What Employment Opportunities Arise from Embracing Transition?

From Transition Culture

July 1, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

As part of the Totnes EDAP, we are creating this table (below), by way of illustrating the wealth of new employment possibilities that could be created in a community that seriously embraces the potential of Transition. There will of course be hundreds of things we have neglected to include. In the light of the continued ’sharp contraction’ of the UK economy, we are arguing that the only way the area can revive its fortunes will be via. the Transition approach…

Employment Opportunities for a Post-Peak Oil Totnes and District
Employment Sector Industry Type Opportunities for Economic Development
Food Production/Land Use Organic Farming Farm workers, research and innovation, value adding and processing, retail, Community Supported Agriculture initiatives
Textile Production Farming, processing, manufacturing
Organic Food Production Training, freshwater aquaculture, organic gourmet mushroom production for food and medicines, intensive market gardening
Forestry Timber for construction and a variety of uses, sawdust for mushroom cultivation, charcoal, wood gasification, coppice products, saps, tannin, bark mulch, education, training, food crops, fibre
Urban Agriculture Co-ordination, land access provision, edible landscaping consultancy, online tools for linking growers and consumers, large potential for commercial production, plant nurseries and propagation
Gleaning Apple harvesting and pressing, hedgerow drinks and other products, education
Agroforestry systems Design consultancy, planting and ongoing management, selling of wide range of produce, long term enhanced timber value, courses, publications, research
Schools Edible landscaping, teaching, Education for Sustainable Development, food growing training, apprenticeships, bespoke Transition training programmes
Manufacturing and Processing Recycling Salvaging building materials, processing and reclaiming materials (bricks, timber etc), making insulation from waste paper, glass bottles into insulation
Sustainable Industry Renewable energy technologies manufacturing and installing, technology systems,
Repair Extending the life of machinery, building for durability
Fabric Processing of locally produced fabric, hemp, flax etc, making a range of clothing for retail, and repairs
Scavenging Materials reuse, refurbishing, resale to low-income families
Services Healthcare Holistic healthcare, research into effective herbal medicines, local herb growing and processing, training for doctors, apothecaries, nutritional advice
Energy Home insulation advice, energy monitoring, energy efficient devices, investment co-ordinators, sale of energy to grid or decentralised energy systems, producing wood chip/pellets for boilers, Energy Resilience Analyses for businesses
Compost Management Collecting, Managing, Training, Distribution, Education, potential links to urban food production
Information Technology Creation of effective software systems for energy management, carbon footprinting and much more
Hospice services / bereavement Hospice services, supporting families who keep relatives at home, green burials
Financial Investment Credit Unions, local currencies, mechanisms whereby people can invest with confidence into their community, Green Bonds, crowd funding
Government Councils Opportunity to organise efforts throughout region, and parishes
Researchers Opportunity to gather information from the many projects and enterprises underway.
Education and Design Educators Wide range of opportunities for supporting ‘The Great Reskilling’, developing Distance Learning programmes, training for professionals
Sustainable Designers Landscape architects specialising in edible landscaping, zero carbon buildings
The Arts Art projects documenting the Transition, installations, exhibitions, public art workshops, local recording studios, storytelling
Transition Consulting Working with businesses on energy audits, resilience plans, a range of future-proofing strategies
Personal / Group Support Counselling Personal ‘Transition Counselling’, group support, community processes
Citizens Advice Debt advice, housing advice, financial management skills, debt scheduling
Outplacement/Redundancy Support Support, retraining, ongoing support and training
Media Print media Local newspapers, small print run books on different aspects of the Transition
Internet Online retailing systems for local markets
Film media Online TV channels documenting inspiring examples of Transition in Action
Construction Reskilling Retraining builders to use local materials and green building techniques, improving awareness around energy efficiency in building, setting up local construction companies
Materials Creating local natural building materials, clay plasters, timber, lime, straw, hemp etc. Growing, processing, distribution, retail etc. Locally made wallpaper.
Architects Specialists in passiv haus building, local materials, retrofit advice
Transportation Low energy vehicle fleets Marketing, maintaining, renting, chauffeuring
Bicycles Selling, servicing, maintenance training, rental
Rickshaws Importing, servicing, taxi service, weddings etc.
Biodiesel Sourcing, processing, selling, training and advice
Biomethane/Electric vehicles Fleet management, sales, leasing, car clubs

This chart is based on and expanded from Chen, Y., Deines, M., Fleischmann,H., Reed, S. & Swick, I. (2007) Transforming Urban Environments for a Post-Peak Oil Future: a vision plan for the city of San Buenaventura. City of San Buenaventura.
See also Transition Ukiah

Dave Pollard: 12 Things You Can Do To Make The World A Better Place

From Dave Pollard
How To Save The World Blog

July 1, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

[Nested within a longer post, Four World Changing Questions (well worth the read), this is an update on a Pollard classic. -DS]

Knowing and Learning:

1. Understand What’s Happening: Before you can engage others and act purposefully and effectively you need to understand how the world really works (not what they tell you in school or in the media about how it works). The world is complex, and understanding and embracing complexity is a challenge to our culture’s predilection for oversimplification and dichotomy.

2. Imagine What’s Possible: Next, you need to be able to imagine a better world, one that is not addicted to growth and consumption. If you can’t imagine it, you will never be able to decide how to achieve it.

3. Be Pragmatic and Realistic: There are many things you can do, and many wonderful-sounding but unenforced, unenforceable and/or ineffective regulations and actions, so you need to learn what actions actually work. This takes a lot of time and energy, and to do it you need to stop doing some other things you are doing that are distracting you from learning these important truths.

4. Know Yourself: Then, to assess what you can do about all this, you need to know yourself, which means giving yourself the time and space to discover who you really are, what your true gifts, passions and purpose are, and therefore what you’re meant to do.

5. Build Personal Capacity: And finally, once you’ve learned all this, you need to discover and acquire the additional capacities you need to be effective at bringing about change in the world. This doesn’t entail changing yourself to be what you’re not, but just learning some new skills and abilities that will equip you to accomplish more with less effort.

Most of us never have the opportunity to do any of this, so we end up doing ill-informed, half-hearted, non-time-consuming, and largely ineffective things. We complain, we sign a few petitions, we feel guilty, but none of that gets us anywhere. We say we’re doing our best given the other commitments on our time, resources and energies, but are we? Until we have done these five knowing and learning steps, we can’t possibly know.

Teaching and Sharing:

6. Converse and Tell Stories: Once we have learned these things, we can start to engage others. Conversation, discussion, talking, explaining, showing — these aren’t ‘doing’ actions, but they are essential. Until we engage others in meaningful dialogue, our efforts are atomized, fragmented, isolated.

Ukiah Screed: Following the Money in Mendocino County


June 30, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Mendocino County has not yet been hurt badly by the financial crisis – for three reasons. First, because marijuana is our number one product; second, because that product, unlike timber, is bought and sold in cash; and third, we were not on the fast-track, high-growth frenzy that had captured other areas in the state south of us.

We have heard for many years the constant whining, frustration and fury by developers that it is nigh impossible to get anything through our local planning departments. We may want to stop a minute and thank our bureaucrats for being so grossly slow and inefficient.

The Monster Mall folks finally gave up and put their dumb growth project on the ballot. They’re determined to suck the lifeblood from our county and send it who knows where, to who knows who. Citizens in Windsor, San Diego, and San Joaquin Valley had very high throughput planners to help in their building frenzies and big box growth, and now they’re suffering horribly for it. They might want to send their planners up here for seminars on how to drag their feet.

But what of our local future? A slow squeeze has begun on another of our major sources of income: decent- and good-paying (thanks to Unions) local and regional jobs supported by taxes such as teaching, police and fire, public services, etc. Unless teachers get into outlaw agriculture, growing bud is not going to take up the slack. As cash becomes scarce, small businesses will suffer, local stores will close, tax income will go down further, more jobs will be lost… and we will join the death spiral that many other communities are experiencing.

Then we will start asking hard questions about why we are spending money at big box and chain stores that send our money out of our county; about why some locals would want to welcome even more occupiers in to plunder what little money we have; and how shopping local circulates our money around and around here at home, creating jobs, rather than taking leave for parts unknown.

We will also then consider creating our own local currencies, as other communities are doing, that stays local, purchasing food from our own farmers and restaurateurs; purchasing goods from our own merchants, makers and suppliers; purchasing entertainment from our own neighbors and local talents rather than watching it on the boob tube.

And you’ll be thankful you did because what you spend and send around locally, comes back to you and our community’s common wealth in so many ways.
See also Mendocino’s Local Economy: Weed, Wine, Wood, and Water

…and When Whiners Whine About Whining Whiners

As The Monster Malls Die: Retrofitting Our Towns

From The Christian Science Monitor

As it once sucked the life out of Main Street, the suburban mall is being reconsidered – or torn down – as towns move back to the concept of a multiuse town center.

June 30, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Lakewood, Colo.

Few here have forgotten the Villa Italia, the hulking, whitewashed mall that once spilled across the skyline of central Lakewood. Unveiled in 1966, the Villa was the largest indoor shopping center west of the Mississippi River and east of California. The gaudy main hall – ornamented to evoke the charms of old-world Europe – played host to hundreds of after-prom parties, first dates, and all-day festivals. In its heyday, in the 1970s and ’80s, the Villa anchored this large, affluent Denver suburb, which never had a Main Street to call its own.

Then in the ’90s, like hundreds of malls nationwide, the Villa began to lose its luster. First went the jewelry stores and the luxury-goods boutiques. By 2001, destination department stores such as Montgomery Ward and JCPenney had vanished, too, and with them, most of the foot traffic. The kids who hung out in the food court decamped for more vibrant locales; the corridors grew hushed. The once-great mall became a cemetery of dollar stores and a glorified walking track for senior citizens. In 2003, it was mercifully reduced to a pile of rubble.

For at least a decade, Americans have been regularly reminded that the indoor mall was hurtling toward obscurity. The causes were manifold: the rise of Internet shopping, the sharp spikes of an ailing economy, the success of Wal-Mart and its big-box kin, the fading relevance of mall culture.

Welcome to 2009, the year that the mall, the staple of so many childhood memories and a longstanding pillar of suburban commerce, could finally and truly go bust. From west to east, shopping centers stand darkened, the hulks of Circuit Citys boarded up, the parking lots of Linens ‘n Things deserted. Malls are posting the highest vacancy rates in a decade, and retail rental rates are plummeting, according to Reis, a New York firm that studies trends in commercial real estate. And the slope is precipitous:

Food, Inc. – Movie reviews from Acres USA and Roger Ebert

From Chris Walters
Acres USA

June 29, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Every weekday the public radio station where I live carries a program called Marketplace, ostensibly devoted to all things economic. The reporters and commentators on Marketplace sound a little more despondent every day, which is understandable. As bad as the economic news may be these days, the most depressing job at that show must be reading the name of its corporate underwriter, Monsanto, followed by a catchphrase including the term “sustainable agriculture.”

If everybody at Marketplace doesn’t yet realize what a horrible lie they are promoting in exchange for money, they will after they see Food, Inc. In an era when paid flacks, viral marketing specialists and the like know how to divert vast amounts of media oxygen, if you oppose one industry’s agenda, then it’s not at all cynical to note that your propaganda has to be better than their propaganda. Thus it is no slam at all to call Food, Inc. a work of superbly efficient and appealing propaganda.

As director Robert Kenner would doubtless agree, it helps when you have the facts on your side. The movie’s target is industrial agriculture, and industrial agriculture is a disaster of staggering proportions… The movie’s virtues lie in the skill, sometimes even the beauty, of its execution. Kenner mimics corporate-ag TV style with lush helicopter shots of endless rows of crops extending into the horizon like God’s own corduroy — except he lingers on shots a lot longer than any television spot ever could, and the prettiness of the image breaks down and turns unsettling.

Then there are the people, especially chicken grower Carole Morison, who is infinitely tired of the deceit she’s had to tolerate over many years in business with Big Poultry, and Joel Salatin [photo above], whose good humor and pleasure in his work takes over the screen. Salatin [see video below] has the physical authority of somebody absolutely at home in his skin, a quality that cannot be faked in front of a movie camera.

Part of Kenner’s agenda, like the books of Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser (who act here as de facto narrators), is to connect viewers to the sources of their food. Here is where Food, Inc. is an unqualified success. Kenner somehow got permission to shoot inside a plant where hamburger meat is doused with an E. coli killer and turned into a gray slab for boxing, and he shows us CAFOs [Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations] and slaughterhouses. City dwellers will flinch when they see Salatin and his crew killing chickens by hand in their open-air facility, but only for a moment. It’s a wholesome and cheerful scene alongside the industrial horrors that have come before.

A few caveats need mentioning. Kenner confronts the issue

Organic Nutrition – The Latest Science

From Mark Keating
Acres USA

June 29, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

“If I were asked to sum up the results of the work of the pioneers of the last 12 years or so on the relation of agriculture to public health, I should reply that a fertile soil means healthy crops, healthy livestock, and last, but not least, healthy human beings.” So wrote Sir Albert Howard in 1945.

Sir Albert’s concise assessment of the human health benefits of eco-agriculture may be the first recorded response to the enduring question, Are organic foods better for you? For Howard, the nutritional superiority of organic foods was a direct consequence of the comaptibilit between eco-acriculture and the Earth’s first and most efficient farmer, Mother Nature. He perceived good health as the birthright of all living creatures and concluded that disease was inevitably connected to disruptions of the natural order, most frequently in the form of improper nutrition. Howard stated clearly and repeatedly that consuming an organic diet would impart human health and fitness in the same manner that crops raised on properly fertilized soils repel pests of all kinds.

Howard’s perspective was indeed shared by many of his pioneering peers, including Lady Eve Balfour, Sir Robert McCarrison, J.I. Rodale and Weston Price. Catalyzed by these visionaries, the emerging grassroots organic movement reflected an explicit rejection of the industrialized food production and processing system then transforming the American diet and landscape. Concern that an industrialized food supply would be nutritionally inadequate to promote human health drove the organic movement from its inception. For example, Lady Balfour wrote after her coast-to-coast trip across the United States in 1953, “The overall health picture of America is bad… Food is even more over-processed and sterilized than in England; much of the soil on which it is grown is more depleted; and there is an even wider use of poison sprays.” Imagine her reaction to the factory farms and rest stop food courts along a similar expedition today!

Howard attributed the nutritional superiority of organic food to the abundance of mycorrhizal fungi found in biologically active soils sustained by compost, crop rotations and cover crops. These fungi penetrate the fine root hairs of neighboring plants in a mutually beneficial relationship that facilitates nutrient uptake in both. Howard surmised that soluble, protein-rich compounds in the fungi were also absorbed by the plant and then incorporated directly into growing tissue. He saw these compounds as the building blocks for optimal amino acids and more sophisticated proteins that imbued organically raised plants with exceptional physical characteristics including resistance to disease. Howard also thought that these characteristics were transmitted through subsequent relationships in the food web, such as livestock grazing on healthy pasture and humans consuming food from organically raised crops and animals. Conversely, Howard postulated that a microbiologically weak soil would yield deficient amino acids and proteins that would invite disease in the plants and animals that consumed and incorporated them.

With the publication of Rachel Carson‘s Silent Spring in 1962,

Join Mendo Time Bank in Ukiah!

You can earn help for yourself or your family by helping others in your community!


June 28, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

What is a Time Bank?

A Time Bank is a community currency system and a network of local people and organizations that support each other. When you provide a service for another Time Bank member, you earn one Time Dollar for each hour spent providing that service. Spend each Time Dollar you earn on having somebody else do something for you. There is no money involved — the only currency is your time.

How can Mendo Time Bank work for me?

In times of economic and environmental hardship, when jobs, social services, and money are scarce, the best resource we have is our community. Mendo Time Bank helps community members get to know their neighbors and share their skills. We offer orientation sessions and monthly potlucks. Be a Mendo Time Bank member and be part of the change you want to see in our community!

What can you buy with Time Dollars?

natural building lessons • garden bed digging • water-wise landscape design • child care • tutoring • party planning • wood work • photography • housekeeping • massage • animal care • overnight getaways • organic vegetables • and more

Learn how to get involved.

Visit MendoTimeBank.com
See also Mendocino’s Local Economy: Weed, Wine, Wood and Water

…and Mendo Moola – Local Money Coming Soon For Ukiah

…and Reinventing the Informal Economy

Ukiah’s business park purchase: more dumb growth?


June 28, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

In its Editorial Opinion, Sunday, June 28, 2009, the Ukiah Daily Journal calls our city’s purchase of vacant retail and commercially zoned land in the Redwood Business Park a “smart move.”

The Op-ed goes on to support the opinion by stating “The bottom line for the city’s residents is the potential for tax revenues that land represents. Vacant it represents nothing. Bundled and sold or leased for a major retail project it has the potential to increase annual property taxes by between $7 million and $11 million and bring in new sales taxes of $1.7 million… The question is whether the economy revives enough in the next couple of years to lure a major big box chain to construct a new store in Ukiah.”

This seems like nothing but dumb growth based on dumb oil, and we would expect a newspaper owned by some distant conglomerate to be supportive of the same old crap that wants to monitize every last bit of the commonwealth (“vacant it represents nothing”) which is destroying nature and community. That statement, in and of itself, pretty much sums up the moral and financial stupidity that has gotten us into the  environmental disaster that we share. And despite allegedly being our source of important news, does our local newspaper  know what’s really going on in the world?

We renew our call for local entrepreneurs to purchase the UDJ so it is locally-owned with responsive ownership that gives a damn for something other than its own bottom line.


Every increment of added population, and every added increment of affluence invariably destroys an increment of the remaining environment.

We hear a lot today about “smart growth,” as though “smart growth” was the magic key to the achievement of sustainability. A central ingredient in “smart growth” is regional planning; regional planning encourages more population growth, and population growth is unsustainable. It is thus clear that “smart growth” can’t solve the problems.

No Growth is the Smartest Growth

From Kirkpatrick Sale

Let’s Get Rid of the Economy of Growth

June 27, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California,

It’s getting worse and worse, and the wizards don’t have a clue. They don’t even know the economy is broken—and can’t be fixed. That’s why they keep doing more of the same with the same old solutions and same old people.

Nothing could be more obvious, and I think most sentient people in the land know this in their hearts. And nothing could be more obvious than the need to overhaul that economy entirely—which is indeed the opportunity we have now.

I don’t mean we have to scrap the capitalist system entirely, but we do have to reign it in. We have to fit it in to the limits of the real world. We have to understand that economics is a subsystem of the overall ecosystem. We have to realize that continuing to base it on the concepts of growth and consumption—and encouraging, “stimulating,” more of that—will lead to the collapse not only of the global economy but probably the industrial civilization it serves.

Isn’t it obvious that the Keynesian idea of growth at all costs, particularly growth fostered by large governments that can print money, has failed? Isn’t it clear that we can’t keep on throwing money at this failed economy and that something quite different is needed? The U.S. economy has been devoted exclusively to the idea of perpetual growth since the end of World War II, and it has allowed any number of evils—environmental destruction, greenhouse gases, pollution, resource depletion, military expansion, government inefficiency and corruption, corporate political domination, unregulated financial institutions, immense inequality, a perpetual underclass, the decay of public education, and that’s just for starters—in its pursuit. Isn’t it obvious that it doesn’t work and that the current Great Recession is the proof of that?…

The alternative? Nothing complicated: a non-growth economy. A human-scale economy. A steady-state economy.

Read whole post Let’s Get Rid of the Economy of Growth

See also the moralities of scale at Orion→

…and this wonderful website on Thomas Jefferson
All via Energy Bulletin

Financial Shock and Awe

From Bill Ayers

June 27, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

The mother of all bail-outs is upon us– approaching a trillion dollars in federal funds, that is, in tax-payer’s money, to get the big gamblers and hustlers and sharpies off the hook– and it’s way beyond global. Let’s call it galactic or stratospheric. It is awesome, and the questions just keep on coming:

When the big guys were raking in super-profits, we were not invited to the table to share the wealth, so why are we now told we must share the pain?

Isn’t this socialism for the rich?

If “government is the problem” and the genius of the “free market” the solution to everything from health care and education to national defense and public safety, why are the marketeers in line with their hands out?

We were told repeatedly by the powerful that there wasn’t enough money for decent health care for all, wonderful schools for poor kids, and support for a life of dignity and purpose for the elderly, so how did a trillion dollars suddenly materialize?

Further if full and generous funding for education and health care would turn ordinary, hard-working citizens into lazy, dissolute louts– that’s what they said– then what can we hope for the moral well-being of the financial wizards?

Is the government of the people, by the people, for the people, or has it finally become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Big Finance, Big Oil, and Big Pharma?

We were reminded that our patriotic duty required that we support a war-of-choice costing $500,000 per minute, but who profits, and who suffers in war?

I’m just asking…

Ukiah Farmer’s Market Saturday 6/27/09

Renegade Certified Organic Farmer Lee Rossavick


June 25, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Friends of the Farmers’ Market,

Greetings.  Have a favorite farmers’ market?  If so, you may be keen to know that there are suddenly two different on-line contests to vote for your favorite.  One is at farmland.org/vote.  That one has prizes for markets of different sizes, which is a nice feature.  Another is here. It was nice to see that the Ukiah Saturday market has already collected a few vote (not counting mine).  You can go straight to the page for Ukiah Saturday here.

Sad news … the Grilli’s Boysenberries and Ollaliberries are about done… and the raspberries are sputtering along.  So they will not be at market this week and probably not next.  Until the blackberries come rolling in. (You may be able to find a few of their berries at the Westside Renaissance Market).  If you are a fan of Busalacchi cherries, this week will be your last change to get them.

John Johns asked me to relay that it is Gopher Purge season. Come by the Johns Family Farm booth at the Ukiah Farmers Market and get your Gopher. Purge before they are gone. Gal. pots $5.00, seeds, 20 count $3.00.

Saturday’s market will have a few special events starting with the return of market favorite Don Willis on accordion.  The Ukiah Unified School District will be back with more important information about nutrition and health.

Masonite Monster Mall: Zoning? Zoning? We don’t need no stinkin’ zoning!

From Ukiah Daily Journal

DDR initiative approved for ballot

June 25, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

[…]McCowen said the public should take time to educate themselves on the impacts of the project in lieu of a California Environmental Quality Act study as would normally be required.

“All of the other things that would normally be identified during the planning process for any project of this magnitude, they certainly should be discussed and debated by the public,” he said. “If the initiative does pass there will be no opportunity to institute any mitigations to deal with these problems, so that’s what you get with this process.”

Go to full article here
Thanks to Steve Scalmanini
From analysis of Ballot Initiative

*    What development standards would apply to the project?

Only what DDR has written into the Specific Plan, which substitutes for all County Zoning regulations [Initiative, Section 3].  In other words, DDR has written its own rules. Not surprisingly, these conflict with the existing limits and aesthetic standards that are common in Mendocino County. For example, DDR gives itself the right to erect a 100-foot tall lighted sign next to the freeway, four times taller and eight times larger in area than allowed by County zoning [B-124].   Signs on the stores themselves can be up to 500 square feet, three times larger than allowed by County zoning. [B-120].   There is no provision whatsoever for design review by the County of the buildings or other features.

Art Center Ukiah – Writers Read This Thursday Evening 6/25 7pm


June 24, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

On Thursday, June 25, Writers Read will feature Ukiah poet Bill Churchill. Bill teaches modern languages at Santa Rosa and Mendocino Colleges. He has also been a California Poet in the Public School since 1998. His publications include: Song of Seasons, Controlled Burn, Sleeping with Ghosts and The Veil.

In 2008 he was featured at the Summer Dream Poetry Festival in Vancouver, B.C. A mariner since 1971, he has sailed in the Eastern Mediterranean, Atlantic, Caribbean and Pacific Northwest.

The reading begins at 7PM at the Ukiah Art Center Annex, 203 S. State Street, Ukiah. (The Annex is next to the Corner Gallery at the intersection of Church and State in downtown Ukiah.) An open mic session will follow the featured reading. Refreshments available. Donation requested. For more info: (707) 463-6989, (707) 462-4557 or www.artcenterukiah.org.

Upcoming Writers Read:
(Monthly last Thursday readings at Art Center Ukiah Annex, 7 PM)

Thursday, July 30: All open mic.

Thursday, August 27: Featured reader Claire Blotter, followed by open mic.

Thursday, September 24: Featured reader Armando Garcia-Davila, followed by open mic.

For information on these and other Northern California events, check www.coloredhorse.com, www.artcenterukiah.org and www.poetryflash.org.

The Post-Oil Novel

From Seattle Peak Oil Awareness

June 24, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

The post-oil novel: a celebration!
by Frank Kaminski

Novels that deal with the collapse of our oil-based civilization undoubtedly belong under the heading of speculative fiction—and some even qualify as outright science fiction. But even so, there’s an inescapable irony to their being categorized as such. This is because, by and large, speculative fiction is an optimistic genre. It celebrates technological progress and often tacitly assumes a near-endless supply of both energy and human ingenuity.

Peak oil, in contrast, casts a ruthlessly critical eye on technological progress, human ingenuity, and alternative energy sources. Indeed, it considers the entire technological age to be nothing more than a charade, enabled by the reckless over-consumption of nonrenewable energy resources.

Given how alien the assumptions of peak oil are to some of the most cherished ideals of speculative fiction, it is perhaps unsurprising that only four novels published thus far (at least, by major mass market publishers) have endeavored to tackle the subject head on. Similarly unsurprising is the fact that, out of this small handful of books, only one was written by an author previously known for writing speculative fiction—the German writer Andreas Eschbach, whose post-oil thriller Ausgebrannt (2007) wound up hitting the German bestseller list.

The other three books—the late John Seymour’s Retrieved from the Future (1996), Alex Scarrow’s Last Light (2007), and James Howard Kunstler’s World Made by Hand (2008)—are all the work of first-time speculative fiction writers inadvertently turning the genre on its head.

Go to full essay

See also his essay of three more post-oil novels
Thanks to Energy Bulletin

Take Action! Ukiah and Mendocino County – Funding Available for Renewable Energy

From Jim Apperson
Redwood Valley

June 24, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

A unique situation
Ukiah Daily Journal
Letter to the Editor

I would like to use this forum to alert the citizens of Mendocino County to a unique situation that will benefit us greatly, and have a positive impact on our children and their children.

In addition, I would like to also alert our elected officials, the Board of Supervisors, City Mayors and other county officials to this same issue and to ask for their help in securing it.

I am speaking of our current opportunity to create a county-wide Energy & Water Conservation Program. Due to a couple of pieces of recent legislation and the specific contents of President Obama’s Economic Recovery Act of 2009, our county (along with others) has been given all the puzzle pieces necessary to establish an energy efficiency program, which will lower our utility costs as well as conserve water. We can also curtail global warming and reduce our carbon output by burning less coal and fossil fuels which generate our electricity.

Our new President and his advisors have decided to stand behind the concept that it is less expensive to make our existing homes and commercial buildings more energy efficient than to explore and develop new energy sources. By using the guidelines of SB-811 and portions of the stimulus package, a loan program can be established that would allow home and business owners to have energy efficient items installed on their homes and commercial buildings.

An excellent model is the program that was started two months ago by our Sonoma County neighbors.

Action Taken! Universal Health Care, Ukiah Demonstration, Courthouse 6/25/09


Mendocino County

>>>>Photos from the demonstration

June 21, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

To demonstrate how much universal health care means to Mendocino County, let’s meet on Thursday at 12 Noon in front of the courthouse in Ukiah. Bring video cameras. Make some beautiful signs. The videos can show our way too-conservative Congressional Representative, MIKE THOMPSON, that his constituents CARE ABOUT UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE, preferably the single-payer kind.

MIKE THOMSON recently said outside a business meeting in Fort Bragg to the 20+ constituents requesting his signing onto HR 676 that “there is not enough public support for Single Payer Health Care. If there were 2,000 of you here, that would be public support.”

In a recent Letter to the Editor (UDJ 6/18/2009), a constituant addressed the following to MIKE THOMPSON: “You said that while Single Payer is popular in your district, it does not have wide spread support throughout the country. This statement is factually in error; poll after poll shows a large majority of the Americal people in support of Single Payer. Here is a list of reputable independent polls on Single Payer with the percenage of people in support: Feb. 2009 New York Times/CBS News Poll – 59 percent; Feb. 2009, Grove Insight Opinion Research – 59 percent;

Ukiah Farmer’s Market Saturday 6/20/09

Sisters Victoria and Tamsen Donnar


June 18, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Friends of the Farmers’ Market,

Greetings!  The weather should be spiffy & the farmers’ market should again be grand this weekend.

We will have live hot food from Flavors of India, the beginning of the end of starter plants, a HUGE selection of great berries, local veggies starting to come on strong, Ford Ranch beef will be back, lots of seafood, new craft vendors, and more.  Plus, Bob Laughton and Christine Robin will be playing.

The first 5 people to write back with the name of the all new farm attending the market with veggies tomorrow can get $4 in market Green Bucks.

The Soroptimists will be cooking up fresh Maine lobsters as part of their annual fundraiser.  For those that did not pre-order, they have ordered 40 extra … better get to the market soon if you want one of those.

The Ukiah Unified School District will also be on hand with treats at their nutrition booth.

A number of great community organizations are assembling a Children’s Health Fair, to be held 10/4 from 10 to 3 at the Alex Rorabaugh Center.  Anyone out there interested in preparing a farmers’ market related booth/activity?

FYI – next weekend the Northern California Biodynamic Assoc will have its Summer Meeting just up the road at Heart Arrow Ranch on Golden Vineyards in Redwood Valley.  It will be hosted by Adam Gaska and Paula Manalo of Mendocino Organics.  If you are very interested in biodynamics let me know and I will forward the agenda.

Finally, a note about the Renaissance Market (which will be starting its own e-list soon).  In case you did not know Adam Gaska and Paula Manalo of Mendocino Organics are furnishing fresh produce for the market each week. The market is also forging other alliances that you may want to know about.

Transition Ukiah 6/18/09

From Sharon Astyk

June 18, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

…The mere idea that America could flourish by becoming the best shoppers on the planet and not much more is bizarre, and yet it has held a grip on us for decades.  Our job is to consume, while China and other states produce for us.  The reality is that an economy based on devouring what other people produce, mine, build and make is ummm…due for a refit.

My suggestion is that we refit it voluntarily, and rapidly.  It is time and well past time to begin making things in the United States again.  And by making things I do not mean “asphalt paving and cars” – the private car is doomed, and none of us are made much richer by acres of highway, which only increase our dependency on foreign oil and its toxic cognates.

By making things, I mean things we actually need. I’m sure you can think of some – socks and shoes and tools and trains; beer and books and beans and bikes; hoes and hats, fiddles and fishing poles.  And on a small scale, keeping fossil fuels to a minimum, near where you live and I do.   Because the other choice is this – we become China’s supplier of things they want that we have – food, mostly, since we’re the biggest exporter in the world, and they can’t feed themselves.  And we do it on China’s terms, at China’s prices, with all that that implies.  There’s a kind of horrible justice there, since we’ve been doing that through globalization to countless poor nations – but there are better things than ironic justice.

Point me to one single piece of evidence that suggests the US will be fine if other nations stop buying our debt, please.  Point me to our plan – one that doesn’t involve rapid growth or actual fairies.  Otherwise, better get started making something useful.

Read whole post Whither America without China?

See also Definancialisation, Deglobalisation, Relocalisation (Dmitre Orlov)

…and The Vindication of The Population Bomb (Paul and Anne Erlich)

WeCommune: Tech Support for Community

From Worldchanging

June 18, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Post-ownership living may be closer than we think. We see the evidence all around us, in the form of innovations from community kitchens to emerging mobility solutions. So, if people are recognizing the practical potential in social solutions, why aren’t even more models for collaboration, sharing and product-service systems thriving? According to architect Stephanie Smith, spurring the movement may be a simple matter of providing the tech support.

This week Smith, who heads WeCommune, plans to launch the first software platform designed specifically for, well, communing (if you visit, you may get a splash page while they transition). The platform’s services will allow groups of three or more people to self-organize a “commune” defined by a shared interest or shared zip code, and will provide tools for communicating, organizing and managing projects, and sharing resources.

What is commune-support software?

WeCommune is a networking platform, outfitted with commune-specific project management applications that make it much different from a social networking tool. The software enables common and practical actions – for example, a group of members can organize a buying club, set up a rideshare system, or barter goods and services. And like everything on the web, WeCommune gives users the option to extend their reach: by networking to other communes, groups can make certain assets like bartering and goods-sharing pools more robust.

WeCommune offers the basic platform free to anyone who wants to use it, and even the more complex services are available for a monthly subscription under $2. Smith hopes that by making it affordable she’ll enable communes of all sorts – from those who are already sharing, like condo associations and college dorms, to neighborhoods and interest groups.

“We couldn’t find anything out there like this,” says Smith. “We feel like if we hit a home run, we’re going to be the ultimate community application.”

Read whole post here

Take Action! Petition Supporting Single Payer Health Care

From Independent Senator BERNIE SANDERS

June 16, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Our current private health insurance system is the most costly, wasteful, complicated and bureaucratic in the world. Today, 46 million people have no health insurance. Even more are underinsured with high deductibles and co-payments. Close to 20,000 Americans die each year because they don’t have regular access to a doctor.

The time is now for our nation to address the most profound moral and economic issue we face.

The time is now for our country to join the rest of the industrialized world and provide cost-effective, comprehensive quality health care to every man, woman and child in our country.

The time is now to take on the powerful special interests in the insurance and pharmaceutical industries and pass a single-payer national health care program.

* Sign the petition
* Tell Bernie your experience with health care and insurance.


Read also Top 10 Reasons To Support Universal Single Payer Health Care

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,

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

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.