Letters To The Editor

by AVA News Service, March 10, 2011

THE LITTLE PEOPLE

Dear Colonel:

My apologies for the sudden spate of communications, but I had to comment on the February 23 Todd Walton piece on the Bushmen. It cemented his place in my gallery of good writers. He is to be especially commended for his obvious respect for these little people. We could learn so much from them if we were wise.

Okay, I'll quit.

Respectfully,

Don MacQueen

Eugene, Oregon

PS. I read van der Post long ago and was enthralled.

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DON'T WHINE, LOCALIZE

Editor,

Everyone whines about the economy, but no one does anything about it. The economic localites present lectures, speeches, sermons, seminars, dramas, films, dance ensembles, book promos, how-to workshops and séances conjuring Gaian wisdom. But there is no discernible substantive results other than increased book sales and website hits for green gurus and self-help charlatans. Everyone's tweeting and twittering anxiously awaiting the hundredth virtual monkey.

Yes, the localites promote self-sufficient food production — a good thing — but total self-sufficiency is a myth. Mendopia needs to develop local “basic industries” producing tangible commodities for export to bring revenue back into the county. Big-box stores like Wal-Mart and Costco are a net revenue loss to the county and they displace local businesses.

With the collapse of the commercial timber and fishing industries, Mendopia has two basic industries remaining — the production of cannabinol and alcohol — pot and wine.

Both industries bring in revenue but the cost of the collateral damage they cause — social, cultural, economic, environmental — far exceeds the revenue generated.

At least the booze industry pays “some” taxes and provides some unlivable wage jobs, but since most of the industry is owned by absentee corporations most of the revenue goes outtahere.

The pot industry provides under the table cash and weed to migrant trimmers and security goons but it pays no income tax, minimal sales-tax and lowball, if any, property tax since most of the outback potsters have undervalued property with many undocumented illegal dwellings and production facilities. The pot industry's contribution to the local economy is limited to Potemkin Village pot cash laundries disguised as local businesses.

The tax-free pot industry should be challenged to siphon off some of its profits into a localite development fund to provide “seed” capital for new, county-based, start up “green” businesses using local resources.

Here are three ideas for starters:

1. A turkey bag factory using recycled plastic bags.

2. A poly-pipe factory using recycled plastic.

3. A bong factory using recycled booze bottles.

Since the pot and wine industries are essentially exempt from environmental regulations, the county should greenlight the new socially beneficial industries, fast tracking the permit process, waving all environmental restrictions.

Regarding potster tax evasion, it was only a matter of time before the IRS started snooping into the bogus “nonprofit” medical marijuana industry.

An article by Zusha Elinson in the January 9, 2011 New York Times — “marijuana dispensaries are facing new scrutiny” — describes an October 7, 2010 narco bust of four operators of “New Age Healing Collective” in San Jose, California, who were charged with illegal marijuana sales and money laundering after the agents discovered two sets of books. The official one showed a $123,128 loss, and the hidden one showed a $222,238 profit.

The “New Age Healing Collective” was actually operating as a retail store selling pot to customers at street level prices.

Across the bay in Oakland, “Harborside Health Center,” one of the largest dispensaries on the West Coast and a model for the medical marijuana industry, is being audited by the Internal Revenue Service according to Harborside chief executive, Stephen de Angelo.

Harborside officials said the IRS was raising questions about a section of the tax code known as 280E which is aimed at drug kingpins and prohibits companies from deducting any expenses if they are “trafficking in controlled substances.”

Predictably, Harborside, which “serves” 70,000 members, has been lobbying the federal government to exempt medical marijuana dispensaries from the law. It sent a letter to Senator Barbara Boxer stating that it could be taxed out of business if the law was not changed. The “audacity of Dope” — special strokes for mellow folks.

Anticipating trouble, last December officials in Oakland postponed plans to license large-scale marijuana factories in that city after the United States Justice Department and the city attorney warned separately that the business could violate state and federal marijuana laws.

In a February 1, 2011 letter to Oakland, Melinda Haag, the US Attorney for the Northern District of California, wrote: “Individuals who elect to operate industrial cannabis cultivation and manufacturing facilities will be doing so in violation of federal law.”

It's assumed that the US attorney would have a similar ruling on Mendopia's cockamamie pot ordinance 9.31 which sanctions pot grow houses in residential neighborhoods in violation of federal law and the county's zoning ordinance.

The IRS nailed the elusive gangster Al Capone on tax evasion. Will they also nail the slippery “non-profit” potster, Buddy Roach?

Meanwhile, back in lawless Mendopia, it's “High Times” business as usual as grow houses pop up like hallucinogenic mushrooms, home invasion thugs run rampant, and law enforcement is decimated by County CEO snipers.

The people get the message and they are arming themselves to the teeth. Ammo and gun sales are up and “GI Joe's” in Ukiah is selling “Frontiersman Bear Attack Deterrent” like hotcakes. They can't keep enough stock on hand to supply demand. Frontiersman's product is a superstrength pepper spray that shoots 30 feet and in addition to bears and thugs it will even deter growhouse pit bulls — until pitbull breeders get ahead of the curve and appropriately desensitize their dogs. Then it's on to “lion deterrent,” and eventually “Tyrannosaurus rex deterrent.”

As the neighborhood pot wars escalate, the county supervisors vacillate. Is there an Arabic-style tantrum in our future?

Cheers,

Don Morris

Skunk Town-Willits

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A SPECIAL DAY

Greetings Editor,

March 7, 2011 has been declared the first annual Ordinary Life Celebration Day! Perhaps a bit anti-climactic as it falls so soon after the major fall and winter Dionysian Debacle known as “the holidays.” Ordinary Life Celebration Day will one day be as popular and exuberantly celebrated as Flag Day or St. Ignatius's second birthday! Please help us celebrate this fine new American holiday! Look at ordinary things like dumpsters and storm drains and stuff and appreciate them! Be glad you're not that special! Grooviate on your personal lack of wealth or celebrity status! Ordinary Life Celebration Day is crafted for the common man or woman. (Aren't we all a bit common?)

Ordinary Life Celebration Day recognizes this and celebrates this and unlike most annoyingly cloying traditional holidays it doesn't pretend to be “significant or special.” To celebrate Ordinary Life Celebration Day don't do anything special! Go about your usual routine but with even more dogged lassitude than usual and collectively let's make this a grand “Nonholiday”!

Corporate Pale Beige altars of small fluorescent lit cubicle style workplaces decorated most subtly and tastefully with the pastel painted skulls of the past victims of the daily grind will be allowed on a very limited basis.

It's somewhat like the Day of the Dead celebration in November, but tremendously more muted and of course much less joyful. But let's do it! Let us collectively make March 7, 2011, Ordinary Life Celebration Day! And let's make a family meal of macaroni and cheese, spam balls, and toasted white bread. Nowadays ordinary has become the new wonderful!

As food and gas prices rise and the economy wallows in stagnation: enjoy!

Peace & Mundanity

John Shultz

Willits

PS. There will possibly be a loosely structured “non-march” and maybe perhaps a sort of “gathering” some place, somewhere vaguely later on to kind of celebrate this brand-new “non-holiday.”

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ON THE MEND, THANKS

Editor,

It is with heartfelt gratitude that I thank Judith Dolan, Chief Wilson and his firemen, and the Ambulance crew who came so swiftly to my aid when in January I fell and broke my leg.

Thank you Diane Herron for continuing to field calls and care for my pets.

Thank you Juan Malfavon for the care you lavished on my gardens.

Thanks too, to Nancy McLeod whose daily phone calls have brightened many a tedious day.

Thank you, thank you, dear friends for the shower of cards and letters and phone calls. I am so touched!

And thank you Bruce Anderson for the caring article on my behalf in the AVA.

Lucille Estes

On The Mend in Lake County

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WHY ME?

Editor,

Clearing away the extreme stupidity of a relationship I've got with the United States political left, on MahaSivaratri, the most auspicious 24 hours of the year in the Hindu-yoga-vedanta tradition.

It's the Night of Siva, the most auspicious 24 hours in the Hindu-yogatantric-vedanta year. I am taking this opportunity to clear away an ossified, profoundly stupid relationship I have developed over the past 40 years with the U.S. political left. I mean, after 40 years of frontlining it, I am “banned” at Berkeley's Long Haul Infoshop for demanding that East Bay Food Not Bombs reimburse me a lousy $55, which I gave to Acton Street house to cover the group's utility bill obligation, because they didn't bother to get it together and fundraise eight years ago. I mean, how stupid can this get? And, I am seriously trying to move to the east coast, because I am bored to tears in this nothin' cultural environment in clueless Cali nowadays. The radicals in Washington D.C. suggested that I squat the P street beach woods and eat out of dumpsters in winter to be there again. This, after three times since 1991 serving food to central D.C. homeless people at Zacchaeus Kitchen and living at the Olive Branch Catholic Worker house. And also being a street reporter for the DC IMC at the huge turnout at A16, 2000 World Bank/International Monetary Fund direct action protests. Live in the woods and eat out of the dumpster now? Do they think that Jesus Christ is some kind of a moron to ignore my own requirement for food and shelter after I did all of that in His name? Seriously, this is the kind of idiocy that I am putting up with, y'all, from the U.S. left. Can I get something better than this? Connect me with something with a brain in the district; somebody's got to know somebody there who isn't completely ridiculous.

I do not want this message removed from the SF Indybay website. I am accepting cooperation and money to move out of California, and relocate to Washington D.C. (Ask Jesus to get you back! No doubt He can afford it). And lastly, don't even think about asking me to be cool and proper in my language. What for? I might end up stuck in this pointless hell with you indefinitely if I don't write down the bones. Not too real for you, okay?

Craig Louis Stehr,

593 62nd Street, Oakland, CA 94609-1246

Email: craigstehr [at] hushmail.com

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HABLA HAIKU?

Editor,

North coast poets of all ages are invited to submit haiku poems to the 9th annual ukiaHaiku festival and competition. The 2011 festival continues with three major additions initiated in 2010: two Spanish-language categories, a regional focus for most of the competition's categories, and a Spanish-language version of the website. For more information please visit www.ukiahaiku.org . Submission forms are available on the website as well as at Grace Hudson Museum (431 S. School Street in Ukiah). Haiku submissions must be postmarked or submitted through the web form by Friday, March 11, 2011.

Poets from Mendocino, Lake, Sonoma, and Humboldt counties continue to have a competitive edge, as submissions in ten categories will be limited to residents of those four counties. The Jane Reichhold International Prize category is open to poets from around the planet.

Submissions are free-of-charge except for the Jane Reichhold International Prize. For that category there is a fee of $5 for up to 3 poems and awards will be given of $100, $50, and $25 for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place respectively. Winning poems in all categories will also be published in a booklet that will be awarded to winners as well as sold to the general public. The festival and awards ceremony will take place Sunday, May 1, 2011, from 2 pm to 4 pm at SPACE Theater, located at 508 West Perkins at Bush Street in Ukiah, California.

For more information, please contact Theresa Whitehill, Poet Laureate of Ukiah, (707) 462-4557, haiku@ukiahaiku.org.

Roberta Werdinger

Ukiah

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HAVE A HEART

Mr. Anderson:

Hello. My name is Chris Bayard. I am from Mendocino County. My dad grew up in Anderson Valley in Navarro. I have been reading the Advertiser whenever I get the chance for a few years now and absolutely love it! I am currently doing four years at California Correctional Center in Susanville and would love to receive your newspaper!

Unfortunately I am indigent and cannot afford it. I would ask my family to help me out but my wife is currently staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Palo Alto because our daughter is at Stanford University Hospital awaiting a heart transplant. She has been on the top of the nationwide transplant list for 11 weeks now and we are praying she gets a heart soon! If you could somehow find a way to send me your newspaper I would really appreciate it! If not, I totally understand.

Forever a loyal reader,

Chris Bayard

Susanville

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THE GOOSE-STEP

Hello Mr. Anderson,

I've just been reading the chapters in Upton Sinclair's study of American education, The Goose-Step, dedicated to describing the state of the University of California at Berkeley during the first quarter of the 20th century. Apparently, it was an extremely militaristic and reactionary institution ruled top-down with a heavy hand by a clique of bankers, industrialists, and railroad barons. This to the extent that hundreds of undergraduates were routinely awarded full academic credit for time spent working as scab labor during a number of Bay area strikes, even though they were taking no classes while scabbing. As Sinclair describes it, toeing the institution's reactionary political and social line was expected and rigorously enforced. No dissent or debate was tolerated on the parts of either the faculty or students. Non-compliance was swiftly rewarded with dismissal or expulsion, with no apparent access to an appeal process of any kind.

For as long as I've been paying attention to things (since the mid 60s,) the Berkeley campus has displayed a nearly opposite face. I have no doubt that the Board of Regents is still comprised of highly placed and powerful capitalists, but somewhere along the way there must have been a fascinating period of transformation in the philosophy of how the university was to be administered. I just can't believe that a gradual evolution of thought took place unaccompanied by any significant battles being fought over these matters.

So, I was curious if, being a long time resident of the Bay Area and notoriously well-read in local history, you might have any awareness of a published accounting of this transformation that you might be able to recommend to me.

Much obliged,

Michael DeLang

Golden, Colorado

P.S. Keep up the great work you do at the AVA. The Will Parrish series, in particular, has been superb. Pulitzer material, if that still meant anything. Come to think of it, I'm not sure the Pulitzer ever meant all that much. Great series, though!

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WELLES’ CUCKOO CLOCK

Editor,

Just a short note re the letter from Bart Boyer, San Diego, that ran in the 2/23/11 AVA. Dishonesty wears many cloaks but non-attribution of someone else’s thought is particularly onerous in this case because Boyer is clumsily parroting a brilliant piece of dialog spoken (it is said extemporaneously) by Orson Welles to Joseph Cotton in “The Third Man.” It went like this: “…in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. So long, Holly.”

Warm Regards,

Denis Rouse

Bieber

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SANCTUARY VOLUNTEERS PLEASE

Editor,

Project Sanctuary, a resource center for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, is now accepting applications for its Annual Volunteer Training. Volunteers are essential in operating the program’s 24-hour crisis line. Eighty hours of comprehensive training are offered according to state guidelines. Those who complete the training become Certified Crisis Counselors specializing in the areas of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.

This free training will begin March 2011. A one-year commitment is requested upon completion. For more information, call me at 462-9196 or visit www.projectsanctuary.org.

Project Sanctuary, Inc. is a private not-for-profit organization with the mission of ending domestic violence, abuse and sexual assault in the local community. Founded in 1977, Project Sanctuary assists over 2000 clients annually and is supported by state and local funds and contributions from individual donors.

Carissa Johnson

Volunteer Coordinator, Project Sanctuary

564 South Dora Street, Suite A-1

Ukiah, CA 95482 carissa@projectsanctuary.org

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HIDDEN SWAG

Editor,

While we're all getting giddy about Switzerland and how wonderful the Swiss are, let's not forget that it's also the original and still number-one Bag Country of the Planet. All the smaller bag-states, the little principalities and tiny islands whose banks hold the loot of the world’s pirates, owe their being to the fundamental necessity of the rich to hide the swag. All the tax-dodging corporate crooks, the tin-pot dictators, the inheritance louts, the barbarian families now royal and every other variety of rich scum and swine, have their secret boxes safely behind the walls of legal anonymity the Swiss so perfectly provide. The so-called “Fruits of Stability” are mere artifacts of the tacit agreement of the ruling class to grant themselves a mutual neutral zone. Meanwhile, deep in vaults under the sidewalks of Zurich, the teeth of the Jews, melted into bricks, still sleep soundly.

Jay Williamson

Santa Rosa

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NO FRACKING LAW NEEDED

Editor,

Hydraulic fracturing “fracking” is a technology used by Big Oil to extract natural gas from rock. The documentary Gasland gives an idea of the health and environmental effects that have followed in its wake all across the nation. You can rent a CD of Gasland locally.

The New York Times ran a long expose “Regulation Lax as Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers” by Ian Urbina, on Sunday February 27th — continued on March 2nd. You can read these articles at the library or online at nytimes.com/national.

Our air and water are sweet and pure in our safe enclave here on the Pacific Rim — why should we care about fracking?

The answer is that since the billionaire Koch brothers bought GP in 2005 for 21 billion dollars, they now own GP’s old mill site in Fort Bragg. Koch Industries operates oil refineries in three states, they control 4000 miles of pipeline and have annual revenues that are estimated to be a hundred billion dollars, according to Jane Mayer’s article Covert Operations which appeared in The New Yorker in the issue of August 30, 2010.

According to Mayer, the brothers are libertarians, seek lower corporate taxes, minimal social services, less oversight of industry – especially environmental regulation. Koch Industries is one of the top ten air polluters in the United States and according to a Greenpeace report the company is a “kingpin of climate science denial.”

Charles Lewis who founded The Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan watchdog group, said about the Kochs, “They have a pattern of lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation…they are the Standard Oil of our times.”

Right now, Koch Industries has a large footprint centered in the heart of Fort Bragg and we need the City Council to pass an ordinance to prohibit fracking in our city. Let’s make sure it doesn’t happen here, for if our underground aquifer ever became radioactive and polluted with hundreds of non-biodegradable fracking chemicals (many of which are neurotoxins and/or carcinogens) there’s absolutely no way to make it drinkable, either for us or for our descendants.

Betty Lou Whaley

(author of several self-published chapbooks; lived and gardened on the coast since 1967; always been concerned about water quality.)

Fort Bragg

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SAVING THE UKIAH PO

To the Editor:

The US Postal Service wants to close the Ukiah Post Office on Oak Street in downtown Ukiah. By “consolidating” services at the Annex located on Orchard Street, the USPS claims savings of over $700,000.

The Postal Service refuses to show its arithmetic to the City of Ukiah or to postal customers.

We are left to wonder if these savings real. And, if so, why won’t the USPS show us its work sheets?

The USPS says it must pre-fund employee pensions, something not required for any other Federal pension plan. Closing, consolidating, and relocating post offices will free funds for pensions, says the Postal Service. Even if true, it’s unfair to the customers.

To get the pension funded, Congress could enact higher rates for junk mail and tell the Postal Service to lay off closures.

If you want to see the Post Office remain at its present location, you need to say so. The Postal Service will look for savings elsewhere if we raise enough fuss here.

Signing a petition will show your support for keeping the Ukiah Post Office at its present location. Petitions are available at 280 North Oak Street (next to the Post Office), or at www.ukiahpostoffice.com.

Janie Sheppard

Ukiah

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LYME INFO

Editor,

Lyme disease expert to speak in Santa Rosa March 21

Dr. Joseph Burrascano, one of the world's leading experts on Lyme disease, will discuss the newest, most effective methods for treating tick-borne illness on March 21 in Santa Rosa.

Burrascano, an east coast physician with extensive experience diagnosing and treating Lyme disease, is the author of highly respected Lyme treatment guidelines. He has written and spoken internationally about tick-borne illness.

He will speak from 5-8 pm at the Friedman Event Center, 4676 Mayette Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95405.

He will be joined by a panel of other Lyme-treating physicians to discuss “Putting Lyme behind you: Cutting-edge ways to heal from tick-borne illness.” Other panelists include Eric Gordon, MD; Ray Stricker, MD; AzRa MaEl, MD; Christine Green, MD; Neil Nathan, MD; and Wayne Anderson, ND.

The event is jointly sponsored by the California Lyme Disease Association (CALDA) and Gordon Medical Associates of Santa Rosa. All proceeds from the event will support the educational and advocacy activities of CALDA.

Tickets are $40 if purchased on-line before March 18, and $45 at the door.

For more information, go to www.lymedisease.org  or call Gordon Medical Associates at 707-575-5180.

Phylis Mervine

Ukiah

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WRONG ADDRESS CASE SETTLES

Editor,

A civil rights claim for a negligent and irresponsible search warrant and violent injuring of an innocent victim was settled this week against the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department and the City of Ukiah.

The claim was filed by Krissa Klein of Willits, and stays in effect against one of the defendants, the State of California. Under the settlement which Klein accepted to avoid litigation, the County of Mendocino and City of Ukiah will pay her $35,000 in damages.

According to Klein’s claim, Officer Peter Hoyle of the Ukiah Police Department and Deputy Sheriff Raymond Hendry, members of the Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force, wrongfully obtained a search warrant for her home in Willits. Had they done the required research they would have obtained the correct address, which was not the Klein home. After forcing entry, Office Hoyle violently threw 21 year old Klein to the floor of her bedroom in March 2010. The records completed by the officers proved they failed to follow multiple legal requirements of the Major Crimes Task Force regarding search warrants. Hospital records show that Hoyle visited the emergency room where Klein was treated demanding the bill be sent to his office, and falsely “stated he was not the officer involved.” In the settlement, Klein obtains compensation for the injuries the police wrongfully inflicted on her. She said that she “hopes this initial victory will result in local police officers following the law.” Klein said she has always supported law enforcement but believes that police should be held accountable when they violate the laws they are sworn to uphold. “Hopefully this will encourage other innocent victims of unlawful police practices to speak up so this won’t happen again and we can be safe in our homes,” she said.

Attorneys Barry Vogel of Ukiah and Brina Latkin of Albion represented Klein. Vogel said the police investigation reports reveal unconstitutional abuses if not a planned cover-up. He and Latkin were surprised at extent to which their client’s injuries were minimized by the defense team. Vogel noted that the claim is still open against the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement which supervises the Major Crimes Task Force, headed locally by Special Agent Robert Nishiyama. Vogel said “If changes are not immediately made to conform to the decisions of the United States Supreme Court regarding the 4th Amendment rights of the people to be secure in their homes further claims will be pursued.”

Vogel noted that there have been previous claims and litigation involving Officer Hoyle.

Barry Vogel

Ukiah

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NO FAITH, NO HOPE

Editor,

Goddamnit! I am so sick and tired of faith flaggers. Faith this, faith that, faith based, faith driven, and on and on. It’s sickening. First of all, who needs to care if somebody else has faith in something or doesn’t? Each person’s faith, if they have any, is individual. It is faith in something that they believe will happen (go to heaven). It serves no purpose for them to announce to the world that they have it.

The only reason they group together with others who have faith in what they have it in, is so they can lessen their doubt. If others agree with them it makes them feel that they are correct in having the faith they have. But it makes no difference, in reality, whether it is one person or ten million who have it.

God is either there or not there. Faith that He is there does not change the fact one bit. If He is there He’s there; if not, then He’s not. And you can’t know if He is or is not there. So faith is an exercise in something other than knowledge.

The absurd part is where faith becomes a political litmus test. If you have it, you’re legitimate; if you don’t, you can’t get the financial or political support. This is a second level of the absurd. The first level being faith itself, absent evidence and knowledge. But equally absurd (read irrational, unreasonable, divisive, self-righteous, arrogant) is the notion that faith will occasion the politico to act and vote in a particular way. On a particular wedge issue it might, but that is only one of hundreds of votes he or she will cast in the legislative halls, that have nothing to do with faith.

A third level is the notion that faith in a deity that was projected out of minds that were in a civilization so different than ours is today that trying to combine the psyche of that era two millennium ago with the modern, scientific, technological psyche is not only absurd, but far down the path to personal and cultural schizophrenia. For example, the Christian religion’s writings teach that suffering is redemptive. The modern psyche lives in a mind-set that suffering is to be avoided and eliminated. To wit; take an aspirin for that headache.

A fourth level of the absurdity of faith is the idea that those who have it are in a special relationship to the deity they have faith in. At the same time they believe that every human being is a child of that deity and loved equally by the deity. Equality does not leave room for special treatment. In a democracy we are all entitled to equal protection (14th Amendment). To practice democracy and have deity faith are antithetical. A theocracy and a democracy are a contradiction in terms.

Lastly, we live in a planet in a galaxy that has billions of galaxies. How absurd it is to posit that our planet, with our star (the sun), in our galaxy, is in a prime position to be favored, let alone noticed, by a male deity who had a kid and then killed the kid via a crucifixion on behalf of everybody else in the universe of universes. I leave it to you to see if that is absurd.

Lee Simon

Far ‘n Away Farm in Virginia.

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DA’S NEW POT REGIME

Dear Editor

I left my interview with DA David Eyster with the distinct understanding that he is implementing plans, not making promises, to turn the DA's office around.

That's what he was elected to do. He can either fulfill it, or fake it like Meredith did. After she let deputies file their own charges, defy her policies, degrade the office and humiliate her publicly out of contempt for her ability to lead, Eyster is refreshingly decisive, competent and accessible.

1) He's already stopped Lintott's super-cop convictions-driven prosecution approach that clogged the courts at 2 marijuana cases per day, 520 per year, processing countless non-criminal small growers through an expensive court process, aiming for easy guilty pleas to pad their resume with.

At the time of our interview in mid-February, Eyster claims to have filed "zero" marijuana cases since he took office Jan 4, as he reviews the files and considers defense input.

2) There are multiple medical marijuana cases in the pipeline, stemming from raids and arrests by sheriff's deputies. Some cases of clearly qualified patients have already been dismissed.

What his office does with small medical gardens of collectives and cooperatives will be a test of his sincerity. I suspend judgment.

3) DA Eyster is co-sponsoring a bill with Assemblyman Tom Ammiano to make marijuana cultivation a wobbler rather than a straight felony.

That gives prosecutors more discretion to treat lightweight marijuana grows as misdemeanors, with alternatives to jail. And it doesn't take anything away from prosecutors who want to file felonies, so there's little reason to oppose it.

4) We should welcome Eyster's perspective to systematize case data and make it available to the public on request. This includes weekly, monthly and yearly accountability regarding marijuana prosecutions and convictions. This democratization of the DA's office may have the added benefit of serving as a model for the sheriff's office to provide similar raid & arrest information.

5) An open door policy includes listening and acting on behalf of constituents. Eyster's doing both. He is being "a good DA at work,” in the words of the Woods listserves.

These are my reasons for optimism, until proven otherwise.

Pebbles Trippet

Elk

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SOCKS KNOCKED OFF!

Editor,

A Woweee Kazoweee Variety Show!

Saturday night's show knocked my socks off one at a time and then wrapped them around my head. Fair maidens at the peak of their perfection sang like nightingales, teen dancers lit our fire with their super-swagger, the witty and the original made us grin, and MCs in all shapes and sizes helped us remember just how brilliant we all are. The production team wove it all together seamlessly and selflessly. And then there was the Captain — I bow down. David Norfleet and his Grangers held us all in the big happy basket that is Grange Hall #669. We got more than we ever could have wished for and went back out into the dark and stormy night re-created. Thank you to all and everyone for making our hearts sing (and laugh and dance).

Terry Ryder

Boonville

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PARRISH DRAWS A CROWD

Editor,

Over 150 attended the event on Thursday featuring AVA journalist Will Parrish and many stayed long afterward to express their appreciation for Will's command of the subject matter and the inside look at the history and politics behind the transformation of the “Redwood Empire” into “Wine Country.” We look forward to the continuation of Will's interest in exposing the out-of-state and out-of-sight workings of the seven corporations that have help saddle our northern counties with watercourses impacted by overdrafting and pollution. The making of “Chainsaw Wine” is at the expense of watershed health and endangered species. Will's voice is a rousing call to begin the resistance to the wine industries grip on the future of our local natural and human communities.

Chris Poehlmann

Friends of the Gualala River

Gualala

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READY FOR NEXT YEAR!

Dear Folks,

This never works. This thanking everyone who helped put together the Variety Show. Somebody gets missed, somebody gets dissed, somebody gets pissed. We try anyway. There is no way that words of thanks can match the amazing contributions that people put into this event. Believe it or not there is much hand wringing, gnashing of teeth, soul searching etc. to try and accomodate everyone. It's impossible. Here goes anyway. First, the audience. You guys are fabulous. The waiting in line, sometimes in the rain, the chance of being turned away at the door, the crowded hall with some of you having to stand for hours to watch the show, the crisis of conscience about saving seats. We don't know how you put up with it, but we think we know why.

On to the acts. WOW! The amount of work you all do for 4 minutes in front of 400 people. Well, it's totally unreasonable. Sometimes we scratch our heads in amazement about how much effort goes into your performances. But we think we know why.

Then there's the crew. Aw, c'mon. We gotta be nuts. The hours and hours of work, chasing down acts, building the props, baking the goodies, standing out in the rain parking cars,and on and on. The tasks are endless, and with descisions being made in a kind of loose anarchical consensus manner we don't always get it right.

We are so lucky to live in a place we we can create something like this.

It's not practical, not logical, not the easiest way to raise a few bucks for the Grange. But man it's a blast!

THANK YOU ANDERSON VALLEY!!!!!!!!!!

AV, are you ready for the next show? The Management such as it is.

Captain Rainbow

Boonville

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