Local Police Departments Being Recruited By FAA To Police Drones (sUAS)

Morton is assigned to the FAA’s UAS Integration Office. His presentation, titled “Integration of UAS for Law Enforcement Applications,” drew an audience of police and law enforcement officials. He told attendees that the FAA wants police to report any sightings of small UAS flights.

After Pirker Setback, FAA Plans UAS Policy Notice | Aviation International News

Hot Air Balloon in Santa Rosa from above

Hot Air Balloon in Santa Rosa from above – onboard a sUAS (small unmanned aerial system)

Sure, Sure, Efren.

We now know the answer!

Efren reveals that he would have voted *NO* for the Preservation Ranch timberland to vineyards conversion project!



Santa Rosa’s Community Media Lab Needs Reinventing

I much prefer my headline to the PD’s:  Santa Rosa’s Community Media Center may go dark | PressDemocrat.com.

Or maybe: The Community Media Lab Present and Future is So Bright, the CMC Might Need Shades (for a while)

As a City staff member, I have to be careful about what I say here – forgive me if I am vague about anything. I certainly have an opinion, but I’m also happy to respect the process, and the process is that there will be a wide-open public hearing for everyone Tuesday, February 5th… Honestly, I’m really looking forward to that hearing. The public space is going to be the best place to flesh this one out!  Meeting starts at 4pm, Tuesday February 5th – no telling when item 13.2 will be presented.  Here is the agenda.    Here is the staff report  Live video will be available here at 4pm.

Having spent a good deal of my life during the last 5+ years trying my best to push the new-media envelope, and to expect better of media here in the North Bay, I also have more than a few ideas and conclusions that I’d love to share.

If you’re just tuning in, the issue as simply as I can summarize:  Santa Rosa staff are recommending that “PEG” funding to the non-profit “Community Media Center of the North Bay” be concluded at the end of their contract (March), in favor of exploring other, more innovative public access options.  Reading between the lines, and knowing what I know, City staff desire to use a CMC hiatus to rally community involvement and input around some of these burning questions:

  • “what amazing things can be done with these funds?”
  • “what uncharted places might we go?”
  • “how can the City’s multimedia resources help a new collaborative landscape?”
  • “how can we meet more of the needs in local community media (generally)?”
  • “how can we do amazing things in the media space with this limited amount of money?”
  • “who else exists out there that desires to get involved?”
  • “what kind of organizations might maximize public media dollars together?”

A formal ‘request for proposals’ was publicized last Fall (2012) – there were two respondents.  Both respondents (one was CMCNB) came in significantly over available budget. (it should be mentioned that “budget” is not a mystery – there has always been a finite number of PEG dollars) Additionally, neither of the responses were evaluated to be very innovative – they were determined by a neutral RFP review panel (6 people – 3 staff + 3 media experts) to be lacking. The RFP panel further suggested that Santa Rosa internalize the G (government) component and seek something innovative to carry the E (education) and P (public access) components into the future.  Staff agreed – hence we have this item on the agenda which seeks NOT to shut it all down or put it all , but to press pause – and to create a better design for community media.

Truth be told: I sensed that the RFP panel might conclude this – it’s a big trend in reinventing public media lately… most recently I know that KRCB had been told a very similar conclusion by a thinktank that I was lucky to be a part of.  The gist of the outcome of that thinktank was “Keep the baby and the bathwater… but throw out the clawfoot iron tub!”  In theory the “baby” is the staff, the customers, the citizenry, and the “water” is the content… how do you adjust the paradigm, the structure beneath it without losing everything?  Another metaphor: changing the station-wagon’s oil while on the interstate.  It isn’t easy – no two ways about it… but somethingmust be done – for the public’s interest – something to adjust the mission behind the public funding to match the 21st century media paradigm which is defined by fast, easy and cheap access to multimedia tools, and worldwide instant audiences.

The folks I’ve worked with at the Community Media Center are wonderful. To a person. However, this upwelling of media disruption (new & inexpensive technology, the internet, low cost of entry) makes everyone uncomfortable. I completely understand that.

But… we can do better – and I expect that a lot of the CMCNB folks might well be along for the ride.  Public Access should have always been about much more than just a channel… It should have been future-proof – and we need to design it so that it is future-proof.  It should have been about collaboration – about DIY, and experimentation, and pulling everyone together to help people create community oriented multimedia.  It was a really tough bill in 1996… but it’s not going to be as difficult today.  What *is* difficult is switching gears, changing the oil, removing the claw-foot tub.

I think Santa Rosa simply needs an opportunity to redo – to enable something vastly better to emerge.  I look forward to that public process, and I know a lot of you will absolutely want to be involved in recreating public access & media in Santa Rosa.  In the DIY capital of the West Coast, I’m positive that we can do something amazing that other communities will aspire to.


What’s The Mission?

spanking time.

spanking time.

If you’re reading this little website of mine, you likely know me – or know of me.  You probably are aware I’ve been involved in the online news of Northern California in various ways for more than 5 years now. Admittedly, that’s not long at all, but it is a great deal of time in the sense that the news industry has been through a sea-change in those very same 5 years, and I’ve had a front row seat.  I’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way, and become much more aware of the significant and inexcusable shortcomings of the existing conditions among our current North Bay news providers.  I wish more people paid attention to some of these issues – otherwise, we get what we ask for – a virtual and immovable news monopoly.  Well, we’re there.  Still.

It isn’t easy to make money in the local news industry – especially as a startup, where it’s doggone impossible to get a foot in the door.  This has something to do with why we live in a one-(daily)rag-town.  That one, the elephant news organization in our community, has no alternative but to carry the major load for all of us.  The Press Democrat is one organization that most adults in the Redwood Empire look to for news.  (jake’s note: that’s ‘Redwood Empire’ – not ‘North Coast’)  I digress.

So, what are the editors thinking, really?

Very recently, the good reading public had to put up with nearly a week of The Press Democrat brass, from their plum positions (plum metaphor credit: Kevin McCallum), squaking about Santa Rosa City Officials keeping Santa Rosa City Council applicants secret until all applications had been submitted.  What a hoot that was, huh?  Newspapers FLEW off the shelves! (No, they probably didn’t.)

And now, now that all 17 applications are available for public viewing, The Press Democrat neglects to include or link these oh-so-important applications from any of their online articles about them!  (by the way – they are all right here, for your reading pleasure)

Am I alone in seeing the hypocrisy in that?  “Show the public” they cry – “Why are you keeping the applications and applicants secret” they whine… and now, now that said public servants, as promised, have made ALL the applications available on the internet for all to see, and consume for themselves – the PD insists, through omission, on being the sole source of information about these applications?

Who is making these 20th century decisions over there?  Really?  No links?  Nothing?

Nothing here (as I write this):
UPDATE: Names of Santa Rosa City Council applicants made public | Watch Sonoma County

Nothing here either:
Names of Santa Rosa City Council applicants made public

So I’ll leave you, good reader, with this:

I wanted to see for myself what candle I might be able to hold the Press Democrat up to…  I wanted to see how this 21st century invention – The Hyperlink – might be something worth their utilizing in an effort to BETTER INFORM THE COMMUNITY THEY SERVE.  Heck, they even suggest on their website: “hyperlinks encouraged”.   Really?

I was surprised to find that The Press Democrat has no public Mission Statement.  Local control?  Yes.  Mission statement?  No.  But on their “About” page – they do have this nugget:

“Unlike most other major newspapers, The Press Democrat has literally grown up with the area it serves. As Northern California continues to develop into the 21st century, so too will The Press Democrat.”

Prove it.

Use hyperlinks.  Attempt to educate your readers instead of simply broadcasting to them.  We’ll all be better for it.

~jake   shoot me an email if you have access to The Mission Statement.

Santa Rosa City Council Candidates

Learning more about the potential Santa Rosa City Council appointee is what this is all about.  These are the applicants.
Each name is linked to the City of Santa Rosa’s copy of the applicant’s application.  I’ll add links to any & all background information I can find on each applicant.
If you have information that others may be interested in, please email me:  editor@empirereport.org
WITHDRAWN: Cobb, Gilbert F – facebook – linkedin

Dark Horses in Santa Rosa

ImageI’m really looking forward to seeing who the “not the usual characters” are applying for Santa Rosa City Council. I know of one that hasn’t made the press yet, and I’m sure there are others.

**Go Dark Horses!**

I love the (absurdly maligned by the PD) process of keeping the application window secret. I love that we all get some level of surprise when the envelope is opened…

“And the applicants are…”

Surely we can all wait until the list is in. Politics in SR is so ugly lately, I think of this sealed process as a breath of fresh air. I’d be willing to bet that if there are applicants other than the usual slate, they will probably suggest this ugly rancor is exactly one of the reasons they didn’t “run” a campaign the more traditional way.

Can’t imagine anything more scary to the Democratic establishment (PD, Bosco, etc): An unknown on City Council?  Oh My!

2 more to vie for Santa Rosa City Council seat | Watch Sonoma County.

With the threat…

Image courtesy normansolomon.com

Norman Solomon

“With the threat of a President Romney gone and the continuing scarcity of a progressive moral core in the Oval Office, millions of progressives who understood the tactical wisdom of supporting Obama’s re-election should now recognize that the time has come to renounce his leadership.”

Not being one to shy away from the fore, Norman Solomon has thrown the progressive gauntlet down.

See the full article: New Year, New Era for Progressives and Obama.

New 2013 CA Vehicle Code Laws Range the Gamut

vehicle codeLots of new laws pertaining to vehicle operation in California. This one, in particular, seems largely unenforceable (nevermind absurd) to me:

“There are also two new laws related to recreational off-highway vehicles. One (AB
1595, Cook) defines an off-highway motor vehicle to include a recreational off-highway
vehicle (ROV) and establishes additional requirements governing its safe operation. The
other law (AB 1266, Cook), which goes into effect July 1, 2013, prohibits a passenger in
an ROV from riding in a seat location not designed and provided by the manufacturer. It
also prohibits operation of the ROV if the passenger is not seated with both feet on the
floorboard and able to grab the occupant handhold with the seat belt and shoulder belt or
safety harness fastened”

Full text:


From the archive…

While looking over some archival records of Empire Report, I happened upon this:  Garbage Politics — Empire Report.

Full text:

Garbage Politics

Posted by Erin Carlstrom Pelletier, Esq. at Jan 20, 2010 05:45 AM 


Santa Rosa City Council voted to delay a decision on a ten year extension to the City’s garbage and recycling contract. With three years remaining on the current contract, the delay provides time for an open and competitive bidding process instead of hastily pushing through the results of Herb Williams’ backroom deals.