- FB Initiative
- Warrior Rally
- Body Cameras
- HHSA Budget
- Imaginary Rules
- Yesterday's Catch
- Greedville People
- Authority Misuse
- Hendy Celebration
- Ukiah Contract
- All-star Basketball
- Hospital Risk
- Cloverdale Preserve
- New Restaurant
- Papal Hypocrisy
- Public Radio
- Coate Resignation
- KZYX Compensation
FOLLOWING is a copy of the Initiative we are submitting to the voters of the City of Fort Bragg. We need to have 400 registered voters sign and we would like to have it done by this Monday. The Initiative will then be on the next ballot. Our hope is that the people of the Hospitality House will realize they will not be able to operate the program they have assembled and passed with the help of our city council at the location they have chosen, The Old Coast Hotel Bar and Grill. People wishing to sign this initiative can go to Colombi Market on Oak Street (on Sunday), Mendo Litho on Franklin (Monday) or in front of the post office (when available), and you may see some door to door. We Love Fort Bragg and will take every measure possible to keep the Old Coast Hotel from being used this purpose.
Charles Brandenburg, Concerned Citizens
Initiative Measure To Be Submitted Directly To The Voters
The City Attorney has written following title and summary of the chief purpose and points of the proposed measure:
Prohibiting Social Service Organizations In The Central Business District
This measure would add language to the Fort Bragg Municipal Code to provide that a "social service organization" is not a permitted use within the Central Business District zoning district unless such organization was established and existed at a location within the district prior to January 1, 2015.
Further, this measure would modify table 2-6 in the Fort Bragg Municipal Code regarding "Allowed Land Uses And Permit Requirements Or Commercial Zoning Districts" with respect to a "social service organization" to change that use from "Permitted Use, Zoning Clearance required," to "Use not allowed."
A social service organization is defined by the Fort Bragg Municipal Code as:
"A public or quasi-public establishment providing social or rehabilitation services, serving persons with social or personal problems requiring special services, the handicapped, and the otherwise disadvantaged. Examples of this land use include: counseling centers, welfare offices, job counseling and training centers, or vocational rehabilitation agencies. Includes organizations soliciting funds to be used directly for these and related services and establishments engaged in community improvement and neighborhood development. Does not include day care services, emergency shelters and transitional housing or "Residential Care" which are separately defined.
Signed, Brenda Jordain, City of Fort Bragg Elections Official for Samantha Zutler, City of Fort Bragg General Counsel
Date: June 2, 2015
Notice To The Public: This Petition May Be Circulated By A Paid Signature Gatherer Or A Volunteer. You Have The Right To Ask.
Signatures Of Registered Voters Only.
BIG DAY FRIDAY in the Bay Area, what with the Warrior rally in Oakland and the President swooping in on The People's jumbo jet to swap cliches with a conference of mayors before stopping in on a couple of billionaires to shake them down for the noble cause of electing Him. The President's motorcade, complete with the identical limo containing a guy who looks vaguely like El Presidente to confuse potential assassins. If Obama rode a bike from the Ferry Building to the billionaire's aerie in Sea Cliff it would probably be just as safe for him as his traffic-snarling motorcade and would certainly be a visual more consistent with what's left of democratic principals than these 500 uniformed and un-uniformed gun boys he travels with like some kind of hot country dictator.
THE WARRIORS event was ok as these things go. A million people turned out for it and seemed to have a good time, and who's to deny people the opportunity to feel good about something even if it's only a game? Oakland's yuppo mayor went on too long and the president of the Oakland City Council went on even longer, so long thousands of people began yelling at him to get off so basketball's champs could get on. This late in late capitalism these elected smiley faces have no idea how estranged every day people are from them.
PERSONAL REMINISCE: So many years ago that I feel more like Rip Van Winkle every day, got into a couple of pick-up basketball games with Tom Meschery. Meschery was sitting next to Rick Barry on the celebratory platform in Oakland today. He was a big star at, as I recall, Lowell High School in San Francisco, then an All-American at St. Mary's, then a star with the Warriors when they were in San Francisco at the Cow Palace and the Civic Auditorium. After basketball he opened a bookstore in Truckee and became pretty well known as a poet. He must be pushing 80 by now but I always feel good on those rare occasions he pops into public view.
WAY, WAY BACK there was a kind of every man's country club in Fairfax called the Marin Town and Country Club. The swells had their own private spas and golf courses, but any old body could pay fifty cents or whatever it was and swim all day or play basketball on the outdoor courts or both. Or rent cabins or just enjoy a day's picnic on the dozen or so tree-shaded acres. The wolves have slavered to develop the property for years, but it's still there, a ghost of what it was but at least not covered with condos and consumers driving vehicles as wide as the old bridge at the entrance. The cabins are still there although the pools and the outdoor basketball haven't seen action since, I don't know, 1960?
MESCHERY and a whole bunch of the best high school and college basketball players often spent whole summer days on the courts at the Fairfax fun center, which would have been 1954-55. If the great players were short a guy they'd pick up one of us, ah, slo-mo guys from the slo-mo court to fill out a team. I got to play with the big boys a couple of times, although all I got to do was in-bounds the ball maybe once and pass it off if it happened to carom into my hands. It was a simpler time, certainly, and I was usually working and wasn't able to lounge around in Fairfax very often. But there were days when the place was pure hoops magic at a time when basketball was going to a whole new level. And now that it has, well, I'll bet Meschery never had as much fun doing it as he did on those long ago summer days at the Marin Town and Country Club.
HAMBURG GRILLS SHERIFF ON PATROL AND BODY CAMERAS
Supervisor Dan Hamburg: I was just looking for clarification. I see $275,000 I believe to replace video surveillance equipment and I think it's for 44 patrol cars. How many patrol cars do we actually run now?
Sheriff Tom Allman: 44, 45.
Hamburg: So that's for all the patrol cars?
Allman: Well yeah, we have been, previously, we —
Hamburg: I read the material and I just wasn't clear on this video surveillance. So this is for all the time the patrol car is in operation or is this when you have an encounter with a suspect or— how does this work?
Allman: Thank you supervisor for allowing me to clarify. As you know the Sheriff's office has used a computer system which we refer to as iCop for the last six years of dashboard mounted video surveillance, video cameras to document all traffic stops and for the most part interactions with the public that's near the patrol car. The company iCop has gone out of business and our video monitoring system is breaking and we can't buy parts so we are replacing it with a company referred to as Watchguard. Several other large law enforcement organizations throughout the state have gone to Watchguard including the Highway Patrol and it's a very efficient and cost-effective method to allow us to obtain evidence as well as reduce personnel complaints that we have. I can tell you that since we have enacted iCop our personnel complaints have plummeted from around 14 a year to two a year that deal with personnel complaints that originate at the interaction of a traffic violator or an arrestee. It provides digital evidence for the district attorney's office as well as for our recordkeeping. So this is switching over to a new system. It's going to allow us to use less data storage and continue with the video monitoring.
Hamburg: Now is this something that is actually attached to the patrol car or is it something that the officer carries with him or her?
Allman: This is not a body camera, this is a —
Hamburg: Not a body camera —
Allman: Not a body camera.
Hamburg: It's a separate thing.
Allman: Yes. I will say that Watchguard has come out with new body cameras that are integrated with the microphone so the officer is not going to have to wear two. This is new technology and no one has officially gone to this yet because they are still working out the alpha and beta trial systems of it. As you may know supervisor, the Deputy Sheriffs Association and the County have been working on language for body cameras. It seems to be a concern at the statewide and national level of civil rights, and it's certainly not my intention to violate any civil rights. However, the protection of my officers and the protection of the public is of utmost importance and I will be pushing for body cameras when the right models come out and of course we will be using those body cameras within whatever parameters that we as an elected body determine.
Hamburg: So typically when one of your patrol cars is rolling and you come across an incident where you may have an encounter with a suspect and it's possible there will be an arrest, your officer immediately flips the system on?
Allman: There are several ways—
Hamburg: In order to have a record?
Allman: …for the system to come on. Automated, when he or she turns on the electric, or the red lights, the system automatically comes on. If their patrol car reaches a certain speed the camera automatically comes on, or the officer has the ability to manually turn it on if he's going to step out of the car and have contact with a pedestrian or something like that. The deputy has the ability to have it on at his discretion, but when the video system comes on automatically through activation of the lights or reaching a certain speed the deputy does not have the ability to turn it off. It's a very secure system where it can't be copied over and things like that. Or deleted.
Hamburg: Thank you.
Allman: Thank you for allowing me to answer the question.
JAMES MARMON WRITES:
The recent discussions regarding Mendocino County recommended 2015-16 budget to the Board of Supervisors has aroused my curiosity. I noticed that in the PowerPoint and the Recommended Budget presented to board on June 9, 2015, that there was very little mention of the Health and Human Services Agency’s (HHSA) revenues, expenditures, carryovers, or its reserves. So, I decided to look at last year’s HHSA’s Social Services Administration’s budget unit 5010. According to the 2014-15 budget 5010, HHSA expected to receive a total of $39 million in revenues from the federal and state funding, plus a $2 million net county cost, bringing total revenues to $41 million. Of course in order to balance the budget they allocated the full $41 million to cover projected expenditures which included salary and employment benefits.
According to the 2014-15 HHSA budget for unit 5010, Social Services had 303 current full time equivalent (FTE) employees but were allocated for 414 FTE employees. That would mean that unless HHSA’s hired 111 new employees, they should’ve had a substantial carryover for this year. Unfortunately, it appears that HHSA does not report their carryovers from one year to the next, or exactly where the excess funds from the unfilled positions are being spent. My guess is that the funds are being put in some reserve account somewhere. However, that somewhere seems to be a mystery to me. I’ve looked for that information everywhere and I can’t it. Unfortunately I am somewhat limited in my research because of a restraining order that Carmel Angelo, Stacy Cryer, and Bryan Lowery have against me that prohibits me from sending any emails or other electronic communications addressing Mendocino County and/or its employees to anyone but County Counsel Thomas Parker, who is no longer employed with the county.
My assumption is that this money is being placed into some reserve account and then transferred to Mental Health’s budget unit 4050 to cover the Mental Health’s projected $3.7 million deficit for this year. According to an Ukiah Daily Journal article addressing the mental health deficit dated May 14, 2015, “the HHSA is anticipating being able to cover the adjusted increases with savings from other budgetary accounts.” I hope that our privatized mental health system isn’t preventing HHSA from restoring wages or hiring new employees in non-privatized departments such as Employment and Family Assistance, Family and Children’s Services, or Aging and Adult Services. If I am wrong I hope someone provides me some clarity. The HHSA’s budget needs to be looked at closely, it is not very transparent and appears to fly under the radar from year to year.
James Marmon, MSW.
PET PEEVE: After Dr. Jeanine Pfeiffer told the Board of Supervisors last Tuesday that the wildlife management presentation they had just listened to didn’t adequately address the ecological secondary impacts of lethal predator control, a few people in the audience politely applauded.
Board Chair Carre Brown bristled and admonished the three or four clappers: “Please, there is not to be, um, clapping. If you agree with, um, um, the speakers, put your hands up and wave. OK? It’s part of the rules of procedure.”
It’s one thing to ask the audience not to applaud, but it’s another to cite a non-existent rule. There is nothing in the Board’s “Rules of Procedure” about applauding, clapping, audience reaction or approval/disapproval, much less about putting your hand up and waving. Just another minor example of Official Mendocino County again making up the rules as they go along. — Mark Scaramella
CATCH OF THE DAY, June 19, 2015
TERRY COUNTERMAN, Fort Bragg. Burglary.
CLINTON DURANT, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)
GABRIEL GUILBEAU, Ukiah. Domestic battery, removing communications equipment to prevent calling for help, false imprisonment, disturbing the peace.
RICKIE HARLAN, Lakeport/Willits. Drunk in public.
JOHN HOLLOWAY, Fort Bragg. Parole violation.
AGUSTIN MIRANDA, Stockton/Ukiah. Commission of unspecified sexual crime with child of 14-15 while being at least ten years older than victim.
RYAN RAYA, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, receiving stolen property, conspiracy, parole violation.
ROMAN SOTO, Manchester. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, assault on police officer, receiving stolen property, evasion, conspiracy, probation revocation.
MICHAEL VICKERS, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)
GABRIEL ZUNIGA, Redwood Valley. DUI.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY: The longer I stay in Palo Alto, the more amazed I am at the truly surrealistic greed that permeates the place. And this town is two-thirds Democratic. I thought Democrats were the party of the “little guy”? At least the Republicans are honest about their money grubbing. Here in Greedville people can vote for Democrats and then turn around and shake small retailers down for $15/sq. ft. rents and residential tenants for $3500 for 800 square foot apartments that have absolutely no amenities whatsoever.
I’ll be moving before 2016 but I’ll keep commenting on this sublimely nutty area until I leave.
‘UNDER COLOR OF LAW’
It is a federal crime for anyone acting “under color of law” willfully to deprive or conspire to deprive a person of a right protected by the Constitution or U.S. law. “Color of law” simply means that the person is using authority given to him or her by a local, state, or federal government agency.
The FBI investigates color of law violations.
The posting of “Collecting Prohibited” signs at the glass beaches is an attempt to deceive people in order to deny them their rights and to defraud them of the money and time they spent coming here. These are criminal actions.
The planned actions at Noyo beach on the 4th of July are also illegal. There is no law against possessing alcohol or fireworks. To stop, search, and then seize these items when people are literally “leaving town” to legally enjoy them “at sea” below the mean high water mark is also a color of law violation.
City government and its employees have no right to exercise authority, either directly or through deceit, beyond the borders of the city and it is criminal to do so under the color of law.
It is extremely disturbing to see the city council members, City Manager and Community Development Coordinator conspiring gleefully during city council meetings to engage in these criminal acts.
“Knowing better” and “good intentions” do not justify these actions. City government must obey and RESPECT the law, even more than the average citizen. If the above actions are carried out, I urge all those concerned with the loss of their rights to file a complaint with the FBI.
Captain Cass Forrington, Fort Bragg
HENDY WOODS DAY USE AREA REOPENS AFTER RENOVATION
After being closed most of the winter, the Hendy Woods State Park Day Use Area will reopen at a special celebration on Sunday, June 28 from 1-4 PM. Day Use entry will be free for the afternoon. Everyone is welcome to celebrate with appetizers, dessert, and drinks supplied by the Hendy Woods Community. Bring your own picnic. Sarah Larkin and Friends will provide music, and new park interpreter Steve Jahelka will lead a sing along.
Funding for the renovation was provided by Hendy Woods Community, Save the Redwoods League, and the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Representatives from the organizations will be on hand to provide information about their programs.
Upgrades include a new bathroom, two shade structures with new BBQs and tables, new walkways and new interpretive panels, all of which have been constructed to the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This continues the tradition of ADA compliant facilities at Hendy Woods begun by the Unity Club with the Gentle Giants All Access Trail. The parking area has also been reconfigured and repaved.
Expect a bit of dust until rainfall allows re-vegetation later in the year.
“This has been a very encouraging cooperative effort,” said Hendy Woods Chairperson Kathy Bailey. “Communication was good throughout the process. Parks Department staffers went out of their way to make sure we knew what was happening and kept the many pieces of the project moving forward. Working together with the knowledgeable staff of Save the Redwoods League ensured a good outcome. We’re very pleased.”
Contact: Kathy Bailey 707-684-0505
THEY DON'T CALL HIM 'SAGE' FOR NOTHING
To the Editor:
Nice work, if you can get it!
I just read in the UDJ that Ukiah’s newly hired City Manager has negotiated an open-ended contract, with total benefits starting at $251,699 per year. Wow! That’s nearly six times the estimated median household income in Ukiah for 2012 of $42,539. At no less than 10% more than the highest paid department head, is it any wonder that the city can’t afford to fill the potholes in it’s streets?
Lawrence Ames, Ukiah
THIS YEAR’S ANNUAL REDWOOD EMPIRE ALL STAR BASKETBALL GAME game will be held on Saturday, June 27, at Rincon Valley Christian High School in Santa Rosa. Tip off will begin at 7 p.m. The game will feature the top Senior boys from the NCL I, NCL II, NCL III and SSB Leagues.
Due to a low rate of coach participation for the girls teams, there will only be a boys team representing some of the top players from the above mentioned leagues this year. The Boys roster include players from Lake, Napa, Mendocino, Sonoma, and Marin Counties. There are a total of 20 players on the roster including League MVPs, Empire POY, etc.
The Players Included On The Roster Are:
Elvis Gaxiola - Anderson Valley - NCL III Champ and 1st Team.
Armani Perry - Archbishop Hanna-SSBL Champ - SSBL Champs and POY All league and All Empire.
Larry Michel - Archbishop Hanna-SSBL Champ - SSBL Champs.
Jhe’neard Hemmingway - Archbishop Hanna-SSBL Champ - SSBL Champs and 1st Team.
Erik Valencia - Calistoga - NCL II 2nd Team.
John McMillan - Cloverdale - NCL I Champ and MVP - 1st Team All Empire.
Brandon Huber - Kelseyville - NCL I 2nd Team.
James Clark - Lower Lake - NCL I Honorable Mention.
Dustin Martin - Lower Lake.
Scott Duncan - Mendocino - NCL III 1st Team.
Noah Thomas - Mendocino - NCL III 1st Team - 3rd Team All Empire.
Isiah Graham - Mendocino - NCL III Honorable Mention.
Cody Chorjel - Middletown - NCL I 2nd Team.
Joe Lin - Rincon Valley Christian - NCL II 1st Team - 1st Team All Empire.
Daniel Maples - Rincon Valley Christian - NCL II Honorable Mention.
Alex Padilla - Roseland Univ Prep-NCL II - NCL II Champs.
Sean Kneeland - Sonoma Academy.
Chris Saladin - St Helena - NCL I Honorable Mention.
Nathan Gerhardt - Technology - NCL II Honorable Mention.
Joel Gutierrez - Tomales - NCL II Honorable Mention.
Sponsorship for the game is provided by Oilstop - Chevron Drive Thru Oil Change and the North Coast Officials Association is providing officials for the game. There will be an admission charge and a snack bar will be available.
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
HIGH RISK AT COAST HOSPITAL
by Scott M. Peterson
“Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.” – Warren Buffet
There’s a nifty little insurance company in the East Bay. Called BETA Healthcare Group RMA. That stands for risk management authority. BETA’s gig is insuring hospitals. Like the one in Fort Bragg. For a price. You’ll see it on their website. At www.mcdh.org. In their latest audit. On page eight. Tenth line down. It’s $682,568. Now divide that by the number of beds there. Which is twenty-five. What you’ll get is a cost of $27,303 per bed. Just for insurance.
Now go to the website at www.aon.com. You’ll find a report there titled, “2013 Hospital and Physician Professional Liability Analysis.” It says the average hospital liability is only $2,940 per bed. But what’s the average cost? Hop on over to the website for Sonoma Valley Hospital at www.svh.com. They’ve got an audit too. Do the same math on their insurance costs. They pay $2,731 per bed. Ten percent of what MCDH pays. Yeah. Why is hospital insurance so gosh darned high in Fort Bragg? The answer is a four-letter word: Risk.
I got that straight from the horse’s mouth. BETA’s head honcho. Mr. Tom Wander. He didn’t want to tell me at first. But BETA is a genuine gubmint agency. It’s subject to the California Public Records Act. So I got a veep from the California Hospital Association to remind him of that fact. Then I started getting emails from Mr. Wander. Lots of them. BETA wasn’t gouging the local hospital. Not at all. MCDH’s insurance got jacked up on account of its claims history. So I asked for a copy. At the same time, I clicked my way to the website at www.publicpay.ca.gov. To get a look at Mr. Wander’s paycheck. Out of a hundred-fifty thousand special district employees in California, Mr. Wander is El Jefe. At $1.1 million a year. Eight other BETA executives made the top 1,000 there as well. All of them pulling down annual salaries of $200,000 plus.
BETA isn’t the only government insurance group in Northern California. There’s another one called Alameda County Schools Insurance Group. You can find them at the same website. They’re twice the size of BETA. With only two paid employees. Both of them earning less than $200,000 a year. ACSIG is also accredited. BETA isn’t. Nonetheless, BETA insures a whole slew of California hospitals. About a hundred-fifty in all. Including Sonoma Valley Hospital. So I asked Mr. Wander for their claims history too. Along with the applications and rates for both hospitals. To do a little insurance shopping. And confirm what Mr. Wander said. Which would make it a public safety issue.
At the same time, I contacted MCDH. Asking them for an exact breakdown of those insurance costs. My contact there is the new CEO, Mr. Bob Edwards. At the last board meeting, he announced that he’d told all the MCDH employees to take the bull by the horns. To jump in and fix anything that needed a fixin’. I made my request by email under the subject line, “Public Safety Issue.” Mr. Edwards must be busy decorating his new office. Because I never got a reply. I also asked for a public presentation. To tell us all why our insurance rates are so high. About what can be done to bring them down. And to decrease our risk. Mr. Edwards never got back to me on that either. Unlike Mr. Wander, Mr. Edwards never got back to me on anything.
At this writing, I’m waiting for insurance records from Mr. Wander. And a satisfactory reply from Mr. Edwards. Until then, I’d call MCDH a high-risk hospital.
NEIGHBORS V. CLOVERDALE OPEN SPACE
The prospect of a new parking lot, portable restrooms and increased traffic tied to a 249-acre Cloverdale open space preserve has some Clover Springs residents unsettled.
HEAR ABOUT THE NEW RESTAURANT in Ukiah combining Japanese and Jewish cuisine? Sosumi.
POPE FRANCIS'S HYPOCRISY
It's amusing to hear the latest incarnation of “The Pope”, who like Dr. Who, periodically undergoes transformations, encouraging concern for the environment when his archaic, authoritarian, mythology based institution, The Catholic Church, and its madrassas are one of the causes of the degradation of the environment.
The Church not only propagates the mythology of Genesis 1:26,
*And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.*
but continues to teach the Monte Python Creed: “Every sperm is sacred.”
By opposing birth control and abortion, the church has helped foment a population explosion that threatens to exhaust the world’s resources and condemn a large percentage of humankind to a Malthusian nightmare.
According to the Catholic Couple to Couple League, the basis of the church’s opposition to birth control may be explained as follows:
*The basic reason for the Church's opposition to any sort of sinful action is that such actions are contrary to the nature God has given us. Jesus said about marriage, "Let no one take apart what God has put together" (Mk10:9). This can also be applied to the act of sexual intercourse which has been called "the marriage act" for centuries of Christian history.*
*In the natural act of completed marital sexual intercourse, there is a symbolic bodily unity of man and wife. However, in every form of unnatural birth control, there is a positive effort to destroy the procreative potential of an act that God has given us as a unique sign of married love. *
Firstly, Jesus is a myth. It’s doubtful that any such person ever existed. If anyone wants to cite Mr. Christ’s opinions on human reproduction, I demand to know how they’ve communicated with him and to see some evidence of this communication.
Secondly, how can anyone determine what god put together? God is also mythical and doesn’t exist. Maybe if she or he appeared in an interview on *Democracy Now, *I’d change my mind. Maybe not. I don’t trust Amy Goodman as much as I once did.
“Unnatural birth control”? What is natural birth control? Abstinence? Jerking off? Withdrawal before ejaculation? Why are any of these methods less natural than putting a small hood over the penis?
According to World Overpopulation Awareness, the most serious effects of overpopulation are,
*Depletion of resources: for example: for oil, the sweet crude is mostly gone, leaving the hard-to-get oil at great energy cost to civilization because energy powers civilization and
enewables have a long way to go to fill in for fossil fuels. This country is going into debt to keep production up. Other resources being depleted: soil, water, arable land, fertilizer (phosphate), metals.*
*Pollution: carbon, plastics, nitrogen, GTO crops.
And, also according to WOA, http://www.overpopulation.org/faq.html#, the main factors contributing to overpopulation are,
Anything that gets in the way of a woman's ability to control her own reproduction. This would include: patriarchal traditions, lack of contraceptive choices, lack of education, child or forced marriages, banned or unsafe abortions, disenfranchisement, misinformation about birth control, doctor's ill-informed or prejudiced attitude, and use of a less effective method of birth control, such as the pill, condoms, or withdrawal - the three most common methods in the U.S.
All three archaic Abrahamic religions have factions that advocate the restriction of birth control and abortion. None are more egregious than Pope Francis’s reactionary Catholic Church. If Jorge Mario Bergoglio sincerely wants to stop the destruction of the environment, a good first step would be changing the repressive, misogynous, archaic policies in his own house.
Louis Bedrock, New Rochelle, New Jersey
HOW TO MAKE KZYX A PUBLIC RADIO STATION
Although the resignation of the general manager is significant, people are recognizing that we still need to focus on policies and procedures if we are going to effect long-term change at KZYX. Below are proposals concerning communications, elections, and committees. Nonviolent communication tells us to focus on such policies rather than demeaning personalities. I cannot support those who engage in the latter and must disassociate myself from such activity. I ask everyone to look past the rancor and instead focus on what policies and procedures are best for public radio in Mendocino County. One of the goals of those seeking change is improving communication among programmers, members, and the community. There are three ways by which MCPB/KZYX can use its internet resources to achieve that goal:
1) Interactive Communication: This function has been fulfilled to some extent by the KZYXTalk listserve established by Norm de Valle, which has been a valuable resource. But its reach and effect are limited; some folks simply are not aware of it, and it has no official affiliation with the station. Marco's McClean's proposal of adding a community bulletin board service to the official website, the KZYX BBS, would allow any member, and the public if we open it up, to be part of an ongoing discussion. With a tab on the main web page, more people would be aware of it. By being affiliated with the station, it would encourage input and increase the chance that ideas would be taken seriously by the board and management. And it would allow members to alert others to additional web resources, including member-maintained websites. The BBS, by definition, would be an opt-in service, as opposed to . . .
2) Membership Email List: This list would initially include all members who have supplied an email address. Its function would be one-way communication from the organization to its members. Its primary use would be a quarterly update, sometimes called a netletter, with news of the station such as the current schedule, programming changes, and upcoming events. It could also be used to announce the BBS and other changes in policy and procedures. It seems that every organization except KZYX uses such a list, no matter how big or small. Its creation would demonstrate change in attitude toward communicating and engaging with the members. As suggested above, this would be an opt-out list; every member for whom we have an email would get the initial announcement, with an opt-out link included.
3) Programmers Page: I have also heard from programmers and former programmers that there is no way to get additional information to listeners about their other good work in the community. A solution would be to create a tab on the main web page called "Programmers" which leads to a page or pages where each programmer can write a paragraph or two about their activities, include one or more links, perhaps to their own web page, perhaps with their personal email, perhaps with a picture of themselves. Again, the purpose is to use the website to increase communication. There would be a general disclaimer, "The station does not endorse etc." at the top of the page(s), as there would be with the BBS.
A second area of change involves the election process, specifically the policies that actually discourage membership and discussion. Although the deadline for becoming a member is December 31 of each year, the membership list is not certified and sent to the vendor for mailing ballots until February 28, a full two months later. There is no need to exclude from voting those people who became members in January and February. Yet this is precisely when interest in the election is at its highest, and when people would be most motivated to join. Candidates must submit their applications and statements by January 31. Members and the general public become aware of who is running and what the issues are. But it is too late to join or renew and be eligible to vote. Conversely, prior to December 31, everyone is involved in holiday activities with family and friends, with little or no attention paid to the election. MCPB/KZYX should stop suppressing participation in the voting process by allowing anyone who joins/renews by the date of certification of the rolls (i.e., the last day of February) to be eligible to vote in that year's election. Any earlier date is arbitrary and capricious and serves only one purpose, to suppress participation and voting by the membership and the listening public. The timing of the direct mail renewal notice (mid-January) currently does nothing to increase the number of eligible voters. Concealing the simple-living membership level of $25 per year actually reduces it. An entire class of potential members is disenfranchised by management's refusal to put this information in their outreach letter or on the website. Moving the cutoff date and announcing the simple-living membership are two ways that the organization can increase membership participation and insure that the election actually reflects the will of the community. Making our committees fully functional would also help engage the public and ensure that essential decisions are not just being made by one or two people. Two of the current committees are advisory: the Community Advisory Board (CAB) and the Program Advisory Committee. The CAB needs to be opened up so that it is both independent and geographically diverse, as is required by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It membership and activities are currently too restricted. The PAC has been dormant for years, which at least gives the appearance that the program director is making decisions arbitrarily and without adequate community input. In addition to the advisory committees, the board of directors has a number of standing committees which have been inactive for years. Below is a list of the committees and their functions as described in the "Board of Directors Policy & Procedures Manual". They each should be fully implemented. For example, the Personnel Committee is charged with hearing complaints that are not resolved at the staff/management level. This is far better that forcing people to send unresolved complaints to the FCC. Please note that both directors and members can be named to the committees. Note also that the Executive Committee (the officers) and the Audit Committee are not listed below, as they are already created in the Bylaws. Go to http://kzyx.org/images/pdf/MCPBBYLAWSAdopted12July2010.pdf for details. Thanks to all for your continued interest in public media in Mendocino County and beyond.
Dennis O'Brien, Ukiah
7 COMMITTEE DESCRIPTIONS & RESPONSIBILITIES
7.1 Nominating and Elections: This committee will have overall responsibility for the election of Board members according to the By laws and the established Policies & Procedures of the Board (see MCPB Elections Policy in the MCPB Policy Binder). It will recommend election procedures as necessary. The nominating committee shall recommend to the Board candidates for all vacancies to be filled on the Board of Directors; will oversee the actual election process; and will declare the winners. Annual evaluations of current Board members will be conducted by this committee. This committee will include the Secretary of the Corporation.
7.2 Finance: This committee has responsibility for working with management on the annual budget and recommending it to the Board, according to the terms of these Policies & Procedures. In creating the annual budget and plan, the Finance Committee will work closely with the Fund Raising Committee on the income plan: and with all appropriate committees on the expense plan. In addition, this committee will work with management and with the Long Range Planning Committee to produce and update Three Year Budgets. It will regularly review fiscal procedures and reports of the station, select the independent auditor for the annual audit, and generally oversee the finances of the corporation according to the By-laws and Policies and Procedures of the corporation. The Treasurer will serve on the Finance committee.
7.3 Fund Raising and Membership: This committee is responsible for creating the annual income plans incorporating all possible aspects of producing income. It will produce Project Planning Proposals for each income project, participate where appropriate in the execution of the income projects, and review the success of the income projects. This committee will oversee Membership development programs, including Public Relations, Marathons and the Program guide. The Program Guide will be produced jointly by staff, this committee and the Programming Committee.
7.4 Personnel: Revisions adopted by the board in March 2006: This committee is responsible for reviewing and recommending personnel policies for the corporation, as well as establishing evaluation procedures for station staff. This committee will perform an annual evaluation of the General Manager. In addition, this committee will review staff employment contracts and benefit packages. The General Manager Hiring Committee will include at least one Board member from the Personnel Committee. The Personnel Committee will hear and recommend action on personnel grievances that are not resolved at staff level.
7.5 Long Range Planning: This committee is responsible for creating and updating the 3-year Plan, in coordination with the Finance Committee. This committee will regularly consider long range issues facing all aspects of the station and prepare recommendations to the Board.
7.6 Programming: This committee is responsible for reviewing and recommending all programming policies and guidelines to ensure fulfillment of the station mission.
7.7 Equipment and Construction: This committee is responsible for reviewing and recommending policies, procedures and projects related to the maintenance and improvement of the corporation's physical plant, including the offices, studios, equipment, transmission capabilities, etc.
THE ENEMY WITHIN
To the Editor:
This is a response to John Sakowicz’s letter of June 17 about the retirement of KZYX General Manager John Coate.
I am on the KZYX board and I have gotten to know John Coate and station business pretty well in my tenure. I can assure you that John Coate resigned not because of any of the reasons that John Sakowicz implies (“only one day after he was served with a demand letter...”) but because of personal family issues, one of which is that he and his wife have had to live apart for the better part of a year because of her job in Santa Rosa, and that he also has family there, and that he has served KZYX incredibly well for seven years as the GM under very trying circumstances, not the least of which is the constant battering by current board member John Sakowicz which has cost the station close to $20,000 in legal fees to thwart the specious allegations he has promoted under the guise of “conscience.” If this is “conscience” please take me to another planet.
The “demand letter” referred to is just another in a long list of specious attempts to undermine the GM and the station. I have a lot more to say about Mr. Sakowicz, not the least of which is that it is extremely difficult for those of us who want to help the station to be involved with a board member who wages a relentless campaign to destroy it.
Meg Courtney, Fort Bragg
MARCO ON KZYX
Subject: Fair compensation at KZYX.
On 6/17/2015 10:14 PM, Daney Dawson wrote:
Obviously…the point I am trying to make is not that the station's purpose is to enrich any individuals, but to fairly compensate the people responsible for the operation of the station…
* * *
Daney, those operating the station are the people preparing for and doing their shows; many of them are college educated and/or trained musicians like you, who bring their own specialized equipment and years of expertise to the work. You're right to imply that a lot of airpeople at KZYX, like everywhere else, are dilettantes playing CDs and identifying the station at the top of the hour and maybe chuckling with their two regular callers, but even those people are the reason the station gets tax money and attracts memberships. Much more so than employing managers. A manager and a program director and an ad (underwriting) salesman together sucking $140,000 a year out of the station –the equivalent of 2,800 yearly fifty-dollar memberships –more members than KZYX ever had or will have– is beyond comically wrong. It's outrageously wrong. And I'll tell you why:
The people most responsible for the operation of the station's physical plant are the ones who manufactured and installed the transmitters and translator stations and antennas and plugged and screwed the equipment together, and they mostly live a long way away, and they did their work and were paid a long time ago. That's done.
You seem to have the impression that the so-called general manager must be a henpecked wretch doing a thankless job, frantically crunching numbers, trotting around making sure everyone's doing the right thing at the right time, digging holes to plant trees to shade the station and pedaling a generator the rest of the time to keep everything working. In fact a radio station is a small number of very reliable boxes that require no attention or care at all and only a few dollars a day, in total, for electricity. If the manager were to fall down a well and go missing for weeks, no-one would notice. When something breaks, sure, the manager, or whoever breaks it, has to shove it back together, if he knows how, or call an engineer to fix it, but calling takes a few minutes and involves lifting the telephone and talking into it. And failure hardly ever happens. That's what /reliable/ means. When it gets unreliable it gets replaced by an engineer. Because he was called on the phone. And the engineer is paid by the hour. If a problem persists, it's because the manager keeps calling the wrong engineer.
And if once every four to seven years the roof leaks, the manager is responsible to call a roofer to patch it. Not difficult. Not time consuming.
In real life, people with radio shows arrive on time ready to do their shows, and if they get a flat tire or sleep late, or if their remote studio has a problem connecting and they miss the first five minutes, automation takes over and IDs the station and plays music appropriate to that show so it's seamless. I suppose it might be uncomfortable for the manager to have to eventually telephone someone bizarre enough to refuse again and again to appear as scheduled but it /hardly ever happens that a person with a regular radio show misses his airdate; airpeople just do not do that. In my entire life I have never missed a single airdate.
And all the shows you hear from NPR and other syndication systems (themselves tax funded) play themselves. It's no more complicated than the computer in your own house, that you use to type your opinions to us on. An IT person –or, after a few minutes' training, anyone else available– schedules those recurring things once and they're set. When it's time for Morning Edition, Morning Edition starts. When it's time for Amy Goodman, Amy Goodman starts, and so on. The manager's attention is not required for syndicated shows. Nobody at the station has to anxiously sit there in the garage and watch the computer blink. Nobody has to watch the clock and flip a switch. As regards the manager having to deal with airpeople, when I do my KNYO show by remote I email Bob Young to let him know, and when I do it from the studio on Franklin I let myself in (if there's no-one there before me with the door open), do my show, clean up after myself, lock up and leave. And it's the same for the others there. And it was like that at KMFB, except Bob Woelfel was always there, and that was good, too.
Right, I almost forgot: the techies who maintain the internet provider so those syndicated shows can squirt through the right tubes. They're essential. And they're miles away and paid by their own company.
There's a bookkeeper with bookkeeping software to take care of the bookkeeping at KZYX. And except when it's time to fake up a financial spreadsheet for the board the manager doesn't even have to say hi and bye to the bookkeeper. A system like PayTrust (from the same company that makes TurboTax) automatically pays all the bills, only needing to be tended for ten minutes a month. By the bookkeeper.
The board of directors declared itself responsible for raising money, and they accomplished most of that a quarter of a century ago when they got KZYX on the CPB gravy train.
Maintaining the show schedule on the website might take a couple of minutes when a show is given up or a new show premiers or shows shift around to better times.
But the main thing the manager is needed for is to maintain the FCC-required paperwork, including putting any letters written to the station, presumably after reading them, into the public inspection file in the file cabinet all the way across the room. That and all the other crucial tasks for a radio station manager add up to an afternoon of work per month, which he should be paid for by the hour.
I repeat: the most important people at the station are the ones preparing for and doing their shows, for which they should be paid more than the booby-prize /gas money/ so many people have been only half-heartedly proposing lately, and they shouldn't have to be afraid to lose their show and be kicked out and blackballed and ostracized forever after if they cross some petty power-mad poobah in management. They should be able to do their show the best they know how without interference, because it's their show, not the manager's show, not the so-called program director's show. It's certainly not the business underwriting coordinator's show.
When I recommended Bob Woelfel for the job of general manager at KZYX –now that John Coate has fled, thank Christ (after they gave him nearly half a million dollars! and all he accomplished in eight years! was firing the news department right off the bat and 7.6 years later starting a pretend new one and adding one bell and two whistles to the web page)– I meant that Bob Woelfel will do the job of general manager, including half a dozen other jobs at the station, and do it all way better and more cheerily than the current whole lot of them, for not making a huge weepy deal about how /hard/ it is and how it's /so much work/ to deal honorably with a few people who are justifiably angry for being maliciously shut out of a public resource that should be ours by right even if we're the sort of people who refuse to kiss the big massa's figurative spotty behind, and instead take a picture of it and hold it up to ridicule.