Thursday, November 30, 2006


Reggae Redux

Sorry I've been busy for the past couple of days. I've been out of the loop. Last I heard the Mateel Board had proposed a list of issues for mediation and that the list was extensive. A couple of individuals who tend to support the PP side of things felt that the list was extensive and that the list should be narrowed down to a short term solution for Reggae 2007 with the remaining issues to be dealt with later (as in specific dates for mediation). I guess the question would be whether it happens under the existing contract or a leased license arrangement.

Carol can only leave the contract with a breach or anticipatory breach of the existing contract on the part of the Mateel. So far the only allegation of a Mateel breach has come from Hannah Nelson who believes that the audit is untimely under the terms of the contract. Whether that's true, I'm not sure that it would amount to a material breach that would excuse performance. I suppose PP can argue impossibility of performance under the current climate of distrust.

Meanwhile, the audit is still underway with a report to be issued within the next couple of weeks. Bob Stern was very careful to clarify that the request for the audit should not be taken as an accusation of fraud.

And as a matter of process the parties should be very careful to separate the issues of the PP/Mateel dispute and the fiscal policies of the Mateel, which are of no business concern to PP.

If I have some time I'll make some telephone calls tomorrow to get caught up and report anything not "off the record" back here.


Obligatory comments on the burning issues of the day and a controversy of yesteryear

I was asked in a thread below why I hadn't commented on Dikeman finding a job, and the "official police report" regarding the Burgess killing.

The EPD, which is facing a lawsuit from the kid's family, has proclaimed the killing justified. Gosh. How surprising. I guess that settles that then, right? I'm sure Cunningham will run to the Courthouse to file a dismissal.

And Dikeman got a job in El Dorado County. Good for him. Hope he's happy there.

Am I caught up now?


Meanwhile, I saw the Documentary Game Over last night, wherein Gary Kasparov (and others) have accused IBM of cheating in the Deep Blue match back in 1997. I didn't really follow the story as it was happening though I have been at times an avid chess fan. Basically, Kasparov saw a dramatic shift in the play from game 1 (which he won handily) and game two, in which Deep Blue all of the sudden made moves of a "human" nature that no computer had ever made up to that point - including a human-like error made, on which Kasparov couldn't capitalize because he was so frazzled. It's one thing to make moves like a human, but mistakes like a human? The theory is that Deep Blue's play was supplemented by the intervention of another grandmaster - the moves Deep Blue started making being called in the film "Karpovesqe" (a reference to the former world champion who lost his title to Kasparov). However, according to Wikipedia similar subsequent programs have made the same mistake, as well as the same "Karpovesque" moves.

But it is fishy that IBM refused to release the program log after the game, refused a rematch (though Kasparov had granted one not long after Deep Blue's first loss to him in 96), tried to bury the story during the match, and dismantled the machine (though it is allegedly outdated). And some in the film questioned whether such a steep upgrading of the programming could have taken place in 24 hours. And IBM's stock went up 15% the day after the match and never looked back.

On the other hand, Kasparov has a history of extreme visceral reactions to losses, not unlike other world class players including Bobby Fisher who walked out of the 1975 championship never to play again because he didn't like the lighting of the hall and the shapes of the pieces.

In 2003 Kasparov played the computer world champion of that year to a draw - the same year he lost a rematch with Anatoly Karpov. He retired from chess in 2005.

Does anybody have any information, links, sources on the controversy? Wikipedia is uncharacteristicly scant.


Rude or "plain talking?"

I didn't have many expectations, and early on I thought Webb would turn out to be another milquetoast DLCer. I think I'm starting to like him!

From the Post.
At a recent White House reception for freshman members of Congress, Virginia's newest senator tried to avoid President Bush. Democrat James Webb declined to stand in a presidential receiving line or to have his picture taken with the man he had often criticized on the stump this fall. But it wasn't long before Bush found him.

"How's your boy?" Bush asked, referring to Webb's son, a Marine serving in Iraq.

"I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President," Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.

"That's not what I asked you," Bush said. "How's your boy?"

"That's between me and my boy, Mr. President," Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.

Webb was narrowly elected to the U.S. Senate this month with a brash, unpolished style that helped win over independent voters in Virginia and earned him support from national party leaders. Now, his Democratic colleagues in the Senate are getting a close-up view of the former boxer, military officer and Republican who is joining their ranks.

If the exchange with Bush two weeks ago is any indication, Webb won't be a wallflower, especially when it comes to the war in Iraq. And he won't stick to a script drafted by top Democrats.

"I'm not particularly interested in having a picture of me and George W. Bush on my wall," Webb said in an interview yesterday in which he confirmed the exchange between him and Bush. "No offense to the institution of the presidency, and I'm certainly looking forward to working with him and his administration. [But] leaders do some symbolic things to try to convey who they are and what the message is."

In the days after the election, Webb's Democratic colleagues on Capitol Hill went out of their way to make nice with Bush and be seen by his side. House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sat down for a lunch and photo opportunity with Bush, as did Democratic leaders in the Senate.

Not Webb, who said he tried to avoid a confrontation with Bush at the White House reception but did not shy away from one when the president approached.


Neely gains ground over Flemming in vote count!

The mail-in precinct ballots (Fairhaven area) were counted yesterday. Neely picked up 26, and Flemming 24. Now let's have everybody analyze these numbers and tell us what they do or don't mean.

I guess they counted two ballots per day. The absentees and provisionals will allegedly be counted today.

Rumor has it they may have some results today, but they've got another week and the TS is reporting that they'll do today what the TS previously reported they were going to do yesterday.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Bush supporters nuts?

I'm posting these excerpts from Tom Tomorrow's blog without comment.
Lohse, a social work master's student at Southern Connecticut State University, says he has proven what many progressives have probably suspected for years: a direct link between mental illness and support for President Bush.

Lohse says his study is no joke. The thesis draws on a survey of 69 psychiatric outpatients in three Connecticut locations during the 2004 presidential election. Lohse's study, backed by SCSU Psychology professor Jaak Rakfeldt and statistician Misty Ginacola, found a correlation between the severity of a person'’s psychosis and their preferences for president: The more psychotic the voter, the more likely they were to vote for Bush.


"“Our study shows that psychotic patients prefer an authoritative leader,"” Lohse says. "If your world is very mixed up, there'’s something very comforting about someone telling you, '‘This is how it's going to be.'"”

The study was an advocacy project of sorts, designed to register mentally ill voters and encourage them to go to the polls, Lohse explains. The Bush trend was revealed later on.


The study used Modified General Assessment Functioning, or MGAF, a 100-point scale that measures the functioning of disabled patients. A second scale, developed by Rakfeldt, was also used. Knowledge of current issues, government and politics were assessed on a 12-item scale devised by the study authors.

"“Bush supporters had significantly less knowledge about current issues, government and politics than those who supported Kerry," the study says.
The story contains some criticism of the conclusions. Apparently Lohse himself is a conservative.


Local Media does well

When I moved here in 1996 SoHum had one paper - The Life and Times, run by a very nice man who unfortunately had no stomach for covering controversy. In June of that year Garberville hosted a Rodeo Parade in which some geniuses decided to enter a float consisting of a car with an torso effigy of Judi Bari coming out of the hood and an effigy of Darryl Cherney being dragged behind by rope. According to a friend of mine, somebody got up from his seat in the Woodrose restaurant and went outside to take photographs where he was physically threatened by bystanders. Meanwhile, I was present with a child behind the crowd as the MC chuckled about it, and I decided to leave the event as I didn't think it was an appropriate display for children.

The Life and Times refused to publish the photos and pretty much swept the matter under the rug.

Within a year or two I was invited to a meeting held at a picnic bench in Tooby Park. A group of locals wanted to start a paper that would actually provide some coverage of news other than announcements of Rotary Club events and high school sports scores. I volunteered some time to help set up a fictitious business name: The Independent. Within a few years the Life and Times shut down and the TS backed Redwood Times arrived thereafter. Both papers are willing to cover controversy and the community is much better off for it.

Sometimes there's a bit of redundancy, particularly in the letters pages, but this week they seem to have tag teamed parallel stories. The RT covered the follow-up Mateel Board meeting and the 2005 ROR audit, while the Independent covered the Mateel censorship meeting - overlap in the players but two very different controversies.

I'll have some thoughts on both stories later.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


San Francisco values

Kos has a post on what Bill O'Reilly likes to refer to as "San Francisco values." As somebody who was born in and raised in and around SF, I'd like to know what these values are. In the meantime, Kos has some ideas of his own.
Since O'Reilly boycotts everything he hates, I look forward to his boycott of all Bay Area-origin products. Same with every conservative who bashes San Francisco and the Bay Area. So no iPods or anything Apple. No HP computers. No Google. No Yahoo. No eBay. Those conservative bloggers using Blogspot, MovableType, or TypePad? Sorry. Those products are Bay Area-based.

Also no Adobe or Macromedia products. No computers, either, since most run on AMD or Intel. No tax preparation using Intuit products. Cancel your Netflix subscription. Cancel your TiVo subscription. Remove your Network Associates or Symantec virus protection software from your computer. Unplug your Netgear wifi router.

Don't wear Levis (or any kind of jeans), Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, or buy your kids Gymboree. Avoid LeapFrog learning toys. Boycott Pixar movies. Boycott any movie using George Lucas' ILM special effects shop. Stay away from Treos and other Palm devices. Don't let Charles Schwab manage your portfolio. Don't bank at Wells Fargo.

Actually, I'm all for not banking at Wells Fargo, but that's a story for another thread.

Particularly amusing is O'Reilly's reference to Nancy Pelosi as a "far-left secular-progressive bomb thrower." Bomb thrower?

The Media Matters article linked above contains a local angle:

In 1996, Rep. Frank Riggs (R-CA) attacked his Democratic challenger Michela Alioto over her "San Francisco values." According to a July 18, 1996, Roll Call article, "In one particularly pointed attack, Riggs questioned whether Alioto's opposition to the bill to ban federal recognition of same-sex marriage represented 'North Coast values' or 'San Francisco values.' " Riggs defeated Alioto.

Photo source.


Found some more local blogs

This one looks new. Eye on Humboldt is keeping inventory on the Humboldt blogosphere, the blogger's name is "Tazman."

Also just found Forest Defender, which is also new and apparently active. As the title suggests, it's about anti-logging direct action, with photos.

Came across Big Box Blog which appears to be dedicated to opposition to the proposed Balloon Track development, but it doesn't look active. I'll keep an eye on it.

There's a colorful blog out of Arcata entitled Bohemian Mermaid Palace, which is named after the blogger's clothing store. The current post is about her "day job" adventures selling buttons and non-pornographic 911 videos. Looks like she's having fun (with the blog, not necessarily her day job).

Here's a blog about local culinary adventures entitled Tastes of Humboldt, but it appears to be abandoned.

This one looks like it never got off the ground. It's a blog for the Non-Prophets, a local rock band. Did the band itself get off the ground?

Not a local blog, but I found this entry by someone who recently visited Southern Humboldt and shared some impressions, however cliche they may be. And here are some travel entries from a couple, one of whom was raised in SoHum.

Update: No kidding! Paul does have a blog.

Some others as well from Axis of Drivel. We do not consent. Mark Konkler (but Mark, you're not keeping it fresh!). Arcata Whacko. Arcata Radical.

And there is Mattole Wildlands Defense.

Soem of these look abandoned. I'll check back and put some of them in my link list.


Eureka election results allegedly close

The Times-Standard is estimating Wednesday. The Eureka Reporter Thursday.

Captain Buhne is citing inside information that the Neely/Fleming race is a squeaker at the moment, although if the tallying doesn't begin until Wednesday as the ER reports it would have to be based on impression rather than hard numbers. I looked for guidance in Buhne's comments section but somehow the discussion of the election trailed off into a debate about sexual orientation.

Capt. Buhne also raises once again the issue of Kelly Sanders' involvement in vote counting. It was first reported a couple of months ago in NCJ's Town Dandy and she happens to be 4th District Supervisor incumbent candidate Bonnie Neely's sister. As someone who supported Neely's campaign (once the lone Democrat was absent from the race), I do have to wonder why Sanders did not recuse herself or why Lindsay McWilliams didn't ask her to sit this one out.

It's not that I would suspect her of wrongdoing, but public officials are supposed avoid not only actual conflict of interest but also the mere appearance thereof. In a close election like this where the losing sides or their supporters will be looking for anything to scream about, this amounts to a serious miscalculation.

However, Buhne once again references Mark Konkler's "involvement," which has been dealt with at length. What's odd about Buhne raising the issue again is that he had already posted a retraction.

In any case, the break's over. Back to screaming mode everybody!

Graphic from Rolling Stone.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Monday morning musings

So, does anybody else think the term "suicide bomber" is "romantic?" Besides Fox News I mean, which has taken it's "homicide bomber" crusade so far that it actually doctors AP reports.

"Suicide bomber" is descriptive. I know what Orwell had to say about it, but a news agency should at least attempt to find language that informs rather than inflames.


Satire becomes reality.
While waiting in a live lobster tank to be sold and boiled live, these sentient creatures (who can look you in the eye) are starved with their claws clamped so that they cannot easily cannibalize each other in their state of starvation. The tank features bright lights with nowhere to hide after an intercontinental jet plane ride for these marine animals used to the dark ocean depths.
Not to sound like the average braindead anti-vegetarian, but the co-op has refrigerated shelves of dead animals which have been killed in all sorts of gruesome ways. I'm not sure boiling is the worst alternative. They say that when your head is chopped off you remain conscious with your head in the basket for several moments. Don't know how "they" know that, but it's what "they" say. Would Ms. Devine be happier if they turned down the lights? Should they stop selling crab altogether - I mean is it better if they've already been boiled?


On KMUD this morning, Kevin Hoover proclaimed himself "iconoclast" because he doesn't like green bean casserole. I guess I have to join him, but then I'm not really a fan of any casserole (yes, all my nordic ancestors are rolling in their graves) unless you count lasagne. I'm especially not impressed with the ones with soggy potato chips. And my nordic relatives included, you can bet that as bland as that carbo-brick is they probably doubled their spices for your benefit.


The TS' "toasts and roasts" includes a roast for voters who can't follow instructions thereby holding off the results for weeks on end. Does that include the man/woman who folded a ballot into a paper crane?


The DOJ is suing states which have filed inquiries about the wiretapping program pursuant to state laws. The most interesting developments are in Maine where pressure was put on Verizon to come clean as to its cooperation with the NSA. Verizon issued some sort of statement for which Maine's PUC requested clarification, and the DOJ is arguing that for Verizon to even verify it's prior statement would endanger America's security. Maine's PUC has been dragged into the conflict (kicking and screaming) by a maverick PUC retiree who doesn't think its been doing its job.


More potential good news for Democrats in the recent election results. Apparently, the Republican domination of suburbia is in question.


No news about yesterday's Mateel Board meeting. Unfortunately, my day job's going to keep me pretty well occupied for the next week and a half, so news is going to have to come to me if I'm going to post it.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


"Would a liberal freak like you ever support a military action?"

A fair question. I did with hesitation support the invasion of Afghanistan, and I'm not certain it was the right decision. In retrospect I think it was of vital importance to push Iraq out of Kuwait, though I opposed the action at the time. I would have supported the WWII effort.

I think I would support international military intervention in Darfur. I have to agree with Eric Reeves as he expressed it in Dissent Magazine. It's happening again.
We have seen all of this—or at least we might have. Certainly all the international actors of consequence know what is occurring in Darfur—and have responded weakly and irresolutely. As a direct consequence, what long ago became primarily “genocide by attrition” will continue indefinitely. Hundreds of thousands of people will die among the almost four million human beings the UN now defines as “conflict-affected” and in need of humanitarian assistance.

That Darfur’s genocide has been so conspicuously visible, and has generated so little willingness to undertake international action, makes for its own terrible history lesson—and casts a grim retrospective light on international failures to prevent genocide over the past century.
In truth, I haven't followed the story - mostly because I find it overwhelming and it makes the Mateel/PP feud, the Arkley wars, and even the recent election battle for the Senate seem exercises in futility. It'll resolve itself in a decade or so, and once again we'll all scream "never again" knowing that we don't really mean it.



I spoke to a Mateel Board member today and others close to the controversy. Apparently People Productions has not yet agreed to mediation. Wasn't there some sort of hurry?

In any case, Tanya Stapp (finally spelling her name right I believe) has informed the Board that the Mateel staff is capable of handling the short term permit issues if People Productions absolutely refuses (though as Darrell Cherney pointed out at the general meeting, PP is still bound by contract unless the Mateel has breached and thereby excused performance on the part of PP). I haven't read the latest contract so I can't say one way or another whether anybody is in breach, except that both sides are always bound by what is referred to as the "implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing" which is by law a provision of every contract whether it's spelled out. Both sides should consider that as they proceed over these next few weeks.

The sticking point is of course what Bob Stern raised at the meeting (his speech can be viewed at YouTube from the link a couple of posts below), namely that under the interpretation of legal counsel for the Mateel (who was present at the meeting), PP was responsible for the capital investments in the new site and owns the infrastructure now in place. Accordingly, according to the position of the Mateel, PP owes the Mateel (or more specifically Reggae on the River) the amount of any expenditures towards that new infrastructure. I would assume this does not include labor, but merely the purchase of the materials and equipment. I imagine it would still be considerable.

Meanwhile, there remains the question of whether the audit for 2005 amounts to a Mateel breach of the contract as asserted by Hannah Nelson-Huber (though not acting as PP counsel) at the meeting. I'm told that the audit is underway.

And I have no idea where Doug Green's sunshine push (re the contracts currently kept under wraps by both entities) is at. Will he actually file and apply for a mandatory injunction? Would that prime the pump for litigation? He's posted once already. Doug, if you're reading, if you want to post your attorney's analysis of the law as it applies to these contracts I'll be happy to put it on the main page.

Lastly, I'm told that Peter Rice is pushing hard for the commission he spoke of during the general meeting, though the Mateel has excluded him from consideration as one of the at-large members of his proposed commission. Meanwhile, PP has rejected former ED Kathryn Manspeaker. If the parties have to agree on all three, it may not happen. My suggestion is that they adopt the old labor dispute model for arbitration - each side chooses one and those two agree on a "neutral" person to cap it off. My nomination for that position is Barbara Truit who told both sides at the general meeting in a very nice way that they should grow the f--- up. Other possibilities are Doug Ingold, Ed Denson, or maybe somebody from NoHum.

I'm told that the Mateel Board believes that Peter Rice is biased towards PP, which may or may not be true. I do note however that he did very well to set whatever biases he had aside in his speech at the meeting, and I think he would be a powerful force for equitable resolution in the process. I believe the same of Kathryn. So there's my slate proposal.

Meanwhile, there are more speeches from the meeting on YouTube. Gman has added Justin Crellin, Carol Bruno, Susie Matilla, Hannah Nelson-Huber, and Doug Green to the current list of PB, Bob Stern, and Paul Encimer.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Awww, come on Hank!!!!

I just happened to pass by Captain Buhne's place and found this quote from this week's NCJ Town Dandy:
CONFIDENTIAL TO "MAVERICK": Hey, if you're trying to pretend that you're not really having a power lunch with that person you officially "don't really know that well," you're going to have to be a little quicker on your feet. Don't stand in the door of the restaurant hemming and hawing with a frightened look on your face, then suddenly remember that you have an urgent appointment elsewhere. Instead, breeze casually past your lunch date, shake the journalist's hand and wish her and her family a happy holiday season. Your compatriot will know to play it cool.

Don't worry -- it'll all come with time.

Bad enough we have to wait so long for local election results. We know the "she" is over there. Tell her to fess up!

I tried to google "don't really know that well" with all the local names I could think of. I figure it was either Neely or one of the Eureka prog candidates with R. Salzman. Kuhnel maybe? He was the only one trying to distance himself during the election(he was "tired" of getting the phone calls, remember?), but then he's already probably lost the election and if he won it doesn't matter who he's seen with now. Can't be Glass since he doesn't bother to hide his association with Salzman. And while Chris Kerrigan has been publicly critical of Salzman following letters-to-the-editorgate, I don't think he really cares whether there's any perception of an association.

I'm 90 percent certain the "compatriot" has to be Salzman. He's the only local person whom public figures would want to distance themselves from, but from whom they also have much to gain. Arkley possibly, but I don't think anybody has openly attempted to distance themselves from him even if they didn't brag about the association.

And hell, if it's that big of a deal, why not have lunch at home? A tuna sandwich and a glass of milk on a deck overlooking the Trinidad coast would suit me just fine.

Kuhnel. La Vallee perhaps as a back-up, but my money's on Kuhnel.

Update: No. I can't picture that Kuhnel would be all that concerned, certainly not to the point of panic. Nor La Vallee.

Woolley. John Woolley has something to lose, and gain. And he's probably the only progressive that's currently in office locally without Salzman's help. And he's been in the hot seat lately against Rodoni.

Second update: Taking a completely different tack. Gallegos and Bowman?

Third update: Nah. They wouldn't be dumb enough to meet in a restaraunt, if at all. I would assume both have telephones and would use them if they had something to talk about.


Okay, I "fixed" the comment problem

Apparently the bug is only with the pop-up window function. I've switched to the comment page alone function.

Should I switch it back when the bug is corrected? Which format do you prefer?

Let the consumers speak.


You-Tubing the Mateel general meeting

It looks like the blogspot comments section is on the fritz, though you can always access the permalink for each post along with all of the comments by hitting the # at the bottom of each post.

G-man posted links to three speakers who can be seen on You-Tube, and apparently the sound is better than the KMUD recording in terms of the audience reactions.

Bob Stern

Paul Bassis ("PB")

Paul Encimer

I don't know if there are any more up. It would be nice to be able see Carol/Susie/Hannah, as well as Pleasure Strange, Bobbie Todd, Crow Gellman, Doug Green, Bob Speciale (sp?), Hoy, Robie, and Peter Rice, but I don't know what's available and how much work it takes.


I missed it, but PB was reportedly not on Thank Jah yesterday, and has taken a "sabbatical." I imagine he's concerned that with his presence the show would be dominated by calls on the Mateel/PP feud for weeks to come.


It remains the talk of the town over a week later. At the very least, this whole thing has brought to the surface what had been kept under wraps for years. And as one conservative friend of mine, who is finding the whole thing entertaining, points out, this is why progressives have very limited political influence. At Republican meetings, they talk about the enemy. At Democratic meetings, they talk about themselves. Considering that there were probably not more than a handful of people in that room who have voted Republican within the past decade (although plenty who do not vote Democratic), I think it's a fair observation. It's not unlike any political coalition, which fall apart regularly. As John Rogers pointed out, in light of recent election results this should be a happier time for local progressives.

Friday, November 24, 2006


Program reminder - General meeting comments portion will be aired tonight

On KMUD, at 7:00 I believe. I've been told that there will be very few edits - mostly for obscenities or long delays between speakers.

And also a reminder - the Board and People Productions will be meeting on Sunday. They'll have to make some quick decisions, so any input to either side should be made immediately.

I saw John Bruno leaving Redway Feed this afternoon following a brief conversation with the manager there, who used to be on the Board. He said something about "we can always live without the aggravation" on his way out. The manager and an employee were discussing the matter behind the counter long after he left. The conflict is certainly the talk of the town.

Update: Had my information wrong. The Mateel Board is meeting on Sunday, but not with People Productions. The mediation hasn't yet been set.


Missed the "censorship" meeting at the Mateel Monday night

I've already discussed the Buju Banton issue extensively here, here, here, here, here, and here. I'll try not to be too redundant.

Between the general meeting, the KMUD pledge drive, and work I hadn't been seeing enough of my family, so I decided not to attend. But I did hear yesterday's rebroadcast of the Tuesday night KMUD news on my way to Eureka. Some interesting comments, including some from Heather Lake who seems to believe that violent homophobia is excused by a childhood of poverty. Many Klan members have also been raised in poverty, but it doesn't follow that we should reward an openly /violently racist artist with ticket purchases.

Which brings me to problem with the whole framing of the discussion, and I now wish I'd attended the meeting. It's being framed as a question of censorship. I'm for allowing Banton to perform, just as I would have supported the rights of the Nazis to march into the Jewish neighborhoods of Skokie, Illinois. But the real issue is whether individuals should be purchasing tickets, not whether the Mateel or government should make the choices for the public. I was disappointed in the community during the Buju Banton concert not because they allowed the concert to happen, but because they purchased tickets or allowed their minor children to do so.

The real issue for the community is whether it would have been different if somebody wrote a song with exactly the same words but with "nigger" in place of "batty boy." I'm certain that the difference in treatment has more to do with an assumption that homophobia is of less concern than racism, though I'm sure the Banton apologists would deny it to the ends of the Earth.

To my amazement on the evening of the concert, most of the kids knew nothing of the controversy, which means that their parents failed to even discuss the matter with them. There was a failure of character on the part of the community as a whole that night. And homosexuals locally have every right to be profoundly disappointed.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Turkey Trotting

I ran/walked the Turkey Trot this morning. My son Asher couldn't run the whole thing (5K in three loops around Old Town), but at least this year he didn't ask me to carry him for any portion. It's a nice event laced heavily with families. A good opportunity to earn food points.

I noticed that Gallagher's liquor license has been suspended. Wasn't that the location for Neely's victory party in June? I'm sure somebody can rattle off some kind of cheap shot for all of our benefit.

Afterwards Asher and I went to breakfast at the Go-Fish restaurant over on the waterfront. Nice atmosphere. Decent food. Great prices.


I haven't really paid much attention to the latest re the Klamath River dam opposition, but I did read the NCJ article. It's a side point, but the following sentence about the new coalition keeps popping into my head.
"This is the first time I've come to the Red Lion [for a hearing] in years that the people didn't say, `The Native Americans overfished with their gill nets,'" said (Willard) Carlson, who lives on Blue Creek, a tributary to the Klamath.
So, do they not use gill nets? The practice is illegal for everyone else, and the fishermen in my family have always complained about it - claiming that the Native fishermen send the net across the full width of the river not allowing salmon to spawn. It's never occurred to me to question it. Does anybody have any insight?


The Sunnybrae Forest is a done deal. Congratulations to the three Marks!


Roger Ebert was once asked which review he would take back if he could. He responded that as a young man he reviewed The Graduate noting that the musical score was performed by a "forgettable folkish duo who would enjoy their moment of fame before sliding into obscurity." (I think I have that quote right). Ouch. Then there was the SF Chronicle sportswriter who wrote that Bill Walsh's 1981 decision to replace Steve DeBerg with Joe Montana as first stringer would send the 49ers back into the basement.

Well, this June 5 prediction from right wing talking head Noel Sheppard probably belongs in the club.
[T]he tea leaves are actually looking much redder than [the media] are asserting regardless of President Bush's slumping poll numbers... Republicans have a marvelous win-win national strategy that is sure to resound with an overwhelming majority of conservatives and moderates who are expressing displeasure with their elected officials: "Vote Republican and not only do you prevent Nancy Pelosi from becoming Speaker of the House, but you will also be assisting in her termination as Minority Leader."
I'm not buying into the "conservatism is dead" meme being posted on all the progressive blogs. Plenty of epitaphs have been written about liberalism over the past 26 years, but it's not like the 15 to 30 percent of the voting population that represents either ideology simply disappear when they lose power. Still, I'd say there are an inordinate number of conservative thinkers who've fallen as out of touch with the political mainstream as liberals did during the Reagan era (Yes, we were out of touch, or in denial, of what was a popular rejection of some basic liberal notions. Maybe there wasn't much we could do about it, but the 1984 landslide should not have come as a shock). Doesn't bode well for them in 2008, and two years can pass very quickly.




Margaret Cho on joining the Board of Good Vibrations for free equipment and using homophobia against the Republicans.
“I'’m glad. It only took a couple of all-time gay scandals to turn it around. It was about time. It should have happened a lot sooner. Homophobia is something that worked in our favor this time. Americans are so homophobic. They realize that Republicans could be closet gays - –and so they don'’t want to vote Republican any more. That's fine right now. If it works in our favor, it's gotta be OK. Hopefully, it will lead to people understanding the queer culture more, and at least there's been some shift in balance." (Emphasis mine)
Actually, I think any such understanding was collateral damage. It is kind of interesting. Arguably our last two national elections have been decided to some degree by homophobia. Granted, it fell into the Democrats' lap, but I wonder where the consultants are going to go with this in future campaigns.

I wonder if Cho was trying to be ironic.


Confusion Hill slipping

Captain Buhne's on the story.

Just in time for the holiday. Your in-laws may be hanging around longer than you think!


Just read Cristina Bauss' article in The Independent

Excellent article on the Mateel general meeting! Very long and detailed. I was there. That's how it happened.

Unfortunately, the Independent isn't online. But it is available in NoHum.

It corrects all my quotes and adds some I'd forgotten. I may add to this tomorrow night. In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving.

So how many of you are having tofurkeys?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Okay, here's the latest in the Reggae feud

I've spoken to people in both camps. I've spoken to people who attended last night's meeting. And I just spoke to Simon Frech over at KMUD.

ED Taunya Stapp doesn't want KMUD to air the comments half of the general membership meeting this Friday. Something about defamation of character; it wasn't part of the agreement to air the business portion; it's not productive; etc.

First, all comments were made in front of hundreds of people. Three newspaper reporters were present. An obnoxious blogger was present. Two people were videotaping the event. And Estelle's recording equipment was in plain sight for all to see. What happened is being discussed - everywhere in the community. There will be radio shows. Letters to the editors. And lots of obnoxious posts on at least one obnoxious blog. I am getting hits from a link on the ROR web forum and from at least one other forum, plus a few closed yahoo/google/aol lists - hits based on links to specific posts on topic. The cat's out of the bag. Anything said, whether defamatory or not, is getting around. And the original is always better than the rumor - guaranteed.

Secondly, it was hyperbole in a public meeting about a contentious issue. Everybody knows that, and will take that into account when they hear it. Hyperbole is generally not actionable for that reason.

Third, this meeting brought to the forefront simmering issues that have been kept under wraps for a decade or longer. It's simply too important to bury.

I understand Taunya's feelings. She was on the hot seat and was the target of some very nasty vitriol. But in local context she is a public figure. She took that position. PB and Carol are likewise public figures. Most of the personal attacks were aimed at those three, and at the board generally. Taunya took the worst, and she has every right to be resentful to some of the speakers who expressed everything from our local characteristic xenophobia to outright accusations of incompetence. And while I have questions about her business model, I did think many of the comments were inappropriate, and especially a double-standard when it comes to comparison with the Hoe-Down to the early years of ROR. But the debate revealed too much about the various players, about the history of the dispute, about the common misperceptions of the relationship between the entities, and the depth of long held resentments.

Estelle reported last night her perception that People Productions supporters were in the majority. I didn't see it that way, and nobody I've spoken to thus far did either. I tried to take inventory based on the various reactions. About half was quiet throughout, revealing nothing about their sentiments. The open partisans were roughly equal in number, perhaps a slight advantage to the Mateel side though the PP side was louder and more prepared. But as another attendee noted, PB did not get up at the end and call for a straw poll. Maybe it didn't occur to him, but it's what you would have expected him to do if there was a sense of an overwhelming sentiment to "take back the Mateel." I think it may have backfired.

Did everybody who expressed partisan opinions show up that way? Who knows? But my feeling is that the airing of the comments portion of the meeting will assist in an equitable resolution of the current dispute. Yes, I'm resorting to legalisms because of what I can't say. I can say that several board members and Mateel supporters felt empowered by the meeting, particularly the comments portion. And maybe it's easier to feel that way when you aren't attacked personally.

In any case it has to be aired - in its entirety with only obscenities bleeped out and the long moments between speakers. Ideally it should be followed up by commentary, perhaps from the players themselves. But Simon says there won't be time for that.


I am also informed that members of the community have contacted the board and don't want Reggae sold. They are concerned that PP will sell it to another production company who will destroy it. So several board members are strongly considering a licensing agreement only no way are they going to accept the 150 thousand that was offered by e-mail prior to the general meeting. Hopefully, that was a negotiable figure or we're at an impasse. And from what I'm told it had better be very negotiable.

The parties will meet on Sunday. If you've got ideas and opinions, get them to the appropriate people by Friday.

And I'm informed that the request for audit was not intended to imply suspicion of fraud. Incompetence maybe, but not fraud. I think the audit resulted from the huge gaps in projections from one minute to the next, with words being used like "vortex" that don't exactly inspire confidence.

Lastly, does anybody know who was nominated for the expiring term board seats? The meeting kind of fell apart at the end. I left to get some air and came back and people were folding up seats.



This is only a test.


NCJ Mateel/People Productions follow-up

A quick summary of the general meeting with a photo of Taunya Stapp (hope I'm finally spelling her name right) taking her shots. A choice quote from Bob Doran's article:
For an outsider, the evening proved akin to sitting in on a stormy, gloves-off family counseling session for a couple whose long-simmering differences are about to erupt in a bitter divorce, one where there's mutual property to be divided and custody of a child at stake.
Bob noted the licensing offer, but may have missed the price which was tossed out later. It's $150,000, considerably lower than what the Mateel has been making off the event. But he caught the gist of the event:
Bruno and the board were in turn praised and damned by allies and enemies. Festering grievances were aired, and as former Mateel board member Barb Truitt observed, people said things that night that can't be unsaid. One can only hope that the process was cathartic.
Oh, and he plugged my blog!

Update: Just picked up the NCJ hard copy today. Anna "Banana" Hamilton posted a very candid letter which was along the same lines as her comment on Friday night (she also handed me a copy after the meeting - meant to post some of it but I forgot).

You know, I don't have firm opinions about all of the current issues, but her experience in negotiating with PP conforms to mine. PB and Carol are fine people in many respects. I don't share all of the cynicism characterizing some of the commentary here and elsewhere, and much of the criticism is over the top. But both PB and Carol could benefit from some anger management sessions. It doesn't make one want to work with them, even when they're right.


Democrats backing a Green unethical???

From the Arcata Eye:
ARCATA -– A Democratic party activist has complained to state party officials over alleged misconduct by members of the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee (HCDCC).


Greene accuses Riggs of having "“conspired"” with City Councilmember and Green Party member Dave Meserve to prevent the HCDCC from endorsing incumbent Councilmember and Democrat Mark Wheetley.

Meserve had asked that the committee endorse just one Democratic candidate for council. In September, the committee endorsed candidate Alex Stillman, but Wheetley, who had requested the endorsement, was not nominated. At a subsequent October HCDCC meeting, Greene requested that Wheetley be endorsed, and he was.


However, Riggs and Beresford continued to allow use of their names in Meserve campaign advertisements - in effect, Greene alleges, encouraging voters to cast their ballots for the candidate of another party rather than the two Democrats the HCDCC had endorsed for the two open seats. Riggs is also a member of activist group Local Solutions, which endorsed Meserve.

Article II, Section 9 of the California Democratic Party by-laws states: "“This Committee may remove any member if, during his/her term of membership, such member affiliates with or registers as a member of another party; publicly avows preference for another party; publicly advocates that the voters should not vote for the endorsed candidate of This Party for any office; or who publicly gives support to or avows a preference for a candidate nominated by another party; or fails to pay the prescribed dues as provided in Section 10 of this Article."”

Greene further alleges that Brinton, who was chosen over Greene as an associate HCDCC member earlier this month, violated the by-laws by serving as Meserve'’s campaign manager. Wrote Greene, “ "The actions of these three HCDCC members at the very least are clear acts of disloyalty to our Party..."” He further condemned the "“serious lack of ethics"” of the three. Greene called for an investigation and removal of the three committeemembers.

The article is posted along with a copy of Greene's letter and a response from Riggs and Beresford. I can tell you personally that I 'm tempted to leave the Democratic Party having read Article 2, Section 9, and if the other parties contain similar provisions I just may join the "DTS Party." I mean, geeze, it reminds me of democratic centralism.

However, based on the article I don't see the violation in any case. If the endorsement of a candidate for another party is avowing "preference for another party" then not only is Mike Thompson in violation for endorsing Neely (as Riggs and Beresford point out), but Treasurer-elect Bill Lockyer should also face discipline for having supported Schwarzenegger. In any case, there is no violation of the basic English of the provision as preference for an individual member of the party does not constitute a preference for the party itself. Wheetleyher Wheetly was an "endorsed candidate" against which no Democrat would be allowed to publicly endorse is a more tricky question. I would assume that the provision applies to partisan positions, and there was no primary Wheetley. In any case there have been numerous violations dating back in my memory to "Reagan Democrats" and plenty of big named Democrats who endorsed Nixon over McGovern. Was discipline ever initiated against the bulk of them?

The third provision, "who publicly gives support to or avows a preference for a candidate nominated by another party," is even more problematic. Maybe next election the Greens should play a prank and nominate the Democratic Party nominee whether it's Hillary Clinton or John Edwards. That would in effect prohibit all California members from publicly endorsing the Democratic nominee. And was Meserve "nominated" by the Green Party?

Party loyalty is one issue, but if endorsing a member of another party for public office is going to be deemed "unethical" within the Democratic Party than I'm already guilty.

Of course, I haven't paid dues in several years either.


The Mateel Board met last night

Any news would be greatly appreciated. I couldn't make it, and I haven't heard anything. I'll update this post when I have.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Local media finally gives the Mateel/People Productions conflict some attention

It's only been a story for 10 years with the local media avoiding it like the plague. It took Bob Doran and a major fiscal crisis to prime the pump I guess.

Anyway, the Redwood Times is out, though the new stories aren't up online yet. Mary Anderson wrote a very good summary of Friday night's slugfest. The only point on which I disagree with her was in the effectiveness of the facilitation, which in my view was a dismal failure notwithstanding my respect for both facilitators. It was not the night for a "nice guy" approach. On the other hand, and unfortunately, I agree with the very last sentence of the article which may very well be seen as an epitaph for Reggae as we know it.

The new Independent isn't out yet. But if Christine's coverage is substantially along the lines of her KMUD story last night, I'll certainly have no problem with it.

Estelle, who was recording the event, was also present and will reportedly present her own story tonight. I know that some of the Mateel supporters were unhappy with her previous coverage of the conflict, one individual comparing it to "Fox News." I wasn't able to hear it, but I look forward to her story tonight.

I didn't see him, but I was told that Bob Doran was in fact present as well. Does that mean there'll be some NCJ follow-up this week?

And a rumor mill item - I heard from a good source that "something good" may be happening today. If by "good" it only means that the parties are talking, I'll be happy to grasp onto any small amount of hope.

Addendum: The same gentleman commented in the "something good" conversation that he was upset about something said at the membership meeting by "the guy with the pony tail."

Ummm... yeah, that narrows it down.


The blonde in the white trench coat came for Robert Altman

One of the best American film makers of our time passed on. There'll be plenty of eulogies throughout the day, and I don't know that I can add much to them. I loved all of his movies with the exception of Popeye.

McCabe and Mrs. Miller is of course one of the best westerns. Gosford Park, Nashville, The Player and of course M.A.S.H. are all masterpieces. I found it very difficult to watch the M.A.S.H. series once I had the opportunity to see the movie (quick trivia quiz - name the one actor who played the same character in both). His son wrote the theme song "Suicide is Painless" at age 14, the lyrics of which couldn't survive the sterilizing forces of the network censors.

I even liked the Prairie Home Companion, though I seem to be in a minority among PHC fans.

Although not everybody is enamored with his patented "overlapping dialogue" I always felt it brought realist texture worth the distraction. And now with DVD features, you can engage the subtitles so you know which voices to listen for.

The photo is from Yahoo News.


Vote counting may be even slower than previously projected

You know, it'd be nice if we actually got a progress report. But none of the statements to the press in the past week-and-a-half has revealed any new information. Just basically, "we're still working on it." Take the Times-Standard account of this morning:
County Clerk Carolyn Crnich and Elections Officer Lindsey McWilliams -- during their daily 3 p.m. election briefing -- explained that the county has started work on the 670 provisional ballots and that officials are still trying to rectify some vote-total discrepancies in about 25 of the county's precincts.
So does this mean they've finished counting the absentee votes, or are they still trying to count the ballots themselves? The slowness is one item of frustration. The cryptic bits of incomplete information are another.

I do think a complete explanation is owed when it's over, including a detailed report of everything that was accomplished on each day.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Forgot to mention - Has Beans offers the best cup of coffee in Eureka

At least from what I've tried. Los Bagels slips into second.

I like the location too. And the political conversations out on the sidewalk. And the chocolate chip banana cookie I had last time I was there.

The "double dark French roast" got me up 199 through the storm and into Medford. It had my head buzzing by the time I reached McKinleyville.

Coffee can be a serious drug. Back in law school, a fellow classmate and buddy of mine and I used to do our homework in coffee houses (not "homes" - I looked it up) on the weekend. We both worked full time and went to school at night. This way we could pretend like we were out there having lives, even if our tables were covered with hornbooks and paper.

Our favorite was Muddy Waters on Valencia, but once we tried a place called The Club which was located several blocks away. They had an item known as the "Depth Charges" which consisted of a beer glass filled with coffee and two shots of espresso dropped in. I was pretty wired before I was finished, and found it impossible to concentrate on my homework. So I packed it up and went to the gym (which was less than a block away - but neither the coffee house nor the gym has survived the subsequent dot com gentrification). During the workout I got dizzy and almost collapsed. I sat down for awhile, got dressed, and walked it off.

It's a white powder that ends in "eine." That's speed basically. If it wasn't established as a tradition, I wonder if it would be legal. I mean, think about how we make it. It even looks like a drug production.

I still love it though. I only drink it two or three times a week. And it has to be good.

Logo taken from the Eureka Greens blog site. Apparently they hold their meetings there.


A progressive case for guns?

I was just informed of an article in the latest issue of Harper's (not Weekly)! which makes a liberal case for gun rights. Unfortunately, I couldn't find it at the Harper's site, so I'll have to purchase the hard copy.

I do have some thoughts on the Second Amendment gun rights which vary from the proverbial "party line," and I'll elaborate later. However, I wanted to post the part of introduction to a famous article on the subject of the Second Amendment. I'm withholding the title, author, and any background at the moment because I'm curioius about something. I'd like to know what people think of the general approach to the Bill of Rights as summarized as follows. Later on, I'll provide some background and my own thoughts. But those of you who subscribe to anything resembling "strict construction" or "original intent" (two distinct if overlapping schools of thought by the way), does this approach work for you?

My colleague Philip Bobbitt has, in his book Constitutional Fate,[30] spelled out six approaches--or "modalities," as he terms them--of constitutional argument. These approaches, he argues, comprise what might be termed our legal grammar. They are the rhetorical structures within which "law-talk" as a recognizable form of conversation is carried on. The six are as follows:

1) textual argument--appeals to the unadorned language of the text;[31]

2) historical argument--appeals to the historical background of the provision being considered, whether the history considered be general, such as background but clearly crucial events (such as the American Revolution), or specific appeals to the so-called intentions of the framers;[32]

3) structural argument--analyses inferred from the particular structures established by the Constitution, including the tripartite division of the national government; the separate existence of both state and nation as political entities; and the structured role of citizens within the political order;[33]

4) doctrinal argument--emphasis on the implications of prior cases decided by the Supreme Court;[34]

5) prudential argument--emphasis on the consequences of adopting a proferred decision in any given case;[35] and, finally,

6) ethical argument--reliance on the overall "ethos" of limited government as centrally constituting American political culture.[36]

I want to frame my consideration of the Second Amendment within the first five of Bobbitt's categories; they are all richly present in consideration of what the Amendment might mean. They are all richly present in consideration of what the Amendment might mean. The sixth, which emphasizes the ethos of limited government, does not play a significant role in the debate of the Second Amendment.[37]

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Lazy Sunday

There's a new local blog in town. Goes by the name of Tired. You'll probably recognize the blogger named Halitosis.


On that Carville/Dean debate about the 50 state strategy and whether it's done any good for the party, consider this comment from a long time activist about the state of the party in some areas of the country back in the 1980s.
Two years ago I spent a good deal of time on local blogs organizing meetings with our DNC delegates when Dean and his program were the core of the vote the DNC was about to take in the wake of the 2004 Election Disaster. This was not to be simply a mid-winter social gathering in DC -- it was serious business. We eventually got all our votes for Dean and his program. I was in a good position to argue for the program because in the 1980's while chairing Alan Cranston's campaign here, I had discovered how pathetic many of our state parties actually were. Many were literally bankrupt, the office supplies and machines (typewriters) had been taken for unpaid debt, and padlocks were on the door. The State Committees that had the franchise were held in one or another lawyer's file cabinet, (In Georgia it had been Bert Lance's for about 20 years), and the reason for this condition was frankly racism. The Southern States would not allow the release of the franchise to a newly elected Central Committee or Board, because it would be Black. They could do this because the parties were in bankruptcy, and whatever lawyer had the letterhead in his files was also the court appointed trustee.

Captain Buhne picks up on the Prop 83 story previously discussed here. As noted earlier the residential restrictions have been nixed by a federal judge. According to the Times-Standard a judge also struck the provision applying the law to present parolees. An "overwhelmingly voter-approved measure" is not necessarily Constitutional. This measure was thrown onto the ballot for political manipulation purposes only. Its writers knew that the measure would be pared down. It's win-win - now they can rail against "liberal activist judges" in their fundraising letters.


Kissinger says victory in Iraq is impossible.


The Communist Manifesto - illustrated by Disney.


Whatever the problems with our local elections department, just be glad you don't live in Orange County!

Saturday, November 18, 2006


One love negotiating

Well, I want to apologize for my attempt at radio play-by-play last night. Howard Cosell I'm not. Because Tanya Staup was making a power point presentation, KMUD was concerned that the visual aspect of the presentation would be lost to the listeners so they asked me to give a play by play. Apparently I provided much more detail than necessary and made it difficult to hear Tanya and the other speakers. The station received some complaints, half of which probably came from my own wife.


In any case, her presentation revealed a model of expansion of services based upon an the projected growth of developing money makers that could supplement ROR, which PB himself believes is on the decline in profitability and has warned for years that the Mateel must abandon the dependence on ROR as a "cash cow." Reggae music in general is apparently on the decline in marketability nationwide (I can venture several theories why, but that's for another thread). Costs are rising and ticket prices can only be raised so much, nor expanded apparently (though I've always thought there were far too many volunteer wristbands distributed to people who always seemed to be backstage and never working - I don't quite understand why wristbands aren't numbered so that everybody could see the ration of volunteers to paid attendees). So the Mateel is playing a gambit for alternative revenues in the long term.

The Hoedown has gone two years in the red and hence People Productions is attacking it as a "loser." But if the Mateel had always played by that standard, ROR would never have made it out of the early 1980s. It didn't make any real money for the first three years.

And there's another issue here. In the past PB has told board members that there is only a finite amount of "entertainment revenue" out there. The locals will only pay to attend so many events. Ergo, any events thrown by the Mateel will only draw from the local producers, PP included. It will impact their profits, and I guess by implication their ability to produce ROR effectively, and certainly their ability to throw Friday night teen drunk fests. But we didn't hear these arguments last night - I would assume because PB realizes quite how self-serving they sound (not so much anymore actually, as he's no longer with PP as he went to great lengths to emphasize to me in a post-meeting conversation last night).

Thing is, I don't even view the argument as rational. The bluegrass and dance-hall audiences are not congruent. There may be some overlap, but I would suggest that it's pretty minimal at this point. Even many of the PP apologists concede they don't like dance hall - a music form favored more by the young and rowdy.

Anyway, this is the tension. Two groups basically. One which views a community center as a facilitator for community services and culture. The other which views it as a boogie hall for local promoters. The poll of the mid 1990s suggested a majority for the latter. However, a survey taken circa 2001 indicates otherwise. Maybe it's the same crowd, getting older. Maybe more of the members want to see more family friendly events, and quite frankly more cultural diversity.
The conflict of vision thus transcends by far the fiscal issues. That issue will ultimately be decided by the membership via the board members they elect or re-elect - assuming the Mateel Center survives at all.

The real meat of the issue is of course the future of ROR itself, and the audit currently being pushed by the Mateel Board. Hannah (Nelson) Hulbert, who withdrew her legal representation of both entities and produced Reggae 2006, donated some legal advice nevertheless. She believes the audit violates the contract. The Mateel Board of course wants to know where the money went. This is the point of contention, and it's not entirely unreasonable to assume that the Mateel fiscal issues are a red herring. Carol doesn't want the audit and she wants Tanya fired. As she has in the past, she's going to exert enormous pressure including her resignation as Reggae producer (not the first time, I've already been witness to one such "resignation" during the prior contract negotiations) is clearly aimed at these ends as well as the Mateel's acceptance of a license agreement of 150 grand per year (50 thousand less than offered earlier this year). Last night Carol issued an ultimatum and gave the Mateel two weeks to accept the offer. The Board for the most part has been digging in its heels and I spoke to two board members last night who will probably not vote to accept the "offer."

PP does have a point however. The Mateel has yet to make even a counter-offer. In the past, counter-offers haven't been taken well. The first we made in the contract negotiations of 2001 was dismissed as "an insult." It may be a waste of time, but it is incumbent on the Mateel Board to make its own offer, unless they want to chance another loss next year. Darrell Cherney pointed out that PP is bound by contract, although I don't know that I'd want a production like this being run by someone who's enthusiasm is fueled only by contractual obligation.

The word "divorce" came up several times during the comment portion, and frankly unless the entire Board resigns and is immediately replaced by more PP friendly members, it seems obvious that a clean break is needed. One of two options must be taken:

1. The Mateel hires someone else to produce the event (which means scrambling for another location, perhaps in NoHum, if Tom Dimmick is unwilling to work with anybody but PP) and scales down at least for the time being.

2. The Mateel sells the rights to the event to PP for an amount that would allow for an endowment of 200 to 300 grand a year - about 5 to 7 million. An event of this scale is worth that much, unless you accept PB's less than optimistic projections.

I spoke to three board members who would be willing. I spoke to PB about it and he said the trademark isn't worth that much. I asked him how much he (or PP) would be willing to pay, and all he would say was that the event is "worth" a license at 150 thousand per year. He wouldn't even venture an estimate as to the straight value of the trademark. I was pretty discouraged.

However, somebody else approached Carol about the same proposal and said that she seemed interested. Hope survives.

Maybe it should be placed on the market.


On separate note and for future reference to the facilitators, the Q&A "clarification" period was a fiasco and you let it go on too long - the debate was on and nobody sought any "clarification," but rather made speeches and dressed them up as questions.


For those wanting to keep score, both "sides" turned out their supporters. The room was filled with many of us standing, and there were plenty of people upstairs as well. The pro-PP crowd was concentrated near the northern entrance and on the right half of the seats and often seemed to cheer and hoot in unison. The pro-Mateel side seemed to be concentrated along the back from the kitchen window to the courtyard windows and in the front of the left side seats. They were pretty subdued until Joe Hiney's statue comment breaking up PB's Baptist revival style oratory, then it was like a homecoming pep rally and the facilitators slipped into nearly complete irrelevance. There were many who sat quietly, either neutral on the issues or simply not caring to express themselves in festive manner.


Hippie steel cage match with standing room only!

I'm still metabolizing the event, and I'll have more to write later. Meanwhile, a few highlights, paraphrasing from memory but in substance:
Paul Bassis: "Fuck the band! I'm not limiting myself to two minutes! This is our community center!"

(after asking for responses from those who have donated "many, many hours" to ROR to respond and telling everybody else to shut up. He then went on to describe his history of service to the Mateel, culminating in the following) "Some of the wood on this very floor you're walking on came from my land...."

Joe Hiney (interrupting PB): "Build yourself a statue PB!!"
And that set the tone for the rest of the evening.

Some other choice quotes:

Pleasure Strange: "..... and PB, heroin on the concert premises is not 'old school.'"

Unidentified PP supporter: "Reggae on the River is a winner!! The Mateel events Ms. Staup's pushing are losers! They're all losers!!"

Anna Banana: "Carol and PB's business model and the Mateel cultural model are incompatible. It's time to get a divorce and put a new face on Reggae."

Young woman in support of PP: "How many of you can raise money for the Mateel like Carol can? Raise your hands. And then do it!"

Doug Green: "Of course Carol isn't the only person on the planet who can produce Reggae. She is the person who most deserves to produce Reggae."

Diana: "I come from the other side of the tracks. I was born here in 1955. Can anybody here beat that? We 'rednecks' are pulling for you hippies to pull it together."

Paul Encimer: "This is basically analogous to national corporate politics. The corporation runs the government into the ground, then points to the government and says 'see, government doesn't work.'"

Susie Matilla: "Reggae on the River's finances are kept in one set of books and one set only!"

Mika: Do any of you really want to see audits around here? We're in the emerald triangle you know!

Hoy: I'm going to be living in Jamaica for much of the next 3 years. I can bring some real Reggae artists back here, instead of the crap we've been getting.

Again, these aren't exact quotes. The comments portion wasn't aired on KMUD last night, but it was recorded and will be played in substantial part next Friday evening.

I should add that the facilitation was completely ineffective. I'm sorry, but Rio Anderson was in over his head. Doug Fir should have taken over. Once PB was allowed to go over the two minute limit they'd set, they couldn't limit anybody else. And few of the speakers showed any respect for the facilitators - responding simply "no" when asked to wrap up longwinded speeches. The "clarifying questions" session was an uncontrolled debate with more speeches than questions, and went on far too long. And after a litany of attacks from PP supporters against ED Tanya Staup, the facilitators finally intervened with the first attack in the other direction, practically tackling Anna Banana to get the microphone from her.

As to the substance of the discussion, and any hope for positive resolution, I'll write about that later. But both sides are digging in their heels. I'm not hopeful at this moment.

Friday, November 17, 2006


Kimba vs. Simba?

Got an e-mail about my previous post on Kimba the White Lion.

Did Disney steal the concept from Tezuka? The controversy rages here (hit "lion king?" link in the left hand column)! You decide.

Ironic that Disney has lobbied for and obtained so many extensions on its copyrights - thereby protecting them from predators such as themselves - or as somebody else put it, "to prevent others from doing to them what they've been doing to the Brothers Grimm."


OJ all the way!!

The post title is from a poster on my 5th grade class wall. I wasn't much into football at the time, but I'm pretty sure that poster distributed by, I think, the Arrow Book Club was on many classroom walls at the time. About 15 years later when I was substitute teaching for the San Francisco School District you could find on the wall of the library in Woodrow Wilson High School (which OJ had attended) a rather large portrait of him. I'm not sure if he was still commentating the Monday night games. I imagine the portrait came down a few years later, and was hopefully sold or hocked to pay for some text books or at least sports equipment.

I'm just glad I wasn't blogging during the trial. I can't even imagine what these comment threads would have been like. The ER's own Glenn Simmons explains why he's in the news again. And for once, I agree with 90 percent of his editorial. I take issue with one paragraph.
Simpson’s metamorphosis into a rejuvenated celebrity — albeit a deranged man — is an insult to all violent-crime victims. It adds insult to injury that occurred with his acquittal, which made a mockery of the “justice” system and allowed a man to go free whom many people believe wielded the knife that brutally ended the lives of two people — Denise Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman — who did not get a second chance.
Actually, I take issue with only the bolded portion. The acquittal didn't make the system a mockery. The conduct of the investigating police accomplished that long before the trial's conclusion. The acquittal is actually a testamentary of the strength and vitality of the system - in that a jury could set aside a strong assumption of guilt to evaluate the evidence under the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. When the two key pieces of evidence were made dependent on two officer caught in perjurious lies they couldn't or wouldn't explain, the jury found they could not simply base their verdict on what "everybody knows." The gloves, both of them, were found by an unreconstructed racist who had lied to conceal the fact, and the DNA evidence was carried from one crime scene to the other followed by denials disproved by media film and blank stares upon cross-examination impeachment. A few years back I read a book written by three of the women on the jury and at least one of them was convinced that he was probably guilty but simply could not get around a doubt of the key evidence based upon the officers' conduct on the stand.

As the saying goes, the LAPD showed itself to be so incompetent they couldn't frame a guilty man. These officers were obviously acting as they always do - draw a conclusion then build a case around it. They just weren't used to the intense media scrutiny, and didn't hold up well under it.

So who's buying his book?

Thursday, November 16, 2006


A#$hole of the year award goes to CNN's Glenn Beck

Does it help that I used the pound sign and dollar sign? Good.

Now, CNN brainchild Glenn Beck was interviewing Keith Ellison, the first Muslim to be elected to Congress, and says:
"I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.' " Beck added: "I'm not accusing you of being an enemy, but that's the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way."
I mean, I'm sure a lot of Americans will feel that way. But Beck doesn't have any excuses. He's supposed to be informed.

Ellison handled it with grace.
Well, let me tell you, the people of the Fifth Congressional District know that I have a deep love and affection for my country. There's no one who is more patriotic than I am. And so, you know, I don't need to -- need to prove my patriotic stripes.
Update: Olberman awarded Beck "Worst Person."


Bob Doran's excellent article!

Very, very well done! Very balanced. I started thinking about things that should have been in there, but your article spanned seven pages as it was, and you had to stop somewhere. I was afraid that certain things might have made it into the article that would have inflamed rather than informed.

I've had my run-ins with Carol, but I can see where she's coming from having built Reggae up on her own and in some respects the Mateel Center itself. But I see a parallel between some of the arguments made on her behalf and those about Arkley whom PB often rants about in a negative light on Thank Jah. Yes, the community owes both of them a great deal of gratitude. But that gratitude doesn't and shouldn't amount to the carte blanche they're demanding. The Board can't just fire an executive director on her say so. Carol's work and her dedication does not make her empress of SoHum.

It's difficult for me because I like and respect both of them. A couple of weeks ago as this whole thing was brewing I was picking my kid up from school and my son was playing with PB's daughter. It shouldn't be like this.

I was pretty bitter during my time on the Board, and I took the experience less personally when I heard an anecdote from a mutual friend. He described being in the People Productions office and hearing Carol and PB screaming at each other. My friend thought the partnership was over, but the staff just shrugged as if it was par for the course. They're, for lack of a better term, passionate people.

But not everybody wants to do business that way. And sooner or later they're going to run head first into somebody who doesn't care who Carol Bruno is.

In the meantime, I learned today that the Mateel annual meeting will be simulcast on KMUD. It starts at 5:30 p.m.

Update: The discussion is hot and heavy over at the ROR message board. Hoy (quoted in the article) is the topic of one thread. Check out this gem of a quote:
was she the one who was telling everyone to pick up their trash? god that was weird.
Sounds weird to me.


Isn't "bum" a derogatory word?

The term is coming from SoHum progressive mouths of late. We do have a problem in Garberville, not the least of which is a very active campsite just off the offramp as you approach my office. You can't see it from the road, but their fires in particular have local residents and the owner of this building nervous.

I do get to see more than I'd like to, across the street on the old campus, and to the bushes to my left. It isn't always pretty. I've had to call the sheriff a couple of times when drunken confrontations have broken out. At least one seriously mentally ill young man has broken down in front of me.

But it would also be easy for me to exaggerate the situation. I don't see it every day. As I'm typing, the school yard is vacant. The homeless do tend to leave the kids their space. I've never encountered "aggressive panhandling" (here nor anywhere else). Some of them are quite friendly, and ironically could actually make the park safer for kids. In my soup kitchen/shelter volunteer days in the 1980s, I remember being shown some stats that showed the homeless incidents of violence rate to be lower than that of the general population, at least in terms of convictions. They may not enhance the aesthetics of the scenery, but I don't believe them to be "dangerous" in any particular manner.

Apparently the Chamber disagrees and they want to do something about it. This isn't the first time they've taken the issue up. About 11 or 12 years ago, shortly before I moved here, a petition was passed around the local businesses. The wording of the petition was revealed to be strikingly similar to a local petition passed around 25 years prior against the invasion of hippies. Some of those hippies grew up to sign the 1990s petition, and bristled at the comparison as Bruce Anderson of the Anderson Valley Advertiser wrote in conclusion to an anti-petition editorial: "Peace Brother. Peace Sister."

And the question also arises as to precisely what can be done about the homeless. They have a right to be here or anywhere else that's public property. They have a First Amendment right to panhandle, within certain parameters. The Chamber asks that you notify the Sheriff when you see homeless acting illegally, but shouldn't that apply to everybody?

It's not a local problem, unless you want to hire private constables to run them out of town. That's not who we are. It's a nationwide mental health and substance abuse issue, and often one of regional economic opportunities. There's not much Garberville can do other than become heartless.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


The gathering storm

Life is well. I could be suffering a mortal disease. I could be dead broke and on the street. I could be strapped to a table undergoing electro-torture. Or I could be on the Mateel Board.

Actually, I already did that. I won't belabor the point. It was one of the worst experiences of my life. Seriously.

During the late 1990s I received several requests from E.D. Katherine Lobato (then Katherine Manspeaker) to join the Board when vacancies arose, as they often do with local nonprofits. As I was learning the practice of law and otherwise engaged in the community I declined each time. Each time she told me she would contact me again. In 2000 my wife and I initiated the adoption process for our first child. Late in 2000 I was asked once again. I decided I'd get in some public service while I had the time.

It's not a Community Center by the way. It's an event hall. There's a big difference. A community center holds classes. Workshops. Provides weekend activities for kids. What we have is concerts - the same music over and over again, at which teenagers and chronological adults show up drunk and have a party that spills over the whole town late into the night and early into the morning. I wanted to promote something more. I heard about "phase two" of the development plan that seems to have been put onto indefinite hold. Probably permanent hold.

We got to discuss it maybe twice during my two years of service as "president" of the Board. Unfortunately, I joined right in the middle of the five-year cyclical contract negotiations with People Production over the production of Reggae on the River. By agreement I can't go into the details, but as I'm certain Bob Doran has covered in the NCJ article I plan to read tomorrow, the discussion was about all the basic issues - money, control of the event, exposure to liability, and procedures of accountability. By the time I became involved, the talks were in mediation. The mediator ended up quitting - practically on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Carol and PB don't negotiate quietly. They like to yell. A lot. And they did. At the meetings. On the street. Over the telephone. And late into the night. And other people called me and yelled at me on their behalf. And they yelled at everybody else on the Board who couldn't support their contract proposals. Eventually we hired an attorney to negotiate for us. PP hired Danny Scher, my law partner's brother. The negotiations went on for several days, but apparently People didn't like the concessions Danny was making. They called a meeting. They brought in their prior proposals, as if the surrogate negotiations hadn't happened. They told us to sign or no Reggae. That is, they wouldn't do Reggae. By that time we were pretty worn down, so we requested time to consult with our attorney. Our attorney couldn't advise us to sign the contract. Three of us refused. Six signed off. End of story.

Months later Katherine quit, the Board hemorrhaged, and we weathered crisis after crisis. The staff wasn't getting along with itself, nor People Productions. The Board was divided into factions. We held mediations. We argued. We terrorized an ED from Boston so badly she'll probably never travel west of the Mississippi again. I finished my term, and left.

That's the short version. Several people have asked me to talk about it. There it is.

So where do we go from here? Well, as others have said, it's clear that we have two organizations with conflicting purposes and interests. It's the problem with privatization in general - the profit motive comes into conflict with the public interest and the direction is determined by the nature of the organization. I can't take sides in the current conflict because I really don't know enough about it yet. Garth Epling says that all of the facts will be laid out to the membership on Friday and I look forward to hearing them. Well, actually, no I don't. But I'll be there anyway. But I do see old patterns creeping, actually charging, into the mix. And this time the Board is digging in its heels and supporting its E.D.

I'd like to know why the reserves were spent. Katherine L. built it up over 5 years, anticipating a time like this. She'd obtained grants, none of which have survived to date. I hear that much of the money went to a long needed new roof, but that should have been the subject of special fundraising to at least mitigate that cost. In any case, the timing was bad. And the Mateel learned the hard way that they could no longer depend on ROR as a "cash cow."

So what's the solution? A divorce. The organizations have to part ways. The Mateel should sell the rights to ROR. Calculate what is needed in an endowment to provide 200 grand annually and Peoples finds investors to purchase at that price and sets up a corporation giving Peoples a controlling share. No more exposure to liability for the Mateel. The organizations work out a lease arrangement for the equipment currently owned by the Mateel. Everybody lives happily ever after.

Otherwise, we relive Sartre's play No Exit year after year.

It's why I don't practice family law. Even the best of people become the worst.


Tidal wave (not!) hits Crescent City!

A six footer. A couple of boats were taken off their moorings. Shouldn't a six footer cause a bit more damage than that? Anyway, the guy from the weather service said it measure 5.9 feet. Maybe that's what it was when it started?

Stay away from the beach.

Trivia: Back when the big one hit in the 1960s, my father's sailboat was in Crescent City. A number of boats were destroyed, though my father's weathered it.

Picture source.

Update: Okay, it was slightly more serious than I thought.

Second update: It was a Tsunami and not a tidal wave. I guess they're different animals.


Open thread on Reggae on the River and the Mateel

I will be posting some thoughts on this tonight, as well as an idea for resolution of the current conflict between People Productions and the Mateel. I understand that Bob Doran has a very lengthy and detailed article in this week's NCJ which wasn't easy for him to write. We don't get the hard copies down here until tomorrow, and I think that's also when they go online.

It's a sad moment in SoHum history and now it has the attention of the rest of the local media. I expect the media will be out in force at Friday night's meeting. And because I've represented both organizations, sometimes jointly, I'm going to have to remain on the sidelines.

Have at it.

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