Letters To The Editor
by Letters to the Editor, March 16, 2011
DESERVING SWILL BUCKETS
In my opinion, the Supes got it right, voting 5/0 to keep re-investing about $300K a year from Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenue to promote county-wide business and tourism. This represents a match of 50-cents for each dollar contributed by lodging establishments through the 1% Business Improvement District (BID) tax on room rentals. In return, county taxpayers gain about $8 million for the general fund from TOT and sales taxes. The state gains another $12 million. What's more, it's not just our county budget that benefits from tourism. Institutions we locals treasure, like the Mendocino Music Festival, Coast Botanical Gardens, Skunk Train, film festivals, theaters, restaurants and galleries depend on a steady flow of visitors to augment our own support. Even basic necessities like our hospital and clinics are underwritten by our extended family of outlanders. These “cousins thrice removed” contribute again when they cast votes that help us protect our parks and coastal environment. People have beds at home. They come to Mendocino County because its beautiful, and romantic. There's plenty to see and do. They know these things about this place because of effective promotion. Some folks seem to think that the Supes were duped into believing that promotion plays a significant part in delivering the golden eggs on which so much depends. I'm thinking, not. I'm thinking that for the first time in a long time they saw something that still works... a revenue stream which, while diminished, continues to flow at a healthier rate than in surrounding areas. They decided, in a fine demonstration of wisdom, not to mess with a good thing. And for that, I applaud them.
JUST COLLATERAL DAMAGE
Mr. Cockburn in his column was very upset about the killing of nine Afghan boys gathering firewood by NATO helicopters. First I should point out we do not kill civilians; rather, the boys are “collateral damage.” Further, these urchins must have looked exactly like Taliban fighters in their dress and the weapons they must have been carrying. Also, what's the problem even if they were unarmed youngsters gathering wood, General Petreus was gracious enough to apologize. Although it does seem he has to do a lot of apologizing for “collateral damage.”
Here we are bringing democracy and our way of life to the Afghan people and for some reasons many of them do seem thankful for our efforts. Everybody needs to realize our efforts in Afghanistan and Irag and as well as our support for Arab totalitarian governments is just part of the benevolent imperialism of the American Empire.
JUST DON’T DO IT
One of the many good articles in the last AVA was about overeating. Mr. Livermore could not have said it any better by reminding me of many of the ways I have learned to eat and live better.
Not all that long ago I was west-bound in the southwest on I-40. My itinerary for that particular day routed me through the Painted Desert in Arizona, eventually ending in Holbrook where I had booked a stay for the night.
I arrived on the early side and the Best Western wasn't ready to release a room. It didn't matter as I did what was best: I went for a drive, after driving some 300+ miles. Holbrook is small, and one of the few things of interest was a museum. It was, I believe, the old court house, maybe city hall, but an old and attractive building. That in itself was a treat to explore.
There were many old photos on the walls and one in particular remains in my memory, which these days, says a great deal of how impressive the picture was. It was a group picture for the graduating class for high school of 1940, as I recall.
The first impression that just jumped right out at me, and the one that remained, was not how cute all the young girls looked (which they did), but that every person in the picture was not fat. All were trim and healthy looking. Not a chubby one in the whole bunch. Those were the days before fast foods and packaged junk food.
“One picture is worth a thousand words,” as someone once said and this picture certainly said that, just by looking and being open-minded.
Next month I will be beginning my 80th trip around Old Sol and it is not by luck that I look fairly good and feel and am healthy. Part of the reason is that I eat well, I think. I avoid cow, always, as advised by my primary care physician. She told me that some 7 years ago, and knowing how they raise and treat cows/beef, I have no problem with that advice. In fact, I gave up eating burgers before that going back close to 20 years. I have always liked veggies since day one.
One part of my beliefs became No Recreational Dining. I have two cups of coffee, a glass of OJ and a piece of fruit first thing in the morning. I eat my main meal, call it lunch or dinner, at noon, and nothing after that until the next morning. OK, I may have a bit of water, but I too gave up booze and stuff a long time ago — stuff that was killing me softly.
We are what we believe. Change our beliefs and we can become almost anything. I came to believe that I don't drink alcohol just as I don't believe in chopping off parts of my body: Just don't do those things without thinking about them. I gave up cigarettes some 50 years ago, got tired of getting up hacking out all the soot from my lungs. And now, No Recreational Dining.
FIRE COUNCIL, ANYONE?
Dear AVA Readers,
Are you interested in wildland fire safety in your community? The Mendocino County Fire Safe Council has openings on its Board of Directors. As many of you may recall, the Fire Safe Council has funded projects in Anderson Valley over the past several years providing over $50,000 for various project here. Most recently, we provide free chipping for Valley residents who were doing defensible space clearing around their homes and along their driveways. In the coming year, we will be funding a new program that will provide both clearing and chipping around homes, along driveway and on some selected roads. We also provide public information on wildland fire safety in a Varity of formats. If you would like to participate with the important work the Council does, now’s your chance. The Board meets once a month to provide direction and leadership to the Council. With Bev Dutra’s retirement from the Board in the near future, Anderson Valley will no longer have a voice at the table.
Seats on the Councils Board of Directors are open to anyone In Mendocino County. Whether you’re from Leggett, Hopland, Covelo or Pt. Arena or anywhere in between, all that’s required is an interest in making your community safer from wild fires and the willingness to devote a little time each month.
If you’re interested or would like further info, contact Julie Rodgers at 462-3662 or Colin Wilson at 895-2020.
Chief Colin Wilson
DEAD LETTER OFFICE?
What can one say about the proposed closing of Ukiah's downtown post office, but that it is yet another sign of the ongoing, unrelenting impoverishment of the public sphere, while private wealth continues to be amassed in ever greater and more galling concentrations.
While I'm sure that when it was built, it was considered a plain and simple civic structure, in contrast to the soulless, mass produced buildings of today (of which The Orchard Ave., Annex is a prime example), today the old post office is a masterpiece of a bygone era when public structures were a point of civic pride; her granite staircase is as straight and true as the day it was set, the poured-in-place walls were built to last basically forever. The depression era WPA artwork on the wall inside may be one of the most authentic historical artifacts in the whole town.
What a shame it would be to toss this baby out with the bathwater in the hallowed name of ‘efficiency’ or a false ‘economy’. It is hard to ascribe a dollar value to what the convenience and simple beauty of this well loved, if often taken-for-granted public institution does to enhance our lives here in Ukiah, but if there is ever going to be any hope for a thriving, inviting, walkable downtown core to Ukiah's infamous, unplanned, ribbon development, this grand old structure has an important part to play in that effort. Once it's gone, it will be gone forever.
KENT STATE TRUTH, MR. PRESIDENT
Dear President Obama,
My sister Allison Krause was one of four students killed by national guard gunfire at Kent State University on May 4, 1970. Allison protested the Vietnam war and the military occupation of her campus that day. Here's my writing http://bit.ly/fgI0h2 also published at Rep Kucinich's request in the Congressional Record 12/2010.
In fighting for the truth about Allison and Kent State, my family suffered the venal side of the Nixon administration and the U.S. intelligence communities. We have been threatened, bribed (attempted that is) and ridiculed for over 40 years now.
As a family's response in 2010, we created the Kent State Truth Tribunal . 40 years after the Kent State Massacre, we now understand that Allison, Jeff, Sandy and Bill were killed to support the political aims of the United States federal government. Back in 1970, the Kent State Massacre sent the message home: If you dissent against the war, you may be killed for protesting.
As March is Women's History Month , we hope you'll stand for a true American, a fallen peace activist from over 40 years ago: Allison Beth Krause.
By acknowledging my sister and ordering an impartial investigation of the new evidence in the Kent State Tape, President Obama, you may create a significant course correction, positively impacting all Americans and beginning the process of re-instating our Bill of Rights, most notably the First Amendment .
Please consider and embrace this first step. Show that you honor the people of the United States, the people you claim to serve. Begin the dialog to establish greater harmony in our lives, in the US overall and in our world.
It is demanded now. Allison's family and people that remember her demand it now!
Please, acknowledge my request.
Laurel Krause, http://TruthTribunal.org
MESSAGE FOR TONY
Missin' my homeboy —
My name is Tony McCoy. I am in county jail. I just read a letter to the editor from Chris Bayard. I hope you print this so he will get my message.
I just want him to know I got his letters and I'm sorry I couldn't write back. I have been going through a lot myself lately.
I keep you, Lori and the baby in my prayers and you can write my house after April 13, 2011 or here at the jail before that.
Keep your head up and stay strong.
Lots of love —
To cut to the chase, there is little mystery about why capitalists contemptuously dismiss global warming science and are so adamantly opposed to the results of ecological research. Both investigations point relentlessly to the inherent unsustainability of our chief economic engine: capitalism. We can't keep capitalism and survive as a species.
Why? Briefly, capitalism must have growth and inequality or it dies. Growth, in population and in using up resources, will soon inevitably reach its limit on our finite planet. Inequality of resource use furthers division and strife among us, and increasingly threatens all living things trapped in the conflicts of our crowded world. There is nowhere to hide.
Capitalism's reasons for living then push us into a box. We have put off even considering a society in which adequate living standards for all are obtained without relying on the capitalist dead end. Such standards (yes, they're attainable) would become our joint responsibility, basic tasks accepted by all of us. Democratic, one might say.
Individual life purposes, then, would focus not on material acquisition (no longer seen as feasible options) but on activities such as arts, crafts, games and play, hobbies of all kinds, writing, learning, teaching, helping, etc. Any of these can ask much of us, can stretch and challenge each of us throughout whole lifetimes, but they require little or nothing of our earth's precious nonrenewable resources.
Could we retain competition in such a society? If we like. Winners and losers and awards? Of course. But resource allocation would be strictly regulated and equalitarian. Also, "no harm to the Earth" would become our highest commandment.
Such a massive change in values would demand much difficult work over a long timespan. As George Washington remarked in a similar context, "the struggle would be protracted, dubious and severe." Therefore, you say, we just won't do it? Well, perhaps not, after all. The human capacity for denial is very sturdy. Too bad then. Along with the dinosaurs we will have been most intriguing animals. For a short time. We have a choice, but we'd better get moving.
And then there is religion.
PS. Kudos for your reply to Julius Sanger, March 2, 2011.
THE REDEVELOPMENT SCAM
To the Editor,
Thank you Tom Elias for finally writing a clear and concise explanation of redevelopment agencies, how they are funded, and who loses as a result. Redevelopment agencies get all of their money by diverting local property tax dollars that should go to fund kindergarten through 12th grade education, police and fire services, street paving, and other essential basic government functions. The amount statewide that is diverted is $5.5 billion annually.
In the case of the city of Ukiah, redevelopment funds were most recently used to purchase real estate which was then sold to Costco. Specific data on how other monies have been used to assist businesses is outlined on the city of Ukiah's redevelopment agency website and includes but is not limited to facade improvement land purchases and low interest business loans. I do not disagree with the notion that these are worthwhile enterprises, but I do not agree that this is the function of city government. And I strongly disagree with policies that allow private businesses to enhance their bottom line at the expense of public schools and public safety, while using public funds to do so.
Redevelopment agencies have governing boards that are comprised of city council members who generally will conduct city business then adjourn to meet as the redevelopment agency. Some redevelopment agencies have diverted money into city coffers as general fund money (I was told by assemblyman Wes Chesbro's local office that it will be hard for cities because they are using this money for "payroll"), they can declare "blighted areas" (read Palace Hotel), then use public funds to buy them. If/when the property is resold, the difference in taxes generated goes to the redevelopment agency. The goal is to increase the tax base at every opportunity. Is this a function of city government? Is it acceptable to you that it is done at the expense of your child's education?
The theory is of course that with increased tax revenues the city could then improve our roads, fix the local public schools, hire more police as necessary and fund other basic functions of local governments. Instead, local people are having bake sales and rummage sales to keep the public schools open; our streets are a cracked, alligator-ed mess, sewer and water fees have gone up an exorbitant amount, as have garbage fees, and city workers have been laid off.
Our students in Ukiah and students all over the state of California deserve the best education that we can provide for them. It is appalling that cities have been taking billions in public funds for years to finance big-box retailers, commercial real estate transactions, and to provide low-interest loans to businesses. Instead of being ashamed, officials are crying for us to call our elected representatives in Sacramento to save redevelopment agencies.
I have called. I asked them to eliminate redevelopment agencies and to return funding to schools, police and fire. I hope you will too.
L. Gail Dammuller
THY ROD & THY STAPH
To the Editor:
A couple of months ago I read a letter in the Ukiah Daily Journal about an inmate having staph infection and how contagious it is. That inmate was housed in the tank until your paper ran the letter and then he was suddenly moved to an isolation cell which had been occupied by another inmate who had staph infection.
Well, guess what? I found out a little too late that the cell was not properly cleaned after each of these inmates left and today I had to be rushed to an outside hospital and have my staph infection treated so I could start the healing process.
This could have easily been avoided had someone done their job. And let's not let Sheriff Tom Allman say it's because the sheriff's office is understaffed. The real problem is that it is "overstaphed" and something needs to be done about it. The true conditions of this jail need to be known to the public because inmates are locked in their cells for most of the day due to the so-called understaffed facility.
Inmates are not just complaining because the bag breakfast is a joke or because the new classification system is discriminatory to the point that it caters to child molesters, rapists and other pedophiles while taking away from those with lesser crimes like growing pot or getting high.
I'm a lifelong resident of this county. I'm a father, husband and taxpayer who found his way into a spot where there isn't much I can do but reach out to those who can. So beware of the collapsing system down here at the jail. It sure isn't pretty.
Mendocino County Jail, Ukiah
THE KING’S BIG… EVENT
In Alexander Cockburn's piece last week on ‘The King's Dick’ he stated that Kitty Kelley's book ‘The Royals’ claimed that King George VI was so plagued by sexual inadequacies that Queen Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret were conceived by artificial insemination, possibly from one of Cockburn's relatives.
But it was my understanding from the book (which I gleefully read in England where it was banned, smuggling in a copy from the US) that, though artificial insemination was used, it was ‘The King's Sperm.’
One need only look at Her Majesty and her two oldest children to see that they all inherited the same beady eyes, pointy noses and weak chins from the Hanoverians.
By the way, what are you, Ling and The Major planning to do to celebrate the big event April 29?
Ed note: The Royal Family is about as interesting to me as the Kardashians. Any sensible society would hang them all. The Little Lady and I will undoubtedly watch the Giants play the Nationals that evening, the game being in DC 4pm our time. The Major wanted that day off but he's got to work.
NUCLEAR SHUTDOWN NOW!
It takes a disaster to wake us up to the vulnerability of life on this precarious planet. California has very large nuclear power plants at two locations: San Onofre (between LA and San Diego) and Diablo Canyon (near San Luis Obispo) which contain a total of four nuclear reactors. They have operated for 30 years and will be obsolete in another 10. They have many similarities to the three units in Japan that have already gone into meltdown, and have released massive amounts of radioactivity to the atmosphere.
First, our nukes are located near active earthquake faults long overdue for a major shift in the earth's crust.
Second, they are located right on the shoreline and subject to the same dangers as in Japan, where a tsunamis knocked out their emergency cooling water pumps, after their primary cooling systems were knocked off line by the earthquake itself.
Third, they are near major population centers.
Fourth, they were designed to withstand 7.5 Richter earthquakes but not the 9.0 quake that hit Japan. A 9.0 quake is more than 15 times as severe as a 7.5 Richter quake.
We call upon Governor Jerry Brown to order the immediate shutdown of these plants. There is little point in asking our increasingly indecisive President to take such bold action. Our Governor just might do this if he felt that the majority of people in California supported him. There is no point in asking for safety upgrades and redesigns: the vulnerability of these plants at San Onofre and Diablo Canyon is inherent in their design and well-known since before their startup. No quick-fixes can protect us now.
Write to Governor Brown today. Tel. (916) 445-2841, Fax (916) 456-4633, Mail: Governor Brown, State Capital, Sacramento, CA 95814.
SAVINGS? WHAT SAVINGS?
Boy, do I hate Daylight Saving Time! Researchers have observed a spike in accidents, suicides, and heart attacks after the clocks get pushed, and dairy farmers say cows produce less milk. Since 2005, when Bush Minor expanded the duration from March to November, we now actually spend two-thirds of the year within its crazy grip. I say, pick a time and stick with it. Arizona and Hawaii have opted out of this circadian madness (goes to show that even Arizona can occasionally get one right) and we should do the same (note to our Board of Supervisors: a local ordinance would do it). Let's start the revolution by implementing AVT (Anderson Valley Time) or MCT (Mendocino County Time).
Next acronyms on the chopping block: IMF, WTO, CIA, NSA, and DoD.
Beyond the Deep End (Navarro)
ANOTHER CONTRAIL CLUSTER
To Paul Soderman:
Obscured by Pies In The Sky—
Telling me you worked 38 years at NASA doesn’t create the credibility hoped for. Quite the opposite. I’m sorry to say. What a world it could be if our specialists and experts could be counted on to be truthful and accurate. Hardly the case, is it? With rare exception. Cloistered little disciplines. Don’t rock the boat and risk career by thinking outside the box. Same old self-censorship that’s a given in the service of power.
Is this the same NASA that frozen o-ringed a Challenger crew into charcoal oblivion for White House reasons?
I’m to be set straight by four government agencies that all deny what’s actually going on. Not my style. NASA. NOAA. FAA and US Air Force all involved in a geo-engineering program right in our faces. They are also in a conspiracy to smear in media anyone who still has the nerve to see and hear through their propaganda and fake weather.
So down here on Planet Earth does anybody have an honest explanation for the ugly fact that US military tanker planes are flying daily directly over, for instance, Elk, California? Twenty flights at least, but as about five days ago more like forty. When tanker planes fly things die. Remember Agent Orange, Agent Green in Columbia? Tanker plans have two functions — refueling fighters and bombers in war and spraying crap on people and their environs. These are not the welcome tankers that put out fire.
So once again, get a spotting scope and identify these airplanes. I dare you! Go to californiaskywatch.com and see FAA maps proving that commercial aircraft do not fly over this region. It also shows a lot of what the FAA calls “intraflights” — military flights.
Even if these little Eichmanns weren’t modifying our weather nonstop on the entire continental west coast, where in bloody hell are they taking all that fuel? Or gosh, maybe they’re delivering milk to Africa!
Believe me, I wish I were wrong. I wish I wasn’t being woken up most early mornings by these idiots flying right over my home. I wish I could see clear deep blue sky when there’s no fronts moving through. I wish the so-called marine layer wasn’t an Air Force layer of perverted phony weather.
Even the totalitarian government of China admits to a department of weather modification, brags about it actually. They promised sun for the Olympics and boasted about making rain at will. We’re so far beyond cloud seeding here folks. How about making clouds or dispersing fog? Go to the USAF website and read the document ‘Owning The Weather, 2025.’
People who don’t know what they’re talking about should shut up and listen. That’s how I learn new things. How about you?
Wake up and look up!
PS. You ask, “What would be the motivation for such an assault on our citizens?” Pie in the sky or what? Might as well ask about all the government agencies who’ve grossly neglected our safety for years on end. From auto safety to job safety, from air, water and food to drugs. From financial rip-offs to privacy from home invasion telemarketing… You name it, we’ve been abused by corporate America through bought off government. Conspiracy ranting, no doubt — except nearly everyone knows this story, unfortunately. Good Luck.
PPS. I’ve not said a word about chemicals being sprayed above us, aside of course from all the jet fuel these jerks are burning. But something is clearly being sprayed. Most likely tiny particles of reflective metals. Read up on Edward Teller, one of the maniacs responsible for this operation sunscreen.
Cheese is a good product that requires the assistance of a living bacterial culture for its production. Each type of cheese has its own unique culture. The most interesting cheeses are made from the interaction of these cultures with unpasteurized milk.
Pasteurized “cheese” on the other hand, usually comes in blocks. It is typified by a product called American cheese. American cheese is dyed orange and has the consistency (and flavor) of damp adobe. (I’m pretty sure — American cheese is strip-mined in upper Wisconsin — maybe Texas.)
Lately, cheese producers have come under FDA scrutiny for using unpasteurized milk. The FDA is investigating the risks associated with cheeses made in this way.
And there are risks. Not huge, but every year a few people get upset stomachs from eating cheese made by this method. If the FDA deems the risk significant, it will propose legislation requiring pasteurization. There are people in Congress ready to leap onto this issue; eager to protect the American people from the killer cheddar cheese producers of Vermont.
Now, contrast this with the Congressional response to the risks of gun violence:
During the past nine years 270,000 Americans were killed by gunfire in the US. They didn’t suffer a simple stomach upset. They died. And in wartime numbers.
Congress, in its wisdom, responded by weakening gun laws.
Cars also kill people — and in wartime numbers. But cars serve a useful purpose.
HURRAH FOR WINE?
$300,000 dollars for the wine industry, hurrah!
I don’t know if this is the proper forum to spew my items for thought. Oh, well if it isn’t you will probably not print this ranting. I live in the Valley and have been privy to some dynamic changes of the Valley in recent times. I have seen the agricultural lands go from apple orchards to many acres of vineyards. The wine industry has been a blessing to the Valley with timber work becoming scarce, supplanting the vanishing jobs with agricultural jobs. However I also believe the wine industry has been getting the better end of the deal the last 20 years, leaving the valley and its inhabitants with the short end of the stick so to speak. In the beginning of the winery business here in the valley, local families put in their vineyards with the sweat of their brow and the sweat of their back, they were in some ways acknowledged for there endeavor, people knowing that the business was good for the valley, the families-owners, valley people themselves, were more in tune with the needs and shortcomings of the valley. Not like the corporate giants that pummel down on us now. They don’t care what our road conditions are, how many teachers we have in our schools, concerns over our water sheds, the lack of aquatic life in the rivers, or for that matter the local economy in general. They pay only what they have to in taxation, lobbying, politics to insure their way of business continues and profits are maintained. What started out as small family owned and operated business has now grown into publicly owned and operated corporate multi-billion dollar industries. I repeat billion-dollar industries. It is a shame that these mega-super-power industries operate in our lovely but small Valley without providing more in economic dollars, or community programs that they could sustain easily and probably receive a substantial tax break to boot. With the county giving $300,000 a year, this year too, to promote these lovely scenic boutiques that they are, but unable to provide adequate smooth roads within which to enjoy these wineries seems a bit unusual, unusual in that the wineries themselves are able to match these funds twofold for the promotion of their wineries in the county. How about letting the wineries handle their own tourist promotions and let the county spend its dollars on more pressing needs. Like the potholes on Highway 128 or deputies in the valley!
Living alone in an unpleasant Jersey City neighborhood, I fill my solitude with crossword puzzles, web browsing, reading newspapers, rereading novels, and other time-wasters. Another refuge is the game of solitaire; hand after hand is played out every day. Sometimes, as I deal another setup, I try to imagine some useful depth to this compulsive activity, try to erect some philosophical framework that would ennoble a dull, rather stupid pastime.
Well, living alone is nothing new in this good old vale of tears. I still have a few friends, but I seldom see them. Since I’m cursed with good health, this business could go on forever. (That is, until I die, which will certainly be the end of history.)
But I still enjoy watching inexorable Chance take over history. As the US, in its decline, becomes more and more chaotic, I allow myself some dark, bitter chuckles. The stupidity of politicians and the people who vote for them brings me back to rereading Jonathan Swift. The behavior of Swift’s Yahoos nicely describes the actions of my fellow citizens — that is, climb up a tree and shit on your neighbors.
Fascism is the order of the day in our Land of the Free Gift With Purchase. The benighted political parties, especially our Iron Age Republicans, croak on about “principles” as if they had any principles at all, aside from the kind a 19th Century hustler announced on the witness stand: “I seen my opportunities and I took ’em.” Every day we talk about “Peace” — as if peace were possible amidst our violence.
Lots of “as ifs” on the table, but then we live in a dream world. We want to believe that human life makes sense. It does not. “A tale told by an idiot,” indeed.
I think we Solitairists should organize — The Solitaire Party?
New York City, New York