Posts Tagged ‘Triiibes’

Understanding Fukushima-Daichi

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013
Moral Compass Setting

Moral Compass Setting

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.   2 Timothy 2:15

I began to study  aspects of the disaster at Fukushima-Daichi the moment the Tohoku quake occurred. The disaster began not on 3-11, as common knowledge would have us believe, but during the throes of the Cold War in the late 1950′s. Some aspects of it actually date back to the turn of the century

After watching the tsunami wash ashore with some of my colleagues from K38 Rescue (we were online simultaneously and saw the quake take place on the USGS event reporting site) I knew the long range repercussions would be nuclear in nature. At the time however, I had no idea regarding the education I would acquire in the next several years.

Shortly after the initial disaster I found myself at the home of my friend and mentor, George Orbelian in SF. George sat me down in his living room on a warm sunny afternoon high above the surf at Ocean Beach, which pulled at my attention, looked me in the eyes, and said; “David, what are we going to do about Fukushima?”

My first response was to laugh, and I said “George, what in the heck do you mean? What can we do?” The implausibility of two guys even being able to grasp the enormity of what we knew then would likely be the largest disaster of it’s type in History, had hit me square in the chest.

George said this. “There is a man in our group who is an engineer. He worked for GE in the design and implementation of the plant and the Nuclear program in Japan. He understands it well. We can start there.”

So we did, and after immersion in the programs of Blue Mind, ARUP, The Sea Space-Initiative, Blue Ocean Sciences, Triiibes and countless conversations, studies and analyzations, I came to certain conclusions regarding the nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima-Daichi.

This blog is a summary of what I have learned.

The disaster at Fukushima-Daichi is fixable. It also is not really “the problem”. It is a symptom. If we do not address the real issue, then Fukushima, which is indeed the largest man made catastrophe in our time as a species on this Earth, will also become one of the most egregious sins humanity has ever acquiesced to committing.

The word Sin is an interesting one. Theologically, a sin is a choice of action that causes the separation of a human being from God, his creator, which theologians regard as being the creative author of existence and  is Love, being eternal in nature.

I am writing a book on all of this, actually. I explain the nuances of our problem in that book. It will take me awhile to complete it.

If you have found this blog, what I am about to share in it will give you a level of information regarding the disaster at Fukushima-Daichi that will enable you to engage as an author of good and accurate change.

Resolution Riders

Resolution Riders

Please be aware that I am not an advocate of banning Nuclear Power generation. But am an ardent and informed adversary of Plutonium-Uranium fueled Nuclear Electric power generating stations located in coastal flood plains.

Each one is a potential disaster on the same scale and of the same scope as the one which the Tohoku quake facilitated.

On the Eastern Shores of China, West of Japan, are  a cadre of new plants which  are not subject to the build and maintenance standards of those in Japan and the US. Be aware that many of those well built and maintained Japanese and U.S. plants have ongoing documented problems that have created injections of multiple radiant contaminants into the ecosystem.

There are many experts in the Nuclear Industry and international commerce and relations, who believe that a plant failure in China would have no chance of being discoverable to the extent which Fukushima has.

Again, here is the rub. Our Commons connect Nations in such a manner that all environmental regulations and every incident as a result of our policies, good or bad, accurate or not,  connects each body in the International Community.

This begs that a few questions be asked of Americans. Is it appropriate to allow Politicians to even have say in architecting the systems which the Global Population will need to survive under? Is that intelligent, given the simple fact that political policy is driven by the realities of the short term election cycle, and all the ramifications which this implies?

If we find out that those policy makers knowingly led the Nation into decisions which damage the Commons to the point of jeopardizing food security, create death via radiation exposure and generational Cancer, as a payback to a Corporately embedded fiscal entity which placed them in office, should they not be held criminally liable? And in turn should that Nation and those companies not be held civilly liable for the damage they created?

If we did that? Well, please think what it would mean, to apply a level of accountability here. It would change everything that should be changed.

On the East Coast of the US are 33 Nuclear plants located in the Coastal Flood plain. 17 are of similar design and placement to the one at Fukushima. The East coast is wide open to a mega-tsunami disaster from the tectonic plate activity located under the Canary Islands.

The Coast is also highly vulnerable to weather related disaster by way of Hurricane. It has long been expected that a Cat 5 or above hurricane could sweep up the East Coast and create a damage swath that would be severe in scale and scope. Fortunately this has NOT happened. Therefore the odds are that it will, in your lifetime.

During Hurricane Sandy which depending on where and when you measured it, was a Cat 0-2 storm on the Safir-Simpson Scale, 6 of those 33 Nuclear plants went to emergency shut down. 4 went to crises. Meltdowns were averted.

The following little cable show was one which I agreed to do reluctantly, as a result of my colleague and friend, Wallace J Nichols, author of the Blue Mind Neuroscience summit, suggesting I consider appearing on it. The show is called Eco Review. It is authored and run by a  very astute and connected man named Tom Harvey, out of Santa Cruz California.

In the show with me are:

Dr Andrea Neal, of Blue Ocean Sciences. Andrea led a team of research scientists which developed a method for remediating heavy metal radiant contaminants from the water column. She also was integral in creation of highly effective means of detecting source point pollutants in land sea or air. The technology she helped create is absolutely vital as a step in restoring system health in nuclear and other man made disasters.

Eddie Leung of Secure Environment. That engineer who worked on the original GE plant at Fukushima, who I mentioned above. He was on the ground at Fukushima not long after the meltdowns, studying the situation.

Arnie Gunderson of Fairewinds Associates. Arnie is a former Nuclear Industry Executive and Engineer and is noted as being the whistleblower during the disaster at Three Mile Island. He has been a tireless and valiant source of information traveling around the world in an effort to educate leaders and civil populace regarding our Nuclear Energy systems.

In my affiliation with K 38 Rescue I have gotten to meet and work with great men and women who by all accepted social standards would be known as heroes. I  know what a hero is. They generally are people with training and a high level of proficiency, willing and able to step forward at personal risk in order to accomplish a result necessary to the safety of individuals, nations, ecosystems or planet.

To me, each one of these people is a hero in ways which the public may never know or understand.

If you really want to understand and help this world and future generations, and know some of what I do, start by watching this 1 hour cable show.


Ecoreview: Fukushima Update is here.


After that, please watch these three films created by Australian based film maker Andrew Ebisu. Based on what I have learned in working alongside some disciplined, educated, skilled and brave people, who have applied themselves to rescuing Humanity from this terrible place we have come to, I see his film series as being highly accurate and able to provide a clear understanding of what the Disaster at Fukushima-Daichi really means.

On Fukushima Beach.

On Fukushima Beach 2: The Lights of Fukushima.

On Fukushima Beach 3: The Bombing of Kyoto.


Being The Change

Being The Change


So now you know some of what I do.

How do we really fix it? There exists a somewhat confidential plan. It is fairly simple, but will require a lot of work to implement.

If successful, the Nations, Corporations and leaders responsible for this will be held legally accountable in a couple different ways. What this will facilitate is a transition away from Plutonium Uranium Nuclear Generated Electrical Power, a clean up and true remediation of existing Nuclear Waste globally, and remediation of existing radiant contaminant within the ecosystem. It will usher in a safer and far less costly method of power generation and facilitate greater Corporate profit and increased potential for creation of sustainable systems whereby we will be able to manage a world that is headed for an 8 Billion Population and is actually very capable of sustaining that number, contrary to what many Environmental Activists and the UN claim.

The group Change.Org  whose mailings I sometimes find amusing really did nail it with this one. Some of this statement where a President is captured lying to a Nation and World, is in the films. But understand this. He is both a complicit part of the problem, but as a leader has a deep responsibility to ensure Civil order and the security of our Nation. The petition results are laughable. 235 respondents.

Awhile ago a bunch of us who are in Seth Godin’s global Marketing group known as Triiibes had a little get together in my home town of Ventura. It was called Flow, and initially was a retreat of sorts for some of the generous bright lights who are all friends, colleagues and leaders of various Tribes-Communities.

In the course of that event, the group concepted a movement based business which was eventually co founded by myself, Donna Von Hoesslin, and Dr Andrea Neal. What Ocean Lovers does is educate, inspire and organize people under a uniform Philosophy. It is assisted by an Advisory Board of some wonderful minds and voices in the realm of Science, Research, Business, Marketing and Architecture.

The Oceanlovers Philosophy states that man while being yet another animal amongst many species on this earth, is capable via accurate design and benevolent intention of architecting profitable and sustainable systems, whereby the health and happiness of humanity may be facilitated and the Commons be preserved.

Though the company website is currently being revamped, it is here.

But you can also follow  and join the Oceanlovers movement and stay connected on Facebook, here.

Many drops of water, an Ocean makes. Each of us really do matter.

Save the Commons. Think of our children. Protect yourself.

We must start here.

Save Japan

Save Japan




Triiibes 2012. What: Is Happiness

Friday, March 16th, 2012
Donna and I Tribes 2012 Flow

Donna and I Tribes 2012 Flow

This post is being made from the top floor of the Crowne Plaza Hotel. As I post it the broad bay view windows overlook the ocean I swim most days. The Coastline is beautiful, waves meander though and a few pods of surfers sit along the lineup on up to the top of Surfer’s Point. A storm approaches.

Much goes on in this retreat. There is a level of emotional connection that has all of us at times finding ourselves tearing up and at others, laughing hilariously. But more that the see saw bridge of emotions, we are building community by plant seeds and simultaneously reaping the rewards of crops sown years ago. It is fantastic and transformative in ways that I cannot explain here.

The following is the transcript of my presentation to my friends and Tribe members. Incredibly grateful to them for coming here, from all over the world. Ventura is showing them what she is, inside and out. These are generous, compassionate, educated, connected, men and women who know how to think, develop and seed the world. This is their Retreat.

Imagine that.

I sent this title to Grant Simmons, our Tribes project coordinator, along with my three words, which are Home, Wonder, and Ocean. The theme for this little chat, actually was never meant to be a question. It is a statement of truth, elemental to my life and work.

My fiancé Donna, is always on me about my creative work being expressed in too cryptic a manner. This title statement, could possibly be another case for that argument. I am a bit cryptic. I truly do not want everyone to get it. I have a reason for that.

People need to want something in order to find value in it, and move forward. There needs to be desire.  If one just throws everything out into the playing field of art and life, it becomes like so much dust in the wind. It never takes root and bears fruit.

I think great benefit lies in harmony , and in the happiness of every one. I truly think that life is better when all understand:

That happiness, is about the what of our lives. Not the why, not even the how, but the what.

Yep. What, matters a lot.

A friend and editor of mine, is the writer Drew Kampion. He always signs his e mails with a statement of Philosophy.  The statement reads this: “Life is a wave, and your attitude is your surfboard.

I used to scratch my head a bit when I would run across that in correspondence, as we worked building magazine projects.


Smart man, DK. Great editor.

Here is a surfboard. One of mine. I began building surfboards at the age of 12. By the time I was done doing that, I had built close to 40 thousand of them. Surfboards are actually very specific craft. Good ones are designed to be sort of a magic carpet for the mind of the rider. My Hawaiian heritage taught me that a surfboard is a sacred and personal thing. A good surfboard builder implements his knowledge of craft and sea into the board design, in order that the person getting the board, is able to approach the ocean in his or her’s, own individual manner. Think of them as magic carpets of the mind. That might help.

I have been in the Ocean all of my life. For me, it’s home. It is where I go to learn, find respite, and recharge. It taught me a lot about the importance of flow, and happiness. It still is a conduit of that. Probably why I see it as so important to connect people to it in my current work as a Creative.

I don’t ride it much any more, or many of the boards I have kept as a result of my life in the sea. But I have them.

You see, one day I saw my flow stop in surfing. I hit a wall so to speak. It was not a bad thing. Simply just a thing. A what. So when that happened I had to get a closer look to see what the what, was.

My introduction to surfing was generated in a specific instant when at the age of 4 at Manhatten Beach, I saw a guy ride a longboard in to the beach one afternoon, backlit by the sun on a Summer day. I remember specifically knowing that this would be my world.

As my life progressed I found myself building surf boards for my friends, and doing all sorts of sports, as I wound through school and what eventually proved to be a career in Surfing and yes, surfboard building. In time that morphed into working and building several companies, including my own, which threshed out as being a retail corporation with a surfboard manufacturing entity in the middle of it all.

My philosophy in surfing was that as a surfer, one should ultimately be able to do, whatever (pause) one could think of, to do on a wave. The idea was to develop an ocean, mind, board connection so I could explore what was possible. You see, surfing for me, only was really exploring What. (Potential)

It was a carrot, which kept me in the water, hour after hour, day after day, for 32 years. Imagine spending 32 years in the ocean. That is what I did, and I managed to do it all over the world in oceans everywhere. Tough job really, figuring out how to commodify, what was really a lifestyle. But I managed to do that.

In process, my wife and I had two sons, my company grew and I developed a plan to exit the surf industry at the terminus of a very detailed business plan’s fulfillment.

But surfing, and the Ocean were always there. I was always hungry for my next ocean experience. It NEVER stopped, that yearning to achieve: what.

I could not have known that one day, at 42 years of age, I would be paddling out on this board, which really was something I made for riding large waves, and not for the sort of small to medium size day at Rincon point, just North of here, that I would run smack into: what.

As a professional surfer, I had made my career riding shortboards. In the world of professional surfing, those are the craft of choice, the journeyman’s tool so to speak. Out of all the boards I built, probably 30000 of them were shortboards. Maybe 1000 were big wave boards, sort of built along the lines of this one.

I have a crystal clear memory of the moment I ran into what. The interesting thing however, is that the actual details of my moment of clarity, of revelation, which were contained in what was to be a defining wave in my life, are a little bit blurry. There is a reason for that. But I am going to let you figure out what it is. There is a little bit of cryptic me for you.

Now Rincon is a rather long wave. We call the place Queen of the Coast.  This day was maybe ceiling high. The swell had been pretty big for a few weeks and I had been riding this board a lot. The waves were dropping off a bit, and I probably normally would have chosen a shortboard to ride, which would have been better suited to what I would normally do on a wave.  For some reason I grabbed the 7’8 gun.

It was an innocuous wave that I caught.  Nothing special about it on the surface of things. Stroking into it, I recall a keen sense of drive inside of me, and for a period of what was only probably a minute and a half, all those years in the water, exhibited themselves in a very complex series of maneuvers on that wave. At the end as I accelerated out of it and into the flat water off the back of the wave, it hit me.

I had just surfed a wave not perfectly for my sport, peers, judge or anyone else but perfectly for me.

I was not really thinking per se, I was doing. I had just done it. I had discovered my what. That what, was flow between the energy contained in the sea, and me. And in that instant, I recognized that I was done with my growth in surfing.  I had finally caught up and run against the answer to my what. It was a strange but very rewarding feeling. I cannot say it was happiness, it was more a sense of mastery, a knowing, that okay I can DO that at last, I get it!

I did not realize it at the time, but that incredibly rewarding moment, was the harbinger of great change in my life. Because I had located my what. My goal. Which I had inwardly assumed would be unreachable.

That is how man is wired.  We all need to find our what, because in that we create motion and movement-flow, which in a essential linchpin to happiness.

In this same time frame as that epiphany laden moment, my company was at a crossroads of growth, going from factory and two stores to my business plan of five locations where which point, I had planned to sell the entity off and move into something else. I have never really enjoyed being a CEO or a leader. I tend to be happiest pushing others along to succeed. Just how I am wired I guess.

In the middle of all of this, for a number of reasons I had made the decision to divorce my wife and change  few things in my life, but was torn on what to do regarding all of the business sprawl which I had created as well as how the impact of all the change would impact everyone in my life.  We had amassed quite a bit of stuff, and along with that came a debt of responsibility to both family, employees, surfboard craftsmen, Community and more.

I think of my process in discovering what to do about all of this, sort of like me spazzing out. In many ways I had run into a wall. That wave  which was such a defining moment in my life, really had seeded the need for change. What I was experiencing was a cessation of flow in my life. I needed to again find my what. One thing for sure that I was certain of: happiness was far from my cluttered little world.

One evening, a fire started in the hills here. It was during a clearing wind event and I was watching from down here by the beach as the wind fanned the blaze, and it began to sort of rocket through the town. I was a personality on a morning radio show at the time, where I did a surf report, and a few other things occasionally. One of those other things, was live reporting on events like large swells and fires etc. So I rang in to the station and we began a public service type live report on the fire. Since my Ventura retail store was front row center on the fire, I drove over, hung up my cel, telling the on air guy, Rick, that I would call back from the shop landline in a moment.

I unlocked the back door of the shop, and in the light of the fire coming through the display windows, I saw a guy dressed in black, wearing a ski mask. LOL. I still see all of this in slow motion by the way. Today it sort of cracks me up. I remember thinking “Here we go. Hope he does not have a gun” And then the guy charged me. He was holding a backpack.

I recall him swinging it at me and thinking “why is he swinging a backpack?” as I braced myself in a martial arts stance. (The guy was pretty big) I figured I would just use his momentum and my elbow to whip him and knock him out. The brick in the backpack hit my skull at about a millisecond before he smacked into my elbow and we rolled out the back door.

Our little scuffle went on awhile and I was talking to the guy the entire time. In the course of trying to figure out what was going on I realized that this guy was not going to let me go. I was a witness. He was a criminal.  Eventually in one of our on the ground, then back up exchanges, he came back with a pipe and I made a choice after fending off a couple times. I decided to just go with it and let him connect. He did that a few times and I let myself go limp, feigning unconsciousness. To this day, I think he thought that he had killed me.

He dragged my body into a pile of boxes by the back door of the shop and went back inside. By the light of the fire as I held my breath I saw him turn back and look at me and thought “Shit he knows I am alive” then he turned away, and went back to finish robbing the shop.

I got up and ran to the Karate dojo located in a building round the corner. To this day I am not sure why exactly. I think maybe it was instinct. The street in front of the shop, was a madhouse with people and cars everywhere. At the glass door of the karate studio, which was locked I could see two students inside sparring. I banged on the door. My bleeders were spraying everywhere. The two students ran into the back of the studio and I thought, “oh shit, they are not going to help me”. But in a moment, the Master of the studio came out.

“Who did this to you?” He did not know who I was. I was too badly beaten. Through shredded lips, I managed to communicate that it was me, the guy next door, and that someone was in the store robbing it.

A couple hours later I was lying in a hospital bed ready to be stitched up. A few people had come by to look at me. One of them had a mirror and gave it to me.  As I looked in the mirror, I finally saw why everyone was so upset. I was a bloody mess. It looked like I had just taken a bath in blood. Scalp wounds kind of do that.

Beatings can be a psychologically traumatic. As I came out of this, in process, and began the work of running my company, managing the divorce and all that attendant mess, I did something very familiar. I jumped back in the Ocean. But this time I brought a camera. It was my therapy.

So each day before work, I would rise before dawn, load my gear, pull on wetsuit and fins, and swim out alone. In time I began to find my what again, that curiousity and challenge, which for so long had propelled me in surfing.

Funny that how my what, and flow were in the Ocean. I was not surprised by this.

I decided to liquidate the company. My wife and I got through our divorce, and what transpired over the course of the next ten years became health to myself and family, and developed into my career in Creativity. I am simplifying it of course. There is not a lot of time for me to communicate the entire tale. Nor could you manage to stay awake for it, I am guessing.

And truthfully, in my line of work it really is NEVER supposed to be about me, so I remain a little bit uncomfortable with discussing me and my experiences.  In fact after all those years it looked very attractive to finally be able to become: anonymous. Ironic I know, as I stand here today having done so much in such a  relatively short career time frame.

But I hope that in doing so, in baring some of this, that you may avoid needing the enlightenment of your own lead pipe smackdown. You see, what that guy did not know, is that Hawaiians have really dense cranial bone structure . If you look up hard headed in a dictionary you will likely see a picture of a Hawaiian.  Hell, I am probably the poster boy for it: hard headedness.

What I would hope that some of you take away from this time together, is the importance of happiness in our communities, families and especially in our selves. Your future ought to contain happiness!

Man is, at his essence, really just an energy signature. We come into this world via our Mother’s womb as such. We go out of this world in much the same manner: an energy signature, moving, somewhere.

If we look for our what, well in that, is flow. In flow is happiness, and a sense of fulfillment. If you want the benefit of happiness, pursue your what. You will find your future there.  Maybe it will come find you.

Here is a wonderful little film from a colleague on the East Coast. I hope that you enjoy the storytelling of Dana Saint.

dana saint


Be the Enlightened

Monday, March 5th, 2012
Notes From the Beach

Notes From the Beach

This morning as I prepared for the workday, it was all hustle and bustle in my home. Wrestling with twenty pound cats, charging camera batteries. Organizing my gear for a shoot. Scanning weather data.  Reading a Chapter of Michael Kew’s new book, “Crossings”, and perusing Facebook a bit. Adding a few posts, while monitoring my tone, as best as I am able.

I was surprised to see the face of a rather chubby and notorious “pundit” on the walls of many of my “liberal progressive friends”. These are people who normally would never allow themselves to be in the same room with the man, let alone advertise him on their personal pages. As is that guys normal M.O. he had flamed “an innocent” and now cries of outrage were all over the place. To read it, you would have thought that the man’s actions were something new.

But they were not.

He does this for a reason. It works.

So now my friends were all calling for him to be taken “off the air”. The pundit has got to be laughing. Why? He just won. He got people who are normally pretty level, to stoop to his calculated level AND advertise some of his vitriol as well.

That is the modern World which we live in. It is one of egregious misdirection and it is generally done for one primary reason, and issues forth from the shadow world of fiscal prurient interest. That intention being, to control the attentions of a body of people so that they do not focus on the real issues at hand, so that some may profit.

The net effect of this, is that people who should be collectively outraged by the greater issues, which crush our spirit and land, run in circles and tilt at windmills. Funny thing about windmills. As long as a wind blows, they will continue to turn, and the grinding wheel crushes all productivity. Unfortunately it is the bottom which our formerly Democratic Republic has reached, as Partisan Politics have become a mere facade, which thinly masks the Corporatism whose strings manipulate the players in Govt.

I won’t put the pundit’s name or face on my blog. He is a notorious bottom dweller, and his handlers are smart men. I have had little but disgust for the man most of my life. But I do accede to his unalienable right to pursue his work and business and his contrived “opinions”

We all should. But if one disagrees with him, the best thing to do is to ignore the entire mess. Don’t buy in on anything associated with him. Just stop. Personally act. And help someone who builds. Put your attention there. Much needs fixing these days. We all need to study up, focus, and refuse to be led astray. CREATE something. Grow.

Wolfgang Von Goethe put it well.

“Divide and rule, the politician cries; unite and lead, is watchword of the wise.”

Yesterday, a Sunday, was spent studying a wide variety of things. Twelve hours straight online, while slowly working through an art file from a shoot the other day, when pressure and a feeling of claustrophobia from tales of much nastiness being delivered to my in box about my own poorly led town, made me feel in need of a saltwater bath. (Images posted below)

On my return, I had sat down to watch a  Ted talk that Donna Von Hoesslin had sent me. I liked the talk. But what I found most enlightening was the discourse which followed on the TED website. It was compelling enough that it caused me to finally register for Ted, and begin my own contribution to the conversations which occur there. I do not engage everything. The reason for that, is life today has the effect of a riot on the soul and psyche. Information, disinformation, lies, misdirection, leveraging, manipulating, all of it really an endeavor to market: something.

Here is that Ted talk. Peter Diamandis: Abundance is our future

The realization that all marketers are liars is what turned me on to Seth Godin actually. The man has chops. But some lies really sneak up on one. Pays to be enlightened. Seth perpetually riffs on how marketing works and in reading him, you begin to step into a certain flow of understanding, regarding who indeed your puppet master may be. That is crucial, if one wants progress within a Community and in one’s life and work and yes, family.

Coming up this month is the Triiibes 2012 Global Retreat, which will be hosted by our friends here in Ventura California. We are calling the event, FLOW. Our hope is that in this impressive gathering of bright lights, that people will connect and participants benefit in their lives, businesses, and Communities from stepping into Flow, and away from strife. Here is the website.  Check out the speakers, peruse the plans. See if it is a fit for you. Come. You are invited. The only caveats being that you know about Seth Godin,  NEED some flow, and have something to add to the conversation. That is right, YOU are to be a co creator of Flow 2012. The event should be a LOT of fun, and is being organized by some very generous and talented people, who all want you, and your community to thrive. There is much strength to be gained in that, if we invest in our Tribe.

The images below are me stepping into my source of flow. The sea. If you come to Flow 2012, in the tradition of the ancient Polynesians, we are going to throw you in it.

Sent along by Skip Saenger, this very pertinent TedX music presentation by Jackson Browne. “If I could be anywhere”.

Aloha oe.

The Big Nevermind

Sunday, September 19th, 2010
Pay Up

Pay Up

The City of Ventura is my home. I have owned a house and various other properties and leases here for 30 years.

Communities are pretty simple really. Generally they are composed of diverse components, all assembled in a willingness to live and work in a place that they find desirable. The willingness to contribute, is directly proportional to establishing a  sense of forward motion. Effect must equal cause. Benefit is weighed against cost.

So onward the ship sails with all of us aboard, planning, building, laughing, crying, fighting, healing, birthing, living, dying: together.

For any of this to occur, the members of the community must feel that they each, by their contribution, have a positive affect.  They must believe in the product. Otherwise it all just stops.

That is why everybody matters.

Seth Godin, a marketing genius, and the brain behind the Global network called Triiibes of which I am a member, has this to say regarding products we put ourselves behind.

Being someone who must establish benefit in my product and taking my relationship with the people who I serve very personally, I spent a few days looking around at the latest thing the City of Ventura has implemented in it’s little Downtown:  Big Blue Parking Pay Stations. Police are swarming the streets. That is new as well.  A somewhat beleaguered group of downtown merchants, and what appears to be an oppressive choice by the City of Ventura, done in a manner that is confusing, insulting, and restrictionist, no matter how one looks at it, was a high profile tone where ever I walked, listened and shot.

With the exception of a few abject apologies and explanations to six distraught visitors, I said NOTHING. I just watched, and listened.

I have never seen a population so ticked off by what, in a couple months, as the affect settles in as a fact of daily life, is really a small thing: pay parking downtown. But if I am silent, or put money in the meter, or place myself in an environment swirling with Law enforcement, I am endorsing what City leaders have done. I do not agree,  nor will I accept the aggravation and thereby let it change who or what I am.

I know how retail works. (I was in it for almost twenty years. Think about what one can learn by opening a door to the public for twenty years) This could possibly kill Downtown Ventura again (This is the third endeavor to meter downtown and by far the most onerous and expensive).

I suspect that City Hall has engaged in an attack on the citizenry of Ventura that will eventually see Federal investigation.(Parking meters are only one of multiple things which the City is doing to-for the people of Ventura)  I do not need the headache, nightmare or further association with the City of Ventura. No one does. Not really. Not at this cost.

So rather than bitch, rant and moan about the meters, engage continually on Facebook, or in Community meetings, I am simply going to share what I witnessed this week and list several avenues available as a means of remediation, then move on to more productive endeavors.

This is bigger than what one would suspect. The proverbial tip of the iceberg, it just lets you know how city leadership is, and what they are.  Entitlement does this. Disconnectedness and disrespect are it’s fruits. Most of our City management are not from here, so they are applying rules and methods learned somewhere else, to a community that in the past five years seemed to be reaching an appropriate stride.

But our capitally leveraged economy has collapsed in the past five years. Big change. Everyone has been left in the lurch. Including the City. It is tough out there.

The Ventura Star. Our local newspaper, explains the meters here.

A Pasadena blogger explains our City Manager, Rick Cole, here. They are from one of his prior projects-towns. I was stunned by what I read, but seeing what has been going on here, it made sense. Read it and decide for yourself.

The Ventura Star looks at Mr. Cole and other City leaders here.

A look at a recent recall effort (and it’s failure) of our appointed Mayor, Bill Fulton, here.

What the Federal Government seems to be discovering, as it continues in it’s investigations of corruption in California City Governance, is that frequently, common threads link issues and people across county and city limits. It is true about birds of a feather.

YOU can report corruption and your personal experiences right here at the FBI website. If you feel your Civil Rights have been or are being violated, you can try there. More information here.

If you have an issue with City Governance, you can also try to file a complaint at the county level, which is an overseer of the City. The DA’s office website link is here.

The Brown Act, a State Statute which among other things, gives you a right to be in on every City meeting and input the process, is defined here. Cities need to know about this act, especially if a citizen suspects  that backroom deals are being cut, to facilitate the existence of onerous local code. The law is pretty clear. But you need to know that it exists.

The County Sheriff’s office which maintains legal authority and control  has an excellent list of resources where you can speak with a higher elected official. Do not mistake the local Police Department with the Sheriff’s office. PD is under City authority. The Sheriff is County. Just like in the Wild West, the Sheriff will ultimately uphold your Constitutional rights. They are tutored in them. In fact my film partner, Rob Dafoe’s dad, was a career Deputy Sheriff in Santa Barbara. Those guys know a lot.

I will not be a part of this. There is an entire world and life outside of where my house is, that I continue to explore and share. Being downtown and seeing the affect of all of this, just saddens and angers me. I do not need that.  Being responsible for my own life, tone and family, the act of being awash in dirty negatives, will shortly devalue my soul,  Art and Craft. We become who and what we are in bed with. I want no part of an entity that hurts people or environment to survive. It is the ultimate in destructive unsustainability.

I must believe and have trust in the place I market, and expose to the world. Because by endorsing it, I am putting my own self behind the invitation to experience this place.

This is an image of a trash and recycle station. The former head of the Downtown Ventura Organization Rob Edwards’ brainchild, which serves as a billboard and refuse collection device. When these went in, Rob asked me if he could get usage of some of my Ventura imagery to be placed on the bins so that they would encourage, inspire, and market the strong points of this town. The City had no money to license the images. So I loaned them free of charge, a large collection, roughly equating in usage value to about 10,000 dollars. Rob was on point. The message was flawless.”Look at our town and ocean: preserve and protect it.

The City fired Rob Edwards shortly after that. Rob now heads the San Mateo DVO. Rob is one talented and smart man. A former cop, he understands cities, and community. This is what is on the bins today.

Recycling a Town's Dreams

Recycling a Town's Dreams

In the course of a year, hundreds of magazines and commercial entities use my work. I even lend usage to financially beleaguered City Departments for nominal or no charge promotion of this place. I engage a Global community of media professionals in Film, Editorial and Commercial work with Ventura as my home base. I believe in the people of this place enough to have somewhat recently, branded myself as a Ventura Photographer and Film Maker rather than a Santa Barbara one, in spite of my roots in and library of, SB related work and community.

What that does basically, via metadata embedding, captioning and basic marketing tools, is create a small fortune in high credibility marketing for the City of Ventura. At no expense to the City, beyond offering an inviting, ethically run, safe place for the world to visit. I put myself on the line in doing this. My colleagues trust me to be ethical and true in what I portray.

Below is an image which I shot yesterday. It is of Kathleen Fitzgerald, the former Director of Sales for the City of Ventura Tourism Department. She is moving back to the City of Longbeach after being let go of here. Like Rob Edwards, she believed in this place and marketed it Nationally and beyond for almost 5 years. She was a huge service benefit to Ventura. No one will probably ever know the number of hats she wore and the massive victories she accomplished while an employee of the City of Ventura. A few of us helped her sell off and pack her belongings. Venturans do  stuff like that. We tend to stick up for those who stick their necks out for us.

I Tried: Kathleen Fitzgerald

I Tried: Kathleen Fitzgerald

So after seeing (actions are everything) what the City really thinks of this beautiful place and its wonderful people, by my own sense of  ethics I must make a choice, as I am eminently responsible for what I market and will not be a party to what I perceive as being harmful, degrading or  illegal and in violation of Civil Rights.

I have one ethical choice, as our actions, define our self and community.

So: nevermind.

“If a man does not have an ideal and try to live up to it, then he becomes a mean, base and sordid creature, no matter how successful.” Theodore Roosevelt

Below is a gallery of images and how Ventura looks to me right now. If you come here. the people of this place will appreciate you, endeavor to help you, show you beautiful things, and our City may screw with, and threaten and charge you for things which you may be able to acquire for free in other communities.  Being warned, I hope that you still come. (Forewarned is forearmed.) Our town is truly the Real California. Though that can be a scary thing these days.

Ventura’s Zuri Allen Star, wrote a song called Walk With Me. It says a lot.

Speaking of nevermind, Saturday Night Live often develops cultural commentary that transcends generations. They did it again here. A conversation between City and Citizen. I doubt that Nevermind is now an option for them, but it is for us.

Ventura is what it is: a pretty, and remarkable patch of historic land and ocean with a culturally engaging populace. We just seem to have a lot of vultures here at the moment. Must be the dead bodies.

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.