Letters To The Editor
by AVA News Service, July 22, 2011
YES ON BOOKS
“Vote Yes on Libraries” Campaign Begun
The countywide “Vote Yes on Libraries” campaign committee announced the start of its active organizing to make sure our county libraries have proper funding. It requires a two-thirds majority vote to pass the initiative, called “Measure A” on the fall ballot, so “Vote Yes on Libraries” groups are forming in every community within the county.
The money raised by the initiative cannot be used for any other purpose because state law, and the ordinance itself, says the monies raised “shall be used exclusively for preserving existing libraries, reversing the deterioration in services…upgrading facilities, services and collections…” When approved, Measure A will keep all branches open five days per week and restore and expand the children’s reading programs.
“Libraries contribute to the health and vitality of our community. This is an investment in the future. The one-eighth cent increase in the sales tax will be 13 cents for every hundred dollars spent on taxable items which will cost the average household less than $2 per month,” said Valerie Frey of Fort Bragg, the president of the Yes on Libraries Steering Committee.
The library system is in jeopardy. Measure A will provide the money ($1.3 million annually) to solve its problems. Soon whole branches may have to be closed. Already library hours have been severely cut and services restricted. This Measure will keep library branches staffed 5 days a week, restore children’s librarians’ positions on the coast and inland, and add hundreds of new books, DVDs, eBooks and music.
The Yes on Libraries Committee Steering Committee will oversee the countywide campaign. Its members are: Valerie Frey, Fort Bragg, president; Michael Schaeffer, Comptche, treasurer; Marc Komer, Willits, Secretary; Pearl Watts, Gualala; Benj Thomas, Ukiah; and Steve Antler, Mendocino, coordinator. Members of the committee, who serve on the Library Advisory Board, were instrumental in getting the Board of Supervisors to unanimously place the issue before the voters, based on a California law applying to libraries.
Anyone interested in joining “Vote Yes on Libraries” may contact the organization by calling or emailing Steve Antler at 707-937-5925, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com . “We hope this will be an effort by our whole community and everyone is welcome to participate in groups formed and forming near where they live”, Antler said.
The League of Women Voters, the City Councils of Ukiah, Willits, and Point Arena, the Willits and Mendocino Unified School District Boards as well as many community leaders have already endorsed the Measure, and are committed to work for its passage. As Supervisor John Pinches was quoted as saying, “This is something the people of Mendocino County need to put in place for the future of everybody, not just our kids, everybody.”
THE AUDACITY OF DESPAIR
I admit it, I held out hope, focused at the end of a pen filling in my ballot that my ink would bring about a bit of change. And it did, though washed out and diluted. The asinine lie "Don't ask don't tell" is on track to die a feeble death. The manufactures of cars didn't die and are showing a profit thereby not collapsing what feeble and anemic manufacturing infrastructure we have left. (Why is it that when corporations leave we call them business minded but when people leave we call them unpatriotic?) There are a myriad of wonky incomprehensible things that our president has done if you have a mind to look.
But no, we need tangible immediate things that make things better TODAY goddamnit! "Why aren't we out of all war zones everywhere?" "Why didn't he sign a presidential fiat legalizing PEACE and the hugging of enemy combatants?!??!" "Good gawd the man hasn't wiped away all drug laws to allow me my medicine in peace, I can't support him any longer! This is an outrage!!!"
I admit it, I voted for this fakir and I am not entirely pleased with the results. But also I know that had I, and a majority of the country voted otherwise we could very well have two more supreme court justices in the mold of Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Scalia for the rest of their lives, and that I could not abide. And so I say that I no longer am voting for president, they always disappoint. I am voting for the person I believe will likely be nominating supreme court nominees. Ask not who would best lead this country but rather where we might be, had Bush vs.. Gore and Citizens United vs. The Federal Election Commission been decided differently. It makes it all much clearer. Sure, it is a hold your nose to vote moment but if you want to make a real difference, move to Iowa or New Hampshire.
NO MORE WINE
I want to thank Mr. Will Parrish deeply for the outstanding articles he has been writing. They are well thought out, well written, and are excellent documentation. As I have witnessed the forest to alcohol conversions over the last 20 years, I have developed a deep and abiding hatred of the wine industry. It hurts my heart. I plan to never buy wine again. I said that ten years ago regarding beef (which is destroying our last wild bison, wild horses, and most of the other wildlife on the "range"), and never will.
"Mitigating" destruction of Native cultural/spiritual sites is like removing your mother's lungs and mitigating that by having her live in a bed on a breathing machine for the rest of her life. Mitigation is a lie.
Hooray for the Anderson Valley Advertiser for printing these excellent reports!
Jane and Susan Conant
THE GUEST CHEF
Dear Valley folks,
I hope you don't mind me 'bothering' you like this but, as the Vice Chair on the Senior Center Board, I have been entrusted to sell some tickets for a fundraiser for the Center that will be coming up in a couple of weeks. This is not the usual Senior Evening Meal, not that they aren't worth mentioning of course, it is in fact a dining experience that will be quite special and the first in a series of Dinners created and catered by Guest Chefs from the Valley.
Our Guest Chef on this occasion is Tom Rodrigues, owner of Maple Creek Winery, and a splendid chef too, who will be donating his time to prepare and serve a Dinner at the Senior Center on Friday, July 29th at 7pm. Evenings like this do not happen that often in the Valley and we are hopeful that the Valley will support the event and, just as importantly, thoroughly enjoy the fine dining experience that will no doubt be provided.
All proceeds from this event will benefit the Senior Center. E-mail me or call me at 895-2460 if you would like to attend and get tickets.
PS. Here is the menu: Roast Pork (rotisserie style) basted with wines and slowly roasted over open-pit fire, served with wild mushroom gravy, a medley of mashed potatoes, asparagus wrapped in bacon, with gruyere cheese, and a garden fresh salad. Dessert: Asian pear, Pecan, and Candy Cap mushroom cake. A complimentary glass of Maple Creek wine. Tickets are $30 and seats are limited to 60.
Apparently your hearing and your attention/retention span are getting as bad as mine. Nobody was booted out of YES Camp for bad behavior as reported in Valley People last week. No money was wasted. It is true that a couple of group home boys were annoyingly disruptive at times and another boy was quite foul mouthed and disrespectful of the female counselors but they all went the full seven days.
On the last day of camp competitions were held between teams and I witnessed all of the young people we sent working together in teams to do their best as teams. It was not about the stand-out individual, it was about the stronger and faster helping the not so strong and fast complete.
It is my opinion and that of others that I talked with that all campers learned a wealth of skills and had experiences that they will take with them the rest of their lives — even the “bad boys.” Anderson Valley should be proud of what we did by sending 15 kids to YES camp without discriminating. I hope we do it again next year. Lessons have been learned of course, and Rick Paige told me that from now on group home boys go only with their own counselors.
CAPTAIN FATHOM IN LOVE
Fallen Fathom Bouncing Back From the Abyss
Captain Fathom now has a new life—and a new wife.
He met Paliachi the clown at a local Green meeting. “She was the most colorful person I'd ever seen. I immediately asked her to marry me. She said, yes.”
Fathom explained that with her clown skills, “she earns $200 a day, walking around at events, looking the part, just being herself. Kay Rudin used to do the same thing, rent herself out to events as a clown for the day.”
Fathom described Palliachi. He insisted, “She only has one name. She's a trust fund baby. I've gone from rags to riches.”
I added “again.” He said, “Yes, again.”
“How is it different in practice?” I asked.
He laughed, “Now I drink this!” pointing at the distinctive green Guinness beer in his hand. “A step up.” In case I didn't know.
He was proud of the beer label he carried walking around town. There was a lilt in his “step up” into the world of class.
He felt he'd outwitted everyone who had lost faith he'd ever get it together again.
He, the notable local of Albion Nation in its heyday.
Granted, Fathom and Paliachi is a better match than Fathom and Al K. Hall, which is where he was headed before she rescued him.
I met the two last week combing the Safeway parking lot, looking down'n out. When they found me, Fathom handed me a vintage silver necklace with Prop 215 and a leaf engraved. That was worth a nice exchange. Since Fathom was climbing fast, I joked to keep up.
“Perhaps out of the plentitude, she'll give a donation to different parts of the movement.”
He said, “Ask her. She can be generous.”
Walking away he added, “and give me 1%.”
WATER RIGHTS III
I need to address some on the comments by David Severn in response to my letter to the editor published in the July 6 edition of the Advertiser that you have titled “Water Rights.” This is a curious title you have chosen since my letter and David’s response have nothing to do with water rights and everything to do with property rights. First, I should note that neither Mr. Severn nor I are attorneys. However, rather than trying to do my own legal research into this rather complicated topic I have had the benefit of talking directly to the State Lands Commission legal staff and the State Attorney General’s Office who deal with lands held in public trust by the State. They know more about this topic than any of us will ever be able to find out doing ad hoc research on our own. Also, we do not intend to disrupt our past cooperative understandings with Mr. Severn as a helpful neighbor.
As for Mr. Severn’s response to my letter, I offer the following. This issue is complicated and what one finds on the Internet is mostly related to fishing rights and access to streams for that purpose. As we all should know, the Navarro River was closed to fishing in the early 1980s above the Greenwood Bridge. So the public access as it may relate to fishing does not apply to our part of the river. David is correct that property rights are typically a court issue. No court has made a determination as to public access to the non‐tidal parts of the Navarro River. In addition, the State Lands Commission deals with public lands and rights to public access and they have made no such determination. What is not declared publicly accessible by a court or regulatory agency of appropriate jurisdiction remains private lands based on the deeds to that property and the taxes that are paid on that property. The non‐tidal parts of the Navarro River have not been declared publically accessible and I wish to respectfully disagree with David that it would ever be so declared.
A case was sited in El Dorado County. As I recall, this case dealt with a new county ordinance dealing with public accessibility to the South Fork of the American River. It had to do with littering by rafters. I have rafted that river several times and there are commercial boat companies that take people down this wonderful white water river in the summer time. The ordinance attempted to preclude public access. This case has no similarity to the Navarro River at all and should not be relied upon as a reference.
A comment was made that the requirement to portage small craft over river sections does not make a stream non‐navigable. However, no craft of any kind can make it down the Navarro during typical flow periods. One would have to do a lot more walking than drifting. The Navarro is typically riffles of an inch or two and pools. The Navarro is simply not navigable by any reasonable definition.
When I talked to the State Lands Commission staff, they did mention a case titled “People vs. Mack” that appears to have found that the public can have a right to access a non‐navigable stream for purposes “incidental to navigation.” Certainly swimming, sunbathing and drinking are not “incidental to navigation.” That is why I noted that during extremely high flow periods that are rare and short-lived, if some brave soul accesses the river at a point upstream we do not intend to interfere with their attempted travels by boat in the river past our property.
Instead of us trying to be lawyers on this issue, I suggest that folks talk to the State Lands Commission staff and get their advice as I have. If you hear something different than I have heard, I think a meeting with all of us and the State Lands Commission staff would be helpful and I would welcome that opportunity.
The non‐tidal parts of Navarro River are not navigable as related to public access and we intend to protect our property rights. If individuals want to access the Navarro River, the County and the State have provided for that at Hendy Woods and Dimmick Park. Go to these locations where public access is clear and respect our private property rights.
Gerald E. Johns
DEEP, DEEP CHAMBER MUSIC
Deep Valley Chamber Music Series is presenting an evening of Music in the Vineyard on Sunday, July 24 to help support its upcoming fourth season of bringing world-class chamber music to the Ukiah valley. The evening will start with desserts, snacks, wine and other beverages on the patio of Parducci Winery at 6:30pm.
Surrounded by beautiful vineyards, guests will enjoy a series of musical performances showcasing some of the best musical talent in our community. First, Ukiah’s own violin prodigy, twelve-year-old Alejandro Gracia, will play a movement of Beethoven’s Spring Sonata, with Dorothy Sugawara on piano.
In addition, there will be the world premiere of a trio for flute, clarinet, and horn composed by local composer David Smith and commissioned by local winemaker John Buechsenstein in honor of his three daughters. John won the piece at the silent auction at last summers’ fundraiser. This year a commission will again be an item at the auction, along with other intriguing items.
The program will also feature violinist Holly Fagan and pianist David Cory Anderson playing movements from Brahms’ second violin sonata. David Smith’s Neon Trio for violin, cello and piano, performed by Holly Fagan, Joel Cohen and Elena Casanova, will follow. The evening will conclude with Elena Casanova and Joel Cohen playing movements from Brahms’ second sonata for cello and piano.
Tickets are $40 for the fundraiser and are available at the Mendocino Book Company and at the door. You can also make your reservation by calling 463-1102.
Deep Valley Chamber Board
To The Editor:
We continually hear about all governments — local, city, state and federal — in financial crisis, but there seems to be no knowledge about our local CSD’s financial condition. Usually, when there is silence, it ends up bad news. So I am putting these questions to the Anderson Valley Community Services District to answer and have the answers published in this newspaper. The public who pays has a right to know where their money is going. The Board has a duty to let them know everything. I realize it can be complicated, but the totals are simple.
• How much total debt does the CSD have as of the close of their accounting year which is ?
• The total budget and major categories.
• The total income, all sources.
• Is there a crisis like all other governments are having?
EVERYBODY DOES IT
Why is it that until something like the Murdoch scandal happens — a scandal that cannot be contained — an incredible, pervasive silence acts as an impenetrable wall that obscures the daily criminal conduct of the corporate, capitalist elite?
And was it not astounding to see how quickly this elite turned on its own? How quickly it used Murdoch as a scapegoat? As if the organization’s conduct was beyond all civilized norms.
The reality, of course, is that this same corporate elite, wherever it may be situated — think Wall Street — is committed to the violation of human decency and criminal conduct the world over. Conduct that is causing more harm and more suffering in the pursuit of profit than can be imagined.
Murdoch and his minions were doing nothing unusual. They just got caught.
The Obama Presidency has been a failure. He failed to pass a single-payer health system and gave us a healthcare reform bill that gave millions of new customers to private insurance companies instead of lowering costs for Americans.
When he was elected, we were bombing three Islamic countries; now we're bombing five.
He passed an economic stimulus package of which half was tax cuts for the rich that did nothing to create jobs.
He added troops to Afghanistan, then cut the same number of troops and called that ending the war. He declared the war in Iraq ended, but troops are still there dying, only under a different job description.
He extended the Bush tax cuts that ruined our economy to begin with.
And now Obama, a Democratic president, is going to help the Republicans dismantle Social Security and Medicare.
It's time for the Democratic Party to begin a primary for the 2012 race so we can choose an alternative candidate. Obama is going to be a one-term president anyway. Getting bin Laden was nothing. George H.W. Bush won the Gulf War and he lost because of the economy which was nowhere as bad as this one.
So the State Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation claims that prisoners are willing to starve themselves to death because they are ordered to do so by gangs.
This does not seem likely to me nor does it correspond with reports from visitors to Pelican Bay.
The man I correspond with in the Security Housing Unit is confined to a 6 x 10 cell 22-1/2 hours a day, never sees sunlight, can't make a phone call and hasn't had a contact visit, not even to hug his mother, since 1973.
This is pure punishment, really torture.
Where is the rehabilitation?
As lawmakers discuss prison budgets, please make the atrocious conditions in prisons part of the debate, conditions so cruel and brutal that hundreds of people are willing to die in protest.
Wake up, California, and see what our taxes are buying.
AN INSPIRING WALK
Few things are as inspiring as a cancer survivor and over an entire weekend, I was not only inspired by the people around me, but my soul was truly touched by stories of courage and sacrifice. I was able to complete the 39.3 miles which encompass the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer and this community is a huge reason why. To everyone who donated, cheered me on, walked with me, or somehow made it possible for me to take the time away from my family for an entire weekend, thank you. Because of generous people like you, I was able to raise more than $2,300 for the Avon Foundation. Together, the Bay Area raised more than $4.2 million, And the best news, $125,000 of that came up here to the Mendocino County Cancer Resource Center. A special thanks goes to Mis Potrancas Restaurant. You guys are the best and I could have never raised so much money without you. I am already planning on walking again next year, with hopes of raising a lot more money.
ALBION V. SMARTMETERS
On Wednesday, July 13, 20 Albion residents gathered in the meadow next to the Albion store for an anti Smart Meter rally. These residents are part of a newly formed group called Albion Community Awareness Network (ACAN). ACAN members gathered for approximately two hours holding big yellow Refuse PG&E Smart Meter Installation signs to let passers by and the local residents know that Wellington Energy, PG&E’s subcontractor, is in the neighborhood installing smart meters. A local photographer and member of the group questioned the individual members why they were not supportive of Smart Meters. The answers that were filmed ranged from health and environmental reasons, dangers especially with long term and cumulative effect, safety reasons with badly trained installers and not UL approved equipment, vulnerability to hacking and planting of malicious software, inaccurate measuring and skyrocketing utility bills, interference problems, fire and explosion hazards, security risks, huge expenses with no guaranteed energy savings, invasion of privacy and lack of democracy on the part of PG&E declaring the installation mandatory. The group discussed that soon every electrical device manufactured and imported into the US will be required to have a small chip installed that will communicate back and forth with the grid in order to monitor and control the device's power allocation. The US safety code compared with many other countries is grossly insufficient. Bombay, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, Liechtenstein, Russia, Israel, Belgium and the United Kingdom stand by warnings and restrictions light years ahead of the United States. Maryland and Hawaii already banned Smart Meters. It is possible to make a wired Smart Meter.
Many residents were assuming that by being on the delay list, having a Do Not Install Smart Meter sign on the meter, and/or a big yellow Refuse PG&E Smart Meter Installation sign in the driveway would be enough to stop Wellington Energy trucks. In addition to all these measures the general public assumed that due to the fact that Mendocino County supervisors unanimously adopted a moratorium on Smart Meter installations, PG&E would honor that and not forge ahead with installations before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) decides on their opt-out plan in the next few months. Forty-three other government entities within California have passed similar ordinances.
PG&E has an opt-out proposal, which may be perceived as a good start, but far from perfect in the minds of consumers, who point out that they and their community did not opt into this smart metering program in the first place. Thus residents do not want to pay extra money for something they were never asked in the first place if they want it. Many want the right to keep their analog meter. Many residents feel that turning "off" the RF (radio frequency) radiation component (as PG&E proposes) does not solve or address the health, privacy, security and public safety consumer concerns. The limits on RF exposure levels are currently obsolete as they only measure the thermal effect. The RF from transmitters placed atop utility poles is enough exposure to make life hell for the one's who are sensitive to electro-smog. There are 66 locations in our county where PG&E has already installed "mini cell towers" on power poles in violation of the moratorium. Furthermore many households on fixed and low incomes cannot afford the proposed opt-out fees and monthly charges. It would cause undue financial hardship on vulnerable populations, including seniors, retirees, unemployed, disabled and those on low and fixed incomes. The CPUC has not yet required that opt-out proposals be required of all utilities and be available to all Californians. Combined, these factors make the current opt-out proposals unfair, prohibitory, and discriminatory. Because of CPUC’s failure to adopt a moratorium, cities and counties are adopting measures and moratoriums in an effort to oppose the installation throughout their communities and protect their residents. This also paves the way for residents to file criminal complaints against PG&E when workers install meters without their consent.
Mendocino County also adopted the Precautionary Principle in 2006 which makes residents further believe that PG&E could not in good conscience start to install Smart Meters.