Letters To The Editor
by AVA News Service, May 18, 2011
Bear Kamoroff is confused (Letters, April 13), and not just about the location of the Lookouts’ [Livermore’s band] first encounter with Piano Jimmy (it was Grapewine Station, not Grapevine).
It sounds as though he might be conflating the plug-pulling incident with another uglier and more violent one that occurred two years later at Harwood Hall in beautiful downtown Laytonville. Contrary to Bear’s recollections, the 1985 show during which Piano Jimmy took it upon himself to silence our admittedly less than professional musical efforts did not involve his band at all. The show was set up by the Lookouts in conjunction with another local band, the Front. Nobody was “hired” to play, and in fact no money changed hands at all. We simply asked — and were given — permission to put on a free show. Piano Jimmy was there merely as a spectator, as was Bear (if in fact Bear was there at all; his account diverges so widely from what actually happened that one has to wonder).
On further reflection, it is in fact possible that the Bear and Jimmy band jumped onto our show and played a set after we left, but if they did, I wasn’t aware of it. In any event, their bandmate Indiana Slim had nothing to do with inviting us to play; in fact, that afternoon was the first time I ever met Slim, and that was only after we had performed, when he came up and introduced himself and complimented us on our efforts if not our achievements. Slim remained a friend and a supporter from then on, and did in fact invite us to play a few songs at a couple of later shows, one of which was the Harwood Hall show in which Piano Jimmy expressed his displeasure with a fist to my face rather than a simple plug-pulling (to give Jimmy his due; I played a part in provoking him on that occasion, so my black eye was not entirely undeserved).
But back to Bear’s misremembered version of the 1985 show: Piano Jimmy pulled the plug at his own behest and not because the owner or anyone else had asked him to. There’s no doubt that some of the audience didn’t appreciate what we were doing because of our “foul language” and because, at least at that point, we just weren’t very good. But at the same time it was also true that there were other people there specifically to see us, and who saw what we were trying to do as a welcome change from the endless mind-numbing hippie boogie that was the predominant musical fare on offer in Laytonville in those days.
As evidence that Piano Jimmy was not acting in any official capacity, I need only point out that once the pulled plug had been restored to its rightful socket, we resumed playing and finished our set as planned, the only change being the tactful excision on my part of a few of our more flagrant obscenities (I wasn’t bothered by what the local yahoos and Babbitts thought, but our bassist’s and drummer’s mothers were present, and they were beginning to look less than thrilled).
Still, all’s well that ends well, right? Despite the occasional misunderstanding, I will always love Laytonville and the many wonderful people it was my privilege to know during my years on Iron Peak, and, as Bear points out, everybody ended up more or less where they belonged, even if it’s in the parking lot of the old Grapewine (not Grapevine) Station.
WHITE RANCH UPGRADED
The Potter Valley Band of Pomo Indians (Potter Valley Tribe) purchased the former White Ranch, located just north of Fort Bragg in late 2009. The 69 acre ocean view property was once a part of the Mendocino reservation until 1866, then a farm and dairy. During the last 10 years investors proposed the construction of a housing subdivision. After these plans fell through, the Potter Valley Tribe purchased the property for tribal use and to develop campgrounds and recreational facilities.
The tribal council, after months of consideration recently renamed the property Noyo-bida, which is the Pomo name for Pudding Creek. With a history of summer camps in the area going back thousands of years, the Potter Valley tribe is especially proud to have re-acquired the land for use by tribal members and other Native Americans and eventually development of commercial campgrounds. The site has great recreational potential being across the highway from McKerricher State Park, the Pudding Creek Trestle Bridge, and the Coastal Trail and access that eventually will stretch from the Noyo River Bridge to Ten Mile River.
The property has several historical buildings including the barn and clubhouse. The barn was built for the dairy in the early 1900s and is in critical need of repair. There is an oval track in the northeast corner of the property which was once a model-T car racetrack and rodeo grounds, then home for local horse clubs. The clubhouse was built in 1948 and is in good condition and has held many community events such as riding club meetings, parties and auto races. To honor the past owners, the tribal council named it the “Gertrude Redemeyer White Clubhouse” in 2010.
The Potter Valley Tribe is renovating the existing ranch house and working on funding for development of camping facilities: campgrounds, showers, bathrooms, etc. The Tribe would like to upgrade the barn for community use such as meetings, summer movies, open-air markets and events. The barn is in immediate need of a roof, then structural design and rehabilitation, seismic bracing and installation of a fire protection system. The clubhouse is in need of wheelchair ramps, some structural work, and minor repairs. The Tribe would like to work with the community to develop estimates and funding possibilities for the rehabilitation of the barn and clubhouse. They are especially interested in community groups and events that could utilize the facilities.
For more information, contact the Environmental Director, Gregg Young, or the Tribal Administrative Secretary, Rosemary Rahmaoui, at 707-462-1213 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Salvador Rosales, Chairperson
Potter Valley Tribe
March 29, 2011 — It's Execution Day today. The entire Arizona Department of Corrections is under tight lockdown. Nobody wants a riot to break out over applying the death penalty. But that's not likely to happen. The overwhelming majority of inmates I've spoken to want the guy to fry — lethal injection just isn't painful enough. And it's not as if this guy was a sex offender or child abuser — two categories of criminals particularly despised in the system. He was just a garden-variety thief who killed someone in the course of her robbery.
And yet, there is a bloodthirstiness that's really over the top. If anyone should understand the psychology of this phenomenon, I should: I've been around a long time and I'm smart and perceptive and I think about things like this. Like, why so many inmates watch “Cops” and “Jail” and other pseudo-documentary shows the satisfy people's bloodlust by portraying criminals being captured and incarcerated. I don't get it. Why do criminals themselves like watching these shows? And why do they celebrate and cheer over the biggest show of them all: The Execution?
I find it appropriate to be writing to you about this execution on Execution Day while I'm sitting in lockdown. It also gives me the chance to sort out my own feelings about the death penalty. For me it's not about the sanctity or sacredness of life. Some people probably deserved to die for their crimes. I'm not saying that this should apply to your typical death row inmate, although I'm sure there are some rapists and murderers who are beyond redemption. But what about George Bush who is responsible for hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths? Or Dick Cheney who started the war so that the corporation he had been CEO of would profit? Or the president of the Ford Motor Company who knowingly caused hundreds of cars to explode by declining to add a $20 part to them? Should these people be subject to the death penalty?
The problem with the death penalty is that it cannot be administered fairly. Poor and black defendants make up the overwhelming majority of death row cases. And I know from my personal experience as a jailhouse lawyer just how inadequate public defenders are. There are people who are guilty of their crimes, but who have mitigating factors that are never brought out — mental illness, mental retardation, severely abusive upbringings, etc., etc. Or what about some people who are guilty of some crime but are overcharged by overly ambitious prosecutors? What about people who declined to sign plea bargains that wouldn't keep them off of death row and who are then convicted of their crimes? If the state didn't think that their crimes required death at the plea-bargain stage, should these people die because they made an error in judgment? And then there's the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, a particularly vicious piece of legislation that was enacted under President Clinton after the Oklahoma City bombing which severely curtails a defendant's right to habeas corpus. This act provides, among other things, that a habeas petitioner must not only show that a lower court erred, but that it acted unreasonably when doing so. Thus, for example, if a lower court excludes a piece of exculpatory evidence relying on case law that is later overturned, the appellant cannot proceed on on a habeas because the lower court acted reasonably when it made its decision.
All of this is not to mention the hundreds upon hundreds of cases in which the defendant is actually innocent.
This is probably not news to most of you, I know. The criminal justice system is totally out of control. When I get out I'm going to try to get a job in criminal justice reform. Sometimes I think I'll start a business or become a hippie and go on SSI. Or find a rich girlfriend.
But it's days like this Execution Day when I have the peace and serenity of lockdown to understand what my true purpose must be in the world.
Peace and love,
It was disappointing to me that the BOS meeting, first time in Anderson Valley, was so poorly attended.
Solutions to the SAVE OUR DEPUTIES in Anderson Valley? It is simple; you have just a few choices.
Cut the fringe benefits of ALL County employees.
Raise County taxes on all taxpayers to provide funds to meet the County deficit.
Have the Anderson Valley Community Services district tax the people in Anderson Valley to directly support our deputies in the valley.
$10 FOR CRAIG — IF…
I've thought of responding to Craig Louis Stehr many times before and there's no time like the present, so: In 1970 I decided to go to Washington D.C. to do a seven day fast for peace and to collect signatures on a petition to free Angela Davis. I packed my backpack and put my thumb up in Redwood City hitch hiking and five days later was in D.C. I left with five dollars in my wallet and returned three months later and had five dollars in my wallet.
I know Craig, that hitching is not as easy today but you seem to have plenty of time and one should not be in a hurry when traveling by thumb long distances. Enjoy the scenery and the company of those individuals who choose to pick you up.
Once there contact the Peace House and maybe they will let you sleep on the bench in the front room.
To locate the Peace House I suggest you go to LaFayette Park across the street from the White House and talk to one of their members who will be maintaining the 24/7 peace vigil that has been going on since 1981 when Thomas first began it.
To convince me of your alleged dedication this is what you will have to do. Do this then e-mail me and I'll send a ten dollar contribution for your sustenance.
Have you noticed that not only has the political spectrum moved far to the right in the past few decades, but also that the mental illness spectrum has moved there too. The level of cognitive dissonance is rising rapidly. So here's the analogy. If the cops say that they have a full fingerprint of the suspect's, found at the scene of the crime. You and I would probably agree that if other evidence conforms to that evidence, the guy is proably guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Then, if the cops say they have discovered another, second fingerprint of the suspect's, we would then say that there is not only no reasonable doubt, there's no doubt at all. What would we then say if the cops came up with three more fingerprints, which also match with everything else. We'd say that it would be crazy to not assume guilt, right?
The right-wingers corporatists are in favor of these: one, staying in perpetual war; two, wiping out the middle class; three, sending the jobs overseas; four, making abortion illegal; and fifth, sanctifying overt discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Remember, we said that if the cops found five fingerprints, it would be crazy, insane, to assume anything other than guilt, barring any evidence to the contrary. Take those five policies of the right-wingers and you have the basis of assuming their psychosis. What has happened is that what used to be thought of as being really nutso, crazy, insane, is now an accepted part of the political dialogue. When I was a kid if anybody had espoused those ideas we would have laughed at that person, ridiculed that person. Not any more. Not only are they taken seriously, they are the leading representatives of the people.
What the Center-Left has failed to do is to call it what it is. They talk about sitting down and working it out. You don't sit down and work it out with insanity. You call it out, you show it to be what it is. If that doesn't work, then people have bought into it so far that they can't tell that they are harboring insanity. If they have been so propagandized they are willing to vote against their own economic, social, and political interests; and not recognize that they are doing so, well then, you have the definition of insanity.
Far 'n Away Farm, Virginia
Memorial Day, man, unkind, has caused the death of 11 million miles forest or 3300 x 3300 miles — the size of Africa.
Save the trees and plant more please!
Redwoods are good. Fir on Mendocino's fair banks!
“Elbow room!” laughed Daniel Boone.
He that pursues two hares at once does not catch one.
Carelessness does more harm than a want of knowledge.
Better slip with foot than tongue. — Benjamin Franklin.
Better is little content, then much contention.
Farina bangs her ecology dish in Mendocino.
WELL BREAD & READ
Greetings to you in your aerie The “Sitting Duck.” I'm happy to read that the Sheriff saw to it that you guys were “well bread.”
Now, a wee quibble: I think Ian Fleming did a bit of plagiarizing with the quote attributed to him on page two of your May 11th edition. In his 1916 “Credo” Jack London wrote:
“I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out
in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom
of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.”
Always a stickler for details, I remain, Yours in search of the perfect Cabernet.
Hi all those at the Might AVA and of course, The Editor,
This is a letter a friend put together for the readers to chew on about the Criminal Justice System in the State of California. I helped a little (LOL).
“The State of California Justice System” — this is an example of how political corruption and greed unchecked turns a relatively normal functioning society into a chaotic, dysfunctional and extremely abnormal community of uneducated zombies.
Public schools are being closed, teachers all over this state are losing their jobs, cops and firemen are losing their jobs. The education of this state is rated 48 out of 50. Wow! And prisons are busting at the seams. But the public doesn’t realize that they have been manipulated into creating a cycle that advances prison building and promotes the closing of public schools and many other much-needed public services.
They (You) do not see this connection because you have been conditioned with so much fear by the media that you take comfort in closing your eyes to any solution other than ridding yourselves of the supposed “threat” at all cost.
Meanwhile some orchestrators of a massive project to manipulate society gather together (the wolves) and conspire to become rich at the taxpayers’ (lambs’) expense. The wolves disguise themselves as sheep.
It was Socrates who said that the unexamined life is not worth living. For a democratic society the philosophy should be that the unexamined government should not be worth living under.
Pease to all,
Mark Sprinkle K24619
Mule Creek State Prison
PO Box 409040-B-Gym-157-M
Ione CA 95640
Letter to the Editor
Captain Fathom has driven me nuts in the last two weeks. He thinks I am the Ukiah branch president for the IWW which stands for “I Won’t Work” and should run for City Council
He also thinks that he is not on probation, I just found out today he is wanted 5/15/2011.
I have lost all ability to lead a normal life in the last two weeks. He and his friends have called me 15 plus times a day thinking I am the Mafia! And asking for money, rides and a place to stay! I can’t answer the phone. It will provoke him to come my way or to keep calling. I have to stay at home for if I leave the house they find me on the streets.
I came home this morning and found he and his girlfriend sleeping on my front porch, WITHOUT PERMISSION! By the time I went to get help he had wandered off. He does this, he will just walk away to find another victim.
Alan Graham: you must leave me alone, I have been very patient with you. But I can not tolerate this behavior anymore. It is in writing!
The funny thing is I am still happy. I will not let this destroy me. You know damn well you are testing me and everyone else. But look at the wake of destruction you are leaving in the lives of others. It is all fun to write crazy things in the papers, as a parody. But to take it to this level it is not fun or safe. I cannot even entertain my girlfriend at my home in fear that you or others will show up. I will be forced to call the police.
PS. This goes for all the lunatics who wish to bring me down. Can I have about 100 stay away orders! I have had again to put a sign on my door telling people not to bother me. And I was left alone for about three months and things were getting better until this. I am done with this! I am going to get serious now with this business.
OSAMA BIN FISHY
Is Osama bin Laden really gone? There are some very dubious questions about this whole action. Why the quick burial and at sea when it was not an Islamic ritual? Why no photos of him made public under the reasons of “National Security.” Secrecy is always to be subject to suspicion most of the time.
“National Security” — the term President Nixon used when he wanted to close down the New York Times and the Washington paper for printing stories that criticized his war efforts; the term President Geo. Bush used to go to war with Iraq that had nothing to do with our “National Security”; The term Adolph Hitler used to try to conquer the world.
I wonder, did they get the wrong man? Our troops said there was a firefight. Pakistani police said when they examined the compound that there was no sign of a firefight. Did we or are we going to have an open public meeting with Pakistani officials about this whole event?
For what it’s worth, it seems to me we would rather capture him alive like we did with Saddam Hussein. This has a fishy smell to it.
Dear AVA friends.
This is some information I would be grateful to have published in your paper while Steven Sparks and I will work out the details about the main interview. His interview about my life was very well conducted, but due to the difficult subject about the kidnapping, and rape, of my sons I thought this preview would be helpful for your readers. I call myself a PHILO'sopher, due to my life-long love (philo) about philosophy. Recently I had a remarkable discussion with Steven Sparks about forgiveness. He interviewed me about my life and its main tragedy, the kidnapping and the consequent rape of my then small sons, David and Daniel.
The boys were four and six at the time of the event. Years ago I read the book “Sunflower” in which many philosophers were struggling with the question “Can another person forgive the perpetrator on the behalf of the victim, once the victim has died, disappeared or is, somehow, incapable of doing this?” In other words, do we have the power, or the right, to release another human being from their quilt relating to someone else besides ourselves, who also has suffered. This had to do with an incident relating to a dying Nazi soldier, who was asking forgiveness from a Jew for all the deaths of other Jews he had murdered. In my case I did succeed to heal my soul through forgiving my first husband, mainly through understanding the reasons for the choice he made, that ultimately, and paradoxically, was not a choice at all. In the Universe, where our scientists are believing we presently understand only a little over 4 percent about its structure and energy, the human mind, with all its attempts to create maps and guidelines is like a little child standing on a small island surrounded by raging oceanic waves and shouting: “Stop!”
Then suddenly, due to some unknowable reasons, the ocean calms down and the child smiles and says: “Wow, I did it.” Walking away satisfied he is now ready to shout down some other powers of nature. Recently the New York Times reported several studies about the “free will,” that no self-respecting philosopher nowadays would be trapped in to tackle with. An interesting observasion was that those who actually BELIEVE that they have this free will are happier and healthier than those who don't. “What the thinker thinks, the prover proves,” here means that within us not only our Thinking Self operates, but we also harbor the Proving Self, who is always happy to bias everything for our benefit. So did my sons forgive to their father for his terrible acts, that left them so wounded and changed, that after I finally, several years later found them, I did not recognize them? I don't know, but I truly pray for their own peace of mind, that they did. For me David, my eldest, long ago announced, that would never forgive me that I “let this horror befall on him.” For years I have painted portraits of children, other people's happy, beautiful babies that I love.
Then I did a series of images of those children, who died in the year of my birth of 1942 in the Warsaw ghetto. Some of the pictures included those, who survived the starvation and illnesses, just to be later gassed into the Infinity in the death chambers of Auschwitz. Could I have prevented the terror that blackened my sons’ lives and turned me into a wanderer at a quest for an understanding that passes all the understanding? When, during the Chinese occupation of Tibet, the nuns and monks were repeatedly tortured, almost none of them developed the dreaded post-stress syndrome. Why, asked the psychologists and other scientists. For every atrocious act an echo answered back: “I forgive.” After years of deep and continuos meditative practice the language of the mind had altered the brain's normal biological response. I taught meditation for several years in a small bookstore in Santa Rosa and our discussions were frequently about the power of forgiveness. But forgiving does not mean forgetting the fact that we still have to be, despite our loving-kindness, discriminative in our trust, without hate. I was healed by intense meditative work empowered by a great faith in the basic human goodness. So I was lucky, or was it some “forgiveness gene” well developed and expressed in my brain? I choose not to believe this, as it would be just another excuse to say: The matter decides, the spirits follows. “Change your thoughts, change your brain!”
Or read the book: “Train Your Mind. Change Your Brain.”
RIGHT ON, CORY
Your letter writer last week, Mr. Cory David, speaks my mind. The assassination of Obama bin Laden is not justice. Answering violence with violence is not the answer, it is “Wild West Justice,” totally contrary to our system of justice. The assault on our personal liberties and rights coupled with torture and wars based on lies should be repugnant to everyone who cherishes our system of values and justice. The only ones who have benefited from this “War on Terrorism” are the military contractors and the congresspersons who accept their donations (bribes). Too bad there are not more people like Mr. David to speak to the Truth!
James G. Updegraff
TRIAL BY JURY
Last time I checked, Mendocino county is still governed by the laws of the United States of America. In case you have forgotten, in this country, all citizens are defensible, all accused citizens are guaranteed a trial by a jury of their peers, and all citizens are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.