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Mendocino County Today: Friday, Mar 6, 2015

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THERE WILL BE A RALLY TOMORROW, FRIDAY 6pm, against the Hospitality House's Old Coast Hotel Project AT the Old Coast Hotel, corner of Franklin and Oak. Organizers "hope for support from those opposing the Hare Creek Mall, the Highway 20 Waste Transfer Station, and general malfeasance by the mayor of Fort Bragg and his cronies."

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by Justine Frederiksen

On cold spring nights in Anderson Valley, farmers with grapevines near the Navarro River have a tried-and-true method for knowing when the frost is headed their way, “They have a phone tree,” said Joe Webb, the owner of Foursight Wines and president of the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association, explaining that since the cold air “follows the flow of the river,” once the frost reaches the first grower, he calls the next guy to let him know it’s coming.

In a typical year, those phone calls don’t start until mid-March, because frost isn’t a concern until a vine’s delicate green shoots have appeared, what growers call “budbreak.” This year’s warm, dry winter, however, had many grape growers seeing budbreak earlier than ever.

“Some had buds breaking on Feb. 16,” said Arnaud Weyrich, winemaker for Roederer Estate, adding that white varietals like Chardonnay, growing on higher elevations with southern exposure, saw buds the earliest.

“It’s like being told in October that Christmas is coming in November this year,” Weyrich continued, explaining that farmers were celebrating after the heavy rains fell in early February because they filled up their storage ponds and made many feel this year would be quite a positive change from last year, when the drought left many vineyard tenders without any water for frost protection.

“The mood was better, because we had a fair amount of water early in the season,” said Weyrich. “But last week, we already had three frost nights in a row, so that water could disappear fast.”

The night between Feb. 23 and Feb. 24, Weyrich described as “the worst,” because the freezing temperatures hung around from 10 p.m. until 9 a.m., “which is a pretty long, nerve-wracking night.”

Though water is the “safest way to protect your crop against frost,” Weyrich said at the Roederer Estate, which has 660 acres of grapes, not all of the vineyards have sprinklers set up. So on the night of Feb. 23, they did use “one wind machine for a couple of hours.”

Noise Complaints

Many growers turned to wind machines last year for frost protection because of the drought.

“Some people purchased new, fixed machines, and some only rented them,” Weyrich said, estimating that there were 80 machines in use in the Anderson Valley last year. With more water available this year, Weyrich estimated there will be about 30 percent fewer of them in use this spring.

“We had 15 machines last year, and this year we only have four,” he said, adding that grape growers are being much more careful about their use of what are essentially huge fans because some of their neighbors complained about the noise, and one Boonville resident, Mark Scaramella, has filed a lawsuit.

“I just want some sleep, and I want the county to promise to enforce their laws,” Scaramella said, describing the noise the fans make as like “a helicopter landing” and well above the 40-decibel limit he said Mendocino County’s noise ordinance allows at night.

Agricultural Commissioner Chuck Morse said when the lawsuit was filed earlier this year that for the use of the fans, the county’s noise ordinance does not trump the county’s Right to Farm law.

“The use of fans for frost protection is an accepted, ongoing practice, which exempts it from the noise ordinance,” Morse said.

“I’m not (using wind machines) because I’m trying to be a bad neighbor,” said Weyrich. “I’m trying to protect my business, which is to grow a healthy vineyard and make good wine. As a group, we’ve been under pressure to make less noise, and we’re trying to shift away from using the fans.”

“There was a lot less rental fans brought in this year for that exact reason,” said Webb, whose Foursight Wines was one of the three vineyard neighbors Scaramella named in his lawsuit, along with Penny Royal Farm and V.Sattui. “We’re also trying to be much more communicative.”

Webb said the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association created a set of Best Management Practices last year that includes how and when to use the fans, and also set up a “noise hotline” that allows people losing sleep to call and report their location.

“Within 24 hours, they are put in touch with the owner of the fan,” said Webb, adding that he “talked to all of our neighbors and offered them fans, wine and earplugs,” and that his family uses “a 12-inch fan to muffle any noise we hear.”

Another improvement this year, Webb said, is that several more weather stations were added to the valley, one on his property, and “we’ve really tried to get some better weather forecasting,” explaining that the growers have hired Alan Fox at Fox Weather to provide “two forecasts a day that can be pinpointed to your own property.”

People who are not growing grapes, but want to know when the fans might come on, can sign up for the frost notification system at, and get the same texts or e-mails that vineyard managers receive, Webb said.

Though a typical year has about 10 frost events, and so far Anderson Valley has already had three, Weyrich said he is feeling much better about the water situation this year than last. Not only will there hopefully be enough water for frost protection, he said there will likely be some for irrigation as well, a supply that was unheard of last year.

“If you’re a farmer, you have to be optimistic,” he said. “Because if you’re not optimistic, you can’t be a farmer.”

(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)

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WE ENJOYED A PLEASANT INTERVIEW THURSDAY afternoon with KZYX’s new newsperson, Valerie Kim, who in her other life farms Burt Cohen’s property on Lambert Lane, maybe a half-mile from our office high atop the Farrer Building. Ms. Kim wanted to know about our Vineyard Fan lawsuit. Anderson Valley's senior wine industry critic Dave Severn happened to be in the office at the time and joined the conversation. Credit to Ms. Kim for stepping up to the plate on this local controversy. (Glenda Anderson of the Press Democrat is not permitted to write about any public matter involving the Boonville newspaper.)

MS. KIM said she’d heard from a few locals that if we didn’t have vineyards we’d have housing development and what did we think about that. We responded that our lawsuit had nothing to do with issues beyond the terrible upset that vineyard frost fans cause me and several hundred other residents of the Anderson Valley. (Vine versus suburbs is a false flag issue; Anderson Valley does not have the infrastructure, water or sewer system for mass housing, and County zoning would have to be completely re-done to permit the smaller parcels development would require.)

WE'RE NOT SAYING that the industry has to pull out all their fans. We’re just saying that if the fans are too loud, the County has to do something about it, not just dismiss complaints as “accepted farming practice.” We also pointed out that back in the 90s when timber companies allowed scattered helicopter logging there were outraged neighbors who regularly filed formal complaints about the noise — and chopper logging occurred during daylight hours, not midnight to 8am

BUT HERE we have the equivalent of hundreds of helicopters operating at night for hours & hours, day after day and we are only aware of three complaints (one of them our own) being filed.

WE ALSO HAVE a problem that County officials could easily deal with if they cared to. We’ve have “ad hoc” committees over the years on trash, on marijuana policy, on grading ordinances, on housing plans, etc. But wind fans? Nada. There are plenty of ameliorating noise reduction alternatives to consider: slower speeds, newer technology, different locations, water usage, sound proofing and sound barriers, permits, and so forth. Vineyard noise abatement should be manageable.

BUT WHAT DO we get from Official Mendocino County? One email from County Counsel Doug Losak saying he had no response to our request to discuss the problem, plus Losak and the three vineyard owners in our Boonville case refusing to even accept mail service of the notice of the lawsuit, requiring us to hire people to find them and serve papers on them — an obvious stalling tactic to avoid dealing with the issue until after this year’s frost season is over.

THAT, plus Ag Commissioner Morse’s dismissive general statement that noisy vineyard fans that clearly disturb the sleep of neighbors are an “accepted practice,” which they aren't. Almost all of the some 80 fans in Anderson Valley were installed only last year.

MS. KIM SAID she planned to try to get statements from the County or the vineyards — which will be interesting, of course. We expect the County to continue stonewalling with statements like, “We can’t comment because it’s under litigation,” the standard boilerplate gutlessness we've come to expect from the local "leadership."

LOCAL GOVERNMENT should be willing to at least talk about the problem in general terms, as they did last June 3 when Supervisor Hamburg said: “We have wind machines operating all the way from the 128-253 intersection all the way to the town of Navarro along Highway 128. … My concern is that we address this somehow between now and when we are going to have a lot of frost again, which will likely be in the fall.” (Hamburg meant the spring of 2015, but who’s counting?) … There are people who are having their sleep disturbed and they are very concerned. I'm in favor of agriculture. I'm in favor of vineyards. I know how much tax revenue they bring into the county. It's not a matter of trying to put anybody out of business or trying to make it hard for people to operate. I do know though that there are farming operations in Anderson Valley that get along with a lot less of these wind machines than others. And I don't know what all the reasons are. I know there are some ways that you can prune and some ways you can protect your crop that necessitate less, less of these wind turbines. I'm not saying that they are not necessary. I know they are. But I think there are better and worse technologies connected to the wind machines in terms of the thermostats, in terms of the way the actual turbines function. This year I think we kind of got caught by surprise. I don't think anybody anticipated how bad this drought would be and how much that would necessitate the use of wind machines. … I don't think it's going away. I think we are likely to see the same kind of problems next year. So I am trying to work with both Chuck’s [Morse] office and the Planning and Building department and of course the people in Anderson Valley to try to make some progress on this issue before we get into the frost season again.”

Ag Commissioner Chuck Morse: “… I am going to continue to try to bring the growers and the community together in the next — we have about 10 months before this is going to cycle through again. … So I am looking at 9-10 months to try to figure out what we can do to help the folks out there.” Hamburg: “…Obviously there are still some very dissatisfied people over there. We need to address as many concerns as we can between now and the next frost season. And I think we can do that.” Morse: “You are absolutely right that the owners and operators of the vineyards out there are very aware of the situation and what is happening. We are just going to try our best to see if we can work on that.”

“MAKE SOME PROGRESS” … “TRYING OUR BEST”? Morse, Hamburg et al have done exactly nothing, and vineyard owners clearly understand that they're dealing with a bunch of pushovers in local government.

HERE IS what County Counsel Doug Losak wrote our attorney Rod Jones in late January in response to our first letter last December describing the problem and asking that we try to deal with it without going to court: “I am writing in response to your request for a copy of a letter that Mr. Morse had said I sent you in response to a letter you had sent to Mr. Morse and myself. No such response was sent. Mr. Morse had thought that I had responded to your letter when he made the statement that I had. However, I had not. I hope this clears up this issue. — Doug”

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THE EDITOR of Boonville's beloved community newspaper hits the road early on Wednesdays to get the week's print run check to Healdsburg Printing. No press money, no print run. It was a little before 6am when the editor approached the Cloverdale end of the Cloverdale-Boonville Road where a small army of cops was milling around a van that looked like it had lost its left front tire. Whenever a large number of cops and flashing blue and red lights assemble after dark something bad has happened, especially if it's after midnight when America is at its wildest and most bad things kick off.

AS THIS PARTICULAR awfulness turned out, Lars Dunaway, 25 and Kristen Sandidge, 23, both of Sutherlin, Oregon and apparently tweeked to the max, had stolen their three-month old son from the boy's paternal grandparents and headed south. They seemed to have driven down the Mendocino Coast and through Boonville, making the last leg of their flight with the tire on their van ground down to the rim. The grandparents had custody of the child because, as we all know these days, millions of grandparents everywhere in our crumbling land are raising the children of their feckless offspring.

MOM was wandering around in the freezing pre-dawn in shorts when she suddenly grabbed the baby and made a run for it. The cops had no trouble corralling her and rescuing the infant. The baby was reunited with his grandparents the same evening, his parents arrested. They're still young, and maybe they can rescue themselves from the white powder, but the prognosis here doesn't look good.

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Dear Editor:

There is an article in the March issue of The Atlantic magazine by Graeme Wood - What ISIS Really Wants and How to Stop It" that should be required reading for those persons trying to understand the actions of ISIS. The article is 14 pages in length and I will summarize its major points. Wood begins his article with this statement "The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse." He then discusses what that means for its strategy - and for how to stop it. He notes that its decisions adhere to what it calls 'The Prophetic Methodology'.

The Islamic State awaits the army of 'Rome" whose defeat on the plains at Dabiq, Syria, will initiate the countdown to the apocalypse. At the final battle Jesus will return and lead the Muslims to victory. ISIS is following the practice of the Ottoman Empire in allowing Christians to live in the Caliphate if they pay a special tax known as the Jizya and acknowledged their subjugatiion.

In his discussion of how to stop ISIS among other recommendations Wood says "Our failure to appreciate the essential differences between ISIS has led to Dangerous Decisions". He further says "A theological alternative to the Islamic State exists - just as uncompromising, but with opposite conclusions."

In peace,

Jim Updegraff, Sacramento

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Enjoy a delicious meal and support a local school program on Wednesday, March 18 from 5-8 pm. All proceeds from your dinner and bar tab will be generously donated by the MacCallum House in Mendocino to Caspar Creek Learning Community. For reservations please call 707-937-0289 or visit

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Not at sunrise, but at 8 AM

There will be a Community Christian Easter Church Service and all are invited

Time: 8 AM Date: Easter morning, 4-5-2015

Place: In front of the Boonville Methodist Church, 13850 Highway 128, Boonville. Valley Bible Fellowship is hosting this for the entire Valley.

Come join us for a time of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

There will be hymns, prayer, fellowship, refreshments, and reading of the Bible (the resurrection account). No admission and no offering will be taken.

For information call Pastor Dave Kooyers at (707) 895-2325

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(1944 - 2015)

JoeMouraJoe P. Moura of Fort Bragg died on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, at Mendocino Coast District Hospital of prostate cancer. Born on Oct. 25, 1944, in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Azores, Portugal to Antonio and Maria Moura, he was 70.

Joe grew up in Santa Maria before moving to California. He graduated from Fort Bragg High School with the class of 1965. He worked as a general contractor since 1967 and was the owner of Joe P. Moura Construction Company.

Joe sponsored youth baseball teams and hosted the annual PAL fishing clinic for kids at his pond. He also raised sheep and cattle. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus for 43 years, the Holy Ghost Society and was a lifetime member of the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens.

His was proud of having spent 50 years building relationships with clients and building homes, hotels and restaurants and remodels on the North Coast and beyond.

He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Angelina Moura; children, Monica Moura, Jaclyn Moura and Kyra Moura. Also surviving are his siblings, Tony Moura of Fort Bragg and Manny Moura of La Canada, California; plus the employees and families of the Joe P. Moura Construction Company who we love very much for helping us through this moment in time. He was predeceased by his mother, Maria P. Moura, and sister, Maria M. Ramirez.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 7, 2015, at 1 p.m. at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church. Following the service, a camera will be set up in the reception hall for friends and family to share stories of Joe Moura's history so we can preserve them for generations to come.

Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider the Fort Bragg Food Bank or the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. Please give back to your community in Joe Moura's honor.

The family would like to thank the doctors and hospital staff of Mendocino Coast District Hospital and the local community for all of their support and love during this time and always for our family.

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I despair for the world. I used to believe in the overall benevolence of most governments in the West. That trust is now shattered. Madness and greed seem to reign everywhere. No one cares about the welfare or wishes of the common man. Nations have to be dismantled to make way for one ideology or another, whether it is the primacy of the market, corporations and unregulated financial flows on one side, or venerating at the altar of multiculturalism and diversity of all stripes, racial, religious or sexual on the other.

The United States, which used to be part of the solution to the world problems, is now a huge part of the madness spreading into much of the world. Almost twelve years ago, after what we now know is a barrage of propaganda, it invaded Iraq, a country that was no threat to them, in the name of democracy and freedom, causing hundred of thousands of deaths and plunging a country into a bloody chaos from which it has never recovered. They hanged people at Nuremberg for less than that. You would think that there would be debate about the american intervention and its legacy. But there is zero place in american politics or intellectual discussions for remorse or contrition over this foreign catastrophy. Instead, we get blockbusters about a sniper with a heart of gold and anger at anyone having reservations about reducing the Iraq war to heartland heroes fighting the darkest of evil one bullet at a time. The western world moved on to Libya, where another less than perfect head of state was ritually demonized, before being humanitarian-bombed for democracy. The results were the same: another country collapsing into chaos and non-statehood, the most bloodthirsty groups freed from restraint, refugees by the thousands, dead Americans, armed lunatics spreading into neighbouring countries. You’d think this would be enough of a lesson in the folly of social engineering in distant lands through humanitarian missiles? Of course not. The West decided next to arm the opposition in Syria. Well Russia banged its fist on the table and so Assad is still in place, but we can see some of the opposition that the west and its allies financed and armed, beheading, religiously clearing, and the usual side effects of western intervention: social collapse, fanaticism, refugees and dead. Again you would think that this time people will wake up from their torpor but no. As if it did not have enough geopolitical balls in the air at the moment, governments and media are whipping themselves into a frenzy over the next next Hitler, I mean Saddam Hussein, I mean Gaddafi, I mean el-Assad, I mean Putin. Ukraine is stumbling from bad to worse, month after month, following idiotic policies that so far have turned the country into a complete basket case, thousands of dead and a million refugees from a civil war. Meanwhile the West is cheering on and encouraging this, this train wreck. Has everyone gone stark, raving mad?

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ON TUESDAY March 3, 2015 Deputies from the County of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team assisted by agents from the Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force and Patrol Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office served a search warrant on a residence and property in the 4700 block of Bear Canyon Road in Willits. Located on the property was an indoor marijuana growing operation that had approximately 489 marijuana plants. Further located during the search was approximately 110 pounds of processed marijuana which was packaged for sale, a scale, approximately $3,000 in US currency and other items associated with the possession of marijuana for sale and cultivation of marijuana. Located and arrested at the location were Jacob Kiesel, 34, and John Rardon, 35, both of Willits resulting in both being booked into the Mendocino County jail for possession of marijuana for sale, and Cultivation of marijuana where they subsequently were released on $25,000 bail.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, March 5, 2015

Anaya, Apple, Barriga-Barrera, Belden
Anaya, Apple, Barriga-Barrera, Belden

JERRY ANAYA, Navarro. Possession of dangerous fireworks, probation revocation.

FAITH APPLE, Ukiah. Bad checks, possession of controlled substance and drug paraphernalia, under influence of controlled substance, offenses while on bail.

JOSE BARRIGA-BARRERA, Ukiah. DUI with priors, domestic assault, evasion. (Frequent flyer.)

JAMES BELDEN III, Ukiah. Possession and under influence of controlled substance, driving on suspended license, use of ID of someone else, probation revocation.

Blackwell, Cabrera, Harbour, Heidinger
Blackwell, Cabrera, Harbour, Heidinger

ERIN BLACKWELL, Ukiah. Drunk in public, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

FRANCISCO CABRERA, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Possession/Under influence of controlled substance.

CLINT HARBOUR, Fort Bragg. Robbery.

SCOTT HEIDINGER, Hopland. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)

Jackson, Meagher, Miller, Sklavos
Jackson, Meagher, Miller, Sklavos

KAISHA JACKSON, Redwood Valley. Under influence of controlled substance, probation revocation.

KATHRYN MEAGHER, Little River. Receiving stolen property.

IVORY MILLER, Redwood Valley. Probation revocation.

DAVID SKLAVOS, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Probation revocation.

Trujillo, Vasquez, Wake, Wood
Trujillo, Vasquez, Wake, Wood

FEDERICO TRUJILLO, Clearlake Oaks. Attempt to commit (unspecified) crimes, parole violation.

ANGEL VASQUEZ, Hopland. Possession of meth, false ID, contempt of court.

COREY WAKE, Kelseyville/Ukiah. Parole violation.

TROY WOOD, Willits. Pot cultivation/sale, violation of county parole.

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MONEY…BUYS PRIVACY, SILENCE. The less money you have, the noisier it is; the thinner your walls, the closer your neighbors. […] The first thing you notice when you step into the house or apartment of a rich person is how quiet it is.

— Fran Lebowitz

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SUPERVISOR DAN HAMBURG writes on MCN: "Thanks to Annie Liner and a few other Mendocino folks, we have secured St. Anthony's Hall (Lansing Street) for a meeting from 2-3:30 on March 12. Mike Sweeney, manager of the Mendocino Solid Waste Authority, will attend."

MIKE AND DAN will give us 90 minutes of their generously compensated public time in the middle of a work day when few of the several thousand people affected can attend on the off chance they know of the meeting. The few people who show up get to listen to Mike's monologue on why the Mendocino Coast needs a $5 million trash transfer station. Supervisor Hamburg, cuddling his therapy chihuahua, will look earnestly out at the half dozen people in the audience and say, "Mike's right. We really need this thing."

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THE TERRIBLE STATE OF PUBLIC EDUCATION has paid huge dividends in ignorance. Huge. We now have a country that can be told blatant lies -- easily checkable, blatant lies -- and I'm not talking about the covert workings of the CIA. When we have a terrorist attack, on September 11th, 2001, with nineteen men -- fifteen of them are Saudis -- and five minutes later the whole country thinks they're from Iraq? How can you have faith in the public? This is an *easily checkable* fact. The whole country is like the O.J. Simpson jurors.

— Fran Lebowitz, 2005; from a Ruminator Magazine interview

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I THINK the over-hyped Manhattan wit is partly wrong here. Intellectuals always think everyone else is stupid. Yes, most of us are imperfectly educated, but lots of people knew immediately that most of the hijackers were Saudis, and informed Americans can make the basic distinctions among the Arab countries. And even more millions knew in their bones that the Bush Administration was lying about Iraqi involvement. Come on, even here in Boonville we were looking at each other with raised eyebrows when Colin Powell made his weapons of mass destruction speech to the UN. The Huns are raping nuns in Belgium. The North Vietnamese attacked US in the Gulf of Tonkin. Powell's muderous whopper was that transparent. (And right here in the San Francisco Bay Area that criminal Condoleezza Rice gets a standing o whenever she appears in public.) The OJ jury made the correct decision based on the case they saw and heard presented in court. They didn't have the benefit of the deluge of info the rest of us had. Americans aren't any dumber or smarter than any other people. Our prob is that at this time we are powerless to do anything about anything, and the reasons for that aren't simple. For one, we don't have a left, and the few dissident intellectuals of real power that we do have are cordoned off. Americans, for the most part, don't get the opportunities to hear coherent narratives about what and why has happened to US.

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Livin' on free food, tickets

Water in the milk from the hole in the roof

Where the rain came through

What can you do? hmm


Tears from little sister cryin'

'Cause she doesn't have a dress without a patch

For the party to go

Oh, but you know she'll get by.


She is livin' in the love of the common people

Smiles from the heart of the family man

Daddy's gonna buy her a dream to cling to

Mama's gonna love her just as much as she can, she can.


It's a good thing you don't have the bus fare

It would fall through the hole in your pocket

And you'd lose it in the snow on the ground

A walking to town to find a job.


Trying to keep your hands warm

But the hole in your shoe let the snow come through

And it chills to the bone, boy

You'd better go home where it's warm.


Where you can live in the love of the common people

Smiles from the heart of the family man

Daddy's gonna buy her a dream to cling to

Mama's gonna love her just as much as she can, she can.


Livin' on dreams ain't easy

But the closer the knit the tighter the fit

And the chills stay away

You take 'em in stride family pride.


You know that faith is your foundation

And with a whole lotta love and a warm conversation

And plenty of prayer

Making you strong where you belong.


Where you can live in the love of the common people

Smiles from the heart of the family man

Daddy's gonna buy her a dream to cling to

Mama's gonna love her just as much as she can, she can.

— Waylon Jennings

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Rolling Stones, Under My Thumb, Altamont Speedway, December 6, 1969

by Debra Keipp

Viv used to live where much of Hayward State Campus is now. She had a horse on the property when her house was demolished to make way for more campus. She found a place nearby where she presently lives; the horse didn't have to move. He's a blanketed Appaloosa named Paloose, and he deserves mention because he just celebrated his 38th birthday about six months ago. Viv's had him since he was a colt. Paloose's birthday has become a big block party in that section of Hayward. Folks show up to pet the neighborhood landmark and feed him bananas. Every year folks depart with the farewell, “We'll see you next year!” To which Viv answers, “I guess it's all up to Paloose.”

Just before Viv moved deeper into Hayward, we spent a lot of time at her old house to say good-bye to it. She'd lived there through a few generations of comfy. It was pleasant on the edge of Hayward in that semi-wilderness with mammoth bay nearby and eucalyptus trees on a long, flat trail below her house. During the time Viv prepared to move, she went through closets and cabinets, purging that which she didn't want to move, bagging it up for Goodwill donations.

Altamont Viv PosterOne of her pieces of memorabilia hung on the wall of her den. It was a keeper, a black and white poster photo of her short self erotically arrayed in loose bib denim overalls with no undershirt. Viv is Puerto Rican Hawaiian and has had long black hair most of her life. As a child, Viv's Hawaiian mother always placed a flower over one of Viv's ears. In her adult years, Viv kept the flower. In the poster of herself. She's looking over her shoulder as she grips the stage with both hands. I suppose you could say she had been “deflowered” in the photo because her flower didn't survive the day. That flower wasn't the only casualty.

Viv is artfully back-lit in the photo by dimmed stage lights. The photographer is snapping away at a commotion that has drawn Viv's attention. A Hell's Angel is kicking the crap out of some poor music lover near the stage, just inches from Viv. The print on the poster says, “Remember Altamont”.

I first saw the poster in her home in the late '80's. Viv had had to explain it to me.

There are a number of “Remember Altamont” posters on the market. The term, “Remember Altamont” describes a long day of violence, including a murder, at the Altamont Speedway Free Concert. It was December 6, 1969 — the Rolling Stones' chilly evening concert. Three additional accidental deaths occurred as well. Two concert campers were accidentally driven over by a car as they lay in their sleeping bags, and another passed out drunk into a drainage ditch and drowned. All three were termed accidental. Four deaths out of 300,000 and a few births. The Stones' next album would be called “Let It Bleed."

I have been looking on the internet for a copy of Viv's “Remember Altamont” poster but can't find one. I text'd her this week and asked her where I might be able to find a copy of the poster. She said it was in Scanlan's Magazine.

Scanlan's Magazine was an exercise in “political muckracking” created by Warren Hinckle and Sidney Zion who'd named their venture after a pig farmer. Scanlan's lasted from March 1970 to January 1971. Prior to that, Hinckle ran Ramparts. Scanlan's was investigated by the FBI and the IRS on Nixon's orders, which ultimately led to its demise after only eight issues.

Scanlon's view wasn't un-American, but it was anti-government and anti-advertising. They published a guide to smuggling pot from Mexico; an article about guerrilla warfare in the U.S.; and investigated rat droppings found in some of the finest of New York's eateries.

Issue number six featured an R. Crumb cover and some near-pornographic cartoons by S. Clay Wilson for an article on marijuana harvesting in Kansas. The second issue of April 1970 enclosed a flexible 45 rpm record on page three. Circulation hit 150K by the eighth issue - and the mag's demise — so chances of finding a fresh copy 45 years later are... nil. But I see folks selling all eight issues in several places on the Internet ranging from $875 - $1400 for all eight. And a few lone straggler copies here and there sell for just under a hundred each on E-Bay.

Scanlan's is best-remembered for articles considered to be the first instance of “gonzo journalism.” Hunter S. Thompson's articles from this period are collected in “The Great Shark Hunt." Thompson did “The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved," for which the great Ralph Steadman sketched the illustrations with eyebrow pencil and lip stick, making the the famous event's scenes even more drunkenly decadent and depraved-looking.

Other articles included, “San Francisco's Film Bastards” and, “What Happened to Castro?”

Over 50 printers in the U.S. refused to print the January 1971 special (what became the suppressed) issue, “Guerilla War in the USA”, because it appeared to be promoting domestic terrorism. It was finally printed in Quebec on cheaper paper than the other seven issues before the mag went kaput altogether.

In cruising Scanlon's on the internet, I still haven't found which issue has the photo of my friend Viv in it. I assume it was one of the first Spring issues, or perhaps the December Altamont anniversary issue of 1970. I'm thinking she had it blown up to poster-size from magazine page size; or maybe it was included as a centerfold of one of the issues of Scanlon's.

Conceived in error and organized in haste, as one author wrote, the Altamont Speedway Free Festival was a counterculture-era rock concert held on Saturday, December 6, 1969, at the Altamont Speedway outside of Tracy. Attended by an estimated 300,000, it turned out to be a mess. The bands were mostly locals: Santana, Jefferson Airplane, Flying Burrito Brothers, and Crosby Stills, Nash and Young. The Rolling Stones were the only imports. The Grateful Dead were scheduled to perform too, but even though they were one of the local organizers of the event, they declined to perform due to the violence that occurred during the Stones show. The Dead left the site before the end of the Stones' performance.

Alfred and David Maysles shot footage of the event and produced the docu-drama “Gimme Shelter” in 1970. (Unaware the festival would end in such deadly drama, the Maysle Brothers assumed it would be a much “lighter” film.)

According to a guy named Chip Monck, stage manager of the Stones' '69 tour, and on whom Bill Graham blamed the ill-fated event, one of the main problems with the Altamont Speedway Free Festival venue was that the stage was situated at the bottom of a slope. Several other venues were preferred, but the Bears were playing the Niners at Kezar Stadium, and Sears Point, which had the stage at the top of the hill, wasn't available either. With the stage at the bottom of the hill at Altamont, there was more pressure on the performers from massed bodies pushing downhill. With the crowd loaded on the full gamut of intoxicants, everything from booze to heroin, a bottom-of-the-hill stage was a major blunder. Several times Mick Jagger begged the aggressive crowd to back off the stage.

In the Maysles footage you can see the mob flowing in to the stage like an incoming tide. But the Hell's Angels were scarier than the crowd.

Eventually, Sonny Barger of the Hell's Angels was asked to surround the stage with Hell's Angels to keep folks off the stage. It was at that point things got rough. The Hell's Angels were working for beers, letting the cute women lean on the stage and beating up on the men who got too close. A few of the Angels became extremely agro with the men in the crowd. Fight broke out all around the stage and 18 year-old Meredith Hunter, a black kid, was stabbed to death by an Angel.

After Marty Balin of Jefferson Airplane was knocked unconscious during his band's set in the late afternoon, as was caught on tape by the Maysles in “Gimme Shelter”, the Grateful Dead decided to leave.

Meredith Hunter, the boy knifed to death by one of the bikers, was a well-dressed black man with a well-coiffed Afro, mint green suit and dark green ruffled shirt. He made the mistake of leaning on one of the Hell's Angel's bikes, tipping it over, and was smacked up side the head by one of the Hell's Angels, who told him to leave the area where the bikes were and drove him away, into the crowd. This enraged Hunter. He came back after making his way to the stage where his girlfriend, Patty Bredahoft, was watching the Stones. She tried to calm him, but after a day of partying and methamphetamine, Hunter was so high he was beyond reason.

There was a bit of pushing and pulling between him and his pleading girlfriend. You can see his long arms windmill as he breaks away from Bredahoft and suddenly produces a gun. Some accounts say his weapon was a .38, and others say it was a .22.

Whatever its caliber, Hunter drew a long-barreled revolver and unsteady on his feet, began trying to point it toward the stage when he was deflected by a Hell's Angel named Alan Passaro. Seeing the gun, Passaro drew his knife from his belt and charged Hunter, parrying Meredith's left arm, his gun arm. Passaro, with his right hand, stabbed Hunter under the arm and in the back. The film footage only shows what looks like two knife strikes by Passaro, but all movement was so frenetic that the autopsy actually showed five stab wounds, which led investigators to believe more than one Hell's Angel had stabbed Hunter but out of sight of the several cameras rolling that day. Immediately, Passaro disappeared into the crowd. Hunter's pistol finally appeared in possession of law enforcement sometime the following January.

The Rolling Stones watched the scuffle unfazed. “Under My Thumb” barely paused before continuing on after the shooting attempt and dispatch of Hunter. Of course, Keith Richards remained unfazed, repeating the same line about what a good concert it was all the way back to England.

The Grateful Dead's “New Speedway Boogie” by Robert Hunter was penned as a response to an indictment to the “Altamont Affair” by pioneer rock critic Ralph Gleason, published in Esquire Magazine under the title “Acquarius Wept”.

34 years after the doomed, hastily planned concert, law enforcement, in the form of the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, initiated a two-year investigation to see if another Hell's Angel was involved in the stabbing, but insufficient support for this hypothesis closed the case for good on January 25, 2005.

By the end of the festival, casualties included three accidental deaths as well as the murder of Meredith Hunter. The Stones were insured for around $5 million in liability to cover damages, but none of the crowd or ranchers who suffered parking damage to their fields and ranches were ever able to contact The Stones to seek damages. Hell's Angel, Alan Passaro, was tried for murder, pled self-defense, and was acquitted. An independent film producer, Sam Green, made a black and white ten minute film about the gravesite of Meredith Hunter called Lot 63, grave c, 2006.

What I wanta know, is, Why anybody would want to remember Altamont.

Viv, on the other hand, says she'll never forget it.

* * *



‘Lack o' wits’

My God, is John Sakowicz for real, or is he just putting on a performance art piece; a satirical parody of a self-absorbed blowhard who thinks that his opinion should be the final word on everything?

I was stunned by his February 11 letter to the editor urging people not to support KZYX, the rich and vital cultural resource that so many of us here in Mendocino County count on to distinguish life here as qualitatively better than Anytown USA.

I mean, this is a guy who supposedly 'serves' on the board of directors of KZYX, and who used to have a program that I used to enjoy listening to there, but because of an obscenity uttered on the program, had it canceled, yet was too full of himself to apologize, take responsibility and learn how to properly use the equipment at the station. Instead, he has devoted his efforts to a jihad against the station's excellent general manager John Coate and programming manager Mary Aigner. His skill at tracking down obscure bureaucratic rules that the station may be in technical violation of and ratting the station off to some pointy-headed bureaucrat in Washington in order to cause grief and legal expenses here at Mendocino County Public Broadcasting has so far cost us (the generous and appreciative pledge drive donors) in excess of $13,000! That is money that I would much rather have seen spent on upgraded broadcasting equipment!

I can scarcely believe how juvenile Mr. Sakowicz’s rant was; dissing on Gordon Black's classical music selections, even criticizing his pronunciations of foreign-language words! It must have taken him quite a while to track down the silly technical violation (not nationally advertising for news programmer jobs) that he makes such a big deal about, as if it is some grievous crime that the station committed, instead of the silly technical quibble that I'm sure most people would regard it as. I mean, really, are they going to nationally advertise for some poorly paid part-time gig out in the boonies of Philo?! Only some bureaucrat in Washington who doesn't know Philo from San Diego might be convinced to think so.

Does anyone besides Mr. Sakowicz and his angry little coterie of spurned former programmers, who apparently think that they have a God-given right to airtime, give a rat's patootie about Sakowicz's gotcha accusations?

What a heavy cross for the station to bear, having him on the board of directors, doing his utmost to scuttle the ship that everyone else is trying to keep afloat! Let us hope that his tenure on the board does not last much longer, and that the reaction of sensible people to his rants is to give a little extra to the station at pledge time to help repair the damage that he does to our wonderful public radio station.


John Arteaga


* * *

To the Editor:

Apparently, Mr. Arteaga believes he is, in fact, is the "self-absorbed blowhard who thinks that his opinion should be the final word on everything."

He is. And he does.

John Sakowicz


* * *



Response to Tom Melcher

I just wanted to take the time to respond to the article written by Tom Melcher in a recent edition of this newspaper. Tom and I have had a few phone conversations and I have seen him at a few board meetings of Mendocino County Public Broadcasting over the last year or so. While I respect that he has some experience in understanding the complex issues surrounding our only countywide community radio station, and many good ideas as to how it may go forward into the future, it is my fear that he does not yet have the depth of understanding to interpret the current state of affairs at KZYX. I will say that it took many years for me to learn the history of the station and years after that before I actually met and got to know the diverse and varied cast of characters that make up the KZYX family. After almost a decade of experience at our local radio station, both helping to produce multiple programs and serving as the programmer's representative to the board of MCPB, I would like to throw in my two cents. I will say that in my experience everyone I know who is associated with the station has its best interests at heart. This may be difficult for some to believe, as it is easy to point fingers, and even easier to get angry when someone appears to be acting out in an irrational way.

I wonder how many of you were raised in a family that had issues? If your family is anything like mine, you probably experienced more than one irrational outburst from a parent or family member over the years. This is pretty typical and no one is to blame, for life is complex and we are all working on something, right? Nobody is perfect. Problems arise, however, when the pressures that cause these outbursts don't get resolved. Those pressures build and build until somebody becomes overwhelmed by them and lashes out in any of a variety of ways. These situations often devolve into real self-destructive behavior. Because everybody has issues, and nobody is perfect, the world of psychology typically does not address mild symptoms. Only when the problems prevent an individual or family (or community) from functioning in a healthy way is intervention necessary. At that point, without intervention, these unhealthy patterns can become habits that are very difficult to break.

One thing I have learned when observing dysfunctional relationships is that it takes two to tango. All addicts invariably hang out with enablers. Enablers are typically hiding problems of their own behind the obvious foibles of the addict. Very often there is passive aggressive behavior going on which is difficult for an outsider to understand, and even many insiders can't see it unless the passive aggression is targeted towards them. A lot of people have control issues and will do whatever is necessary to maintain control even if that behavior triggers the addict. A lot of people have addictions, its not always as obvious as drinking alcohol until falling down or hitting the crack pipe. Things get complicated really fast. In psychology the “addict” is called the identifiable patient. They are very easy to spot and often take the blame for the dysfunctional situation. What is interesting, however, is that if the enabler is treated, the easily identifiable problem almost always resolves itself as well. As I said, it takes two to tango. It is important to have compassion for both an addict and an enabler as these are all just coping mechanisms for trauma that happened in the past. Resolving past traumas usually results in the cessation of this cycle of violence.

Just pointing out the identifiable patient only enables the enabler! It will only make the identifiable patient more self-destructive. As a community I caution against that kind of thing. Yet living in denial can cement unhealthy habit patterns, causing the destructive situation to last for years. Only by bringing these issues out into the daylight can they be resolved. Most of the time when you bring the skeletons out of the closet, you find out they are just skeletons. The mortal remains of past trauma that no longer really apply to what is happening right now. There is nothing to be afraid of. No Hitler, no Stalin, and no megalomania, just old coping mechanisms that aren't working anymore.

So how does this relate to our KZYX family? Well, you will have to fill in the blanks for yourselves. All I can say is that the radio is a great place to talk things out. I hope to hear more Open Lines type discussions in the future, allowing as much input from the community as possible. Also, I really like the mission statement of MCPB when it says, “the membership controls the stations programming and operational philosophy,” and I do believe the airwaves should be open to “all points of view.”

By the way Tom, I hope you don't catch that nasty virus that's going around…

Doug McKenty, Elk

* * *


by Dan Bacher

From the Bay-Delta Estuary and the marine waters of California to wildlife "parks" in Botswana, Africa, large corporate environmental NGOs and corrupt governments are collaborating to violate the rights of Indigenous Peoples under the guise of "conservation."

Stephen Corry, Director of Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, has criticized big conservation groups, including some of the corporate "environmental groups" that I have challenged in many of my articles, for "routinely violating" tribal peoples' rights while they fail to achieve their conservation objectives.

In an article recently published by the U.S.-based journal Truthout and British magazine The Ecologist, Corry writes that governments, with the support of "conservation" organizations, are forcing indigenous peoples off their ancestral homelands in the name of “conservation."

The illegal evictions of tribal peoples in India, the torture and abuse of indigenous Baka “Pygmies” in Cameroon, and the mistreatment of the Bushmen in Botswana are just a few examples evoked by Corry as part of Survival's "Parks Need People" campaign.

Corry further takes aim at big conservation players such the United for Wildlife consortium of conservation organizations, and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), for contributing to the illegal treatment of tribal peoples.

A WWF ad from 1994 asks whether 'to send in the army or an anthropologist' to stop indigenous people destroying the Amazon rainforest.

The next United for Wildlife meeting in March will be hosted by Botswana, whose President is guilty of trying to eradicate Bushmen hunters, said Corry.

The United for Wildlife consortium includes Conservation International and the Nature Conservancy, recipients of many millions of dollars ever year from the Walton Family Foundation, as well as the World Wildlife Fund, Fauna and Flora International, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN),The Wildlife Conservation Society and Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

According to the consortium's website, "United for Wildlife was created by The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. Led by the Duke of Cambridge our campaign unites the world’s leading wildlife charities under a common purpose; to create a global movement for change." (

WWF funds “ecoguards” in Cameroon who arrest and abuse Baka “Pygmies” for entering their ancestral forests which have been turned into "protected areas."

Corry writes, “If the conservation conglomerates really are to start preventing the further industrialization of these vital ecosystems, they surely must first remove giant polluters like Monsanto and BP from their own boards. Conservation has to stop the illegal eviction of tribal peoples from their ancestral homelands. It has to stop claiming tribal lands are wildernesses when they've been managed and shaped by tribal communities for millennia.

It has to stop accusing tribespeople of poaching when they hunt to feed their families. It has to stop the hypocrisy in which tribal people face arrest and beatings, torture and death, while fee-paying big game hunters are actively encouraged."

Survival International believes that tribal peoples are the best conservationists and guardians of the natural world.

"The real creators of the world's national parks are not the ideologues and evangelists of the environmental movement, but the tribal peoples who fashioned their landscapes with knowledge and understanding accumulated over countless generations," Corry concludes.

I completely agree with Corry. As an investigative journalist covering fish, water, the environment in the West, I have witnessed how corporate "environmental" NGOs and the state and federal governments have collaborated to violate tribal rights under the name of "conservation." Many of these NGOs and government agencies are plagued by their embrace of institutional racism and neo-colonial attitudes.

In California, Brown administration officials and corporate environmental NGOs pushing the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels and the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative have routinely violated the rights of Indigenous Peoples, as I have documented in article after article.

Brown administration officials, in collaboration with corporate "environmental" NGOs such as the Natural Heritage Institute and Nature Conservancy, have pushed the construction of the tunnels, in spite of the enormous threat the project poses to Tribal water rights and the salmon, steelhead and other fish species that the Tribes consider sacred and depend on for sustenance. They have completely failed to heed the input of the Winnemem Wintu and other Tribes that successfully managed fish and wildlife populations for thousands of years before Europeans arrived in California.

The BDCP is part of a larger plan to privatize water and plunder the public trust in California. As Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, said.

“It does not make sense that people are separating the water puzzle into individual pieces, such as: the raising of Shasta Dam, Proposition 1, the Delta tunnels, BDCP, Sites Reservoir, Temperance Flat, CALFED, Delta Vision, BDCP, OCAP, the Bay Delta, Trinity/Klamath Rivers, the Sacramento River, the San Joaquin River, and water rights. It is all one BIG Project.

You have to look at the whole picture and everything in between from Shasta Dam to the Delta estuary. We need to ask what is affected by our actions and who is benefitting from them? These are not separate projects; they are all the same thing that the State is asking us to fund – California water being manipulated for the enrichment of some and the devastation of cultures, environments, and species all in the name of higher profits.” (

Likewise, California's Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, privately funded by the shadowy Resources Legacy Fund Foundation, not only failed to protect the ocean from fracking, offshore oil drilling, pollution, military testing, corporate aquaculture and all human impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering, but the process violated the traditional fishing and gathering rights of the Yurok Tribe and other Indian Nations. In spite of claims by the Brown regime that the process respects tribal gathering rights, the MLPA initiative in fact bans tribal gathering in the "State Marine Reserves" that it created.

"The State of California is beginning to implement the so-called Marine Life Protection Act," said Yurok Tribe Vice Chairperson Susan Masten in the March 2014 election edition of the Yurok Today newsletter. "From the very start, the Tribe has not supported this initiative because it does not recognize the Tribe’s inherent hunting and gathering rights. Also, the Act lacked the sophistication required to properly steward the diverse ecosystems on the Yurok coastline."

"Since time immemorial, the Yurok Tribe has practiced a highly effective method of marine resource management, which has ensured an abundance of sea life to sustain our people. The Creator gave us the right to properly harvest marine resources in the coastal areas within Yurok Ancestral Territory. With this right, comes a great duty to protect and conserve these resources. To that end, we are developing our own marine life management program, based on our traditional knowledge of ocean ecosystems as well as western science," Masten concluded.

The "marine protected areas" created under the MLPA Initiative process, backed enthusiastically by corporate "environmental" NGOs including NRDC, the League of Conservation Voters and the Ocean Conservancy, were based on terminally flawed and incomplete science - and MLPA officials failed to include any Tribal scientists on the Science Advisory Team.

To make matters worse Ron LeValley, the Co-Chair of the MLPA Initiative Science Advisory Team for the North Coast,  repeatedly rejected requests by the Yurok Tribe Science Team to make presentations that challenged the Initiative's junk science. And to make matters even worse, the same LeValley is currently in federal prison for conspiracy to embezzle $852,000 from the Yurok Tribe.

For more information about the "inconvenient truths" of the MLPA Initiative, go to;

Read Stephen Corry’s full article in Truthout:

For more information, go to;


  1. Harvey Reading March 6, 2015

    It’s not hard to understand ISIS. How do you think USans would be acting if some big bully was bombing the crap out of the country, killing men, women, and children, indiscriminately, especially knowing that the people bombing you have an atrocious record of murder and mayhem around the world? Whether you’re beheaded, or blown to smithereens, you’re just as dead. There’s nothing clean about bullets or bombs.

    And, you gotta remember, the U.S. harbors plenty of religious fanatics … mostly “Christian” evangelicals, who, given the chance, would establish Christian “sharia” law, right here at home. They’d start off by “curing” homosexuals, killing those who couldn’t be cured, and then they’d execute anyone who refused to toe their fundamentalist line. The laws would be changed here to reflect the laws regarding religious intolerance that existed in early New England.

    If the U.S. and Europe would just butt out of the Middle East, those folks would solve their own problems, as they have been for longer than we of European extraction have been even slightly civilized.

  2. debrakeipp March 6, 2015

    Jeezuz! You arguing programmers at KZYX oughta be shot! Quit it! There are a coupla guys on the Coast who are always writing in to the I.C.O. (Icy-Zero – actually known as the Independent Coast Observer)week after week after week, with their worn out arguments that have gone on for YEARS. And the editor, instead of charging them BY THE INCH for their own column, has let it go on and on and on for YEARS now. So much so, that one guy now orates in his column as tho he’s ministering to the expectant masses, “In this week’s column – article, I will address…”. And, it’s NOT a column; it’s a letter to the editor! It would get edited if it were a column – or one would hope!

    Oh I forgot, Steve McICO and the numbskulls with the weekly “columns” in his letters section, are in the same conservative you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours, Lion’s Club. Buddies helping each other out.

    Truly, though, that’s a part of the paper most folks just skip over cuz readers are sick to death of “expecting” the f-ing Bickersons every time they open up letters section of the ICO!!!

    Big-headed programmers have always been around – as well as the fragile left which gets fragmented in so many ways as it is comprised of countless minority groups forming that left. And in other cases, majority groups acting as “sheeple”.

    I used to work at KPFA in Berkeley during the years that Pat Scott tried to kill the station. We knew she was going to sack the station cuz she’d already done it with the Berkeley Co-op. When she started wearing her knee-high riding boots to work, we all wondered where her riding crop had gone, and maybe she had it hidden in her office somewhere waiting for when she fired the next programmer. She’d actually walk up to folks she was going to fire and kiss them on the cheek before she fired them. We called it the Kiss of Death. Watching her poison KPFA from the inside was just painful, and there was no stopping her. She was like a lizard-people sent from “above” with glazed eyes, going at it with her bloody hatchet and no sense of feeling for or appreciation of ALL the people that had made that infamous station over the years – especially not the three guys with the pacifist radio idea. The ineptitude is what killed that incarnation of KPFA. And it came from the Board on down. The FCC on down. The government on down.

    So, what’s with little KZYX and Z? Zzzzzzzz at the wheel?

    My daughter was a Triest, One of the founders of KPFA was her great uncle Bill Triest. He was eventually the “voice of KQED” in his retirement years. He had a voice like silk. Richard Moore, the only living founder of Pacifist KPFA radio, is nearly a hundred, and still alive I believe and coherent enuf to speak to the history and problems of public radio stations.

    The problem is, however, that KPFA was a pacifist station to begin with, and other public radio stations followed in pursuit of non-violent display of important issues presented by “The Left” in a forum for free speech. (The majority is still made up of women and children, remember.) That policy quite often makes one want to throw tomatoes at some of the bad air. And by that, I mean, stuff that’s just plain painful to listen to and poorly presented.

    The sad thing is that no one WANTS to produce bad radio, but you all self-involved yutzes, aren’t there to help the lowlies on your totum poles produce better radio. There is a general lack of humility among the heirachy of volunteers, and management – available for training these painful programs in hopes of better radio at KZYX and Z? Prob not. Too idealistic.

    You guys are kicking the crap out of each other complimenting yourselves with hardy pats on your own backs. I’m surprised no one’s broken an arm! Give up! Go back to producing radio, improving all that dead air space by getting a few more experienced board operators in there to train and help mix a good show for some of the more inexperienced producers whose programs are nothing but painful to hear. So much so, you get up and turn off the radio or change the chanl altogether.

    Take a vacation from the Board for awhile to gain a different more balanced perspective, maybe even take a break from the radio station altogether for awhile. Better yet, fire everyone and start over! Start with the Board first!

    Where’s Sawaya? She was great! Bring her back and give her some teeth with which to chew on and let her manage the station. Her heart’s in the right place for public radio.

    Even tho Sakow is probably a good programmer, his letters about himself make me want to barf, so I quit reading them all… the letters about KZYX.
    The BS about KZYX in the AVA is the only part of the AVA I don’t read. Wankers are like one hand clapping. Grand-standers worse.

    There’s nothing pacifist about your attacks on one another. Nothing high minded about any of it. Stop! Please! Resign, all of you who’ve participated in the slightest tearing-apart of KZYX and Z. The programing there hasn’t improved since I have continued to turn it off for the last 25 years. Yah, I’ve heard some good shows, but you can’t just turn it on and leave it all day. And why not? The management has been choppy as a result of crappy Boards, and yah, the trees have buried the signal now that they’ve grown up around the station.

    “The Board of Directors” sucks in this country. The expression is worn out and as dirty as Enron. “The Board” needs to be overthrown, disposed of and reinvented. Long live free speech, but don’t harangue me with your boorish opinion of your own work.

    Are the negative expressions meant to disuade listeners or invite them in?

    Take the time it takes to energetically write your letters of attack on one another and spend that time helping out the more inexperienced of programmers to produce better radio, why don’t cha? Show ’em how to mix their programs professionally at the board, listen back to their air checks, show them ways to creatively actually MIX a show, and improve their uncomfortable dead air. Show ’em how to bale to an ad cart or a muscial interlude instead of frantically gulping for air when nervousness causes dry mouth, or brain-freeze while at the board. Help these folks produce better flowing radio, why don’t ya for starters instead of destructing each other in the AVA? Come up with better ideas, or shorter shows packed with tighter information, so we don’t have to suffer the long extended versions which can be miserable to listen to as they try and fill in MORE time with not enuf information; nor the skills to ad-lib interestingly.

    Community radio is a great idea until it’s not – as with anything. Folks work hard to produce interesting shows – I’ve heard them and appreciate anybody who puts in their human hours to produce radio for community radio.

    It could be time to start over with KZYX and Z.

    But, whatever you do, don’t change a thing about TRADING TIME!!!!!

    • LouisBedrock March 6, 2015

      Nicole Sawaya’s farewell letter to Pacifica.
      I’m sure this has appeared in the AVA before; however, it’s always worth rereading. Do people like Nicole Sawaya still exist?

      September 24, 2008

      To: Pacifica National Board, Local Station Boards, All management and
      staff, Affiliate stations, collaborators, and stakeholders in Pacifica
      Fr: Nicole Sawaya, executive director/CEO

      On August 3rd I gave notice to the Pacifica Board that I would be leaving. September 30th (end of our fiscal year) will be my last day. Concurrently, I had written myself out of the FY09 budget, as the Foundation is hard-pressed to support two well-paid executives. You lead from the top.

      Lew Hill is the founder of Pacifica, now almost a 60 year old non-profit media organization. If I could have a conversation with anyone to explain my departure, it would be with Lew Hill. So, I decided to write him a letter.

      Feel free to read it, and to share with others who care about Pacifica. All I ask is that this preface always accompany the letter as it sets the context.

      I thank you for the opportunity to serve!



      September 23, 2008

      Dear Lew Hill,

      Greetings. My name is Nicole Sawaya, and currently, I’m the executive director and chief executive of the radio endeavor you started called Pacifica. It’s changed a lot.

      You wouldn’t believe what your “killer app”, as some might portray it in 21st century lexicon, has spawned. Now there are 5 stations licensed to Pacifica in densely populated and roiling urban areas – millions of human beings within ear shot, all with easy access to the cheapest and most accessible broadcast mediums on the planet, radio. Yes, the planet. There is an Archive of programming and folios spanning decades – a repository and collection of voices that truly belongs to the people as part of the history of our country and the world. And, there are over a hundred smaller stations scattered through rural and urban settings — cities and towns and ridge tops — affiliated with Pacifica and broadcasting our programming – a network that has been in place for quite awhile.

      Beyond that, your notion that the listeners would voluntarily financially support radio, journalism and cultural exchange, created a model for many, many non-commercial educational radio stations to apply. Your vision of public ownership of the airwaves put into practice with the radio license you applied for and grew as the first non-profit community licensee station, gained great traction and has been replicated exponentially.

      We don’t exchange The Subscriber radios anymore for pledges, and you wouldn’t recognize how the fundraising marathons have changed – it’s a bit like an on-air shopping experience. But listeners continue to support us voluntarily with their hard earned money, and they’re not necessarily just bound to radios to listen to us.

      An aside: When I was (briefly) general manager of your first station, KPFA, there was a Subscriber radio in the office, but it was tucked away and dusty. When I discovered it, soon after taking the job, I was so excited to learn of its history. It completely inspired me as Pacifica was heading to its 50th anniversary. So elegant, so innovative for its time, so smart.

      Mr. Hill, what you conceived has had one of the highest impacts in media history. Not just the staunch belief in listener support, but your notions that journalistic enterprises should remain unfettered from any sort of business support in order to maintain credibility; that to help in striving for a more peaceful and just world, radio (or what we now refer to as media) programming should give access to myriad viewpoints and in-depth news, coupled with an exposure to the arts and to cultures and happenings from all over the world; that innovation is vital, have all lived on. You were a pioneer.

      Fast forward to today.

      Our country is at war. Our government is a death machine abroad and a fear machine at home. Our broadcast media is, in general, mind-numbingly useless, filled with shameless propagandists and completely profit driven. The earth’s climate is changing radically and the gap between rich and poor is larger than the Grand Canyon, with by far the larger group on the poor end. I could go on, but it would take a while.

      Your Pacifica is showing signs of stress as well.

      Sadly, it is no longer focused on service to the listeners but absorbed with itself and the inhabitants therein. I call it Planet Pacifica, a term I coined during my hiring process. There is an underlying culture of grievance coupled with entitlement, and its governance structure is dysfunctional. The by-laws of the organization have opened it up to tremendous abuse, creating the opportunity for cronyism, factionalism, and faux democracy, with the result of challenging all yet helping nothing. Pacifica has been made so flat, that it is concave – no leadership is possible without an enormous struggle through the inertia that committees and collectives and STV’s (no, not sexually transmitted viruses, but single transferable votes) can engender.

      Pacifica calls itself a movement, yet currently it is behaves like a jobs program, a cult, or a social service agency. And oftentimes, the loudest and most obstreperous have the privilege of the microphone. There are endless meetings of committees and “task forces”– mostly on the phone – where people just like to hear themselves talk. Sometimes they get lucrative contracts from their grandstanding. It’s been grueling for someone in my position, someone like me who is not a process person, much less a political gamer. I keep asking: what’s the endgame? Paralysis has set in, coupled with organizational drift.

      The programming isn’t attracting many listeners anymore, either. It skews towards the narrow in its editorial stance, leans towards the niche, and change to the programming can’t occur without a fight. The listening audience is small, in other words, the stations have yet to grow into their large signals.

      Business practices are oftentimes shoddy and opaque and mirror the culture of our times – lots of self-interest with a focus on individual needs as opposed to performance, affordability, or the common good. And we’ve hit some tough economic times without having the general will to do the hard work necessary in order to ensure sustainability– contracting rather than continually expanding the size of our financial obligations. Basically, resources and airtime have been allocated for internal political purposes at the expense of service to audience, innovation, or the care and feeding of our broadcast physical infrastructure. Some of this has to do with the fact that very few people either on air or off air actually have radio experience, other than being part of Pacifica.

      That was not the case with you, nor is it with me.

      Conversely, there are many dedicated and smart people working within Pacifica. They may not work at full speed – it is rather “comfortable” especially for those who work unsupervised – but they make a consistent effort to give voice to the voiceless and hold government and power accountable. And those who work without self-interest or giving constant grief to management (a four-letter word in Pacifica) are to be applauded.

      The overall media landscape has changed fundamentally. I find it exciting and wanted very much to bring Pacifica into the 21st century. The demographic of our country has changed as well, not to mention all the new generations now active and alert to the world around them. It is, to quote Victor Hugo, the best of times and the worst of times. Apparently, it’s always been like that.

      Pacifica could take advantage of technology, both at the front end (content and programming) and the back end (infrastructure and business applications), but that would require the general will of the internal stakeholders, and that general will is not cohesive enough or even amenable to altering the status quo.

      I have given notice and will be leaving Pacifica shortly. Despite my best intentions and determined and focused efforts, I was continually thwarted to do the job I was hired to do. I did my best to apply my knowledge, expertise, and creativity to Pacifica, and we made some forward progress.

      I gave to those responsible for the governance and oversight, plans, clarity, and transparency. They cannot deny knowledge of the state of the network. Whether they act on it, or just call in consultants to tell them what time it is, is another issue. I tried to dispel magical thinking in all arenas and was relentless in my attempts to get some best practices and collaborations in place.

      I had some success.

      It’s not necessary for me to alliterate those successes. Despite being handed an enfeebled situation and having no resources to work with, I gave it my best shot and worked hard. And despite having to fight for every inch of standing, not to mention authority, I have enjoyed working with those who actually work and accomplish bona fide deliverables of consequence and service.

      We stand now on the shoulders of hundreds, if not thousands of those who have contributed internally. And Pacifica is much loved and valued by its listener supporters. Pacifica will carry on, and it has been a challenging opportunity to, albeit briefly, help out.

      I hope that all stakeholders remember that Pacifica is a public trust, a veritable weapon of mass information, and keep a big vision in play rather than petty politics.

      Thanks for being a bold and brave broadcaster.

      With much respect,


  3. Jim Updegraff March 6, 2015

    One doesn’t have to worry about the Christian evangelicals. they also have their apocalypse.Their “rapture” is rapidly approaching and I fear Mr Reading and I(and perhaps Bruce) will not be among the chosen.

  4. Rick Weddle March 7, 2015

    Yes, you go there, Mr. Reading! How very inspirational has been the performance of the self-described ‘christian’ flavored politics over time… always adding new polish to the old Roman word, ‘civilization.’ That’s how Rome’s great gift to humanity was labeled…when the dust settled and the blood soaked into the ground, civilization had been successfully installed, plugged into history with a built-in vengeance. All these immaculate intentions of such profitability, so perfectly camouflage a covert culture so bloodthirsty, it’d make a t. rex wet itself, faint, and fall over. And the money! Jesus Hisself would be thrilled…all that nostalgic Abu Graib electro-boarding business…Palestinian kids with slings pelting Goliath (the one with the star of David of all things all over it)…

    Has there been a whisper on any Big Media questioning where these foreign terrorists got the idea they could further their interests with high explosives? Where did they get that notion to start with? What models have been available in recent history, and today? And where does it keep being advocated, sponsored, and enacted? And where might their high explosives come from? Who sold and delivered them? Who’s bank account bounced with the rubble?

    Try to envision this troublesome mechanism as some simple appliance. If you had concocted a little gismo to make money, plugged it in and flipped ‘er on, only to be knocked down and held down by it, while it flaps and smokes and rattles out of control, flinging shrapnel and smelling worse by the minute, would it not occur to you to pull the plug? Seems reasonable…

  5. debrakeipp March 8, 2015

    Viv found the Altamont poster of herself. She sent me a copy and I will send it on to our editor to see if he can print it somewhat latently, with the above article on the website. Ahhhhh, to be 16 again! She said she and 20 of her friends from Mt. Eden High School in Hayward attended the Altamont Speedway Free Concert. Directions among them were to meet on stage left, and that’s where all hell broke loose. She said by the end of the concert the Angels were kind of protective of the clutch of teenagers huddling like kittens in front of the stage, she one among them. And yes, the Hell’s Angels were beating on the men and boys; not the girls.

    Viv said she first realized there was a poster of her during the Altamont concert when she was walking on Telegraph Avenue and a man recognized her and said, “Have you seen yourself on the poster of the Altamont Concert? It’s down at Moe’s Books in Scanlon’s Magazine”, and he took her down there to show her the two-page centerfold in the first issue of Scanlon’s.

    It says on the poster that the magazine sold for $10-12 depending on news stand vs. subscription. Now old issues of Scanlon’s are for sale for about a hundred dollars on e-Bay. The man who directed to the centerfold, also told her she could get more copies of the poster over on Jersey Street in the City, so she went over and picked up five copies for herself and friends.

  6. debrakeipp March 9, 2015

    thanks for Nicole Sawaya’s most excellent, heart-felt letter to Lew Hill. Lew Hill committed suicide, you know.

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