Jack London’s Credo, and Bioregionalism


From DAVE SMITH
Ukiah

May 27, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Jack London’s Credo:

I would rather be ashes than dust!

I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.

I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.

The function of man is to live, not to exist.

I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.

I shall use my time.

~~Poster in rest room, Patrona Restaurant, Ukiah



Bioregionalism

From Kirkpatrick Sale
Dwellers in the Land (1991)

The issue is not one of morality but of scale. There is no very successful way to teach, or force, the moral view, or to insure correct ethical responses to anything at all. The only way people will apply “right behavior” and behave in a responsible way is if they have been persuaded to see the problem concretely and to understand their own connections to it directly—and this can be done only at a limited scale.

Rural Matters


From SHEILAH ROGERS
Redwood Valley

May 26, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

May is a busy month for networks, not-for-profits and alliances that are dedicated to the pursuit of entrepreneurship as the economic development strategy in rural communities throughout the United States.  Small and microbusinesses have, after all, created 2/3 of new jobs during the past 20 years and they are historically the first responder during economic downturns.

The National Summit on Entrepreneurship hosted by the Association for Enterprise Opportunity gathered in Washington, DC and announced two new partnerships: one with BALLE, the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies and one with Green for All, the national organization committed to the growth of living wage blue collar jobs in all ‘Green’ sectors.

A compelling interactive session at the National Summit on Entrepreneurship celebrated the unique flavors of particular rural regions and the emergence of deliberate entrepreneurial efforts that build upon those flavors.  Regional Flavor Strategies bring together stakeholders – microenterprise development programs (we have one – it’s called West Company), chambers of commerce, cultural and historic preservations programs, not for profits, educational institutions, Main Street programs, and many others to promote the assets and flavor of their region.

Entrepreneurs are supported to identify and respond to their region’s flavor and encouraged to think and act innovatively as they utilize the flavor of their region to grow and expand their enterprises.  Entrepreneurs from outside the area are attracted to these new vital centers for a place to locate their businesses.

Mendocino County and the North Coast region have identified Six Targets of Opportunity where there is demonstrated job growth, wage increases, competitiveness and career potential.  Three of the six are particularly flavorful in Mendocino County and may provide opportunity to develop a Regional Flavor for the region.

Monster Mall – Letters to the Editor, etc.


Letter to the Editor
Ukiah Daily Journal
May 21, 2009

Reasons to rezone the old Masonite Property:

Stop the leakage of money to Sonoma County. This method is very inefficient. Better to replace it with a giant drain to send our money directly to the conglomerate retail businesses back east.

Improve the health of our citizens. Every spring many suffer from pollen allergies. Putting in a giant mall is at least a start for eliminating grassy areas and other plant growth.

Put the useless land to work. Rezoning Masonite for a mall could open up possibilities for other rezoning of land that is now being wasted to grow food.

Encourage competition. By rezoning the Masonite site, owners of the land that is already zoned for retail will have to reconsider what they want to do with it.

It will also give our local government officials something to do — argue over whether to rezone all that land.

Create jobs. Think of all the electricians who will be needed to put in the five new stop lights, all the good (temporary) construction jobs, all the low paying retail sales jobs to give bored, rich housewives in Ukiah something to do. (And we know how many of those live in this affluent area.)

Free up housing for the homeless. How? The buildings that will become vacant downtown and in other shopping areas will quickly be taken over by squatters and thereby solve the homeless problem.

Provide a corporate stimulus plan for DDR. If they get their initiative passed, they can sell the site at a huge profit, thereby getting themselves out of a financial hole.

Bring Ukiah into the 21st century. All the other areas are uniform with the same stores and eateries. Ukiah is just out of step with its unique shops and restaurants. Anyone coming into town immediately recognizes that we are different. We surely don’t want that, do we?

So what are we waiting for? Let’s get into step with everyone else in the country. DDR will lead us to the future.

Janet Freeman
Ukiah

~

Community-Based Entrepreneurs – Dave Pollard


From Dave Pollard
How To Save The World

Six steps to sustainable, community-based Natural Enterprise, from my book Finding the Sweet Spot

I’m in Denver for the weekend at the annual conference of BALLE, the international network of community-based sustainable businesses. The reason I’m here is more about looking for ideas than personal networking. One of the mandates I’ve taken on in my current work is to make our association (the Chartered Accountants of Canada, equivalent to CPAs in the US) champions of entrepreneurship and of new, sustainable enterprise formation.

The reason we’re championing entrepreneurs is that no one else will. It’s an interesting paradox that the North American economy is driven by entrepreneurs (virtually all new net employment in the last decade has been in the entrepreneurial sector), not by big corporations, but all the money and attention flows to the big corporations. Entrepreneurs don’t get bailouts, massive incentives to locate in your community, or big unpublicized government subsidies. Universities say they teach entrepreneurship but what they do is the minimum (‘intrapreneurship’) lip service to get big corporations to fund ‘chairs in entrepreneurship’ that let them hire and retain professors. Economic Development Offices of governments at various levels are designed to attract businesses (i.e. property and business tax revenues) so their work for entrepreneurs is mostly low-budget, low-value work like providing names of lawyers and accountants and telling you how to get business licenses, incorporate and file taxes.

Accountants and lawyers (especially the smaller ones) will take on entrepreneurs as clients, but generally are unenthusiastic and not terribly helpful for businesses at the critical start-up stage. Bankers (with the notable exception of credit unions) generally avoid entrepreneurial businesses, and lenders of last resort are usually vultures who create more problems for entrepreneurs than they solve. BALLE founder Michael Shuman has written about these challenges in his book The Small-Mart Revolution.

What’s worse, in some progressive circles, the very word ‘entrepreneur’ is suspect — it’s almost as if profit and enterprise are considered necessarily exploitative.

Keep reading here→.
~~

Memorial Day Ukiah 2009


Veterans For Peace


A giant asparagus from a distant part of the solar system has invaded Ukiah


From ANNIE ESPOSITO
Ukiah

May 24, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

There’s enough bad news to deal with: over-development, global warming, legislative nonsense offensive on many different levels. Sometimes, though, you can just take a deep breath and enjoy the wonders of our mortal plane.

For example, a giant asparagus from a distant part of the solar system has invaded Dora Street. Troyle Tognoli has a flower garden that pleases all people who walk by. But now they stop and stare. A century plant is blossoming. As the weeks go by, the stalk jumps up another few feet. This week it sent out branchlets which will hold the flower clusters.

Here is Troyle looking up at the plant as it looked on Saturday. It’s still climbing, and looks like it is trying to match height with the adjacent palm.
~~

Food security begins at home


From LINDA GRAY
Mendocino County

There’s a good article in the June 2009 issue of National Geographic about global food issues. If you can’t get your hands on the magazine, you can read it online at the link below. It’s 13 web pages long and focuses mostly on Africa & India, but the first four paragraphs (copied below) apply to us here in Mendoland.

It seems to me that now is the time for us to dream a new vision toward food security here while we still have plenty of food available to us. There’s still a lot of farmable land in this county, but the unfortunate problems that I see here are 1) that very little land is dedicated to growing food, 2) farm land is expensive and out of reach to would-be young farmers, 3) there’s no incentive to young people to encourage them to learn farming skills. Surely there are creative ways to get around these obstacles, but it will probably take a lot more people recognizing that food is becoming less secure before there’s a critical mass of folks determined to make change. Anyway, read on . . .

It is the simplest, most natural of acts, akin to breathing and walking upright. We sit down at the dinner table, pick up a fork, and take a juicy bite, obliv­ious to the double helping of global ramifications on our plate. Our beef comes from Iowa, fed by Nebraska corn.

Rev. Billy Exhorts!


From Rev. Billy
Activist and Founder of The Church of Life After Shopping
In yes! magazine

“Now so many of us have lost our jobs, our savings—we are starting new businesses out of our garages. Out of our personal computers. We discover that our hobbies can make money. We teach in the home.

“Trading, bartering, thrifting… we are doing what we can. We are making things. The old shuttered storefronts can be re-opened …

“This is the basic healing that we need now across our country … We are getting to know each other again. This is the stuff of our new economy. It will grow and we won’t let it go this time.”
~

Rev. Billy on YouTube

See also Recession Turns Malls Into Ghost Towns


~~

Them good bugs


From MICHAEL LAYBOURN
Hopland

May 22, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

I was out in the garden, looking at my artichoke plants, noting how they seemed to be doing fairly well this year. Most years I had aphid problems that killed off lots of the leaves, leaving plants that didn’t look too healthy.

Then one morning I looked and ants were running up and down the leaves, telling me … aphids. First thought was to try some semi-organic spray with pyrethrins to kill those suckers off.

Then I thought: let’s do a little research.

I found this site from Oregon State University: Crop and Garden Pests in the Pacific Northwest. Well, I thought, that’s pretty close to our climate and began studying the beneficial bugs that ate the pesky ones. I then went back out to the garden and said, “Whoa, I don’t want to kill any of these bugs. The ladybug larva was eating aphids, not the leaves! I left them alone and in 2 weeks I now have several beneficial insects, more ladybugs and much healthier looking artichoke plants. Plus more artichokes than I can eat. And no aphids.

So I thought here’s some cheerful news for UkiahBlog.

Just go to this site and learn the wonders of beneficial insects (natural enemies) and how to attract them. I printed the information for myself on matt photo paper. The photos are great: Most of the photographs in this pocket guide are from the Ken Gray collection. All other photographs are from the author.

The pdf to print out is here.
~~