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Mendocino County Today: Monday, May 4, 2015

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In this letter, Mr. Jani (President of Mendocino Redwood Company) essentially proposes that Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC) manage and control a “working group” to study how best to deal with MRC. I hope that sounds as silly to you as it does to me.

MRC has enjoyed 17 years of “self regulation,” and the result of that policy became abundantly clear during public expression at the last board meeting. County citizens are deeply opposed to the way this company "treats" our environment, leaving millions of newly poisoned trees and brush standing dead in the forest each and every year — in essence, gambling with our health and safety to maximize profits.

It comes as no surprise that MRC now wants to do a little public relations damage control — which is what the above-referenced letter represents — but that is their concern, not ours. We need not contribute to that effort.

It is time for some entity wholly outside and independent of MRC (and not CalFire, who is complicit) to provide some real guidance and regulation on this important issue of fire danger and public safety. The stakes are too high to go on hoping that MRC might eventually do something about MRC.

Thanks for reading,

Mike Kalantarian, Navarro

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To the Editor:

Throughout the history of wildland firefighting, one of the significant causes of fatalities has been snags or dead standing trees. The definition of a snag for firefighting purposes is simply “a dead standing tree that may be hazardous.”

Without going into a lengthy discussion of how a snag is dealt with and the training involved for the personnel assigned to deal with these hazards, it can be simply stated, that in wildland firefighting, each snag or hazard tree is treated as a separate incident. A specially trained and equipped team is assigned to the tree and no other firefighters are allowed into the danger zone of that tree until the tree has been rendered safe by falling and stabilizing. An example of the care taken is the exclusion zone for all personnel except the faller, and sometimes the swamper, is 2 to 2-1/2 tree lengths from the base of the tree.

Not only do these trees pose a hazard to persons from falling, but it is common for a burning snag or parts of a snag, to roll downhill after falling down and starting fires along its way down the hill, possibly starting fires below firefighters and putting them in the extremely dangerous and sometimes fatal position of being trapped at the head of the fire. We know that much of the terrain that is encountered in Mendocino County is very rough, steep, and just right for this kind of incident to occur.

This practice and method of killing trees and leaving them standing to rot, virtually guarantees that each and every one of these killed trees will turn into a hazard tree. These trees will remain as hazards for ten years at a minimum and often much longer than that. As the dead tree starts to break down, the branches fall off and make a pile around the base of the tree. Woody debris that piles up against the base of a tree like this does not break down quickly and leaves a pile of kindling around the base of the tree that lasts many years. These piles of branches around each tree, will, during a fire, almost ensure that they burn in such a way that, each and every one of them becomes a burning hazard tree that must be dealt with or avoided by a great distance. Also the hacking of the bark at the base of the tree increases the likelihood, that the rotting interior near the base will be exposed to any fire and increases the hazard.

Having this many hazard trees in close proximity to each other would make these areas unsafe to enter during a fire.

It is well understood that snag trees have major benefits for wildlife and general forest health but having a majority of the trees dead standing is not generally accepted as beneficial to the forest ecology.

When a forest has been subjected to this treatment to remove the oak and other unwanted species, then replanted with redwood trees, this process may have to be repeated for a period of 50 years or more, as planted redwood trees grow very slowly and are almost always outgrown by various other species.

Not only are these trees a danger to firefighters, but if the firefighters are unable to a fight a fire because of this hazard, the surrounding communities and forest land is at a much elevated risk.

It is important to remember that in times of high fire activity or other disaster, that because of our low population in Mendocino and surrounding counties we are low on the priority list for state and other firefighting resources. At these times we may only have local, ground based firefighting personal available, and as such not be able to attack fires in these areas, possibly causing much greater damage from these fires, and much larger spread of fires.

This lack of resources is a regular occurrence in our area and one we have to be aware of at all times.

Armed with this knowledge of the problem, it would be unwise for any responsible person or entity, from fire chiefs, Cal Fire personnel, legislators such county supervisors, fire district directors, state legislators or any other involved people, including the foresters who prepare the THPs, to accept the liability that this type of forest management brings to those who approve it, or those who can prevent it and fail to do so.

This liability would also apply to those who have this knowledge and would send their personnel into harm’s way.

It would be easy to conclude that the intentional killing of trees that we are seeing is creating a situation that, should a fire occur in these areas, we may not be able to fight it.

I also must include, that for a very long time, it has been recognized that a forest with as many dead standing trees or snags of the amount and size that we are seeing in the areas of intentionally killed trees, is an increased fire hazard for that forest and surrounding areas, as well as being an increased insurance liability.

If any of this is not readily understandable, please research “wildfire fatalities” and “wildfire snags” or check with your agency’s guidelines regarding wildfire snags or hazard trees.

— Josh Latkin, Retired Fire Fighter/Fire Chief, Albion

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WATCHING THE FORT BRAGG CITY COUNCIL in action the other night, and praising Mendocino TV the whole way for making it possible for a Boonville audience of one to watch the proceedings live on-line, I was happy to see Fort Bragg High School commended for its new facade, a radical aesthetic upgrade over the institutional slab that greeted us all for many years prior. Reluctantly giving the town's inept Council majority its due, it's heartening that they encourage property upgrades. The town looks good! Ukiah and Willits were irreversibly sprawled years ago, and although you'll hear an occasional squeak from the twin inland hells about beautification projects, those upgrades are invisible in the general, unplanned, unattended squalor.

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DEPUTY CRAIG WALKER said Sunday that the BeerFest crowd was well-behaved. Among the several arrests, two were local drunks. “We referred three people to medical for what amounted to alcohol poisoning, and I know the CHP made a couple of drunk driving arrests.” Walker laughed when he said he'd made one of the drunk driving arrests about 6:30pm near the Elementary School on a Fort Bragg man (Francisco Aguirre; see Catch of the Day below), arrested for DUI and driving without a license, who said he was speeding because he needed to get to Las Vegas in time for the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight!

NOTES: Two guys were so loaded they couldn't eat the expensive Boonville restaurant meal they'd ordered. A young woman camping near Philo for Beer Weekend darn near cut a finger off trying to cut up kindling with one hand while holding a beer in the other. This newspaper's ace crime writer, Bruce McEwen, picked up a few extra bucks ferrying drunks to their campsites in a wheelchair. Enterprising locals sold tacos and tortas to the beer drinkers, whose overall boost to the downtown Boonville economy this past weekend was considerable.

YOUNG MAN OVERHEARD at the Ice Cream Pump commenting to another young man: “These beer babes aren't bad, but you oughtta see the babes at the World Music Festival!” (World Music is coming right up, June 19th through the 21st. The great Jimmy Cliff will be top a star-studded lineup in Boonville, Mendocino County's most happening town.)

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WITH COMMERCIAL SALMON FISHING having begun Friday, look for fresh salmon to go on sale soon at Lemons’ Market in Philo. The Lemons fish out of Noyo, another place to get a good deal on salmon as fresh as you'll find it.

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WE AGREE WITH SUSAN RUSH of Manchester about ignored violations of the Brown Act, which mandates that the public's business be done in public. If the DA would just prosecute a single local school board for doing the public's business out of the sight and hearing of the public, it would have a salubrious political effect benefitting all of us. School boards are the most egregious offenders because no one pays any attention to them, but lots of local boards operate out of utter contempt for basic democratic processes. And have been getting away with it for years. Mrs. Rush's complaint about the Point Arena School Board was and is well-documented and irrefutable. DA Eyster ought to pursue it.

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On April 19, 2015, Larry Lombard died at his home following a short illness. Larry fought the disease with the same intensity that he lived his life. His wife Janet provided strength and love for 43 years. Larry also left behind his daughter Kim Overholt, her husband Eric, and his beloved granddaughters, Cyan and Zoe. Additional survivors include his brother Butch Chapin and sister Jennifer Shepherd and numerous nieces and nephews. His sister Kathleen and brother Michael preceded him in death.

Larry grew up in Nebraska. After Army service, he attended college on the GI Bill. Larry earned a Master’s degree by sculpting a flying airplane. He then built one of the first Vari-Eze composite homebuilt aircraft. His superb craftsmanship led to employment with aviation pioneer Burt Rutan. Larry worked on several seminal aviation projects including the Voyager aircraft that flew around the world nonstop.

In 1985, Larry and Michael Dilley started their company Featherlite and moved to Boonville. They later built a large facility in Ukiah where they design and construct components for experimental aircraft, helicopters and space rockets.

Janet and Larry made their home in the Boonville Airport community where Larry continued to fly and work on airplanes. He completed restoration of an award winning Interstate L-6 World War II liaison plane in 2005. He also planted a hobby vineyard which has produced their “Pileated Pinot” since 1999.

Larry was well known for his love of fishing which took him to many locations around the world. He recently built his retirement dream house and fishing retreat in Shelter Cove. The location provided immediate access to ocean fishing in his amphibious boat.

An informal gathering in his honor will be held at the Boonville Airport on June 27th from 1-4 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to the Anderson Valley Health Center or the local charity of your choice.

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MichaelWilliamsMICHAEL JAMES WILLIAMS, aka Limo Mike, passed away at his son's home in Santa Rosa on April 21. He is survived by his wife Donnis L. Williams; his 4 children: Mikel James and Dino James from Santa Rosa; Hen Warner of Davis; Johnathon Burnell, Las Vegas, and stepchildren Devon delaPeza of Colorado Springs; Amanda Gates and Sandra Gates of Ukiah; 2 grandchildren in Davis; and 5 grandchildren in Santa Rosa. A memorial gathering will be held on May 9th at Lake Mendocino North Side Pomo A from 11am-7pm.

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WATER TROUGH IS BACK IN THE SADDLE — Driving through the south end of town a week or so ago I noticed the neon sign at the venerable Water Trough bar was lighted, and the front door was open. I did what you or anyone else would do: Slammed on the brakes and did a four-wheel drifting skid into the dusty parking lot, and was heading up the front step while Trophy the wife was still recovering from the blown-up airbag. Inside, friendly and cheerful. Head on over. Joints like the Trough are on the endangered species list. — Tommy Wayne Kramer, Ukiah

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After years of gardening and having tried a variety of methods (beer, salt, copper strips are just a few) to rid my garden of slugs and snails, I finally resorted to hand picking them in the early morning hours. I would squish the slugs underfoot, pop the snails between my fingers or fling them as far away as I could throw them. And still they came to feast on the tender shoots. I never had a moment's regret about my slayings and almost even ceased to recognize them as living creatures. But, it was a tedious, unpleasant operation. Then a friend gave me a can of Sluggo and everything changed. I researched the stuff before I sprinkled it around my garden to be sure that it would not harm my cat, the birds, humans or any animals and that it was truly organic and benign. It checked out. I now bait just twice in the growing season. I still find a live, lone snail or two, now and then. It seems that there are far less of them this year, probably due to our drought conditions.

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Appeal To Support The Greek People And Its Truth Commission On Public Debt For The Peoples' Right To Audit Public Debt

To the people of Europe and the whole world! To all the men and women who reject the politics of austerity and are not willing to pay a public debt which is strangling us and which was agreed to behind our backs and against our interests.

We signatories to this appeal stand by the Greek people who, through their vote at the election of 25th January 2015, became the first population in Europe and in the Northern hemisphere to have rejected the politics of austerity imposed to pay an alleged public debt which was negotiated by those on top without the people and against the people. At the same time we consider that the setting up of the Greek Public Debt Truth Commission at the initiative of the president of the Greek Parliament constitutes a historic event, of crucial importance not only for the Greek people but also for the people of Europe and the whole world! Indeed, the Truth Commission of the Greek Parliament, composed of volunteer citizens from across the globe, is destined to be emulated in other countries. First, because the debt problem is a scourge that plagues most of Europe and the world, and secondly because there are millions and millions of citizens who are rightly posing basic and fundamental questions about this debt: "What happened to the money that made up this loan? What were the conditions attached to it? How much interest has been paid, at what rate? How much capital has been repaid? How was the debt allowed to accumulate without benefiting the people? Where did the capital go? What was it used for? How much was diverted, by whom, and how was this done?”

And also: “Who took out this loan and in whose name? Who granted the loan and what was their role? How did the state become involved? By what decision, taken with what authorization? How did private debts become ‘public’? Who set up such inappropriate schemes, who pushed in this direction, who profited from them? Were offences or crimes committed with this money? Why has penal civil, criminal and administrative responsibility not been established?”

All these questions will be subjected to rigorous analysis by the commission, which has an official mandate to "gather all information relevant to the emergence and disproportionate increase in public debt, and to subject the data to scientific scrutiny in order to determine what part of that debt can be identified as illegitimate and illegal, odious or unsustainable, during the period of the Memoranda, from May 2010 to January 2015 as well as in the preceding years. It must also publish precise information — which must be accessible to all citizens, provide the evidence to back up public declarations, raise awareness among the Greek population, the international community and international public opinion, and finally draw up arguments and demands calling for cancellation of the debt.

We consider that it is the most basic democratic right of every citizen to demand clear and precise answers to these questions. We also consider that refusal to reply constitutes a denial of democracy and transparency on the part of those at the top who invented and use the "debt-system" to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. And even worse: we consider that by jealously keeping for themselves the monopoly right to decide the fate of society, those at the top deprive the overwhelming majority of citizens not only of their right to make decisions but above all of the right to take their destiny and the fate of humanity into their hands!

This is why we are launching the following urgent appeal to all citizens, social movements, ecological and feminist networks and movements, trade unions and political organizations that reject this ever less democratic and humane neo-liberal Europe: Show your solidarity with the Greek resistance by supporting in action the Greek Public Debt Truth Commission and its work in identifying that part of the Greek public debt which is illegal, illegitimate, odious and/or unsustainable. Defend it against the outrageous attacks it has been subjected to from all those forces in Greece and the rest of the world who have an interest in keeping the truth about the "debt-system" hidden from view. Actively take part in the citizen debt audits that are being developed throughout Europe and elsewhere. Share your support and solidarity on your social networks, since this support and international solidarity is the only way to thwart the ruling powers' plan to suffocate Greece and the people who are fighting against our common enemy: the politics of austerity and the debt that is strangling us!

We are confronted by an experienced adversary, united, well-coordinated, armed with extraordinary powers and absolutely determined to pursue its offensive against every one of us to the bitter end: we who constitute the overwhelming majority of our societies. We cannot allow ourselves the luxury of resisting separately, each in his own corner. So let us unite our forces in a vast movement of solidarity with the Greek resistance and support for the Truth Commission of the Greek Parliament, multiplying such debt audit commissions everywhere where that is possible. Because the struggle of the Greek people is our struggle and their victory will be our victory. Our unity is our only strength. United we stand; divided we fall!

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CATCH OF THE DAY, May 3, 2015

Aguirre, Covey, Durant, Fallis
Aguirre, Covey, Durant, Fallis

FRANCISCO AGUIRRE, Fort Bragg. DUI, no license.

FORREST COVEY, Ukiah. Drunk in public. (Beer Festival)

CLINTON DURANT, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public.

FEATHER FALLIS, Ukiah. DUI, domestic battery, misdemeanor hit & run.

Guzman, Haas, Jantz, McGuire
Guzman, Haas, Jantz, McGuire

JUAN GUZMAN, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

BRENT HAAS, Ukiah. DUI-drugs, addict driving a vehicle.

TASHA JANTZ, Eureka/Ukiah. Possession of controlled substance.

JUSTIN McGUIRE, Ukiah. Drunk in public, probation revocation.

McMorrow, Nieves-Perez, Perez, Vasquez
McMorrow, Nieves-Perez, Perez, Vasquez

JAMES McMORROW, Santa Rosa. Drunk in public. (Beer Festival).

NOE NIEVES-PEREZ, Talmage. Drunk in public, probation revocation.

RODOLFO PEREZ, Philo. Drunk in public.

KEVIN VASQUEZ, Hopland. Drunk in public.

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In my rear view mirror the sun is going down

Sinking behind bridges in the road

And I think of all the good things

That we have left undone

And I suffer premonitions

Confirm suspicions

Of the holocaust to come.


The wire that holds the cork

That keeps the anger in

Gives way

And suddenly it's day again.

The sun is in the east

Even though the day is done.

Two suns in the sunset

Could be the human race is run.


Like the moment when the brakes lock

And you slide towards the big truck

You stretch the frozen moments with your fear.

And you'll never hear their voices

And you'll never see their faces

You have no recourse to the law anymore.


And as the windshield melts

My tears evaporate

Leaving only charcoal to defend.

Finally I understand the feelings of the few.

Ashes and diamonds

Foe and friend

We were all equal in the end.

—Roger Waters

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A swarm of four earthquakes — the strongest measuring at magnitude 4.0 — centered just south of Concord rattled the Bay Area on Sunday afternoon. The U.S. Geological Survey reported the quake occurred about 3:13 p.m., with an epicenter half a mile south of Concord. The quake was about 9 miles deep and occurred on the Concord-Green Valley Fault, the USGS said. In San Francisco, the initial quake felt like a quick jolt. Concord police said there were no reports of damage or injuries, but said people called in to ask about the quake. The swarm started with a magnitude 2.5 quake in the same area about 3:01 p.m. A 2.7 quake occurred about a minute after the strongest shaker, while a 2.4 quake shook the area about 3:28 p.m.

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by Robert Silverman

Even in the hours leading up to his biggest win on Saturday, Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s camp was trying as hard as it could to hide how big of a loser he really is.

Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr., who should be in jail, is still boxing, and on Saturday night in Las Vegas, the world champion, a recidivist abuser of women and wholly remorseless misogynist, unanimously defeated Manny Pacquiao in twelve rounds. The judges scored it 118-110, 116-112, and 116-112. It wasn’t close.

Oh, in case you weren’t aware, Mayweather’s an unrepentant monster.

“Floyd Mayweather’s history of misogyny, expressed — as he is wont to do — through violence, is well documented and reprehensible,” — Daniel Roberts wrote at Deadspin. “It extends over a dozen years and includes at least seven separate physical assaults on five different women that resulted in arrest or citation, as well as several other instances where the police had to be summoned in response to an actual or perceived threat from Mayweather.”

Delve deep into Mayweather’s odious past (if you have the stomach for it) and you’ll find the stuff of pure nightmares, like the time he showed up at 4am at the home of the mother of his children, Josie Harris, and dragged her by the hair while she shrieked in terror. He proceeded to beat the daylights out of her, dragooned his bodyguard into restraining the kids and becoming an accomplice after the fact and told his then-nine year old son, “You call 911 or run out of the house, and I’ll ‘beat you’.”

This may have been the “Fight of the Century” but not in the way the promoters and armies of corporate partners intended. It was a crass, thudding monument to the utterly corrupting power of a $300 million dollar event, and the myriad ways in which both the organizing bodies of the sport and the national press have been complicit in enabling Mayweather’s sins, while he smugly dances around any admission of guilt.

If this is what boxing has become and Mayweather is its true standard-bearer, then it probably deserves to die. It won’t, of course, for all the reasons that Allen Barra outlines here. To be clear, this isn’t about his skills in the ring. Even at his advanced age, he remains a dominant fighter. But 48-0 doesn’t mean much when it comes hand-in-hand with both Mayweather’s savagery and his tired persona — one that is “boring, grating, and multiply un-loveable in the way he ham-handedly performs himself,” as David Roth wrote at VICE Sports. Not when he wears a $25,000 mouthguard with gold flecks and a real $100 bill in it as a final fuck you.

Or maybe the last, deeply self-unaware assault came in the form of this photo of Mayweather proudly displaying all the shiny toys that he bought while gloating “Welcome to my world.

Or maybe it’s the horrible, crushing irony that on Saturday morning, Rachel Nichols Michele Beadle, two journalists who challenged Mayweather and questioned his vile actions, would be denied credentials to cover the fight.

Why? Because Showtime and HBO and the city of Las Vegas have one more guaranteed fight to wring out of Mayweather, and as such are prone to whitewashing all the unpleasant things that he does when he’s not plying his trade.

Mayweather’s camp issued a series ofhastily scrawled denials in response to yesterday’s overwhelming backlash. You can read Nichols’ description of her repeated attempts to gain credentials here. Better yet, you can watch Nichols knock Mayweather on his ass here.

Neither Beadle nor Nichols ended up attending. And yes, it’s grimly ironic that this ham-fisted attempt to silence those who dared tell the truth reveals Mayweather to be not only a violent and hateful abuser (who should be in jail), but as his own son said, “He is a coward.”

Sportswriters like Sarah Spain, Keith Olbermann, Roth, and Roberts have made it clear that they weren’t going to be tuning in, and groups like Breakthrough, a global organization working to prevent violence against women by transforming the norms and cultures that enable it, are encouraging a boycott. As Lynn Harris, the Vice President of Communications explained via email, “If boxing institutions are not going to step up and say that domestic violence is unacceptable, then we are.”

I didn’t join them, mainly because I wanted to speak with boxing fans and ask how much of Mayweather’s history was common knowledge, and if so, if it mattered to them at all.

That didn’t happen. I wandered from Midtown bar to Midtown bar that could afford the record licensing fees—most over $5,000—but they were all packed to the gills. The closest I came to gaining egress was a gentleman’s club, and watching the fight surrounded by steam trays and beefy dudes with one eye on Mayweather and the other on sequined pasties and pulchritudinous flesh would have been just too perfect.

Instead I scurried back home and tapped into a — let’s say — extralegal online feed. Given my overwhelming desire to skip the entire affair, this seemed like a reasonable compromise, and I was not alone. (So many people set up illegal streams of the fight on Twitter’s new livestreaming app Periscope — even one from inside the arena — finding janky ways to watch this fight became a story of its own.)

And then, much to my total shock and serious dismay, I found myself liking boxing.

Yes, it does require sticking a hatpin into the part of your cerebral cortex that rightly considers both Mayweather himself and the sport as a whole to be barbaric and awful. You also have to find a dusty, unused drawer in your mind to cram the constant, swirling, Rovell-ian churn of commerce that surrounds this branded colossus, like the PR flack that repeatedly emailed me to push a spiffy infographic that solely tracked the various sums of cash that could and would be earned at each and every millisecond before, during and after the actual sporting event, as if that was all that could ever matter or be at stake here.

Then again, let’s be honest. There are very few entertainment options when it comes to sports that don’t require a certain amount of rationalization and/or kitty cornering of your ethics in order to fully indulge in the totality of the experience. We fans are consuming some amount of state-sanctioned violence and toxic masculinity regardless of which particular combination of balls and sticks we favor. That this fighter in particular makes that choice particularly stark is a matter of degree, not difference.

But if you can accomplish that bit of mental gymnastics, not even the surrealistically deranged celeb-festooned mask of Las Vegas itself can take away from the drama, even if this one has been cast with non-heroes and all-too-real villains.

Speaking of which, no matter how many times Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer, tried to sell this as a battle of “good against evil.” If you’re looking for a defender of women’s rights, it’s not Manny — a Bible-thumper that has used his massive popularity and considerable political heft to oppose LGBT rights and women’s access to abortion, contraception, and safe sex education in the Philippines.

The general consensus is that this wasn’t a particularly good fight, but I was totally hooked. There’s a stark, undeniable poetry to Mayweather’s tactical brilliance and downright cerebral, defensive style. Squint hard enough and you’ll see a prettiness and a grace to the manner in which he fended off all of Pacquiao’s futile, off-balance, frenzied attacks, even if it’s occasionally punctuated by moments of glib arrogance, like this borderline-cutesy head shake in the sixth round. Like staring at an iceberg that’s creeping ever closer to the bow of the Titanic, the inevitability of it all was awesome to behold.

By the end of the fight, I understood what Deadspin’s Roberts told me via email. “There’s also something embedded in the American DNA about boxing. Somehow, even when 98 percent of the population ignores the sport 11 months out of the year, when there’s a Mike Tyson or Oscar De La Hoya or, ugh, Floyd Mayweather, we somehow all know that man and in some way revere that man. We all feel like we should have an opinion on that man. And we all want to tune in for their biggest fights in a way that surpasses even the Super Bowl... It’s just primal. Boxing is a huge part of who we are.”

That’s undoubtedly true. And, despite all that, this is too: Floyd Mayweather should have been in jail. Floyd Mayweather should have been less of a part of who we are.

(Courtesy, the Daily Beast)

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I can’t disagree with the AVA's “sodden thought of the day” on May 3, in its blog, "Mendocino County Today", regarding KZYX. Indeed, the station can't be fixed given its governance structure.


Because KZYX's governance is fatally flawed, and always has been. Management trumps volunteers. Management trumps members. Management trumps its own Board of Directors. It was set up that way from the very beginning, 25-year ago. We have the station’s founder, a con man named Sean Donovan, to thank. He started KZYX, then milked it for all it was worth. The station was always broken. Management always controlled everything.

Bottom line: The station needs to die, if it is to be reborn.

Die how?

The FCC should yank the station’s licenses, and the CPB should yank its funding. The IRS and California Secretary of State should yank the station’s nonprofit status.

What happens next?

A community of like-minded people, who truly believe in community governance of a community radio station, a la KMUD, should organize to incorporate as a new radio station, and they should apply for the FCC licenses, CPB funding, and tax-exempt status.

What’s nonnegotiable?

KZYX’s useless, overpaid staff — Coate, Aigner, Steffen, and Culbertson — and all of the KZYX Rubber Stamp Board of Directors, and most of the tedious, irrelevant programmers, should be run out of town.

They should all be banished forever from public radio in Mendocino County, and have no connection whatsoever to the new station.

What would the new station look like?

It should look like community radio — not public radio. Public radio puts the emphasis on NPR and strip programming over what a herd of independent minds can do.

What is community radio?

Community radio broadcasts content that is popular and relevant to a local, specific audience but is often overlooked by commercial or mass-media broadcasters.

Community radio stations are operated, owned, and influenced by the communities they serve. They are generally nonprofit and provide a mechanism for enabling individuals, groups, and communities to tell their own stories, to share experiences and, in a media-rich world, to become creators and contributors of media.

Who would operate the new station?

The new station should have only one salaried staff member — a chief engineer.

The balance of the station’s budget should go towards infrastructure improvements — new equipment and technology. This would include whatever it takes to prevent the dead air, fuzz outs, and irritating scratchy signal that listeners frequently experience now.

Also, the new chief engineer should ensure that all public affairs shows are archived.

Shows should also be available as podcasts and RSS feeds. RSS — which stands for Really Simple Syndication — is a convenient way to get audio, video, and text content.

An iPhone app should be developed for the new station.

Links between individual shows and social media, like Facebook, Twitter, Gmail-Google+, should be created.

Links to LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, VK, Flickr, and Vine, should also be considered, as time and resources permit.

Every public affairs show should have a corresponding blog.

The station’s new chief engineer should also facilitate public affairs shows being posted to the Public Radio Exchange and Radio4All for the widest possible distribution.

The new station’s public affairs shows should also be videotaped for distribution to Mendocino Access Television.

Additionally, the station’s main studio should be moved to Ukiah. Having a radio station located in Philo — in the middle of nowhere, between two mountain ranges, and where nobody lives — has never made any sense to anyone, except Sean Donovan, who just happened to have lived in Philo 25-years ago. Meanwhile, Ukiah, is the county seat. It's where a lot of news happens.

Very importantly, and nonnegotiable, a Community Advisory Board (CAB) and a Program Advisory Committee (PAC) should be formed, and they should be as functional and powerful as the new station’s Board of Directors.

My personal hope is that programming at the new station should have local news and public affairs as its main focus. Quality programming is what we want. The highest quality programming from the most professional programmers. It will help us attract the next generation of underwriters. (More about underwriters at the end of this letter in the section called "interactive properties".)

Who will be among the new station’s programmers?

Several familiar faces. K.C. Meadows. Christina Aanestad. Norman De Vall. Doug McKenty. Dennis O'Brien. Beth Bosk. Marco McClean. Mary Massey. Els Cooperrider. Ed Nieves. Otto Rennert. I would invite them all. And I would recruit only the best new faces. I would tap talent through the new station's CAB and PAC.

Another thing. The new station, which will be a full-power FM station, should collaborate with local low-power community stations, like KMEC, KNYO, and KYBU.

Also our friends to the north, KMUD.

Finally, and very importantly, the station’s members should be allowed — encouraged — to communicate with one another via a listserv set up for that purpose. The member listserv will emphasize involvement and participation by the member. It's so important at a true community radio station.

A bucket list-type of thing to consider at the new station?

Interactive properties.

Interactive properties will help the new station attract underwriters in new and exciting ways. A greater emphasis on underwriting revenues will relieve what was once KZYX’s heavy emphasis on its numerous, insufferable pledge drives.

Interactive properties will capitalize on an audience that is highly informed and on the cutting edge of news, politics and culture.

Our underwriters will understand that our audience at the new station will not only has access to radio and television programming, but also have access to a multitude of information ranging from educational resources to upcoming events in northern California. Our audience will also extend beyond Northern California with programming available through live streaming.

Many businesses, donors, and organizations will find the new station’s audience to be particularly appropriate for their messages. These are our new underwriters.

The new station’s emphasis on quality programming will attract the audience that our underwriters seek, which is most notably distinguished by its education level and its professional and financial successes.

Online opportunities for underwriters will include:
1. Web Banners on the new station’s website: full-page and section sponsorships,
2. Live Audio Streams at the new station that will enable pre-roll sponsorship and online Video sponsorship,
3. Member Newsletter at the new station, and
4. Email newsletters blasts.

What I would not do?

I would not recommend that the new station join the National Federation of Community Broadcasters.

The National Federation of Community Broadcasters was formed in 1975 as an umbrella organization for some community-oriented, noncommercial radio stations. It has been sharply criticized for encouraging the homogenization of community stations through its Healthy Station Project. The project encouraged stations to scale back volunteers’ power over management and the content of their programs, as well as to embrace more-predictable “strip” programming.

Instead, I would recommend that the new station join the Grassroots Radio Coalition. It is a loose coalition of stations which formed as a reaction against increasing commercialization of public radio, the centralization of power in salaried management, and the lack of support for volunteers and their programs.

How do I know all this?

By talking to folks at the FCC. Let’s not forget that I had two FCC commissioners on my show back when I was at KZYX, including an FCC Board chair. I also speak with folks at the CPB. Many of them. And I’ve spoken with numerous media attorneys and community radio station people.

Their collective wisdom?

KZYX is too broken to fix.

Their advice?

Continue to file complaints with the FCC, CPB, the IRS, and California Secretary of State. Encourage others to do the same. Document your case. Make the complaints cumulative. Pile them up. Like a punch drunk fighter on the ropes, KZYX will eventually fall to the canvas.

If KZYX doesn't fail, sue them. Sue'em bigtime. There are so many causes of action. Too many to list here. A lawsuit will bankrupt KZYX for sure. It’s already morally and ethically bankrupt.

Then, after the lawsuit, pick up the pieces. Start a new station.

A true community radio station. Something bright and shining. Something smart. Something local. Something edgy. Something that is “alternative”, “radical” or “citizen” radio.

Something to which the FCC wants to issue licenses. Something the CPB wants to fund. Somewhere underwriters want to flock and spend money. Somewhere the community really participates. Somewhere involvement and participation by the member is its own reward.

It’s the right time. Radio is experiencing a revival, in part because of podcasting’s popularity and because more young people are now seeing radio as cool.

Radio is cool.

As KZYX kicks off yet another pledge drive in late-May, remember there could be an alternative to KZYX and its nest of insiders. We could have a new station. A real community station.

Starve the beast. Don't give KZYX your money.

Starve the beast. Coate and his crew won't even tell you their salaries. And they continue to give themselves raises, 10 per cent raises, even as Korea War-era equipment fails and we get more dead air, fuzz outs, and scratchy, irritating signals...even as monies earmarked for a Ukiah studio have gone missing...even as the part-time jobs are filled without being advertised, and the spirit of EEO and affirmative action laws scoffed at...even as the CAB and PAC are set up to be a joke...even as members are kept in the dark, with a strict prohibition from communicating with each other...even as good programmers get censored or silenced for speaking out.

That's not cool.

John Sakowicz, KZYX Board of Directors (2013-2016), Board Treasurer (2014), Ukiah

* * *


Hello Farmers, Friends and Associates,

Attached [ed note: the “attached” “North Coast Counties Marijuana Policy Statement” is too tedious to inflict on our readers here; you’ll have to look it up on your own] you will find the North Coast Regional Platform on Cannabis. This regional approach might well serve rural producer counties. Please talk with your County Supervisors about your concerns and solutions.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors will be reviewing and most likely adopting this platform on Tuesday, May 5th as a timed agenda item at 10am. A plant count increase is not in their Ad Hoc Comittee recommendation. It is possible to have a new ad hoc committee appointed to review a plant count increase. The only way that will happen is if over 100 people arrive at Mendocino County BOS chambers at 9:30am. If you are so inclineded, and support a plant count increase, this is what you need to do now to make any headway in a plant count increase. There will be organizers there to coordinate your efforts. Please bring your family, friends and business owners. It's important that business owners voice their desire for a plant count increase.

Bring everyone! Numbers will be the only thing that will move the County in the direction of a plant count increase.

— Julia Carrera, Small Farmers Association

* * *


Good Morning Anderson Valley,

Here is a link to the AV Foodshed May 2015 Newsletter, full of local food news and links to tasty event flyers and more...


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KMEC Radio is pleased to announce that Coleen Rowley will be John and Sid's guest on Monday, May 4, at 1 p.m., Pacific Time.

Coleen Rowley, an attorney and former FBI special agent and division counsel whose May 2002 memo to the FBI Director exposed some of the agency’s pre-9/11 failures, was one of three whistleblowers named as Time magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002.

In February 2003, Rowley again wrote to FBI Director Robert Mueller questioning him and other Bush administration officials about the reliability of supposed evidence being used to justify the impending U.S invasion of Iraq. Under sharp criticism for her comments, Rowley stepped down from her legal position to go back to being an FBI Special Agent. She retired from the FBI in 2004 after 24 years with the agency.

In keeping with a project we've been doing here at KMEC Radio on professional responsibility with high-level whistleblowers from national security, national intelligence, and federal law enforcement, we're particularly happy to have Coleen Rowley on our May 4th show. Coleen Rowley taught ethics at the FBI and periodically still gives talks on ethical decision-making which relies on some of the very same slide messages as were used at the FBI before she retired.

Ms. Rowley has also have spoken at the Coast Guard Academy and the Naval Academy on their respective annual "ethics training" events. Also, she was involved for a couple of years in an "Intelligence Ethics" initiative spearheaded by Jan Goldman who is now retired and whom KMEC Radio will also contact about our project.

For more about Rowley, see:

KMEC Radio, your community radio station, broadcasts from our studio at the Mendocino Environmental Center. We are heard at 105.1 FM in Ukiah, California. We also stream live from the web at

Our shows are archived. We also post our shows to Youtube.

Shows may also be posted to the Public Radio Exchange or Radio4All, and they will soon be available as podcasts. KMEC Radio is supported by members like you.

One Comment

  1. cswan May 4, 2015

    Third District Voters:

    I fear Tom Woodhouse is throwing you a bone
    with the “Letter to CalTrans re: herbicide use”
    initiative before the BOS tomorrow,
    hoping that you will then go away . . .(all happy, etc.)

    Please, linger . . and insist
    that he is just as capable of
    approving a letter to CalFire
    insisting they put a hold
    on all THP approvals currently before them
    (currently, Albion River, Navarro River, Elk Creek, Comptche)
    that include using the “Hack & Squirt” protocol;
    “Until the fire danger(s) already created by this practice
    can be adequately studied and mitigated.”

    Please, although far more than a pound of cure
    is required to deal with all the fire danger
    this practice has already put in our laps . . .
    There still is time for an ounce of prevention!

    (i.e. We really do not need thousands more acres of forestland
    being turned into “hazards to public health & safety”
    while we await the results of his proposed study, do we?)


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