A message to the nearly converted

For The Oil Drum

June 12, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

[The film ‘In Transition’ is available for viewing on-line for the next 72 hours. See end of article below. -DS]

I was recently asked to give a talk at “The Generation Green Tent” during the Summer Arts and Music Festival at the Benbow Lake State Recreation Area. Here’s the text and supporting images for that talk.

Thanks for coming to my presentation. I am going to say some challenging things today. I don’t know if you are going to be validated or view me as a heretic. In any case, if you are taking notes I am going to have eight main points to cover. Here it goes!

My wife is a physician and has a Masters in Public Health, and so I am going to start with an analogy inspired by her profession that I believe all of us can follow. A very telling study was done on the health of Native Americans on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. The Mexican population was quite fit, while the U.S. population had high rates of obesity and associated diseases, such as diabetes. I am going to make some judgments about the society that produced this discrepancy, and perhaps we can primarily assign the blame for the illnesses of these people on their sick environment. However, I don’t want to absolve individuals of all responsibility for their predicament because that is a disempowering thing to do.

Overcoming the obesity crisis of humanity requires paying off our ecological debt. This means accepting certain job losses and developing job gains in other areas. See full article for discussion.

What I am going to argue is that you are all capable, powerful individuals and that you are responsible for making great changes…

Point 1. This is the first point of my talk. I want everybody to view the grim environmental statistics as multiple “organ failures” approaching for human civilization…

Why Time Banking?

Mendo TIme Bank

June 11, 2009 Ukian, Mendocino County, North California

When times get tough, our most important asset is a resilient and supportive community. More secure than money in the bank, and more long-lasting than storing food and water; creating a more self sufficient community is the smartest investment we can make now. Mendo Time Bank started with those goals in mind.

Time Banking was started in the 1980’s by Edgar Cahn in Washington DC as a way to compensate for the cutback of social services.  It has become an international phenomenon, and there are hundreds of Time Banks all over the US and the world. In general they are started to help the local community meet unmet needs with untapped resources.

Whether based in inner city schools, jails, cities or rural communities, the effect is the same: they strengthen the community by creating an incentive and market for people to help each other. Each hour helping somebody in the network earns the giver one Time Dollar that they can then spend on any other service offered by members.

A Time Bank is both a system of quantifying community credit, and a network of people that are ready to support each other. Time Banking is a mutual credit system, as members can earn credit anywhere in their community and spend the credit on anything else.  At any given time, half of the members will have a positive Time Dollar account balance, and half will have a negative account balance with a total net balance of zero. Instead of a third party charging interest on the credit, we extend credit to each other without interest.

As the national economy contracts, the supply of money coming in to the local economy decreases, and people spend less money at local businesses. This causes further contraction and job losses. However, because we live in a place with abundant natural resources and local talent, it doesn’t make sense to be dependent on a relatively scarce currency beyond our control.

Having a community credit system based on time avoids the problem of scarcity, because value is created by members as it is needed. It is 100% independent of our national monetary system, making it the most useful for people who are currently undercompensated financially. Furthermore, it is not subject to the shocks and fluctuations of a national currency. One hour always equals one Time Dollar,

Forest Gardening for Mendocino?

Video Below

From Schumacher College, UK

June 11, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Regenerating landscapes, rediscovering abundance

SCHUMACHER COLLEGE near Totnes in South Devon has been a pioneering college of holistic education for over twenty years. Students leave the college nourished by the high quality of the educational experience, which includes helping to prepare and cook the food for staff and participants.

Over the past two years Schumacher has further deepened this aspect of the learning process by actively engaging with the land and rediscovering true abundance in its woodland ecosystems.

Inspired and informed by its neighbours at the Agroforestry Research Trust, Schumacher College has been regenerating its grounds using a dynamic “layering” design known as forest gardening. Tree crops, shrub crops and perennial herbaceous plants grown in harmony with each other produce an abundance of seasonal foodstuffs whilst contributing to the health and integrity of the land.

Designed with diversity in mind, these “foodscapes” seek to embody the natural principles of a healthy temperate woodland: this is the pattern of least effort and maximum diversity. Growing food in tune with this woodland tendency requires less effort, less machinery, and less fossil fuel — and the result is an almost unbelievable abundance.

Schumacher staff and participants have now planted over 100 fruit and nut trees to form the canopy layer of the woodland gardens. Peaches and apricots are grown as espaliers against sunny south-facing walls. Apple, pear and plum trees dot the landscape as do less common crops such as Cornelian cherries, hardy kiwifruits and Ugni berries. Sweet chestnut, walnut, hazel and bladdernut

The coming great cook-out? Part 3 of 4

Mendocino County

June 11, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

A Green Bubble?

But how can I explain, how can I explain to you?
You will understand less after I have explained it.
All that I can hope to make you understand
Is only events; not what has happened.
And people to whom nothing has ever happened
Cannot understand the unimportance of events.

~T.S. Eliot, “The Family Reunion”

Search for certainty as much as we can, and we’ll invariably fail. That’s the story told by the so-called new science of emergence that is infiltrating all the old sciences and taunting classical beliefs that humans and their sciences and technologies can overcome. Below is a five act tragedy or comedy – it’s difficult to say which, though I’m reminded of Laurel and Hardy and the Three Stooges – centered on our dilemma.

Global warming news
Record cold has been experienced in the past few weeks across the Southern Hemisphere, in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Our own spring has become cool. The sun is acting strangely and may be throwing a kink in the immediate prospects of rapid global warming. George W. Will and friends have been arguing for years that the climate is not warming, it is cooling. They are surely savoring the news, recognizing confirmation, and preparing to twist it. Here is my, more likely I believe, contrary twist.

The sun goes through roughly an 11-year cycle of activity, from stormy to quiet and back again. Solar activity often occurs near sunspots, dark regions on the sun caused by concentrated magnetic fields. It is much warmer during solar maximum, when sunspot cycle and solar activity is high, versus solar minimum, when the sun is quiet and there are usually no sunspots.

Ukiah Farmers Market Saturday, June 13


June 10, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Friends of the Ukiah Farmers’ Market,

Greetings!  It will be an action packed farmers’ market this Saturday, following an action packed week.  This message is coming a day early because Holly & I are holding the grand opening of our new store, the Westside Renaissance Market (1003 W Clay St) today (Wednesday 6/10) with a ribbon cutting at noon and tastings/celebration from 7-9 pm.  We will be in preparation mode all day.  More on that below.

As for the farmers’ market this Saturday, in addition to a great array of fresh local foods and a good time, you can look forward to music by Two Notes Samba, a jazz duo featuring Craig Schlatter on piano and Will Siegel on Guitar/Vocals, an oyster cooking demonstration by Jini Reynolds, children’s activities from First 5 and the Ukiah Library staff, the return of knife sharpening services at the market and a raffle drawing for a new bike to support the Mendocino Environmental Center.

For those of you who will be picking up plant starts for your own gardening endeavors, we will also have a table of  UC Davis Master Gardeners on hand to answer questions and give advice. The Master Gardeners are also offering a class, “Harvesting Your Garden,” which is the last in a series of three classes on vegetable gardening.  It will cover harvesting and food safety, methods of preserving, some recipes, seed saving, more on pest and diseases and water conservation.  The class is Saturday, June 20th, 2009, from 8:30 AM – 12:00 noon at Nokomis School, 495 Washington Ave, in Ukiah.  There is a $5 fee for this class to cover operating expenses. You must preregister to attend, which can be done on-line by sending an email to jtwilli@ucdavis.edu with your name, address, ph# and email address.

If that is not enough, you might want to dip into the Chronicle’s gardening series starting here.

As for the opening, if you live in or near the Westside of Ukiah, it will be a great opportunity to check out your new community market.  Stroll on down. From 7-9 pm we will have tastings of the great to-go items that Ukiah Brewing is doing for our deli case, wines by McFadden and Simaine,

Urgent Call For More Hair


June 10, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Back in the sixties, many of us protested the Vietnam war and various cultural suffocations by growing our hair. The Beatles (“mop-heads” was one early, affectionate term for them) may have started the trend, and sprouting long hair we did—men from our heads, cheeks and chins, women from their armpits and legs—and it was as potent a statement of protest and disgust as the middle finger salute.

But those days are long gone, replaced in the last few years by the soul-shriveling trend to conservatism, demonstrated by shaved heads and hairless chests. I am told that baldness has now even reached our nether regions, encouraged by the popularity of the porn industry. I recently observed a healthy young fellow sun-bathing on the beach in Los Angeles like a pink Chihuahua, completely hairless, apparently shaved and waxed from head to toe.

The authoritarian, buttoned-down, flag-waving war-mongers, chicken-hawks, and ditto-heads, have us just where they want us. Their co-conspirators are the corporate razor, shaver, and shaving foam pushers, who need only to trumpet their next blade addition to have us scurrying to the stores for the brand-new 10-blade model that will do you up in one fell swoop. And not one of their religious fellow travelers sports even a well-trimmed mustache.

We’re devoid of dignity like the sad, engineered, featherless chicken that made the news awhile back. We’ve been gutted, neck-tied, trussed-up, pre-scalded, and readied for the cook pot.

Smaller West Coast towns and cities get aggressive on energy efficiency

By Roger Valdez

June 10, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Ambitious programs to build sustainable communities.

I have written about energy efficiency programs in Cascadia’s three largest cities and how each of these communities is working to combine federal, state and local dollars to incentivize energy efficiencies.

What about some of the region’s smaller cities? Small cities have as much to gain – and to lose – as the big urban centers.

When I was last in Oregon I was surprised to hear that Lincoln City was endeavoring to become carbon neutral. One of the last times I was in Lincoln City was to see George Jones at the Chinook Winds Casino. It seemed the last place in the world that would be making carbon neutrality a goal. But Lincoln city has a lot at stake.

At just 11 feet above sea level, Lincoln City is well within the danger zone for rising sea levels caused by global warming. So, they’re getting proactive. The City will combine a mix of energy savings along with purchase of renewable energy and carbon credits to achieve neutrality. There is some ongoing debate about whether these methods truly lead to neutrality. But it’s hard to argue with Lincoln City’s dedication to efficiencies and sustainability — and even the Casino has taken measures to shed 900 tons of emissions annually. Because of this focus, Lincoln City became an EPA Green Power Community in 2007.

And speaking of Green Power Communities, Bellingham, Washington, was not only selected for the program but became the Washington’s first green power community. The EPA’s program focuses on voluntary community-wide efforts to create energy efficiencies and reduce the environmental impacts of energy consumption including greenhouse gas emissions.

This fall, Bellingham will initiate the Energy Efficiency Community Challenge aimed at substantially reducing Bellingham and Whatcom County’s consumption of electricity through an incentive program designed to motivate retrofits of existing residential and commercial buildings.

Small Business Ideas For Smaller Times


June 9, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

From Small Is Beautiful, by E.F. Schumacher:

As Gandhi said, the poor of the world cannot be helped by mass production, only by production by the masses.

The system of mass production, based on sophisticated, highly capital-intensive, high energy-input dependent, and human labour-saving technology, presupposes that you are already rich, for a great deal of capital investment is needed to establish one single workplace. The system of production by the masses mobilizes the priceless resources which are possessed by all human beings, their clever brains and skillful hands, and supports them with first-class tools.

The technology of mass production is inherently violent, ecologically damaging, self-defeating in terms of non-renewable resources, and stultifying for the human person. The technology of production by the masses, making use of the best of modern knowledge and experience, is conducive to decentralization, compatible with the laws of ecology, gentle in its use of scarce resources, and designed to serve the human person instead of making him the servant of machines.

I have named it intermediate technology to signify that it is vastly superior to the primitive technology of bygone ages but at the same time much simpler, cheaper, and freer than the super-technology of the rich. One can also call it self-help technology, or democratic or people’s technology—a technology to which everybody can gain admittance and which is not reserved to those already rich and powerful.

Excerpted from The Transition Handbook – From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience, by Rob Hopkins

We need to be building the capability to produce locally those things that we can produce locally. It is, of course, easy to attack this idea by pointing out that some things, such as computers and frying pans can’t be made at a local level.

However, there are a lot of things we could produce locally: a wide range of seasonal fruit and vegetables, fresh fish, timber, mushrooms, dyes, many medicines,

Why This Crisis May Be Our Best Chance to Build a New Economy

by David Korten

Yes Magazine

June 8, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Whether it was divine providence or just good luck, we should give thanks that financial collapse hit us before the worst of global warming and peak oil. As challenging as the economic meltdown may be, it buys time to build a new economy that serves life rather than money. It lays bare the fact that the existing financial system has brought our way of life and the natural systems on which we depend to the brink of collapse. This wake-up call is inspiring unprecedented numbers of people to take action to bring forth the culture and institutions of a new economy that can serve us and sustain our living planet for generations into the future.

The world of financial stability, environmental sustainability, economic justice, and peace that most psychologically healthy people want is possible if we replace a defective operating system that values only money, seeks to monetize every relationship, and pits each person in a competition with every other for dominance.

From Economic Power to Basket Case

Not long ago, the news was filled with stories of how Wall Street’s money masters had discovered the secrets of creating limitless wealth through exotic financial maneuvers that eliminated both risk and the burden of producing anything of real value. In an audacious social engineering experiment, corporate interests drove a public policy shift that made finance the leading sector of the U.S. economy and the concentration of private wealth the leading economic priority.

Corporate interests drove a policy agenda that rolled back taxes on high incomes, gave tax preference to income from financial speculation over income from productive work, cut back social safety nets, drove down wages, privatized public assets, outsourced jobs and manufacturing capacity, and allowed public infrastructure to deteriorate. They envisioned a world in which the United States would dominate the global economy by specializing in the creation of money and the marketing and consumption of goods produced by others.

President Obama: Take Back The Power To Create Money From The Private Banking Industry

by Ellen Brown
The Web of Debt Blog

June 9, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

The Constitution states, “Congress shall have the power to coin money and regulate the value thereof.” This power has been abdicated to private bankers. Today, 99.99% of our money is created by private banks when they make loans. This includes the Federal Reserve, a private banking corporation, which orders Federal Reserve Notes to be printed, and then lends them to the U.S. government. Only coins are actually created by the government itself. Coins compose only about 1-10,000th of the M3 money supply, and Federal Reserve Notes compose about 3% of it. All of the rest is created by banks as loans, something they do by simply writing numbers into accounts.

Congress could take back the power to create the national money supply by:
(a) Nationalizing the Federal Reserve.

(b) Reviving the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, a government-owned lending facility used by Roosevelt to fund the New Deal. Rather than merely recycling borrowed money as Roosevelt did, however, the RFC could actually create credit on its books, in the same way that banks do it today, by fanning its capital base into many times that sum in loans. Assuming $300 billion is left of the TARP money approved by Congress last fall, this money could be deposited into the RFC and leveraged into $3 trillion in loans. That’s based on a 10% reserve requirement. If the money were counted as capital, at an 8% capital requirement it could be leveraged into 12.5 times the original sum. That would be enough to fund not only President Obama’s stimulus package but many other programs that are desperately short of funding now.

See also Money As Debt – How It Works (video)

Obama Plays Cairo

Redwood Valley

In this Eighteenth Edition, we review the Obama speech in Cairo, the Palestinian impasse, and how he balances his message of friendship with Moslems world wide alongside his armed attacks in Afghanistan and support for the Pakistan’s army’s assault upon the Taliban in the Swat Valley.

The man’s performances are captivating to us all. We are proud of a President so knowledgeable of Moslem history and accomplishments, who can speak comfortably of common aspirations, while skipping deftly past lethal Drone attacks on wedding parties in small mountain villages, and yet who somehow keeps our hopes alive while moving us towards more war and ever greater hypocrisy.

The Cairo speech was directed not to any one country but addressed the entire Islamic Nation, most of whom are intensely wary of American motives and of our capacity for change, while incredibly fond of our way of life. Stratfor suggests 6/03/09 that: “the Moslem masses are in for a disappointment . . . but this will not pose much of a problem for Obama. The fond feelings of the Moslem world might be nice to claim but ultimately he does not need their support. In the end, it will be the American people, not the rest of the world, who will issue the final referendum on his performance as President.”

It is 139 days since January 19th, when Israel stopped the wanton killing of Gazans, so as not to “rain upon the start of Obama’s Reign” the following day. John Ging, director of operations for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), told a Code Pink delegation to Gaza last month that “billions in aid had been promised in the wake of Israel’s massacre, but so far nothing had arrived”. Code Pink reporters added: “Make no mistake about it: the blockade, directly enforced by Israel and Egypt but conspired in by their superpower patron in Washington, is a continuing act of war against an entire civilian population of 1.5 million, a form of collective punishment and a crime against humanity.” Roane Carey, The Nation 6/02/09.

Building materials that would allow Gazans to rebuild are forbidden, not one bag of cement, not one 2 by 4. Netanyahu

Stop Big Pharma and Insurance From Killing the Public Option in Health Care Bill

Mendocino County

June 7, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

[After reading Robert Reich’s blog, I just sent this to my congressional respresentative Mike Thompson -JS]

Dear Congressman Thompson:

I am writing to urge you to support a real public option in the emerging health care bill. Big Pharma is trying very hard to make any public option meaningless as I learned from Robert Reich in his blog→.

My first choice would be single payer health care, but that appears to be off the table. To have any meaningful reform there must be a public option. As a member of Congress you are already a beneficiary. Every American should have the same opportunity.

I urge you to press as hard as you possibly can for a public option without conditions or triggers — one that gives the public insurer bargaining leverage over drug companies, and pushes insurers to do what they’ve promised to do.

Your constituent,

Janie Sheppard

In the “Frontline” documentary “What It’s Like To Be Sick Around the World,” the award-winning correspondent shows why the health care system in the United States lags far behind other major democracies. To watch the PBS program, click here→.

Take Action! Navy To Sacrifice 2.3 Million Marine Mammals Per Year For 5 Years Of War Games Off Our Mendocino Coast

Redwood Valley

June 5, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

SAVE OUR FISHING & WHALE WATCHING INDUSTRIES, our marine habitat, and protect the public from highly toxic chemicals.

A wide variety of marine mammals (whales, dolphins, porpoises, manatees, seals, walrus, and otters) have already died due to Navy Warfare Testing of Weapons currently underway in the Hawaiian Islands, the Mariana Islands, the Pacific Ocean off the coastline of Oregon, Washington, Southern California, the Gulf of Mexico, and other areas where testing is now conducted in both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

The Navy now proposes to expand its NWT Range Complex warfare testing range to encompass more land areas of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California and the Pacific Ocean.

Many chemicals, like depleted uranium, used in this program are toxic to humans, marine mammals, all wildlife, and birds.

The Navy has violated NEPA laws by not informing the majority of the citizens of the United States about this program.

The Navy admits that there are severe declines in some marine mammal populations, and they will “take”, harm, maim or kill approximately 2.3 million marine mammals per year over five years.

The Navy will disrupt the fishing and whaling tourist industry near some of their weapons test areas in the Pacific Ocean even though there are sensitive marine areas in the Pacific Ocean which need to be preserved and protected.

Airborne sky obscurants like toxic fog oils, red phosphorus, white phosphorus, Aluminum Coated Fiberglass & Flares,

Monster Mall Attacks Critical Water Report

Developers attack report critical of Ukiah project


Published: Friday, June 5, 2009 at 4:03 a.m.

A developer’s campaign to persuade Mendocino County voters to directly approve a 74-acre shopping-based development has shown its legal muscle.

An attorney for the campaign is demanding that Mendocino County officials disown a study that indicates the project could impact Ukiah Valley water and sewer customers.

The study is “an illegal expenditure of public resources in violation of the California Constitution,” states the letter from San Rafael attorney Marguerite Mary Leoni to the Mendocino County counsel and the Local Agency Formation Commission. The report was created by LAFCO executive director Frank McMichael.

Leoni represents the initiative campaign, which is funded by Developers Diversified Realty, one of the country’s largest mall developers.

She said the report also fails to meet the legal requirement that such government reports be objective. “It is replete with speculation and fear-mongering,” Leoni said.

Her letter demands that LAFCO officials declare they did not request, authorize or approve the report, that it is not based on a factual investigation, that it is not a LAFCO report and that McMichael lacks the credentials to support an authoritative opinion on water issues as they pertain to the development plan.

As the director of LAFCO, McMichael is charged with ensuring there is adequate water and other public services for developments prior to annexation to special districts that supply water and sewer.

Complete article here

Revisiting The Cluetrain Manifesto – 10 Years Later

From cluetrain.com

[A 10th Anniversary edition with added chapters is about to hit the bookshops. Here is the manifesto. You can’t get much better at business market forecasting and the impact of the internet than this. -DS]

If you only have time for one clue this year, this is the one to get… We are not seats or eyeballs or end users or consumers. We are human beings. And our reach exceeds your grasp. Deal with it!

Online Markets…

Networked markets are beginning to self-organize faster than the companies that have traditionally served them. Thanks to the web, markets are becoming better informed, smarter, and more demanding of qualities missing from most business organizations.

…People of Earth

The sky is open to the stars. Clouds roll over us night and day. Oceans rise and fall. Whatever you may have heard, this is our world, our place to be. Whatever you’ve been told, our flags fly free. Our heart goes on forever. People of Earth, remember.

95 Thesis

  1. Markets are conversations.
  2. Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.
  3. Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice.
  4. Whether delivering information, opinions, perspectives, dissenting arguments or humorous asides, the human voice is typically open, natural, uncontrived.
  5. People recognize each other as such from the sound of this voice.
  6. The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media.

When Whiners Whine About Whining Whiners

From Letters To The Editor
Anderson Valley Advertiser 6/3/2009

Tourist Alert

To The Editor:

To any tourists who just happens to be in Mendocino County this time of the year I say welcome to whine country. Not “wine” country as in a good grade of Ripple, but “whine” country, as in the sound made by the constantly complaining Mendocino County Progressives. I truly believe that these progressives were dyed in the wool brats who got anything and everything they wanted by continuously whining at their parents until they did, and I think they feel that this type of behavior should be just as successful for them as adults as it was when they were children.

I know that I am not the only one who is growing weary of this constant carping. But, as usual, out of adversity rises opportunity. I think I’ll go into the earplug business and I can make a bloody fortune selling plugs to others who are as fed up listening to the whining progressives as I am.

[Name witheld by UB]


Gardeners and Farmers Less Fearful of Death?

Garden Farm Skills

June 4, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

When our bed of irises (in the photo above) bloom for one brief but glorious week in late May,  I think, strangely enough, of a letter a friend of mine received from a doctor in Minnesota.  The doctor observed that in his medical practice, rural people face the prospect of dying with more equanimity than urbanites.

He  theorizes that people who live close to the natural world and to farm life have their thinking shaped by the way life and death follow each other up and down the food chain every day.  They understand that death is the unavoidable way of nature and it applies to everything and everyone. Urban people more often live in a sort of surrealistic plastic bubble where they never see a nice neighborhood doggy tear the guts out of a lamb or a cute raccoon slaughter a henhouse full of chickens.  They have never seen a hog die after having its throat slit to bleed properly so that the meat tastes the way they want it to taste. They do not associate their eating with anything dying. They become paranoid at the realization that they must die too and try to find ways to avoid every possible or even imagined threat of death that comes their way. That doctor didn’t say it, but mine would add that this paranoia is adding 500 billion unnecessary dollars to the cost of Medicare and Medicaid programs according to recent statistics.

I suppose that there are quite a few urban people living in areas of high crime rates who are even more conscious of the inevitability of death than rural people who care for animals or must deal with the wild animal kingdom, but generally speaking, I think the good doctor has it right. I would add gardeners in the group of those who accept death philosophically. There is an underbelly of sadness to the delights of gardening. The flowers in the photo above, mostly irises, are the result of my wife’s nearly year-round care, but peak bloom lasts

Ukiah City Council Unanimously Opposes Monster Mall


June 3, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California



WHEREAS a request for Ballot Title and Summary for an initiative has been filed with the Mendocino County Clerk to Amend the Mendocino County General Plan and the Inland Zoning Code of Mendocino County, and to enact the Mendocino Crossings Mixed-Use Masonite Specific Plan; and

WHEREAS the Mendocino Crossings Mixed-Use Masonite Specific Plan would allow approximately 650,000 square feet of commercial development and 150,000 square feet of residential development on approximately 74 acres north of and in close proximity to the City of Ukiah; and

WHEREAS the City of Ukiah has reviewed and discussed the Mendocino Crossings Mixed-Use Masonite Specific Plan; and concludes that build-out of the Masonite site pursuant to the provision of the Specific Plan could result in potential impacts to the City of Ukiah; and

WHEREAS the potential impacts include:

1) Traffic congestion resulting from the future connection of the Orchard Avenue Extension to proposed Valley Drive that would serve commercial and residential development rather than previously assumed industrial development;

2) Traffic congestion associated with the uncertainty of the effectiveness of the 5 additional traffic lights on North State Street proposed as part of the Specific Plan;

3) The cumulative build-out of the greater Ukiah Valley area has already negatively impacted public safety services within the City of Ukiah. The proposed project increases these negative impacts on police and fire services. These impacts include

Self-Sufficiency for our Bioregion

Dwellers in the Land: The Bioregional Vision (1991)

June 3, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Far from being deprived, far from being thus impoverished, even the most unendowed bioregion can in the long run gain in economic health with a careful and deliberate policy of self-sufficiency. The reasons are various:

1. A self-sufficient bioregion would be more economically stable, more in control of investment, production, and sales, and hence more insulated from the cycles of boom-and-bust engendered by distant market forces or remote political crises. And its people, with a full close-up knowledge of both markets and resources, would be able to allocate their products and labor in the most efficient way, to build and develop what and where they want to at the safest pace, to control their own money supply and currency value without extreme fluctuations—and to adjust all those procedures with comparative ease when necessary.

2. A self-sufficient bioregion would not be in vassalage to far-off and uncontrollable national bureaucracies or transnational corporations, at the mercy of whims or greed of politicians and plutocrats. Not caught up in the vortex of world-wide trade, it would be free from the vulnerability that always accompanies dependence in some degree or other, as the Western world discovered with considerable pain when OPEC countries quadrupled the price of the oil it depended on, as the non-Western world experiences daily.

3. A self-sufficient bioregion would be, plainly put, richer than one enmeshed in extensive trade, even when the trade balance is favorable. Partly this is because no part of the economy need be devoted to paying for imports, a burden that severely taxes even an industrial country like the United States—where, try as we might, we have not escaped a severe trade deficit in the last fifteen years—and that simply drains nations heavily dependent on imports, such as Britain, Brazil, Mexico, and most of the

Monster Mall – City Council Final Vote Tonight, June 3, 6pm


Big bucks used to corrupt initiative process

June 3, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

From a local citizen: “DDR has spent $1,000,000 on marketing, legal and political services just to get this monster to market, even before the current filing. If you add in the most recent $186,336 [UDJ 5/31/09], and if DDR only needs 12,000 voters to win this election, DDR has already spent $98.86 for each one of those targeted voters – almost $100 per voter!”

From Financial Times May 29 2009:

California’s system of direct democracy, while laudable in aim, is another headache. “Ballot initiatives” were introduced in 1911 by Hiram Johnson, then governor, who wanted to curtail the influence of the mighty Southern Pacific Railroad and return power to the people. Since then, any issue can be put to a state-wide vote, provided half a million or so signatures are gathered to support a change in the law. Ballot initiatives were intended to give a voice to voters. “It was supposed to be about mom and pop talking about something around the dinner table and then getting all their friends to sign a petition,” says Dan Mitchell, professor emeritus at the UCLA Anderson School of Management and the School of Public Affairs. “But most initiatives on the ballot don’t start that way.” Instead wealthy individuals and special interest groups “pay a couple of million dollars to employ people to collect signatures outside of supermarkets”.

DDR Spokesperson response?  “I don’t believe this to be buying a campaign.”

Tonight, Wednesday June 3 the Ukiah City Council will consider a resolution about Developer Diversified Realty’s (DDR) ballot measure to change the Masonite site from industrial zoning to a huge shopping mall. The item will come up early on the Council’s agenda, possibly 6:15 p.m.

10 Ways to Limit Health Risk from Cell Phones

From The Daily Green

June 3, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

French schools have banned cell phones because of concern over electromagnetic radiation. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself and your children.

  1. Do not allow children to use a cell phone except for emergencies. The developing organs of a fetus or child are the most likely to be sensitive to any possible effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields.
  2. While communicating using your cell phone, try to keep the cell phone away from the body as much as possible. The amplitude of the electromagnetic field is one fourth the strength at a distance of two inches and fifty times lower at three feet.Whenever possible, use the speaker-phone mode or a wireless Bluetooth headset, which has less than 1/100th of the electromagnetic emission of a normal cell phone. Use of a headset attachment may also reduce exposure.
  3. Avoid using your cell phone in public places, like a bus, where you can passively expose others to your phone’s electromagnetic fields.
  4. Avoid carrying your cell phone on your body at all times. Do not keep it near your body at night such as under the pillow or on a bedside table, particularly if pregnant. You can also put it on “flight” or “off-line” mode, which stops electromagnetic emissions.
  5. If you must carry your cell phone on you, it is preferable that you orient the keypad toward your body and the back is positioned toward the outside of your body. Depending on the thickness of the phone this may provide a minimal reduction of exposure.
  6. Keep your conversations short. Only use your cell phone to establish contact or for conversations lasting a few minutes as the biological effects are directly related to the duration of exposure. For longer conversations, use a land line with a corded phone, not a cordless phone, which uses electromagnetic

Reinventing the Informal Economy

From Sharon Astyk

June 2, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

…Now the informal economy isn’t perfect. Unless you join the criminal parts of it, or are a natural scrounger, you probably won’t get rich off of it.

But the truth is that the informal economy is more resilient (being vastly larger) than the formal economy – markets, as we all know, long preceeded “the market.” That is, human beings always have economies – they are simply not always formal.

In most cases, people live partly in one, partly in the other – the formal economy is needed for the paying taxes and debts, for some projects, while the informal economy meets other needs. The more cash money you have, the less you may rely on the personal ties and subsistence labor of the informal economy, but also, the more unstable, complex and vulnerable the formal economy is (and these are the defining characteristics of modern finance), the more the informal economy is necessary – family ties take over for retirement accounts, barter when neither of you has any cash, subsistence labor replaces money labor for some people, so that you need to earn less.

Transition Towns Sweeping The World

From The Guardian UK
May 31, 2009

June 2, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Within three years it has gone from an idea to having 170 towns, villages and cities signed up as transition communities, working in 30 countries, and thousands more all over the world using the transition model. It is viral, catching on faster than its founder, Rob Hopkins, can track.

Its message is that peak oil and climate change demand dramatic changes in the way people live, and, given that no one has the answer, communities themselves must start working out how that change might come about.

It offers no answers, no solutions, only some tips in a handbook for how to get started. Transition lays the challenge squarely at the door of everyone. This is too big and difficult for government alone to tackle, too overwhelming and depressing for individuals to face alone.

Transition is rooted in a new politics of place: geography matters again as people look to the community immediately around them to devise the solutions for sustainability and resilience.

The Outer World

Mendocino County

June 1, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

[This article first appeared in the current Anderson Valley Advertiser 5/27/09. Used with permission.]

Marcia and I just returned from three weeks in the outer world. We gave nine house concerts, two bookstore performances, and visited a couple dozen bookstores from Mendocino all the way to Lummi Island, Washington and back, with layovers in Arcata, Coos Bay, Astoria, Seattle, Bellingham, Port Townsend, Portland, Medford, Ashland, and Sacramento. Our concerts were a mix of guitar/cello duets, cello solos, songs, and short stories. We had audiences as large as fifty, as small as five. Since I rarely go anywhere outside of the Big River watershed, this was a monumental and highly stressful journey for me. For Marcia it was pure fun.

Here are some of the things I discovered en route.