- FB Initiative
- Cyclist Killed
- Neumeyer Arrested
- Immigration Holds
- Suspicious Transactions
- Yarding Corridors
- Cow Mountain Bust
- Yesterday's Catch
- The Undercurrent
- Outlet Creek
- Rainwater Catchment
- Yes, No
- Notional Acceptance
- Biker Gender
- Caltrans Herbicides
- KZYX Meeting
- Tuba Skinny
FORT BRAGG INITIATIVE (by Malcolm Macdonald)
On Monday evening, July 13th, the Fort Bragg City Council met in front of a subdued audience of 25-30 citizens. Anna Shaw, head of the Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center (MCHC) was there, so were a few of that non-profit's board members. None of them spoke. Presumably the agenda item they were there to witness was Item 5A, consideration of a resolution for the Fort Bragg City Council to request that the Mendocino County Registrar of Voters verify signatures submitted with a ballot initiative entitled “Prohibiting Social Service Organizations in the Central Business District.”
The initiative is aimed directly at Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center's acquisition of the Old Coast Hotel, at the northwest corner of Oak and Franklin Streets, as a consolidated mental health services facility as well as the site for 5-6 transitional housing units. The Old Coast Hotel (OCH) was acquired through a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) of $1.2 million dollars. Approximately $900,000 of that grant money went to the Carine family, the owners of the property. The purchase of the Old Coast Hotel from the Carines began to materialize last autumn after a deal to acquire a building at 300 North Harrison St., for similar purposes, fell through in the spring of 2014.
Critics of the whole process screamed bloody murder when they learned that city officials and council members, most prominently Mayor Dave Turner, had discussed the possible Old Coast Hotel deal in mid November, 2014 and the general public allegedly didn't find out about the Old Coast Hotel aspect of the CDBG deal until it was noticed in the local newspaper a few days before a city council public hearing in January, 2015. Here's where reality and some folks' choice of reality cross paths. Since the CDBG deal had already been heard at a city council public hearing in late March, 2014, technically the CDBG grant money for a new location (the Old Coast Hotel) could have been awarded by the City of Fort Bragg to MCHC without the subsequent public hearing.
Some of the same people who cried foul about the Old Coast Hotel were also the objectors to the 300 Harrison Street site. To be fair, some folks were not yet involved. Therein lies more of the rub. Civic participation requires just that, participation, not just crying wolf when you suddenly awake from a Rip Van Winkle length slumber and discover one or two things in your community are not to your liking.
Despite more than a week's worth of out of state vacation in late December/early January, this writer was aware of the Old Coast Hotel becoming the potential new site for the CDBG grant before leaving for said vacation. The reason: Sometime in early December I called Jennifer Owen, the City of Fort Bragg's go-to person about CDBG. My impression is that Ms. Owen has been perfectly willing and open to discuss ongoing CDBG grants with anyone who asks her. Apparently, none of the cry-wolfers bothered to ask her about the potential new site (OCH) for the mental health services facility/transitional housing location or they would have had knowledge of it within a week or two after Mayor Turner learned about it.
Another curious aspect to the opposition to the Old Coast Hotel as the new site for the CDBG property is the documented fact that some of the most vocal opponents to the 300 North Harrison site voiced the opinion in 2014 that one of the appropriate locations for the mental health services/transitional housing units was in Fort Bragg's business district.
Contradictions abound in this entire scenario and, by no means, are those contradictions confined to opponents of the OCH location. Fault lies with the director of Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center, or perhaps more accurately with the non-profit's board for not giving MCHC and its titular leader, Anna Shaw, direction toward making contact last autumn with the neighbors of the Old Coast Hotel, particularly with the businesses within a block or so up and down Franklin Street. An effort at explanation last November and/or December, in advance of the January city council public hearing, might have gone a long way toward assuaging concerns. A seemingly valid comment/complaint I have heard repeatedly from at least one business owner runs along these lines, 'where is their (MCHC) business plan?'
Despite attendance at numerous city and countywide meetings at which MCHC has made presentations concerning the Old Coast Hotel site, this writer has yet to witness anything approaching a clear and detailed plan from MCHC about just how they intend to run the facility at the Old Coast Hotel on a day to day basis. What I have seen are handouts that extol the virtues of mental health facilities and transitional housing; more pie in the sky platitudes than diagrammed X's and O's, if I may be permitted a sports analogy.
Heck, yeah, Fort Bragg and the Mendocino Coast obviously need many more housing units to help the homeless transition to functional citizenry. Equally obvious, the area is woefully short on mental health services. MCHC is a cog in the relatively new privatized form of mental health service on the Mendocino Coast. The jury is still out as to the capability of MCHC, or its contract partner Ortner Management Group, to adequately provide such care and service.
Of course, there are those who signed the petition for the initiative prohibiting social services in Fort Bragg's central business district (CBD) just because they are ignorant about and afraid of all things having to do with mental health service. Some of them may express their dismay that I dare to say such a thing, but it is as true as the certainty that bigotry still exists in this country. You don't have to fly a Confederate flag to think like the worst brand of redneck.
At the July 13th meeting, the Fort Bragg City Council eventually voted 5-0 to send the initiative to the County Registrar of Voters to verify the signatures. Here are the next possible steps. If enough signatures are verifiable, the initiative will come back before the Fort Bragg City Council. At that point, the council, by a simple majority vote could adopt the idea into the municipal code. A second option is that if the council does not do so itself, the initiative would be set for ballot approval or denial, by a 50% plus one vote. This voting process would break down one of two ways: If the verified signatures amount to more than 15% of Fort Bragg's registered voters a special election would be called for as soon as feasibly possible. If the number of verifiable signatures falls between 10% and 15% of the registered voters, the ballot initiative would become part of the next general election in November, 2016.
The contradictions and ironies associated with this issue go back to some of those first objectors to the 300 N. Harrison St. site being thoroughly ignorant that a transitional housing unit had already been existing in relative quiet for several years just a few doors up, on the opposite side of Harrison Street. A current oddity concerns the very wording within the initiative and existing codes. Here's the pertinent language: “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 within the district prior to January 1, 2015.”
One paragraph later: “A social service organization is defined by the Fort Bragg Municipal Code as...” After a paragraph long description of what constitutes a social service organization the code states, “Does not include day-care services, emergency shelters, and transitional housing...”
BAM! This initiative could pass, causing MCHC to cease and desist mental health service operations at the Old Coast Hotel location, but the transitional housing units apparently would not be touched by the passage of this initiative.
FORT BRAGG CYCLIST KILLED IN HIT & RUN
Bicyclist Jacob Aaron Howard, 36, of Fort Bragg, was pronounced dead at the scene Sunday afternoon after he was hit by a vehicle while riding his bicycle on Highway 1 just south of Fort Bragg. The CHP immediately initiated a search for the driver of the truck they believe struck him. The crash took place around 4:20pm about two miles south of Fort Bragg near Boice Lane. According to witnesses, the death was caused by the driver of a red pickup which struck the bicyclist as he was headed south on the southbound shoulder Highway 1. The truck then continued south. Debris at the scene suggests the truck sustained front-end damage and has a broken headlight. Anyone with information about the crash or the whereabouts of the red truck or driver is encouraged to call the Ukiah CHP at 467-4000.
THE UKIAH POLICE have arrested a Willits man suspected of raping at least two women in Ukiah. While investigating the allegations in the first case, UPD detectives reportedly identified a second victim and obtained an arrest warrant for the suspect, identified as Jonathan M. Neumeyer, 42, of Willits. According to the UPD, detectives contacted a woman at the Ukiah Valley Medical Center May 17 who said that she had been sexually assaulted within the past several days at a home in Ukiah. According to the police logs, the victim did not wish to file a report at that time. UPD officers soon arrested Neumeyer in Willits on July 6 and booked him into Mendocino County Jail on suspicion of rape by force or violence, rape by intoxication, sexual penetration by force or violence and sexual penetration aided by intoxication. He is being held on $300,000 bail.
ROUGHLY a quarter of the 8,145 undocumented people released from local jails between January and August of last year were later arrested for various crimes, according to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement report. According to the report, most of the offenses were drunk driving and drug-related, though a handful were more serious. As many as 250 jurisdictions in the US have stopped holding imprisoned illegal immigrants past their scheduled release dates — on so-called immigration detainers — saying they can’t hold arrestees without probable cause.
WE CALLED the Sheriff regarding Mendocino County's policy on immigration holds. Sheriff Allman told us Monday that "everybody who gets arrested by us is fingerprinted." All the prints go to feds. The Sheriff says that his office notifies ICE of all undocumented persons passing through the Mendocino County Jail "as soon as we know when the person is going to be released." ICE, however "has legal authority to come up here prior to the release of the person" to take them into federal custody. But, the Sheriff said, "We won't hold them past their release date." Generally, the Sheriff emphasized, ICE doesn't bother with petty offenders. But persons charged in cases involving guns, violence, sexual assaults and etc., ICE drives up to the Mendo Jail and picks up the likely deportee.
"COULD SF happen here?" the Sheriff asked rhetorically. "I asked Tim Pearce (Jail commander) that exact question," he said, answering his own question. "We don't think so. We give ICE the info and leave it to them to make the decision to pick up or not." Serious felony cases, ICE almost always makes the trip to Ukiah to pick the felon up. The Sheriff said he would be pleased if the Supes gave him a full-time position to deal with ICE cases. He confirmed that at any one time there are an average of 10-15 unpapered persons housed at the County Jail.
A READER WRITES: "Like James Marmon, I too watched the entire Supes meeting on the mental health contracts, but a few corrections are in order. The contracts were on the regular calendar, not consent. It was the Mental Health Services Act that was on consent until McCowen pulled it. And the large volume of material that was distributed was at McCowen's request. The contracts posted online showed none of the changes or the dollar amounts from previous years. McCowen asked for the redline version to show the changes. Which proves Marmon's point that HHSA is heavily invested in keeping mental health privatization under wraps.
ONLY GJERDE AND MCCOWEN showed any real interest in getting answers. When Gjerde asked why Ortner's admin fee was several times more than Redwoods Brown promptly adjourned for lunch. When they came back, Hamburg immediately made a motion to rubber stamp the contracts. Woodhouse quickly seconded Hamburg's rubber stamp motion. When McCowen asked for discussion, Brown refused. The motion passed with Gjerde's question still unanswered. I hope the Grand Jury is paying attention on this one."
WE ALSO HOPE the DA has someone watching these highly suspicious transactions. As for Hamburg, a presumed liberal, one would think he would have opposed privatization of mental health services as one more step towards the rightwing dream of dismantling government responsibilities altogether. But then Ortner's man in Mendo, Tom Pinizzotto, has run personal errands for Hamburg, and Hamburg has always run interference for Ortner, most notably when Pinizzotto, from his present position as an administrator with Mendo's non-privatized half of mental health services, arranged for Hamburg's troubled son to jump the line at the County Jail for treatment at Ortner's $800-a-day facility in Yuba City. The Superior Court, stuffed with long time Hamburg affiliates, subsequently waived pay-back fees for Hamburg, a wealthy man. We live in hope that Supervisors Brown and Woodhouse will wake up to join McCowen and Gjerde in trying to restore honest functioning at Mental Health.
IN DAYS GONE BY, local loggers were required to mark yarding corridors via which logs would be pulled out from where they'd been felled. MRC now has their salaried foresters do that work so they can save a few bucks while stiffing local guys who, by tradition, got that work. Some experienced local loggers think the yarding corridors done by MRC's foresters are not done right and have to be re-done by the local loggers, thus causing the locals more unpaid work and causing unnecessary friction between local loggers and MRC's staff guys.
GRATUITOUS COMMENT. This kind of nickel nosing by MRC's billionaire owners is unseemly, to say the least. It's reminiscent of the time the French-owned Roederer Winery of Philo, a comparably wealthy family-owned business, attempted to stiff its grape crews at harvest time by forcing them to split their hard-earned wages with the guy who drove the harvest bin tractor. That crumb bum move by Roederer caused a strike and a brief affiliation by Roederer workers with the United Farm Workers.
ON JULY 10, 2015 Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office COMMET unit (County of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team) assisted by law enforcement officers of BLM, US Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife and Lake County Sheriff's Office, conducted an investigation of a marijuana garden located in the area of the Red Mountain Campground on Cow Mountain BLM Recreation Area, which is located just East of Ukiah in Mendocino County. Law Enforcement personnel were able to locate the marijuana garden and camp. The three listed suspects were located in the camp and attempted to flee and resist arrest and were apprehended by a US Forest Service police K-9 unit. Located in the camp was a loaded, "sawed off" shotgun, a loaded pistol, as well as over 3200 marijuana plants, scales, packaging material, and processed marijuana. There was trash and litter strewn about, human waste, water diversions, and a recently killed deer which appeared to have been harvested for food.
The three suspects — David Borja 27 of Valencia, Apolinar Garcia, 41, of Fresno, and Jose Ramirez-Hinojosa, 38, no fixed address — were taken to a local hospital and treated for the injuries sustained while they attempted to escape arrest, then booked into the Mendocino County jail for Possession of marijuana for sale, Cultivation of marijuana, Armed during felony, and Possession of sawed off shotgun, with bail set at $50,000.
CATCH OF THE DAY, July 13, 2015
IQWAL BAHIA, Fort Bragg. Domestic assault.
MICHELLE BAUER, Willits. Drunk in public.
GUILLERMO BOMBINO, Fort Bragg. Domestic assault, removing or destroying wireless equipment to prevent request for help.
KENT BUESSELER, Bemidji, Minnesota/Willits. Failure to appear.
TERRY COUNTERMAN, Fort Bragg. Burglary from vehicle.
JOHN CUNNAN, Covelo. False car registration tags, suspended license, false ID, probation revocation.
JESUS DELGADO JR., Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
TOMAS FERNANDEZ-RODRIGUEZ, Boonville. DUI, no license.
RICHARD GARREN, Ukiah. Court order violation, probation revocation.
LONNIE HESSER, Ukiah. Domestic battery, stolen property.
ANGELA NIUKKANEN, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.
DUSTIN PRESCOTT, Albion. Possession of controlled substance and paraphernalia, failure to appear, probation revocation.
PHILIP STANEK, Covelo. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.
ROSALIE TAYLOR, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public.
JASON VALLEY, Hopland. DUI.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
If you sit still, close your eyes, remain quiet and tune out the daily noisemaking, you can sense the winds of war.
AIR QUALITY HEARING BOARD DATE - July 24th 2015; 10AM - Ukiah City Council Chambers Regarding APPEAL by Friends of Outlet Creek over Grist Creek Aggregate Permit for Asphalt Plant Authority to Construct Mendocino County Air Quality Management District Hearing Board will hold a public hearing on July 24, 2015 at 10:00am at the City of Ukiah Council Chambers, 300 Seminary Avenue, Ukiah, CA 95482, to hear the Friends Of Outlet Creek Appeal challenging Grist Creek Aggregates (“Authority to Construct”), Permit Number 1416-5-01-15-26
Background: On July 2nd 2015, the Friends Of Outlet Creek filed an Appeal with Mendocino County Air Quality Management District to challenge Grist Creek Aggregates (“Authority to Construct”) Permit Number 1416-5-01-15-26 (please see previous Press Release dated July 7th for details).
The Air District Permit authorizes a 500,000 ton per year parallel flow asphalt and rubberized asphalt hot mix batch plant to begin operation at 37342 Covelo Road, Willits (APN 036-190-26), on Outlet Creek, a sediment impaired tributary of the Eel River, and part of the Eel River watershed which supports protected salmonid species.
On July 8th, Ms. Donna Nash, Clerk of the Hearing Board for the Mendocino County Air Quality Management District responded to the July 2nd appeal filed by the Friends of Outlet Creek with the following information:
“The Hearing Board will hold a public hearing on the Appeal. The Hearing is scheduled for Friday, July 24, 2015 at 10:00am at the City of Ukiah Council Chambers, 300 Seminary Avenue, Ukiah, CA 95482.”
“To be considered by the Hearing Board written materials must be received by the Clerk of the Hearing Board not later than five (5) working days prior to the hearing (not later than Friday, July 17th).”
This is a public hearing and the public may attend and/or submit comments to the hearing board on this issue.
Please direct any written response or other written materials to:
Donna Roberts Nash
Clerk of the Hearing Board
Mendocino County Air Quality Management District
306 E. Gobbi St.
Ukiah, CA 95482
Questions regarding this hearing may be directed to the Air District office at 463-4354.
HOW TO CATCH RAIN
Mendocino County Resource Conservation District
Be Prepared to Catch Water This Winter! Come to a free Rainwater Catchment workshop on August 1 from 9-4, featuring two fabulous presenters: Anna Birkas of Village Ecosystems and Jen Riddell of the Sustainable Technology Program at Mendocino College. Be there or be waterless!
EGGS AT BOTANICAL GARDENS
IF YOU CAN'T SMILE AND SAY YES
(Please Don't Cry And Say No)
Knock me a kiss, you'll never miss
When I'm ready to go
But if you can't smile and say yes,
Please don't cry and say no!
Squeeze me a squoze in these fine clothes,
Mmmm… I love you so.
But if you can't smile and say yes,
Please don't cry and say no!
When I ask for a date, the answer is no.
You don't know what you're saying.
Don't you know the war's on,
Everything is rationed,
How 'bout that jive, keep me alive?
Baby, let bygones be bygones,
'Cause men are scarce as nylons.
So if you can't smile and say yes,
Please don't cry and say no!
— Louis Jordan, Timmie Rogers (1942)
(Note the tasty piano interlude by the ultra-talented Nat King Cole himself)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY II
At every turn we see confirmation of Einstein’s dictum to the effect that you can’t expect solutions from the people whose best thinking caused the problems in the first place.
Our financial system is in collapse. In the future, looking back with an historical perspective, the collapse will appear to have been fairly quick. In “real time,” as we live it, the collapse has seemed nearly interminable.
What’s clear is that the problem is the system itself. Finance capitalism creates nothing more prolifically or efficiently than debt. It doesn’t always generate the growth or the capital needed to service and eventually pay the debt it creates, but it always creates debt.
This systemic defect is usually addressed by letting the finance system crash every generation or so. But the last time it collapsed regularly, around 1930, the Elites came close enough to losing their accumulated advantage they decided not to let that happen anymore. They created agencies to “regulate” the system, and them subsumed those agencies to protect themselves. That didn’t solve the inherent problems; it just accumulated them.
As a result, the crash that is building now is actually the compounded imbalances of perhaps 4 generational crashes that should have happened but were prevented, and nobody on Earth who has passed the Elite’s vetting has any idea what to do about it. They couldn’t possibly have any idea what to do; they are entirely creatures of the current system.
So it’s no surprise all anyone can suggest to Greece is more loans, and probably more off-balance-sheet derivatives, more shifts of assets from one column to another, and of course, loads more debt.
Having made our entire financial system abstract and anchored to nothing has permitted the Elites to gain infinite notional wealth. It has also allowed the creation of infinite debt. And since it’s all notional, all it takes for all of it to disappear is for people to stop accepting the notion. We’re getting closer to the moment when people do just that; stop accepting the notion.
It’s going to be really hard when that happens. None of the rules we have learned will have any application anymore. The old rules our grandparents taught us, if we were lucky enough to have clever grandparents and a relationship with them, will be of great help. But none of the rest of what we usually assume will apply.
WHY AREN'T WOMEN JOINING THE BIKE REVOLUTION?
Nothing has changed on this issue since I blogged about it back in 2011. Men still dominate the great bike revolution. Actually, it's still mostly young white men. From the MTA's 2008 State of CyclingReport:
While people of all ages, races and genders bicycle in San Francisco, frequent bicyclists are more likely to be male, Caucasian and between the ages of 26 and 35 (Figure 7 and Table 3). This suggests that San Francisco should customize outreach efforts to address the bicycling needs of those who are less likely to be bicyclists, i.e., women, minority groups and older people. Specific findings from the survey include: Women make up 49 percent of San Franciscans, but only 23 percent of frequent cyclists. Asians make up 32 percent of San Franciscans, but only 12 percent of frequent cyclists (page 12).
Same story in the 2012 State of Cycling Report. Still mostly white guys:
The survey found the following underrepresented populations: Women: 74 percent of women do not ride a bicycle compared to 60 percent of men...Race/Ethnicity: 75 percent of Hispanic, 71 percent of Asian, and 83 percent of African-American populations do not bicycle compared to 61 percent of white respondents (page 70).
Last week the New York Times had another story on the issue:
“Women are early indicators of a successful bike system,” said Sarah M. Kaufman, the assistant director for technology programming at the Rudin Center for Transportation at New York University and an author of a new report on Citi Bike. “If you have more women riders, that means it’s convenient and safe"...The bike-sharing service is looking at more than just the safety concerns that seem to nag more at women than men, who insurance actuaries long ago concluded are more likely to engage in risky behavior, such as not wearing a bike helmet (emphasis added).
But bike-share systems don't provide helmets when you rent a bike.
In what surely is an act of desperation to sell bikes to women in New York, Citi Bike launched a condescending ad campaign:
To woo women, Citi Bike is...trying to make cycling seem stylish. The bikes appeared in the windows of Bloomingdale’s and in an episode of Comedy Central’s slacker millennial show “Broad City.” The company recently posted a photo on Twitter of the actor Leonardo DiCaprio and the model Kelly Rohrbach kissing on Citi Bikes, and Vogue’s website praised the model Karlie Kloss’s “practical chic” outfit while riding.
Since women are kind of dumb, the "stylish" campaign will surely win them over! (Many women responded with comments to this story about why they do or don't ride bikes in New York City.)
According to the Census Bureau, the shortage of women on bikes is both a national and, in part, an international phenomenon:
At 0.8 percent, the rate of bicycle commuting [in the U.S.] for men was more than double that of women at 0.3 percent. Such stark differences in the rates of bicycle commuting between men and women are also found in other countries with relatively low overall rates of bicycle usage, such as Canada and Australia.
The Chronicle is trying to help by running press releases from the Bicycle Coalition (S.F. Bicycle Coalition plans March events for women).
Some women may be worried about the impact riding a bike can have on their sex life, as explained in an earlier NY Times story (Can Bicycling Affect a Woman’s Sexual Health?).
(Rob Anderson, District 5 Diary)
CALTRANS HERBICIDE USE MEETING
Caltrans will host a public meeting to discuss the use of herbicides on the Willits Bypass mitigation parcels.
The meeting will be held on Thursday, August 13, 2015 at the Willits Community Center, 111 East Commercial Street, tentatively from 6PM to 8PM.
More meeting details will be provided over the next few weeks.
Preliminary details of the need for herbicide use can be found in a previous blog post, “Eliminating invasive blackberry on Willits Bypass mitigation parcels.”
As they become available, more details will be posted on the project blog and on Facebook:
Phil Frisbie, Jr.
Public Information Officer for Lake and Mendocino Counties, Web Content Administrator
Caltrans District 1
OUT OF BOUNDS
KZYX's Divine Comedy Runs On
by Sheila Dawn Tracy
The KZYX Board of Directors held a marathon five-hour meeting at the Community Center in Willits on June 29th. Mercifully, the weather was almost cool — the digital screen reading 88 degrees at 4 p.m. All members of the Board were present with the exception of Board Secretary, Meg Courtney. Director John Sakowicz volunteered to take notes for the meeting's minutes.
The meeting was well attended. General Manager, John Coate's decision to resign had been on the station's website, mentioned on air and in print media for more than two weeks. Additionally, two Board members had also resigned — Paul Lambert chose to return to the southern part of the state to be closer to family and Jane Futcher opted to host a new program on all things related to cannabis. She had to relinquish her District 3 seat as the station's bylaws allow programmers to hold either the At-Large seat (just vacated by Lambert) or the Programmer's Representative seat (currently held by Stuart Campbell).
There were several action items on the agenda requiring public comment including a discussion and vote on the 2016 budget. Chairing his first meeting as Board President, Campbell added a fourth public comment to the agenda to allow final words of recognition or appeasement for Coate from those in attendance. An invitation to attend had been put on the programmers' website so a preponderance of programmers, staff and past Board members was noticeable.
Coate's resignation took many by surprise as no mention of his intention had been made at the May meeting. Coate cited family health problems - he was needed in the Bay area to care for his ailing 90 year old mother. Coincidentally perhaps, Coate's decision to resign came one day after receiving a demand letter to inspect many of the station's financial documents, Board evaluations of the general manager as well as copies of the names and addresses of current station members, citing several sections of the California Corporations Code. The membership information was requested because in its 25 years in operation, no Board has presented a viable means for members to communicate with each other, obstructing a bylaw that states the right of members to call a meeting if a required % of members assent. It was signed by Director Sakowicz and five current members, two of whom are former Board members.
Campbell thanked Coate for "his courage, vision and commitment to keep the station on an even keel through sound financial procedures." He mentioned upgrades in equipment, improvements in programming and Coate's work in providing the convenience of “on demand” listening for varied genres of music and a window for program archives through the Jukebox, keeping the station in line with changing technological advances.
While several Board members agreed and added to Campbell's list of Coate's contributions, Director Sakowicz registered his dissent stating that Coate had engendered much conflict through his autocratic management style and in purging three excellent programmers including himself. He hoped in the search for a new GM, the Board will abolish the Executive Director powers and separate them from the duties of the General Manager because he believed that structure allows for the abuse of autocratic authority.
New Board member, Benj Thomas stated his sense of things was that the station is in a better place because of Coate's leadership and in response to Sakowicz's remarks added that "the process for what the station has been is not the same discussion as what the station will be and that an open discussion allows for possibilities." He thought it needed to be a civil and respectful discussion and that has not always been done in the past.
Campbell announced that from this point on the Board would record all of its meetings to have an official record and to provide access to the public through its website.
Public Comment opened with former Board candidate Dennis O'Brien applauding the Board for the number of handouts provided to the public including a list of ten newly formed committees in which the community was encouraged to engage to help chart the station's future course. A sample of committee choices includes the Hiring, Long Range Planning, Elections and Nominating, Finance, Personnel, Programming, Fundraising and Membership and the Bylaws and Policies Committees. He happily exclaimed that he felt he had won the election without having to do all the work. He conceded that in times of financial duress the type of management exemplified by Coate may have been necessary but it is not a good model for a public community radio. A public radio station must make information about its operation as public as possible, and a community radio station has to engage with the community as much as possible.
Coate was given parting gifts — flowers from one programmer, three feathers from another and a picture of the news team by Valerie Kim. Most remarks were positive, praising Coate for being accessible, for rebuilding a compatible news team and stabilizing the station financially during his seven year tenure at KZYX's helm.
A few speakers focused their attention on Director Sakowicz stating they felt he had wasted the station's money and members' money by his complaints to the FCC and asked him to resign.
I commented that not being allowed to volunteer at the Philo studio (as I had been doing for years) prevented me from knowing what Coate was doing and limited my perspective to what I could see was not being done.
Campbell announced that the Board would be responsible for running the station in the absence of a GM.
Director Eubank was appointed Chair of the Finance committee. He stated that all meetings were open to the public, held monthly in Boonville and would be noticed 10 days ahead of the meeting.
Eubank is also Chair of the Hiring Committee while Director Thomas is Chair of the Personnel Committee and the two would work together along with programmers, community members and former Board member David Hopmann in the recruitment process. Eubank said they would begin by defining the process; that they were not in a hurry and that one of the criteria would be to find someone who was open and transparent.
Sakowicz objected to Hopmann's appointment without input from the Board.
Hopmann's influence on the Board was felt when, 90 minutes into the meeting, he called out from his seat in the audience that he thought the Board should take a 10 minute recess.
Annoyed that he felt he could dispense or disregard Board policy as he saw fit (the policy being that members of the public could only address the Board during the public comment period), I reminded the former President, Vice President and Treasurer of previous KZYX Boards that he was no longer running this meeting. A few minutes later, Campbell acquiesced to Hopmann's suggestion. I had the distinct impression that Toto had just pulled the curtain back on the Wizard of Oz, revealing who was actually in charge of ringing the bells and blowing the whistles at KZYX.
Sakowicz told the Board that he had not been contacted to Chair any of the eleven committees. Campbell, acting as Board President, is charged with Chair appointments. He responded that given Sakowicz's approach and rhetoric, he did not feel Sakowicz fit any committee. Sakowicz returned that he felt he had been mischaracterized because the two Directors had different visions. He stated that the one committee he would like to be a part of is the Hiring committee as there is no more important decision to be made by the Board than hiring our new leader.
In a written response to the demand letter for inspection of station documents dated 6/23/15, Campbell asserts (wrongly) that members do not have inspection rights to most of the 30 categories of records listed; that the station is not required to supply records that it does not maintain and that Director Sakowicz has not followed up and reviewed documents from a previous request made in October 2014 in which he asked for documents that pertained to nine questions he raised. Campbell also notes that the station engaged an outside attorney to formulate a "legally correct response" to requests made by King Collins and Dennis O'Brien to have access to the station's membership list. (That response was to require the members to spend $1400 of their own money to have a third party send a letter to the members.)
Campbell notes that the person with the best knowledge of where and how KZYX records are maintained (Coate) is departing so the request has been deferred until a new GM has been selected and had a minimum of 4 weeks to learn the ropes.
The option put forth by Dennis O'Brien to drop the demands of the letter if certain policies are adopted is a matter that can be considered by the Bylaw and Policies Committee.
Though member communication was not on the agenda as was stated at the May membership meeting, Campbell indicated that somewhere the topic had been discussed as he had received five proposals for member communication, including use of a list serve.
Campbell asked for a unanimous note to appoint Tom Melcher and Tony Novelli to the Citizens Advisory Board (CAB). Sakowicz thought it prudent for both men to be present at the next Board meeting before being voted onto the CAB. Director Thomas asked if the nominees could attend an upcoming CAB meeting as prospective members until they were officially appointed and was answered that they could.
Complaints had been received that emails to the Board had been going through the GM. Since Campbell will now temporarily take over the GM email he was concerned that he would be perceived as "the gatekeeper." He proposed that all emails to the Board would now be seen by all members of the Board and received unanimous consent.
A discussion took place over where public comment should be located on the agenda. Campbell reviewed the Board policy which states that public comment should be placed at the beginning of the agenda. The reasoning behind this was that it was for the convenience of those people who would not desire to sit through the entire Board meeting. However, it was pointed out at the February meeting, that such placement prevented the public from commenting on agenda items and any business of the Board. Sakowicz commented that he would like to see public comment on each agenda item as those comments differed from those received in an unrestricted comment period. The policy currently allows a public comment period before any decision that requires action by the Board. Campbell responded that Sakowicz's proposal should be discussed at Bylaw and Policy committee and tabled the motion for a policy change until the September meeting.
Director Ed Keller discussed, in the interest of lowering mailing costs, whether people pledging could be asked if they could be thanked by email. He said this would also save the Board energy from personally signing each note. Thomas noted that the reason written notes are given are for tax deductions. Freddie Long, an accountant who has experience in nonprofit tax regulations, volunteered that emails could be sent but the IRS requires a printed copy. The donor would have to assume responsibility for printing out their copy. Printing and mailing costs totaled $11.5 k in the 2016 budget.
The possibility of doing elections by email was also discussed. Campbell noted that Santa Rosa Junior College, where he teaches, uses Survey Monkey to have secure elections using pin numbers. Members will always be given the choice to opt out.
Keller said that the station currently has 2/3 of the membership's email.
Director Sakowicz gave a summary of his proposal to change the business model on which the station currently operates. He observed that model has changed very little in the past two decades. He would like to see the reduction of salaried employees reduced to one full time technical engineer and all other employees be paid on an hourly living wage. Director Thomas politely interrupted to suggest that a full discussion of his proposal be referred to a standing committee.
Sakowicz credited the idea to Marco McClean who works as programmer at at low powered KNYO in Fort Bragg. He would like to take the savings and invest them into supporting changes in the infrastructure, particularly in moving the main studio to Ukiah. He would also like to see some of the money saved funneled into stipends for programmers for mileage reimbursements, many of whom are low income or retired.
Playing out in the rear of the room was a side show. Program Director, Mary Aigner had entered and was photographed with a flash camera by Jeff Wright who documents events with personal recordings and photographs. Having just returned from a final Grateful Dead concert in Santa Clara, Aigner did not wish to be photographed. As she approached Wright, he continued to take pictures — the last one being six inches from her face. She turned abruptly and left the meeting.
It only came to the general attention of the attendees when coastal resident, Ana Lucas, used her public comment time to ask the Board to restrain Wright from activity which she felt was disrespectful of Aigner's wishes and bordered on harassment. Aigner, however, had already left the room.
(To be continued)
Ukiah, CA. - On Sunday, July 26th in Todd Grove Park at 6:00pm Fowler Auto & Truck Center, The City of Ukiah, KWNE-FM and MAX 93.5 are proud to present the fourth concert of the 24th annual Sundays in the Park concert series with Traditional New Orleans Jazz band Tuba Skinny.
Tuba Skinny plays jazz in the style established in New Orleans and Chicago between 1900 and 1930. The musicians have built up a wide repertoire, mixing classics (especially blues) with more modern tunes, including original compositions. They have rescued from near-obscurity such 90-year-old gems as Muddy Water, Russian Rag, New Orleans Bump, Deep Henderson, Variety Stomp, In Harlem's Araby and Minor Drag; and the Jabbo Smith forgotten classics from the 1920s - Michigander Blues and Sleepy Time Blues and A Jazz Battle. They have shown, with their fresh and original interpretations, how exciting these tunes can be.
Formed in 2009, Tuba Skinny has steadily evolved from a loose collection of street musicians into a solid ensemble dedicated to bringing the traditional New Orleans sound to audiences around the world. Drawing on a wide range of musical influences—from spirituals to Depression-era blues, from ragtime to traditional jazz—their sound evokes the rich musical heritage of their New Orleans home. The band has gained a loyal following through their distinctive sound, their commitment to reviving long-lost songs, and their barnstorming live performances.
They have been playing together for six years and made a CD each year. Although they tour regularly across the USA, they have also performed in Mexico, Sweden, Australia, Switzerland, France, Italy and Spain. In reality, they seem to spend half their year busking in the streets and playing in the clubs of New Orleans, their natural setting. “We're very fortunate to all be so interested in the same kind of music and to have met each other when and where we did and with a travelling itch and desire to busk.” ‘Busking’ is playing live on the streets and a favorite place to perform. It was the traditional place for original New Orleans Jazz bands to perform and hone their skills. In the streets there is no use of the electronic amplification that spoils so much music these days. Yes, they are the real deal.
How do they decide on their repertoire? In an interview, washboard-player Robin Rapuzzi explained: “It's a group decision. It always is. Tuba Skinny is a miniature political system of majority rule. We discuss ideas with each other either on the street or over dinner. We have listening-parties throughout the year to discuss what we are interested in and where we want to go with our music. It's very organic.” The songs are played against a rock-steady ‘walking’ rhythm, with tuba, washboard, guitar or banjo laying down the foundation while the cornet, trombone and clarinet play the melody and frolic around it.
The performances are meticulously prepared. Although allowing plenty of room for improvisation, sophisticated head arrangements are used, with precision and admirable attention to detail. Great care is taken to get the tempo just right for the interpretation. There are mid-way key changes, and clear pre-planning of introductions and an understanding of when verses, bridges and codas will be played, around the repeating choruses. They support each other’s solo choruses with harmonizing long notes and stop chords.
The Band has a remarkable singer – Erika Lewis, originally from New York State's Hudson Valley. Although slight of figure, she has an amazingly strong and soulful voice, ideal for the blues. Her control of pitch and command of rubato are perfect. She has been compared with Bessie Smith (who must have been her inspiration) and in my opinion she equals the great Bessie in vocal ability. In street performances she needs no microphone. Since 2012, Erika has also taken to playing the bass drum, on which she sits as she sings and plays - further solidifying the band's rhythm section. Erika has said (Offbeat Magazine, September 2014), 'It just dawned on me one day that a bass drum was something that I could add and it would fit in. For the first year, I strapped it to my front, but I felt like a pregnant spider flailing around, standing up while everyone else was sitting down. So I said, I’m just going to sit down on it.'