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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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I'm Neither Anti-Semite, Nor Anti-Dentite, But This 'Ain't Right'

By Paul McCarthy

For the first time in history, or at least as long as anyone can remember, the Mendocino High School "Homecoming" rally, parade and dance have been cancelled because of a religious holiday. Specifically, Yom Kippur, which starts sundown Friday, October 3. Fort Bragg & Potter Valley have no problem holding their Homecoming this upcoming weekend.

And it was just done - Friday - a week from the scheduled Friday night Homecoming "rally." Was this a Mendocino Board of Trustees decision ? Nope. Should it have been ? I certainly think so. Since when can a school administration "individual" decide what religious holiday should be observed by a PUBLIC school?

And why is religion affecting ANYTHING in our public school system? If you want to observe a religious holiday, or go to the dentist, an "excused absence" is in order - not the cancelation of a full week of school activites.

I'd like to know - does Yom Kippur "trump" the Catholic "Good Friday?" Do only Jewish holidays count? what about Muslims? Hindus? Wiccans? In the school calendar it's not even called Christmas & Easter vacations any more. Why? To keep religion OUT of public schools? Ditto the Pledge of Allegiance ("one nation under God"). I have a firm belief in God, having attended 8 years of parochial school and have a son attending a Catholic College, but I have an even FIRMER belief in the separation of church & state. This cancellation, because that's what it is, was explained by Mendocino Principal Gail Dickenson this way in a letter to parents: "Dear Mendocino Parents, For a variety of reasons, we are moving this year's Homecoming from next week (September 29th through October 4th) to the week of October 27th through November 1st. First, we realized that the original homecoming week was scheduled during Rosh Hashanah with the main culminating activities falling on Yom Kippur, and we don't want any students to be excluded from participation because of a conflict with a significant religious holiday..."

Huh? I'd be alright with the "moving" of homecoming for "a variety of reasons" but to specifically mention a religious holiday has NO place in this letter. Although no one would "go on record," we understand a parent(s) contacted the school to protest the scheduling of homecoming on a Jewish high holdiday. Is that all it takes? Were the MUSD Trustees asked their opinion on the cancellation? The School Superintendent? The football coaches? The alumni who make homecoming the special time it always is? I know for a fact the school booster club wasn't notified - or the person responsible for putting together the homecoming football "program" - me. I shot an email to Superintendent Jason Morse asking how to get on the next school board agenda regarding this religious intrusion on public school events. He wrote back, "You make a request in writing to me, which is what you have done here. I will take your request to the Board agenda setting committee and I will get back to you." So they have a "committee" to decide trustee agendas but an "individual" who decides which religious holidays should be observed by the school district?

And who the heck is on the "agenda committee?" Is it a secret? The lack of transparancy over MUSD decisions is mind-boggling. In my email to the superintendent I wrote: "Where do you draw the line? What about Muslim, Hindu, Shinto, Wiccan. etc. holidays? You can bet I'll be pushing for events to be cancelled over them (or postponed to another date). Did you know Buddha was born April 8? Hope no school events are scheduled on that date. And Ramadan 2015 starts June 18th and continues for 30 days - luckily MHS graduation is June 12th but there is a Trustee meeting scheduled for the 18th - I want to go on record as requesting it be cancelled 'because of a conflict with a significant religious holiday'."

It's unlikely I'll get the opportunity to get this as an agenda item, the Supe indicated as much when he added in his email: "Also, remember, you are always welcome to make a comment at board meetings under the 'Public Comment' item at 6:00 at each meeting regarding an item that is not on the agenda." Which means I'd be basically talking to myself as the board riffles through their paperwork, play with their Ipads or look at the ceiling "praying" for me to finish my statement. If that's the case, I will email EACH of our elected Mendocino Trustees BEFORE the October 16th meeting (at the Albion School) asking the following questions:

  1. What place should religion play in scheduling /cancelling school events?
  2. Were you consulted about the cancellation of MHS Homecoming?
  3. If it came to a vote of the board, would you have cancelled homecoming because of Yom Kippur?
  4. Will you cancel/postpone your June 18th, 2015 school board meeting because of the Muslim "significant religious holiday" Ramadam?

There's a dangerous precedent being set here by letting religion interfere in planned school acitivites and I'm not going to just let it "go away" or be swept under the rug. This is wrong and I want some accounting on the decision making. How many people does it take to get a school event cancelled? One? Two? Twelve apostles?

We'll keep you informed on what transpires... Here's the entire text of Principal Gail Dickenson's letter:

Dear Mendocino Parents, For a variety of reasons, we are moving this year's Homecoming from next week (September 29th through October 4th) to the week of October 27th through November 1st.  First, we realized that the original homecoming week was scheduled during Rosh Hashanah with the main culminating activities falling on  Yom Kippur, and we don't want any students to be excluded from participation because of a conflict with a significant religious holiday. In addition, students and staff were feeling a lot of pressure because of the short planning time, with ASB deciding they wouldn't be able to put on a homecoming dance this year.  ASB leadership is excited about having a little more lead time to prepare for the skits, parade, and homecoming dance, wanting to create a week of fun, high spirited, events inclusive of all students. Please mark your calendars for the following events and share this information with any alumni you know: The traditional skit night will be Thursday, October 30th. The parade, football game, and dance will be held on Saturday, November 1. Our varsity football team will play long time rival Point Arena High at 1 p.m. We apologize for any inconvenience this change may have caused. Sincerely, Gail Dickenson

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Tuesday, Sept. 30, 5:30 PM, Health Center, Boonville

This would be a good time to write your questions down, send them to the Board members, and bring them to the meeting to ask again. Hope to see you tomorrow, 5:30 PM, AVHC conference room.

My questions continue to be why is it so difficult to get basic information from the board about this vital non-profit public benefit service. This week, they are:

Basic information — why is there still no agenda posted ; why is the web site not updated regularly; where are the Articles of Incorporation of the AVHC Inc. posted or available for public review; where are the required annual audits filed and where are they available for public review? Why are there no written staff reports or committee minutes posted with the board minutes. I ask this information of the Board Secretary.

About the Board - who is on the board; who are the officers; what are their duties; how may one contact them; what are their qualifications; what are their terms of office; how long do they intend to serve; what are the standing board committees and what are their duties; who are on the standing board committees; what are their qualifications; where are the minutes of the standing committees posted; what are the ad hoc committees and their duties; who are the members of the ad hoc committees; what are their qualifications; how is the board recruiting for new members; what are the standards for board membership; to whom should one apply to be considered for board membership? I ask this information of the Board President who promised it in June.

Finances — will the board publish the 2014-15 budget; will the board publish an end of fiscal year report or an end of calendar year report; how much money do we owe on the clinic building; to what agency or bank; how much money was donated for clinic building debt reduction in 2013; how much has been donated this year for that purpose; was all the money donated for that purpose applied to the debt reduction; what further action (campaign, information) does the board plan to inform patients and public of the debt and cost of the debt, and efforts to pay off the debt; how much operational deficit did the clinic run this fiscal year; how did the board offset that deficit (reserves, other)? I ask this information from the Board Treasurer.

Strategic Planning — what were the results of the board’s strategic planning session; what IS the strategic plan; does the board plan to merge with another clinic or clinics; does the board intend to sell the clinic building; does the board intend to lease or rent the clinic building; what are the long-range plans for maintenance and operations of the clinic building; how will they be funded; what are the results of the Needs Assessment; what new grants are being applied for this year; to meet which specific needs; will they require additional non-grant funding and/or personnel? What progress has the clinic made on restoring the dispensary services? I ask this information from the the whole Board who are specifically charged with the duty of informing their consumer public of policy, plans, and scope of service offered.

I had the opportunity this week to speak to the HRSA Region IX director John Maroney, who answered some of my questions about the grant requirements. He directed me to the site for general information about our grant, which shows the grants we received in the past three years, and states that there are “no conditions for this grantee” which should counter some of the argument that we have to merge with another health center or we will lose our grants. [A review of this compilation of data about AVHC raises some questions about how accurate data reporting is.] I asked Capt. Maroney whether there was a requirement for a grantee to make information regarding the grant and the financial status of the grantee available to the public. He referred me to the office of the Community Health Center Program, Bureau of Primary Health Care, HRSA in Rockville MD, 301-594-4110, to ask about Freedom of Information requirements. He said which data may be public are specific to a given request and are answered through that office. I asked him why a health center management or board would need to keep this information secret. He said that there may be many reasons, one of which is if the entity is operating in a competitive and hostile economic environment where public financial documents might give ammunition for a take-over effort from another health care entity. That was a puzzler and I did not feel I could take more time to go into it, without more background. Many of you have raised the same question, why the secrecy about operations? I don’t think the answer above is satisfactory, I may have asked the wrong question. It is possible that a question to Congressman Jared Huffman’s office, Phone: 962-0933 or 671-7449 could get some help. Why should the expenditure of millions of health care dollars not be subject to public scrutiny by the public it is supposed to serve?

— Gene Herr, Philo

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A SMALL BUT TYPICAL EXAMPLE of Hamburg-think was tossed casually off at last week’s Board of Supervisors meeting during “Supervisors Reports.” Speaking of his attendance at the Mental Health Board meeting of September 17th, Hamburg, second-term 5th District supervisor, off-handedly praised the Mental Health Court, Hospitality House in Fort Bragg, the Mental Health Board, the agencies and contractors involved etc. etc., adding, in passing, “I know everybody doesn’t agree with this. but I think we’re in better shape today than we were before we got into these contracts and went into privatization. I know the Grand Jury doesn’t agree with that. But I think we made the right move.”

IN FACT, the Grand Jury never made any comparison of services before or after privatization. Their comments were very specific that privatization fixer-man, Tom Pinizzotto, should have removed himself from a process involving his former employer, and that the contract left out certain categories of service. But here’s Hamburg misrepresenting the GJ's criticisms so he can dismiss them as simply a difference of opinion between the Grand Jury and himself — himself of course being self-evidently correct. Fox News couldn’t have done it better.

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ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE WEEK: "My wife and I talk about the lack of roles for young men, and since we have three boys in their 20s, it really resonates. With many economists pointing to the automation of 60% of jobs there will be even less to do…..assuming society holds together that long. But another point here is that women no longer need men. Gone are the days of the girl needing a man for everything from housing to legal participation. Add to that the breakdown of families, towns, or any collective idea of “us”. There is no need to have children anymore, nor is there the need to have children in a “traditional” setting. Parents don’t parent anymore due to the rise of the daycare industry and the need for two incomes. Have the kid, wait twelve weeks. Stick them in daycare. The student loan fiasco is already unravelling. “Pay as you earn” plans offered by the government allow for “payments” of zero dollars. And the debt is “forgiven” after 10-25 years depending on your job. 1.3 trillion in debt will never be paid back. An uprising seems likely, but I sense it will be aimed at elites. A little bit of 1789 France? Let’s not even get into the housing “situation”. 
Moreover, when things collapse, our young men will lack the ability to do most of what we need. They are physically weak and have no idea how to do the most basic task. I recently had to teach a 16 year old boy from Manhattan how to use a rake. After 15 minutes he stopped because his hands hurt. Therefore, the over 40 crowd will need to teach them real skills and not “communications” or “business” as the college cannibals are encouraging. 
It will sure be interesting!

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PRESIDENT OBAMA'S POISED to sign a deal with Afghanistan's new president to allow U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan. John Podesta, a top Obama aide, said Monday in Kabul that President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai would sign an agreement on Tuesday to allow U.S. troops to stay after the official international combat mission ends on December 31. Approximately 10,000 U.S. troops would be permitted to remain in Afghanistan. Ghani's predecessor, Hamid Karzai, had distanced himself from the U.S. and resisted having American troops stationed there.

DON'T KNOW about you, but this all seems like some kind of cosmic joke, except it's not funny. The Nobel Peace Prize winner, also known as the president of the United States, said we were getting out of Afghanistan. Period. But we're not, we're in indefinitely. And now into Syria. And forever in Iraq. And who could have thought that imperial America's "interests" would involve places most of us would have a hard time finding on a blank map.

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GOVERNOR BROWN has signed a law requiring all state colleges to adopt a policy of unambiguous, affirmative consent by students engaged in sexual activity. The measure is part of a nationwide effort to curb sexual assault on American campuses. The “yes means yes” law will be the first in the country to make affirmative consent language a central tenet of school sexual-assault policies, according to proponents. The legislation was passed by the California State Senate last month. It defines consent as “an affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.”

IN PRACTICE, I don't know how this is going to work. "I do solemnly swear...." Or, "I hereby affirm...." Or, "No, I'm not signing, Jason, and don't ask me again. Just get on with it."

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IN OTHER NEWS from the sexual front, the American Academy of Pediatrics is urging sexually active teenage girls to use IUDs or hormonal implants. Hell, why stop there? How about a mass reintroduction of convents?

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by Bruce Anderson

Most AVA readers are probably aware, however dimly, that a woman named Judi Bari was nearly killed in Oakland by a car bomb in 1990. The device detonated directly beneath the driver's seat of the car Bari was driving. The person with her, Darryl Cherney, her close friend and fellow Earth First! organizer, was only slightly injured. Both Bari and Cherney would have been killed if the bomb had exploded as designed. A resident of Mendocino County and self-identified Earth First!er, Bari had been foremost in organizing Redwood Summer, a mass protest against corporate timber's cash-in of the Northcoast's redwood forests.

The spectacular attempt on Bari's life was soon eclipsed by the first Iraq war, and Bari, grievously injured in the explosion, died in 1997.

The FBI and the Oakland Police had prematurely arrested Bari and Cherney on the presumption they had knowingly transported the device that almost killed them. In the few years left to her, Bari, and a handful of acolytes, including Cherney, raised large amounts of money for an ultimately successful federal libel lawsuit against the FBI and the Oakland Police Department. They said if they won the suit the award would go to environmental causes.

Instead, Bari's daughters, Cherney, and several left attorneys, walked away with several million dollars; nothing went to persons or groups active in the environmental movement. The lawsuit, incidentally, was co-authored by the feds and Bari's attorneys to exclude all mention of whose bomb set the suit in motion. I, and several other dissenters, via a cozy agreement worked out by the federal attorneys and Bari's lawyers, were excluded, by name, from being called to testify.

Within days of the blast, Mike Geniella, a reporter with the New York Times-owned Santa Rosa Press Democrat, had received a letter from a person signing himself The Lord's Avenger. Written in thunderous, faux Old Testament prose, the Avenger described the bomb in detail only the bomber could know. The bombing suspect now became a deranged fundamentalist, and the FBI, always a dependable villain among the left, became the Avenger's enabler if not co-conspirator.

Bari and Cherney, with their well-placed allies in the Pacifica Network, including Amy Goodman at Democracy Now, have always managed to ignore inconvenient questions about the bombing, especially those raised in a fine but mostly unseen documentary on the case by Steve Talbot, who went on to anchor PBS's Frontline series. Talbot's film was called "Who Bombed Judi Bari?" Talbot answered that question on information supplied by Bari herself — that Judi Bari was probably bombed by her ex-husband. Talbot, without directly identifying Bari's ex as the bomber in the film, pointed straight at him.

But after Bari's death, Talbot appeared on a San Francisco-based television program called "This Week In Northern California" to say that Bari had told him she was certain her ex-husband had bombed her, that the great assassins of the corporate-FBI nexus so beloved by the Pacifica Network had to be moved aside for what was really a fancy case of domestic violence.

Bari's ex-husband, Mike Sweeney, magically kept off stage all these years as the likeliest suspect, is not the usual estranged husband. He comes with special qualifications; he belonged to Professor H. Bruce Franklin's often violent Maoist posse at Stanford in the late 1960s. He and Bari met at a Maoist labor organizing event, married and moved to Santa Rosa where a hangar on the mostly abandoned airfield next door mysteriously blew up one night prior to their relocation to Redwood Valley in Mendocino County. The airfield was home to weekend pilots who annoyed the Sweeney-Bari household with their overflights; Sweeney and Bari had successfully sued Hewlett-Packard to halt development of the tract the airfield rested on. Police suspected Sweeney and Bari — they had no other suspects — but were unable to make the case against them. By the time Bari-Sweeney arrived in Mendocino County where their marriage soon disintegrated, the two radicals had enjoyed, you might say, a uniquely explosive relationship.

In the twenty-two years since Judi Bari was blown up in Oakland, out there in what's left of the American left, it's an article of faith that she was a martyr to the usual malign forces that do the dirty work for our ruling circles. Tune in Democracy Now or KPFA out of Berkeley and you will hear someone saying that the author of the attack on Judi Bari remains a mystery but we, wink-wink, we in the know, we know the corporations and the feds got her.

What you won't hear, because alternative explanations of the case are excluded from Pacifica's preciously PC airwaves, is that the mystery of who bombed Judi Bari isn't a mystery at all, that it can be solved via the known DNA lifted from the Lord's Avenger Letter. No one seems interested, least of all the FBI in whose archive the evidence molders, but that DNA exists and has been found to be primarily female, placed on the Lord's Avenger's communique in 1990, just before DNA became the slam-dunk investigative tool it has since become.

Judi Bari is still being bombed by persons deliberately obstructing resolution of the case, most recently in the form of an hagiographic epic assembled by Cherney that mostly features himself and Bari singing. It is also called, “Who Bombed Judi Bari?”, a nice piece of cynicism that might make it appear that the honest film of the same title by Steve Talbot didn't pre-date Cherney's film by twenty-one years. Predictably, Cherney's version of “Who Bombed Judi Bari?” has gotten big play from Amy Goodman and the cringing speakers-of-truth-to-power at places like KPFA.

The even larger mystery of Who Bombed Judi Bari is this: Why isn't what passes for a left media in this country demanding that the Bari case be solved? Why did Susan Faludi suddenly abandon her book on Bari after getting a large publisher's advance to write it? Why has Judi Bari's famous sister, Gina Kolata of the New York Times, never written about her sister's sad fate?

And why has Bari's family never demanded that the case be solved?

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HEADRICK BROTHERS LOGGING, Oric, CA. circa 1949-1950, and Shingletown circa 1970-1973

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Why I Won't Be Attending The Birthday Bash

I won't be attending the Mendocino County Public Broadcasting (MCPB) Birthday Bash on Saturday, October 11, for two reasons.

First, I wasn't invited. Although I'm a Board member, and although I've hosted a biweekly show for six and a half years as a volunteer (about 150 shows), I wasn't invited.

Second, there's nothing to celebrate. Like many purged programmers, I feel that staff, especially Coate and Aigner, have a "bunker mentality" that has led to purges of critics and others who spoke their minds. The harm is irreparable.

These purges, of course, have created an upwelling of animosity that will prove to be the station's undoing unless staff, especially Coate and Aigner, are terminated and replaced -- replaced, hopefully, by more more capable public radio professionals, who have no history with, or ties to, the station.

In recently reviewing my own purge from the station with someone at the FCC, I noted that Coate will almost certainly claim I was ousted because I uttered the f-word on-air back in June.

I made a few points to the FCC to refute Coate's trumped up claim.

One, I was not on the engineering board when the word was uttered. Aigner told me to step aside. She was at the board trying to get my guest back on the line (the call dropped four times). I was physically standing a couple of feet behind Aigner. Aigner failed to pot down the mic.

Two, the utterance was ambient sound. Ambient. Again, I was not at the engineering board. I was standing 3-4 feet from the mic.

Three, no listener complained to the station following my show. Complaints? No. A confabulation by Aigner and Coate? Yes.

Four,  the station's seven-second delay -- intended to prevent obscenity violations and promised by Coate a year ago -- is, as of this time, still non-existent. It's been a full year, Doug, since you were purged for a similar trumped up obscenity violation.

For the above four reasons, I will not sign the declaration Coate demanded that I sign taking "full responsibility for the incident" as a condition for having my suspension lifted.

Be that as it may, the f-word incident is not the only reason I remain indefinitely suspended.

Coate's new demand is that I sign a letter that he drafted retracting my FCC complaint. It's a letter that Coate stated he will send to The Ukiah Daily Journal and The Anderson Valley Advertiser. He further stated he may use the letter for any other purpose.

The coerced letter, of course, is tantamount to a public humiliation. My lawyer says that Coate's demand constitutes extreme and outrageous conduct intended to cause severe emotional distress. Consequently, I have suffered severe injuries as a direct and proximate result.

In strictly legal terms, the complaint against Coate will be for "The Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress".

My lawsuit, if it's filed, will be supported by facts and evidence, which will include the purges and humiliations suffered by others, such as Doug McKenty, Norman De Vall, Sheila Dawn Tracy, and Johanna Schultz. My lawyer will demonstrate a history of abuses at the station.

Another thing.

The lawsuit, if it's filed, will also name the Board as a co-defendant for failing to use reasonable care to prevent the negligent and grossly negligent acts i.e., the purges, the violations of free speech and other rights, the violations of due process, the public humiliations, etc., from occurring.

Coate's sweeping general manager/executive director powers notwithstanding, the Board has a duty to supervise Coate.

In strictly legal terms, the complaint against the Board of Directors will be for "Negligence".

Our causes of action will be the following: The Board has failed to adequately monitor Coate, failed to institute and implement policies for the protection of volunteers, failed to report abuses to the FCC and the CPB, allowed Coate to tamper or destroy evidence, and allowed Coate to threaten victims and witnesses to deter complaints.

Our lawsuit will further allege that the Board's decision not to supervise Coate reflects that the reputation of Coate and the MCPB, and the desire to avoid scandal, were vastly superior and more important to the Board than the welfare of the plaintiff and other victims who had been abused by Coate, and this fostered an environment and culture where abuse of could flourish and in which it was clearly understood that there was no accountability for such abuses toward volunteers.

What my lawyer and I have not yet decided is whether or not we will allege that there was a conspiracy between Coate and the Board to cover up the abuses. The fact that the Board did not insist on an investigation of the spitting incidence involving a volunteer, M. Kathryn Massey, and a member of staff, Rich Culbertson, is deeply disturbing. There is videotape evidence from May's Board meeting in Willits of Board member, Jane Futcher, clearly protesting an investigation of Culbertson. The rest of the Board, lead by Board Chair Eliane Herring, acquiesced to Futcher's protest.

My lawyer has suggested that Ms. Massey be a co plaintiff. Others, such as Doug McKenty, may wish to be co-plaintiffs, if that is the advice of our attorney.

Some other features of the lawsuit.

My lawyer has a discovery control plan. We intend to conduct discovery under the California's Title 4 (Sections 2016-2036) of the Code of Civil Procedure, and be controlled by a scheduling order to be agreed upon by the parties. A few surprises may be store.

The Mendocino County Superior Court has jurisdiction over this action, because the facts giving rise to this action occurred in whole or in part within Mendocino County, and the damages sought by plaintiff are well in excess of the minimum jurisdictional limits of this Court.

Finally, punitive damages will apply. My lawyer said he could write a book about why punitive damages apply in our case.

The statute of limitations doesn't run out for two years on personal jury in California; two years also for breach of oral contract, and four years for written contract -- so we're in good shape there.

My next move? Have my lawyer prepare a demand letter. Then, have my lawyer finalize the complaint, including petition for jury trial and request for disclosure.

Because I don't want to "destroy" the station, I'll first write to the Board with a demand letter of my own before I file. Basically, I'll demand to have my suspension lifted and to return to the air. I'll give the Board every opportunity to do the right thing.

If I don't get an adequate response, my lawyer will send a demand letter. It will include further demands. The Board won't be happy. It will cost them. If the lawyer's demand letter doesn't get a response, we file.

I'm doing all this for the benefit of MCPB, not to harm MCPB.

Bottom line? MCPN needs reform. It's the Board's decision if they want to fight, if they want to spend a lot of dough defending themselves, if they want to bankrupt the station, and if they want to hold the station up to further public ridicule.

Mendocino County deserves a truly public radio station, not a private clubhouse run by a few insiders for their own benefit. True public radio. True community. Now that would be something to celebrate!

John Sakowicz


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There are many points I'd like to respond to in John Sakowicz's most recent assault on KZYX, but let me correct two points he makes that are absolutely wrong:

1) The KZYX birthday party is NOT a fundraiser. Admission is $5. We kept the admission low to be sure everyone who wanted to come was able to afford a ticket. Food and microbrews are extra, but we will be lucky to break even on the event because of the costs involved.

2) Meg Courtney and I, as KZYX board members, are spearheading and organizing the event. We both felt deeply that this station milestone was too important for our community not to celebrate. The event is far from an “ego trip” for John Coate and Mary Aigner. The focus of everyone involved in putting on the event is making the 25th birthday a fantastic party that honors everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, who has been a programmer, staff, board member, volunteer, donor, listener or member over the years.

We hope everyone who cares about the station will join us at the Boonville Fairgrounds October 11 to celebrate the station's remarkable creation and survival, through thick and thin, for 25 years.


Jane Futcher


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A Humble Stoner Mixes With California’s Cannabiz Elite

by Emily Hobelmann

Last week, I attended two, count ‘em, two! back-to-back blenders: The Garberville-Redway Area Chamber Mixer on Wednesday and the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA) Networking Mixer down in Sacramento on Thursday. I mixed, I mingled. My elbows got rubbed bare.

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Garberville, sweet Garberville. Last Wednesday’s KMUD-sponsored chamber mixer was at the Veterans Hall, that staunch, unnameable-shade-of-green boxy outpost behind Sicilitos. There was a table full of bomb food at this event, a big chocolate torte, some pie, homemade goat cheese, honey, cookies. .. lots of deliciousness. And the wine station was chock-full of Briceland Vineyards wine. Did I already say “bomb”?

While I imbibed some rich, delicious Zinfandel, a few people got on the mic to talk biz — Cinnamon Paula from the G-Ville Chamber and Jack Frybulous from KMUD, other local movers and shakers too. Raffle prizes were awarded. Paul Simon tunes played off an iPod + speaker set-up. The local and homemade goodies got devoured. Wine was consumed. I had a good time, plus a couple of bizarre conversations. Gotta love Humboldt.

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On Thursday, I headed to downtown Sacramento for the CCIA mixer — a “Cannabis Banking Event,” complete with live music, political updates and a speaker from the California Bankers Association. The mixer was held at the RailBridge Cellar Penthouse on the 13th and 14th floors of the Elks Tower. Swank digs yo — bright lights, big city. What a contrast to the G-Ville scene.

I arrived at the mixer about halfway through, just in time to catch the tail end of banking compliance officer Brian Scrip’s keynote speech: “The challenge banks face in opening cannabis dispensaries: How dispensaries can prepare for their first banking relationship and how they can sustain that relationship.” Based on the volume of the applause, I’d say it was a good talk.

Thankfully, I spotted a friendly cannabis farmer amidst the applauding crowd. He directed me to the bong that was stationed on the outdoor veranda. So I took in the killer view of downtown Sac and the capitol building while I smoked some excellent cannabis. Then I went straight back down to the ground floor entrance for some space and air while I acclimated to the effects of the bongload.

Out at the street level, I had a great conversation with a homeless advocate named Immanuel. He was pounding the downtown pavement, trying to raise money for a very busy shelter. We talked life. We talked cannabis. Immanuel said he used to mule weed outta Humboldt back in the day. He’s seen some weed trees. Dude knows what’s up. Not exactly a valuable connection in the current canna-biz scene, but an alright guy nonetheless.

Back upstairs in the penthouse, it was all soft chandelier lighting and great big windows, wine barrel tables and leather seating, soft acoustic guitar music and catered food. There were lots of men, some sporting ponytails, most with collared shirts, some with full on suit-and-tie get ups. Yes, like most cannabis events, this networking bonanza was mostly men. But there was a smattering of beautiful women there too.

Humboldt marijuana fan Luke Brunner was my in for this mixer. He is an activist with California Cannabis Voice Humboldt (CCVH) and the general manager at Wonderland Nursery. Brunner was there with an Emerald Triangle posse: Allison Edrington from the Ganjier, Casey O’Neill from HappyDay Farms in Laytonville, Leo Stone from Aficionado Seeds out of Mendo and Jason Beaver, director of development for CCVH.

While my Emerald Triangle associates schmoozed it up with the best of ‘em, I managed a meager mingle with a few folks in the crowd. Here’s the standard opener: “What’s your association with the industry?” At one point, some fellow asked me this, and my response was, “Well, I love weed.” He burst out laughing, slapped me with a belt of it. He said, “That’s hilarious.” I wasn’t trying to be funny.

Herein lies my stoner dilemma: The bulk of my social cannabis experiences have been set in dorky, cliche stoner contexts where I could be goofy and silly. But more recently, I keep having these social cannabis experiences where it’s all about the networking. It’s this constant transitioning from one small circle of people to the next, and within each new circle, I have to explain who I am and why I’m important to know. Everyone’s gotta have a spiel in the canna-biz.

But that’s life, as the saying goes. It’s all about who you know. Mixers are for getting to know the right people, making lucrative and productive connections. Of course, cannabis deals and connections are still being made in the traditional fashion (i.e., by whatever means possible), but now deals and connections are coming together at canned events like this, cannabis industry penthouse networking mixers.

I did meet a number of very nice people in Sac at the CCIA mixer, although I didn’t meet anyone that’s ready to come up north to buy a couple hundred pounds anytime soon. Now that would be a valuable connection. Overall, it was fascinating and pretty fun.

* * *

The next day I had a little time to check out the state capitol building and grounds, and the smell of burnt sage was in the air because Friday was the 47th Annual California Native American Day: “Water is Sacred.” It was a celebration with lots of regalia, informational booths, music and performances. And of course, people were out there mixing, mingling, connecting.

From a modest veteran’s hall in Garberville to a swank penthouse in downtown Sac to the steps of California’s capitol building… It’s like life is just one big mixer. Do you have your spiel ready?

* * *


by Jeff Costello

If, as our Mighty Editor once said, I am the AVA's resident drug expert, it's due to personal experience but also to observation of human behavior. After a while, if you're paying attention, it becomes obvious who's on what, and when. The Editor is a relative innocent when it comes to drugs, as are most radical journalists and social/political activists who are actually active and get things accomplished. Radicals on drugs are mostly talk, and very little action.

Early-mid 80's, Kailua-Kona Hawaii. I'm sitting at the bar in a fairly nice restaurant on the south end of town. My friend Cass is bartending and giving me a good count on the booze. So there I am, alone on my side of the long U-shaped bar, having a few nice, quiet drinks when the Tough Guy comes in and sits on the stool to my immediate left. He's blond with very short hair and fits the basic beach guy/surfer profile so common by the ocean in the tropics. A pair of wire rim glasses and he'd have passed for gestapo. Before even ordering a drink, he turns to me and says, "I want to fuck or fight." This common tough-guy condition normally occurs during late hours in dingy drinking establishments, but here we are, early afternoon in sunny Kona.

Here we go...

My reply: "Well you won't be doing either of those with me." This confuses him a bit and he looks away. Cass, with her bartender's keen eye for trouble, comes over and says, "Everything all right here?" So far so good, but...

Tough Guy gathers himself and turns back to me. Holds up his right hand, a fist with the little finger sticking up. "There's more shit in this finger than in your entire body." "I have no doubt of that." Again he's thrown off the track, not quite knowing whether I was calling him full of shit.

He was having a textbook moment of cocaine induced ego-inflation and frustrated anger, and until the drug wore off he wasn't going to calm down. "I think I'll be going now," I said to Cass. "Thanks for the drinks and good luck." As I slowly negotiate the parking lot, in the mirror I see Tough Guy leave the bar and get into his black Jeep. Cass has eighty-sixed him. The vehicle begins to go back and forth in the parking space - forward, reverse, forward, reverse, engine revving up and straining. At this point I turn onto the road, on my way outta there.

Next day I get the report: Tough Guy revved the Jeep for the final assault, put it into gear and drove straight into the front wall of the restaurant, breaking the big picture window and putting the car's front end inside the place. Cops come, restaurant closes, a failed quest for instant gratification.

* * *


by James Kunstler

I played fiddle at a small-town, country dance last night with several other musicians and it was a merry enough time because that kind of self-made music has the power to fortify spirits. About half the dancers were over 40 and the rest were teenage girls. The absence of young men was conspicuous. Toward the end of the evening, it was just girls dancing with girls. A wonderful and fundamental tension was not present in the room.

The young men are out there somewhere in the country towns, but this society increasingly has no use or no place for them, except in the army. There is absolutely no public conversation about the near total devaluation of young men in the economic and social life of the USA, though there is near-hysterical triumphalism about the success of young women in every realm from sports to politics to business, and to go with that an equal amount of valorization for people who develop an ambiguous sexual identity.

There really is no local forum for public discussion in the flyover regions of the USA. The few remaining local newspapers are parodies of what newspapers once were, and the schools maintain a fog of sanctimony that penalizes thinking outside the bright-side box. Television and its step-child, the internet, offer only the worst temptations of hyper-sexual stimulation, artificial violence, and grandiose wealth-and-power fantasies. There aren’t even any taverns where people can gather for casual talk.

Many of the remaining jobs “out there” are jobs that can be done by anyone — certainly the office work, but also the jobs with near-zero meaning, minimal income, and no status in the national chain burger shacks and box stores — and young women are more reliably subject to control than young men jacked on testosterone, corn syrup, and Grand Theft Auto.

Of course, the idea that higher education can lift a population out of this vortex of anomie is a cruel joke, especially now with the college loan racket parasitizing that flickering wish to succeed, turning young people into debt donkeys. The shelf-life of that particular set of lies and swindles will hit its sell-by date soon in a massive debt repudiation — and the nation will come to marvel at the mendacious system it allowed itself to get sucked into. But this still only begs the question of what young men will do in such a deceitful system.

My guess is that they will shift their attention and activity from the mind-slavery of the current Potemkin economy to the very monster we find ourselves fighting overseas: a domestic ISIS-style explosion of wrath wrapped in an extreme ideology of one kind or another replete with savagery and vengeance-seeking. The most dangerous thing that any society can do is invalidate young men. When the explosion of youthful male wrath occurs in the USA, it will come along at exactly the same time as all the other benchmarks of order become unmoored — especially the ones in money and politics — which will shatter the faith of the non-young and the non-male, too. Also, just imagine for a moment the numbers of young men America has trained with military skills the past 20 years. Not all of them will be disabled with PTSD, or mollified with rinky-dink jobs at the Wal-Mart, or lost in the transports of heroin and methedrine.

The authorities will have no way to understand what is happening and we are certain to endure a long season of violence and social chaos as a result. The re-set from that will be an economy and a society that few now yammering in the HuffPo or the Tea Party will recognize. That society emerging from the ashes of the current matrix of rackets will desperately need young men to rebuild, and there will be plenty of opportunity for them — though it won’t feature fast cars, Kanye West downloads, or bottle service.

There are other ways for young men to find a useful and valued place in a society, but these are too far beyond the ken of our current meager narratives.

* * *

DAVID KELLER Bay Area Director of Friends of the Eel River featured in The Russian River: All Rivers - The Value of An American Watershed

"If we stay on this same trajectory, we will not have water in 150 years. We will not have clean water, we will not have cold water, we will not have ample water. We will have destroyed these resources and with that, frankly, goes the civilization." —David Keller

The non-profit documentary features David Keller and other voices on the subject of the protection of the Russian River watershed.

This film needs wider distribution and could really use your help! We'd love it if you forward this email to a friend or two that you think might be interested!

Please visit our IndieGoGo ( fundraising website. Thanks!

Here is where you can see this film...and with your help we hope to add more venues!

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2014 at 1:00 P.M. The Clover Theater ( Cloverdale, CA 95425

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. Raven Film Center ( Healdsburg, CA 95448

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2014 6:30pm West Coast Salmon Summit ( The Mill Casino and Hotel - Hwy 101 on Coos Bay North Bend, Oregon

MONDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2014 at 7 p.m. Rialto Cinemas ( Sebastopol, CA 95472 Thank you! If you have questions please write us at

Many thanks from all of us, Producers at The Russian River: All Rivers LLC

THE RUSSIAN RIVER: ALL RIVERS – THE VALUE OF AN AMERICAN WATERSHED is a fiscally sponsored project of the International Documentary Association (IDA), 501©(3) nonprofit arts organization. Contributions in behalf of THE RUSSIAN RIVER: ALL RIVERS – THE VALUE OF AN AMERICAN WATERSHED are payable to IDA and are tax deductible as allowed by law. Forward to a Friend! ( Check out the film's IndieGoGo campaign! Help fund the distribution! Like this project on Facebook and share with your friends! Tweet about this IndieGoGo campaign!

Our mailing address is: The Russian River: All Rivers LLC P.O. Box 427 Windsor, CA 95492

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, September 29, 2014

Clark, Collins, Counterman, Didier, Guilherme
Clark, Collins, Counterman, Didier, Guilherme

KELLY CLARK, Willits. Felony vandalism.

ANTONIO COLLINS, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public.

BRET COUNTERMAN, Mendocino. Petty theft (multiple counts), burglary from vehicle (2x) receipt of stolen property, unlawful display of evidence of registration, failure to appear.

OMAR DIDIER, Laytonville. DUI, illegal entry.

CARL GUILHERME, Corona, CA. Possession of meth.

Huber, Lopez, Moddrelle, Scaife, Verville
Huber, Lopez, Moddrelle, Scaife, Verville

CODY HUBER, Portland/Ukiah. Burglary (2x), possession of drug smoking/injecting device.

PHILLIP LOPEZ, Ukiah. Probation violation.

STACEY MODDRELLE, Ukiah. Alms solicitation. (Frequent flyer.)

JACOB SCAIFE, Clearlake. Parole violation.

ROBERT VERVILLE, Willits. Under influence of controlled substance, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

* * *


* * *


A drive-up seasonal flu clinic will be offered on Saturday, October 4, 2014, 8:30am-11:30pm at the Mendocino County HHSA public health services office, 1120 South Dora Street, Ukiah. Seasonal flu vaccine at this clinic is available for anyone 19 years and older. It is especially recommended for people with chronic illnesses such as: heart disease, lung disease, chronic liver disease, asthma, long-term aspirin therapy, kidney disease, diabetes, anemia, immune compromised. Although we will not be vaccinating children at this clinic, it is encouraged for persons of six months and older to get vaccinated for the flu as soon as possible to help protect against the seasonal flu. Please contact your pediatrician, physician or community health services for an appointment to get children's flu vaccine. Suggested donation is $15. Questions: 707/472-2600.

* * *


Air Quality Management District – Hearing Board (six members, two public and an alternate, an attorney, an engineer, a physician.

In Home Support Services Advisory Council —Current or Former IHSS Recipient—

Little River Airport Advisory Committee —Pilot—

Mendocino County Business Improvement District Advisory Board (2) —Lodging Association Representative— —Coastal Region Representative—

Mendocino Historical Review Board (2 members)

Mental Health Board —2nd District Consumer Family—

Workforce Investment Board —Member #12/Business B-12—

If you are interested in serving on this Board or Commission, contact your District Supervisor, or the Executive Office, at 501 Low Gap Road, Room 1010, Ukiah, CA 95482 (707) 463-4441. Last Date For Filing: October 2, 2014, or until filled.


  1. Harvey Reading September 30, 2014

    Religious beliefs should have no bearing whatever on guvamint decision making. Those who serve the public must leave their religious beliefs behind when conducting public business. We have enough hokum involved with guvamint activities without the hokum of religion thrown into the mix.

  2. james marmon September 30, 2014

    Of course Mr. Hamburg believes the privatization of mental health is going well, Ortner is taking care of his son and saving him a boat load of money.

    Furthermore, it doesn’t take much to gage Ortner’s success compared to pre-privatization. Prior to the contract, the County spent several years dismantling mental health services in anticipation of the privatization. Anything is better than nothing I guess.

  3. Larry Livermore September 30, 2014

    There is a world of difference between “canceled” and “postponed.” Unless I read wrong, Homecoming is still happening, just a few weeks later, so it wasn’t canceled at all. In principle, yes, schools should operate on a thoroughly secular basis, but I think it’s safe to say that a major school activity of this sort would never be scheduled for Christmas Eve or Easter, so why shouldn’t the same consideration be shown for Yom Kippur? It’s not a question of subscribing to any particular religion or belief system, it’s one of basic consideration for the students and families who do.

  4. Jim Updegraff September 30, 2014

    In regard to the homecoming issue I would suggest any parent,student and any citizen concerned about the separation of church ans state write to the Freedom from Religion Foundation. Every month they get numerous cases like this one and they almost always win. Or you may want to contact the local chapter of the ACLU – this type of action is always of concern. Or perhaps you might want to contact both organizations.

  5. Larry Livermore October 2, 2014

    I’m as much in favor of freedom from religion as anyone, but I don’t see the point of gratuitously insulting or making things difficult for people who do hold a certain faith by scheduling events that are allegedly for the entire community to conflict with their religious observances. Especially when there are so many other days and weekends when this would not be an issue at all.

    Case in point: imagine the uproar among local hippies and ganja worshipers if an important school function were scheduled during one of THEIR high holy days, e.g., Reggae on the River.

    • Mark Scaramella October 2, 2014

      I think I can safely say that in the particular example you’ve given here that “local hippies and ganja worshippers” wouldn’t even know that there was a school nearby, much less “an important school function.”

      • Larry Livermore October 2, 2014

        Point well taken, Mark!

        All right, let’s suppose the Boonville Pot Fanciers Society scheduled their annual bud judging competition on the same weekend as the Humboldt Hemp Fest. Don’t you think there’d be a fair bit of grousing?

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