Letters To The Editor
by AVA News Service, October 23, 2013
BARGAIN SAFETY TRAINING
The Anderson Valley Ambulance and Mendocino County Office of Education are sponsoring a 16 week training leading to certification as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). The course provides knowledge and skills valuable to anyone who may one day be on the scene of a medical emergency. It is especially valuable for remote, rural living, and for people who care for children or the elderly. The class also has vocational benefits. EMT skills and certification are attractive to many employers, and it is entry-level training for employment in the Health Care professions. Service with AV Ambulance is not a requirement to take the class. Enrollment is open to everyone.
The class will be held in Boonville on Mondays and Thursdays, from 6-10 pm. It will start on December 2nd 2013, and will end on April 7th 2014, with a two-week break over the holidays. Cost of the class is $275, which includes the required text and materials. (This fee is substantially reduced for currently enrolled High School students.) For more information, call me at 895-3795.
Regarding Doug McKenty’s letter, first let me get a disclaimer out there. Let me put the disclaimer front and center. What I’m about to write is not in my capacities of either a KZYX Board member, or as a host and producer of a show which airs on KZYX. I write solely as a private citizen. My opinions are strictly my own.
That said, I am adamant about instituting a few new standards of governance to the KZYX Board of Directors. I know more than a little about the subject. I know about corporate governance from both the perspective of a general manager/executive director and as a board member.
In the late-1980s to early 1990s, I served as an executive director of two public health services agencies. In Massachusetts, I received commendations from both the State Senate and the House of Representatives for my leadership as the executive director at the second largest AIDS service agency in New England.
About being a board member, I have served on several important boards and commissions in my lifetime. They are numerous.
In other words, I know the job…I know the jobs of both general manager and of board member.
Regarding Doug McKenty’s manifesto which appears in The Anderson Valley Advertiser, I was appalled — absolutely appalled — to read that our General Manager, John Coate, did not “approve” of me. It was a personal affront, but that’s not what is really important. What is important is the fact that it is not within Mr. Coat’s provenance to approve or disapprove of anybody at KZYX, much less a volunteer. Stating his negative opinion about a volunteer to another volunteer is certainly offensive, but it is also an abuse of power. That is my first issue.
My second issue is that Mr. Coate recruited this second volunteer to run as a candidate for the programmers representative’s Board seat three years ago. That is meddling in Board elections. It is why the standards of good corporate governance dictate the establishment of a Nominating Committee and an Election Committee.
These two committees are central to the independence, autonomy, and integrity of a Board of Directors. I insist on them.
Therefore, I will be making a formal request of the KZYX Board President, Eliane Herring, that the Nominating Committee of the Board of Directors be re-established. It’s an issue of public trust. Much of the public was as disheartened as I was to read in Mr. McKenty’s letter of the effort made by Mr. Coate to handpick his board.
Indeed, the KZYX Board is not Mr. Coate’s board. The KZYX Board of Directors represents the station’s 2,300 members. As much distance as possible must be put between the General Manager and future nominations and elections.
I will also be making a formal request of the KZYX Board President about restoring the “Open Lines” program to the KZYX schedule as soon as possible. I want the issue put on the agenda of our next Board meeting, and that I would like that agenda item not be contingent on the station buying the broadcast delay, otherwise known as the seven-second delay or profanity delay. I am concerned that the cost of the device, colloquially known as a dump box, will hold up returning “Open Lines” to the air. I suspect that Mr. Coate’s insistence on this technology is an attempt by him to keep “Open Lines” off the air. It is far easier and cheaper to train/retrain our programmers on what to do when a profanity airs, than it is for a small, rural radio station on a limited budget, like KZYX, to invest in new technology like the seven-second delay.
Returning “Open Lines” to the air is imperative. “Open Lines” is not just an institution here at KZYX; it is sacrosanct as the First Amendment of the U..S. Constitution. “Open Lines” is what federal courts have characterized as public comment in a public forum.
“Open Lines” is like public comment at city council meetings or county board of supervisors meetings. One may argue that public radio is not a government-controlled setting, but public radio is, however, a publicly-funded setting.
As many citizens of Mendocino County are aware, I am currently exploring free speech issues with the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and its own public comment policies, and thus I will be happy to have my legal team research the public forum doctrine as it applies to public radio. In a letter to the KZYX Board, I shall forward that analysis. These are important issues as the station seeks its renewal of its FCC licenses.
In any case, I look forward to the resumption of “Open Lines”. I also look forward to the resolution of Mr. McKenty’s suspension and related grievance. I will also be requesting that a report on that matter also be put on the agenda for our next Board meeting.
If my three requests for these three agenda items are thwarted by the Board President, I will insist on an Agenda Committee. Agendas control the meetings of the Board of Directors. Like the Board membership itself, agendas are too important to be left to the control of the general manager/executive director and just one member of the Board. Here in county government, there are agenda committees.
Finally, concerning my own rights to free speech outside of Board meetings, providing I state the disclaimer that I do not speak on behalf the Board, no restrictions may be put on my speech. Mr. Coate and others may regard my remarks as inappropriate, impertinent, or unduly critical, but my rights to free speech are constitutionally protected, and certainly no one may cut off criticism or stifle public debate about public radio.
We must work hard to honor the “public” in public radio.
WHERE’S THE IMPROVEMENT?
Thank you Malcolm Macdonald for the continuing updates on the lack of mental health care on the coast. There is a lot of money involved and I have yet to see improvements since Ortner became manager. The families continue to cry out for help and horror stories continue to happen. I am sure there have been improvements in Ukiah but those of us in outlying areas see none.Fort Bragg is depressing with so many empty shops and homeless people wandering about town, most of them needing mental health care.
Joan Hansen (member of NAMI)
Memo of the Week
DRAFT OF LETTER ON THE TUESDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2013 BOARD OF SUPERVISORS AGENDA
October 22, 2013
Honorable Barack Obama,
President of the United States; The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama,
Deteriorating conditions at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear complex clearly constitute an international crisis of epic proportions that requires the highest level of international scientific and technological assistance in an effort to minimize the continuing damage to international health and safety. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently appealed to the international community to provide the knowledge and expertise needed to avert disaster. We therefore call upon you to issue an Executive Order directing all appropriate federal agencies to assist in leading an international effort to avert what appears to be a looming catastrophe of unprecedented dimensions. We believe it would be appropriate for the United States, in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, to lead this effort and to assure that the needed resources will be available.
Of greatest immediate concern, the unit 4 fuel rods, which are precariously stored 100 feet in the air, in the damaged unit 4 building, must be brought to ground. Removing the fuel rods will be extremely challenging; but is imperative given the compromised condition of the building and the continuing threat of seismic activity or other natural disaster. Additionally, the reactor cores from units 1, 2, and 3 have melted down and are widely believed to have penetrated the floor of the reactor buildings. The fuel rods and the reactor cores must be continually cooled to minimize the release of radioactivity. Contaminated rainwater and cooling water is contained in 1,000 tanks haphazardly placed on site with almost daily reports of leaks. Groundwater also flows freely through the site resulting in the uncontrolled discharge of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean.
Over two and a half years after the initial disaster of March 11, 2011, the situation remains highly unstable. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) remains in charge of the containment and cleanup of the site, but does not appear to have the resources or expertise to accomplish the task. TEPCO also does not plan to remove the melted reactor cores until 2020, virtually guaranteeing that contaminated groundwater will flow uncontrolled through the site and into the Pacific Ocean for the next seven years.
In addition to the requested Executive Order, we also call upon you to assure that the federal government is conducting all appropriate monitoring and testing to assess the level and impacts of radioactive contamination to west coast communities and the near shore marine environment. Our County’s link to these events also encompass personal relationships through Sister City partnerships between Fort Bragg and Otsuchi and between Mendocino and Miasa-Omachi.
Given the recent invitation from Prime Minister Abe, it is now both appropriate and imperative that the international community respond to this continuing international disaster without delay. Thank you for your attention to this request.
Dan Hamburg, Chair,
Mendocino County Board of Supervisors
THE RIGHT KIND
A New Media Venture
There is an interesting entry into the media world. Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire founder of Ebay has made an initial $250 million investment in a new mass media venture. In an interview he said his decision was fuelled by his “rising concern about press freedom in the United States and around the world.” He also said he has an interest in supporting independent journalists in a way that leverages their work to the greatest extent possible. He is not sure what it will look like but will cover general news as well as investigative journalism. He also believes “…the right kind of journalism is a critical part of our democracy.” He is partnering in the venture with Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Jeremy Scahill. Greenwald and Poitras are the journalists to whom Edward Snowden in Hong Kong turned over all his NSA documents, Greenwald is leaving the Guardian for this venture. Poitras is currently in Berlin finishing up a documentary on the NSA. Scahill is an author and a national security expert. It looks like the emphasis will be on investigative journalism and whistleblowers will be most welcome.
James G. Updegraff
Roses are red, / Or so says the text,
Our hospital is broke, / And Winesong! is next.
By ten drunken sailors, The Foundation’s been run,
On two sets of books, / While showing us none.
With a website so scant, / You’d think them quite frugal,
But just wait until, / You find it on Google!
At NCCS, / I’m sure you’ll agree,
You’ll find one set there, / You weren’t supposed to see.
At page twenty-two, / You’re likely to cringe,
When at last you can view, / The cost of that binge.
Six hundred grand made! / The Foundation decrees,
(Less one hundred thousand, / In volunteer fees).
Of donations remaining, / In the Foundation’s till,
The petty cash spent, / Was a cool quarter mil.
The remaining two-fifty, / Was reportedly sent,
To nurses and doctors, / But is that where it went?
That’s what they said back in 2008, / Of largess paid from their trough,
Yet a hospital audit found nothing, / Except sailors sleeping it off.
The auditors did find an office, / The hospital gave to that band,
But the sailors say they pay for it, / Each year for a mere sixteen grand.
Violets are blue, / And sugar is sweet,
Now ten drunken sailors, / Are out on the street.
They’re headed your way and looking for cash, / As winos so often do,
Threatening that if you don’t pay them, / Your doctors and nurses are through.
The lesson here is shame on us all, / We’ve been so incredibly dumb!
Empty pockets is all that you get, / For taking the word of a bum.
SENIORS AGAINST OBAMACARE
I wanted to let you know that earlier today I received my “Obamacare enrollment packet” from the White House.
• An aspirin and a band-aid.
• An “Obama Hope & Change” bumper sticker
• A “Bush's Fault” yard sign
• A “Blame Republicans first, then anybody and everybody else” poster
• A “Tax the Rich” banner
• An application for unemployment and a free cellphone
• An application for food stamps
• A prayer rug
• A letter assigning my debt to my grandchildren
• And lastly, a coupon for a machine that blows smoke up my ass.
Everything was “Made in China” and all directions were in Spanish.
Keep an eye out. Yours should be arriving soon.
The Fate of Human Race in Hands of Fukushima Cleanup Workers
Fukushima cleanup workers deserve the loving support of the whole human race as they begin next month a one-year process of removing 1,300 damaged radioactive fuel rods from a tank teetering eighteen feet above ground below Reactor 4.
Even a mild earthquake may drain the holding tank or bang the rods together, triggering atmospheric release of four hundred tons of highly radioactive material, including plutonium.
A giant steel frame has been constructed above the tank holding the radioactive rods. The rods and tank are distorted by the earthquake and tsunami which hit the Fukushima nuclear power plants on the Japanese coast in March, 2011, causing three reactors to melt down, and beginning a cleanup effort now estimated to take forty years and cost $10 billion.
An October 13 report in The Guardian found that the 6,000 workers who suit up and work to maintain the leaking radioactive containment systems are experiencing plummeting morale. Workers took a 20 per cent pay cut in 2011, and now most are low-paid private contractors. Hundreds of the most experienced technicians must leave soon, because they have received the maximum exposure to deadly radiation allowed by the Japanese government.
"I'm particularly worried about depression and alcoholism," public health professor Takeshi Tanigawa told The Guardian. "I've seen high levels of physical distress and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder."
The radioactive rods must be removed with manual guidance. If the rods bump or crumble in the process, what is estimated to be to worst atmospheric release of deadly radioactive materials ever could occur.
Please consider joining a well-funded international effort to clean up Fukushima.
I agree with you that it's “possible” for someone's vacant house to be hit by tweakers, prompted by your grotesque stunt in the AVA, which called your washed-out Grayshirts into action. As you concede, “Possible.”
Now, how would you know that? Which beloved Valley editor got his house smashed up while he was away? And on another occasion, your truck vandalized? Some people just take things too seriously.
So you knew, Bruce— you knew there are such characters, even among the friendly folk in the peaceful valley. A bit reckless, were you? And with your old awful bitter root of malice? And giggles of passive aggression?
Edgy entertainment, though. Why wouldn't you have phoned your joke in to Open Lines?
A good hypothetical question, bearing on management of the KZYX radio show, as well as credibility of the AVA. Answer, please.
PS: I don't know that you'd really go to jail for leaden wit.
Ed reply: If leaden wit were a crime, you'd be doing life, Gordy. Open lines? I think the paranoids just fired the open lines guy, and you're the only person affiliated with the place with any kind of wit, leaden or otherwise. (Can I call you next time I think I have a boffo mondo to share?) So, let's repeat the facts, not as you, as always, deliberately misconstrue them, and I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt here, Gordo, that you can more or less accurately decode your native language. Ready? Take Two! I made a joke that I was mobilizing tweaker-bandits to go in search of John Coate's house because Coate was out of the country, usually being simply out of it wherever he is. As if I or anybody else could mobilize tweakers for anything and, once mobilized, they could search out Villa Coate. Such literal mindedness! And you a poet! Author of my all-time favorite line, "I left her voluptuating in the doorway." Oh you're a sly dog, Gordy, but that poor woman! Or that lucky woman, depending. Anyway, I've just got to tell you about this trip I made to the Monterey Aquarium. Stay with me here, big boy, it's pertinent. This was some time ago, and Steinbeck would not recognize Monterey, a kind of down market version of Mendocino, to tell the truth. Anyhoo, the Missus and I were standing in front a gigantic tank marked 'Sardines.' We've all seen lots of sardines, all be them entombed in tin and tomato sauce, and I've probably seen more of them than you, you being an upscale cravat guy and all. Anyway, there they were, this splendid mass of mysteriously choreographed silver, darting hither-thither starling-like in the cruel captivity of their tank. The odd thing, though, and this is right where I thought of you. There was this one lonely little fish who could never quite catch up with the main body sardines. I thought at first he was simply a laggard, that he'd soon rejoin his fleeting fellows, that they wanted him back. We must have stood there for a half hour, waiting for this orphaned sardine to get back in the pack. He never made it. So, what's all this have to do you, Mr. Faking The Classical Music Liner Notes at Mendocino County Public Radio For Twenty Years? You're not that fish.
BLAST FROM THE PAST.
Thank you for publishing my eyewitnessing letter on the overcrowded conditions in the state prison system. I loved your article on Serial Parody in a recent issue. Ed Zackery is the man I'd like to introduce to this ink this week. District Attorney David Eyster, what a man of the lost moment! Rightly dividing the truth, rightly his own. That man takes me back to September 7, 1994. Put on a pot of tea or a pot of joe, whichever suits your fancy. I had to laugh at the antics in my court case. I fully confessed to Al Tripp and Kurt Smallcomb, so there really was nothing to do but let the cards fall where they may. I am deeply sorry for my misguided, unstable drug-induced existence and the pain that ensued. Now what I have to ask is if Eyster finds me sane at my dog and pony sideshow from below trial without a jury? The fact was before my stupidity I was truly on SSI for a mental illness. What antics. I loved it when he stomped his foot at my trial by a judge and not a jury. Bob, my prison dispatcher says Mr. Newport is dangerous, but in 20 years not one fight or any form of violence against correctional officers or free staff. Now 20 years on Mr. Newport is sane and not mentally ill (after Dr. Mendelssohn testified) that I belong on SSI at that dog and pony trial. I'm still seeing a psychiatrist regularly for mental illness.
Let's look at some facts now. California Prison Academy: Better than a Harvard degree. by Allysia Finley, Wall Street Journal.
Prison guards can retire at 55 and earn 85% of their final year's salary for the rest of their lives and they also continue to receive medical benefits. Roughly 2000 students have to decide Sunday, Harvard, a spot there, or, wait a minute, forget Harvard, want to earn big bucks, retire young? Become a corrections officer. May not sound glamorous but wait a minute. CDC officers earn a great salary and a retirement package you can't find in private industry. They even pay you to attend the Academy! Instead of paying more than $200,000 to attend Harvard you could earn $3000 a month at a Cadet Academy. Training takes four months and upon graduating you get a job with great health, dental and vision benefits and a starting salary between $45,000 and $65,000. By comparison a Harvard grad can expect to earn about $50,000 fresh out of college and about $125,000 after 20 years. As a CDCR corrections officer you can make six figures in overtime and bonuses alone, over 40 hours of time and a half. One started with a base salary of over $80,000 collected an additional $114,000 in overtime and over 1000 in bonuses last year and he's not even the highest paid. They get a $1500 fitness bonus just for getting an annual checkup. Most Harvard grads only get three weeks vacation each year even after working for 20 years and they are often too busy to take long trips. Prison guards on the other hand get seven weeks of vacation, five of them paid. If they are too busy racking up overtime to use vacation they can cash in the vacation when they retire. There's no cap on cashing in. Eighty COs cashed in $100,000 each at retirement last year.
Job requirements: Must be U.S. citizen with a high school diploma or equivalent. No felony convictions. Possession of marijuana is only an infraction in California. There's also a vision test, background investigation, a psychological evaluation, a physical exam, tuberculosis screening and a fitness test that measures your grip strength. The hardest part however is the written test which includes word problems like this simple test question: "Building B currently has 189 inmates with 92 beds unfilled. Building B is currently at what capacity?" If you have somehow forgotten how to add and divide you can bone up on your basic math with Barron's "Corrections Officer Exam" preparation book.
William 'Bongo Bill' Newport
Uncle Joe was a bad uncle.
In Nadya Williams heartfelt "The Lincolns Are Leaving Us," she very rightly honors the brave international brigades that fought on the front lines against the fascists.
In George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia (he was also a front-line fighter) he, enlisted in a workers brigade, paints a grim internal look behind the lines.
Orwell's description of the agents of Stalin who arrived with material aid to disrupt the revolutionary people's front is not pretty.
Yes, we honor all the men and women who gave their lives to fight the fascists!
The power-hungry agents and secret police of Stalin is a sad and heartbreaking tale of authoritarianism. No to Stalin. Dictators -- black or red -- are bad news.
Alan 'Captain Fathom' Graham
AMERICA THE DOOMED
About the decline and fall of empires --
America the beautiful, America the bold, America the brave, America that once had soul.
Alas! A mighty empire is swiftly crumbling, rotting at its very core.
Look at the doomed Persian Cat, Darius of old and at his nemesis the great Macedonian general Alexander -- dead and gone at 33.
Look at mighty Rome corrupted from within then overrun by massive swarming tribes from beyond the rivers Rhine and Danube.
Look at the Brits upon whose empire the sun formerly never set. See how it has shrunk.
Now even nearly neighbor Scotland the Brave totters on the brink of divorce from England.
Look into your narcissistic mirror and weep, America. It's now your turn to face the music. The piper must be paid.
Diego J.P. Donohoe
Had the anonymous critic of the motives of journalist/activist Will Parish and Willits Bypass protestors as “look at me first” stylists, attended one of the lockdown protests, he might have witnessed the personal bravery of the two young people who locked themselves underneath one of Caltrans' giant cargo trucks.
The night I witnessed the action began around 10pm, protestors blocked both lanes of Highway 101 with a large banner, SAVE OUR LITTLE LAKE VALLEY, while two young persons locked themselves to the framework of two gigantic loaded trucks, their engines idling. When residents and others surrounded the truck cabs to explain to two angry truck drivers from out-of-here that the dirt their trucks were hauling was being used to destroy the valley's wetlands. The first driver, impatient at the delay, revved up his engine and shifted gears as protestors screamed, “Shut off your engine. Stop your truck. You'll kill her.” After heated dialogue, the first driver turned off his engine, climbed out of his cab to see for himself the young lady attached to a crossbar. Then he asked her to unlock herself because the crossbar she was attached to was the lift frame of the dump truck. He told her that was a dangerous place to be because, he explained, the dump truck could lift automatically. He showed her the bar across from her, then watched her unlock and relock without interfering.
The second driver, a 300-pounder with a Sumo wrestler's build, was describing the “interference” with his work and calculating the couple of hours wages he would lose. When we tried to tell him that people who farmed and ranched here might be losing their water supply and thereby their living, this was lost on him. “I'm losing money,” he repeated. When I asked him where he lived: “Los Angeles,” he replied. So much for Caltrans providing local jobs.
How does Caltrans achieve such uniformity of opinion in the bureaucratic and decision making class, despite how immensely destructive and dishonest the proposal? This bureaucratic monster Big Orange controls the money for all the road and infrastructure such as bridge and tunnel repair from
local roads to state highways. Oppose Caltrans? No money for fixing potholes or strengthening unsafe bridges. The corruption between government agencies and private road building contractors has been tightly woven over the years, as Caltrans receives ever larger grants of taxpayer money to squander on projects communities do not like. It is a system of institutionalized bribery.
The destruction of the oak and oregon ash woodlands of the Pacific Flyway, which, unfortunately were not protected by conservation law and now the marshland, legally protected under federal law, goes beyond a California state issue. With the woodlands and now part of the federally protected marsh gone, migratory song birds and water birds will die. If the birds, major predators of agricultural pests, die, so, too, goes a healthy agriculture. This will effect the agriculture of the countries south of California from Mexico to Central America. It is an international conservation issue, just as forest cutting and habitat loss in Mexico kill our beloved monarch butterflies.
So why is District Attorney David Eyster scapegoating reporter/activist Will Parrish? Just as our entire legal system cracks down on ordinary people, whistle blowers, dissenters, protestors, immigrants and members of the press, David Eyster, practicing power politics, is using Will's stand, as a step towards re-election. Hopefully this plan will backfire. A lowest common denominator tactic. It is the entrenched corruption all along the decision making path which needs to be analyzed, the need for the megabypass, the cowardliness and willful ignorance of the politicians, the squandering of taxpayer monies, the failure of Caltrans to consider thrifty, non-harmful citizen provided alternatives. Where are safe bicycle paths for commuting and long distance pedal travel? Public transportation? The failure of our local court to protect the freedom of the press by denying reporter Will Parrish's ability to observe at the Caltrans site is worrisome. Observation for the purpose of reporting needs to be separated from his activism. Independent, honest press is already under attack or just disappeared. It is criminal negligence, falsification, which needs to be prosecuted. This is a much bigger task than attacking a principled young man and superb reporter, a role model of integrity capable of inspiring some of our drifting, smart, but poorly educated young people. Any parents who value action based on principle would be proud to acknowledge Will Parrish as a son. Will's series of articles published in the Anderson Valley Advertiser on corporate wine grape growers destruction of oak woodlands and resultant watershed damage is of prize winning quality.
Mr. Eyster, do you have the courage to admit when you are wrong? Your current prosecutorial stance is a misuse of your power as district attorney. It is shameful.
Dorotheya M Dorman