budgeting is usually characterized by several basic design features: identification of spending priorities by community members, election of budget delegates to represent different communities, facilitation and technical assistance by public employees, local and higher level assemblies to deliberate and vote on spending priorities, and the implementation of local direct-impact community projects.

Various studies have suggested that participatory budgeting results in more equitable public spending, higher quality of life, increased satisfaction of basic needs, greater government transparency and accountability, increased levels of public participation (especially by marginalized or poorer residents), and democratic and citizenship learning.

Selected Comments on Move Your Money Local (Updated)

In !ACTION CENTER!, Dave Smith on January 3, 2010 at 3:30 pm

[I've been a Credit Union member for more than 40 years for the simple reason that, like the Co-op food store  I am also a member of, it is owned and run democratically by its members. -DS]

[Updated below]

From Move Your Money Local post

Janie Sheppard: Thanks for this post Dave. I hope lots of people move their money to credit unions that lend locally.

Mary Anne Landis: Really important reminder for us all, Dave. Loved seeing the re-cap of “It’s a Wonderful Life” juxtaposed within our current circumstances. The zipcode search leads only to banks; our credit unions serve our communities well, too. Thanks!

Sean Re: A little worrisome. I put our zip code in there and not one Credit Union came up. There’s a significant difference between the two, namely where the money is being invested.

I put my money in Credit Unions 20 years ago and never looked back- and was rewarded with better service and rates too. Imagine what would happen if everyone did just that. I’m no economist but I imagine it would be a tremendous shift in power downward.

Here’s an interesting story about the Redwood Credit Union. I moved up here to go to grad school at SSU, and switched my accounts from the San Diego Credit Union to the Redwood Credit Union. more→

Wanting Less

In Dave Smith on December 31, 2009 at 9:40 am

Ursula K. Le Guin

When the world’s on the Way,
they use horses to haul manure.
When the world gets off the Way,
they breed warhorses on the common.

The greatest evil: wanting more.
The worst luck: discontent.
Greed’s the curse of life.

To know enough’s enough
is enough to know.
Image Credit: Rolf Hicker
See also Muddling Toward Frugality
by Warren Johnson, Covelo

Move Your Money Local (Updated)

In !ACTION CENTER!, Dave Smith on December 31, 2009 at 9:14 am


A month ago, in More Gang-Bang For Your Buck, we suggested the following: “Time to move your money out of the big national banks that are “too big to fail” and let them fail… and put your money into local and regional credit unions and banks that did not get caught up in the disastrous lending greed, or who practice criminal usury. Locally- and regionally-based financial institutions are more responsive to local communities. And with locally-owned businesses, do them a favor by using cash, checks, and local currencies instead of debit and credit plastic.”

Now comes a grassroots movement to do just that. See their video, action items, updates, and comments here

[Update: On that site you will find a listing of banks that have a rating of B and above. However, if a community banking institution has been hurt, through no fault of their own, by the machinations and greed of Wall Street and the national banks, they need our support to pull through this national tragedy.]
See also WATCH: Woman Documents Closing Her Account With BofA, Switching To Community Bank at HuffPost here

Action Now!! What Happened to the Recommendations of the Mendocino County Energy Working Group?

In !ACTION CENTER!, Dave Smith on December 23, 2009 at 10:38 am


[It has been over two years now that a few of our extremely knowledgeable local citizens made recommendations for solarizing our county. What could be more important than securing the energy future of our citizens? Yet this comprehensive report has been filed away in some metal cabinet and ignored, along with a report put together by Ike Heinz to capture methane from our dump. A new courthouse? A multi-hundred-million dollar freakin' courthouse? You've got to be kidding! -DS]

Energy Usage and its Impact on Mendocino County Including General Plan Recommendations Prepared for the Mendocino County Planning Department by the Mendocino County Energy Working Group

The Energy Working Group (EWG) is a group of Mendocino County citizens brought together (under direction of the Board of Supervisors) to provide guidance for the General Plan update. Each member of the EWG group represents some aspect of the greater county and brings various aspects of energy expertise, ranging from renewable energy, engineering, and government.

The volunteer group worked under the guidance of (and with special thanks to) Patrick Ford of the Mendocino County Planning Team.

This paper is a working document that is intended to present the results of the EWG’s county-wide energy and emissions inventory and to outline recommendations for the General Plan update and general policy. Where possible, the pertinent narrations appear in the main body of the document while the details are relegated to the appendices. In creating this paper, every measure has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information presented as well as the feasibility of the steps. Should errors or questions arise, we would appreciate them being brought to our attention so that they can be corrected or elaborated on. more→

Ukiah Farmers Market Saturday 12/19/09

In Dave Smith on December 18, 2009 at 8:35 am


Farmers’ Marketeers,

No one is asking what makes food better or how to produce food on farms that are ecological and economic profit centers for their communities.  The only consideration is how to grow it faster, cheaper, and bigger. .

Farm friendly producers understand that their lives are bounded by environmental, emotional, and economic factors.  Override those constraints, and farms become liabilities rather than assets.  They become places nobody wants to visit.

- from “Holy Cows and Hog Heaven, The Food Buyer’s Guide to Farm Friendly Food,” Chapter 2, by Joel Salatin.  Available at the Ukiah Saturday Farmers’ Market.

Tomorrow will be the last farmers’ market in Ukiah this decade.  We still have lots of great food and locally-crafted gifts.  In case you were not quick enough to pre-order Lovers’ Lane Tamworth pork, you can still get some at tomorrow’s market.   Prices range from $5.5/lb for ground and $6.50/lb for sausage to $12/lb for chops, with lots of options in between.  See if you don’t taste the difference.

How about authentic heirloom Italian Broccoli Rabb for the holiday?  That is just one of the treats that Flowers by the Sea will bring us from Elk in what will be their last appearance at the market for a while.  They also promise red beets, super-sweet Swiss Chard, fresh coast salad mix, baby romaine salad mix, spinach, broccoli, bok choi, arugula, plus several types of potatoes and onions.  No need to shop elsewhere for your holiday meal.

After tomorrow, the Ukiah Farmers’ Market will return January 9, 2010, starting at 9:30 for the rest of the winter season.  Two weeks is a long time to wait for another chance to choose farm friendly food for your family’s table.  So, make tomorrow’s market count. more→

Just try ‘em – Organic Green Smoothies

In Dave Smith on December 12, 2009 at 8:03 am

From Dave Smith

[Repost. The beautiful, densely-nutritional winter greens are now available from Farmers Markets and CSAs. Boost your immune system with the chlorophyll from delicious green smoothies. -DS]

I’m not a raw foodist or diet nut. But the more raw fruit and vegetables I eat — especially dark green leafy vegetables — the better I feel… and, I believe, the healthier I’ll be.

Problem: have you tried drinking wheat grass juice? Ugh! How about carrot juice? Much better, but if you do it at home, cleaning that juicer is a pain, and root vegetables are not the most nutritious foods available. Eat lots of salads? Good! How about kale, chard, dandelion greens? Not so much, huh? Feels like more of a duty than pleasurable eating… Mom shaking her finger “eat your vegetables!” Even though they are the most nutritious plants on earth, dark green leafy veggies are very tough to eat raw… and steaming them, according to some, destroys much of the vital nutrients. What to do? more→

Local Community Building

In Dave Smith on December 7, 2009 at 4:36 pm


Jitterbox,  Bandbox, and Spencer Brewer’s Ukiah Music Center are all closing at once.  Jitterbox and the Ukiah Music Center are advertising going out of business sales this month.  The recession is taking them out – along with recession fall-out such as the loss of music programs in the schools.

But in addition to the recession, there is another problem.  Brewer has been quoted as saying that people use the local music resource to research what they need.   And they call him for advice after buying – but make their actual purchases on line.

There are also a lot of people who buy their books on “Large River dot Com” when local book stores depend on that support.   It is a big mistake to economize on our local autonomy.

The local music stores (and any local stores) are an important presence in the community.  From his base, Ukiah Music Center, Brewer started a music school and performance space, Treblemakers, which he must also let go.  more→

How To Grind, Leach, Cook and Eat Acorns

In Dave Smith on November 29, 2009 at 10:36 am


[This extremely important, locally-produced book, Acorns and Eat 'Em, is available to download free here. I also have a copy I've printed out that can be browsed at Mulligan Books. If anyone wants a copy and cannot download and print it out themselves, I'm happy to do it for you. -DS]



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