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Welcome to the Sonoma County Gazette ARCHIVE of PAST EDITIONS. Our NEW WEBSITE is up and running, so GazExtra is serving as your path to archived articles. Thanks for being part of our Sonoma County community...stay in touch...e-mail me - VESTA

Friday, October 30, 2009

Healdsburg's "Howl-O-Ween Pet Parade" Photo Gallery

On Saturday, October 24th, families and their pets gathered for the annual Howl-O-Ween Pet Parade in the Healdsburg Plaza. Hosted by the Healdsburg Dog House, hundreds attended for the costume contest, raffle, and numerous fundraisers.

The Humane Society attracted many to the truck of adoptable cats and dogs, The supporters of the Cloverdale Dog Park entertained us with hot dog dunking, and the Healdsburg Dog Park had a bake sale for sale for both humans and canines. It was quite a spectacle as the dressed up doggies and their owners paraded around the plaza and were then announced and judged on stage.

Here are a few of my favorite costumes and the winners of the costume contest. And don't forget to come by and support this wonderful event, hosted by Natalee of the Healdsburg Dog House, next year! Enjoy!

"The Samurai" Winner of the Spookiest Costume

"Pasta Ala Willie!" Winner of Best Overall Costume

Winner of Most Creative Costume: "The Balloon Dog"

Our Three Winners!

Willie was tired after a long afternoon

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

essensual exhanges - ArtSpace404 Sonoma County

ArtSpace404 is pleased to announce its seventh exhibition, Essensual Exchanges: Field Notes on the Confluence of Land + Water in Sonoma County, as a continuation in its mission to present contemporary and experimental art exhibitions to the community.

Essensual Exchanges is an intimate and experimental investigation examining the natural world of water, plant and land systems in Sonoma County. Artists Sasha Duerr, Corey Hitchcock and Catherine Richardson create individual and collaborative chorography through empathic and intuitive connections to potent places. Each artist presents her field notes and particular methods of mapping, tracking, and relation to the local terrain, mirroring the intricacies of the landscape in their visual works.

The work in this show reflects the visual interpretation of insights gained from onsite studies and observations, and is a partnering of each artist’s involvements with the natural world. With Sonoma County as a common ground for artistic inquiry, natural water sources, dramatic and breathtaking coastlines, fertile agricultural changes, and historical settlements inform and inspire the work on view.

Originally from the Dales and Moors of Yorkshire, England, Catherine Richardson currently resides in Sonoma County. The contours, open spaces, and stone walls in England provided early exploratory interest in and a direct experience with the land. Her relocation to America provided clarity in the understanding that land-spaces were the invitation for a life-long dialogue and an interface for creative realms. Sonoma County now serves as a constant point of reference and site for inspiration in her work. Richardson is a recipient of the 2006 Sonoma County Artist Awards for Emerging Visual Artists and holds an MFA from John F. Kennedy University. She is a member of The B Club – a collaborative group of five artists working collectively on mail-based art produced in editions called The Pollination Project, as well as other site-specific projects. For more information visit or

With an MFA in Textiles from California College of the Arts where she currently lectures, Sasha Duerr works with organic dyes, alternative fibers, and studies the creative reuse of materials. Her work is a cross-pollination of textiles with a consideration and sensitivity towards environmental systems inspired by ecological principles found in permaculture. Duerr also works with regenerative design for food, clothing, and shelter. Duerr’s installations and textiles investigate nature and nurture, and are dyed with a revival of nontoxic, organic place-based recipes. In 2007, Duerr founded Permacouture Institute with the Trust for Conservation Innovation to encourage the exploration of fashion and textiles from the ground up. Duerr’s extensive work with plant-based dyes and ecological principles through local land-based sources and community informs her art and practice. Her first book, Cultivating Color will be released in the fall of 2010. For more information visit

San Francisco native Corey Hitchcock currently resides in Sonoma County and holds an MFA from John F. Kennedy University. Hitchcock’s work in drawing, painting, and printmaking, for which she received the 2002 Cadogan/Murphy Fellowship Award, now serve as “blueprints” for her interactive installation projects. Her work explores cosmological mysteries relating to the relationship between man and reality. Hitchcock’s interdisciplinary work earned her a residency at The Lab in San Francisco, CA, where her work and studies culminated in an exhibition of “The Wicked Engine of Connected Desire”, a social sculpture and performance piece. Hitchcock is a member of the artist collaborative The B Club. For more information visit or

ArtSpace404 is located at 404 Mendocino Avenue, Suite C in downtown Santa Rosa, CA. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 12:00pm to 4:00pm.

ArtSpace404 is a contemporary, experimental art venue produced by the Arts Council of Sonoma County located in downtown Santa Rosa. ArtSpace404 serves the community by promoting artists and organizations through creative uses of the gallery space, showcasing “excellence” through various media to be experienced by the public. ArtSpace404 promotes the accessibility of art for everyone through outreach and added programming. For more information, please visit or call (707) 579-2787 x103.

Nicole Lee, ArtSpace404 Exhibition Director
Arts Council of Sonoma County, 404 Mendocino Ave., Ste. C, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
p. 707.579.2787 x103 f. 707.542.3412 e.

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Sonoma County - The Green Jobs Epicenter?

A Report from the 350 Action Fair for Green Jobs and Training
by Woody Hastings

Santa Rosa City Councilmember Veronica Jacobi welcomed a well-attended “Action Fair” for green jobs and training in Santa Rosa on “350 Day” - October 24th, a day of international actions focused on raising public awareness of the urgency of taking action on climate change. “350” refers to what climate scientists tell us is the maximum concentration of carbon dioxide Earth’s atmosphere can safely sustain - 350 parts per million (ppm). Unfortunately, we passed that mark in the early 1990s. We are currently at about 390 ppm and rising at about 2 ppm per year. estimates that about 5200 events took place in about 181 countries.

Organized by Evelina Molina of the North Bay Institute of Green Technology, the all-day event in Santa Rosa featured a diverse line-up of people and organizations involved in a wide variety of green career projects and programs. The bottom line is that many opportunities exist for employment and training in the rapidly developing field of “green” jobs and careers. “We want to make sure that green jobs are truly green in the sense that they provide opportunities for under-served, under-represented, low-income communities of color with barriers to employment. The jobs should provide wage-earners a family living wage, health benefits, and career pathways to prosperity. If the emerging green jobs economy does not create a fair and just opportunity for all, then it is not ‘green’ and will not create the sustainable socio-economic infrastructure that is needed to pull us out of this economic slump,” said Molina.

A green job seeker peruses the many green job categories posted at the event

“It is going to require an army of people to do all the energy efficiency building retrofits, weather-stripping, and renewable energy installations that will be needed to reach the greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets that must be met to avert global disaster,” said Chris Cone of Solar Sonoma. She reminded the audience that Sonoma County has the most aggressive climate action plan in the nation, committing the county to carbon dioxide emissions reductions of 25% below 1990 levels by 2020. “The things that constitute the crisis - climate change and the recession, are the drivers that present the opportunity - a transition to a green economy fueled in part by the federal stimulus funds for green jobs,” she went on to explain.

That point was underscored by a speaker who followed, John Richau, Regional Director of the Community Alliance of Career Training and Utility Solutions who anticipates a veritable “boom” in jobs in home retrofitting over the next few years due to the fact that the California Public Utilities Commission is funneling $3.1 billion in federal stimulus money over the next three years to communities throughout California for that purpose.

Other private sector opportunities are emerging without federal assistance. GreenRay Technologies, an LED lighting start-up based in Santa Rosa, is opening a new manufacturing plant in Sonoma County and is currently hiring. “For years and years you’ve seen jobs like these moved overseas to Asia and other places. GreenRay is reversing that trend and will be employing people and manufacturing right here at home,” said Gene Quisisem, Western Regional Director for the firm. LED lights are even more energy efficient than compact fluorescents and do not contain any hazardous materials.

Many renewable energy projects and other green projects are being proposed in the Bay Area, including the North Bay. Some of them are large and offer the possibility of significant number of green jobs. One of the struggles is to ensure that the communities in which the projects are located are not left out of the employment opportunity. Multi-stakeholder agreements that address this concern are known as “community workforce agreements.” A textbook example was provided by Joshua Arce of the Brightline Defense Project ( Joshua recounted the recent story of a 5 megawatt solar project planned to be installed on top of the huge cap covering the Sunset Reservoir in San Francisco. No jobs from the chronically underemployed and unemployed districts of San Francisco were planned. Brightline organized a coalition of communities and succeeded in stopping the project with the demand that at least 30% of the workforce be hired from local underserved communities. The demand was met and the project was approved. Arce highlighted five key stakeholders that must be included in a successful project: 1) Industry; 2) Labor; 3) Elected Officials; 4) The local Workforce Investment Board; and last but not least 5) Community and Environmental Organizations.

From troubled unemployed teen to enthusiastic and gainfully employed green jobs advocate, Edgardo Tafoya, 24, addresses the attendees

The most compelling personal story of the day came from Edgardo Tafoya, a young man transformed by the career opportunities that unfolded for him via the North Bay Institute of Green Technology. Edgardo had spent many years incarcerated since some regrettable “mistakes made” during his teen years. “It was impossible to get a job just by filling out an application. I needed someone who was going to take a chance on me and believe that I have something to offer,” he said. Edgardo is now gainfully employed in the rapidly emerging “green collar” field of home energy efficiency retrofitting.

Woody Hastings is a freelance environmental writer based in Sonoma County. Contact him at

Event photographed by Don Jackson.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Klamath River Renewal Battle

Photo of the Klamath River form

River of Renewal traces the longtime battle
over salmon and water in the Klamath Basin

The Klamath Basin in Northern California and southeastern Oregon is home to ranchers, farmers, commercial fisherman and the Yurok, Karuk and Hupa tribes. Since the mid-1800s, these groups have vied for rights to the Klamath River and its tributaries, which are vital spawning habitat for wild Pacific salmon. Hydroelectric dams have impeded the salmons’ ability to migrate between the ocean and their breeding grounds, and low river levels resulting from agricultural use have caused the mass death of migrating fish.

Remarkably, after years of conflict and negotiations, these groups recently came to agreement to share water and improve the river habitat. In September, the Secretary of the Interior announced an agreement with the PacifiCorp electric power company, based in Portland, Ore., and the governors of California and Oregon to remove the four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River. River of Renewal, winner of Best Documentary at the American Indian Film Festival in 2008, traces the tumultuous back story of these accords. Presented by Native American Public Telecommunications (NAPT) and the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) for Native American Heritage Month, the 55-minute documentary begins airing in November. Check your local public television station’s schedule for broadcast dates and times.

Producer and narrator Jack Kohler (Yurok/Karuk/Hupa) travels back to his ancestral land to explore the history of the conflict from a Native perspective. He learns about cultural traditions that revolve around salmon and listens to his people talk about their long struggle to establish fishing rights and mend river conditions. River of Renewal captures eight years of protests, meetings and political action concerning the Klamath and provides viewers with an insider’s view of the saga.

“The dams were built in a time when jobs were needed and sources of energy were scarce,” Kohler says. “Now we realize the mistakes that were made. It is time to fix those mistakes. How can we make the world an ecologically sound and environmentally safe place to live? In one century, we have wreaked havoc on our mother earth, and now it is time to Pikiawish—renew the world.”

The River of Renewal website offers viewers more information about the new agreement, a guide to taking political action in favor of dam removal, and a guide to methods of conflict resolution that helped resolve the Klamath clashes. Visitors can also learn more about salmon, the ecology of the Klamath Basin and tribal history. A viewer guide and other educational tools are available for educators and community groups.

River of Renewal, a Pikiawish Partners production in association with Specialty Studios, is produced by Jack Kohler, Steve Michelson and Stephen Most and directed by Carlos Bolado. Major funding was provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Web site:

Jack Kohler has been a resident of Sonoma County since 1986. He began his film making career in 1997 working on the Production team of "Grand Avenue" and then getting a small supporting role in that film. The first film he co-produced, "California's Lost Tribes" aired on PBS nationally in 2006 & 2007. It included the issues surrounding Indian Gaming, including key moments in the Rohnert Park Community meetings about the Graton Rancheria Casino. His new documentary "River of Renewal" was eight years in the making. It chronicles the on going battle over the resources of Northern California’s and Oregon’s Klamath Basin. The film reveals how different dominant groups over the generations have extracted resources from the Klamath Basin with disastrous consequences including the collapse of wild salmon populations. This collision between sustainability and exploitation of our precious and diminishing resources may result in the largest dam removal project in history and the restoration of a once vital river.

Image of dead salmon in Klamath River from:
An estimated 77,000 salmon washed up on the banks of the Klamath River. In 2006, the government declared a "commercial fishery failure" on the West Coast. Image: dead salmon line the banks of the Klamath River in Sept. 2002.

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State Parks Access Pass Funding Solution

Stewards of the Coast & Redwoods is working
to restore services in our parks.

· We are raising the funds needed to keep the State Park Visitor Center and public restrooms in Jenner open.
· We are determined to continue providing opportunities for over 5,000 school children each year to use our Russian River area State Parks as their outdoor classrooms. This means funding portable restrooms for their use and maintaining the staff support needed for our docent-led environmental education programs.
· With the reduction in seasonal park staff, we are organizing volunteers to staff the entrance station at Armstrong Redwoods SNR during the off season to encourage park users to pay required fees and to provide park information.
· At this time, it is looking promising that we will move forward under the leadership of the California State Parks Foundation to pass a ballot measure in November 2010 to provide sustainable funding for the State Park system. If approved, a surcharge on our annual vehicle license fee will provide Californians with a State Park Access Pass, allowing free day use in almost all of California’s State Parks. Stewards will lead this effort in Sonoma County.

Michele Luna, Executive Director
Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods
(707) 869-9177 Ext. 4# - Office

State Park Service Reductions
to Meet Budget Cuts and Keep Parks Open
with Minimal Disruptions

In keeping with Governor Schwarzenegger’s plan for keeping parks open, California State Parks is today announcing the implementation of service reductions at parks across the State. The goal is to achieve the required cost savings while minimizing the disruption to park visitors as much as possible.

All of the service reductions are consistent with the Governor’s September 25 announcement of the kinds of service reductions the public could anticipate in order to achieve the budget savings necessary to meet severe budget restrictions.

The reductions are designed to minimize disruptions for park visitors, while keeping parks open and achieving the $14.2 million in budget savings to help close the State’s budget deficit. To achieve savings as quickly as possible, State Parks will begin implementing these cost saving measures all across the State in the next few days.

The service reductions came about through a process wherein each of the State Parks’ District Superintendents designed a plan for specific reductions tailored for each park within their respective district. The plans included all 279 parks within the statewide system. A summary of some of the most common service reductions across the State include:
• Reduce days of operation by two or three weekdays at selected parks. Other parks will close a portion of a campground or outlying day-use areas.
• Close and consolidate some park offices and/or reduce hours of operation.
• Reduce off-season lifeguard levels at some beaches.
• Remove some trash cans and fire rings from the beach and close roughly half of the restrooms at some beaches.
• Close many park visitor centers two or more days every week.
• Reduce the numbers of school tours and interpretive programs at many parks.

These service reductions are intended to ensure that California State Parks achieves its required cost savings while maintaining revenues at the highest level possible for the remainder of this fiscal year and while minimizing disruptions to visitors.

For the Russian River District, the specific service reductions for the parks within the district are as follows:

Austin Creek State Recreation Area
• Bull Frog Pond Campground and Tom King/Mannings Flat I and II Backcountry Campsites closed November 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010

Sonoma Coast State Park
• Bodega Head East Day Use, Campbell Cove Day Use, Bodega Dunes Day Use, South Salmon Day Use, South Goat Rock and Blind Beach Day Use, Russian Gulch Day Use, and Vista Point Day Use closed November 2, 2009 to June 30, 2010
• Jenner Visitor Center and Public Restroom closed November 2. 2009 to June 30, 2010
(Note: Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods, a State Park nonprofit cooperating association, is working hard to obtain funding to keep the Jenner Visitor Center and Public Restroom open).
• Bodega Dunes Campground partially closed November 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010.
• Willow Creek and Pomo Canyon Campgrounds closed November 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010.

Fort Ross State Historic Park
• Reef Campground and Day Use Area closed November 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010.
• Fort Ross State Historic Park including Visitor Center and Fort Compound closed Monday through Thursday.

Kruse Rhododendron State Reserve
• Restroom Facilities closed November 2, 2009 to June 30, 2010.

Salt Point State Park
• Fisk Mill Day Use and Lower Gerstile Cove Day Use closed November 2, 2009 to June 30, 2010.

Some visitors may be inconvenienced by these service reductions; however, it is hoped that park visitors will understand and appreciate the severe budget reductions that have occurred and help State Parks minimize the cost impacts to the system. The public can assist by hauling out their own trash and helping to keep facilities as clean as possible for the next park visitor.

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Sonoma County"s Landfill Solution

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors have heard all the reasons voters are against the Republic Services landfill contract, so it's time they hear a real alternative.

Made just for the Supervisors, this film spotlights Ken Wells, who offers what is, perhaps, the only viable solution.">

Top Ten Huge Reasons the Republic Service Contract is Bad Deal

1. Net Financial Loser

The cost of operating the system will be $500 million over 20 years, but the trash flow revenue alone will earn $600 million. So if we keep the system ours, not only will we have more than enough money to reopen and cap the landfill, but we will have at least $100 million dollars in addition, to use on other county programs that need the money. And we’ll earn even more revenue from energy production, recycling and compost programs by keeping the program public.

2. No Appraisal

You have to know what you got before you try to sell it. With everything from trash flow, the recycled materials revenue, to using green-waste methane for energy, we really haven’t established what it’s worth!

3. Liability

Even though Republic will eventually be responsible for the Central landfill, this plan doesn’t include the environmental liabilities of the County’s other old landfills at Annapolis, Guerneville, Occidental, Healdsburg, Airport, Roblar, and Sonoma, leaving the liability for those sites to the County and cities.

4. Guaranteed Rate Increases

Republic would get a rate increase every year no matter what. Whereas keeping it public would mean we get to adjust the rates according to whatever our future needs become – perhaps even lowering the rate when we consume less and conserve better.

5. $100 Million Leaves Local Economy

Conservative estimates show that at least a $100 million dollar profit would be forever lost to an Arizona corporation over the course of 20 years; that’s money we need to keep circulating right here, in our economy.

6. Increases Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Republic has no real facility to separate organics, like food and yard waste, which makes methane when it rots, a gas 20 times more powerful than the greenhouse gas CO2. We owe our children more than that.

7. Discourages Conservation

No matter how much we reduce our waste, this plan guarantees Republic that each year they will be paid at least 70% of what we paid the first year. Even the county has an incentive for us to waste – Republic pays them a $9 royalty for every ton we throw out, a sort of hidden tax taken as part of our monthly disposal rates.

8. Gives Away Power Plant

We’ve got a landfill gas-fueled powerplant big enough to power 7,000 homes. In a time of peak oil and energy depletion, this plan takes home-grown energy away from the public and drops it into a private corporation’s hands.

9. Loss of Recycling Revenue

In “2006”, we made over $100,000 from our recycling facilities. This plan would bring that number to zero.

10. Sets Us Back 25 Years

This plan takes the rights and responsibilities of our community resource and hands it over to an entity only concerned with profit. Not only would we lose money, but this plan tosses aside our obligations and opportunities to help the environment and ourselves.

Submitted by:
Ben Zolno
New Media Producer

Ben is a local writer/filmmaker who specializes in pieces made directly for policymakers, regarding specific upcoming votes.

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The Epicenter of our Financial System Woes

Below is Bill Moyer's October 9 interview with Representative Marcy Kaptur. Moyers shows a clip of Michael Moore's new film: Capitalism: a Love Story (highly recommended!) and then talks to Kaptur and Simon Johnson former Chief Economist at the International Monetary Fund. It's a little update on what's going on since the "great collapse" in September 2008. I'm considering following one of Moore's 10 suggestions and get rid of all but one credit card, the one with the lowest rate and severing ties with Citigroup, said by Johnson below as "absolutely epicenter of everything that's gone wrong with our financial system." This is a conversation about money, power and how Wall Street affects Main Street.
Submitted by Jennie Orvino

BILL MOYERS: Welcome to the JOURNAL.

I sat in a theater packed with passionate moviegoers, every one of them seemingly aghast at the Wall Street skullduggery exposed by Michael Moore in his latest film. It's called 'Capitalism: A Love Story.' Here's an excerpt:

MICHAEL MOORE: We're here to get the money back for the American People. Do you think it's too harsh to call what has happened here a coup d'état? A financial coup d'état?

MARCY KAPTUR: That's, no. Because I think that's what's happened. Um, a financial coup d'état?


MARCY KAPTUR: I could agree with that. I could agree with that. Because the people here really aren't in charge. Wall Street is in charge.

BILL MOYERS: That's the progressive Representative from Ohio, Marcy Kaptur, she's with me now. She has a Masters from the University of Michigan, did graduate study at M.I.T. and still lives in the same house in the Toledo working class neighborhood where she grew up.

She's in her 14th term in Congress, the longest-serving Democratic woman in the history of the House, and she's an outspoken financial watchdog on three important Committees: Appropriations, Budget and Oversight and Government Reform.

Also with me is a familiar face to viewers of this broadcast. Simon Johnson is the former Chief Economist at the International Monetary Fund. He now teaches Global Economics and Management at M.I.T.'s Sloan School of Management. He's one of the founders of the website I check it out daily for Simon's take on the economic and financial crisis.

It's been a year since the great collapse and both my guests are well equipped to assess what's happened since then. Welcome to you both.

MARCY KAPTUR: Thank you.

BILL MOYERS: Let's look at this story that I just read from the Associated Press this week about how Treasury Secretary Geithner is on the phone several times a day with a select group of very powerful Wall Street bankers, especially Citigroup, J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs. He will talk to them when Members of Congress have to leave a message on the answering machine. And these are the bankers who helped bring on this calamity and who are now benefiting from it. What does that say to you?

MARCY KAPTUR: That says to me that Wall Street and Washington is a circuit. And because Mr.Geithner headed the New York Fed that that historic relationship, unfortunately, continues. And it gives them special access and special power to influence policy.

SIMON JOHNSON: Well, I think it really tells you how the system works. The system is based on access and is based on what on Wall Street shaping Washington's view of what's important.

It's the people who are very close to Mr. Geithner before when he was the head of the New York Fed. Before he became Treasury Secretary. These people have unparalleled access. And in a crisis, when everything is up for grabs, you don't know what's going on, the people who will take your phone calls, right, in government and people who are going to be standing in the oval office, making the key decisions. That's the heart of the system. That's the heart of how you get your agenda through, by changing their worldview.

MARCY KAPTUR: And they also move people. In other words, Mr. Geithner came from the New York Fed, he came from Wall Street, and he becomes Secretary of the Treasury. His predecessor, Mr. Paulson, came from Goldman Sachs, and he becomes Secretary of Treasury. You can go back decades, and you will see that there's this revolving door between Wall Street and Washington. And I recently asked Chairman Bernanke of the Federal Reserve, 'Let me ask you a question. Would you be willing to consider a reform where the Cleveland Fed would have equal power to the New York Fed, in terms of how the Fed is run?' And his answer was, 'No.'

BILL MOYERS: And why did you ask that question?

MARCY KAPTUR: Because I think we need to democratize the Fed. I think that my region of the country, which is suffering so heavily from these decisions that were made by Wall Street and Washington, we need to have voice. And our bankers, who didn't do the bad things, our community bankers, who are having to pay higher fees shouldn't be treated this way. Why should the people who did it right be penalized for those that did it wrong?

SIMON JOHNSON: Remember Wall Street convinced us that trading derivatives without any regulation, that all these kind of crazy housing loans, which are very dangerous for consumers. That all of this was sensible. All of this was a good way to sustain growth. That was wrong. That wasn't it. That wasn't that's not the end of the story. In the crisis, when things got bad, they also convinced the key people in Washington that they, the bankers, the big bankers, the Wall Street bankers, who are really responsible for all of these problems, they should be saved. Not just their banks, but they individually and should be saved. Their jobs, their pensions, all their perks. It's an extraordinary moment.

BILL MOYERS: You asked on your blog, just this week, a question I want to put to you now, and to both of you. You asked, 'Does this crisis reflect something about the disproportionate influence of a few incompetent investment bankers or a deeper breakdown of capitalism?'' What's your answer to your own question?

SIMON JOHNSON: Well, definitely, this disproportionate influence of some fairly incompetent bankers, that's for sure. That's what we're seeing today. That's what we've seen over the past few months. I think on the issue on the issue of capitalism, we have to take this very seriously. To me, at least, the financial part of our capitalism is very seriously broken.

SIMON JOHNSON: They persuaded us to allow them to take incredible risks. And then they pushed all the downside, all those losses onto us, the taxpayer, at the same time as really hammering hard all the people who were duped, essentially, into taking out loans. People lost their houses. It's an absolute tragedy. This combination cannot go on. And yet, the opportunity for real reform has already passed. And there is not going to be not only is there not going to be change, but I'll go further. I'll say it's going to be worse, what comes out of this, in terms of the financial system, its power, and what it can get away with.


SIMON JOHNSON: That's the.

BILL MOYERS: Why is it going to how is it going to be worse?

SIMON JOHNSON: Well, there's four we used to have a dozen or so substantial big banks, now we're down to four. Now we're down to four big banks that have a lot more market power and a lot more political power. They make the campaign contributions. They shape agendas in ways that are that are really quite scary. If you look, for example, at derivatives. And the debate on whether or not derivatives should be regulated in a sensible manner. And at this point, actually, the Obama Administration has is leaning in a better direction. But the big financial players are absolutely against any kind of sensible regulation. And I think they're going to win.

MARCY KAPTUR: Let me give you a reality from ground zero in Toledo, Ohio. Our foreclosures have gone up 94 percent. A few months ago, I met with our realtors. And I said, 'What should I know?' They said, 'Well, first of all, you should know the worst companies that are doing this to us.'

MARCY KAPTUR: I said, 'Well, give me the top one.' They said, 'J.P. Morgan Chase.' I went back to Washington that night. And one of my colleagues said, 'You want to come to dinner?' I said, 'Well, what is it?' He said, 'Well, it's a meeting with Jamie Dimon, the head of J.P. Morgan Chase.' I said, 'Wow, yes. I really do.' So, I go to this meeting in a fancy hotel, fancy dinner, and everyone is complimenting him. I mean, it was just like a love fest.

MARCY KAPTUR: They finally got to me, and my point to ask a question. I said, 'Well, I don't want to speak out of turn here, Mr. Dimon.' I said, 'But your company is the largest forecloser in my district. And our Realtors just said to me this morning that your people don't return phone calls.' I said, 'We can't do work outs.' And he looked at me, he said, 'Do you know that I talk to your Governor all the time?' He said, 'Our company employs 10,000 people in Ohio.'

MARCY KAPTUR: And I'm thinking, 'What is that? A threat?' And he said, 'I speak to the Mayor of Columbus.' I said, 'Why don't you come further north?' I said, 'Toledo, Cleveland, where the foreclosures are just skyrocketing.' He said, 'Well, we'll have someone call you.' And he gave me a card. And they never did. For two weeks, we tried to reach them. And finally, I was on a national news show. And I told this story. They called within ten minutes. And they said, 'Oh, we'll work with you. We'll try to do some workouts in your area.'

We planned the first one after working with them for weeks and weeks and weeks. Their people never showed up. And it was a Friday. Our people had taken off work. They'd driven from all these locations to come. We kept calling J.P. Morgan Chase saying, 'Where's your person? Where's your person?' And they finally sent somebody down from Detroit by 3:00 in the afternoon. But out people had been waiting all morning and a lot of people that's how they treat our people.

BILL MOYERS: You did a remarkable thing on the floor of the House recently. And I want to show my audience a clip of a speech in which you urge people to break the law.

MARCY KAPTUR: So why should any American citizen be kicked out of their homes in this cold weather? In Ohio it is going to be 10 or 20 below zero. Don't leave your home. Because you know what? When those companies say they have your mortgage, unless you have a lawyer that can put his or her finger on that mortgage, you don't have that mortgage, and you are going to find they can't find the paper up there on Wall Street. So I say to the American people, you be squatters in your own homes. Don't you leave. In Ohio and Michigan and Indiana and Illinois and all these other places our people are being treated like chattel, and this Congress is stymied.

BILL MOYERS: Wow. You are urging them to resist the law when the Sheriff shows up to throw them out of their home.

MARCY KAPTUR: I'm saying that they deserve justice, too. And that the scales of justice in front of the Supreme Court are supposed to be balanced, and they're not. And that possession is 90 percent of the law. And that you have legal rights, as a home owner. You have a right to legal representation. You have a right before the judge to have the mortgage note produced by whomever in the system has it. Judge Boyko of Cleveland threw out six cases, because when the foreclosures came up, the financial institutions couldn't produce the note. Our people deserve their day in court.

BILL MOYERS: What's your explanation as an economist. And a student of this financial system as to why the banks are taking so long to help the homeowners when Congress has allocated funds for that purpose?

SIMON JOHNSON: I'm afraid that it's pretty obvious and it's very tragic. That they have no interest in helping the homeowners. They make money with what they're doing. Bill, they'll expected a lot of these mortgages they made to default, okay? It was in their models. A high default rate. Now, they didn't expect house prices to come down so much. That's where they got their losses. But they absolutely made these loans expecting they would have to foreclose on people. And figuring they would make money on that.

SIMON JOHNSON: These are very smart, very profit-oriented people. I can assure you, if there was money in it for them. They would be negotiating you know, very various kinds of re-schedulings of these loans. They don't want to do it. They it's not in their interest. It's not where the money is. Follow the money. The money is where Jamie Dimon says it is. Jamie Dimon says, 'You ain't seen nothing yet,' in terms of his lobby in Washington. He's on the record as saying, he's this is his big initiative right now.


SIMON JOHNSON: To spend more time in Washington, more time cultivating all those relationships on Capital Hill and in the executive branch. And you know what else Jamie Dimon said to his shareholders? To his shareholders meeting this year, he said, with regard to 2008, the year of what we regard as the greatest financial crisis, an absolute human tragedy. He said, Jamie Dimon said to his shareholders, 'This was perhaps our best year ever.'

MARCY KAPTUR: Think about what these banks have done. They have taken very imprudent behavior, irresponsible. They have really gambled, all right? And in many cases, been involved in fraudulent activity. And then when they lost, they shifted their losses to the taxpayer. So, if you look at an instrumentality like the F.H.A., the Federal Housing Administration. They used to insure one of every 50 mortgages in the country. Now it's one out of four.

MARCY KAPTUR: Because what they're doing is they're taking their mistakes and they're dumping them on the taxpayer. So, you and I, and the long term debt of our country and our children and grandchildren. It's all at risk because of their behavior. We aren't reigning them in. The laws of Congress passed last year in terms of housing, were hollow. Were hollow.

MARCY KAPTUR: Foreclosures in my area have gone up 94 percent. And we know the basic rules of economics. Housing leads us to recovery. Housing was the precipitating factor in this economic downturn. Unless you dealing with the housing sector, you aren't going to have growth in this economy

BILL MOYERS: You're both saying the financial world, the banks in particular, are putting their interests above anybody else's interest. And they've got the power in the executive branch, and the Congress to back up their demands, right?

SIMON JOHNSON: This is capitalism, Bill. That's what they're supposed to do. They represent their shareholders, they're appointed by the board of directors to make money for their shareholders. And the way they think that they can best make money is to shape the regulatory rules around housing around derivatives, around all everything we used to have that kept the financial sector under control. Has all been, you know, washed away, one way or another, by their efforts, right? They make money in the boom, that way. And when and when bad things happen, they shove all the downside onto the taxpayer. That's what they're doing their job.

MARCY KAPTUR: It's socialism for the big banks. Because they've basically taken their mistakes and they've put it on the taxpayer. That's the government. That's socialism. That isn't capitalism.

SIMON JOHNSON: Well people some people call that lemon socialism. So, when it turns out to be a lemon, it's you it's yours, the taxpayer. When it turns out to be good, it's mine, I'm Wall Street.

BILL MOYERS: Why have we not had the reform that we all knew was being was needed and being demanded a year ago?

SIMON JOHNSON: I think the opportunity the short term opportunity was missed. There was an opportunity that the Obama Administration had. President Obama campaigned on a message of change. I voted for him. I supported him. And I believed in this message. And I thought that the time for change, for the financial sector, was absolutely upon us. This was abundantly apparent by the inauguration in January of this year.

SIMON JOHNSON: And Rahm Emanuel, the President's Chief of Staff has a saying. He's widely known for saying, 'Never let a good crisis go to waste'. Well, the crisis is over, Bill. The crisis in the financial sector, not for people who own homes, but the crisis for the big banks is substantially over. And it was completely wasted. The Administration refused to break the power of the big banks, when they had the opportunity, earlier this year. And the regulatory reforms they are now pursuing will turn out to be, in my opinion, and I do follow this day to day, you know. These reforms will turn out to be essentially meaningless.

MARCY KAPTUR: When Lincoln ran into trouble, during the Civil War, he got new generals. He brought in Grant. I hope that President Obama will bring in some new generals on the financial front.

BILL MOYERS: Should Geithner be fired? And Summers be fired?

MARCY KAPTUR: I don't think that any individuals who had their hands on creating this mess should be in charge of cleaning it up. I honestly don't think they're capable of it.

BILL MOYERS: Let me show you an excerpt from the speech President Obama made on Wall Street last month, September. Here is the challenge he laid down to the bankers.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: We will not go back to the days of reckless behavior and unchecked excess at the heart of this crisis, where too many were motivated only by the appetite for quick kills and bloated bonuses. Those on Wall Street cannot resume taking risks without regard for consequences, and expect that next time, American taxpayers will be there to break their fall.

BILL MOYERS: A reality check. Not one CEO of a Wall Street bank was there to hear the President. What do you make of that?

SIMON JOHNSON: Arrogance. Because they have no fear for the government anymore. They have no respect for the President, which I find absolutely extraordinary and shocking. All right? And I think they have no not an ounce of gratitude to the American people, who saved them, their jobs, and the way they run the world.

BILL MOYERS: In the scheme of things, it is the Congress, and the government that's supposed to stand up to the powerful, organized interests, for the people in Toledo, who can't come to Washington. Who are working or trying to keep their homes or trying to pay their health bills. What's happened to our government?

MARCY KAPTUR: Congress has really shut down. I'm disappointed in both chambers, because wouldn't you think, with the largest financial crisis in American history, in the largest transfer of wealth from the American people to the biggest banks in this country, that every committee of Congress would be involved in hearings, that this would be on the news, that people would be engaged in this. What we're seeing is-- tangential hearings on very arcane aspects of financial reform. For example, now we're going to have a consumer protection agency to help the poor consumer, who doesn't understand all of this, rather than hearings on the fundamental new architecture of reforming the American financial system, so that we have prudent lending, capital accumulation at the local level again; that we encourage savings and limit debt by the American people. Our country needs this. Those aren't the hearings that are happening.

If you want a marker at the Federal level of how serious we are to get justice out of this financial crisis, look at the F.B.I. Look at the number of people who are really prosecuting and investigation mortgage fraud and securities fraud. It is so small

I've been one of the Members of Congress trying to increase by ten times the agents to get at the justice issues for the American people. For companies that have been hurt. For shareholders that have been hurt. Our government isn't doing it. That it's very easy to look at the budget of the F.B.I. in mortgage fraud and securities fraud and say, 'How serious is the government?' And until those numbers increase, we will not begin to get justice.

BILL MOYERS: If we can't get reform out of this calamity, when can we get it then, given the realities you have both described?

SIMON JOHNSON: That's the worry, Bill, right? And I'm very serious. I'm very serious about this. Which is, you know, does it take- we have elements of the Great Depression now, in terms of the impact on people, okay? I mean, people losing their jobs, their homes, their health insurance.

BILL MOYERS: Even though Wall Street says, 'Well, we're past the crisis now. Profits at the banks are up. And Wall Street- and the stock market is stirring.'

SIMON JOHNSON: We're out of the financial part of the crisis, we're not out of the human part of the crisis.

MARCY KAPTUR: And we're not out of the housing crisis. The President ought to take these empty units and require his Administration to broker rental agreements with families, so they're not kicked out. Property values are dropping, all over the country, sometimes by as much as 25 percent. You can do a 30 year mortgage, even a 40 year mortgage, where people have a job or even unemployment benefits, if they're going to get them for another year. Well, my goodness, you can keep them in their home. Empty units do no one any good.

Let me tell you what happened in- where I live in Toledo, Ohio. The house next to me was foreclosed. And so, I called, the other day, a little plaque appeared on the door of this house. And it said, '$500 down, $300 a month rent.' I said, 'What is that, a land contract deal? What's going on there?' So I called the number. I get a repossession dealer in South Carolina. I said, 'Hello sir, what's your name?' 'Johnny,' or something. I said, 'And what's your address?' He gave me a P.O. Box number. I said, 'Now listen,' I said, 'Your property is bringing down the value of our property because you're on our heels.' 'Lady, I get these things from the bank.' And he said, 'You know, we try to unload 'em. What are you going to offer me?' This is what he's saying to me over the telephone. I don't think a single one of my neighbors knows that that home is now in possession of a group in South Carolina that could care less about it.

SIMON JOHNSON: Just to reinforce this point. Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac are now government agencies. Okay? They not only hold a lot of mortgages that are in default or close to default. They're also responsible for enormous amount of the new loans- that are being originated anywhere in the country, actually. They work for the President. The kinds of proposals that Congresswoman Kaptur's put in forth are entirely reasonable. And can be implemented by the executive branch, hopefully with Congress on board, certainly at the urging of certain members of Congress, obviously. But they can do it.

BILL MOYERS: So Simon, go ahead- you were saying- what is it that scares you? You're worried?

SIMON JOHNSON: Another Great Depression. Right? If you don't fix the financial system, Bill. If you allow them to have the same attitude. If you- if you actually allow them to increase their economic power, their ability to take risk, and their belief that they can shove the losses onto the government. And that's why they didn't show up to President Obama's speech on Wall Street.

BILL MOYERS: Why don't they respect him?

SIMON JOHNSON: Because they think that the next time they won't even have to ask. They'll just be given the bailout that they want.

MARCY KAPTUR: Right. That's been their history. Their bed is feathered. When they messed up during the 1980s, they put their bill through the savings and loans crisis on the American people. $140 billion.

BILL MOYERS: And we're still paying that off, by the way. I think the last payment will be made in 2013.

MARCY KAPTUR: Very good. Most people don't even know that.

BILL MOYERS: Well, I covered that.

MARCY KAPTUR: But that, you know, it opened the flood gates. They go, 'Oh, we can get away with $140 billion?' This time how many trillions have they gotten away with? Plus all the deregulatory actions that were taken during the 1990s. I remember when they came to the Congress, when Newt Gingrich became Speaker of the House. And they came down to the Banking, Finance, and Urban Affairs Committee, and they took the name off the door. And they changed it to Financial Services. And people began to see that they had money in the bank, and they charged them a fee to cash their own check on their own money. And then fees went up for everything. And the ordinary consumer found, 'Hey, it's not so smart to have a savings account, because it costs me more money if I have under $10,000 in the bank, they charge me all this money on my own money.' They got exactly what they wanted. And so, then all the abuses and the irresponsible and imprudent behavior of the 1990s that led to this, nobody did anything. They just kept opening more floodgates to them. And then with the removal of Glass-Steagall in 1999, which I-

BILL MOYERS: That was the rule that kept the investment banks from being owned by banks, right?

MARCY KAPTUR: It's about separating banking and commerce.


MARCY KAPTUR: They said as a country, you know, banks have extraordinary power. They have the power to create money. And decide how much that is worth. They have extraordinary power. And we used to have capital ratios. We need to get back to them. Ten to one. For every dollar in your bank, you can lend ten. You know what J.P. Morgan did? A hundred to one. And then with derivatives, who knows how much? Glass-Steagall separated banking from commerce, so that we didn't have these institutions getting too big, getting into too many things. And we just gave them total abandon. And they took it.

SIMON JOHNSON: Well, the final end of the last vestige of Glass-Steagall came in just now in August. Unnoted, but I think very significant. Goldman Sachs, you remember, was an investment bank, a securities company. Not allowed to be a commercial bank; didn't have access to the Federal Reserve and this ability to tap into the money supply of the country. Until September of last year, when the crisis broke, they were allowed a very short notice to convert to being a bank holding company. This was what saved Goldman Sachs in my opinion. Also Morgan Stanley. Which meant they could stay in the securities business. And they could also have access to the Federal Reserve. In August, just now, they converted to what's called a financial holding company. That may seem like a technical detail to you, but this means they can borrow from the Fed, at essentially zero interest rate now.

They can invest in, I mean, as far as we can see, from the outside, looking at their portfolio, anything they want, including, you're going to love this one, they just bought some stock, big chunk of stock in a Chinese automotive company. Okay? So, that's your money, that's your Federal Reserve, financing a highly speculative investment. And if it goes well, they get the upside. And if it goes badly, that's another one for us.

BILL MOYERS: Well, and this is what we were talking about earlier, the system. I mean, President Clinton's Secretary of Treasury, Robert Rubin helps eliminate Glass-Steagall. And then leaves the government and goes to work for? Citicorp?

SIMON JOHNSON: Well Rubin's a fascinating character. He ran Goldman Sachs, he went into the Clinton White House, then he became Secretary of the Treasury, and it was on his watch that, first of all, Glass-Steagall began to really seriously crumble, and then it was completely swept away- replaced, abolished, really. And then, of course, Rubin goes on after he leaves Treasury, to be the senior guru type figure at Citigroup. And Citigroup is absolutely epicenter of everything that's gone wrong with our financial system.

BILL MOYERS: And wasn't it Robert Rubin the mentor, the guru to both Tim Geithner and Larry Summers?

SIMON JOHNSON: Absolutely. Both Geithner and Summers advanced to senior positions in the Treasury under Rubin was instrumental in bringing Larry Summers to be President of Harvard, after the Clinton Administration. And according to published new report, he was absolutely key person in making sure that Tim Geithner first went to a senior job at the IMF, and then became President of the New York Fed. And there are unconfirmed reports that Robert Rubin was an essential advisor to then candidate Obama in fall of last year, with regard to who he should bring on board as the leadership team on the economic side.

MARCY KAPTUR: And you know, looking at it from the heartland, when I look at Wall Street and all their connections into Washington, and I've been at it a while now, it's very disheartening to me, because I know they don't care about us out there. We're flyover country for them. And they're just out to make money.

And I have seen people that I worked with in the Carter White House, who were associated what the bond industry of Wall Street, use their access and create for themselves a money path that today has led them to head organizations like Black Rock, and get private contracts with the Federal Reserve. The over $2 trillion, we don't know how much that the Federal Reserve has extended at this point.

BILL MOYERS: And Black Rock is?

MARCY KAPTUR: Black Rock is an institution that has gotten the major contract of the Federal Reserve to do the mortgage workouts. And my question is, the very people involved in Black Rock, who've gotten these confidential contracts with the Federal Reserve, they were involved on Wall Street in creating the instruments in the first place. So how do we know that they are not covering up their own crime?

BILL MOYERS: So, Simon, what happens now? If we're going to avert a depression and the next calamity, what needs to be done?

SIMON JOHNSON: Well, I think you have to keep at it, Bill. I mean, that's the lesson from previous generations of Americans, who have really confronted entrenched power like this. You have to keep at it. And you mustn't be satisfied. When the Administration says, 'Okay, we fixed it. Don't worry. We did some technical tweaking on capital requirements, for example, in the banks.' You have to say, 'No, that's not true. Let's look at what's happening, let's follow it through.'

The muckrakers of today are absolutely essential, I think, to really pushing these banks. And revealing what they're doing. And by the way, Bill, it's going to I think it's going to be a long haul. I think that the economy will start to recover. We'll get some jobs back. It's going to be very painful for a lot of people. But other people's attention is going to drift. It's a three, five, seven, maybe twelve year cycle. But when it comes back, it will come back with a vengeance. And it will be even, I think, even more devastating, in all likelihood, than what we just saw.

BILL MOYERS: How do we get Congress back? How do we get Congress to do what it's supposed to do? Oversight. Real reform. Challenge the powers that be.

MARCY KAPTUR: We have to take the money out. We have to get rid of the constant fundraising that happens inside the Congress. Before political parties used to raise money; now individual members are raising money through the DCCC and the RCCC. It is absolutely corrupt. It's good people.

BILL MOYERS: Those are the fundraising groups both parties-


BILL MOYERS: In the Congress.

MARCY KAPTUR: And then people wonder, 'Well, why doesn't Congress get along?' Because they are made into arch enemies by the type of fundraising system that is embedded in the very guts of the institution. So, you've got to clean that out. But meanwhile, we need to get hired over at the justice department, 1,000 agents, in mortgage fraud and in securities fraud. Then, I pray, that the leadership of both chambers will do the kind of robust hearings that the nation deserves to rout out those who did wrong and to change the fundamental financial architecture of this country. And then the President needs to get his top housing advisors in the room with him. And they need to meet all weekend. And they need to get their arms around this housing market, in order to stem the rising foreclosures. We haven't stopped the bleeding out there.

BILL MOYERS: Does President Obama get it?

MARCY KAPTUR: I don't think President Obama has the right people around him. The poor man inherited a total mess, globally and domestically. I think some of the people that he trusted haven't delivered. I urge him to get new generals. It's time.

SIMON JOHNSON: Louis the Fourteenth of France, a very powerful monarch, was famous for having many bad things, you know, happen under his rule. And people would always say, 'If only Louis the Fourteenth knew. I'm sure he doesn't know. If we could just tell him, he'd sort it out.' You know. I'm skeptical.

BILL MOYERS: Simon Johnson, Congresswoman Kaptur, thank you both very much for this interesting discussion.

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Fast-Paced Novel of Navajo Culture and Canyon Country

by Juniper Bangs

Meet and Greet author Jennifer Kitchell on Saturday, November 7, between 11 AM and 1 PM as she chats with you about her new book, Girl with Skirt of Stars. This debut mystery is said to weave Navajo ethnography, sexual tension, political power, and the beauty of Grand Canyon country into a gripping story that fans of Tony Hillerman will appreciate. The event takes place at Copperfield Books, located at 104 Matheson St. in Healdsburg.


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Monday, October 19, 2009

Live Healthy, Be Happy: Food Myths and Marketing Tricks

Shopping Tips
Buy foods from the outer aisles of your grocery store to find nutrient-rich fresh vegetables and fruits; dairy products; fresh fish, poultry, and meat; and the bulk food section, containing whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Look for the words “100% whole wheat, rye, oats” or other grain to avoid refined carbohydrates that will raise your blood sugar levels. When buying food in boxes or cans, choose those with the shortest ingredient list. The ingredients should be foods whose names you recognize rather than chemical additives.
Navigating the world of food has become trickier than ever. Food manufacturers spend millions of dollars on packaging to convince you that their specific products are good for your health.

Here are some common food myths and the real scoop on what is in those boxes and cans:

Myth #1 High fructose corn syrup is a healthy alternative to sugar.
High fructose corn syrup (“HFCS”), like sugar, is a rapidly absorbed form of carbohydrate. It raises your blood sugar levels quickly and promotes insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes. HFCS contains “empty” calories; that is, calories that do not contribute nutrients that your body needs to maintain all of its daily functions. Consuming foods and drinks that contain HFCS or other sugars contributes to weight gain.

Myth#2 Butter substitutes are a healthy alternative to butter.
Most margarines and butter substitutes contain partially hydrogenated oils, which are essentially trans fats. Current medical research indicates that these fats are detrimental to our cardiovascular system, and the FDA has warned against consuming trans fats. Some of the butter substitutes are essentially made out of water, additives, and artificial flavors and colors. They contain no real nutrients.
What about butter? Made from milk, butter contains vitamins and minerals in addition to a variety of fats. Will smearing a little on a piece of toast harm you? Absolutely not. It is a much healthier alternative than the processed foods that are marketed as “healthy” substitutes.

Myth#3 Packaged foods labeled “low fat” are health foods.
The food industry has capitalized on the public’s concern that consuming high levels of saturated fat may contribute to heart disease. Packaged foods are labeled “low fat” in order to make you believe that they are healthy. The truth is that these foods often contain large quantities of sugars and refined carbohydrates. When we eat foods that don’t contain fat, we feel less satisfied. This is a perfect scenario for the food industry because it makes us want to eat more of the “low fat” cookies, candy, crackers, and energy bars that they are selling. Eating a lot of food containing sugars and refined carbohydrates sets us up for craving more of these foods. Read the food labels on these foods to see how many grams of sugar are contained in one serving. Beware: Just 14 grams of sugar = 1 tablespoon of sugar.

Tips for Reading Food Labels:
1. Serving size is not necessarily the amount that you actually eat at one time.
Do you eat 2 cookies or 8 cookies at a time? Remember to multiply the numbers listed on the food label by the actual number of servings that you consume to see the true number of calories, sugars, and fats you are eating.
2. Sugar can be the ingredient found in the greatest quantity in the food even though it is not listed first on the ingredient list.
Food marketers know that consumers don’t want to see sugar listed first on the ingredient list because that indicates that sugar is proportionally the biggest ingredient in the food. If the product contains different forms of sugar with different names (see sidebar), they are able to list them separately. By doing this, no one form of sugar will be first on the ingredient list. Look at the total number of grams of sugar in each serving to get a better idea of how “sweet” the food is.
3. A food can contain trans fats even though the food label says it contains “0” trans fats.
The FDA allows a food label to say “0” trans fats if a serving contains less than .5 grams of trans fats. This means that .49 grams per serving allows a company to make this claim.
How many servings are you eating? The FDA recommends that we eliminate trans fats from our diets because they are considered to be a cause of heart disease. Consult the ingredient list and avoid foods that contain partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oils.

How much sugar is it okay to eat every day?
The USDA estimates that the average daily intake of sugar per person in the United States is 31 teaspoons! This equals around 500 “empty” calories each day.
There is no recommended daily limit on sugar intake. I would recommend that you treat foods with sugar as a minor part of your daily diet and substitute sweet tasting foods like fresh fruit. This will help you maintain a healthy weight and healthy blood sugar levels.

Myth #4 The word “natural” on a box of food means that it contains healthy foods. The food industry knows that health claims on food products sell foods, and that is why so many companies use the words “natural” and “healthy” on many packaged foods. These words have no agreed upon definition and can be used to describe a food that has been refined so much that it has no nutrient value, or to describe a processed food to which artificial flavorings, colorings, and other chemicals have been added. Read the ingredient list and the food label to decide for yourself if the contents of the box or can are indeed healthy.

Myth #5 Packaged foods labeled “low carb” are health foods.
The low carb craze has many people believing that carbohydrates are bad for you. In fact, carbohydrates provide the energy that your body needs to perform all of its functions. The problem is not eating carbohydrates, but the type of carbohydrate eaten. Packaged foods labeled “low carb’ often contain artificial sweeteners and flavorings that are not beneficial to your health.

Myth #6 Juice drinks are a healthy alternative to sodas.
The food industry has found a way to disguise the fact that these drinks are very high in sugar. Many of these drinks are sweetened with fruit juice concentrate, which is made by processing fruit juice until it is basically sugar. Snapple, made with “100% juice,” has more sugar in an 11.5 ounce bottle than you will find in a 12 ounce Coke. Healthy Alternatives? Juices found in the refrigerated section that contain fresh fruit juice only. Dilute these with water to decrease the effect on your blood sugar level. Or, better yet, eat a piece of whole fruit, which contains fiber that will keep your blood sugars from spiking.

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Hazardous Water…“Runoff”

By Brenda Adelman

Twenty-five years ago, river citizens were enraged when they learned that Santa Rosa was planning an illegal dump of 800 million gallons of secondarily treated wastewater into the Russian River because their storage ponds were too full. Russian River Watershed Protection Committee has been pressuring them incessantly ever since to limit winter discharges. The City finally achieved zero discharge last year. But sadly, some summer discharges have just been legalized in the guise of “non-storm water runoff”!

New permit allows some runoff into impaired water bodies…..
On October 1st, the Regional Water Quality Control Board adopted a new joint permit for Santa Rosa, the Sonoma County Water Agency, and the County of Sonoma, with the intent of controlling storm and non-storm water runoff. Storm water runoff causes many pollutants deposited on city streets during the dry season, such as grease and oil from vehicles, to run off into our waterways when it rains and seriously degrade water quality.

Russian River Watershed Protection Committee and numerous other groups strongly support these new controls. But we adamantly oppose allowing “non-storm water runoff” from wastewater irrigation. Wastewater runoff contains many unregulated and poorly monitored chemicals, including endocrine disruptors, pesticides and herbicides, pharmaceuticals, and the growing problem of anti-biotic resistant germs. Regional Board staff have been severely cut back because of State budget problems, and a lack of adequate oversight would cause wastewater to ‘slip through the cracks’….

Santa Rosa is planning a new pipeline project to irrigate business park lawns and public parks in the summer, using wastewater on the landscaping that would normally be watered with potable supplies. This permit legalizes “accidental” wastewater runoff. Yet accidents happen all the time, but now concerned citizens would be prohibited from filing lawsuits if violations are not enforced by regulatory agencies.

The new permit requires “best management practices” of irrigation contractors, with the intent of preventing runoff. Yet we have witnessed first hand rampant irrigation runoff in Rohnert Park (not party to this agreement, but part of Santa Rosa’s Subregional Wastewater Treatment System and under a special reclamation permit that is currently not adequately enforced). We worry that similar runoff practices will occur in Santa Rosa as well and in fact, this last summer, they discovered about 40 over-irrigation incidents a week using potable water.

The Laguna is extremely water quality impaired and the Russian River is only slightly better. Both have serious temperature and sediment problems and the Laguna is badly impaired by nutrients. (Treated wastewater has a lot of nutrients.) Invasive plants are totally choking many of the streams west of Rohnert Park, and irrigation runoff is probably a contributory cause.

Major concerns about the Non-Storm Water Runoff requirements…
• Tertiary treated wastewater is considered safe enough by health regulators to reuse in most circumstances but for direct ingestion, in spite of the voluminous information about the hazards to humans and wildlife from unregulated pharmaceuticals, personal care products, anti-biotic resistant pathogens, etc. It will take many years for State Regulations to catch up with the problem and in the meantime, many species (including human) will greatly suffer as a result of increased contact with many unregulated, toxic substances.
• The State has approved a Water Recycling Policy which heavily promotes the use of wastewater for irrigation in order to save potable water. This is a notable goal, but in the case of Santa Rosa, an urban irrigation program WILL NOT SAVE ANY WATER. They will just transfer some of their agricultural irrigation to the urban area. Furthermore, most wastewater is under contract to be reclaimed at the Geysers anyway. So the goals of the State's Water Recycling Policy are already being realized by Santa Rosa and the City’s planned urban irrigation program IS REALLY UNNECESSARY.
• This permit fails to provide any precise numerical meaning of “incidental runoff”. We have no idea if “incidental” or similar euphemisms could mean 5 gallons, 50 gallons, 500 gallons or 5000 gallons. Furthermore, harm may be impossible to prove, especially since a leak can go undiscovered for weeks and still be legal under this permit.
• The new permit supposedly only allows discharges that are truly accidental and where only a “small” (undefined) amount escapes. What is not clear is how they will determine that broken irrigation equipment was not formerly in a state of disrepair, and is broken for the first time, and is discovered almost immediately after it accidentally breaks.
• It is unclear how best management practices will prevent harm from occurring. Specific controls will be implemented by Santa Rosa through third party contracts and there will be no direct Regional Board staff oversight in the monitoring of runoff incidents. Incidental runoff is stated as infrequent, short in duration, low in quantity, accidental, etc., but we have no idea how that will be enforced through best management practices. If “accidents” go a long time before being discovered, the water quality ramifications could be severe. (Santa Rosa will require that third party contractors check the system every week or two, while true compliance should demand inspections every hour or two.)
• This permit fails to differentiate between summer and winter runoff and the comparative impacts to aquatic life and their habitat based on amount of flow in receiving waters. It assumes that ANY discharge from irrigation runoff will be so inconsequential that it is not necessary to describe impacts. Yet the mere fact that the Laguna is grossly impaired for nutrients, should demand a higher regulatory standard.
• This permit fails to address, not only unregulated pollutants in the wastewater, but the massive chemicals and fertilizers used on lawns to keep them green. These will runoff into the drainage/receiving water along with the wastewater and exacerbate the toxic impacts even further.

Santa Rosa has allowed their reclaimed water to be used for irrigation for at least 40 years. Currently there are about 85 contractors using their wastewater, including the City of Rohnert Park, who regularly allows wastewater runoff.

So now Santa Rosa will have permission to legally allow incidental runoff. When it happens, it will get into the creeks and streams at a time when flow is low and they can be heavily impacted by nutrients, pesticides, herbicides, soil amendments, and all the unregulated stuff in the wastewater itself. We fail to see how this program will improve our creeks and resolve the long term problems of high temperature, high nutrients, and low dissolved oxygen.

Join RRWPC’s list to stay informed. We do not share it with anyone. Contact Brenda at for information about getting on our list.

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The Cancer ~ Fighting Kitchen

The Healing Foods Free Lecture Series Presents: Rebecca Katz

Tuesday ~ October 27th, 2009
5:30 to 7:00 PM

Rebecca Katz, author of One Bite at a Time: Nourishing Recipes for Cancer Survivors and their friends.

The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, Rebecca's newest book, brings the healing power of delicious, nutritious foods to those whose hearts and bodies crave a revitalizing meal.

Join us at:
The Center for Spiritual Living
2075 Occidental Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95401

It is free, so bring a friend!

"I want you to think of this book as a toolbox to help you or someone you love get through cancer." Rebecca Katz

Please RSVP: or 707.829.5833 x 3

Volunteer Needed with In Design


If you have experience with In Design and have extra time to help The Ceres Community Project, please contact Margaret at or call 707-829-5833. Our immediate need is helping with our cookbook layout over the next month. If you know someone who may be interested, please forward this information to them! Thank you.

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Service Reductions in Russian River State Parks

By Michele Luna, Executive Director

While our Governor has said he will not close any State Parks, the reality is that we are going to see partial and seasonal closures, closed restrooms, new iron rangers for fee collection where they haven’t been before and the bottom line is that the millions of visitors who come to Sonoma County year-round to visit our State Parks will not have access to all that our parks have to offer in the coming months.

As most of you who have been following the news articles know, things change rapidly and our local State Park District has again been asked to rework their proposal as to how they can sustain this latest round of cuts. Originally, most of the cuts were going to be sustained by closing Fort Ross due to the cost of operating the park’s expensive water system. Now, without closing the Fort, those costs have to be distributed throughout the rest of the District, which is not an easy task.

As of this writing this is what I can report in regards to proposed service reductions:
• Beginning November 1st, the Fort Ross Visitor Center and Fort compound will be closed Monday through Thursday, open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Reef Campground and day use area will be closed for additional months then normal.
• Salt Point will have several day use closures for several months.
• Very soon, Pomo Canyon Campground and Willow Creek Environmental Campgrounds will be closed for additional months then normal.
• Also, very soon and for the first time, Bull Frog Pond Campground and the Back Country campsites in Austin Creek State Recreation Area will be closed for some months.
• There will be very limited or no seasonal park aids to staff the entrance stations at Armstrong Redwoods and Sonoma Coast locations.
• Day-use fee collection ($5 per vehicle) will begin for parking in the front parking lot by the Visitor Center at Armstrong Redwoods and some day use areas in Sonoma Coast State Park.
• The Jenner Visitor Center and the restroom in the boat launch area will be closed for at least 7 months.
• Other restrooms will be closed along Sonoma Coast, including south Goat Rock and Blind Beach at Sonoma Coast State Park.

How will this affect tourism and access to our State Parks? Well, everyone needs to use a restroom multiple times a day and while traveling they purposely stop along their route in search of restrooms. One of our docents, Lois Benson, wrote a letter to the PD Editor recently expressing concern about this very issue. People may have no choice but to pull off the road and find a secluded area to relieve themselves, thus fouling our beaches.

What are we doing about this?
The Fort Ross Interpretive Association is working on ways to restore services at the Fort and Salt Point. Stewards is working on the following ways to restore services at Armstrong Redwoods and Sonoma Coast.
• We have contacted businesses and groups in Jenner asking for help in raising the $5,000 needed to keep the Visitor Center and restroom open for the next 7 months.
• We will coordinate the staffing of the entrance station at Armstrong Redwoods during the week by trained Armstrong Redwoods/Austin Creek docents to help encourage park visitors to pay their fees.
• We will provide portable restrooms at Pomo Canyon Campground as needed so we can continue to provide environmental education programs for school groups who participate in our Watershed Education and Environmental Living Programs.
• We will support fee collection through the installation of iron rangers at beach locations on Sonoma Coast and at Armstrong Redwoods.
• We will help State Parks in any way asked to get us through this very difficult budget cycle.
• Most importantly, we will coordinate the local effort in Sonoma County to get the State Park Access Pass on the ballot in November of 2010.

State Park Access Pass
You have heard about the State Park Access Pass, an annual $15 surcharge on our vehicle license fee in exchange for free day use in our State Parks, for the past couple years. Since we could not get the legislature to pass this proposal in the current budget we will now need to see if we can get this measure on the ballot in November of 2010. A number of our largest partner organizations, including the California State Parks Foundation, are looking at the feasibility of winning such a ballot measure. Despite the overwhelming support that we have received from our constituents and supporters, there are many people in California that are opposed to tax increases of any kind, noting that Californians pay the highest taxes in the nation. We don’t see this as a tax increase in the same way as others since the people of California would be receiving a huge benefit for paying this fee. Being able to access our parks for free and providing the funding needed to adequately fund them and even address the 1.2 billion dollars in deferred maintenance would allow State Park to exist independent of any general fund allocation, making the park system sustainable into the future. Many other states have been successful in providing for their parks in this way and we hope Californians will see their way clear to approve such a win win solution.

If it is decided that we should move forward with the ballot measure we will need to do the following in the months ahead.
• In November, we will need to start collecting over a million signatures to qualify the required number for putting the measure on the ballot.
• Then we will need to raise the funding needed to run a robust campaign to get California voters to vote YES.

In order for us to be successful in these efforts we need your monetary and volunteer support. Please support us with a donation if you can.

Ways for you to Help Stewards
• Support our Quilt drawing with a donation online or at the Annual Membership Meeting on October 24, 2009. The drawing will take place at the Annual Volunteer Celebration on December 4, 2009.
• Support our Holiday Online Auction with a donated item or bid on great holiday gift items during the online auction from November 13 to December 2, with a final chance to bid at the event on December 4th. Absentee bids are available online for those not in attendance on December 4th.
• Provide a generous year-end tax deductible donation to support our efforts to provided education and stewardship volunteer programs in our State Parks and to help restore reduced services in our parks during the State Park budget crisis.

Visit our website at for more information.

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"Wastewater to Fuel" Project Earns Switzer Fellowship and Recognition for Catherine Hare

Catherine Hare of Rohnert Park has been awarded the prestigious Switzer Environmental Fellowship for her research on a local "Wastewater to Fuel" project conducted with Biology Professor Michael Cohen.

Hare's study focuses on the capacity of aquatic vegetation to remove or "scrub" excess nutrients and other pollutants from treated wastewater and utilization of the harvested material as biofuel. She initiated the project in Cohen's laboratory as an undergraduate in Spring 2006 and advanced to a graduate program in Fall 2007.

The project has since gained national recognition with three awards, most recently winning a "Pearson Sustainable Solutions Award", and has garnered over $200,000 in funding from a variety of sources, including the California Energy Commission, Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the City of Santa Rosa.

Hare is the fifth Switzer fellow from the SSU Department of Biology in the past nine years. The fellowship program has been active for 22 years and has funded students from universities such as Harvard, Brown, Yale, MIT, UC Berkeley, UCLA, as well as a few CSU campuses.

The fellowship is granted to students who, like Hare, are "innovators, leaders, problem-solvers, focused on tangible results ... with strong leadership, communication and critical thinking skills."
Along with a $15,000 stipend comes lifelong membership in the Switzer Network, which provides awardees with training, career coaching and access to other Switzer Foundation grant programs.

Beyond her role as a researcher, Hare is also a devoted educator. Cohen says "she has superbly carried out her duties as a laboratory instructor for several majors and non-majors Biology courses."

Furthermore, she has been "an extraordinary mentor" to six of the nearly twenty undergraduates who have served in Cohen's laboratory since he joined SSU in Fall 2005.
Hare has presented her research to diverse audiences, ranging from local groups, such as the American Business Women's Association Wine Country Chapter, to scientific conferences, including a recent meeting of the Pacific Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco.

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Longboard Vineyards Presents: "Mavericks - Everest of the Seas"

Come late October Sonoma County will not only welcome a new crop of world class wines, but the award winning photography of some of Action Sports best lensmen. “Mavericks – Everest of the Seas” comes alive again just in time to set the stage for another epic Big Wave Season.

Mix two of Northern California’s finest institutions – big wave surfing and the wine country – and you have what promises to be an amazing weekend at the Longboard Vineyards Tasting Room in Healdsburg October 23 – 25.

Relive heroic battles between man and wave as seen through the eyes of the cutting-edge photojournalists who risk life and limb to document the wave's intense man-against-the-sea drama and obsessive lifestyle of Maverick's elite riders.

Oded Shakked, a longtime surfer who founded Longboard Vineyards, will be unveiling his latest release, The Peter Mel/Mavericks Cabernet Sauvignon. This signature wine will be blended by not only Shakked but guest vintner, Peter Mel.

Mel, one of the most respected names in Big Wave Surfing is known as perhaps the most skillful surfer ever to ride Mavericks. The famed spot off the Half Moon Bay. In October of 1998 he was whipped into to what is now considered the biggest wave ever ridden… Mel along with the featured photographers, surfboard shapers and wine makers will be on hand for the Friday night reception. The reception will begin at 5pm and run until roughly 9pm. (after party tbd)

Longboard Vineyard has always had a soft spot for surfers. It’s a place where you can hangout at a redwood-surfboard bar, or sample one of its award winning wines while kicking back on a comfortable sofa watching surf movies. For this harvest weekend event Shakked has enlisted “Mavericks: Everest of the Seas,” the heralded collection of Mavericks surf photography from Frank Quirarte, Doug Acton, Seth Migdail and Ed Grant.

“Everest of the Seas” first made its debut recently at the Coastal Arts League Gallery in Half Moon Bay, drawing large crowds and an enthusiastic response. It just finished a one-month highly successful run at San Francisco’s world class Museum and Gallery, SFMOMA.

“Everyone who sees the exhibit is just blown away,” said Grant, the curator of the Coastal Arts League Gallery. “Both surfers and non- surfers can’t help but get caught up in the energy and stoke that surrounds Maverick’s, the surfers and photographers who put it on the line every time they go out there.”

The event also represents a high point in the career of Oded Shakked, who was born in Israel and grew up near a beach just north of Tel Aviv. Immersed in surfing from the start, he made several trips around Europe’s Atlantic coast while discovering, to his delight, that “it was easier, cheaper and safer to drink good red wine than bottled water.” His twin loves of surfing and wine brought him to California, where he studied winemaking at UC Davis and became enamored with the people, climate and rich soil of Sonoma County. He founded Longboard Vineyards with the motto “Wine, waves and soul,” making it a highly unique fixture in wine country.

The October 23-25 weekend will also feature the sale of surfboards and memorabilia, along with Acton’s acclaimed book, “Inside Maverick’s.” Admission is free.

Opening reception sponsored by Maverick Events and Longboard Vineyards
Peter Mel, Mavericks photo - Doug Acton/

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