Thursday, June 27, 2013

So... Can We Get Married Yet?

County Clerk prepares for same-sex marriages to resume in Sonoma County

Posted By on Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 5:25 PM

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UPDATE: Marriage licenses will be issued from the county clerk's office and marriages will resume in Sonoma County on Monday, July 1.

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Bill Rousseau hasn’t married a gay couple since 2008—but in his office at the County Clerk yesterday, sure enough, his phone started ringing again.

Following yesterday’s Supreme Court decision to overturn DOMA and dismiss the opponents of Prop 8, the gates have been re-opened for Rousseau to issue licenses for and conduct legal gay marriages in California. It’s something the Sonoma County Clerk-Recorder-Assessor is anxiously awaiting, and he's not alone, if the interest from couples is any indicator.

His advice for those wanting to get married? “Be patient,” Rousseau advises, because he still has to oblige with the court’s decisions and may have to wait 25 days until he can officially perform same-sex marriages.

Patience has been a key player in the gay rights movement since supporters first celebrated in 2004 when same-sex were performed in San Francisco, and again in 2008 when they were legal statewide. Rousseau remembers being an officiant then, and recalls it being a celebratory time. “There were a lot of people who had come over to get married. It was a really exciting time, and high-energy. As the officiant, I felt very honored to be able to perform some of those services. There were couples that had been together 20, 30 years, finally getting married,” he says.

Now, Rousseau says, is the time for preparation. This gives Rousseau time to get ready for what he predicts will be a large crowd of happy spouses-to-be. “We’ve got a couple wedding rooms, and we’re going to get some more as this thing develops,” he says. “We’ve got a couple nice arbors at the clerk’s office that we can do for outdoor ceremonies as well. And we’re going to look for more depending on the demand.”

Weekly hours at the clerk’s office, too, could be extended to accommodate the demand, Rousseau says.

Same-sex couples can get the marriage process started by filling out a marriage license application online through the county office’s website. The remaining steps are simply to follow the guidelines on the site, such as remembering that a marriage, for the most part, requires one witness, and that both parties must appear in person to receive a marriage license. Fees for licenses and ceremonies are also provided.

“Keep checking the news,” Rousseau adds. “We’ll issue a press release when we know that we can start doing them.”

UPDATE: Marriage licenses will be issued from the county clerk's office and marriages will resume in Sonoma County on Monday, July 1.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Step Up for Business Journal Associate Publisher Brad Bollinger

Posted By on Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 6:58 PM

North Bay Business Journal Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher Brad Bollinger has been named publisher of the business-to-business paper, which covers Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Solano, Mendocino and Lake counties, according to sources close to the paper. Bollinger has been the editor and associate publisher since 2005, after the New York Times Co., then owner of the Press Democrat, bought the paper from Ken Clark and Randy Sloan, founders of the publication.

Prior to joining the Business Journal Bollinger was the business editor and columnist at the Press Democrat, joining that paper in 1990.

According to his bio on the Business Journal site:

During his time as business editor the Press Democrat won several "Best in Business" awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers and a Polk Award for the 2005 series on globalization, “Global Shift.” Bollinger has a journalism degree from San Jose State University and master’s in communication from CSU, Chico. His 1983 master’s thesis on newspaper ombudsmen was the subject of articles in Columbia Journalism Review and Editor & Publisher. In 1990, he was among the attendees at the inaugural Summer Institute for Economics for Journalists created by the Foundation for American Communications.

The North Bay Business Journal is now owned by the local investment firm Sonoma Media Industries along with the Press Democrat, the Petaluma Argus and numerous associated publications and websites.

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Kanye West and Wes Anderson had a Tumblr baby

Posted By on Mon, Jun 24, 2013 at 2:23 PM

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They're both brilliant, pretentious and melodramatic. They're both beloved by white people in glasses. I am such a person, and this made me roll my eyes, chuckle politely and, when Steve Zissou turned up, try to hold back tears. I present: Kanye Wes. Courtesy of Paste Magazine.

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Friday, June 21, 2013

The Next Chapter in the NSA Debacle

Posted By on Fri, Jun 21, 2013 at 12:45 PM

If you don't know who Edward Snowden is, you have likely been locked in a dark room with a blindfold and earplugs on for the last month.

The former CIA employee-turned whistle blower is on standby waiting to hear from Iceland whether he will be given asylum

But the latest news in the endlessly interesting "the government is spying on us" story is the release of classified documents that detail the rules the NSA has for surveillance without a warrant.

The Washington Post published a story that not only describes the documents but has the documents right there for all the world to see.

They are Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act documents signed by Attorney General Eric Holder detailing rules for targeting foreigners and data collection.

Following everything about this data-mining and government spying has been interesting on a lot of levels. Finding out the "truth" about how closely the public is watched and realizing that the conspiracy theorists have been right seems to have blown the American people's minds. But I wonder how surprised we should really be? I hear people complaining about the private companies providing information to the government, and I am not thrilled about it myself, but in an age of oversharing online and everything being trackable and digital, I can't say I am at all surprised the government is watching. I may be mad, but I'm not surprised. I can't wait to see what unfolds next.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Protecting Children From Themselves

Posted By on Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 3:15 PM

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An interesting article in the Press Democrat discusses the impact your online social profile impacts you in the offline world.

This is not a new concept, but the issues are getting more and more relevant as more and more interaction exists online. "What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas" can be adapted to say "What Happens on the Internet Stays on the Internet. Forever."

In the article, reporter Mary Callahan talks about a new industry of online reputation management. She writes:

There's something at stake for virtually everyone — whether it's job prospects, college admissions, a competitive market edge, the promise of romance or a professional reputation.

This has never been more true than today. And privacy, whatever is left of it, is something people should hold close.

The California Senate believes this to be true, particularly for youth. The Senate passed a bill unanimously trying to protect children from themselves. But how can we when we all know that part of being a kid is outdoing your peers and not really thinking of the consequences?

Guy Kovner of the Press Democrat wrote:

Privacy advocates hailed the bill, which includes a requirement that social media sites provide a so-called "eraser button" allowing minors under 18 to remove their own ill-advised postings.

"Too often a teenager will post an inappropriate picture or statement that in the moment seems frivolous or fun, but that they later regret," said Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, the bill's author, in a written statement.

In Callahan's article, Kerry Rego, a social media maven and technology consultant reminds us that once something is out there, it can't be gotten back.

But how can you teach a teenager that anything they put out there could potentially follow them for the rest of their life? That a seemingly innocent photo of themselves could prevent them from getting into college? I guess the legislature is trying, but I am not sure it will help. As Dane Jasper, CEO of Sonic.net said in Kovner's article, you can delete a posting, but if someone downloaded it before you got to it, it is out there forever. "You are closing the barn door after the horse is out."

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Twenty Bucks for Riding a Bike? Sure!

Posted By on Mon, Jun 17, 2013 at 9:23 PM

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Let’s get this straight—just for riding a bike less than three miles, one can obtain a $20 gift certificate to a top notch San Francisco bakery and restaurant opening a new location in Santa Rosa? Now, does anyone have a helmet?

The “mother dough” culture, which reportedly gives San Francisco’s Boudin sourdough bread the legendary flavor it’s packed with, is heading up to the restaurant’s new Montgomery Village location tomorrow, June 18. It’s leaving the Rincon Valley Library at 9:30am to be safely locked away in the new space, less than three miles away. Anyone wishing to participate in this bike ride, from the beginning, middle or end, gets a $20 gift certificate. Well, the first 100 cyclists, anyway. But considering it’s a Tuesday, the middle of the morning, in Rincon Valley, chances are high to get in on the delicious, free action.

The new restaurant opens July 11 at 2345 Midway Dr., Santa Rosa. Progress is already quite visible from Farmer’s Lane on the new space.

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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Sonoma West Publishers Expand North

Posted By on Sat, Jun 15, 2013 at 8:51 AM

The Cloverdale Reveille has changed hands, according to a link on its landing page. (Which takes you to a story on Facebook, for some reason.)

The paper, owned by the Hanchett family since 1988, "will now be owned by Sonoma West Publishers, owners of The Healdsburg Tribune, Windsor Times and Sonoma West Times and News.
The new publisher and owner will be Rollie Atkinson and his wife Sarah Bradbury. Atkinson has worked at The Healdsburg Tribune since 1982, assuming ownership in 2000," according to the story published this morning.

Kind of a funny note: The tagline on the homepage says "weekly since 1878" but a scrolling "ad" about the paper says "serving Cloverdale since 1879."

I guess they were just there for a year and then started serving Cloverdale.

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Ten Things I Learned from Cheryl Strayed

Posted By on Mon, Jun 10, 2013 at 4:04 PM

Cheryl Strayed and Albert Flynn DeSilver
  • Cheryl Strayed and Albert Flynn DeSilver
On June 1, Cheryl Strayed taught a daylong writing and craft workshop in Petaluma. The author of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail, as well as the voice behind Dear Sugar, the popular advice column on The Rumpus, has a huge following, one that’s grown especially large after Wild was featured on Oprah’s Book Club. Organized by poet Albert Flynn DeSilver, Marin’s first poet laureate and the face behind The Owl Press, the event on a sunny Saturday brought together a few hundred Strayed fans to hear about her process and do a little writing themselves.

So without further adieu, here are:

Ten Things I Learned from Cheryl Strayed.

1. If you have small children (and the money), hotel rooms can be a good place to write. Strayed got Wild written by checking into hotel rooms for 48 hour stretches where she would “write like a motherfucker.” She doesn’t write everyday. She calls herself a “binge writer.” The most important thing is to find time to write, whether it’s everyday, one day a week or in weekend spurts. There’s hope for us Moms yet!

2. Memoir gets a bad rap as narcissistic, but Strayed says that successful memoir is the opposite of narcissism. “You’re transcending the difference between you and me,” she told us. We do this by using self, and the narrative tools of fiction, to create story.

3. How do you write your truth while protecting those you love? “I got to a place where I was genuinely writing about people on the other side of forgiveness,” Strayed said. But it took years of writing to get there, and even then, though her father was abusive, tyrannical and “not a good person,” she woke up “breathless with sorrow” when she thought about him reading what she’d written in Wild. The important idea to try to remember is that the entire picture is often broader and more complex then we realize when we begin writing.

4. People want to read a human story, with all the mistakes, bad choices, ugliness and triumph that comes for all of us at one point or another. Nobody wants to hear about somebody who never makes mistakes, who never shows a shadow self. “Use the places where you rubbed up against yourself,” she said.

5. “Trust however weird you are, a whole bunch of us are just as weird.”

6. Think about the question at the core of your work. For Strayed, whose mother’s death forms the spine of Wild, it grew from “How do I live without my mother?” to “How to bear the unbearable.”

7. Strayed believes in radical honesty, sparing no shadow. She said that most people fear condemnation when they speak their deepest truths, foibles, when they excavate their darkest matter, but rather than being condemned, when people write to the place that makes them uncomfortable, to the point of revelation, that’s when the bridge is crossed between the reader and the writer.

8. She’s all about “Trusting the heat.” “Do it so righteously that we can’t help but look,” she told us. “It’s up to you to make a place for yourself in this world.”

9. It was pretty damn wonderful to see 250 people writing together in one large room.

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10. Write what haunts you. What are you obsessed by? What keeps you up at night? Remember, everyone starts out with some kind of handicap and without an audience. But that doesn’t mean you can’t write like a motherfucker. Nobody can (or will) give you permission to do this but yourself.

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Friday, June 7, 2013

Is Print Dead?

Posted By on Fri, Jun 7, 2013 at 5:21 PM

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For years, the media related rhetoric has been: "Print is dead." The news of the last print edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the closing of the Rocky Mountain News, both in 2009, shook newsrooms to their core.

Online news sites like the Huffington Post, Politico, Patch and Salon have gained popularity and shifted the way people get their news. Newspapers have gotten smaller and there are fewer subscribers. But is it because people don't want papers? Or just that there isn't as much money in them and the content is declining?

Last year, New Orleans became the largest U.S. city to not have a daily paper. The Times-Picayune became a three-per-week publication with more focus on the online content. That apparently is not what people want. In an article in the New York Times, reporter David Carr noted the publisher decided to bring back the paper as a daily because of the public engagement. Also, the Philadelphia Inquirer is set to publish again; though only on Saturdays.

Now it is debatable, apparently, whether the method in which New Orleans' paper is being distributed is a good one. Says Carr:

On Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, a broadsheet called The Times-Picayune will be available for home delivery and on the newsstands for 75 cents. On Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, a tabloid called TPStreet will be available only on newsstands for 75 cents.

In addition, a special electronic edition of TPStreet will be available to the three-day subscribers of the home-delivered newspaper. On Saturdays, there will be early print editions of the Sunday Times-Picayune with some breaking news and some Sunday content.

But the public demanded it and they listened.

When I went to J School, everyone I knew said I was studying a dying industry. After all, "Newspaper Reporter" is apparently the worst job out there.

I always argued it was reporting I was studying, not newspaper reporting. And I figured no matter what, there would be a medium for the message. I am sure there will be a day when print is dead—environmentally speaking, it certainly makes more sense to have news delivered electronically. But apparently even today, people argue for print. And while I am a news junkie and look at it online constantly, there is nothing like a cup of coffee and the Sunday New York Times—in print—to make me happy.

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The War on the News Industry

Posted By on Fri, Jun 7, 2013 at 5:18 PM

While politicians like Michele Bachmann and Anthony Weiner are taking the press into their own hands, effectively making press conferences irrelevant, Attorney General Eric Holder and the DOJ are attacking reporters from another direction, approving search warrants, signing subpoenas and collecting phone records. Oh yeah, and the NSA is wiretapping, well, everyone, in what the ACLU is referring to "beyond Orwellian."

Meanwhile, Congress and "our beloved president" are arguing about whether this stuff really matters. And claiming it has been done with "congressional oversight and congressional reauthorization and congressional debate."

Is the government saying they don't want a free press and they don't care whether everyone's information everywhere is up for surveillance? It certainly seems so. It used to be when a politician had something to announce, they called a press conference where journalists would gather, listen to their statements, and then ask questions. Of course, a journalist could ask any sort of question, making the politician have to face things he or she may not want out there, but they are elected officials, are they not? They should be held responsible for what they do.

Oh yeah, there also used to be this thing called privacy, where one could assume they weren't being looked down upon by the overlords. The whole communication system has allowed for global expansion, technological breakthroughs and many other incredible things. And it has made the world smaller, and a place where it is much easier to track what anyone does, anytime, anywhere.

This time, the conspiracy theorists were right. And I'm not surprised.

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