Letters To The Editor
by AVA News Service, June 23, 2011
GUMP TO THE RESCUE?
Many times a board member or parents have asked me to become involved in the Manchester Elementary School but I believed my hands were full with being an advocate for our children in the Point Arena Schools. However, after reading of Ms. Callwood’s (ex-superintendent of Manchester Schools) abrupt departure in the AVA, I decided step into uncharted waters and attend the first school board meeting to see if I could understand what was going on within this small school of about 100 students (K-8). Ms. Callwood is the third superintendent to have left Manchester Elementary within a year of being hired. Obviously, my goal to get a handle on some of the difficulties they are face was an impossible task in just one meeting. Nevertheless, below is what transpired in the two hours that I was at this meeting.
County superintendent of schools Paul Tichinin was in attendance to go over a “memorandum of understanding” (MOU) with the board for administrative services between Manchester School and the Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools. Tichinin informed the community they would be going into closed session to discuss both personnel and the MOU. However, this MOU was agendized to be heard following closed door session. So, when I inquired whether or not anything would be discussed regarding Ms. Callwood (since it was agendized closed session “Government code Section 54957 Superintendent/Principal”), I was informed “no.” This discussion took place at last month’s meeting. I then stated I was unsure how the MOU could be heard in closed session because it was agendized as an open session item (which it clearly is). Once again, Tichincin informed me they would be discussing personnel and, perhaps it was not properly agendized. However, if the board had read the MOU thoroughly they would have clearly realized that they have no say whatsoever (that is determined by Tichinin) as to whom they could hire to oversee the administrative structure of the school. So, it remains unclear as to exactly what consideration and/or action could have been taken in closed session regarding a “personnel matter.” This was an obvious and clear waste of time, not only for board members but also for the many community members who waited over an hour for the closed session to finish.
Once the board and Tichinin returned they took questions regarding the MOU, especially regarding the cost of the MOU. The “necessary financial support to carry out this agreement as defined will be”: a daily rate of $600 for salary and benefits, approximately 80 days (3-4 days per week) up to a maximum of $48,000. Travel and housing costs of $100 per day (for 80 days) up to a maximum of $8,000. Coming to a total cost for 80 days of $56,000. One board member asked Tichinin if it wouldn’t be cheaper to just hire a new superintendent rather than try to look for one in the middle of the school year. Tichinin informed them he had actually given the school a discount regarding the cost and it would cost more if they went through the California School Boards Association — he stated this is the organization they would have to go through — to find a superintendent.
Currently, it will be Dennis Ivey out of Ukiah (formerly of Round Valley) who Tichinin has chosen to be the administrator in charge. He has been at the helm since Ms. Callwood’s abrupt departure in May. Mr. Ivey fielded a few questions and stated he wanted to bring transparency to the school, make suggestions to the board on structural leadership after analyzing job descriptions, curriculum, etc. He went on to state, “You can’t fix anything unless we figure out what needs to be fixed.” He believes in an “open door policy” to staff and the community. I hope he is successful.
Tichinin left a little after 7pm after informing the community that he “wears two hats” — 1. Supervise the schools in the county and in which it is his responsibility to assure we are a viable school. 2. On June 30th adopt a budget for the schools.
Hmmm, let's just look at the great record he has been doing in assuring the schools in his district are “viable” — out of 73 schools last year (2009-2010 — this year is not posted yet) 26 were totally failing and actually in State Program Improvement. Some schools have been in Program Improvement for more than three years. Also, 43 out of 73 schools in his district, according to State Accountability Progress Report, were not able to pass both the Math and English components to maintain an adequate yearly progress. Obviously, he has the wrong hat size in order to assure the taxpayers that our students are truly attending viable schools.
Following his discussion of wearing two hats and passing the budget, he stood up and stated he had to leave to get home because he was abalone diving at 6:30 a.m. He did it this early so he could be at the office by 8:30 a.m. Yet, when I called his office at 10:30 that morning, I was informed he was expected by Noon! And that is why he gets paid the big bucks!
I left the meeting at 7:30pm, two hours after it began and they hadn’t even gotten to the consent agenda as yet!
The June 8, 2011 AVA featured a front-page interview with Mendopia's World Music Festival promoter, Warren Smith, in which he defined world music as “something distinctly non-American in style,” implying that American-style music is not of this world.
And so it is, thanks to American roots music being bowdlerized, homogenized, digitized and neutralized by mega-multi-media conglomerates. It's electronic noise, not music.
For a bittersweet glimpse of the heart and soul origins of American-style music, I highly recommend two fascinating films (on DVD): “Cadillac Records” and “Standing in the Shadow of Motown.”
“Cadillac Records” chronicles the rise and fall (50s and 60s) of Chicago's Chess Records featuring its major recording artists including Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Chuck Berry, Willie Dixon and Etta James.
“Standing in the Shadow of Motown” is a documentary of “Hicksville, USA” (Detroit, Michigan) where Berry Gordy, in 1959, gathered the best musicians from the city's thriving jazz and blues scene for his new record company: Motown. The band, called “The Funk Brothers,” was the greatest hit machine in the history of popular music.
Bye-bye American style.
Joe Don Mooney
WILDFIRE PREPAREDNESS EXPO
Wildfires can happen here again. Are you ready? The Mendocino County Fire Safe Council announces its Fourth Annual Wildfire Preparedness Expo to be held Saturday, July 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Willits Community Center, 111 East Commercial Street. The EXPO is free and lunch will be available for a small donation.
Topics and presenters will include: How will climate change impact fire season? Carl Skinner, U.S. Forest Service Fire Sciences Researcher; How do homes really burn? Steve Quarles, U.C. Cooperative Extension; and back by popular demand, Could firefighters connect to your water supply? Chief Colin Wilson, Anderson Valley Fire Department. There will also be a discussion on controlled burns and the environmental benefits of prescribed fires. And local Fire Safe Council leaders will share their efforts and experiences forming Councils in their neighborhoods and communities.
Founded in 2003, the Mendocino County Fire Safe Council is an independent, nonprofit partnership of residents, ranches, road associations, and other groups working in common-sense ways to spare lives, homes, and natural resources from injury or damage by wildfires.
For more information about the Expo or the Mendocino County Fire Safe Council, call 462-3662, e-mail email@example.com or visit its website at firesafemendocino.org .
Questions about the expo should be directed to Julie Rogers, Executive Director, Mendocino County Fire Safe Council
For the Mendocino Fire Safe Council
DEMOCRACY DEFEATS MALL
To the Editor:
Democracy still works locally! Thanks to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors for responding to citizens by, hopefully, pounding the final nail in the Dinosaur Mall coffin, and preserving our farm land. Despite the silliness of some who tried to confuse the issue by misinterpreting the overwhelming vote against the mall, the faithful souls of smart growth and environmental sanity have once again prevailed. Thank you all.
For those of you who missed the first Boonville class, we had a great time, sampling an herbal green smoothie, gathering and enjoying a 35-ingredient salad with discussions of each ingredient. All participants left with seeds to dry and plant: chervil, mache, etc., and some cuttings of oreganos, mints, bergamot and more.
Hope to see you at one or more of the upcoming classes: Elk on Sun June 26 2-5pm, Boonville Sun. Aug. 14 2-5pm (meet at Fairgrounds to carpool to site), and Elk on Wed. Aug. 10, 5:30-8 PM. These are by donation ($20 suggested) or work trade (2 hours). I will give a free workshop Sat. July 23 in the PM (time TBA) at the Not So Simple Living Fair (without the advantage of a garden to teach in; will bring slides and/or video).
Please spread the word! Thanks!
GOD’S GLOBAL WARMING TAX
To The Editor:
Some scientists agree that inaccurate information repeated often enough will convince you it is true. They also agree that some of the information given about global warming is misleading.
I believe that a good example of this repeated inaccurate information is global warming is caused by man-made carbon dioxide. This repeated statement ignores any facts that disprove it, even from the EPA.
In 2004, the Environmental Protection Agency’s report stated that methane gas is 20 times more effective in trapping heat in the atmosphere then carbon dioxide. The EPA’s breakdown of kilotons of methane emissions in the U.S. for 2004 is as follows: urban landfills 6709, natural gas systems 5658, animal flatulence 5363, coal mining 2682, animal manure management 1875, urban wastewater treatment 1758, petroleum systems 1222, and all others 1245.
Why are these statistics ignored? If this was true in 2004, it is just as true today. I believe taxing urban landfills, natural gas systems and animal flatulence, etc. doesn’t raise enough taxes to satisfy politicians. Politicians know that if they can convince you that you are causing global warming, you will agree to be taxed for it.
Some scientists also agree that God created a perfect world for man to live on. Can’t they also trust God to sustain His own sovereign creation? God created the salty ocean water for a purpose: to cleanse the polluted river water entering into it. God also created changing weather for the purpose of providing rain and sunshine on the earth to provide food to sustain man. God also created changing climate for a purpose, and man should not be interfering in God’s sovereign and perfect creation. All things were created by God. (Rev. 4:11)
WHO STOLE MY JEANS?
After Memorial Day — “There's many witty men whose brains can't fill their bellies.” Speak not all you know, nor judge all you see. Industry pays debts, despair increases them. Those who have nothing to trouble them will be troubled at nothing; with much difference between imitation and counterfeit. “Monkeys warm with envious spite, their most obliging friends will bite.” An open flow may prove a curse, but a pretended friend is worse. Easy to see, hard to foresee. A spoonful of honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar. To see Faith, shut the eye of reason. Exquisite folly is made of wisdom spun to fine. Search others for their virtues, yourself for your vices. Little strokes fell great oaks. Clean your finger before you point at my spots. Who is strong? He who has conquered his bad habits.
With these truisms, I walk toward the redwoods. Seven prosperous cities contend for Homer's head within which Homer begged his bread. A small leak will sink a great ship. “It is possible that progress might be nothing more than the development of an error.” Jean Cocteau could turn and live with animals, “They are so placid and self-contained. No one is dissatisfied, and not one is demented with the mania of owning things.” Walt Whitman tells us, “Nothing humbler than ambition when it is about to climb.” You may delay, but time will not.
Farina awaits Labor Day in a fog and bangs her dish for beautiful to supplant the banal in Mendocino.
* * *
It didn't happen. No one could be so nasty, or unkind. Ha.
I took the jeans off to go to bed and when I woke they were gone. Come on now. We're all executioners. No fun. We're all executioners. No fun. I wanted you for years but each time we had the chance you couldn't. Instead of high school hot, it was contendtive hysteria — when the body refuses what the mind wants. How about hypnosis? Instead of morning theft drama, so much better to create art. General Douglas MacArthur in an address to Congress when retiring after 52 years service, “I know war as few other men now living know it, and nothing to me is more revolting. I have long advocated its complete abolition.” The United States is no bush, it's a big tree, but we got bushy — in the Middle East — black mixed with green, in this desert, plastic bags upon the sand with rattles. No god please, let me find my jeans.
Farina Bangladesh who doesn't drink, waving her dish into the skies she cries out, “I want to see Eagle Indian Village outside Eagle, Alaska, just off the Yukon, west of the Ogilvy Mountains.” Wouldn't that make life more effectual then hiking to Safeway for a rock star?
Dry day doldrums,
Mendocino Abalone Watch assists Fish & Game wardens at vehicle checkpoint and sponsors campfire talks at state parks—
Another series of “minus” tides this month occurred last week and was accompanied by a special enforcement vehicle checkpoint on Thursday morning, June 16 on Highway 128 near Navarro.
Numerous wardens were summoned from outside Mendocino County to participate in the effort and Mendocino Abalone Watch volunteers provided support service by directing traffic and helping check abalone game bags.
This latest effort was part of the new Warden Assist Project that began this year as a cooperative venture between DFG enforcement staff and MAW volunteers. Earlier in the month, MAW helped wardens at both Glass Beach and Moat Creek, near Point Arena, in conducting trailside game bag inspections of abalone catch.
Upwards of sixty vehicles were inspected, including containers within the vehicles, producing a total of 13 citations and 13 warnings. Violations included taking over the limit and abalone less than seven inches as measured across the outer shell.
MAW volunteers also offered diver education, handing out special brochures produced by DFG concerning the life and habitat of abalone, as well as proper removal to minimize accidental killing of the species, which is hemophiliac. Included were flyers assembled by MAW telling divers about the penalty for taking over the limit and informing them that abalone grow slowly, often taking 12 years to reach the minimum legal take size of seven inches.
MAW’s education outreach has extended to a new cooperative venture with State Parks. MAW coordinator and scuba dive instructor Charlie Lorenz hosted a campfire talk for campers at Van Damme State Park Saturday evening, informing them about the life and habitat of the red abalone and why its population is in jeopardy presently because of poaching. He introduced some of the topics with educational game that tested participants on their understanding of abalone “hot facts” and tested their tactile skills by feeling abalone shells inside a closed box in order to estimate their size.
Mendocino Abalone Watch is a citizen organization founded in 2009 in part to help DFG stem abalone poaching on the coast. MAW assists divers, offering tips in rule compliance and monitoring water safety.
To volunteer and sign up for the training session, or just to learn more about MAW, go to www.mendoabwatch.com , send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org , or call 707.937.3725.
An open letter to Jerry Brown
Dear Governor Brown,
A Few Simple Steps to Reduce Prison Population
California Assembly Bill 109 proposes to move thousands of parolees and non-violent felons to the county jails, which seems tantamount to digging a new hole to bury what you’ve just excavated. It’s supposed to somehow save the state money. Soon after you signed the bill, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling to reduce the California prison population by 33,000 inmates. You say that the court ruling strengthens the need to implement AB 109, but from here it all looks like shell games and creative accounting.
Representing parolees over the last 7 years has given me a few ideas for keeping some people out of state prison. Here are a few suggestions:
Parole them to the county where they are least likely to abscond. Make that the criterion and work from there. Forget the County of Commitment rule, where “consideration” can be given to Last Legal Residence. Once someone is paroled to the wrong county, transfer requests run into stifling criteria and “closed” counties. Go ahead and ask them at Revocation and Release where they plan to live when they get out, maybe ask them why, and parole them there. Many parolees return to prison because they picked up their last “beef’ in, say… Arbuckle, when they’re home is in San Francisco. In Arbuckle, there is no place to live or work, so they abscond home, repeatedly, returning to prison for ever-lengthening times when they make police contact.
When a parolee, during his or her parole, requests a transfer to a county where he or she would prefer to live, just grant the transfer. There are certainly hundreds, if not thousands of inmates in the state prison as we speak who are back in for absconding to their preferred home.
On Friday I represented BC, who has absconded four times from Sacramento to Fairfield to a specific address where he is the caretaker of a woman he’s been with for 30 years –she was shot in a drive-by shooting, not the intended target. His transfer was denied because she is not his lawfully wedded wife. He settled for 5 months (absconding carries 5 to 9 months) and is either going to miss her surgery, or she’s going to put it off for a couple more months. BC lives in Fairfield, not Sacramento, therefore, he’s back in prison.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation decided on their own to subject parolees to Jessica’s Law (Prop 83 –search my name in CP for more on the law) even if their underlying registerable crime took place prior to the election in 2006, when the majority of California voters, mistaking the broad term “sex offender” for that mercifully-rare scumbag who jumps out of the bushes and snags children, or who sexually assaults joggers, voted to make life on the streets hell for all who have been convicted under 290 of the California Penal Code. The law is ridiculous and unhelpful from all angles, and that includes protecting children.
In the interests of public safety, Governor, do we want a registered sex offender sleeping under his roof 1,000 feet from a school, or wandering the streets, stressed and sleepless? The CDCR’s extra measure does nothing to stop the rare creep who preys on strange children, and it makes life hell for thousands who have no such inclination –and puts them back in prison. The CDCR can undo their extra measures with a Memo. To repeat: very few registered sex offenders are “child molesters,” and even fewer have been convicted of attacking strangers of any age.
Earlier last week I had a guy with a misdemeanor indecent exposure in Texas when he was 19 in 1986. The foregoing I can verify from his file. He filled in the rest telling me he was drunk and taking a leak and said something stupid to the cop, who trumped up the charge, after which he was OR’d and given credit for time served. He was back in for spending the night at his girlfriend’s house after sleeping through his usual departure time at the end of his first day on a job hauling firewood. The law does not require him to be homeless, because the “crime” was committed prior to ’06, but your CDCR decided that he does, because of a receiving stolen property conviction that put him out after November of 2006. They require it on their own initiative and they can stop this. Now. Thus stopping many people from going back to prison just for living somewhere, or even spending the night somewhere.
Clean up the special conditions of parole so that they at least look like they promote public safety and conform to the Constitution. Someone got 7 months last week for pictures on his phone sent by his girlfriend of her in her underwear (pictures of people in their underwear was specifically banned by his comprehensively-thinking parole agent).
If there’s ever been a reputable study showing that the possession of “obscene” material makes someone likely to reoffend, please show me. And get rid of special conditions of parole with words like, “… that can be considered obscene…” to whom? a particularly uptight nun? Community standards? Just track them to a movie theater and arrest them. I’m sure they’ve seen something in there that “can be considered obscene.”
In summary: take a good look at the situations that cause people to return to prison for complete bullshit and you should be able to clear thousands out of the gyms of our state prisons with little or no fanfare.
DEATH TO THE OPPRESSORS?
What a stage show!
Jamaicans seem to be born with the biblical distinction of being singers and players of instruments. (Psalms 87:7) A friend once related a story to me that he was out in the bush in the Jamaican countryside staying with an elder rastafarian. He was a self-reliant man of simple means. The most amazing thing about him was that every part of the day in everything he did, he was singing thanks and praises for the natural bounty of the earth. Living in total harmony, so to speak. This is the essence of reggae music. The voice of the indigenous. The voice of the former slave. The voice of the voiceless.
It is all to clear to me why this music has not gained greater acceptance and notoriety in the US. Of course it doesn't help that in a market of lewd gangster fetishism, the opposing poles of morality & politics never meet.
People ask why there are so many white followers of black music, and not American black music, but really a foreign music. Well it has everything to do with our religious, colonial and slave history that we share with the region. The past has not been forgotten.
But we are busy forgetting all the while. We have become separated from all that is traditional in our modern lives, and many attempts to regain the traditional lead to fundamentalism and fascism. Reggae music is a positive and anti-fascist trend which gives us contact with the more traditional but frees us from the rampant tribalism of tradition which rears its ugly head to this day throughout foreign and domestic policy and politics. Reggae music can help ease our psychic transition from the traditional to the modern with its iconoclastic treatment of all modern idols: the church, the state, the self, etc.
Much of the hyperbole in the music such as “death to the white oppressors, and their black helpers,” are a psychological tool and product of a particular time and place. Even if we don't live in that colonial or John Crow world, it is a place we should all visit to gain perspective on our history and what we still face in modern America.
Contrary to my prediction of five years ago, reggae was not the soundtrack of the next revolution. Reportedly the soundtrack to the Arab Spring was decidedly hip-hop. This great lion we call reggae music and its nonviolent universal championing of the poor and suffering will rise again. There is a whole region of the earth which comes first in US foreign policy every time, and they are ripe for this music. When the imperial status quo was challenged in Jamaica in the late seventies, and the music was teaching people to nationalize their own resources, well, that's when the US sent in the CIA and thousands of machine guns to arm opposing political parties. The rest is bloody history. You don't become a target of US covert policy unless you're on to something.
So yes this music is Raw and Alive. Its message will have to be diluted or co-opted in order to gain greater acceptance. Or will Americans realize the soundtrack for a thousand more Madison uprisings.
Truly epic events such as the World Music Festival in Boonville, California are an insurance policy against the death of this roots reggae tradition, which, yes, is one tradition that we are definitely keeping.
Nate ‘Wellred’ Collins
WE NEED OUR DEPUTIES
Dear Supervisor Hamburg,
I find myself with a moment to reflect now that school is out. During the year I have been active in community affairs most recently as a part of the team that organized the “Every 15 Minutes” program to discourage teens from drinking and driving. Once again the key role that law enforcement plays in keeping the public safe rang like a bell in my head.
Without one of our regular local deputies on the job IN ANDERSON VALLEY there are so many instances where life and limb is imperiled. No matter what happens when it happens we need help NOW, not 45 minutes from now or not at all if things are too busy elsewhere to spare the patrolman. Your record of consistently voting to lay off members of the Sheriff’s Department when it was clear that that would mean losing Deputy Walker despite an equally consistent request by many of your constituents (myself included) to support the Sheriff is hard to fathom.
As Mark Scaramella wrote last week the Sheriff’s services are the only MANDATED Services. All the other things we care about and like to have and see great value in are not as critical as BASIC law enforcement. In the Anderson Valley we are asking you our elected representative to help us keep our basic law enforcement, You have said that you vote your conscience on several occasions. I believe that the Anderson Valley would rather have you vote their conscience. Please put yourself in our shoes.