Echo – One of the all time great political ads


Dan Hamburg: The Solution to Remote Mega Solar Projects — Decentralize & Relocalize

Mendocino County

Much of the conventional thinking about alternative energy rallied around mega projects: 60 square miles filled with huge arrays of solar collectors that produce enough energy to power a small city.

But 8 to 12% of the electricity generated at these remote sources is lost along the wires, largely from resistance, before the energy reaches the city. And corporate control of pricing is still a problem as it is in today’s energy distribution grid.

The articles below relate directly to the mega-solar project in the Mojave Desert (near Needles). I learned today that the Sierra Club will not sue to protect the endangered desert tortoise.

The first link discusses (& SHOWS with photos) some of the many problems with large scale solar (etc.). The second link (some of which is posted below), points toward “solutions” which involve more decentralized formations of energy acquisition & distribution.

Jennifer Poole: Holly Madrigal For 3rd District Supervisor

Holly Madrigal

Mendocino County

I’m glad to be able to let Ukiah Blog readers know that Holly Madrigal is on the record as supporting “participatory budgeting.” [See Michael Foley’s post here which this comment refers to. -DS] From her Issues statement, first posted on her web site and Facebook page in March:

“BUDGETING & FINANCE: Explore alternative revenue generation, an even-handed approach to salaries, and strong protection of county resources.

· Include public input on the current fiscal crisis: Mendocino County deserves a more democratic approach and participatory budgeting that fosters local buy-in for the difficult choices ahead.

· Investigate creative solutions for revenue generation: Support our economic base through a local purchasing ordinance and streamlining of the building and permit process to improve county revenue sources.”

Holly has also addressed the “democratic deficit” by holding “office hours” on Thursday afternoons at the Farmers Market in Willits for several years now to hear ideas from citizens about all kinds of issues. Again, from her Issues statement:

“· Expand my accessibility: Continue to hold community “office hours” at least once a month in Willits,

Go to Jail or Go to a Farm: How One Community Is Growing More Than Just Food


Growing a Garden City: How Farmers, First Graders, Counselors, Troubled Teens, Foodies, a Homeless Shelter Chef, Single Mothers, and More are Transforming Themselves and Their Neighborhood Through the Intersection of Local Agriculture and Community… and How You Can, Too

Special powers have long been ascribed to farms, for good reason. A special conversation takes place there in the dirt and rain and sun, a dialogue between people and nature. The people talk and listen, while nature mostly talks, and if everyone cooperates you get a supply of food. This, arguably, is how civilization began.

If you talk to people who grew up on farms you might hear more about what the experience did to their characters than about what kind of food they raised. Some will rave about the aphrodisiac properties of farms. The therapeutic possibilities are even more rigorously documented. And the educational opportunities are off the charts. That’s why gardens and farm programs have been sprouting like dandelions in schools, prisons, hospitals, houses of government, and other places whose occupants could use some illumination and direction.

A new book by Jeremy Smith, with a forward by Bill McKibben, traces the history of Garden City Harvest, a community farm and garden organization in Missoula, Montana

Benj Thomas: Closing the Coast Community Library


As a committed member of the County Library Advisory Board, I am writing to let you know of an agenda item coming before the Board of Supes on Tuesday October 19.

At 9:30 the Supes will hear a proposed action to terminate the county’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Coast Community Library and thereby untether the South Coast Library from the countywide system. I don’t know how the vote will go.

While many south coast library supporters will attend the meeting, I think that inland support could be crucial in carrying the day. What may be a divide and conquer approach to the evisceration of the Library system will work only if the rest of the county remains silent.

And here is the text of the ASR:

DATE: Wednesday, October 13, 2010

TO: Mendocino County Board of Supervisors

FROM: Melanie Lightbody, County Librarian

RE: Coast Community Library MOU and county operations

BACKGROUND: The County has a Memorandum of Understanding with Friends of the Coast Community Library which provides for 32 hours of regular staffing to the Coast Library and payment of certain facilities and book delivery costs.

Take Action! Protect Our Pacific Ocean Environment: Board of Supervisors Tuesday 10/19/10

Redwood Valley

Action Item On Agenda

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors is working to protect Northern California coastal areas from the 5-Year U.S. Navy NWTRC Warfare Testing that may negatively impact the fishing and tourism industry, fish, birds, and public health. The Marin County Supervisors have joined Mendocino County in this effort and will be holding their meeting in Marin County this week. (Testing includes sonar, missile exercises, bomb blasts, toxic chemicals + More)

U.S. Navy NWTRC Testing Area Encompasses: Northern California, Oregon, Washington & Idaho

The Public is Invited to Attend the Mendocino County Board of Supervisor’s Meeting and express their views on this critical issue.

*The Final Filing Date for the U.S. Navy Public Comments is October 24, 2010.

Interested parties may submit comments via the project website at or by U.S. mail to:

Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest
1101 Tautog Circle, Suite 203
Silverdale, WA 98315-1101
Attn: Mrs. Kimberly Kler – NWTRC EIS

Michael Foley: Don’t Tell Me ‘Bout Your Qualifications


As the electoral season comes to a close, there’s a question nagging that hasn’t been asked the candidates for Board of Supervisors and city councils around the county. To my mind it’s the key question. What I as a voter and citizen want to know is: What do you propose to do about the democratic deficit in the county?

No, not the fiscal deficit. I’ve heard all your answers (and they don’t much impress me). I mean the democratic deficit.

What’s a democratic deficit? To start with, we’re saddled with fundamentally undemocratic institutions. At both county and city levels, we’re asked to choose five people to make decisions for thousands, with no more provision that they bide by the wishes of the public than the custom that most meetings start with something called “public expression.” As if citizen participation were a matter of group therapy, with citizens allowed a minute or two to get it off our chests. Then we’ll all feel better. Right.

I know. I know. If we’re dissatisfied with our representatives, we can always vote them out. Some years hence. That’s “democracy.” But the fact is that Supervisors and council members alike are expected to make up their own minds on matters of public concern and cast the deciding votes. Not us. And worse, in the case of the city councils, there are often more people affected by our five member directorate living outside city limits — and therefore without a vote — than living inside.

Because I’m troubled by the lack of democracy in this whole arrangement, moreover, I’m not impressed with your “qualifications”. Let me be perfectly clear where I’m coming from. I have a couple of degrees in something whimsically named

Don Sanderson: Mining the Earth


I found the October 11 blog article Soils and Souls: The Promise of the Land by Robert Jensen on target, as could be expected. Still, this stimulated some thoughts that have long been at the back of my mind on related topics that seldom seem to be mentioned by any of these individuals, yet appear to me to be as crucial for our consideration, likely our human survival, as theirs.

Wendell Berry speaks elsewhere about the soil of his home farm as having been wrung of its fertility in the nineteenth century by tobacco cropping, even though this was surely done prior to cheap oil, without chemical fertilizers or artificial pesticides, and with horse and human power. When tobacco was harvested, the entire plants were cut off and removed from the field together with all the mineral nutrients they contained. In effect, since none of these minerals were returned nor the rotting organic matter required for the soil’s tilth, the land was in effect mined to death. Unlike the coal miners, mountains may not have been removed, but this had similar economic effects on surrounding communities.

When the pioneers first encountered the several feet deep soils of the Great Plains in the middle nineteenth century, they couldn’t have imagined that in only a few decades, mostly using oxen and horse power and those big plows, it would be mined until only a few inches remained. Much of that blew away in the early thirties. This was a replay of what happened thousands of years earlier in what was then the Fertile Crescent,

Ron Epstein: Bill Clinton became a vegan, lost 24 pounds, healing himself by not ingesting any cholesterol


Are Cell Phones and Wi-Fi Hazardous to Our Health?

Huffington Post

[Well-researched with some sound advice on reducing exposure. -DS]

“You may not be able to see electropollution, but your body responds to it as though it were a cloud of toxic chemicals.”b–Ann Louse Gittleman, author of Zapped

The latest form of environmental pollution — and one that industry, government and wireless consumers don’t like to acknowledge — may be the most devastating threat to health yet: electromagnetic fields (EMFs). A few years ago, I was so concerned that I took a certification course in the detection and harmful effects of EMFs. What it taught me, above all, was how much the scientific community is learning daily, and how little we in the medical profession knew. This area was both frightening and daunting in its scope. I’m grateful that following Devra Davis’s Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation we now have Zapped to educate the public on this serious issue.

The UK’s BioInitiative Report of July 2007 (updated in 2009) describes hundreds of studies that link EMF exposure to Alzheimer’s disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), brain fog, cardiovascular disease, miscarriage, infertility, insomnia, learning impairment, as well as anxiety and depression. Wireless technologies

Herb Ruhs: Tyranny


Tyranny: “cruel and oppressive government or rule.”

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

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

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

Todd Walton: Prostitution


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

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

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

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

Mendo Island Transition: Saved by peas

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

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

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

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

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

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

Michael Laybourn: Why I am voting for Dan Hamburg


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

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

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

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

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

Dan Hamburg clearly understands these things.

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

Here is the real difference in the 5th District Supervisor race:

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


Radio Curious
Thanks to Richard Shoemaker

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

Go here for audio

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

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

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

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

B: Wendy Roberts, welcome to Radio Curious.

W: Thank you.

B: I heard you give a talk at a picnic in Redwood Valley, and you referred to extremist ideologies, which you said have led to our decline.

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

Westside Renaissance Market (WRM)

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

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

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

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

Meca Wawona and Tom Liden: Dan Hamburg Endorsement LTEs

5th District west of Ukiah

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

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

Janie Sheppard: Vote Yes on Measure C (Updated)

Mendocino County

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

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

A taxpayer lawsuit would, however, accomplish that.

Meanwhile, the county needs revenue to provide services.

The issues are separate. Don’t get confused.

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



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

Wendy Roberts – Treehugger (video)

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

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

Redwood Valley

Toll Free Number (1866) 220-0044

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

Three items:

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

2) Ask for U.S. Congressional Hearings

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

October 12, 2010

The Honorable Congressman Mike Thompson

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

Soils and Souls: The Promise of the Land

Energy Bulletin

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

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

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

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

Orion Magazine 2004

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

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

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

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

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

Transition Culture

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

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

Pension Fund and Measure C in Understandable Language (Updated)

Mendocino County

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

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

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

Original message from Supervisor John McCowen:

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

Gated Mansions Shutting Us Out Of Our Beloved Coast?

Mendocino County

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

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

Why We Love Fiction


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

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

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




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


Film focuses on Food, Agriculture, and Sustainability

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

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

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

From Producer JED RIFFE

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

Todd Walton: Desnatchification

Under The Table

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can You DIY?

From YES!

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

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

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

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

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

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

A terrible dependency of mind

North California

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Transition Culture.

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

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

Article with videos here

Debora McGillivray: Together We Can

Together We Can! Mendocino

Dear Members and Friends of Together We Can! Mendocino,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gene Logsdon: Picking Blackberries Without Bleeding To Death

Upper Sandusky, Ohio

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

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

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

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

Young Farmers to Convene in Redwood Valley

Grassroots Event Signals the Emergence of New Agricultural Leaders

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

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

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

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

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

Diane L. Hering
Membership Outreach Coordinator
Mendocino County Public Broadcasting

Dear Ms. Hering:

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

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

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

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

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

Mendo 2 Mile Challenge

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

That’s pretty cool.

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

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

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

– Consumers Report: Cars Blog August 27, 2009 –

Bruce Patterson: Animal Husbandry

Anderson Valley

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

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

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