Letters (Mar 12, 2014)
by AVA News Service, March 13, 2014
I guess we'll weigh in on programming on KZYX. People who have no interest in being programmers, or board members or anything other than mere listeners. (Though we did like to call in with an opinion here and there, when that was an option…)
Ten years ago we'd get up in the morning and turn on KZYX. We'd listen to the local news, then Democracy Now, then we'd just leave the radio on for the rest of the day, enjoying programs as we came and went during our workday. (We worked at home.)
Democracy Now was moved, then the local news dwindled away. We tried listening to NPR, but their news people are so glib and slick, and give the news exactly like the corporations want us to hear it. You could be listening to any commercial radio station. We are so turned off by NPR that we don't turn on the radio in the morning, and we have just come to forget about turning it on at all. Democracy Now at 4:00? We're working till 5:00, and rarely can come in early to hear it. We listen to CDs, and get news off the internet at night.
But hey, who cares about us? We're just one family, and we hear that you have many, many NPR lovers, and they donate the Big Bucks! And I guess most of your listeners don't care about local news. We feel it's a great loss, but have moved on.
PS. To say that "On The Media" is a fair replacement for "Counter Spin" is, in my opinion, inaccurate. "Counter Spin" actually took important stories and showed how they were manipulated to give people an incorrect idea about the truth of the matter. "On the Media" never critiques an NPR story, and the critiques they do offer never go into the corporate agenda that is behind the news.
PPS. The following is my opinion; you can agree or disagree. I am not interested in debating anyone about this… Let me try to explain to you why it bothers me that KZYX, our public radio station, is dominated by NPR. Three hours of NPR news a day play at the prime news times: 7-9 in the morning and 5-6 in the evening. This news is dominated with promoting what they call "American Interests." What are "American Interests"? Whatever benefits our large corporations, particularly the oil, engineering, financial and military sectors. (The same people who now "own" our government…)
When KZYX first added more NPR, I listened. And I would hear stories that simply did not jibe with what I understood to be true. Going to the internet and researching, the Corporate slant of NPR became so obvious. They simply relate the news the way the corporate powers want you to hear it. At least with Democracy Now right next to the NPR news, one could more readily draw one's own conclusions. But the "alternative" news views are scattered around, a little here, a little there, not easy to remember when, and certainly not at prime time, when most people can listen. This corporate slanted news, along with their "pablum," is what all the major "for profit" radio stations play. I expect our "public" radio station to offer news that is beneficial to the People, not the Corporations. So, I choose not to waste my time listening to the corporate slant. And I urge everyone of you reading this letter to read or re-read John Perkin's books: Confessions of an Economic Hitman and Hoodwinked.
BAILING OUT OF FORT BRAGG
Re: Malcolm Macdonald’s recent article about Officer Guydan’s misbehavior.
Officer Guydan is a real POS. He arrested me on a “domestic” for arguing with an extremely intoxicated boyfriend after trying to put him to bed after a wedding. I was arrested in a full length dress, heels with done makeup and hair. I hardly looked like a threat. Instead of letting me “cool off” or whatever, he sent me to Ukiah with a young girl high on meth. I live in San Francisco and would have no way to get back to FB. He then proceeded to tell me I would be in jail till my hearing on Wednesday (this was Saturday). I had never been arrested before and for some reason “bailout” popped into my head when another much friendlier officer drove me and the girl to Ukiah. I bailed myself out immediately after being booked. My bail bondsman said I could have bailed out in Fort Bragg, but the cop was just being an a-hole. Screw this guy. Send him back to Long Beach. I will never return to Fort Bragg again because of this jerk. Sounds like the whole department needs a clean up.
Ten Titles to Mull:
- Conspiracy for Empire; Big Business, Corruption and the Politics of Imperialism in America, 1876-1907 by Luzviminda Bartolome Francisco, Jonathan Shepard Fast
- Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris
- War is a Racket by General Smedley D. Butler
- The Crusades Through Arab Eyes by Amin Maalouf
- Seven Pillars of Wisdom by TE Lawrence
- Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins
- The Control of Nature by John McPhee
- Dams and Other Disasters: a Century of the Army Corps of Engineers in Civil Works by Arthur E. Morgan
- Tiananmen Diary by Harrison Salisbury
- Heaven's Breath: A Natural History of the Wind by Lyell Watson
Hello my fellow Mendonites.
This is your Redwood Valley neighbor who has been bringing you the Jerry Brown policies, politics, hypocricies, analysis and debates, as well as an untrustworthy approach to reducing California's prison population.
Before I begin my reporting, I'd like to ask the AVA to extend my subscription for four more months until my release from the belly of the whale. It brings me, as well as 170 other men who are incarcerated here, great pleasure to be able to read the world's best newspaper which is filled with news ranging from low-calorie homemade baking products to unimaginable courtroom battles due to backyard burials. Please help this sideline reporter out.
Meanwhile, Jerry Brown and his associated defense team, his helpful administration, have decided to follow their well put together enactment of Senate Bill 105 which made them feel it was wise to file a request on September 2013 to extend the deadline to reduce the prison population in the state's 34 adult institutions to 137.5% of design bed capacity to December 31, 2016. The three-judge federal panel directed the parties — the inmate attorneys and Governor Brown's staff — to meet and confer regarding Brown's request and extended the final population reduction deadline to April 18, 2014. The parties then engaged in the extensive meet and confer process. It became clear that the court was disinclined to approve a three-year extension and since the parties didn't present a negotiated resolution, the courts commanded both parties to come back to court with their new and improved requests explaining what each would like to have happen. The court also said that additional measures would be needed to secure an extension.
Come on all of you board game players, we all know that there is no cross talking during the game. It's loud and clear that the three-judge panel has been worn out by Jerry's ways and answered Jerry's request before it was asked once again.
Jerry has accordingly modified the length of the requested extension to two years, the minimum length of time needed to allow new reform measures to responsibly draw down the prison population while avoiding the early release of the inmates. The court also appointed a court-appointed compliance officer with the authority to order the release of low-risk inmates if an interim or final benchmark is missed.
So to ensure that Jerry does not find himself in a position of missing a benchmark, Jerry has already developed several significant measures intended to protect public safety while establishing a durable framework for reducing the prison population.
These measures directly address current and projected impacts on the prison population such as increased admissions of nonviolent second-strike offenders. For example, Jerry has proposed a new parole determination process modeled after Proposition 36 (which expired in 2012) through which nonviolent second strikers will be eligible for parole consideration by the board of parole hearings once they have served 50% of their sentences. Also nonviolent second strikers will receive increased behavior credits of 33.3% and minimum custody inmates will begin receiving two day's for each day earned. This plan has been approved by the three-judge panel as well as Jerry's side of the argument.
The other side, known as the inmate attorneys, were screwed over along with thousands of inmates who don't fit the criteria under Jerry's proposed umbrella. Since the courts granted Jerry's request, Jerry will be able to implement several additional significant criminal justice reforms. These reforms will allow Jerry to comply with the population cap without sending thousands more inmates to private prisons in other states.
The Court granted Jerry's request for an extension of time to comply with this court order and Jerry's ways modifying the June 30, 2011 order to reduce California's prison population to 137.5% of design bed capacity.
It is hereby ordered that: 1. The deadline to achieve the ordered reduction in the in-state adult institution population to 137.5% of design bed capacity is extended to February 28, 2016. Jerry will make the following interim and final population reduction benchmarks:
a. 143% of design bed capacity by June 30, 2014; b. 141.5% of design bed capacities by February 28, 2015; and c. 137.5% of design bed capacity by Feb. 28, 2016.
So please allow me to lift the awareness of my fellow Mendonites and families who will be affected by such order. This is the early release plan known as Jerry's Way which is "effective immediately."
a. Increase credits prospectively for nonviolent second strike offenders and minimum custody inmates. Nonviolent second strikers will be eligible to earn good time credits at 33.3% and will be eligible to earn milestone credits for completing rehabilitative programs. Minimum custody inmates will be eligible to earn two-for-one good time credits to the extent such credits do not deplete participation in fire camps where inmates also earn two-for-one good time credits; b. Create and implement a new parole determination process through which nonviolent second strikers will be eligible for parole consideration by the board of parole hearings once they have served 50% of their sentence; c. Parole inmates who are serving indeterminate sentences who have already been granted parole by the board of parole hearings but at future parole date; d. In consultation with the receiver's office, finalize and implement an expanded parole process for medically incapacitated inmates; e. Finalize and implement a new parole process whereby inmates who are 60 years of age or older and have served a minimum of 25 years of their sentence will be referred to the board of parole hearings to determine suitability for parole; f. Activate new reentry hubs at a total of 13 designated prisons to be operational within one year from the date of this order; g. Pursue expansion of pilot reentry programs with additional counties and local communities; and h. Implement an expanded alternative custody program for female inmates.
To top it all off, such clearances are given by our three-judge federal court to the extent that any state statutory constitutional, or regulatory provisions, except the California public resource code, impede the implementation of the order or Jerry's ability to achieve the population reduction benchmarks, all such laws and regulations are waived. Although the Court does not issue a general waiver of the public resources code, Jerry may request waivers as the need arises of these statutory provisions that are tailored to specific projects.
I will report to you all filling you in on Jerry's progress the third week of March of 2014.
To all of my Mendo comrades, Mendo Forever. AVA, again it would be an Olympic feeling to have my subscription extended. Fanning the flames of discontent in my world is about sharing my savvy on organizations, firms, counties and politics.
For additional information contact me:
Theron R. Taylor AP0797, Sierra Yard 6006-Low;
P.O. Box 2400, Susanville, CA 96127
IN PRAISE OF BABBLE
Finally there is a local wine that even you can enjoy. It's called Babble: Mendocino County Red 2011, cellered and bottled by DNA Vineyards, Ukiah.
To my knowledge, it's the only local wine that doesn't take itself too seriously. On the rear bottle label the vintners say: "We won't bore you with overwrought descriptions of Babble. We're too busy blending great Mendocino County wines. But if we had to pin down the flavors, we think Babble tastes like plum, bacon fat, and blackberry preserves -- kind of creamy on the palate with hints of cocoa and tannins that round out nicely in the finish. Enjoy a glass with friends and hearty fare. And while you're at it, why not take turns coming up with your own wine babble? Vie for the longest, most outrageous faux critique. Special bonus points for using words that don't exist."
The beautifully drawn front bottle label features what appears to be a cellar rat holding a glass of red wine surrounded by a bunch of wild critters, including ape goose, eagle, parrot, barn owl, frigatebird, duck, marmot, crab, dodo bird and mythical griffin.
The rat describes Babble as "an inssouciant little vintage that's both playful and brash, brawny and confident, but with just a smidgen of unctuousness that allows its provocative flavors to blend into a voluptuous tasteskape -- evocative of a more well muscled wine but without the plonk one would normally associate with such a naturally grandiose and typically overstated varietal, all wrapped up in a piquant finish that's not short on opulence."
Generally, I'm a jug wine chugger, not a boutique wine sipper. But Babble should be sipped, not chugged, and it's a real deal for under ten bucks a bottle at Trader Joe's in Santa Rosa.
I have found no evidence that Babble is being sold in Mendopia, probably because the local wine snobs would thumb their noses at this outrageous, irreverent, radical vintage. And the pot growers wouldn't touch the stuff because they are waging prolonged chemical warfare against rodents.
My favorite wine babbles are in the 1970 movie, "Diary of a Mad Housewife" starring Richard Benjamin and Carrie Snodgrass as husband and wife. She prepares an elegant dinner and serves up a nice wine. Hubbie, dissing her wine selection, takes a sniff, a sip, then babbles, "Hmmm, smug, but not impertinent." After his second sip, he babbles, "glabrous, but not greasy." A scene right out of Swelliban Mendopia.
Perhaps the AVA could start a wine babble contest.
PS. This is not an early April fool joke and I don't have a financial interest in DNA vineyards, but I would graciously accept a case of Babble as a reward for this shameless plug.
WE RODE THE SENIOR BUS
We road the Senior Bus to the Variety Show last weekend. For the last 14 years my wife Judy and I have never missed any performances of the Variety Show. And this year the opening 20 minutes was one of the best ever. In true, Comedia del Arte form they did a condensed and ribald version of three scenes from Romeo and Juliet. The audience howled with laughter and burned hands with applause as all "show stoppers" were played out. Falling scenery, dropped props, lines written on swords, creative death scenes, make-do costumes and women with mustaches all played in the true art of comedy used in 16th and 17th centuries' Comedia del Arte. Kudos must go to the Grange, Bill Myers and his creative cast and crew members.
I mention riding the Senior Bus because I want to thank the Variety Show management for providing a preferential treatment for the senior citizens riding the bus. We also thank the long line of community members waiting at the theater door who seemed to be proud of the service provided. From my point of view we were riding the "little bus" that so many of us remember from years past when it was first introduced in schools only it was referred to then as "the little yellow bus." Some of the comments from that period of cruel children's teasing still sit in my mind and I can't help but think because we did something like that it finally came around to bite us in the ass. Only now the bus is white and we are riding it.
However, the options for the seniors are limited. We can put our pride to one side and ride the bus, accepting the preferential accommodations and travel, parking and seating, or we can stay home because of physical limitations and not be involved in our community's attempts to entertain, educate and showcase its members' art forms. Judy and I and a lot of other seniors thank all those kind folks who were waiting in line for us to get our slow asses off of the bus and get into the theater. But do be content to know that the services you provide for all for us will be waiting for you. Then you too can ride that little white bus with pride because you reached 65 years of age. You may find you can still walk and wait albeit a little slower because of pain. Then you too can ride a bus like we do with humor and a positive attitude knowing your community still wants to include you. Thanks to you youngsters.
Thanks again to the Grange for two excellent shows. I must remind the readers the Grange has yet another theatrical event coming up produced by its resident acting company, the AV Theater Guild. They have a production entitled, Comedia del Arte that will hit the stage for four performances on May 1st, 2nd, 3rd and a Sunday matinee on May 4 to accommodate seniors. The show, created in January of this year, is very similar to what was just performed at the Variety Show.
However, it is a full-length play, not Shakespearean but written by a playwright about 50 years his junior. The Guild has adapted this play to fit the Grange venue and updated it. It includes all the aspects of comedy plus a little comic opera. If you liked the Variety Show's opening skit you can see even more Comedia del Arte in May.
Ron & Judy Basehore
Final Thoughts on the 2014 KZYX Board Campaign—
For the record I would like to state that I never publicly advocated for the firing of any member of KYX staff, nor did I ever advocate for the writing of letters of complaint to the FCC. I have always believed that MCPB's internal problems will be solved through the implementation of a sound election process, a series of contested elections, and better communication. Working together, our community can figure out solutions to our own problems.
Also, I have never advocated for the elimination of NPR. I do believe the board should implement the already approved Programming Advisory Committee designed to help make programming decisions ensuring representation from a variety of sources and creating a transparent mechanism for programming choice that is available to all members.
I was upset as a former board member after witnessing what I describe as a period of stagnation of the MCPB's Board of Directors which nearly resulted in a lapse of the board's responsibility of due diligence. Typical Board meeting protocols were not followed and bylaw and policy paper requirements were not met. Some of these protocols were designed to protect minority voices and keep the pulse of our communities needs. Also, I realized, some of these issues could lead to problems with the FCC and CPB as well as expose MCPB to other legal liabilities. Looking back, I wish I had done more when I was on the board a year ago, and am running now to help the current board rectify these issues in a timely fashion.
The current board has become aware of the problem and taken big steps toward more sound and democratic governance at MCPB. Last Monday's board meeting was a great success and marked a good beginning but there is still work to be done. The station’s documentation has gotten old and needs to be revisited. I advocate for the reinstatement of the committee system, with a Strategic Planning committee on the top of the list.
Legal issues aside, we all know that despite the letter of the law it is personality that runs any local business. KZYX needs to develop a system of conflict resolution that creates more positive results where both sides feel their differences have been aired and a positive working relationship established after the process is completed. It is my feeling that any Grievance should be heard in public committee, either a Personnel Committee or as another possible use for the Programmer Advisory Committee, with a subsequent update at a public board meeting. I believe that transparency in this process will better serve the station.
I would also like to revisit some issues which have caused consternation in the past, leading to the loss of some high quality volunteer labor. First, why did the first incarnation of the PAC fail? I’d like to hear the details of this volunteer grievance to better understand the ideas and personalities involved. Second, can we build a bridge with KMEC in Ukiah? I received an email this morning from board member at the MEC offering use of their studio for $350 a month, including the cable connection to our studio in Philo. The creation of KMEC a decade ago created a rift among KZYX volunteers and we lost many voices as a result. We need to find a way to get those public radio enthusiasts back at KZYX.
Let me take a moment to talk about KMUD. There has been talk that a group of dissidents seek to create a KMUD south. I do not know where these ideas come from. To me, comparing ourselves to KMUD simply makes good business sense. Currently, KMUD is kicking our butt in our own market. They have taken talent from our area such as Christina Aanastad and David Brookshear, among others. They have taken a large portion of our market share as over 400 members of our listening audience are KMUD members while less than 30 people from Humboldt county are members of KZYX. KMUD weathered the storm of the financial crisis while maintaining an award winning news department which it has recently expanded. It also recently expanded to HD radio. What is the secret to KMUD's success? I hope the current board considers creating a committee for this.
What are the most important issues for KZYX right now? I have said the corporate documents need to be revisited. We need to start with the Mission Statement, it is too long. Non-profits typically keep the statement down to one or two sentences and often accompany it with a longer vision statement. A long mission statement gets passed up by grantors reviewing large piles of grant applications. We lose money by having one that is two paragraphs long. My suggestion for a new one? “MCPB is a community radio station where the membership controls the stations programming and operational philosophy and gives access to all points of view.” This captures the spirit of our Mission Statement.
As Jane Futcher wrote, it is the board’s prerogative to maintain allegiance to the mission. We need to have an open debate about what the mission means and how we follow it. What is meant when it says “the programming and operational philosophy are controlled by the membership?” How does the board of MCPB ensure that the station is giving “access to all points of view?” These questions need to be part of the debate.
I believe there should also be a debate about the implementation of the Programmers Advisory Committee and the degree of influence it has over actual programming choice. It is my feeling there are many advantages to the creation of a stronger PAC, not the least of which is to relieve the burden of this responsibility from an already overstressed staff. There will always be individuals upset with any programming change. Wouldn't it be nice to redirect their anxiety to a committee which would air the grievance at a public hearing? Rather than place the blame on staff, this energy would be neutralized. Maybe the disgruntled member would run/apply for the PAC. Let's give these people options that could result in real change.
At the end of the day, KZYX needs to learn how to communicate better with the membership, and we need to develop a method of communication that makes minority voices feel comfortable and listened to. I believe my listening skills and my experience level are my strong points in this election. As the host of Open Lines for seven years, I can tell you that I have heard just about every perspective imaginable. As a recent board member, I am intimately aware of the issues facing the current board including the often confusing and complex corporate documentation that demands revision. Over the years, but especially in the last six months, I have personally spoken with scores of present and former MCPB volunteers and board members giving me a unique knowledge of the stations institutional history as well as an opportunity to develop personal relationships that can help propel MCPB to a healthier more sustainable future.
Doug McKenty, MCPB At Large Seat Candidate
THE GLUTEN-FREE GALS
Dear Valley residents,
Just a quick thank you for all of the magical desserts that were provided for the Variety Show refreshment stand this year. We all pulled together to demonstrate our true community spirit at this event and the results were delicious! In addition to the organic popcorn and local sweet apple cider, we also highlighted some of our local baker's best recipes from our "farm kitchens" including Loretta's Lemon Bars, Helen's Heavenly Eclairs, Judy's Vegan and Gluten-free yummies, Liz's black bottom cupcakes (BTW, cupcakes ruled supreme this year!) and of course Andy's toffee and Judy B.'s Cowboy toffee - just to name a few! We certainly could not have had such a favorable fund-raiser for the A.V. Grange Women's Auxiliary without all of your contributions - so thanks again for pitchin' in when we really needed you. Great show, wonderful audience and a thriving community for all!
Suzy Miller, Boonville
Anderson Valley Grange Women's Auxiliary #669