The Coastal Post - September, 1995

PR Sept 95

Solar Workshops

The Northern California Solar Energy Association is offering two workshops this fall on Passive Solar Design Strategies for homes. The first workshop will be held October 28 in Santa Rosa, and the second will be October 30 in Santa Maria. To receive registration materials, call (510) 869-2759 and leave your name and address.

Help Prevent Child Abuse

The Marin County Parent Aide Program urgently needs volunteers to help families with young children who are in distress. Volunteer parent aides bring friendship and support to families who are alone and overwhelmed.

Volunteers should have some parenting or childcare experience. A formal training program for volunteers will begin October 1st. Volunteers are expected to participate three hours per week and make a one-year commitment.

The Program is sponsored by Family Service Agency's Pregnancy to Parenthood Family Center.

For further information or to schedule in interview, call Rachelle Averback at 456-6466.

No Oil Giveaway

The House of Representatives voted decisively to reject a proposal to give billions of dollars of public oil away without collecting royalties.

The House voted 261-161 in favor of a motion by Congressman George Miller (D-Martinez), calling on House negotiators to reject a Senate-passed measure freeing oil companies from paying royalties on oil and gas produced from deep water leases on federal offshore lands. One hundred Republicans, many of them anti-spending freshmen, joined Miller and 160 other Democrats in opposing the Senate's "royalty holiday" proposal.

"The royalty holiday scheme is premised on the argument that rich oil companies need multi-billion dollar inducements to buy leases in the deep water of the Gulf of Mexico," Miller told the House. "But the oil industry is vigorously bidding for deep water leases, as shown by the record bids last May. This provision would have cost more than $13 billion in taxpayer funds to encourage the oil industry to do what it is doing already."

Miller cited reports of active interest by oil companies in the deep waters of the Gulf in recent years as technology has made it possible to drill in areas once prohibitively expensive. He also noted provisions already in federal law that permit flexibility in the payment of royalties without the sweeping "holiday" allowed by the Senate proposal.

"Let me remind the Congress: This is July 25th, not December 25th," Miller said. "We don't need to give an all-expanses paid holiday to multi-national oil companies courtesy of the federal taxpayer at the very same time we are cutting back on services and benefits to those taxpayers. If Congress wants to give away a holiday, we can find a lot more deserving Americans than international oil conglomerates."

Miller said the holiday was being promoted by oil state legislators and the Clinton Administration that had made a pact several years ago to aid the energy industry. "But times have changed, and the oil business is booming," Miller noted. "We cannot deprive the taxpayers of billions of their dollars because of an outdated promise that is against our best interests."

House and Senate negotiators will now confer on the underlying legislation to permit the export of crude oil from Alaska. As a result of Miller's motion today, House negotiators are under formal instructions from the House membership to reject the royalty holiday provision tacked on by the Senate.

"If the conferees dare to ignore a 100 vote margin, I guarantee a furious and a successful floor fight to kill the entire Alaska bill when it comes back to the House," Miller predicted. "This is exactly the kind of special interest, secretive deal-making that voters rejected last November."

Arts Grants Available

The Marin Arts Council now has applications available for art-related projects which actively and directly involve the Marin community in artistic activity.

The purpose of this program is to encourage participation in local, community-based arts activities with public benefit, to encourage professional artists to become involved in the cultural life of their home communities, and to expand access to the practice of the arts to people with otherwise limited opportunities.

Applications may be submitted by community organizations, groups or individuals. Projects must take place in Marin County and must be completed within one year. The total amount of funds to be awarded in this round of granting will be $50,000.

To request an application, call the Arts Council, 499-8350.

A meeting will be held on Thursday, September 14 at 7:00 p.m. at the Falkirk Cultural Center, Mission at "E" Street, San Rafael, to help prospective applicants to submit a competitive application.

Low Rockfish Count

Scientists returning from a recent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research cruise off the coast of central California have observed the lowest numbers of juvenile rockfishes since surveys began in 1986. Rockfish, commonly called rockcod by fishermen or Pacific red snapper by local markets, comprise a multi-species group of fishes that together constitute a major resource utilized by both sport and commercial fishermen along the Pacific coast.

"Three of the last four years have been very poor reproduction years for rockfish � last year was a record low, and now we find that 1995 is even lower," said chief scientist Dr. Steve Ralston of Southwest Fisheries Center in Tiburon.

The research cruise, conducted form May 17 to June 19 off San Francisco between Monterey and Bodega Bays out to a distance of 35 miles, was designed to identify factors contributing to variability in annual spawning success. Over the past decade, scientists have observed three high rockfish production years, three average, and four poor years.

Scientists suggest that poor survival may be due to warm sea temperatures during the winter months. Warm conditions delay and reduce ocean productivity and seem to adversely impact larval survival.

For further information, contact Fishery Biologist Dr. Steve Ralston at 435-3149 ext. 229.

Rodoni Runs For Water District

Dennis Rodoni of Olema has announced his candidacy for director of North Marin Water District. Rodoni is a Marin County native, whose grandparents came to Marin over 150 years ago.

Rodoni believes that "maintaining a sufficient supply of the highest quality water available at a fair cost for all, including a system that rewards conservation, should be the district's priority. West Marin deserve representation on the North Marin Board. I look forward to being a voice for all residents on water issues. I believe that a clean, healthy watershed and streams benefit all water users, not just the fish and wildlife."

Liberalist Book Available

Naked Hearts: The Voice of the People is a fast-paced, non-fiction book with populist appeal. Written by an ex-U.S. Navy officer and network TV writer, the book tells of the concerns � social, political and intimate � of people from across the nation, offers a vision to help counter the destructive codicils of the Contract with America, and encourages readers to challenge ultra-conservative nuts like Gingrich who are using scare tactics.

Contact A Possible World Press, 20 Sunnyside, Suite 179, Mill Valley 94941, or call/fax 485-5953 for more information.

Job Help For Older Workers

If you are a Marin County resident with low income, 55 years or older and seeking employment, the YWCA Mature Worker program may be able to help you at no cost.

Employment and training services include resume writing, individual counseling, skills assessment, training and job leads.

The Y is located at 1000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo. Call 456-0782.

Grand Jurors Sought

Interested applicants are invited to apply for the 1996 Marin County Civil Grand Jury, an independent investigative body which monitors local governments and makes recommendations for their improvement.

The Jury is composed of 19 persons who agree to serve for one year, spending a minimum of 12 hours a week on jury work. The 1996 Jury will begin its term January 1. A civil grand juror must be a U.S. citizen, 18 years of age or older and a Marin County resident.

Civic grand jurors receive $10 for each day of service and reimbursement for auto mileage to and from the courthouse.

The deadline for submission of applications is Wednesday, October 5. An application may be obtained by written request to Civic Grand Jury, Room 255, Hall of Justice, San Rafael 94903, by picking one up at the office, or by calling Irene Mariani at 499-6072.

Whale/Marine Life Trips Offered

This fall Oceanic Society Expeditions, a non-profit environmental education and research group, will offer three special deep-sea voyages off the edge of the Continental Shelf into the realm of sperm whales, beaked whales, blue whales, humpback whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, Risso's dolphins, Dall's porpoise, fur seals and huge leatherback sea turtles. Seabirds like albatross, skuas, jaegers, shearwaters, and petrels, puffins and auklets frequent these waters. These 12-hour trips, aboard the 56-ft. motor vessel Salty Lady, will leave at 6:30 a.m. from Ft. Mason Center in San Francisco's Marina District on September 3, September 17 and October 14. Oceanic Society's expert naturalists will lead each trip to locate whales and provide information on the marinelife and ocean dynamics of the area. Cost is $98 per person; advance registration is needed and is limited to 40 people per trip.

Depending on sightings and sea conditions, the trips will visit either Pioneer Seamount, 53 miles southwest of San Francisco; or Cordell Bank, the northernmost seamount on the western North American continental shelf, 23 miles west of Point Reyes. Fall sea conditions are the most favorable of the year for observing offshore marine life: generally flat sea conditions aid in wildlife sightings and passenger comfort. On the return, participants will stop at the Farallon Islands to view island wildlife from aboard the vessel.

Reservations are required. Contact Oceanic Society Expeditions for reservations and information: Ft. Mason Center, Blvd. E, San Francisco, CA 94123, 474-3385. Whale Hotline, 474-0488 gives a recorded update of recent wildlife sightings.

Forestry Grants Available

Grant funds in the amount of $98,000 are available through the U.S. Forest Service's National Urban Forestry Program. Sixty-nine thousand dollars is available for projects in three categories: Tree Advisory Boards, Tree-Care Programs and Volunteer Development. Twenty-nine thousand is available for projects that develop a strategic plan for a community's urban forest. These projects must have the support and approval of the city or county's governing body.

Application deadline is October 17 and award decision will be announced on December 1. Grant recipients will have until December 2, 1996, to complete their projects. Funding requests can range from $500 to $5,000.

For a copy of the grant guidelines, contact Felix Posos, (714) 557-2575 or write California ReLeaf, 3001 Redhill Avenue, Bldg. 4, Suite 224, Costa Mesa, CA 94626.

Oil Drilling Rights Up For Bid

The rights to drill for oil and gas on federal land will be up for bid when the Bureau of Land management holds a competitive oil and gas lease sale on September 12. Bids will be accepted on 84 parcels totaling more than 88,000 acres.

Nearly half of the parcels lie within San Benito County; the remaining parcels are in western Fresno and Kern counties, with a few parcels in Monterey, Kings, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Contra Costa counties and the city of Long Beach. The majority of the parcels are in or near existing oil fields, but some are in wildcat areas.

The national minimum acceptable bid per parcel is $2 per acre. Leases sold will be issued for a primary term of 10 years.

The lease sale will begin at 9:00 a.m. in Room W-1140 at BLM's State Office, 2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento, CA 95825. The sale room will open at 8:00 a.m. for registration. All bidders must register and obtain a number prior to bidding.

A detailed notice of the lease sale containing the parcel descriptions, acreages, lease terms and condition, oral bidding procedures/ requirements and other sale information may be purchased for $5. Write Sonia Santillan at above address or call (916) 979-2856

Dance Festival At Dominican

On Sunday October 8, from noon to 5 p.m., the first Marin County Festival of Dance will be presented at the outdoor theater of Forest Meadows on the Dominican College campus, produced by Cynthia Pepper and Hilary Kretchmer. The Festival will showcase works of selected Marin choreographers, promote dance education, and create a forum for dance-affiliated businesses.

Tickets are $5, $2.50 for children under 12 and seniors. For more information call 455-0268 or 454-3564.

Big Boating Budget

California's budget is now in print and the news is good for boaters. The California Department of Boating and Waterways' budget for the 1995-96 fiscal year totals $46,683,000. Director John R. Banuelos said, "This budget will allow the Department to fund projects to provide safe and convenient public access to the waterways and continue our efforts in boating safety, education and enforcement."

Audubon Field Trip

A field trip to Rodeo Lagoon and Fort Cronkite Beach, sponsored by the Marin Audubon Society, will take place Saturday, September 16. Meet at 9 a.m. in front of the Ranger Station/Information Center in Fort Cronkite. Drive through the newly-opened tunnel, near the south Sausalito off-ramp from Hwy. 101, on Bunker Road to Cronkite Beach.

This is an ideal trip for beginning birders or for those who enjoy this interesting area with varied habitats. Waterfowl can be sight aplenty on the lagoon and early-autumn migrants beckon from the willows and on the hillsides. The beaches there host a variety of shorebirds and there are bound to be raptors enjoying the thermals in the sky. Come with binoculars and a snack. There is no charge. Call 461-8199 for more information.

Environment Training Program

The Environmental Forum of Marin is now accepting applications for the 23rd annual Forum Training Program, which begins Tuesday, September 12 and continues for 22 sessions through February 20, 1996. In classes and field studies, participants will examine a wide range of topics, including wildlife, wetlands, energy, toxics, transportation, housing and government policies. Cost is $150.

For further information, write The Environmental Forum of Marin, P.O. Box 74, Larkspur, CA 94977 or call 479-7814.

No To Higher Rates

Furious about paying utility rates 50% higher than the rest of the country, California taxpayers are sending more than 100,000 postcards, mailgrams and letters to the California Public Utilities Commission objecting to the proposed rate increases to subsidize experiments with electric and natural gas vehicles.

To find out about the Ratepayer Revolt, call (800) 677-8888.

Photo Show

Photographer Richard Blair will exhibit his black and white show, "Along the Pacific Coast," at Viewpoints Gallery, Pt. Reyes Station, from August 4 until October 1. Gallery hours are Monday and Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Indian Lore Classes

Fall classes in California Indian skills, crafts and culture begin on September 9 at Pt. Reyes National Seashore. All classes are on an adult level and involve hands-on participation. For more information and a folder, write Miwok Archaeological Preserve of Marin, 2255 Las Gallinas, San Rafael, CA 94903 or phone 479-3281.

Slide Ranch Event

On Sunday, October 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Slide Ranch will hold a Harvest Celebration for all ages. In addition to yearly activities like making bread and cheese, spinning bracelets out of wool, and visiting the farm animals, there will be special activities such as mask-making, face-painting and candle-dipping, plus live music and entertainment. Cost is children $12-25, adults $20-30, sliding scale. Call 381-6155 for more information.

Taste Organic Yogurt

For a taste of nonfat organic yogurt made by the Straus family in Marshall, stop by the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturday and look for Michael Straus under the red canopy in the first aisle. Albert Straus monitors the health and diet of his 230 cows with the help of a nutritionist, a veterinarian, a crew of five employees and a few good books on homeopathy.

All of the feeds are certified organic and the land on which the cows graze is free of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers. The Straus Family Creamery is the only certified organic dairy in California. For more information, call 663-5464 or 663-9335.

Strike Over But Battle Still On

The end of the November 1994 strike of the San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner newspaper workers has not ended the union-busting attacks.

Following the agreement, which was signed without a vote of the members, management has violated wholesale basic union rights. The Web Pressmen and Pre-Pressmen's Union Local 4 had their union-controlled dispatch system unilaterally taken over by management. Hundreds of newspaper boys and girls were fired and left on the pavement without even being given notice.

One leading CWA-ITU steward and strike picket captain, Fred Furguson, was summarily fired by his boss after he told him they were violating a section of the contract.

Teamsters Local 921 has also faced massive layoffs and speedups of the remaining workers. Injuries and forced retirements have increased as workers face the same union-busting management crew.

King & Bellow, the notorious newspaper owners' law firm, is still in charge. It is stalling all the NLRB charges that have been filed by the unions. Management has been openly blunt that any unfavorable decision will be appealed indefinitely � and the NLRB has been letting them get away with it.

As a result of continuing anger at the papers, circulation continues to dwindle. Management is virtually giving the Examiner away. The cost of an issue has been dropped to 25 cents. Management's plan may be to use the decline in sales as an excuse to shut down one of the papers and end the "Joint Operating Agreement."

The union fightback continues however. On Friday, July 7, a picket was called by some of the union locals to protest the continuing attacks on the union.

Newspaper workers are in need of a process through which to draw the lessons of their struggle and to chart a fightback strategy in the period ahead. Many workers are angry at what they feel was a defeat in bargaining after a victory on the streets. Among other things, they feel they should have been able to see, discuss and vote on the agreement reached between management and the head of the Conference of Newspaper Unions, Doug Cuthberson, before going back to work on November 13.

The June 24 War Zone Labor Conference � called by the three fighting union locals in Decatur, Illinois ��can serve as an example of the type of conference that is needed to move the struggle forward against the union busters here.

The clear and continuing plan of newspaper management is to break the back of the Teamsters and Web pressmen and Pre-Pressmen and then proceed to take on the Newspaper Guild, which has the bulk of membership at the San Francisco Newspaper Agency.

In every battle organized by King and Bellow, this has been the method employed to destroy all the unions. If the unions are to defend themselves, they need an accounting of where they are and where they are going.

� Reprinted from The Organizer. For a sample copy, write 4104 24th St., SF 94114.

PR II Sept 95

Organic Cows Seek Same

With upcoming new products and a surge in milk sales expected in early fall, Straus Family Creamery is looking for another farmer to go organic and help meet increasing demand.

A farm must be able to document that the land has been free of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers for at least three years. Then the cows must eat organic feeds for one year. Use of hormones to increase milk production (including the controversial Bovine Growth Hormone) is strictly prohibited. Additionally, the Straus milking herd is not treated with antibiotics, thereby adhering to higher standards than those set by the state.

Albert Straus says, "Our family has worked hard for years to promote local, sustainable agriculture. I like the idea of working with another local dairy rancher, and the milk from the coast definitely has a better flavor."

Straus' pioneering efforts have received attention nationally and internationally, including a PBS episode of Green Means, and an upcoming segment on Israeli TV.

Those Who Stand To Profit Should Pay

More than three out of four Californians believe utility company shareholders � not ratepayers � should finance utility company profit-seeking ventures in electric and natural gas-powered vehicles, according to a new statewide poll.

The poll, conducted by the Tarrance Group for Californians Against Utility Company Abuse, showed huge majorities opposed to $335 million in ratepayer-subsidized rate increase applications from the state's four largest investor-owned utilities now pending before the Public Utilities Commission.

"With electric power rates already 50% higher than those in the rest of the nation, it is clear California consumers are saying enough is enough!" said Mike Florio, acting director of Toward Utility Rate Normalization (TURN).

"If utilities want to get involved in these new areas, their shareholders should foot the bill, not overburdened ratepayers."

A CPUC judge recently recommended that the utility requests be cut to $166 million. However, 67% of those surveyed felt even this amount was too high. In fact, one-half of all respondents want to deny the entire request to increase rates.

When informed that not one shareholder dollar is being invested in the electric and natural gas vehicle programs, 81% said that made them less likely to feel any ratepayer money should be approved.

"Those who stand to profit from these schemes should be willing to risk the capital," said Surinder Chadha of the California Business Alliance. "Even a small percentage increase in utility rates can mean thousands of dollars to our members. Asking them to finance new money-making programs for the utilities could start a new exodus of jobs from California."

Kaiser/Labor Negotiations

Kaiser Permanente has started talks with the labor union, SEIU Local 250. The union is seeking a 15 percent wage increase over the next three years and full job security for all union employees. The current contract expires October 31.

Big Buck Bucks Buy Support

The Buck Center has spent nearly $500,000 of charitable funds on its campaign to date. Of this amount, nearly $250,000 was spent in an unsuccessful attempt to derail the November countywide referendum on the Buck Center's development plans.

"We knew the Center would spend a lot of money on this campaign, but we didn't know they'd spend like drunken sailors," said Craig Perrin, Chair of the Committee to Save Mt. Burdell. "The fund-raising reports prove that the Center lacks support in the community as a whole."

The Buck Center proposal calls for building a sprawling $100 million research complex � complete with a research laboratory one-fifth the size of the Pentagon, condominiums, homes, tennis courts, a pool and a mini-shopping mall � on the unstable slopes of Mt. Burdell. Opponents charge that the proposal is a financial boondoggle which threatens the Buck Trust and will not increase medical research, and that the project will bring environmental hazards, including infectious viruses, and radioactive and toxic wastes to the picturesque slopes of Mt.Burdell.

Jail Jeans

A tour of the prison where jeans are made is just part of the new internet site for Prison Blues, the blue jeans made in Oregon's prison system by inmates.

The new site on the internet's worldwide web includes a catalog of the clothing, a tour of the prison, posters and inmate photos, a history of the program and a discussion of inmate issues with links to other worldwide web sites covering inmate and prison issues. There are also electronic order and feedback forms.

Prison Blues is the brand owned by the State of Oregon Department of Corrections, covering jeans, denim jackets, shirts, tee shirts and other clothing made by the inmates at the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institute in Pendleton, Oregon. Sold in the U.S., Europe and Japan, the products and their unique source of manufacturing have gained international recognition in the past four years.

The url for new website is http://www.teleport.com/~jailjean.

Host Families Needed Now

A few more local host families are needed to sponsor foreign high school students scheduled to arrive soon. The students are between the ages of 15 and 18 years, English-speaking, and have their own spending money and insurance.

Pacific Intercultural Exchange reps match students with host families based on common interests and lifestyles. Families receive $50 per month and tax deductions.

Interested Bolinas area people are urged to call (800) 631-1818 immediately.

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