Monday, August 6, 2007

Latest Protest Update

As reported, about 2 dozen floaters on Friday, about 40-50 folks on Saturday (I lost count) and another dozen or so on Sunday, including Anna Banana on a surfboard. Some folks did float on more than one day. Everyone was empowered by the experience, which was not for the faint of heart.

Negotiating the little bit of current at this time of year is tricky enough, without avoiding bathers, lounge chair sitters and the nifty little cribs people make of the gravel to have their own private pools. We even passed a couple of inflatable lounge arrangements that seated 6-8 people. Quite a bit of walking was involved in the "float." Most of my conversation was with people from out of the area. Locals at riverside were mostly young people, VERY supportive of the Mateel and ROTR.

We did miss you RW, too bad you chickened, adult locals were very busy working to make the fest happen and would not have recognized/interfered with you.

Many of us agreed that the Reggae Uprising has just begun. Watch for our bumper stickers ("Don't steal our Reggae") and Reggae on the River 2007 T-shirts, sign petitions, attend Mateel Forever benefits (Dr. John Aug 29), donate time and/or $$, talk with each other, let the MCC Board know what we want for OUR community center.

Now that the event is done, I'm hopeful that we can actually use our community radio station to encourage and facilitate discussion. Congrats to all Uprisers, you rock!

love, BR

Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Truth About Flotzilla

This just in. Forget what you read in the mainstream newsmedia. This is the truth about flotzilla and the Truth Booth. This was posted anonymously.

This has been and continues to be one of the most interesting actions I've been involved in and I've been involved in many. People I had not met called, dropped by, painted signs, sat at the Truth Booth, volunteered to make photocopies, brought food, took photos, donated materials such as boats (temporarily) and were full of excitement and a certain delight.

I have a fistful (or more, my hands are small) of signed petitions with several names per petition. Lots of donations to turn over to the Mateel.

The Friday float had approximately twenty to twenty-five boats/floats. There were probably, contrary to the Times Standard report, twice that number floating, walking, and swimming on Saturday. I haven't heard about Sunday yet. The Times Standard reporter maybe should be forgiven. She talked with five protesters and apparently thought that was all that was there. She caught Esteban and the little vanguard, but many, many more followed later.

The reception was cordial.

I thought of this party/protest as a ceremony of sorts; we are joined in this community by the rivers.

Babies came, and grandmas. RW, I hope you managed to meet up with folks; I should have indicated Humboldt time, because the big Friday float didn't get underway till after 2 or so -- I think it was around 3 when BR called me with a report.

As to the pieces in the papers...well, you know about embedded reporters, right? Bob Doran long ago told me how much he has enjoyed being included in the inner circle/press tent stuff. Carol takes good care of people as long as they agree with and flatter her and her events. She or her minions have yanked passes after not so flattering reportage.

Everyone is noting how sparse the population seemed. As someone else noted, this (with truly counted wristbands) gives us yet another reality check--we weren't crazy when we thought last year was way, way beyond allowed limits.

Kudos, however, to everyone: To the protestors and truth booth sitters and leafleteers: To the medics at RR who did minister to the floatilla people (one friend of mine got very very chilled, and isn't a spring chicken): To the security who very quickly stopped the stone throwing: To our friends and neighbors who met the floaties at the bank.

And to all of us in search of truth.
Another anonymous poster noted:

I was honored to participate in The Truth Booth, today. The energy was positive and uplifting. Concert attendees were extremely interested in our message and many asked for more leaflets to hand out on site. Most of them commented that they could sense the difference in this year's event. There was, indeed, something tangible missing.

Editor's note: Thank you anonymous. RW did not float down the river. I was afraid of being discovered by the Dark Side. I should not have used my real photo on the website.

Life Mimics Art

I do not know about you, but I was a little depressed this last week. It just seemed incredible to me that the entire blogosphere and news media basically just ran fluff pieces about Reggae Ripoff. Really, how is it that people can commit the type of immoral theft of community assets that Carol Bruno and Tom Dimmick did and remain so coddled by the news media?

Bob Doran's blog comes across as a tribute to corruption mouthpiece. I actually thought the Eureka Reporter's piece was more objective than any of the other stories. It all reminds me of this great movie I watched in the early 1980's called "Being There" with Peter Sellers (a.k.a Dr. Strangelove).

If you have never seen this movie, please do so. It is a must see film. It is on my "all time all time" list. The film won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (Melvyn Douglas) and Peter Sellers was nominated for Best Actor in a leading role. I am going to tell you a little bit about the movie because I will then tie it in with the events of the last week.

"Being There" tells the story of a gardener named Chance, played by Peter Sellers, who grows up in the home of a wealthy man in Washington, D.C.. Discovered as a youngster on the man's doorstep, Chance has lived in the house his whole life with virtually no contact with the outside world and no social interaction. Apart from his limited relationship with Louise the maid who is African American, Chance's cultural and social education is derived entirely from what he watches on the television sets provided by his employer and what he learns by tending the garden.

When his employer dies, Chance, now middle-aged, is forced to leave his sheltered existence in the house and discover the world outside for the first time, he wanders around Washington in Winter dressed in clothes that are decades out of fashion and carrying an umbrella and an alligator-skin suitcase previously owned by his dead employer. Some of the rougher people he meets look upon him as either odd or trying to provoke trouble even though he is as harmless as can be. Because of the clothes, bowler hat and alligator suitcase, he appears as if he might be wealthy or somebody of importance.

In the evening Chance comes across a TV shop and sees himself in one of the TVs, due to a camera in the shop window. While watching himself in it he is struck by a car owned by a wealthy and powerful businessman named Ben Rand, played by Melvyn Douglas. Chance is invited into the Rand's home to recover from his injured leg. Coughing over a strong drink that he thought was water, Chance's name is interpreted by Rand's wife Eve, played by Shirley MacLaine, as "Chauncey Gardiner" rather than "Chance the gardener", which is what he said. Rand and Eve believe that Chance is a businessman who has gone bust and take him under their wing. His simplistic utterances based upon his observations of life in a garden, are interpreted as allegorical statements of deep wisdom. Perhaps they are?

Rand, a dying man, is also the confidant and adviser of the US President, played by Jack Warden, whom Chance has "seen on TV." In their meeting, Chance's remarks about how the garden changes with the seasons are interpreted by the President for economic and political advice. He makes similar quotes in a TV speech and as a result Chance quickly rises to national public prominence.

He becomes a media celebrity with appearances on TV talk shows, and is soon on the A-list of the most wanted in Washington DC society. Public opinion polls start to reflect just how much his "simple brand of wisdom" resonates with the jaded American public who think him a genius.

There are some significant subtle themes to the film that leave the viewer wondering and pondering the film. One of the more humorous scenes of the film is what reminds me of the events of the last week. When Louise the African American maid sees Chance on TV, she is of course shocked that such a seemingly dim witted person could have risen so far in American society. She observes that "all you have to be is white in America."

When I read all of the fawning media coverage over Reggae Rising, Carol Bruno, and Thomas Dimmick, it also occurred to me that all you have to be is white in America. If some African American male stole some money from a bank teller in Garberville, the FBI would hunt him down like a rabid dog. But if you are a white business person in Humboldt County why you can commit all manner of deception and immoral business practices and remain the toast of the town and the media. I also suspect that there is also a bit of Chance in Carol Bruno.

Sometimes when I read the fluff stories I cannot help but think to myself that if Carol Bruno were stop suddenly, a whole lot of people would ram their noses into her rather substantial derriere. Is that why we call them brown noses?

Now I feel better. I got it off my chest.

Friday, August 3, 2007

A Clever Observation

The post below was submitted anonymously. It is well written and clever so I have posted it here. It is obviously in response to the Dark Side's braggadocio that the Chronicle would run an article favorable to People Productions today.

Dit..Dit...Da...Dit... Dit... News Flash.... Dateline Friday August 3, 2007
PP's PR personal are full of B.S.

Secret source for George Bush's alleged WMDs is exposed.

Upon reviewing today's San Francisco Chronicle there was no WMDs (weapons of mass deception) or articles justifying RR's hostile takeover of the community event. Just like George. I looked in the News section, could not find it there, looked in the Bay Area section, could not find it there, looked in the business section, not there either. I looked in the Sports, can't find it. Maybe it's in the Datebook section, not there either. Classifieds? Nope. One last section to check the Whine section.Oops just another typo.I meant Wine section. I couldn't find anything under sour grapes.

Boo Hoo!!!

Oh that's right sour grapes is an Aesop's fable in which in which the Fox, after futile efforts to reach some grapes, scorned them as being sour.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Flotzilla Protest Information

This is a community service announcement. The post below was posted in the comment section anonymously.

Those taking part in the flotzilla event, remember, you will need to get your party pass /access sheet; you can contact the organizers; these should be also available in Garberville and in Redway where people will be having info.

Remember to take water with you, to wear hats, to have sunscreen. Might be good to take some portable snacks (to share maybe?). You will not be able to park at the Green Bridge (we encourage car pooling from near the bookstore in Redway each day). We have a truck that can carry several floaties/boats to the spot and let them off (and will pick them up at the end point, where we have access permission as well). We have a parking spot (will hold probably 30 vehicles) south of the Green Bridge (courtesy of a Piercy resident).

Target time for gathering at the Green Bridge is noon each day, though people are welcome to come in any time. You may find RR people camping near the Bridge--a nice organizing opportunity.

At last discussion it looked like there might be just one main float-in a day (given how long it takes)..but stay loose. More info as I have it.

Someone just phoned with a slogan for the posters being prepared: Your paid ticket helped close my community center.

And a number of people will be throughout the towns and on and near the site with "Reggae Reality Crew" labels on their hats or persons, willing to chat about the truth.

Oh, and wear shoes in the water, the rocks are rough.

Saturday is our targeted Family Day; it will give the rasher organizers a chance to check out the logistics on Friday and advise everyone.

Have fun!

RW will be there. Join me in this lawful protest.

Georje Holpe Tells It Like It Is

The letter below was posted on East Bay Express. I hope Georje Holpe will not object to me publishing it here. Thank you Georje for an insightful letter.

All is not irie
As a member of the Mateel Community Center, I wish to say a few things regarding your one-sided, biased article. For the Mateel Community Center's point of view, talk to their lawyers. The staff of the community center has been laid off, and does not have the funds to hire a slick public relations firm, like People's Productions takes advantage of.

A large majority of the population in South Humboldt and North Mendocino counties are outraged that "People's Productions" — a for-profit corporation — hijacked a two-decades-old community-sponsored event that benefited our local, nonprofit organizations. For all the years Reggae on the River has been in existence, the Mateel Community Center fronted the seed money to put on the festival. People's Productions reaped the profits without having to invest their own money. Carol and Tom's offer of $200,000 was not going to be paid up-front and was not guaranteed. Boots and 2b1 Productions made an offer of $350,000 up-front and half the ticket sales.

Most importantly, "REGGAE ON THE RIVER" IS NOT FOR SALE AND NEVER HAS BEEN FOR SALE. The community is not willing to sell. I'm sure Tom and Carol wish the whole little problem of an outraged community would go away, but all is not irie when Reggae on the River becomes Babylon Rising.

Many of Humboldt County's nonprofit organizations rely on having a food booth at Reggae on the River as part of their yearly income. Many local nonprofits, including schools, volunteer fire departments, the community radio station, environmental groups, feel so strongly that this year's reggae festival is unethical, they have chosen to stand in solidarity with Mateel Community Center by not having a food booth at the festival this year.

For anyone attending the event, be forewarned: All sorts of protests and actions are being planned by the community at large.

Georje Holpe, Redway

Editor's note: RW will be one of the protesters

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Reggae War Attracts Outside Interest /A Bright Outlook

Reggae Warrior has learned from a reliable source that the San Francisco Chronicle has interviewed some of the players in the reggae dispute. It is rumored that a major story will break any day in the San Francisco Chronicle. Remember, you heard it here first. Reggae Warrior is your source for all of the latest Reggae War news and the best analysis of the facts.

My source also believes that the poor relationship between People Productions, LLC and Mateel for so many years has restricted Mateel in what it could accomplish and the breadth of the community it could serve. Now that the restrictive relationship is over, Mateel will eventually celebrate the fact that it can thrive and grow unhindered by such dead weight. Mateel should be able to maintain a good knowledgeable staff and retain management for the long run that can take Mateel in whatever direction the board and community plan for it to go without interference from a special interest group looking to feather its own nest at the community's expense.

ADDENDUM: THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO SOME OF THE RATHER NASTY COMMENTS ON THIS THREAD. To all of you that attacked me, all I can say is that I forgive you.

I think, however, that what has you really upset is the over 3000 visitors in my first month. Just a guess. I could be wrong. I have never claimed to be perfect. Not bad for a "nut" is it?

As to those of you on the Dark Side that think the Chronicle story will be in your favor, you could be right. We will see when it is published. But be forewarned. As a journalism major and long time journalist I have seen time and time again where reporters act like the friend of a source to gain trust and to try to get better information. Then, when the article is printed, it is far more biased or at least balanced than they were led to believe. So, like Abraham Lincoln was fond of saying, it is best to wait to start cackling until after you have laid your eggs.

I can assure you of one thing. No matter how favorable the article - the Dark Side loses. The more attention that is given to this case and the deeper the probing spot light the worse it is for Carol Bruno and Thomas Dimmick. They know it. That is why they have adopted the media strategy they have taken. I would have given them the same advice had they hired me as their media consultant. I would have said "tell them to wait for the trial. This should be tried in the courts." The hope being that by the time the case is resolved angers and attention spans will have waned.

Keep dreaming. Or should I say: Do not worry, the nightmaree will not end for a long time? You reap what you sow.