Letters To The Editor

by AVA News Service, February 24, 2011

LOCAL-FRIENDLY WINE

Dear Editor,

In these days of declining tourist dollars, with wine tasting rooms springing up like mushrooms to divide the attention of those tourists who do make it up here, and in light of Will Parrish’s excellent articles on the dark side of the wine industry, I thought I’d put in a plug for a winery a handful of Anderson Valley residents depend on for our bread and butter — one of the first of the few family owned and operated wineries up here, celebrating 31 years as a bonded winery, and heavily into correct environmental stewardship: Greenwood Ridge Vineyards.

Though the vineyards and winery are small (producing under 2,000 cases a year) they know it’s still important to keep their environmental footprint as light as possible. When the Green family bought the land nearly 40 years ago there was a spot on the top that was naturally without trees. This is where several acres of vines were planted by the previous owners, and where the Greens continued to plant, so that no trees would have to be removed. They have about 13 acres planted with grapes. Once the vines were established, 75% of them have not needed watering beyond what they get from the rain. Most years the other 25% gets just the naturally occurring rainwater as well, though in a drought year a drip irrigation system is put to use. Because the grapes are grown at the top of the ridge at about 1,400 feet, and cold flows down, frost is not an issue, so no frost protection measures are necessary.

In 2003, Greenwood Ridge Vineyards won certification from the California Land Stewardship Institute as a “Fish Friendly Farming” operation — no compromising the watershed. This certification recognizes the commitment to sustainable farming and environmental stewardship the Green’s are committed to. The certification is renewed every five years.

Since the vineyards and winery are seven winding miles up Greenwood Ridge away from Hwy 128, no one found them up there. So, in 1985, they bought one of the AVA’s first designated “eyesores,” a triangle of land with a dilapidated trailer on Highway 128. Here they built a beautiful tasting room, designed by Aaron Green, winemaker Allan Green’s dad, and surrounded it with inviting grounds which use no irrigation. Aaron, a well known architect in his own right, studied under and worked with Frank Lloyd Wright for many years, until Frank’s death. At that time, FLW had designed the Marin Civic Center, but it had not yet been started. Aaron Green oversaw the building of the center, making sure that it was done exactly according to FLW’s plans.

The tasting room building was made from a single redwood tree that had fallen on the property before the Greens bought it. The octagonal design is dramatic and quirky, but is absolutely practical. The peaked top is an eight-sided skylight that reflects light down into the main room so that only on the dreariest days is it necessary to turn on lights. The windows provide a panoramic view of the grounds, with its spring-fed pond, complete with an artful bridge connecting to a small island with cozy booths for picnicking. You can watch Great Blue Herons, Snowy Egrets, lots of ducks and smaller birds from the tasting room windows against a backdrop of Clow Ridge.

The bottles used for their wines are lighter weight than most wine bottles — this saves energy both in production of the bottles and in shipping them. The packing materials used are made from recycled cardboard. Everything that can be recycled, both at the winery facility and the tasting room, is. Even the paper we use for notes and to print out orders has had another life in the Green¹s business — lately the opposite side of whatever we printed has wine notes and information dated 1987! (It can get a little confusing when you¹re trying to figure out which side you just printed — )

Both the tasting room and the winery run on solar power. They¹re not off the grid, but make more energy than they use, which helps PG&E prevent “rolling brownouts” during the summer. The systems were installed in 2005/2006, and in another couple of years will have paid for themselves.

For several years the Greens have been experimenting with the ranch truck and tractor running on recycled local frying oil/bio-diesel; less toxic here than it most likely was in its first incarnation! It doesn¹t seem to be working so well in the ranch vehicles, but it¹s working great in both Allan’s and Marianna’s cars.

I hope you¹ll come by for a visit! 5501 Hwy 128, with the glorious circus banners atop the massive gateposts at the ends of the driveway. (I’m there Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but you can come by any day, 10-5) As a way of rewarding loyal friends for shopping locally, I've cleared it with the manager, all locals will receive a free gift with the purchase of a bottle of wine, through May, 2011.

Nancy MacLeod

Philo

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MASSES OR MONEY?

Editor,

Loving the masses or the money?

Our country has been funding and training dictators from Pinochet to Mubarak for decades. They end up repressing and torturing the workers and poor in order to perpetuate their dictatorial power and outlandish wealth. And we do this, claiming to be exporting our “democracy.”

Then we enter an extraordinary period where Wall St. and other “legal” gangsters turned our economy into a chaotic casino, felt less by the casino CEO's but mostly by the masses who never even entered the casino.

So, how does our “democratic” country attempt to deal with the increasing economic gap? By making the poor pay for the excesses of the rich! In California, with 81 billionaires, countless oil companies, Hollywood millionaires, and Silicon Valley we are told “there is no money!” since the moneyed-class doesn't like to pay their share of taxes. The politicians propose to cut the “safety net” eg. life-sustaining services for the poor, elderly and disabled.

Meanwhile, the rich cough up $100 million for Reagan's library/hanger, which houses not only his papers, but his Air Force One plane!

The US, early on, claimed to support both Mubarak and the People's Revolution. But at a certain point in both foreign and domestic policies, it's no longer possible to be “bi-partisan.” If you indeed support the masses, you can't starve them and call yourself democratic!

Barri Boone

Capitola

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THE LITTLE GUYS

Editor & Will Parrish,

Will, your articles have been quite interesting. Alas, this has been happening in other agricultural sectors all over the country as, for example, in dairying. I can even trace the roots back to 17th century England. As long as cities made demands, there have been those who saw an opportunity for wealth if they could control all aspects of production and delivery. Those of that color eliminated my prospects for succeeding as a farmer way back in the 50s. Still, there are many small vineyard owners who are attempting to make it with great difficulties, out in the fields doing their own work. There are also small proprietor-owned wineries scattered around the county providing employment for quite a few and making honest wine from those vineyard owners’ grapes. It is important not to tar and feather them with the same brushes.

Don

Ukiah

Will Parrish replies: Thanks for your kind words on the series, Don. Because your critique is basically the same as a few other people have offered, I’ll address it at length here.

In my work as an investigative journalist, I try to act as an interlocutor with current orthodoxy, expressing forbidden silences and demonstrating how the interests of rapacious power are served when certain things get omitted from public discourse.

Soon after I moved to Mendocino County, I was struck by the silence attending Big Wine’s destruction of the regional ecology and social fabric.

Here we have an industry that — to name just one of its impacts — converts every river it relies on to a collection of stagnant pools. If you want to kill off a river ecosystem and the wildlife that depend on it, a fantastic way to go about it is to do as Napa, Sonoma, southern Mendocino, and Lake counties have done: turn the land on the river banks and in the surrounding hills over to grape growers who are supplying into a global market for high-end booze, and who thus forego cultivating varieties well-adapted to their regions or practicing long-range pruning methods. Multiply the practices of these industrial vintners by hundreds of thousands of acres of grapes, and the result is a collection of dead and dying waterways that spans much of the North Bay and North Coast — the Navarro, Napa, Russian, and Gualala, and (to a somewhat lesser extent, perhaps) the Eel.

Most were mortally wounded by the timber industry to start with, it’s important to note, but the wine industry is in the process of finishing them off, or in some cases already has.

That ought to be a foremost concern of people who seek to localize the economies in these areas, by the way. The only people who have ever lived in a truly sustainable fashion in this region relied on the bounty of the rivers — “salmon, salmon, and salmon,” as some historical observers have characterized the Pomo economy. And the rivers remained a food commons for local people until quite recently. For instance, that’s one of the main ways a lot of folks in these parts made it through The Great Depression. Now that’s been stolen from us!

Over the years, some people have fought back — watershed and neighborhood groups in Sonoma and Napa counties, environmentalists, NGOs, the Anderson Valley Advertiser. Not only should more of Ecotopia’s professed environmentalists be joining in with the existing opposition, but doing so in a militant and uncompromising way.

Yet, most environmentalist circles ’round these parts have been mute on the subject of the wine industry’s destructiveness. About a year ago, a friend of mine brought up the possibility of taking on the wine industry at a gathering of activists at the Mendocino Environmental Center, and the only audible response he elicited was a man telling him that’s not something any of us should be worried about.

Now, from what I’ve observed, one reason for the collective silence surrounding the high-end booze sector is that many people here in Mendo perceive the business to be comprised mainly of, as you refer to them, small proprietor-owned wineries (not that you’re saying that). As a corrective to that misperception, I’ve focused consistently on the industry’s economic structure. Namely, most vineyard acreage is owned by people who don’t live in the area. An overwhelming majority of grapes are purchased and made into wine by a mere seven corporations. The money that’s inflated the grape bubble has accrued from big banks and pools of wealthy people’s money. The big boys ultimately call the shots and cream off almost all the profits. They’re the ones causing an overwhelming portion of the destruction.

If I were to write a series exploring the horrible damage the corporate media has wrought on America’s political discourse, it wouldn’t be the case that I’m “painting all media with the same brush” just because I don’t specifically single out relatively marginal radio stations and newspapers for praise. If I were to write a series on the gut-wrenching economic impact of the US banking system, it doesn’t mean I’m “painting community credit unions with the same brush” as Citigroup and Bank of America, for instance.

Frankly, if you are part of an industry that’s characterized by large-scale destruction, it’s your own responsibility to distinguish yourself from the overarching destructive tendencies. In the case of the wine industry, some have — Frey Vineyards & Winery in Potter Valley, for example. They didn’t need me to do it for them.

I sympathize with the little guys who are trying to make it in the wine industry. In the meantime, though, the industry as a whole is destroying a vast amount of the ecology of this region and, by extension, the ecological basis for the region to achieve economic sovereignty. If, in the process of trying to lance the pervasive silence surrounding these things, I’ve slightly understated the role that small-time, more eco-friendly grape farmers play in the regional wine biz (and if I’ve done so at all, it’s only very slightly), then I say so be it. — Will Parrish, Laytonville. P.S.: I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention here (as I have throughout the series) that there’s an even bigger silence surrounding the fact that wine industry relies wholly on exploited, severely underpaid workers.

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CAUGHT IN THE KEY

Bruce,

Well, it takes a little while for news to travel up to the northwest. But word of the brouhaha in the recent Anderson Valley versus Point Arena basketball game has made its way to McMinnville, Oregon and Linfield College. For those of you who have no idea who I am, my name is Jerry Young. I am a 2010 graduate of Mendocino High School and the two-time North Central League II North leading scorer and two-time all empire selection for basketball. My dad, Jim Young, is a chiropractor in Anderson Valley and the head basketball coach at Mendocino. I know the environment that surrounds small town basketball as well as anybody in the Mendocino county area. So when this story broke of the “parallel universe riddled with the bizarre antics of Pirate Coach Warren Galletti rolling around on the gym floor like a Southern Baptist preacher speaking in tongue. AV Boys were also psyched out, outplayed and battered by fouls that were ignored by the officials,” I felt that a players perspective was needed by all.

First, I would like to start by addressing the comments directed towards Point Arena Pirate Coach Warren Galletti. This is a man that I played against in four of the most intense games of my life. AV fans can argue it all you want, but there is nothing more intense then a Mendo V. PA game with the league championship on the line.(I have been in three and watched many more). Galletti was referred to as “rolling around on the gym floor like a Southern Baptist preacher speaking in tongue.” I have seen coach Galletti long enough to understand what is being referred to when saying he is speaking in tongue. He gets on the officials, tells him exactly what he thinks of every single call with no regard or concern about receiving a technical foul. Is this rolling around on the floor speaking in tongue? No. It is just a style of coaching. Not everyone can act like the zen master Phil Jackson on the bench. Many people consider Bobby Knight one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time. This is a man who threw a chair onto the court in disgust once. However, he worked his players everyday, turning them into the best players that they can be. Warren Galletti might is the Mendocino County Bobby Knight. He may get a little riled up, but I will suit up and play for him anytime, anyplace. This is a man that cares about his players on and off the court and that should never be smeared by the way he coaches. Also, I have seen Coach Slotte lose his cool with officials, I played against him for two years as well. Him and Galletti actually are very similar in the way the coach in games.

“AV Boys were also psyched out, outplayed and battered by fouls that were ignored by the officials.” “Several drunk and rude home crowders were shouting profanities, flipping the bird at players during free throws, chanting insults, carrying offensive signs wasn’t creating a warm and fuzzy, welcoming atmosphere either.” I am not prepared to argue what or what not wasn’t called by the officials, or what was said or not said by fans seeing as I wasn’t at the game. What I can do though is discuss my experiences playing on the road on Point Arena. I am not afraid to say that in my two years of varsity, I was as hated as any other road player to step into that gym.

I had my fair share of run ins with Juan Dominguez, Trace Yager, Sal Martinez, Matte Sundstrom, and all the Point Arena players. I have been knocked to floor, called names, constantly had trash talk in my ear, but I took it in stride. Sure, I could have turned and thrown a punch, but what good would that have done? Wouldn’t have done anything to help my team. They play with a confidence about them that gives them the right to cocky and arrogant. I have seen them play, and I will say that they are far and away the best team in this league(sorry panther fans). While they do play rough and hard, I know for a fact that these players never had any intention of injuring me. Hard fouls are part of basketball, I know cause it is worse at the college level. They wanted to beat me as much as I wanted to beat them. Sure things got chippy, but I knew when to walk away and let me game speak for itself.

“Get on the bus!!” Those were the words coming out of our coaches mouths after we beat Point Arena on the road my junior year. For every action, there must be a reaction. Point Arena fans are rowdy, and intense I admit that. But Warren Galletti, who is also the principle of PA would never allow HIS students to just start throwing punches and cause all hell to break loose. As the saying goes, it takes two to tango. We did our played our game, and however heated it was, we had the discipline to let it go and get on the bus and leave. This is discipline from the coaches as well as the players. For a fight to break out after a high school basketball game is not acceptable in anyway. But the blame can’t be placed squarely on the shoulders of Point Arena fans.

To finish up my train of thought, I would like to talk about the fans. There are two parts to the Point Arena crowd, the students and the community. What other gym in our league is packed every game? Maybe Round Valley. I have never seen an Anderson Valley, and for that matter a Mendo game in which the bleachers are filled to the brim. This is something that Point Arena has on all of us. Point Arena kids are like any other high school student in the world, they are gonna talk trash and yell at opposing teams, I know I did it. They are the only school I have ever played in which I can say the crowd plays a role in the outcome of the game. They are on the officials, chanting defense and being as loud as they can. Do the step over line sometimes? Yes. But what crowd hasn’t at some point? I know we did in Mendo.

All of this about the fans yelling and the Point Arena players being over the top physical all goes back to having discipline. On both sides. It is up to both sides of a situation like this to not allow it to happen. All the blame can’t be squared on one sides shoulders.

Jerry Young

Mendocino

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MISATTRIBUTION

Editor,

I did not write that “thinking problem” piece that was in last week's AVA attributed to me. It was forwarded to me by my Republican, recovering-alcoholic son to his left-wing alcoholic dad — to make him feel better, I guess. I forwarded it to a few friends who thought I'd written it — knowing how deep my denial goes. I thought it being a FW would make it clear I hadn't. I wish I had it but it was written by Mark Taylor in 1996.

John Wester

San Diego

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THE LOGIC OF THE CANCER CELL

Dear Mr. Allen

Noted your letter to the AVA of March 9, 2011 “War Criminals In Pearls”). Not being connected to the computer network or other forms of instant information, I don't feel qualified to comment on your comparison between A. Davis and C. Rice except to say that the daughter of a Negro (the respectful term learned by my generation) couple who made the rare decision to put their parenting skills into one well raised child couldn't be all bad, making allowances, of course, for the distortions that a religious background can bring. Also, considering my own many vices and shortcomings, I admit to being partial toward anyone who follows American football and is, or was, dating a former NFL star and who has had the perseverance to master piano compositions by Chopin, Mozart, etc.

My own misguided 54-year obsession (out of eight mostly blundering decades) has been less to distinguish between those attracted to foreign and domestic political ideologies and the more central historical influence of demographics. Because of “American exceptionalism” (which denies the vulnerability of the United States to historical sources of collapse) and other background factors, United States society at all levels seems particularly resistant to the concept of “limits.” For an NFL sports hero I could call your attention to your multiracial Klansman Marcus Allen. For an understanding of a basic cause of so much human bloodshed, now spreading to worldwide proportions, rather, I refer you to your fellow Klansman David Allen whose 1993 book cover and brief description of “Fear of Strangers” is enclosed. For those concerned about perceived right-wing media spin, it's balancing to know that major leftist review sources ignored or suppressed this and other literary efforts to consider population growth as a fundamental problem. Current evidence of this statement can be found in the fact that syndicated columns analyzing the realistic impact of population growth in California by the Sacramento Bee's Dan Walters, the one writer known to me (since the retirement of the San Francisco Chronicle's Herald Gilliam) who regularly deals with the subject, are routinely omitted by the New York Times owned Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

When Garrett Hardin and other 20th-century thinkers about population growth first entered the scene, if their advice could have been adopted by our example-setting nation, adjustments to a “steady state” economy could have been made relatively painlessly. But now the plight of millions who have become dependent on endlessly expanding urbanization; ever increasing “housing starts” and “job creation” for new jobseekers, not least for millions of foreign immigrants, preoccupies leadership, we are pushing social complexity and Mother Earth's life-support systems beyond the breaking point. Not that elements of the federal government haven't shown alarm from time to time as recounted in the book “The Life and Death of NSM 200” which tells the sad story of how such efforts have been suppressed.

Other material is enclosed which possibly could shift your attention somewhat to this subject. Tempting as it may be, I think it's counterproductive, distracting and a mistake to dwell excessively on the perceived lack of complicity by common folks allegedly exploited by the greedy rich. The enclosed with reference to the difficulties encountered by our own minorities are essays which you might find relevant, plus the last of a six-page speech reprint probably available thesocialcontract.com. The lingering effect of slavery, a custom dating long before Western colonialism and still existent in some Islamic countries, and racial prejudice is to be seen in the apparently unanimous opposition by the Congressional Black Caucus (according to hearings I have observed over C-SPAN) to restricting foreign immigration which increasingly fuels US population growth exclusively in California!

Respectfully,

Richard Van Alstyne

Fort Bragg

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CLOSE THE FLOODGATES

Editor:

Progressives unite

Progressive champion and former Senator from Wisconsin Russ Feingold, who was targeted and defeated by outside groups of millionaires, has announced a new organization to combat corporate influence in politics. The moment I heard about Progressives United I signed up, and I hope Mendo progressives will too.

After being eroded for years, his own McCain-Feingold Act was gutted by the Supreme Court, helping to pave the way for millions of dollars to gush into campaigns from outside groups, most of whom do not have to reveal their donors.

While in the Senate, Feingold opposed President Obama's decision to expand the war in Afghanistan. He voted against bailing out financial institutions in 2008, and he opposed the Democratic bill on Wall Street regulation in 2010, saying the restrictions did not go far enough.

Please google his web and facebook sites for more info. I'm looking forward to our overturning the Supreme Court's anti-democratic Citizens United decision that has opened the floodgates of corporate spending — corrupting the very foundation of our electoral system.

Dave Smith

Ukiah

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THE FRUITS OF STABILITY

Editor —

Italy has a turbulent history — wars, plagues, famines, dictators, etc. For much of its history, life has been difficult. It's a lovely but troubled country.

But in spite of this turmoil (or because of it?) Italy has produced some of the finest minds, notable scholars, scientists and artists the world has ever known. Civilized people throughout the world know these names: Galileo, Marco Polo, Leonardo da Vinci, Christopher Columbus, Enrico Fermi, Michelangelo, Verdi, Marconi, Puccini, Raphael, Machiavelli, and Donatello.

Italy is also known for fast cars (Ferraris, Lamborghinis), great food, fine wines, fashion, St. Peter's Cathedral, the Pope and the Roman Empire.

Switzerland, on the other hand is an old and a nearly pure democracy. Because of its political steadiness the Swiss have been blessed with over 100 years of relative calm and stability.

Switzerland is known for its cuckoo clocks.

Best regards,

Bart Boyer

San Diego

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TROUBLE AHEAD

Editor:

If there is any doubt in anyone’s mind that the Obama administration is following the foreign policy of the Bush and Clinton administration’s vis-à-vis Israel and AIPAC (America’s Pro Israeli Lobby) then the veto of the recent UN Security Council’s resolution to demand Israel stop all settlement construction by a vote of 14 to 1 should rattle the mind set.

The US veto will placate the Israeli Zionists in all countries plus the Jewish (Zionist) vote/money and influence in the USA while opportunely and with a howl create greater resistance around the world to US military/economic domination with its non-violent blather. As the Arab nations rise against their dictatorships, monarchs and Kings, almost all backed by US military equipment, US interests and US style democracy, the US Empire will most likely see demonstrators holding signs that include the USA OUT — as one of the culprits. Should ‘democracy’ be considered deeply the Arab rebellions will also include in their objections to neo-liberalism and the USA supported dictators in power for 25, 26, 27, 28, 30 and a few for 32 years.

With a grand gesture, a veto of a UN resolution supported by all the countries of the Security Council, and hundreds more, the Obama administration can now be accused of supporting Muslim uprisings as Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh have perspicaciously recently spouted. They probably had inside information (Wikileaks?) about AIPAC's influence on Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and now Obama the subversive. Stop: I forgot that the USA unequivecally supports “the only democracy in the Middle East.”

Huzzah, Salem Alaikum & Cheers for the Middle East rebellions with current consciousness raised they will, with justifiable rage, turn into extra trouble for the Empire.

R. G. Davis, PhD.

San Francisco

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TILDEN TRIO TO TREAT UKIAH

Editor,

Deep Valley Chamber Music Series is bringing the San Francisco-based Tilden Trio to Ukiah on Sunday, March 13. The concert will be held at the First Presbyterian Church on Dora St., starting at 3pm. The group will be performing the Bach Trio Sonata in G Major, Dvorak’s Piano Trio No. 3 in F Minor and a new piano trio by the 2020 Pulitzer Prize winner, Jennifer Higdon. Tickets for the concerts are $20 and advance tickets can be purchased at Mendocino Book Company on School Street.

Regards,

Linda Malone

Ukiah

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EXPERIMENT OVER

Dear Bruce,

Let’s take a look at what we have learned in the past two years of American politics. The Republicans have taken over the House of Representatives by lying, bribing, distorting and selling fear. The armed forces and CIA have continued the bombing of civilians and the rendition fed torturing. Many vital services to the public have been cut and more cuts to come. War continues to not only make profits for global corporations, but is continuing to be fought for the purpose of making profits. The radical Right continues to put the blame on the government, while seeking to be elected to run the government they blame. The oil the US was unofficially fighting three wars to obtain has been obtained by only two American oil companies. 50 million of us have no health insurance at all and those who do continue to be ripped off with extortionate medical costs. To top it all off, it has always been the case that minorities have been exploited, but now even the majority of our citizens are exploited.

One can only conclude that either the mass public doesn’t give a damn, just so long as the big box shelves stay full of consumer goods. Or, and this may just be the case, they are so drugged by escapism, be it in the form of entertainment or recreational drugs or religion, or all of the above combined, that they care but can’t get up the energy to do anything about it.

It is sad, indeed, to be witness to the end of the American experiment in self-government. The plutocracy is alive and well and ruling with a soft hand, given that the public does nothing that would unleash the hard hand of overt fascism. We are witnessing a failed democracy.

One writer said it this way in your last issue. It takes 100 years to build a democracy, a second hundred years to enjoy it, and another hundred years to destroy it. We are now 15 years into the third centenium. It’s scary, because the rate of social change is so rapid, it may only take a few more years to wrap it all up.

Lee Simon

Far ‘n Away Farm in Virginia

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CEO VS. VETS SERVICES

Editor and Mendocino County citizens,

Please be aware that on Feb. 15 the County CEO Carmel Angelo recommended to the Board of Supervisors that the County's Veteran's Service Office be closed starting the new fiscal year, 2011/2012.

Not only will the County Veteran's Service Office not be able to provide advocacy for veterans and dependents, but all van services from the Veteran's Service Office will cease. We are involved in two wars with a growing population of young veterans and a large population of elder veterans. We the citizens of Mendocino County should not allow this to happen.

You should know that Carmel Angelo, our CEO, makes $150,000 a year plus benefits. She has never taken a pay cut which she has forced upon all other members of the county government. She, it seems, is not willing to take on any of the burden that she is insisting that all of Mendocino County bear. Yet she is making these recommendations!

Another interesting fact is that the CEO's office is in the process of hiring an Assistant CEO during a “hiring freeze.” One would think that since there are so many less county employees to manage, the CEO’s office would not need to be fully staffed. No other county office is fully staffed due to our CEO's cutting measures. In fact, according to her, there are some offices that are not needed at all. Yet again, these rules do not apply to her.

Let your opinions be heard. Call your Supervisor and call the CEO.

CEO, Carmel Angelo: 463-4441.

Board of Supervisors: 463-4221.

Frank Bender

Fort Bragg

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COUPLET OF THE WEEK

Editor,

Oú est couleur de rose? “Never give in,” said Winston Churchill. “Never, never, never, never — never give in except to the convictions of honor and good sense.”

“There is no country where so much absolute homage is paid to wealth,” wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson about England. Estupendo La Revoltosa. The Rebel, Oedipina Plasticina charges her neuronal networks. Kristallnacht — Night of the Broken Glass, Nazis. Neuroplastic Ideas wired together. Fire apart. Wire apart. Neurons out of sync. Fail to link. (AVA couplet for the week.) In our universe, we explain an event as caused by an earlier event.

Studies in Frankfurt, Germany, show the closer a child lives to the airport, the lower the child's intelligence. After tea, cakes and ices shall we force the moment to its crisis? In the warm garden with the warm early spring sun, squinting years older, glad there is no mower, a young quiet woman passes through the shadow of long grass, baffled by the dust as a door pushed shut.

In Einstein's equation E=MC2 (E is energy, M is mass and c is the speed of light squared). It never reaches the speed of light because then its mass would be infinite. Only light, or waves that have no mass, can move at the speed of light. Will war set the United States out of debt? Farina bangs her bad politics dish. Space-time is not flat.

Diana Vance

Mendocino (It curves.)

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HOW TO THWART APHASIA

Mr. Anderson:

Enclosed is a check for $100 to renew my subscription and pay for one of the subscriptions you so generously provide for prisoners free of charge.

Being in prison is something I experienced during the Vietnam War. I still have nightmares about it.

Aphasia is a kind of prison. I'm 65 and have always had a capacity for producing the precise word I want when I want it.

Yet the other day while talking about one of my favorite movies, I couldn't remember which Henry was the title Henry (Henry V), the name of the director and star (Kenneth Branagh), nor the site of the great battle it depicts (Agincourt).

I run and work out to avoid physical deterioration and decided to fight verbal deterioration by mental calisthenics. One tactic is memorizing my favorite poems. I've memorized the last nine lines of Dover Beach, Wallace Stevens' perfect winter poem, The Snow Man, and this gem by Eleanor Wylie:

Sanctuary

This is the bricklayer; hear the thud

of his heavy load dumped down on stone.

His lustrous bricks are brighter than blood,

His smoking mortar whiter than bone.

Set each sharp-edged, fire-bitten brick

Straight by the plum-lines shivering length;

Make my marvelous walls so thick

Dead nor living may shake its strength.

Full as a crystal cup with drink

Is my cell with dreams, and quiet, and cool…

Stop, old man! You must have a chink;

How can I breathe? You can't, you fool!

* * *

Read it aloud. Thud lands like a thud. Sharp-edged almost cuts the fingers. Shivering length is perfect. I don't know whether memorizing this poem will thwart aphasia, but it feels good.

Stay well,

Lewis Bedrock

Roselle, New Jersey

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REDWOODS OR MORE GRAPES?

Dear AVA,

I regularly review Timber Harvest Plans (THPs), particularly those that propose logging old growth. At the end of 2010, an owner located just south of the Meyer Family Cellars winery, between Yorkville and Boonville, submitted a Non-industrial Timber Management Plan (NTMP) that proposes to log redwoods up to five feet in diameter from a 44-acre old growth grove. Logging is also proposed for a 75-acre second growth stand on the property.

These groves are directly across Rancheria Creek from Highway 128 and can easily be seen from the highway. The ground is quite steep and heavily timbered with redwood and Douglas fir.

Although the NTMP proposes to leave a number of the old growth trees, the grove itself will be greatly changed. Except for a very few trees that were cut probably over a 100 years ago, the old growth grove has never before been entered for logging. The largest tree there has been measured at over seven feet in diameter.

An NTMP is a permanent logging plan that never expires. If it is approved, in the future the owner need only file a notice that logging is imminent and can proceed without additional review. So this may be the community’s last chance to voice its thoughts.

Letters sent in the next few weeks will arrive in time for consideration. Send your comments to:

CalFire

Forest Practices

135 Ridgway Avenue

Santa Rosa, CA 95401

You can also e-mail your comments to:

santarosapubliccomment@fire.ca.gov

Be sure to reference the Casey NTMP, 1-10NTMP-013 MEN. If you would like to download a copy of the NTMP, call CalFire at 707-576-2275 and ask for the link.

You do not need to review the NTMP to let CalFire know how you feel about logging one of the few remaining old growth redwood groves in Mendocino County.

Sincerely,

Linda Perkins

Mendocino Group, Sierra Club

Albion

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LURKING IN SHADOWS

Mighty Editor,

Look at Egypt, look at Tunisia, look at Libya, the people are dedicated or should I say “livicated.” They have certainly sprung to life if it was rumored that they were slumbering in a post-colonial stupor.

I immediately wondered if this fever would spread to the western world. We see actions in Serbia, Italy and now the people in Madison, Wisconsin seem to be getting the right idea. They rightly called Governor Walker a Dictator.

Who saw it coming? Hopefully these spontaneous displays of people’s courage will go viral.

2011… WOW!

I've been ready since 1981, and I'm only in my 30s now.

In 2003, hundreds of thousands of people filled the streets of San Francisco. A few of us went to jail, a few of us stayed out all night, but most of us went home.

That's what people do when they are not ready, not committed, not dedicated or should I say livicated, FULL OF LIFE.

There is no honor in this society, it is all transitory and fleeting and thus we place no value on true dignity and freedom.

We lurk in the shadows of great men, who themselves were deeply flawed.

We wallow in compounded ignorance.

Nate Collins

Oakland

PS. Let me counterspin the media mindtrick real quick. If the Tea Party threw off its corporate overlords, ended the reckless spending on military and wars, ended reckless US intervention abroad, they could moderate their Christian beliefs and ally with the Muslim Brotherhood. Dangerous thoughts. One more: Fundamentalist religion is fueled by the sublimation of human sexual desires and especially the sublimation of the feminine potency and power inherent in her sexual nature. On that note I would like to hail up all of the women of the 2011 revolutions and wish them power and potency in their lives (sexually and otherwise) and grant them the power to overthrow their ancient oppressors

Poverty plus fundamentalism/ancient oppression does not allow humans proper sexual relations and expressions, what the Dictator(s) did not realize is that when you sublimate and deny mans desire to long, as his desire is aroused by dreams of possibility as images and ideas spread worldwide, that eventually these men will fight and repel tanks with their bare hands and bodies.

Good Lord! This is amazing. We are in the time of awakening.

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NOW IT’S TOO QUIET?

Editor,

I wish to apologize for any distress I may have caused the owners of the Boonville Saloon with the publishing of my complaint about the outrageous behavior outside their doors a couple of Saturdays ago. In retrospect, I wish I had been able to speak with them before writing. When we moved in here, the Saloon had not opened. Since I am a senior, and not in good health, we had hoped to rent the Senior Center apartment which would have been a lot quieter. That went to a non-senior, the Center’s bus driver, and we ended up here. The Saloon has been a pleasant surprise. We had been warned that noise from the Saloon would bother us, but that has not been the case. Our noise problem comes from the Fairgrounds just across our back fence.

I am totally convinced that the management of the Saloon has been very responsible. The sounds of people being happy and sociable do not disturb.

Outrageous, dangerous and destructive behavior carried out in front of the Saloon, whether or not by Saloon patrons, is a danger to the license status of the Saloon. If allowed to escalate, it could very well end up with decent folks losing their watering hole. That would be bad, but worse would be tourists posting to Yelp that their experience in Boonville was marred by such behavior. That would affect many of the businesses in town adversely. All of us have a duty to support and defend local businesses in recognition of their importance to the local economy. The wineries may be shipping off their profits but our local small business owners tend to keep the wealth here at home.

If anything I would say that the Saloon has been too quiet these last two weeks. Maybe it is just the cold weather keeping people inside behind a closed door. My wish is that the Saloon continue to be a happy prosperous place that I am pleased to live across from.

Herb Ruhs, MD

Boonville

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STILL IN THE GAME

Dear Editor

I want to send my heartfelt thanks to the great AV Ambulance crew for their rapid response to my accidental backwards fall from the top of a 12-foot ladder while picking apples for friends before Christmas. The crew protected my neck with professional care while carrying me to the ambulance while also having the foresight to phone the medical helicopter to pick me up at a flat spot on the Fashauer Ranch half a mile from Rocky Bluff Ranch, the site of the accident.

The med helicopter crew was also terrific and flew me to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital in approximately half an hour where a med trauma team took over and whisked me to the x-ray, MRI, and C-Scan room to assess the damage. I had landed on my upper back and neck with force and then rapidly rolled and banged my hip and stretched my knee awkwardly.  Fortunately, I landed on ground still muddy from recent rain. Plus, I knew to relax my body and tuck my head forward while falling.

My neck bone was popped into a swollen knot but wasn’t completely broken. My trauma doctor said, “You almost didn’t make it and it was close to what many would think was worse” after the first x-ray. Then they checked my aching hip on the second day in the x-ray room; the doc said, “It’s not fractured but you will need more orthopedic care.”

I was glad Bruce and Mark spread the news in the AVA because I appreciated the cards and letters and phone calls so much. But, I was very sorry I missed the party where the guy told Bruce: What if he had landed on his feet — he could have disintegrated like chalk. You guys were deep into your cups!

But, I’m still in the game.  We’ll do it all again some time ol’ buds.

Best wishes & Sincerely,

Ken Hurst

Philo

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THANKS FROM MIRIAM

To Community Members,

I am very thankful for your support and interest in my senior project raising money for the poor in Ethiopia. I am glad that with effort and help from my mentor I was able to send money to those who are desperately in need. Although we cannot change the whole world, we can help some. As Mother Teresa once stated,

“If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”

The experience I have acquired from this project fills my heart. I have learned that with small changes, we can all make a difference in someone’s life. I hope that next year an upcoming senior will continue the work that I have done.

Please join us for Leah Collins' presentation on her experience in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia volunteering at the Missionaries of Charity. It will be held at the Anderson Valley High School cafeteria on Wednesday, March 2nd at 7:00 pm. She will have a slide show and talk about her work serving the poor. We are so grateful for the support from this community and look forward to sharing with you. Dessert and coffee will be provided.

Thank You,

Miriam Medina

Boonville

PS. Para la comunidad, Estoy muy agradecia por el interés y apoyo que han brindado en mi proyecto para recaudar dinero para los pobres de Ethiopia, Africa. Estoy contenta que con el apoyo de mi consejera pude ayudar aquellos que realmente lo necesitan. Como algun día dijo Madre Teresa, “Si no pudes alimentar a cien personas, solamente alimeta a una.”

La experiencia que he recibido de mi proyecto me hace muy feliz. He aprendido que con un pequeño cambio, podemos hacer una gran diferencia en la vida de alguien. Espero que el año que viene algun estudiante continue el trabajo que yo comenzé.

Por favor acompañenos a la presentación de Leah Collins en donde hablará de su experiencia en Addis Abba, Ethiopia, Africa. La presentación se llevará acabo en la cafetería de la High School en Anderson Valley. El miercoles 2 de marzo a las 7:00pm. Servirémos postre y café.

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OBAMACARE* GOOD**

Dear Editors,

I am grateful to Mark Scaramella (aka “The Maj”) for NOT trying to tell us that there is such a thing as “the liberal class.”

(That chore was left to Chris Hedges*, who on page 7 wallows sarcastically through many smelly prepost pits** before “militantly” declaring his devotion to civil disobedience — which he fails to notice is usually a creation of us proud Liberals.)

The truth is that Liberals exist in, and cut across, EVERY societal class.

Likewise I appreciate The Maj for NOT tring to tell us that Julie Taymor (director of “Frida” and Broadway's “Spiderman”) is “unimaginative.”

(THAT chore was left to Todd Walton, who on page 8 at least was spoofing “Spiderman” — in the interest of covering the Mendocino County budget.)

Migawd, she's “unimaginative” just because the mechanical designers have screwed up the Spiderwebs?!

Mark IS, however, off-target in his rough treatment of our President's healthcare legislation. Yes, recently a Federal judge (in Florida) declared the bill unconstitutional — and in fact he is NOT the FIRST to do so, as it was likewise held invalid by a Virginia judge in December.

The law has, however, SURVIVED challenges elsewhere, including a Michigan decision in October. I'm positive Mark knows that none of these developments is a surprise.

It has long been expected — very widely expected — that individual Federal judges especially in GOP States would rule against the Obama law; and that others especially in relatively Democratic strongholds would uphold it. In law school I studied Constitutional Law for a year and a half, and I'm comfortable with the thought that Reagan appointee Roger Vinson, originally from the sophisticated state of Kentucky and a 1962 grad of the Naval Academy, is wholly equipped to be fulla crap in his reading of the Commerce Clause.

(Now of course if he'd been a Marine, like Bruce…)

Of course it's true that all those lower-court decisions are VERY likely to end up at the U.S. Supreme Court, and we DO NOT KNOW what will happen there. It is reasonable to guess that the newly much-strengthened Liberal wing of that Court will uphold the law, and is likely to prevail, but we'll see.

The Maj writes that the Obama healthcare law is “simply unsupportable” and “junk health insurance,” and “doesn't offer much in the way of controls on coverage or costs.” That's astounding.

Mark seems not to have recognized that the law ALREADY blocks insurance companies from using that hellious mantra “preexisting conditions” to support refusal to cover children. He ALSO seems, let's say, “incompletely aware” that the law already enables small-business operators to get health insurance for their employees — under previously unavailable good terms. Mark does quote Joe Firestone, who grudgingly concedes that already “some people ... [can] keep their kids on their insurance for a few more years.”

These three features, alone, of the law are of EXTREME importance to millions of people — and that's even before the MAIN provisions kick in. It's astonishing to me that some people, even very intelligent people such as Mark Scaramella, are STILL arguing that this insurance is “junk.”

Most I-told-you-so antiObama debaters and haters have moved well PAST those recognitions, to the NOW-popular specious argument that the sky is falling because these features of the law are already causing insurance rates to rise. The law, however, is a work in progress, and if the rapacious insurance companies push their luck overfar, I believe that even the House GOP contingent is likely to slap 'em down.

If not, I suspect we can count on President Obama to lean heavily on those greedy bastards, by executive order. Next year or by 2013 our populace of dawning realizations will surely demand such actions.

Indeed the biggest or at least loudest objection to the Obama-inspired law is that in another three years or so, it will MANDATE almost all Americans to buy insurance — and will levy a money sum against those who decline. As I think Mark is aware, this too is hardly a surprise; instead there is that unseemly flap over whether that levy against the expected insurance-resisters is a “tax” or a “penalty.”

C'mon, friends, let's stick with the substance here. I really don't care what it's called. The important thing about it is that it is NECESSARY to all of us — because it FILLS IN, for now, for the so-called “public option” that was dropped during debate.

The “public option” was going to be simply an insurance company operated by the government. Its primary purpose was to hold down insurance-premium rates by selling insurance at zero profit, essentially daring the commercial insurance companies to continue with their SUPERprofitable (read, “rapacious”) premiums. The public option also could have and almost surely would have provided insurance even for people with preexisting conditions.

Many of us will recall that some GOP dolts argued against the “public option” on the ground that it would put the government into competition with “free enterprise” insurance companies. (Shouldn't Chris Hedges step up to the plate to defend against this argument?)

So, to secure passage, the public option was not included in the bill as it passed last year. Now, since the public option is NOT operative, anyone (except kids) with a preexisting condition is likely to wait until that condition becomes EXTREMELY SERIOUS before wanting to sign up and buy the insurance. That's an untenable way to run an insurance system, because very inadequate premiums will flow into the system to pay for benefits; THAT'S WHY I've called it “necessary” that the bill contain that mandate.

In my view there is a better way than the mandate, to compensate for the absence of the public option. That better way is a privately operated CO-OP (i.e., nonprofit) insurance company. The idea of a consumer's cooperative insurance company is not new, and there have been some very large and successful co-op insurance firms. Probably those companies just need a little encouragement to step into the national healthcare picture in a big way — and, being nonprofit companies, they would hold down the cost of premiums equally as well as the public option.

The Maj's article asserts that according to one Wendell Potter, the mandate “was the only way the Obama administration could get the bill past the insurance companies.” This is a dubious claim, because the insurance companies were kicking and screaming over the entire exercise regardless. That really doesn't matter, though, because we haven't yet gotten to the most important part of the bill, in connection with the mandate: the bill offers SUBSIDIES to people who really cannot afford to buy the insurance.

Potter and others assert that the subsidies aren't going to be enough, or that they'll be paid from unacceptable sources. Firestone is also quoted as saying that the subsidies “are not indexed to rising insurance costs, and therefore insurance even with subsidies will become increasingly unaffordable.” C'mon, friends, WE DO NOT KNOW (sound familiar?) and we CANNOT know how many people will claim to be too poor to pay, or how much they'll need on average, so the assertion is just speculation — and it can be “tuned up” out of the picture.

The trick here is to shove our Federal legislators into continuously updating all the provisions of the healthcare bill that require such tuning, to FORCE the system to WORK — and also to shove our governors and local legislators into doing what

they can to help. Governors who join lawsuits that are just obstructionist certainly are not helping.

Next question: how does Obama's healthcare effort compare with Hillary and Bill's, back at the beginning of the first Clinton term? Hard to remember, maybe, but Hillary sailed right into the face of the storm and came limping back out. The Clinton effort never got away from home plate. It was an abject failure by every measure.

The Maj writes that Obamacare is “very bad” and “a bad law.” I respect Mark, and I respectfully submit that he's flat-out incorrect.

In my humblest of opinions, our current President's achievement is both monumental and superb. We should all be cheering and applauding, rather than carping about inconsequential minutiae. They ARE inconsequential and just need to be constructively addressed.

Yes, newspapers should have NO friends, and the flames of discontent should be FANNED — but this does not constitute an absolute requirement to bitch about, undermine, and destroy everything that just happens to be good.

Peter Lippman

Reno

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MOM’S IDIOT SON

Editor,

I am the air you breathe. I am the water you drink. I am the food you eat. And I am the ground you walk on. I am Mother Earth. For untold ages I have been in a dream, taking in all that happened in this dream, but still, progressing, awakening, with a developing, reasoning mind, observing, evolving with you, and now giving vent to my deliberations.

In all the Universe there are merely a few places as beautiful, as varied from place to place, and as diversified, as is this planet. Here, there is a potential risk that much will be lost. Indeed much has already been lost. There is the potential of a war to make impossible all future wars. I am making my call to you to round up as many as you can, to give them my message that you must make wars no more. I am making my call to you that you must do your utmost to keep the peace, and that you must do the very best you can to help each other in difficult times.

I am the air you breathe. I am the water you drink. I am the food you eat. And I am the ground you walk on. I am your Mother Earth. Thank you for listening to my thoughts. I embrace you with my live.

John Morris

Ukiah

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MOSSADEGH LIVES

Editor,

Following an earlier letter-to-the-editor of mine, celebrating the bravery of the people of Egypt for peacefully overthrowing their their long-time US-supported dictator, Hosni Mubarak, I was delighted to see, this last Sunday, that that letter had sparked further discussion of this all-important subject for our future influence in the region, and the future security of our joined-at-the-hip ally, Israel; Mark Rohloff's response to my letter gives me the opportunity to tie a number of loose ends into the rapidly evolving tectonic shifts taking place all over the Arab world.

Today, as huge protests break out all over the region, the smaller-than-Manhattan sized nation of Bahrain, which happens to be the home of the US fifth Fleet, had a large gathering of peaceful protesters assembling at a main square in its capital city, when our allied regime there decided to cut loose with live ammunition, before so much as launching a few teargas canisters by way of warning. Obama's reaction was surprisingly understated for the bloody outrage that had been committed there. Could it be that he doesn't want to endanger our major naval basing agreement by speaking out too harshly against slaughter of peaceful civilians? Could it possibly be otherwise?

Rohloff's wariness about the transfer of power from the (often US supported) despots to the democratic will of their people is based on a number of faulty assumptions. This is not surprising, as virtually all of the mainstream media have been pushing these same completely unfounded talking points:

A. That the Muslim Brotherhood is some large, well-organized fearsome terrorist organization

While something called by the same name took responsibility for certain terrorist activities decades ago, it has for many years now been a pragmatic political party; taking part in elections, recognizing Israel and renouncing the use of terrorism. Aiman Al Zawhiri, who is supposed to be some kind of top Al Qaeda leader, was once a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Today he denounces it bitterly for selling out and renouncing terrorism. It is estimated that in a democratically elected Egyptian parliament that the M.B. would probably poll only 20%.

B. That the Egyptians are overwhelmingly illiterate and lacking in democratic institutions

In fact, Egypt has for a long time enjoyed an educational system that is probably superior to that of many states of the Union. Many people there achieve advanced degrees, only to find that they still cannot get a decent job, due to the regime's strangulation of commerce because of its pervasive graft and corruption.

C. that if we “permit” democracy there, it will inevitably go the way of Iran; an oppressive theocratic state

Of course, each country in the region has a unique history and set of circumstances; today's political realities in Iran grow directly out of generations of US/Western meddling in that country. 50-some years ago, they voted in a secular and nationalist president, Mohammed Mossadegh, who had the temerity to suggest that they should get more out of the oil resources that the British were pumping out of their land and paying them peanuts for. He was smart enough to kick the British Embassy out before it could plot to overthrow him, but did not prepare for the McCarthy-era passion that the CIA had for supporting any and all imperial adventures, so the CIA's spook Kermit Roosevelt (nephew, I believe, of FDR) paid some hitmen to off him and install in power the Shah, whose hated, bloody reign was heartily supported by the US continuously, under both Democratic and Republican leadership, for decades. It was these times of oppression that spawned and nurtured Islamic fundamentalism, as the only place where politics are permitted to be discussed was in the mosque. The CIA has a term for it; blowback. You and I might call it karma.

Let us be clear; the military-industrial complex that has owned and run our country since at least the Kennedy assassination, always needs a bogeyman to justify its existence. The Soviet Union sufficed for decades, though its threat had to be constantly hyped and exaggerated to promote the limitless greed of the merchants of death. When Gorbachev abruptly folded his cards and dissolved the USSR, the M.I.C. went into panic mode, madly searching for a substitute bogeyman to promote before people realized how completely unnecessary the vast global expanse of US military operations was. Reagan and his vice president, Bush 1, drenched up some dog-eared candidates; the oppressed poor of Central America, struggling to overthrow their complete subjugation by the forces that had oppressed them since the days of the conquistadors, were transmogrified, through the miracle of modern propaganda, into agents of global communism, the furthest thing from their minds. After a decade or so of high-tech slaughter of Nicaraguans, Panamanians and Grenadians, it became hard to sell that particular product. The urgent search for a new and terrible bogeyman resumed; now, a decade after 9/11 and despite a constant barrage of propaganda designed to promote fear of the Islamic world, polls show that roughly half of Americans refuse to lend credence to the official explanation of the events of that day, such as it is. While 10 years later, some still bemoan the loss of a couple of hundred lives at a Bali nightclub, I've lost track of the number of obliterated wedding parties, car bombed police recruitment crowds (which seemed to have settled into a monthly routine occurrence) and at least 1 million Iraqis who had done nothing to us, losing their lives. How many more must die before we call it even?

I wish everyone had seen Christiane Amanpour's interview with the very likable young Egyptian Google exec who had taken a leave from his high-powered Bay Area gig to go help his people protest in the streets of Cairo; at the conclusion, she says to him something like, “I'm a neighboring dictator, watching these events unfold in Tahrir Square, what should I be thinking?” To which he replies, “you should freak out. I mean, you should seriously freak out”

The genie cannot be put back in the bottle; the US and Israel can no longer expect to dictate to the hundreds of millions of people who share that part of the world, who will get to to rule over them. The US military, the Israelis, the oil companies, they have no choice but to embrace the new spirit of democracy, even though they will have no way of knowing exactly how it will develop, but will have to deal in an open and fair-minded way with whatever develops out of these upheavals; not as ruler and subject, but as equals. What a concept!

Such an interesting historical fact, that while thousands of years ago the Egyptians labored under the Pharoah's demands to build greater and ever greater Pyramids; ego monuments of no practical use, today it is we Americans tottering under the burden of our global military colossus, which demands, no, commandeers, more and ever more of our nation's resources, to build a globe-spanning monument to fear, greed and manipulation of public perceptions.

When we consider the urgent needs for humanity's future, the issues that we must address if we hope to carry on into the next few decades with anything recognizable as human society that we know it today, the vast military that we have developed is as useless in dealing with those challenges as those Pyramids.

Sincerely,

John Arteaga

Ukiah

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SAVING DEPUTY WALKER

Editor,

Deputy’s Last Minute Reprieve

A number of us from Anderson Valley — many representing the Anderson Valley Community Action Coalition — attended the Supervisors meeting last Tuesday. CEO Carmel Angelo came prepared with a second quarter mid-year budget report that included a list of “non-mandated” budget items, a list that includes many programs near and dear to our hearts. She also recommended the laying off of four Sheriff’s department positions, two sworn and two non-sworn positions. This is the piece of the pie that most of us from Anderson Valley were there to hear about.

To make a long story short because Craig Walker our Deputy is number three on the civil service list if the supervisors voted to approved laying off these four our Craig would be toast (fired). Those of us defending Craig’s position spoke including Fire Chief Colin Wilson who among other things pointed out the impact on his department. Beverly Dutra had gone to the trouble to comb through the final budget to discover places where possible pockets of money could be found and each supervisor was given a copy. Lots of discussion later, each supervisor was asked to comment on their position. This was the moment we had all been waiting for. Supervisor John McCowen gave good reasons to delay taking action for 60 to 90 days; one for us. Supervisor John Pinches put forth some suggestions on alternate money saving possibilities; two for us. Supervisor Kendall Smith was unequivocally opposed to delaying and was ready to vote for the layoffs; one against us. Our supervisor, Dan Hamburg, declared that despite regrets that his highest priority was fiscal responsibility; two against us. Supervisor Carre Brown came up with a proposal to form an ad hoc committee of two supervisors and to hire a “referee” to help with the communication problems between Carmel Angelo and Sheriff Allman. This seemed sort of out of the blue but we welcomed anything that was short of a vote for the layoffs. At some point Supervisor Kendall Smith announced that they had decided not to move on the layoffs at the current meeting. It seemed as if everyone looked around at each other trying to figure out exactly when that had happened.

Nevertheless the layoffs were not voted on and Craig Walker was saved by the bell. The next Supervisors meeting is scheduled for March 1 and the agenda will be posted online this Thursday. Check it out. We have formed a “Save our Deputies Task Force.” If you would like to know more about it call 895-2146.

Terry Ryder,

Anderson Valley Community Action Coalition

Boonville

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A SMART LIVING HELL

Dear Smart Editor

Greetings from Smart Philo, in the heart of Smart Anderson Valley. The entire problem with the Smart Meter system stems to the California Public Utility Commission which has mandated that utilities install Smart meters by 2012. They also mandated that Utilities lower the use of ratepayers. PG&E attempted a wired version via their power lines in Kern County with clearly no real small scale test as it failed. The CPUC raised rates to pay for this. PG&E installed a wireless version in Kern County, but forgot the Home Area Network (aka spymeter) that monitors each appliance and allows for appliance tweaking; turning down thermostats etc. A third installation was necessary in Kern County. All paid for by rate increases. By November 2009, 40,000 complaints caused State Senator Dean Florez to demand an investigation. PG&E had a ratepayer paid Shield study done that ignored the real in-situation problems and bench tested the meters. They claimed the meters were fine, that they had done a poor job of informing ratepayers of rate increases and there was hotter weather that caused the rates to soar from 100 to 1000 dollars. PG&E thus claimed that problem resolved. What changed?

There are several problems here. One, the pressing mandate without well tested equipment, the incestuous relationship between the CPUC and PG&E to install this with continuous rate payer adjustments to meet the mistakes, but more so, the litany of trespass, violations of property and health that this unnecessary equipment requires.

Unnecessary? Industry bench tests compared educational programs with Smart Meter feed back system had response rates that were neck to neck. So why pay the cost or expose people to the problem? Meanwhile more troubling is the fact that now the General Accounting Office of federal government has concerns about security in this system, not only at the Smart Meter level, but in the Smart grid itself that raises concerns in homeland security. This alone should have congressmen, and Americans screaming bloody murder. Why would anyone create a system that terrorist could stop with such little effort? As usual all is quiet in the capital.

The reasons for these upgrades were to bring the antiquated grid up to 21st century needs. A grid that has poor monitoring, not enough redundancy, and is not connected to alternative sources adequately needed changes to move from limping to real secure function. The Smart Grid solution puts the entire data transport into wireless and internet communication. What happens if the internet fails? What happens if a hacker gets in? Can it? I think IT folks worry about the first, but no one knows. The hacker concern has been illustrated and the GAO worries about. ‘That is okay Captain, sail into the ice-laced area; we have double walled hulls!’

Of course, an alternative exists in a wired system, perhaps using a independent fiber optic system that can not be tweaked, but the industry which supposedly only makes it money providing the means (as claimed by PG&E) to serve the power (i.e., the Grid) worries that this level of upgrade may be too expensive to pass to rate payers. When does the industry use its earnings pre profits to fix the system that pays its way?

A small cache of anti-Smart Meter activists and concerned citizens went to the public meeting of the public works department of Fort Bragg to support a moratorium. This was preceded by lots of support material on all issues plus some 840 signatures asking for a moratorium (actually more counting Willits.) Of course PG&E was invited and proceded to dominate the meeting in what was supposed to be a 10 minute description whereupon the representative filibustered for more than an hour. Edgewise complaints or clarifications came from four activists and 5 concerned citizens. One of the latter moved to Fort Bragg to get away from Smart Meters because of health impacts, Electro Hypersensitivity, which could be defined as living hell in a normal wired environment. Although difficult for Americans to understand, this disability leaves one hyper-reactive to anything electric with responses like headaches, whistling in the ear, nausea, seizures, heart arrhythmia. If one peruses the research it all fits to the DNA damage, calcium uptake disruption, blood brain barrier and immune system disruption because of Nonthermal impacts. The latter is the description tacked onto almost every industrial study that says more studies should be done in this area. Even the EPA said that in 2004. The EPA concerns support the FCC idiotic, obsolete claim that there are not Thermal impacts in the absurdly high accepted standards of the FCC which are 100 times higher than other countries. The FCC is the favored claimed safety standard by the likes of PG&E, cell companies and others that are in heavy denial do to record profits in this area of technology.

Like a breath of fresh air Dan Gjerde, said that he felt with the local concerns and the fact that PG&E said they are working on a plugged in instant monitoring meter (AKA Smart meter), it would be prudent to wait via a moratorium, until the new meters come out to allow PG&E to install once (I hate the word deploy.) This will save PG&E ratepayers and probably stop an Egypt like demonstration.

Gjerde did not say the latter, but alluded to the fact that angry people would not be fermented into action with a moratorium. He then asked the City/County million dollar question: “Will PG&E or the CPUC (aka California Public Utilities Commission) sue the city. Now Gjerde maybe aware that 26 cities and counties have stood up with moratoriums and not been sued, but it was a good question that the Reps could not answer. Yet Gjerde felt confident that it was the right action. The meeting ended with the announcement that anyone present could be informed that of the upcoming full meeting of the Ft Bragg city council on this issue.

Here is what we learned: 1) PG&E's installed Smart Meters and access points are currently operating, 2) Ratepayers pay for everything, 3) The CPUC so called protector of the public, gives permission to up the rates to any Utility with any reason to do it. 4) Smart Meters will not save money they will use higher peak time rates to sock it to rate payers, 5) PG&E’s Smart meter system is a poorly tested system that creates lots of problems for rate payers including health, damage to personal equipment, disruption of wireless signals and will overcharge us. 6) Our local representatives are listening and are trying to protect us. The last was the most satisfying lesson of the day. Unfortunately, those in the State and Federal offices seemed to have forgotten that responsibility.

Thanks for listening

Greg Krouse

Philo

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MLPA ILLEGAL?

Dear Editor,

All the new Marine Protected Areas in Southern California and the North Central Coast are null, void and unenforceable, because they were created by an illegal and corrupt Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) process.

In a 55-page petition filed January 27 in San Diego Superior Court, United Anglers of Southern California, the Coastside Fishing Club, and Robert C. Fletcher ask that the works of the MLPA be nullified because they were created without legal authority by a process which did not follow state law.

The defendant in this lawsuit is the California Fish and Game Commission. The petition states that the privatized MLPA process, directed by the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation, did not follow the requirements of the 1999 Marine Life Protection Act. No final Master Plan for the state has been approved by the commission, as required by the Act before the creation of any new Marine Protected Areas..

Moreover, states a lawsuit press release, “The privately-funded ‘MLPA Initiative’ process has been conducted in a manner inconsistent with the process the state legislature directed in the MLPA, and meetings held by MLPA planning groups that should have been open meetings were closed to the public.”

Also, according to the petition, the MLPA process violated the California Environmental Quality Act, did not apply for a required Coastal Commission permit, and there was no required review of its works by the State Interagency Coordinating Committee.

“From the outset, it was clear that the MLPA process was set up to reach a predetermined outcome under the fiction of an allegedly open and transparent process,” said plaintiff Robert C. Fletcher. “In a rush to establish regulations based on political timelines and a pre-determined agenda, the Fish and Game Commission has ignored the legal requirements it must follow.”

Every Californian has a vital interest in the outcome of this landmark lawsuit challenging the legitimacy of government process run by private foundations in violation of state laws. Information on the lawsuit is on the website oceanaccessprotectionfund.org. The plaintiffs’ phone number is (562) 494-9900.

John Lewallen

Philo, California

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IT’S TIME

Editor:

In almost 20 years of river travel in the Eel River canyons, I have dreamed of an Eel River trail system. These richly watered, steep canyons are wild and untamed.

I have traveled the main Eel from Hearst to Alderpoint a number of times. With each visit I am impressed by the determination and ultimate futility of trying to maintain a railroad line where nature's forces have time and time again buried tunnels and pushed rail cars and tracks into the river.

Today, we are left with scars that will remain for centuries in these canyons. There is no future for the railroad here. The resource extraction economy of the North Coast was stripped out decades ago.

The Eel River trail as conceived by the Eel River Trails Association is similar to the Rogue River trail in southern Oregon. The river and trail are about 40 miles long. With beautiful forested mountains, challenging white-water rapids and sport fishing, it annually attracts tens of thousands of users from across the West to enjoy extended wilderness adventures in a beautiful river corridor.

I cannot conceive of a better use of, nor a better way to protect, preserve and enhance the Eel River canyons than a managed river and trail system.

Bill Robertson

Windsor

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