Letters to the Editor
by AVA News Service, August 4, 2010
WHERE THE FISHIN’S GOOD
I was warned when we moved here to this wonderful state, that the weather was lousy, but the fishing was great! I said, “the good with the bad, the worst with the best,” and I packed up my bags and headed out west.
Now I fish in all kinds of precipitation, no worse is it here, than the rest of the nation, but, one thing is true, to this I’ll attest: the fishing advice was simply the best.
I've caught salmon and steelhead and sturgeon and more, (being boatless), I've done all this from the shore). But now in this winter, river levels are low, and metal and fishing is desperately slow.
I'm sitting here feeling a little forlorn praying for rain (that which I was warned). I believe, even south, they're getting some snow. I hear two feet fell in Sacramento!
“But I'm lucky,” I say, “I shouldn't complain,” I live here, in this state, and still pray for rain! I don't see me leaving. This state’s too much fun. God had a good day, when he made Oregon.
* * *
I've always loved this poem. Two of my favorite letter writers and friends (I have so many of them) are now here in this grand and glorious state: Jim Schmidt who used to live in Weaverville, North Carolina, and Don MacQueen (even though Don got demerits next to his name for his repulsive shenanigans with the letter “n.”)
Thank you so very much for the wonderful article by Joe Bageant from Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico. My oldest and dearest friend lives there and I've been toying with the idea of moving to Ajijic. She has sent me a lot of real estate brochures. It was also interesting to read that Efron Mendoza was born in the state of Jalisco.
Hope all of you are cheerful and in good health. If you don't have that, nothing else matters much.
I love you all,
Coos Bay, Oregon
It's quite true that the Supreme Court has the job of rendering decisions on whether or not laws are in accordance with the Constitution. I wonder if anyone would enlighten me, then, on the role of the Supreme Court in Bush versus Gore, 2000. What did the state of Florida’s election processes have to do with the Constitution? It seems naive to think that the Supreme Court doesn't overstep its role for political reasons. It is also naive to think that George W. Bush elected by popular vote or by the Electoral College. He was elected by nine Americans only, in a 5-4 vote. You and I had nothing to do with it.
In 2000, by a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court set America on a new and disastrous course. The echoes of that terrible decision reverberate to this day. The fact that that's what happened, and could happen again, is why who a president nominates to the courts is so important.
Twistifecation Personified — On April 20, 2008, in Florence High Desert Federal prison after a white versus black melee on the yard, several guard towers opened fire — shooting all their ammunition — shooting seven prisoners, two fatally. One native was shot in the foot while in the fenced-in sweat lodge about 400 yards away from the fight.
A tort claim was filed in federal court by a lawyer as Steel versus USA. The US attorneys filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction because the prisoncrats had “discretionary function exception” to do what they did. Or, realistically, they had a 007 license to shoot, kill and maim as many convicts/fish in a barrel as they want.
I'm trying to file a Bivens (not a tort claim) for my friend Ed Evey who had eleven teeth shot out while he was walking 100 yards away from the combatants, unaware of what was occurring at the far end of the yard. Did Thomas Jefferson have it correct when he wrote, “the twistification of the law”?
Ronald Del Raine
ISRAELI SOLDIERS SPEAK
On a snowy day in February I went to a talk given by Dana Golan, a young woman who had been a lieutenant in the Israeli Defense Force. She now serves as the executive director of “Breaking the Silence,” an organization of veterans who have served in the Israeli Army since September 2000 and tell the Israeli public about what it's like for soldiers and Palestinians in the occupied territories.
Although some are exempt, most Jewish Israelis are required to perform military service after graduation (Palestinian citizens of Israel are not drafted.) Dana told us the majority of Israeli adults have been in the Army, but only 10% of veterans that served in the occupied territories, thus that experience is little known and seldom discussed.
Breaking the Silence began its work in March 2004 and its first project was an exhibition of testimonies and photographs by soldiers who had served in Hebron. The organization's goal is to stimulate public debate about the moral price that Israeli society has been paying for the reality in which young soldiers face a civilian population and control its life. Breaking the Silence makes sure that all testimonies from soldiers are carefully researched, cross-checked with other eyewitnesses and/or the archives of human rights organizations.
Dana had brought with her copies of this small book containing testimonies of soldiers who have served in Hebron from 2005-2007. Hebron is a large Palestinian city in the West Bank, in the midst of which 800 Israeli settlers live, and these volatile demographics have a profound effect on how the soldiers function. In the neighborhoods near the settler enclave, Palestinian movement, livelihood and living space are severely restricted and subject to military control.
Here are a few excerpts: “It's a crazy town, Hebron. At first, when I just came in the Company, I mean I was this leftie kebbutznik, you learned that Arabs are human, etc. really, I would fight with my mates after an arrest — we put the detainee in a jeep oor patrol tricl with us — and I’d fight with them not to beat him up. It makes you sort of apathetic eventually: beat him, don't beat him, what do I care?” From testimony #34.
“Your own grasp of reality gets distorted. After having such total control over so many lives, you can do anything you want to them (i.e., Palestinians); you can steal from them, sleep in their house, anything. Take their car. You really can do anything.” From testimony #28.
Soldiers describe middle of the night raids on random houses, completely trashing everything in the home: “We could choose any house we wanted, it's not that we had some intelligence information about the terrorist hideouts..” From testimony #71.
Soldiers were also ordered to do “fake arrests,” to practice arresting someone at random and then release him after several hours.
“Petty looting was normal. Backgammon sets, cigarettes, everything… gifts for our girlfriends.” From testimony #38
“There's this car accessory shop there. Every time soldiers would take tape-disk players, other stuff, they would raid his shop regularly.” From testimony #67.
“Settler violence was directed at us (the Army), at the police, at the Palestinians and at any Europeans who were there. Any time a Palestinian would pass along the road, not every time but often, they would throw stones at him. If we tried to get them to leave, they threw stones at us. They threw eggs, tomatoes. If there are disturbances, we should summon the police. We must not touch them (the settlers).” From testimony #69.
A soldier describes a “sterile road.” “You realize the injustice in this? Sterile means that all the shops in this street, that once were shops, except for one or two, are shut down, all the houses that once were inhabited, now stand empty, they've been blocked and no one can go on living in them. No Palestinian may enter the street.” From testimony #55.
“Now all the Palestinian shops (in this area) are welded shut, and sprayed over with inscriptions like ‘death to the Arabs,’ ‘Arabs to the gas chambers,’ and other such creative stuff.” From testimony #75.
Soldiers sometimes describe how hard it is to talk about their experience in Hebron when they go home: “I also experienced this kind of numbness. If you keep getting into what that does to him (a Palestinian detained at a checkpoint) and to me, you end up not being able to carry out your assignment so you naturally go numb.” From testimony #60.
“I'm afraid to think what would happen to us if we stayed there, because this sense of not being able to face myself, and tell the person closest to me in the world, being unable to tell her what I had done, for me this is the worst discredit.” From testimony #15
Here a soldier describes a Palestinian father defending his young son from the military: “Usually the parents start beating their kids up so you won't beat him up. He was so different, he only defended him as if he were totally fearless, not afraid of anyone. He reminded me so much of my dad, really, I couldn't even look at him. My dad once had a mustache and so did he. He really reminded me of my dad, his whole demeanor, his body language. You look at them; they have such a different culture, they behave differently at home. Everything. They're another people. What can you do? Different. Then suddenly you see something that's so similar to you, to yours, even to your home, it was a real shock.” From testimony #96.
The testimonies are filled with stories like that. Their sorrow and remorse for abusive behavior, longing for the public to understand the reality of military occupation and the discovery of human connection. Many of the scenes they describe reminded me of how the United States forces have treated civilians in many parts of the world. I am grateful for soldiers, anywhere and everywhere, who have the courage to break the silence and tell the truth about their responsibility for needless suffering.
Breaking the Silence has also published similar books about the experiences of women soldiers in the occupied territories and the soldiers who took part in the attack on Gaza December 2008 to January 2009. More information is available on their website: www.breakingthesilence.org.
New York, New York
In a recent Off the Record item in the AVA, it spoke of the campaign contributions to Judge Moormon. As I have often said about campaign contributions to our elected officials, that this is typically the case that it is bribery to get opinions in the contributor's favor and extortion that a lawyer better give or the rulings go against them. That's what's happening in all our political elections. The only difference is the bigger and more important, the more dough one has to cough up.
Which leads to one of the most egregious, anti-democratic set of rules that campaign contributions ever bought. For those who don't know some of the rules of corporation stock, I will try to make it as clear as I can. There are mainly two types of corporations. Private whose stock is not sold to the general public. The other is public corporations which most big corporations are. The US government in 1934 created a department (the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC) to clean up the hanky-panky that existed and to stop any further manipulation of the market. Each year public corporations have to have an annual meeting and vote on certain items which the board of directors anbd top managers put on the ballot. Also, any shareholder with simple rules to qualify can put a proposal on the ballot. That sounds fair and democratic. But the SEC, the government department, puts rules that severely limit what a shareholder can put on the ballot and if the corporation bigwigs object to the proposal it’s sent to the SEC for confirmation to allow or not allow on the ballot. That's the kicker. If they allow it on it has been so watered down that it doesn't mean much. Then the most undemocratic SEC rule is that the proposal is only advisory even if it passed by 90% of the shareholder vote.
How did this rule happen in our so-called democracy? Guess what? Campaign contributions. When management is pushed about this farce, they answer that the public doesn't know how to run a corporation. Well, the public doesn't know how to run our country but the majority vote count is binding, besides at these annual meetings when a corporation is doing good, there are few votes against management. When the corporation is doing bad or when management gives themselves huge pay the vote goes against management and the shareholders scream and holler at the annual meetings. But campaign contributions win as they thumb their noses at the shareholders.
Dear Mr. Anderson:
I am a 60-year-old renegade alchemist serving the last seven years of a 40-year sentence for manufacturing recreational pharmaceuticals without the permission of the American Kleptocracy. My name is Dash and my friends call me “Doc,” while the federal courts label me a “career offender,” perhaps the most truthful finding a court has ever inadvertently made. For yes, I have spent the last half-century doing my best to offend the sensibilities of the staid and politic. My motto is: a crime a day keeps the ennui away. I always walk on the grass.
So it is with immense pleasure that I read your periodical each week when I receive a copy from my friend Robert Brame, aka the gentleman bankrobber, for in your masthead is another great truth: Anderson Valley Advertiser: America's last newspaper. Shades of Horace Greeley! I savor the words of those 12 pages as a man dying of thirst sucks the moisture from a cactus with little regard for the spikes to puncture the lips of my preconceptions and biases.
Having spent so much of my life in prison it was probably inevitable that I should have generated a pullulating plethora of penal prose in describing life in the big house to my family and friends. Of course, the reviews always rave. In spite of Robert’s urgings over the past 12 years (you previously printed some pieces from him) I had never seriously considered submitting my stories and rants to an unbiased reviewer until I recently read Todd Walton’s essay, The Presence of Absence (June 16) which answered a question I had never consciously asked myself: why do I write? To bring light and sound and feeling to the void or the chaos or the darkness or the presence of the absence.” Presence of absense — my life eloquently described in just three words.
And so I have included herewith a potpourri of stories, an essay or two, poems, a chapter from my purportedly posthumous autobiography, “Mandatory life.” Use anything you like and deploy the remainder in starting a fire in the pot-bellied stove I know must reside in a corner of your office.
While I would never presume that you would need my permission to exercise unfettered editorial discretion, if you do, then you have it. Should you choose to use something from me in the AVA, I shall undoubtedly find it difficult not to use that as a sort of validation of my existence and consequently inundate you with a veritable tsunami of tales from the belly of the beast. If not, then I shall continue to rationalize the waste of my life with the immortal words of that ol’ tree hugger, Thoreau: “under a government which imprisons unjustly, the true place for a just man is also prison. The only house in a slave state in which a free man can abide with honor.” (Henry David Thoreau, “On Civil Disobedience.:)
Still standing and sincerely yours
G.W. “Doc” Dash, Register No. 53671-065
Federal Correctional Complex, USB Coleman II
P.O. Box 1034
Coleman, FL 33521-1034
PS. sorry about the photocopies. The powers that be are incapable of maintenance so they run the machines until they no longer work and then leave them by the side of the road, sort of like our economy!
PPS. Two In One, by GW ‘Doc’ Dash
I remember as if in a dream / a life full of passion and pain / where I wore the face I was born with and / could look in your eyes and you would / simply be all that I wanted to see: myself.
TICHININ MUST GO
We the undersigned are demanding that County Superintendant Paul Tichinin be rescinded as Trustee of Round Valley Unified School District, in favor of a state appointed trustee.
We are a group of concerned citizens who have witnessed Paul Tichinin, time and time again coerce our elected school Board into using his MCOE [Mendocino County Office of Education] to forestall Round Valley USD from being acquisitioned by the State without prior disclosure, or apparrntly even any consideration of cost.
We the undersigned have invested over $1,200,000 into Paul Tichinin’s so-called “Recovery Team.” Paul Tichinin and his team havr willfully and consistently obstructed disclosure of expenditures to our school board and to our community. This $1,200,000 exaction has only resulted in LOWER test scores, a precipitous drop in enrollment, and a loss of programs which we feel are vital to our mission as a school district and to the morale of our community at large.
We believe that the only way to restore trust and transparency to our schools is for the State of California to appoint our district an independent trustee. Feel free to voice any relevant concerns — sunlight is the best disinfectant!
John Smoak, and
A group of Round Valley Parents and Residents
CHOCOLATE CAKE SECURITY
San Diego has a county fair. It's held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. My wife and I attend every few years. We went this year. It was a weekday, but still crowded.
But this year there was an additional irritant. We had to wait in a long line to pass through security and a metal detector. The county fair gods no longer allow WMDs of any kind: no penknives, no nail clippers, no scissors — not even metal tableware for a picnic.
They say, and I quote: “if you wonder whether something is allowed or not, probably it is not.”
Does this strike you as odd? It did me. But nobody squawked (well, almost nobody). Folks just plodded through passively — like it was a normal part of the fairgoing experience.
Maybe they were afraid somebody was going to attack the chocolate cake exhibit.
One wonders, what's next? You gonna need to go through a security check to attend the cinema? A baseball game? If a security check is required for the county fair, then surely it's needed at the mall, a rock concert, a play or a university lecture.
Last week the Washington Post ran a series of articles called “Top-Secret America.” Apparently, security agencies and companies have proliferated to the point where nobody knows what they are all doing. Nobody. Not even the security agencies who hired them.
Osama bin Laden has really done a job on this nation. The 911 tragedy revealed the American people to be a bunch of children, cowering under our (security) blankets.
Land of the free? Home of the brave? What rubbish!
WHERE’S MY $55?
Whereas I attended the first Earth First! meeting in Berkeley in 1980, and have been active ever since, I'd like to attend the Earth First! Journal roadshow's presentation. However, because I demanded that East Bay Food Not Bombs reimburse me $55 (money that I fronted for EBFNB at Acton Street House to cover their utility bill obligation, seven years ago), the east bay punk stupidity banned me, without ever inviting me to a meeting to discuss the situation, from entering the Long Haul Infoshop. In the midst of this jackass insanity in the east bay, am I going to be able to walk into the Long Haul Infoshop without fighting my way in?
If this is all just too difficult for everybody in postmodern California to deal with, tell ya what: let me make it easy for you: drop off $55 at my current residence at 593 62nd Street, Oakland, CA 94609-1246, and I will go to the Starry Plough Irish Pub located across the street from the so-called “anarcho-revolutionary” Long Haul Infoshop, and I will enjoy a couple of beers and skip the roadshow, and we can still talk about current environmental campaign strategy when you come over to the pub after the roadshow presentation. Fair enough?
Still Earth First! after all of these years
Craig Louis Stehr
Nota bene: I posted this message as a comment to the roadshow's notice on San Francisco Indymedia's activist calendar, but the SF Indymedia techies removed it. Therefore, I am sending out this email, because there is no other way for me to communicate this.
To the Editor:
Nobody in their right mind would defend the growing of marijuana on public lands. Those lands belong to us and we should not have to fear stumbling into a garden.
Having said that, there is a question that needs to be answered.
When a garden is discovered on federal land, the Forest Service has access to personnel from the following acronyms: USFS, BLM, DEA, NPS, DOJ, FBI, DOD and some I am probably not aware of. Why then should that include the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department?
If you ask Sheriff Allman, he would talk about grant money, task forces, mutual aid, blah, blah.
But let's cut through the BS and get down to brass tacks. The citizens of Mendocino County are without the services of an experienced deputy because he and three other "county employees" were conducting a raid on federal land.
Wouldn't you rather pay them to find the local meth labs than do the bidding for the federal government? We need a return to the basics of policing – which is to police the jurisdiction that pays your salary.
THE GREEN GOLD RUSH
The eyes of America if not the world are placed on the city of Ukiah, watching for the pivotal outcome placed on locus of axis for the legal outcome of the green gold (marijuana).With this we have many speaking of the tourism business that this may generate, the green gold is to Ukiah as whiskey is to Kentucky.
The commonwealth and commerce are looking for ways to improve the attractiveness of our downtown area, pointing out such blight as the Palace Hotel. Yet it is the very gauntlet of terror that the Palace Hotel sits on that is the killer of all potential tourism in our city. As I have mentioned before, all eyes are on Ukiah not unlike the Soviet missiles of the cold war aimed at America. State Street has the most potential for disasters and liability in our city. From north to south this street is metered in a sequence of traffic signals to maintain a speed limit of 35 miles per hour.
Between Talmage and Stanley street, slightly over a mile, there is consistent traffic lights to sustain the speed limit. After this there are great gaps of unmetered traffic, causing confusion for the drivers and pedestrians alike!
Let's examine the North side of State Street from Stanley to Scott. Norton Street's nearly a quarter of a mile and at several crosswalks we have no traffic lights. Then from here to Low Gap (which is an anomaly in itself without left hand turn signals) and another quarter mile we see this again. From Low Gap all the way to Ford Road there are no metered signals to further sustain the speed limit. This is for a half mile with the Garrett Drive crosswalk directly in the middle! I mention the Garret Drive crosswalk because this is the walkway that most drivers either do not or wish not too see when a pedestrian is crossing. I have seen some autos stop and at the same time others go right ahead with impunity, more often enough driving in front of the pedestrian missing them with a matter of a couple feet!
What we see here is the age old problem of city planning versus city growth! State Street is set up with the metered traffic to sustain a speed limit at 35 miles per hour and with the great gaps, it is one's guess as to who has the right of way other than California law which says the pedestrian does. But if the driver maintains a speed limit of 35 miles per hour they may feel as if they are in the right!
Such a Catch-22 can only be solved by extending the traffic signals to the north and to the south to accommodate the sustained speed limit. But the city has no money and it can not afford to do so.
I will tell you this: What the city can well not afford is to have another pedestrian hit and injured/killed in the streets of Ukiah – especially if it is a tourist!
Now that I think of it, not single person in Ukiah or in America has even been scratched by a Soviet nuclear warhead!
ANOTHER RITUALISTIC CALL
Letter to the Editor:
Well another ritualistic call to Federal representatives regarding Immigration and Depleted Uranium. It is clear that Congress is very very very tardy at this important work. The issue around immigrants is that there is no real plan. Bush in a moment of coherent thought mention the Bracero program. Alas a plan! I would bet that many of the Latino immigrants here would love to go back every year and even stay home for a few if they did not have to pay 3-4 thousand to get back, and run the gauntlet of a hot and dry desert and friendly pistol packing racists at the border, so called minute man, huh! The spin on that revolutionary name makes Sambo buttermilk seem like nuthin'. Most of these undocumented folks don't want to be citizens. They just want to work. Anyone who thinks we can get along without immigrant workers is in the closet. So lets deal with it! Contact your representatives and apply pressure, lots of pressure. It works. They need pressure now. It is in the lime light. Obama has to do something to quell the situation in Arizona. It is causing a lot of unnecessary racial tension. And the truth is that the real problem is Congress, where Congression health and retirement benefits abound, and secure jobs are a real deal.
Fallujah was in the radio the other day talking about the very high level of birth defects there because of the incredible battle using depleted Uranium. This seemingly safe toxic byproduct is everything but! Uranium takes many years to degrade and during that time it is radioactive and deadly. What is depleted is that it won't works as well in the really bad nuclear weapons. Oh also depleted is the thinking that they should use this as a weapon. In total violation of the Geneva Convention. It is the toxic got-to-have even though other countries are getting the seem dense penetrating shells using nontoxic tungsten alloys. Meanwhile in Fallujah and parts of the US babies with huge tumors on their faces and bodies, some with two heads and others with none. We have more than polluted Fallujah, with have made it another Chernobyl and our defense leaders keep on using it. Think our soldiers are safe? Sorry wrong. They come home to create birth defects in their own young and some die with the radioactive load they are carrying. Wanna celebrate Memorial day, get rid of the depleted nuclear maiming weapons that maim and kill everyone around them. Weapons should be safe around soldiers and not linger in battle fields. That is why we have these conventions to protect the soldiers and innocent citizens after the wars.
And while you are calling Senators Diane Feinstein (202) 224-3841 and Barbara Boxer(202)224-3553, mention Feinstein's bill to stop the use of BisPhenol A (AKA BPA) in food containers. The plastic made from the almost estrogen replacement for women. Too much estrogen messes with everything. Kudos to Diane Feinstein for raising this issue against a beastly food industry. Don't forget Congressman Mike Thompson (202) 225-3311 in your calls.
Time for Congress to get go on the other crucial issues.
TO MY DAUGHTERS
On My Twin Daughters' 30th Birthday
for Marithea and Vanessa
August 2, 2010 — O, the joy that we are human! The joy that we were born into human form!
About whether we should believe in life after death, what does it matter as we look out across Pacific Ocean in Mendocino or look up at Pikes Peak from Manitou Springs?
This is my shameful secret -- that I do not believe in an abstract God. I believe in the spirit in the sparkling salt and sunlight in the wave's spray. I believe in the lazy earth spirits under the roots of the Colorado spruce.
I do not believe in life after death. I believe in the everlasting joy of the present moment.
A simple plain face shows through every form. It is God's face.
Once, I had believed there was a center in the universe, but there was none. Once, I had believed in the past and future, but, in the present, I found love that was real and strong.
Your Proud Father
In Ventura, every Thursday morning, there is a popular boat trip to Anacapa Island. Anacapa I. is part of the Channel Islands National Park. Weather and traffic conditions permitting the boat will pull into Packer's Cove and drop anchor. Some of the island coastline has been protected under the MLPA for the last five years, some is off limits only during the Brown Pelican nesting season and some is unprotected but Packer's Cove is unique, it has been protected from commercial and sport fishing for over 30 years. The boat is the Peace dive boat and, unfortunately, its passengers are all scuba divers. Its unfortunate because probably only one tenth of one percent of the State's residents will ever get the chance to see a long term marine protected area and compare it to adjacent areas which are unprotected. The difference is unbelievable, Packer's Cove is lush with big fish, lobsters and scallops, this is what the State's costal environment was like 200 years ago. When the boat moves its like going into a desert.
People who argue that marine protected areas are unnecessary don't know what they are talking about. Presently there is only one completely protected area north of Monterey Bay, this is a tiny cove in Sonoma County at Salt Point, it is the only place in Northern California where Red Abalone are protected. Vague conspiracy theories about oil companies don't trump the need for marine conservation. One of your writers states that environmentalists oppose the MLPA, what a joke! Would you care to name him or her? The MLPA calls for protecting only 6% of the California coast, it is long overdue.
PS. Some of those reporting on the MLPA in the AVA refuse to identify themselves. I am a retired logger and recreational diver.
PEACE, LOVE, SUN
Letter To The Editor,
Thanks a bunch!
A powerful Thank You to all the great folks who supported, worked hard and helped make our Summertime Parking Lot Faire a big success!
Thanks to Village Cobblery — Dennis Ranieri (whatta guy!), Ron and son, and Joyce; La La Smokes — Ali and Pam and Pam's family; The Incredible Duo Dancers, Tessa Howard and Ling-Yen Jones (who were awesome!); our Fabulous Vendors: Annie and Joseph Sanchez, Janmaria Chiappa and friends, Kim Ghezzi, and Ramona and Mario Mariscal; The Delicious Food Vendors, Carla and Ken Jones and the Aguilar Family; Faviola Aguilar, Janet Kukulinsky and everyone from Action Network, and especially all the wonderful people who joined us for lots of Fun in the SUN! Thanks to local media: The AVA, ICO and Real Estate Magazine, KTDE (especially Joel, Liz and Fred), KMFB, KYZX/Z, and everyone who helped us get the word out.
And a big thank you to Mother Nature who blessed us with a bright, sunny, warm and lovely day. Thank you all for your loving support and hard work. See you at the 2nd Annual!
DJ Sister Yasmin
To The Bahl Hornin Foundation
"Not to be summersetting, but the Bahl Boont Steinber Foundation deserves a huge yibe! Every year they hold a sockin huge bahl tidrick at the Applish nook and flow the resulting higs to the community. For all of their kindness and generosity they truly deserve a great yibe, yibe, yibe and thank you.
The Anderson Valley Historical Society
Africa Today has been one the best programs that has appeared on KPFA. It's host, Walter Turner managed to escape the great purge of radical programmers in 1995, five of whom (M-F) were replaced by Gerry Brown, giving him the springboard to return to politics as mayor of Oakland and he has been fooling the public ever since. Now KPFA is at it again,moving inexorably towards the center and this is the latest indication of it.
* * *
July 21, 2010
Amelia Gonzalez, Acting Assistant General Manager & Development Director, KPFA
Thank you for the opportunity to talk with you regarding the proposed program schedule changes at KPFA. It is my understanding that those changes have not been finalized.
The proposal to move Africa Today to 11 AM on a weekday changes the time of the program, the composition of the program, and my ability to produce the program. Africa Today has for more than three decades been a regular program of KPFA. The program was initially produced by Faraha Hayati and has for the last almost 20 years been produced by myself. Africa Today includes a mix of music, African related community announcements, and differing segment lengths highlighting issues relative to Africa, African Americans, and the broader African Diaspora. The program segments do not fit “regular” formats of 28 or 58 minutes but are adjusted to mix preproduced segments along with live segments, announcements, and short news updates. Africa Today is best described as a news magazine format. The preparation time for Africa Today on a weekly basis requires more than 4 or 5 hours. Interviews and segments that involve the reading of a book and other background material can take up to two to three weeks to prepare and include extensive additional reading. The topics are selected using a broad base of contacts that has been developed over more than 20 years from my work as an activist and in academia. I am usually able to tape some of the programs on Friday mornings while other programs are produced live on Monday evenings. This is the format that allows me to manage a very busy professional schedule and still produce a quality program.
Africa Today on KPFA has long been established as a nationally and internationally respected news magazine on Africa. The program is one of the most frequently listened-to programs on the web that is produced on KPFA. Africa Today has outstanding connections with media, activists, organizations, institutions, and academics throughout the United States, Africa, and other parts of the world. The connections with Bay Area Africa related organizations and individuals are excellent. The program has hosted practically all Bay Area based Africa/African related organizations and institutions over the past many years. Many of these non-profits need greater attention and support for their Africa and community related work and outreach.
Africa Today is a priority contact for scholars who speak at the major universities in the San Francisco Bay Area. We are part of the Priority Africa Network, which coordinates activities for African and African Americans throughout the world. Africa Today works extensively with Africa based organizations such as Pambazuka News and the Global Fund for Women. On a number of occasions Africa Today has been able to pair with Transitions on Traditions and produce feature programs on African and African American related issues. During the last two years were able to produce special programming on Dr. Ivan Van Sertima and Dr. Asa Hillard. Africa Today has built a community of supporters and institutions that represents a unique space in media on African issues. More importantly, Africa Today serves as a resource for programmers at KPFA who are interested in covering Africa related issues.
Your proposal to produce a pre-recorded program in unworkable. Such a proposal would require me to spend more time producing and recording the program, time that I do NOT have. Essentially your proposed offer that Africa Today move to an early morning slot means that the program would end, both because of my inability to produce it and because of the loss of a 30 year international audience. This is a major step backward and a retreat from a Pacifica-wide mission that has for many years included a focused program on Africa at the majority of the Pacifica Stations.
During my many years at KPFA I have acquired the production skills to be able to do basic editing, run the board, engineer live phone calls, complete meter readings, and do live interviews without a board operator or a program producer. I have developed these skills out of necessity given KPFA’s inability to provide this support.
I currently serve as the Chairperson of the Social Sciences Department at the College of Marin and President of the Board of Directors of Global Exchange. I have developed and teach the courses on African History and African Contemporary Affairs. My work as a Professor and Chairperson involves more than 50-60 hours per week. I am on the Board of many other organizations and involved with many other projects and institutions. I travel extensively to Africa and the Caribbean, often doing interviews and making contacts that will be part of the larger resources of Africa Today. Africa today benefits from these contacts and interactions, KPFA likewise benefits from these contacts.
My ability to continue to produce Africa Today is based on Africa Today remaining in its current time slot. I cannot, and should not have to increase the amount of hours that I currently donate to KPFA to continue a quality program that has an established reputation and need. Africa Today is among the VERY few non-commercial radio programs that is directed at Africa. In my long tenure at KPFA I have donated thousands of hours on projects and programs to ensure the sustainability of listener sponsored radio. My dedication and sacrifice to the KPFA community is well above question or measure. The notion that arbitron ratings should be the primary basis for making a decision on KPFA”s ability to continue their only program on Africa is short-sighted and disrespectful of my work and the community that has built Africa Today.
Africa is a continent four times the size of the United States including more than 800 million people and 53 countries. The community interested in Africa matters and should be a permanent part of Pacifica’s mission. Your proposed program changes will eliminate Africa Today from the airways.
Walter Turner, Host/Producer
Africa Today, KPFA