Valley People

by AVA News Service, October 8, 2013

FIRST THINGS FIRST. The Boonville vs. Mendocino football game is 1pm Saturday at Mendocino. There is no jv game. This one could be for the league championship. It pits Dan Kuny's Panthers against Theron Miller's Cardinals at Mendocino High School's beautiful field lying between central Mendocino and the Pacific. This is rural football the way you remember it.

AV'S LION'S CLUB, Terry Ryder reports, "once again pulled out all the stops to cook for the massive fundraiser and retirement party for Colin Wilson. Around 300 people were served and the tri-tip and chicken dinners were delicious. Many Lion’s worked hard to get the food out and the remains cleared away. New president Bill Harper takes his job seriously and it is a good thing since retired president Christine Clark was busy viewing the autumn foliage on the East Coast with friend Eileen Pronsolino. Great job Lions. That is a pretty penny for the Fire Department which I am sure also helped to make Colin’s day a special one and made him smile. My informant Joanie Clark told me that Colin was overwhelmed and very pleased by how many people turned out to honor his retirement."

CAPTAIN RAINBOW'S dispatches from Burma, now known as Myanmar, arise from a dangerously tense area of that turbulent country where Rainbow is staying. Rainbow's latest letter captures the irrational essence of the ethnic violence raging in Thandwe with a candor absent from wire service stories. As Boonville's most reliable foreign correspondent reported last week, Buddhist mobs are murdering, or trying to murder, the Muslim minority population of that region. Hundreds of people have been killed, some 140,000 forced to flee their homes.

PICK YOUR OWN walnuts at the bargain rate of $3/lb at Peachland Ranch. Call Deleh at (707) 684 6680 or email her delehdog@yahoo.com to set up a time. Bring your own bag.

ELKE VINEYARDS is refilling bottles "with our 2012 Boonville Barter Pinot Noir on Sundays in October. Price is $16, so bring a bottle; we’ll refill it & cork it."

OCTOBER 4-13, 3013 Anderson Valley will be joining the countywide celebration of American Craft Week with events happening on the weekend of October 12-13. Events throughout the Valley are: The Pot Shop, Philo, invites you to come and try your hand at flower arranging in one of Alexis Moyer’s hand made vases from 11 to 4 on Saturday, October 12th. Marvin & Colleen Schencks’s Barn Studio, Philo, will be featuring Colleen’s metalsmithing and jewelry, folk art furniture by Nancy MacLeod and Bill Allen and paintings by Marvin Schenck with ongoing demonstrations throughout the weekend. Tom McFadden, Boonville, will have his woodworking studio open all weekend for you to come and see his beautiful handmade furniture Handley Cellars, Philo, will be hosting Kirsten Robbe with her beautiful beaded jewelry. Garden Whimsy, Boonville, will be open with garden sculpture and a 10am garden tour on Sunday October 13th. Rookie-to-Gallery, Boonville, will be featuring Sony Hatcher’s silk scarves with Sony on hand to tell you about her work. Bink Wines, Philo, will be hosting Debra Lennox who will be demonstrating woodblock printing on Saturday October 12th. For a complete listing of events happening throughout the week pick up a brochure at any of the participating locations.

MY COLLEAGUE, The Major, complained at the volume of the music played at Chief Wilson's memorable send-off Sunday at the Apple Hall. "It was impossible to carry on a conversation, it was so loud," noted the famous monologuist. “And talking to those folks was one of the main reasons I went.”

THERE'S SO MUCH dope being grown everywhere in Mendocino County, it's news only to McNab Ranch that a badged marijuana posse spent all of last Wednesday visiting this or that McNab address, some of them nearly into Anderson Valley.

LOCAL BOY ZACK ANDERSON'S soccer movie, Will, starring Bob Hoskins, is now available through Amazon, and is coming up on Showtime.

JOHN GOMEZ wonders why the DA's legal notice of assets seized and forfeited appear exclusively in the Laytonville weekly. Say you're a Gualala resident, or live in Boonville, or Ukiah or even Willits, the sprawling Laytonville suburb, and you get your assets seized. How can you possibly know when to appeal if public notice appears far, far from your home? The whole point of public notice is that they appear in your hometown paper.

SPEAKING of public notice, the Haz Mobile's appearances at the Boonville Fairgrounds are never noticed in your Beloved Community Newspaper. I sued the guy who runs the Haz agency for the County way back in small claims. And won. Was the guy corrected? Noooooo. But, strictly speaking, you can't place public advertising on the basis of your likes or dislikes of this or that publisher. However and be that as it is, over the years, many public agencies have retaliated against your Beloved Community Newspaper by routing publicly funded advertising clear around Boonville. DA Massini used to do it. The Supervisors used to do it. Mike Sweeney, by far Mendocino County's most interesting man, and easily the County's most thoroughly reinvented personality, not to say outback America's most intriguing garbage bureaucrat, understandably avoids your BCN, probably because he doesn't like to be reminded that for years he was a member of the murderous Stanford political cult that became the Symbionese Liberation Army. Sweeney subsequently blew up a hangar at the old Navy airfield west of Santa Rosa in 1980, almost killing a young man asleep inside the hangar and, in 1990, either bombed his ex-wife, Judi Bari, or conspired to bomb her. And got clean away with all of it, although the "mystery" of the famous Bari event could easily be un-mystified with a few DNA subpoenas. But, as it stands, and getting back to the Haz Mobile, if a resident of Anderson Valley wants to safely off load his or her pipe bombs in 2013, he or she probably won't know when the Haz Mobile will be in Boonville.

KZYX-PHILO still calls itself a “community” radio station even though only about 1% of their total on-air time is remotely concerned with local public affairs. The frothy intro to Monday's meeting of the station's trustees, says, KZYX’s “programming and operational philosophy is controlled by its membership, which is open to all. Through its dedication to balanced, excellent programming, Mendocino County Public Broadcasting reflects the rich diversity of the county, while promoting a sense of community across a large and varied area. The finest in national public radio programs is made available, as well as local programs that are creatively and professionally produced, responding to the needs of the community.”

MOTHER OF GOD save us from outback hyperbole. "Excellence, balance, sense of community"? Please.

THE AGENDA goes on to declare, “KZYX pledges to be a responsible and responsive countywide medium for news, information, music, performing arts, entertainment, and local features. KZYX&Z sees its programming as a complement to the work of Mendocino's commercial media. The station seeks to foster increased communication among all groups in the county and makes access available to all points of view.

STOP! This is too funny. A complement to what? Commercial media? Names! All points of view? Closer. It's fair to say that NPR-to-Democracy Now pretty much covers issues over the hills and far away, but there's zero discussion of local controversies. Why? Someone, somehow, someway, might be offended. Ditto for local news, if it's honestly done. Which, even when KZYX maintained a newsperson, it seldom was.

THE AGENDA for Monday's meeting was as devoid of content as the station's programming. On real agendas you expect to see specific items proposed and discussed. Here's what KZYX's trustees will be kicking around: “Welcome,” “check-in,” “approval of minutes,” “public comment limited to 3 minutes per person,” “General Manager’s report,” “Fall Pledge Drive,” “Community Advisory Board,” “Tabling/Community Outreach,” and “New Business.” No specifics.

AS IT HAPPENS, we managed to obtain the following memo from KZYX station manager John Coate to his captive board of directors. Coate writes:

"Re: FY 2013 Preliminary Audit — The audit visit has been completed and our informal income statement shows last year as having made a profit of $124,743. That number will come down some after Frank the auditor adjusts for equipment depreciation. But it won't come down as much as the $23K of previous years because we bought about $14K worth of capital equipment in FY2013. So the depreciation will be more around $9-10K. This means we will show a final profit of more than $110K. As you know just about all of that was spent paying old debts and so we are again feeling the pinch of a lousy balance sheet, which will or will not be rectified by a good pledge drive this month. But the fact is — and facts matter — we took a failing organization and made it solvent. Going in to this Board meeting, I hope that this record is a strong argument that this organization is, and has been, responsibly managed. I say that because the AVA for one claims that we are not competent or responsible and that this is still a failing organization. And I am the main cause f that failure. He needs us to fail to support his general narrative and if facts get in the way he casts them aside. And let's remember that he, who pays Sheila to come to the meetings, twice told his readers in print that I was out of the country and in the Sept 11 issue advised 'Tweekers' to figure out where I live because 'you will know what to do.' As for Doug and his committee, these items seem not to come into play at all. They never get mentioned. I guess they think this work is easy, or that if we just let the ultra-left political people have their way, even more money will flow into our coffers. All we have to do is get rid of me, Mary and NPR and then install Christina and Sheila as the local news people, join forces with KMEC, allow the listeners to vote on programming or have a committee make the decisions, and stage more open lines type programs so that Sister Yasmin and Jeff Wright and the other regular callers can even further express the true will of the people while bashing what would by then be the former KZYX management.

In truth, Doug and his group are just yet another iteration of the same battle over KZYX programming that has gone on since the year this station began. They are the same people who tried to physically take over the station in the early 90s, they are the same people who screamed at us in Fort Bragg in 2009. They are the people who vote for King Collins (who was only elected to the Board the one time he was unopposed). They are the ones who say we aren't "transparent" because, from what I can tell, we haven't allowed them to force us to get rid of NPR.

In short, despite whatever the argument du jour may be (this year it is not following regulations and policies), at its heart the motivation is political. Despite our still heavily left-leaning public affair programming, we still as a station do not take the correct side in most political debates so that the listeners can always hear "the truth." As for the mission statement, "programming and operational philosophy...controlled by the membership" means things like a professional staff with volunteer programmers, a mixture of music and talk, national and local programs. And sure the membership, via the Board does control that. But it also says that we are "open to all" and we "reflect the rich diversity of the county" and we seek to "foster communication among all groups in the county." We on this staff take that very seriously and we strive for a station that doesn't take sides and does not favor any given faction. In my view, Doug and his group are most unhappy with the fact that we do this and do not favor a slant that gives even more airtime to their side of an argument. As for the PAC and the programming policy, that was created specifically to help Mary resist the pressure to change the programming in order to better satisfy this same group of people and their friends who now claim that it is being used for a purpose opposite of its reason for existing in the first place. This is a crazy rewriting of history. Ask anyone who was there for all of this: Johanna, Kathy Bailey, Diane and many others who have fought this same battle again and again for years. Doug is totally and dangerously wrong on this point. Meanwhile, no complaints about music, none about the physical infrastructure. It's all a political battle. And one they have never won. Do not cave in to this."

STAND DOWN, TWEAKERS, Coate's home! The tweaker remarks were obviously intended as humor, and one of many indicators that we're dealing with the learning impaired here. We've never heard of Jeff Wright. We know ol' Yazzle who, of course, can be extremely irritating. But we've never found her impossible. I've tried different strategies with the old girl, none of them particularly effective but not for lack of trying. For instance, I offered to get her a date with my colleague, The Major. "I don't date military," she snarled, and that was my last attempt at that kind of conciliation. She's gone off on me many times over the years. Call me masochistic but I kinda enjoy it. One day when she called in serial denunciations, I said, "Yasmin, I think it's very unfair of you to call me a motherfucker five times in thirty seconds. I'm not only a senior citizen, which puts you pretty darn close to elder abuse here, but I've got a picture of my mom in my wallet. That kind of language is unfair to her, too. Doubly unfair considering the implications." Seriously, I doubt either Yaz or Wright are representative of alienated KZYXers nor is the AVA affiliated with the present group of disgruntled KZYX members; we do, however, support the ongoing efforts of whomever tries to improve the tax-supported ops at the station. There's always at least one disgruntled group going, and there has been since the station's bogus founding more than 20 years ago as the paid project of a guy who took the money and ran. Add up all the dissidents and you have significant disgruntlement. KMUD, by way of contrast, was founded by the Southern Humboldt community and is structured in a way that makes the station accountable to its listeners. (Some 400 Mendo people belong to KMUD; less than 20 HumCo people belong to KZYX, which ought to tell KZYX's somnolent trustees something.) KZYX is structured in a way that management cannot be held accountable, and KZYX has always been dominated by the inept and the cringing. All we've ever wanted is local news or, at a minimum, local people talking about local matters with local listeners allowed to call in to comment. Is this a representative desire? I have no idea. It's what we want, and I suspect it's also a prevalent desire among the many people who have simply given up on the institution. We don't need a local radio station for music or national and international news, though Jeff Blankfort's Takes On The World is always illuminating. KZYX is almost entirely irrelevant to us, as it is to most Mendo people. Local news and discussion would make it relevant. McKenty hosted a twice-monthly call-in opportunity and now he's gone, ostensibly because some nut called in and dropped the F-Bomb on-air. Is there someone out there who doesn't understand that that kind of thing happens, that whoever had happened to be the on-air host would also have been unable to prevent it, that F-Bomb tolerance is not station policy? But I think it's obvious that McKenty was fired because he's sympathetic to the dissidents. Could management be so petty, so vindictive, so fearfully insecure as to fire a guy simply based on his affiliations? Evidently. Incidentally, we pay Ms. Tracy a miserly stipend that covers about half her commute between the Coast and wherever board meetings are held. If she suddenly lost all sense of reality and began describing management as "bracingly intelligent" and "a heckuva lotta fun," we would continue to run her reports in your beloved community newspaper. Ms. Dawn volunteered to cover KZYX affairs, we didn't dispatch her. In living fact the station is not intelligently run as Coate's childishly transparent letter to his dumbstruck trustees demonstrates. If KZYX's board of directors thinks Mendocino County is pleased with the institution they allegedly oversee, they're fooling themselves. There's no excuse for KZYX being as bad as it is.

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