Letters To The Editor
by AVA News Service, June 16, 2011
THE MLPA BEHIND THE CURTAIN
Don't Look Behind the Curtain! Get Away from the Curtain!
It's official: the Marine Life Protection Act “Initiative” does not exist, and it never did exist.
But don't get out your fishin' pole just yet, and head down to your nearest marine poaching area “National Park.” If you do, YOU WILL BE ARRESTED!
According to a substitute judge who ruled on the MLPAI's “Motion to Quash” — the group is exempt from any legal accountabity for its actions because — and please brace yourselves — the MLPAI was not any kind of organization or legal entity.
Unbelievable? Only in the former Land of Oz, otherwise known as Arnold Schwarzenegger's extremely “Veired Vorld” of California politics.
You see, according to the MLPAI Program Manager Melissa Miller-Henson: the staff, officers, and contractors were “just an idea, a project, an effort'“ and they weren't any kind of group that you could call a group, and hence they were not legally responsible for any of their actions… er… ah… yeah… right…ok…
After hearing this, you may want to pinch yourself next time you attend one of their elaborately contrived meetings. And you may never want to eat one of their free pastries or junk food ever, ever again.
Of course, you won't have to. Now that the boondoggle is over, and the Laptopper Task Force (LTF) has disbanded, never be seen or heard from again.
Not until it's time to collect some grant money and get to work doing some “scientific studies” in one of their newly acquired “Marine Protected Areas” that is!
In their two-year flogging of the North Coast public, the infamous MLPAI “Initiative” set new precedents for law breaking and corruption — with tens of millions of dollars worth of Bagley-Keene violations, federal marine mammal violations, state licensing violations, illegal secret meetings, the unlawful arrest of this reporter, and violations of Native American and international law.
The so called “Initiative” saw back-door influence and corruption rise to new heights, to a grand scale, with an agribusiness Executive Director, a big oil lobbyist acting as chairman through much of the process, and a couple of marina and real estate executives sitting on the board throughout. To name but a few.
There's also the little matter of the overt buy-out of a state agency, the California Department of Fish and Game, with tens of millions of dollars of private money laundered through phony foundations. And the buyout of state resources by private interests through a so-called “public/private partnership.”
But according to a Southern California judge, who was mysteriously substituted at the last minute into a Mendocino County Superior Courtroom — the MLPAI will never be subject to any kind of legal scrutiny
According to judge Andria Richey:
“The MLPA Initiative argues that it is not a legal entity, but is instead a joint project, a process, a set of objectives and/or a cooperative effort among state agencies and a private organization, the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation (“Foundation”), designed to achieve the goals of the MLPA. The MLPA Initiative is not a state agency, and has no officers, members, or associates; nor is it incorporated. Plaintiff however argues that because the CDFG has described the MLPA Initiative as a “public-private partnership” and because it has an executive director and a program manager, MLPA Initiative is in fact a jurally entity subject to suit, and as such should be liable for acts. The Court….disagrees, and grants the motion to quash.”
If this ruling makes absolutely no sense to you, join the club of naive souls — who don't yet TRULY BELIEVE — that all it takes is a few friends in the right places, and a whole lot of money, and you get WHATEVER YOU WANT in Arnold's “Vacky Voild” of California politics.
Any questions? Just ask the maid.
Mendocino County Employees Reach a Tentative
Agreement that Builds Toward a Healthy Future.
— Ukiah, June 7, 2011 — After weeks of discussions and a massive show of community support for cost-saving measures, Mendocino County employees, represented by the Service Employees International Union Local 1021 reached a tentative, two-year agreement with Mendocino County Officials. The tentative agreement covers approximately 750 employees throughout the County.
The Bargaining Team supports this tentative agreement which will save the County more than three million dollars over the next two years.
In the weeks leading up to the tentative agreement, County employees presented a viable package of cost-saving ideas to County officials at the Board of Supervisors and in other public forums.
“Our members proved that we are willing and able to work towards reasonable solutions that maintain quality services for our County; said Louise “Weezer” Gonyo Eligibility Worker II, and the Mendocino County SEIU Chapter Vice President. “This is an important first step. Going forward, we want to work with the County to establish a long-term plan that cuts wasteful spending prioritizes County services and values the hard-working people of this County.”
In the coming weeks SEIU 1021 Leaders in Mendocino will conduct meetings to discuss and vote on the agreement.
SEIU Local 1021 represents 750 Mendocino County workers who staff public libraries, elections; provide road maintenance, health care and social services. These members work, live and support business in the County.
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021 is 54,000 strong organizing and representing public sector workers in Counties, Cities, Courts, Schools, Private Non-Profit, Special Districts, Public Health Care and Nursing Industry in Northern California.
UNFAIR WATER RATES
To: Ukiah Valley Sanitation District
RE: Protest Concerning proposed rate adjustment.
I am a tenant/resident mobile home owner at 3900 North State Street Space #71 Ukiah. As a sub metered water user and sanitation district ratepayer, I protest the proposed rate adjustment for the following reasons:
A. As a conservative water user, I seldom exceed 2 units of water as determined by the District. (1 unit = 748 gal). Usually about 1,100 or fewer gallons per month. This new rate does not take into consideration my low water use and my potential sewer discharge.
B. As I only pay the Millview County Water District $ 0.342 per 1,000 gallons of water that is metered (May 2011 use $3.76 billed), the proposed increased consumption rate of $3.40 vs. current rate of $1.85 per unit consumption fee is excessive (a 54.4% increase). Why does it cost me more to get rid of water waste than it does to get it in the first place?
C. The billing of this park (IE Mobile Country Club) is still in question. The existing District ordinance state we should be billed one way as a mobile home unit and the city of Ukiah is billing the park a commercial rate. The exact amounts that I am obligated to address currently are not valid or rated properly. Until this issue addressed by both you and the city at the last joint meeting is resolved, the current rate billing problems will not be address in the proposed rate adjustment.
D. I and other resident mobile home owners/Space residents have not received sufficient qualified information as to the projected District insolvency by May 2015 as stated in the 45 day notice sent out by the District, if this proposed rate adjustment is not imposed. As a tenant and rate payer, notice was not received until May 28th this year.
In summary this protest has just addressed a few specific issues and I and other mobile home owners rate payers, see this proposed rate adjustment as un fair and unnecessary to meet the Sanitation District needs of today or in the future.
As a side note, each of us in the park is paying for a 1985 sewer connection mandated by the City of Ukiah. When this park went from a septic system to a sewer connection, each of us was charged a fee ($550) of $50 a month added to our rent fees to cover our share. This would have been addressed with in one year. As of today the new owners do not take this into consideration and still charge this extra $50 a month without regard to the sewer charges levied each month. We are all over paying our share concerning this 1985 connection fee and current fees and do not expect current owners the Tannous family to be ethical and credit or address this overcharges.
Again, I and others protest the proposed rate adjustment.
Jimmy Rickel, Mobile Home Owner/resident advocate
REAL OLD GODDESSES
Janie Rezner's guest on Women's Voices, KZYX, June 20, 7 pm will be Marguerite Rigoglioso, Phd. author of the groundbreaking book, The Cult of Divine Birth in Ancient Greece and Virgin Mother Goddesses of Antiquity. Can be heard live at www.kzyx.org 7pm Pacific time. Marguerite teaches on women and religion at Dominican University of California, the California Institute of integral Studies, and the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. Marguerite was interviewed in the documentary shown at the recent Mendocino Film Festival, The Vanishing of the Bees, about the relationship between bees and the Goddesses of antiquity. Greek religion is filled with strange sexual artifacts — stories of mortal women's couplings with gods; beliefs in the impregnating power of snakes and deities; the unusual birth stories of Pythagoras, Plato, and Alexander; and more. In this provocative study, Marguerite Rigoglioso suggests such details are remnants of an early Greek cult of divine birth, not unlike that of Egypt. Scouring myth, legend, and history from a female-oriented perspective, she argues that many in the highest echelons of Greek civilization believed non-ordinary conception (parthenogenesis) was the only means possible of bringing forth individuals who could serve as true leaders or avatars, and that special cadres of virgin priestesses were dedicated to this practice. Her book adds a unique perspective to our understanding of antiquity, and has significant implications for the study of Christianity and other religions in which divine birth claims are central. The book's stunning insights provide fascinating reading for those interested in female-inclusive approaches to ancient religion. Marguerite's other subjects of study which will be discussed are: Reconnecting with the Pleiades, our starry virgin mothers; Reclaiming Mary's mystery of virgin birth, and Women's sacred use of Psychotropic substances in antiquity.
There will be time for call-ins.
Janie “Oquawka” Rezner, MA
Spiritual feminist warrior
NITTY GRITTY HARRY
Thanks to rave reviews, I watched two of your recommended movies for my birthday — “The Bad Lieutenant” (“Scary Harry”) and “Harry Browne” (“Hairy Harry”).
Excellent spine-tingling, drama showing nitty-gritty reality without whiz-bang special effects or A-bomb pyrotechnics.
“Harry Browne” makes Kubrick's “Clockwork Orange” look like a Disney fairytale.
Now we are forewarned and can prepare for a near Mendopia future when law enforcement and the justice system finally collapse and codger vigilantes go postal.
As for current law enforcement, have you heard any reports from Mendopia's multi-agency pot strike force, “Operation Hail Mary Pass”?
PS. Q. What's a Tibetan Prayer Flag and a bungee cord? A. A hippy loincloth.
NAVARRO BY THE SEA
My name is John McCorkle Johnson. I was raised at Navarro By The Sea. My grandparents and mother and dad owned it. I thought I would share this with the readers of your paper.
“Navarro by the Sea” —
Why do the waves seem to hurry to the rugged, sandy beach? Why do the ocean's treasures bury in the depths just out of reach?
Where the Navarro meets the ocean with a whirl of frosty spray. Where the seagulls take a notion to quickly pounce upon their prey.
Where the shoreline is full of wonder, driftwood in every shape and size. Here you find the magic plunder, of likely images in their disguise.
When you watch the red sun sink beneath the ocean deep. Sure the day is nearly done and all the wildlife goes to sleep.
Do you wish for a place to vacation? A wonderland of nature so rare? There is no finer in the nation, because you'll find it here!
So come in skirts, pants or sombreros and settle down to fish or rest, at the mouth of the Navarro where good is always the best.
(by May Welchs, April 1952.)
GRACE UNDER PRESSURE
My hat is off for Dr. Jack Kevorkian and I'd like to apologize for the human race for the shabby treatment we gave him. History will judge him a true humanitarian hero or I'll eat my shorts.
I've just read an account of the assisted suicide of Sigmund Freud. Toward the end, after fighting cancer of the jaw for decades, the ulcerations smelled so badly that people gagged in the sick room and he needed a mosquito net to keep the flies away. With all his wits still about him he came to an understanding with his physician and longtime friend that the deed would be done when Freud gave the say-so. When the time came, the friend honored his promise and Freud made a dignified exit with morphine. Talk about grace under pressure.
Speaking of Hemingway, if Dr. Jack happens to run into him and Hunter Thompson on the other side, I hope he asks them if, instead of leaving shock, horror and a bloody mess behind, they might have done things differently if there had been somebody like him around to assist.
PS. My buddy Karl says he'd rather die than get another colonoscopy and he's damned mad that it's illegal for him to call his own bluff.
REPUBS & DEMS
Esteemed Editor (if I may borrow a salutation from a previous writer):
Your May 25, 2011, analysis of the hoity-toity, wuss-wimp, Nervous Nellie liberals in the Off the Record column was, as some now say, “Right On.” Of course, some of the more daring of the species will advocate revolution — as long as it is 5000 miles away overseas in a foreign land. But if blood should be spilled here the poor dears would swoon.
Nevertheless we should recognize that there was a difference between a Republican president — think Dubya — and a Dem president — think Slick Willie. The first one would — with a snarl on his snout and venom dripping from his fangs — gleefully disembowel you; the second would — while feeling your pain — plunge the knife in your back.
Did Lenin say the Liberals would do just anything for their poor oppressed brothers except get off their backs and quit riding them? Did he comment that when a liberal is insulted he says, “Thank God he didn't strike me.” When he's struck he says, “Thank God he didn't kill me.” When he's killed, he thanks God that his soul is going to heaven.
A liberal enters a room and says, “Hello everyone. I'm a man, I'm white, and I'm sorry.” A cynical viewpoint of poor Boobus Americanus — robbed of $500 billion in the S&L caper, now $1 trillion or so — might be that if their highest intellectual impulse is to be slaves then slaves they should remain. Or, quoting, I believe, Bertrand D. Juvenal, “A population of sheep in time will beget a government of wolves.”
Ronald Del Raine
PS. The good altruistic liberal, Bob Beckel, wrote in his USA Today column that Julian Assange should be assassinated.
ENOUGH WINE ALREADY
Every day I read the paper about some facet of Sonoma County's wineries, from wine tasting at the Wednesday Night market to multimillion-dollar winery sales. The Press Democrat devotes plenty of its printed pages to our local royalty — the business of making wine. Supervisors want to “protect” a winery by not allowing a native people's quest to become recognized (the Wappo tribe) for fear they will “spoil” the landscape with a casino. Or the news of a winery owner punishing his neighbor by legally stealing land then clear-cutting the same land to plant more grapes.
Pages are dedicated to wine tasting and wine pairing while medical pot is vilified. There is a burgeoning industry in marijuana edibles, but none have graced the food section. There is a lot of money in this county flowing in from medical marijuana and more would flow with the addition of a well-placed casino.
Only mother nature is wise enough to have a diverse base of plants and animals. It is surely a shame to see Sonoma County, its newspaper and its laws favor a monoculture.
It seems like I have come down with a case of severe writer's block recently, as a result of the daily inundation of critical, urgent items in the news. A recent sampling; the ongoing China Syndrome-grade nuclear emergency at the Fukushima reactors in Japan, the summary execution of Osama Bin Laden, the bizarre threat from the Tea Party Republicans to hold the nation's economic credibility hostage by refusing to raise the debt ceiling, over their obsession with deficit reduction, the stark, raving madness of the Paul Ryan kick-the-old-people-into-the-gutter-to-pay-for-more-tax-breaks-for-the-ultra-rich budget proposal, which seems to have now become a litmus test for Republicans hoping to run for president.
Throw into the mix the recent upheavals in the Middle East, from the hopeful and inspirational in Tunisia and Egypt, to the dark and shameful corners like Bahrain, home of the US sixth Fleet, where we stood by as they strangled dissent in its cradle, or worse yet, Libya, where for some reason (oil?) the US and its neo-colonial allies in NATO have decided to engage in yet another orgy of massive, unprovoked, indiscriminant death and destruction, under the absurd pretext of “promoting democracy.” Let's ask the Iraqis, suffering in their still-devastated infrastructure, with its two-hour-a-day electrical service almost 10 years after our invasion, how well that has worked out for them. Oh that's right, they've already polled them; most would much rather have Saddam back than to have gone through what they have since our “liberation”!
It's like trying to get a sip of water out of a firehose, trying to narrow down all this stuff into something that one can make some rational comments on.
Okay, I guess that having just seen the Oscar-winning documentary Inside Job, that besides encouraging everyone out there to rent it and watch it, it seems like the political events of recent weeks underscore a point that is so well made in that film; that we are living under a government that is completely owned and run by Wall Street. Globally, the US is an outlier in this arena; Inside Job has a brief segment with a European finance Minister, who states that, “finance is a service industry, they need to serve their clients before they serve themselves” apparently this is not the case here in the US of A, where the titanic Wall Street firms seem to believe that the nation, no, the world, exists mainly to serve them, rather than vice versa.
When you watch Inside Job, you will be as mystified as I was that Barack Obama, who we had hoped was going to be the new sheriff in the white hat who would wage war against the “banksters” of Wall Street, who had brought our economy, and those of many other countries, to their knees, in an economic catastrophe that we are still nowhere near the end of, but no such luck.
The movie lays out in plain English the incestuous relationship between the giant investment houses (Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns, etc.), their campaign funded enablers in Congress (who changed the laws to favor them), the bond rating agencies (who bestowed triple-A ratings on what were obviously junk mortgages that would never be repaid), and perhaps the most craven of the lot, the academic high priests who took princely fees to write glowing articles about how wonderful it all was. Some of the most memorable scenes in the movie involve interviewing these overpaid “geniuses,” and calling them on their glaring ignorance or duplicity. One gets the feeling that this is the first time anyone has spoken the obvious truth to them in their entire pampered lives. In some cases they simply sputter incoherently, failing to come up with anything to say in their defense. Others get huffy and point out how generous they were in permitting the interview (while noting that it was a mistake on their part to have done so) and telling the interviewer that he has three more minutes for the interview.
As disappointing as President Obama has been on this beat, he cannot hold a candle to the absolute groveling subservience to Wall Street and the super-wealthy, that virtually all Republicans see as their primary job description; not only every Republican member of Congress and state governor, but all of the familiar 'conservative' talking heads one sees on the television networks or reads in the nation's leading newspapers, who make their perpetual main focus the reduction of taxes for the top 1% who already own 40% of the nation's wealth, even if it results in a greatly increased burden on the rest of us.
Think about it; whenever you hear George Will or David Brooks, or any of the hundreds of other “conservatives” that comprise such a large block of the media landscape, going on about one issue or another, one can always be sure of one thing; that their viewpoint will coincide with the interests of the tiny fraction of Americans who own the majority of its wealth. This is why they get paid the big bucks; because they always and instinctively use their considerable ingenuity (or more accurately, disingenuity) to defend that which is indefensible; the obscene and ever-worsening misdistribution of wealth, which has reached a degree which one might expect to find in a third world banana republic, rather than in a supposed democracy.
One has got to hand it to the Republicans in terms of their party discipline, no matter how definitively their pet theories are discredited, ideas such as; that cutting taxes for the rich will actually increase tax receipts and create jobs, or that the key to fixing our nation's out-of-control spending is to gut Social Security (even though its trust account is not expected to have a shortfall until 2040 or so), they keep on peddling the same snake oil theories, even though they are roundly rejected by solid majorities. This fact was underscored recently by the loss of a House seat from one of New York's state's most Republican districts, where the Democratic challenger, despite being outspent by a factor of four or five, handily defeated the Republican by simply advertising the fact that she had signed on to Ryan's “Kill Medicare” plan.
Undeterred by such feedback, Republicans are sticking with their almost unanimous support for this hugely unpopular proposal in the hallowed name of fiscal austerity, even though the Ryan proposal continues to give away more in tax breaks for the wealthy than it could ever hope to save through further tearing down what remains of the already tattered US social safety net, and even so, doesn’t even lower the annual deficit at all for another decade or so. It bodes well for Democrats to regain the House in 2012, as well as to turn out of office some of the extremist Republican governors who were voted in this last year.
If only the Democrats would actually offer any real alternative to the extremist Republican agenda, rather than a compromise of “Republican lite,” which does not please anyone.
SERGIO GUTIERREZ WINS TOM SMITH SCHOLARSHIP
The first Tom Smith Memorial Scholarship was awarded on June 9, 2011 to Sergio Gutierrez Morales. Mr. Gutierrez graduated with a GPA of 3.55 from Anderson Valley High School in Boonville, California. The Tom Smith Memorial Scholarship recognizes that achieving goals in life, like scoring goals in soccer, is the result of patience, intelligence, training and teamwork. In his application for the scholarship, Mr. Gutierrez wrote: “One of the most important reasons that I want to go to college is because if I go to college, I am motivating my younger brothers and friends to go.” At commencement in the Anderson Valley High School gymnasium for the Class of 2011, the Tom Smith Memorial Scholarship presented Mr. Gutierrez with an award of $1,000. Mr. Gutierrez plans to attend Sonoma State University in the fall.
The Tom Smith Memorial Scholarship was established in Anderson Valley in 2010. Tom Smith was raised in Sacramento and graduated in 1969 from Harvey Mudd College. Tom was the husband of Val Smith, a teacher for many years in Anderson Valley schools. Tom and Val are the parents of Olie and Jesse Smith, two distinguished recent graduates of Anderson Valley High School, young men who went on to graduate from UC Santa Cruz and Stanford University. Tom was a tireless volunteer in the community. At Anderson Valley High School, Tom is remembered as the coach who built the soccer field and who led the Panther soccer team to over a dozen league championships. In recognition of Tom’s many contributions to the community, the Tom Smith Memorial Scholarship will be given annually to a senior graduating from Anderson Valley High School who will attend a college or vocational training school.
Earning good grades in high school is an indication that the student is prepared to advance to a more challenging level of analysis and a more nuanced understanding of written and oral communication. The scholarship recognizes that writing college level papers is a communications skill that requires patience and practice. To help scholars succeed, in addition to financial assistance, the Tom Smith Memorial Scholarship also includes tutoring in written composition.
The Tom Smith Memorial Scholarship is supported by community donations. For more information write to firstname.lastname@example.org . Donations may be sent by mail to:
Tom Smith Memorial Scholarship
PO Box 615, Boonville, CA 95415
A TALE OF TWO COURTS
Been reading Dickens's Tale of Two Cities. Very dark, a focus on imprisonment. The AVA's focus on crime and punishment these last years — two court reporters no less and many letters from inmates — makes sense: the best of times, the worst of times.
READY TO BLEEPING GO!
I am available to go to Washington D.C. to intervene in history.
My incredible experience in radical environmentalism and peace and justice makes me valuable. And for those of you who cultivated a spiritual life for yourselves in postmodern America, give me housing and anything else I need SO THAT I AM THERE ACTIVELY. DUH! WHAT THE (Bleep) ELSE? I am not doing anything of any significant importance in California at this time. This is stupid!
Craig Louis Stehr,
593 62nd Street, Oakland, CA 94609-1246
THE LITTLE TRAIN THAT WON’T
The North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) after floundering around for 22 years is ready to open the first segment of their railroad with service between Windsor and Schellville. However, a new development has surfaced which could put its plans on an extended hold. The opening of the line is contingent upon the acceptance of an operations agreement with Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) and approval from the City of Novato for changes to a settlement on the impact of freight trains. When the NCRA has these agreements its Board will finalized its EIR and freight trains will be ready to roll. One would assume the NCRA would never have had spent $60 million for repairs on the line unless they had absolute assurances SMART and Novato would approve the agreements.
But now there is a new and serious complication to their plans. An environmental group which consists of Californians for Toxic Alternatives, Friends of the Eel River and the Environmental Protection Information Center has advised NCRA if it approves the EIR the group will file a lawsuit. Such an action no doubt could delay the start of the railroad for months.
The NCRA — a child of the California Legislature — has been a sick joke since it was established in 1989. It was obvious at that time the Eel River due to rainfall, unstable geology as well as seismic activity was not suitable for restoration of the rail line. That segment of the rail line had a long history of interruptions due to landslides and tunnel closures. Without this segment the balance of the railroad's route would not make economic sense. All the funds spent since 1989 have been a horrific waste of taxpayer money. If the Legislature and the Governor have any real concern about cutting expenditures, then a mercy killing of the NCRA would be an appropriate action.
James. G. Updegraff
To the Lions’ Club and the Community:
On Sunday, May 29th, the members of the Lions’ Club prepared a superb barbecue tri tip and chicken dinner to benefit the AV ElderHome. Thanks to each of you involved and to those in the community who braved the winds and cold weather to support us in raising over $5,000.
Because of the generosity of so many community members with their contributions to the Silent Auction and the hardy attendees’ participation, the event was a wonderful success!
The AV ElderHome Board of Directors
Steve Krieg, Karen Ottoboni, Aaron Weintraub, Maureen Bowman, Dave Papke and Nancy Wood