Facts about Melinda
Santa Monica College, Santa Monica CA
Graduated from Venice High School
St. Stephen's of Rome Preparatory School, Rome Italy
Venice High School, Los Angeles CA
Webster Junior High School, Los Angeles CA
Mar Vista Grammar School, Los Angeles CA
I was never anything but bored by Dick and Jane government schooling.
While there was occasionally a teacher who was interested in ideas and dialog these were few and far between. My father, realizing the problem, made sure I received a steady supply of books in any and all subjects which interested me, bringing books home from his work at UCLA. He also began taking me with him occasionally when he was involved in field studies. In this way I studied irrigation in various parts of California, the impact on soil by irrigation and the use of fertilizers and pesticides, irrigation as a subject, and fire dangers in eco-niches in California. Father took me into the area of the Brentwood Fire of 1962 while it was still burning as he studied the patterns of conflagration. I found this fascinating. He then provided me with his recommendations for changes in landscaping and listened with interest and attention to my comments.
After exhausting the resources of the local library for books which interested me he encouraged me to pursue them in the way past members of the family have advanced their educations, both for my own edification and pleasure and as these became relevant to my other life interests. Members of my father's family, who most influenced me, have traditionally put more emphasis on self-education than on structured study programs offered by institutions.
My father was Dr. Arthur F. Pillsbury. He retired as Director of the Water Resources Center for the University of California in 1972 but continued to provide consulting services for governmental agencies and other nations for some years. See Curriculum Vitae
Arthur C. Pillsbury Foundation - It was probably because he knew I was best able to understand his father's work and its intention which lead him to entrust me with bringing his legacy back into public view. I've attempted to carry out his wishes, being faithful to the intention of Grandfather's life.
These subjects include:
- English Literature, including poetry
Melinda Pillsbury-Foster is the mother of five children and the grandmother of three.
The descendant of radical abolitionists, suffragists, and educationists she strongly believes the people must govern themselves at the most local level, providing a nexus point joining the Right and Left.
While raising her children she served as a community activist in many organizations, including both Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Business and Professional Women, among others.
While her children were young she taught natural childbirth and grew much of the family's food. She is a strong advocate of permaculture and natural and alternative medicine.
Pillsbury-Foster is a life-long advocate of individual rights, social justice, and the Constitution. She is a member of the ERA Campaign Network and has worked for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment and the legalization of marijuana and for an end to intrusive attempts to legislate morality believing only individuals can appropriately make these decisions.
At the same time she is opposes personhood for corporations and calls for strict liability and a court system which provides dispassionate and objective justice to all who seek it.
Melinda Pillsbury-Foster has been a columnist for the Iconoclast in Texas since 2006.
Her personal blog, where she has been publishing since 2005, is How the NeoCons Stole Freedom – and how we can take it back.
Her campaign for President
Rethinking the Paradigm(s)
By the time I was 11 I had read Conscience of a Conservative by Barry Goldwater (or his ghostwriter). At 12 I read Atlas Shrugged and for the next 12 years was a firm and obnoxious Objectivist. I recovered. Listening to 'objectivist authority figures' talk was a real eye opener, shattering my illusions and providing a helpful contract between rhetoric and reality.
Most of the people I met in politics were more interested in burnishing their bottom line than in the betterment of humanity and the world.
In 1975 when we were gathering signatures to get Roger Mac Bride on the ballot for president I discovered that I could get signatures faster than anyone by looking tired and explaining that I only needed X number more before I could take the kids home. When you are pregnant and have one in a Snugli and one in a stroller that works like magic. I had determined that ideological arguments would not work. People were moved by compassion and emotion, not ideas.
During that period I was Chairman of the LP in West LA and my treasurer and I started the very first think tank dedicated to deregulation. We called it Stamp Out Unfair Regulations. We had our founding meeting on a bus with my kids on the say to Culver City to buy a head for my Selectric typewriter. That way we could have real stationary. I used one of the kid's crayons to color the lemon shape we used as a graphic. I drew the lemon; we wrote it together. Wally went on to be Walter K. Olson of the Manhattan Institute, the author of The Litigation Explosion and The Excuse Factory. He told me later that the bus ride to Culver City was the defining moment in terms of his career. Wally had just graduated from Yale then and was a member of Skull and Bones.
My three kids, all then under four years of age by 1978, went with me to every imaginable kind of event. Their first memories were collating parties and protests. Sometimes they carried little signs of their own I would make, taping the handles so there would be no splinters, and sometimes they got more active participation, for instance when we made paper shackles and they broke them for the cameras demonstrating the debt being accumulated in the non-trust fund of Social Security.
What to do about Social Security was an issue which stayed with me.
While managing campaigns I ran once myself, organized protests, wrote radio ads, did interviews, and avoided committee meetings.
The LP morphed into an institution with all of the habits of a major party in, what for an institution, was the speed of light. Later, having studied the other parties some things became painfully obvious.
For the first several years there was a tremendous amount of intellectual vigor; lots of new ideas and discourse. But around 1981 it started to fizzle, like the air escaping from a balloon. I tried many things to make it float but nothing worked.
Eventually, I served on National Committee for the LP. Having determined it was not going to work I needed to know more, study the issues. Joining the Republican Party was a way of observing politics from a different perspective.
Organizations, tools for human action, caught my attention. “How did they work?” Saul Alinski and others were added to the reading list.
In the mean time my mother had died and Dad had asked me to make sure that a book was written about his father, Arthur C. Pillsbury. In 1989 I had written a brief update of the family genealogy, an addendum adding only to our line of the family, from The Pillsbury Book published in 1895 by Emily Getchell. During that process I started my first time line to keep things straight. This technique proved to be very useful when I started looking at the generational dynamics of my own family. Adding dates and events, patterns emerged.
My name, Pillsbury-Foster, is not a combination of my 'maiden' name and a man's name but the names of the two families from which I am descended that most resonated with my sense of myself. Reading through an old law book I realized that the practice of taking a man's name was a form that denoted a transferal of ownership from father to husband. I was not going to have any of that.
Pillsbury is for my father and grandfather and that line of people who I had always admired and Foster for Dr. Harriet Foster Pillsbury, my great-grandmother, a woman who attended the Women's Infirmary of New York, finishing her education in 1880. She was also a suffragist and went on to run women's clinics, setting these up in California when the family relocated there in 1883.
I discovered that she was the descendant of at least nine of the survivors of the Salem Witch Craft Trials This lead onto the eventual merging of what had been two distinct lines of interest, politics and family history. There is still a lot we do not know about why people become who they are. There is probably no better indicator of what you are going to do than family history and the culture and customs passed on though our earliest experiences. Parents teach us what to do by doing it. We learn by watching them.
Dad died April 12, 1991. In late 1990 he complicated the task he had asked me to undertake on my grandfather. The time line work expanded into other areas about which I knew nothing. My research broadened.
In 1994 the Northridge Quake totaled our home in the San Fernando Valley. I spent the next two years cleaning up the mess and dealing with the death of my sister of a heart attack in March of the same year. The heart attack took place in Tokyo while she was there on business. When we realized she was brain dead she was medivaced back to the US so her wish to die at home could be honored. She had long made her wishes known and Japan will not let you turn off the machines.
She took her last breath at her home in Goleta, California, with family gathered around. Our other sister, Carol Sylvia Pillsbury Holbert, had died of a heart attack on February 12, 1974 while I was pregnant with my second child.
In 1995 I put on a national convention in Santa Barbara for the Republican Liberty Caucus, a sort of libertarian adjunct to the Republican Party. I scheduled in 25 speakers, some of whom you would recognize as NeoCons.
Her first book, a lightly fictionalized autobiography, is GREED: The NeoConning of America and was published in 2004.
Her second book is Tour of Old Yosemite. Her other books are collections of her poetry, which is also available on her personal site, Pillsbury-Foster.info.
Pillsbury-Foster is the grand-daughter of Arthur C. Pillsbury and is now working on a formal biography chronicling his life, inventions and work.