Letters To The Editor
by AVA News Service, August 11, 2011
THE WAR ON DRUGS
To the Editor:
At a recent Mendocino Board of Supervisors meeting Supervisor Hamburg criticized Operation Full Court Press. Several local officials stated that the “war on drugs has failed” and that (drug) “legalization is the only answer.”
The “war on drugs” metaphor is a leftover relic from the 1970s that fails to accurately describe the complexity of our nation's drug problem and our nation's current approach to drug control. It naively implies that there will be a day when drugs will be eliminated through the exclusive use of law enforcement resources and one day “victory” will be declared.
Our approach to the nation's drug problem is focused on protecting public health as well as public safety. As part of this effort, all of us have a responsibility to continue to educate every new generation of young people that drug use is not part of a healthy lifestyle.
I am a former police officer and I join my law enforcement colleagues in saying that we will never arrest our way out of the drug problem. That is why today, the federal government spends more on drug education and treatment ($10.4 billion) than on law enforcement in the US ($9.2 billion). The facts show we've made tremendous progress. Since 1979, the number of Americans using drugs has plummeted by roughly 50%, and since 1989, we've diverted about 1.5 million non-violent drug offenders into drug treatment instead of prison.
Efforts to disrupt the illegal marijuana market are not born out of any culture-war or drug-war mentality, but out of what the science tells us about the drug's effects. Scientific studies show marijuana potency has tripled in the past 20 years and teens are using the drug at earlier ages. Research also shows that the earlier a person begins to use drugs, the more likely they are to develop a more serious abuse and addiction problem later in life. This fact reflects the harmful, long-lasting effects drugs can have on the developing brain. Drug legalization would be disastrous public health policy because it would increase availability and increase the use of a substance that we know to be harmful.
Operations like Full Court Press are just one important part of reducing drug use and its consequences in America. I commend all the agencies involved in working to reduce marijuana cultivation on public lands. Their work — along with the work of drug education and treatment providers in Northern California and across the nation — are essential to dismantling criminal organizations, protecting public lands, and making our communities healthier.
Ben Tucker, Deputy Director,
Office of State, Local, and Tribal Affairs
Office of National Drug Control Policy
Manbeaters. I guess I could continue the story about the women in my life where I left off. But I think it would probably be more fun to tell you a key element of the story you titled “Call Jerry” that I left out. If any of you enjoy the Manbeaters of the Week as much as I do I would be surprised. Because as far as I'm concerned none of them have anything on my Kryptonite — my pet name for my ex because she's my only weakness. I guess you might say she's bipolar or chemically unbalanced to say the least. She completed a 52 week anger management class while we were together over a period of three years. We continued living together under the terms of a peaceful contact restraining order until the second time she violated that and the judge made it a No Contact order.
My Kryptonite has put her hands on me more times than I can count. She has beat me bloody with their fists and accessories — i.e., an 18 volt battery pack, a steal curl bar, and I think I recall an ashtray or two. On one occasion she bit my nose and when I say “bit it,” I mean damn near bit it off. Her grill was scarred on my nose for — Hell, you can still see it under the right light. I couldn't leave my room for a week or go to work for two weeks.
Now it's debatable whether or not I bring this out in women because I have priors. That means my high school sweetheart couldn't keep her hands to herself either. What's not debatable is that I think I love it. How sick is that? I miss the fights. I miss the drama. I miss making up. I miss the feeling of accomplishment when all went well for the day. Wow! Now that I've put it like that it does sound pretty unhealthy, huh?
Looking back, I'm not really sure how much of it was my fault. They say “It takes two to tango.” And although I would never lay my hands back on her I would retaliate with words and throw it back in her face later. I don't know. Maybe I would just push her buttons until she finally snapped. But if that was the case I would have to say she sure did have a lot of buttons. And either way, it was always unintentional. I don't ever recall wanting or enjoying the drama. But in hindsight I really do think I loved it. The making up was always the best. Can you honestly tell me for yourself that you never picked a fight and broke up with your lover with the intention of not really leaving just to have make-up sex? Well, lie to your lover, not to me. LOL. Real talk: makeup sex is the best sex, pants down. (Pardon the pun.) Number one, because you know what one another want and are going to give it to them.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, my Kryptonite. Do you want to know something else that's crazy? If you ask me what would bother me or hurt me more: her sleeping with someone else or beating someone else's ass on a regular basis, you know all domestic like? Well, I would have to say the latter. That's pretty crazy if you ask me, but somehow it's real. I wonder if anyone in abusive relationships can relate? I imagine so. And if so you may wish to contact me for one reason or another. I would appreciate any feedback at:
Ronnie Rhea, AG0515
CCI 2-4-85 Low
PO Box 608, Tehachapi, CA 93581
REHAB IS REHAB
What do you think of this title? Change it if you think of a better one: “The DA keeps his word.”
My name is Francis Seymour. I am 47 and I faced drug-related charges on July 6, 2011. At this time my plea bargain was as follows: execution of sentence is to be suspended with the condition that I successfully complete a minimum of two years at the Delancy Street Foundation. Rehab. This institution prefers to rehab heroine addicts and people who used to be gang members. About one in 15 potential clients are accepted into their program after being interviewed. I was not accepted by the Delancy Street Foundation because my profile was not what they usually handle. So they referred me to Jericho Program and I have been accepted into this program which fulfills the court requirements for my sentence. When the Delancy Street program rejected me I turned myself back in to the County jail so that I could then be sent to the Jericho Program because I was not accepted by the Delancy Street program. The court wants to penalize me by giving me a prison term instead of honoring the agreement of me going to rehab so I can carry on with my life. They want me to go to prison where I cannot get any help. I need help to become part of mainstream society. I want the court to keep their word and honor their first agreement and send me to the Jericho Program to fulfill the sentence requirements so that I can break the cycle and become a positive member of society. Because one program is replaced with another, that should not be a reason to deny me a good life and a positive future.
ROBBED AT GUNPOINT!
On Saturday afternoon, Chris Lindauer and Cheshire Books were held up at gunpoint and robbed. Imagine!
Even though I no longer own Cheshire Books, it is still my beloved community bookstore and I am devastated for Chris and Paul and for our entire community. In truth, I do not know what to say, shock and heartsickness overtake any good use of this keyboard.
However, I am clear on one thing and that is to try to rally our community to support Chris and Cheshire Books by buying books there. Now!
Please join me in this effort. Chris and Paul bought Cheshire Books in this town. They love this community, books, reading, and readers. And, they have done a splendid job in every possible way at Cheshire Books. Let's keep their dream alive. It is our dream, too, yours and mine. Buy a book at Cheshire Books! If the book you are thinking of is not on the shelf today, order it. If you can't think of a title, let Chris help. We are each fortunate to have her as our local, independent bookseller! She knows books and she understands a reader's heart.
Thanks so much.
THANK YOU, ANDERSON VALLEY
I wanted to thank the people of Anderson Valley for being so nice to me and my family when we had hardship with a car breakdown on the way back from a weekend in Westport (my great grandfather Ross Harper built a cabin there in the 1930’s off of Wages Creek). We were a few miles from the Navarro Store when one of our two cars started smoking and overheated. We piled into the remaining car and luckily the Navarro Store was still open late Sunday evening. The nice lady and owner of the store let me use their phone since I couldn’t get a cell signal. Then they mentioned that the tow truck which AAA would send out also has a shop that could help with repairs. There were no rental car agencies open since I was going to Napa and the other half of our family to Turlock. All six of us piled into a five-seat car and jammed in the rest of our items leaving some unnecessary items in the other car. When Starr Automotive’s tow truck driver, Bob, came, he was extremely helpful with the debate to tow to Ukiah if it was a blown gasket or if he could assist if it was a minor repair. The car started so he had hopes he could do the job. Luckily, he was able to fix it and we got the car back on the road two days later.
My thanks to the Navarro store and Bob of Starr Automotive for being so kind in a scary situation being broken down with no cell signal. Ironically, I had always wanted to stop by the Navarro Store after 40 years of driving by it. What a cool setting with the huge trees and the nice people to go with it. A common feature I have found in Anderson Valley with my past stops to Boonville Brewpub, Gowan’s Oak Tree and the lovely wineries.
It would seem the US taxpayer will continue to bail out Wall Street and the financial sector as long as the government can function.
I'm sure the vast majority of our elected representatives have their personal wealth heavily invested in that area.
Even though they are supposedly expressing the will of their constituents, I would not expect them to refuse a bailout if their personal fortune was at stake.
No, in this instance, they are not “representatives” of anyone but themselves.
As long as it takes $5 million to campaign for a senate seat, I can't see this changing anytime soon.
It's difficult to tax the wealthy when we are ruled by the wealthy.
Last Friday we had the biggest one-day sell off on Wall Street since December, 2007. The Dow dropped 512. That's a 4.31% drop. And that's also the 9th biggest one-day fall on record. The S&P dropped an even worse 4.78%. Things were worst at Nasdaq, which dropped 5.08%.
Meanwhile, in the investor “flight to safety,” yields on two-year US Treasuries plunged to record lows. Across the range of maturities, US Treasuries evoke the Eisenhower era amid the signs of an economic stall.
Also, money market rates fell below zero, today. Yup, you read right — below zero!
In commodities markets, there was also massive selling. All of 2011's gains were erased today. Even oil and gold — usually considered safe havens — sold off. This signals deleveraging across all asset classes.
Finally, this contagion of selling has spread to foreign currencies. In overnight trading, the yen has its biggest one-day drop vs. the dollar since 2008.
Bottom line? Fears of another recession stalk the markets.
What does this mean for public pension plans like Mendocino County? For all those who may be interested, the pension assets at Mendocino County Employee Retirement Association (MCERA) are managed according what's known as a “asset allocation and portfolio rebalancing model.” Our financial advisor, Callahan Associates, oversees this strategy for us.
Simply stated, asset allocation and rebalancing divides a portfolio into a pie chart of asset classes, i.e., stocks, bonds, and cash. That's the asset allocation part. Rebalancing brings portfolio back to the original pie chart as markets fluctuate, and the portfolio deviates from its target slices of pie.
Asset allocation and rebalancing has its fans. Many, if not most, public pension plans use asset allocation and rebalancing. Unfortunately, on days like today, a defensive strategy would have worked a lot better.
Although I don't wholeheartedly believe in market timing, I think most professional money managers saw today's big sell off coming. It was hard not to see. The United States of America can't manage its debt ceiling. Meanwhile, many countries of the European Common Market, i.e., Greece, Italy, and Spain, are at serious risk of defaulting on their own sovereign debt. Also, worldwide, the economic recovery has stalled, despite trillions of dollars of both fiscal and monetary stimulus. Even the red hot Chinese economy is slowing down.
Consequently, there should be some human override built into the asset allocation and rebalancing “automatic pilot.”
For sure, asset allocation and rebalancing has its critics. One money manager I know, who does not use the system, has on his desk what he calls the Optimal Lazy Portfolio Rebalancing Calculator.
That pretty much says it all: Asset allocation and rebalancing is passive. Other strategies, which include overrides, are active. Some are a lot more active. And these other strategies outperform asset allocation and rebalancing in falling markets. How? By simply moving into cash. When you move into cash you avoid losses in stocks and bonds.
Studies have shown that avoiding losses in down-trending markets has a more significant impact on a portfolio's ultimate returns than gains earned in up-trending markets.
PS. Monday was another sickening day on Wall Street. Stocks plunge again on the weekend news of downgrade of US debt. Dow currently down 500 points. Nothing but panic selling. Fears of a double dip recession. Also today, gold is soaring past $1,700 for the first time in history. classic investor “flight for safety”-type of behavior.
ZOMBIES & ZOMBOCRATS
Letter to the Editor,
This is a response to an article in the August 3, Ukiah Daily Journal, “Hamburg criticizes marijuana operation.”
Let me start with the very name of this operation “Operation Full Court Press.” This leaves very little to the imagination, but then again I have a flair for the obvious!
It is true that the war on drugs is a failed mission, but let us look at this:
In 1989 at the newly-elected president’s first public address, George Bush defined the “War on Frugs” as one of his primary goals. Much taxpayer money for this effort was to go to the interdiction of the drugs coming into the country, and the incarceration of those who dealt in the trade. Treatment and prevention monies were reduced in favor of stopping illegal drugs coming across the border. The biggest shame was that it also put a stop to President Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty.”
But as we can see the federal laws need to be changed in regards to marijuana. I wish you the best of luck! The Sheriff is protecting the national forest — that would be federal land. In case you do not know this, in such matters as Prohibition, federal law takes precedence! In other words Mendocino grow laws mean nothing on the hill! You should know that. Look at it this way cheeseburger, by the appeasement of putting law enforcement on the federal lands it keeps Uncle Sam out of your backyard!
On to another topic related. Personally, I have nothing to do with pot! I used to think it was a very benign drug until recently. I do like my beer but I have something very sweet and special, with a pulse that I shall reduce this for! I used to go and drink beer with a friend every afternoon. With his beer, every fourth breath he would smoke his pot. The alarming thing for me was that he couldn't remember what he had told me the day before or the day before that! Without exaggeration, this guy, twisting his head back and forth like a parrot, would play the same music over and over again, asking me, “You have never heard this song before have you?” And in a pothead pedantic fashion educate me on the same subject repeatedly day in and day out for weeks.
My question is: With the amount of pot being smoked by our youth, do we have classrooms full of such zombies?
And with today's news: Are the zombies only in the classrooms?
TEA PARTIES & PWOGS
Thank the “Terrorists”
During the recent debt limit debate in Congress Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA), referring to the Tea Party members of the House of Representatives, declared “This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money.” His term “terrorist” and variations “jihadists,” “suicide bombers” and “Taliban” were quickly picked up by the main stream media, commentators, and bloggers and will soon be reflected in commentaries by our local liberals. But one person’s “terrorist” is another person’s democratically elected Representative doing the bidding of their constituents.
Are patriotic American citizens who believe that their government should not spend more than it receives running around blowing up things or killing people as would a terrorist member of Hamas, Hezbollah, the Taliban or Al Qaeda? No, of course not. Yet the liberal community will be parroting these terms because the words “teabagger, “racist” and “Nazi” are ineffective.
In February 2009 that progressive sage, Rahm Emanuel, stated “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” The Tea Party members of Congress took that advice and did all of America a favor. They forced the country to face the fact that the federal government is borrowing 42 cents of every dollar it spends. They had some success in cutting two trillion dollars from budget deficits over the next ten years; from nine trillion to seven trillion — but the 14.5 trillion dollar national debt will continue to rise. More cuts in the months and years ahead are badly needed. But it’s a start.
It’s ironic that old-line liberal “progressives” want to keep the status quo, spending recklessly and driving our country into bankruptcy, while those who want to move our great country in the direction of fiscal sanity — Republicans, conservatives and members of the Tea Party — have become the new, and true, “progressives.”
Stan Anderson, Chair,
Mendocino County Republican Central Committee
PS. The Mendocino County Republican Central Committee will meet August 17, 2011, 7-9pm at Anna’s Asian House Restaurant, 43 E. Mendocino Ave, Willits. For further information contact: Stan Anderson, 707-321-2592.
ANOTHER ASPHALT PLANT?
Is Fort Bragg destined to have a new asphalt plant built at Baxman's Gravel, right on the Pacific ocean? Will residents be subjected to noise, dust, exhaust fumes, emission of toxic chemicals such as benzene from this plant? I fear we are looking at a future with a plant within our city limits that will emit toxins into the air, soil, and water. With a prevailing northwest wind, pollution will be blown right into our town and homes.
• Did you know benzene is listed #6 out of 275 of the most toxic pollutants in California? Those who work directly with benzene are told to leave their work clothes at the job, rather than contaminate themselves and others outside the workplace. The City of Fort Bragg reminds people not to throw cigarette butts into the gutter, as they are washed into the ocean; cigarette butts contain benzene.
How can the City Council promote an asphalt plant WITHOUT scrutinizing potential harm to human beings, animals, and our environment and studying the newest scientific findings — much more dire than thought previously. We have no information on how the waste materials from this plant will be safely handled
The City of Fort Bragg wants to increase tourism, and likes to be considered “clean and Green.” This proposed project is neither. Would you want to spend your vacation on beaches and motels near an asphalt plant? The property in question adjoins McKerricher State Park, and is only a few feet from the Haul Road, enjoyed by throngs of tourist and residents daily.
Those of us who live here will be impacted long after tourists stop coming. Property values in the vicinity of asphalt plants are estimated on one website to drop an average of 56%!
These toxins have been found in sealife, particularly benzene alters fish health and may contribute to loss of local salmon populations. Ingesting fish may carry enough benzene to cause long-term health consequences in humans. Other communities, i.e., Willits, Ukiah, Petaluma, are fighting against asphalt plants in their cities. This is not an issue we can ignore for our sake and for the sake of our environment.
Please join us in keeping our beautiful shoreline from being decimated by an asphalt plant.