Letters To The Editor
by AVA News Service, September 16, 2011
RAILS & TRAILS
Do you wish there were more safe places to walk and roll in your community? Share your vision for a trail system to connect communities, expand options to walk and bike and increase economic opportunities! Help plan this multipurpose trail system adjacent to the rail corridor through your community at public workshops in Willits and Ukiah. Both workshops will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. with a presentation at 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, September 21: Willits, City Hall Community Room, 111 E. Commercial Street Thursday, September 22: Ukiah, Grace Hudson Museum, 431 South Main Street Come out to the workshops to view maps and photos of the Rails with Trails corridor alternatives and discuss priority trail segments and trail design alternatives that reflect community values. Input from these workshops will help to complete a Rails with Trails Corridor Plan for Mendocino County and determine priority trail segments for implementation. This project is coordinated by the Mendocino Council of Governments (MCOG) and funded by the Caltrans Transportation Planning Grant Program and MCOG.
For more information about the workshops, go to www.mendocinocog.org or call (707) 463-1859.
Loretta Ellard, 463-1859
Mendocino Council of Governments
I wonder how many of you have heard about the fact that delinquent taxpayers owe California $6.5 billion dollars in back taxes. The worst 250 of them are wealthy individuals and corporations. They owe by themselves more thqn $146 million. Don't take my word for it. You can access this information at the California State Franchise Tax Board website — http://www.ftb.ca.gov/individuals/txdlnqnt.shtml .
Meanwhile they are closing our parks libraries and cutting school budgets. This is absolutely outrageous. I sent registered letters to Governor Brown, State Senator Noreen Evans and Assembly Member Wes Chesbro. I told them about this situation and said I want to hear about what they are going to do about it.
Please all of you who are outraged by this, send letters, not emails to those officials.
NRA 5, SAFETY 0
“A gunman with AK-47 fatally shot 3 Guard troops, 2 others at an IHOP in Carson City.”
In regard to the above subject:
SCORE: NRA, US Supreme Court, gun manufacturers: 5
Public safety: 0
James G. Updegraff
WHAT WOULD JESUS ABORT?
I’ve been following with interest the letters in another Mendo County rag, concerning abortion and Planned Parenthood, I've got to comment briefly.
I believe it was the initial letter on the subject, filled with hysterical rants about baby killing and demonizing Planned Parenthood, which make me think, “really? There are people in Mendocino County who think this way?” It sounded more like something one would expect to come across among the barking mad “Christian” extremist element of Kansas, where they shoot abortion doctors in the head at their church, rationalizing cold-blooded murder with their kitschy obsession with the 'poor, innocent' fetus.
One of the main things that caused me to bail out of Catholicism as a teen was the absurdity of this supposedly celibate pope, preaching to people all over the world about the evils of contraception and abortion. Even at that young age, the insanity of encouraging people in Haiti and Ethiopia to reproduce prolifically, struck me as inexorably leading directly to famine and mass starvation.
To those who base their bias against women having the right to control their reproductive lives on some set of religious principles, I've got to say that, were Jesus (or whatever other central religious figure) alive today, I think that he would smack you in the back of the head and say, “What?! Who cares what I said way back then! Look what is going on in the world right now! You humans are just crushing the planet’s ability to sustain you! Obviously we have to use any and all means to slow and reverse human population growth or it won't matter what else we do, we will have created Hell on Earth! Are you out of your minds?!”
As for the supposed suffering of the fetus; how much less it must be than the suffering of a child born to a mother who does not want him or her. I remember reading many years ago about a study which showed a dramatic decrease in crime all across the US; 16 or 17 years after Roe V. Wade. Right about the time when young folks who are so inclined start to get arrested, the sudden absence of all those kids who would have been born to unwilling mothers actually resulted in a clear change of crime statistics.
And we are all better off for it.
AN APT PLACE TO MEET
Republicans to Meet
The Mendocino County Republican Central Committee will meet September 21, 2011, 7:00 PM — 9:00 PM at Moura Senior Housing, 400 South Street, Fort Bragg, CA 95437. For further information contact:
Stan Anderson, 707-321-2592.
THIS IS NUTS
I hope this finds you well. As you might know I am married to a Mendo county worker and have a “front row seat” to what is happening to particularly the Mental Health Crisis Services. Many of the line workers are developing serious health issues due to the mounting stress in the work place. The local union after fruitless negotiations with Mendocino County has proposed a strike. County workers will stop work and walk out on Monday 9/12/11 at 12:50pm! Primary issues under dispute are a 15% pay decrease to go with a workweek reduction to 36 hours and changing all Social Service employees’ status from full-time to part-time employees. This last part is especially alarming because if workers agree to this, benefit reductions cannot be far behind. Social Services, especially emergency services in Mental Health and child protection have already seen huge staff reductions, furloughed workdays, a previous 10% income reduction, 10-hour-plus work days, employees traveling long distances to provide necessary services, and a constantly increased workload. The safety and well being of citizens of Mendocino County are in serious jeopardy!
LET ‘EM SAG
The Turkey Vulture wants to know how anybody can object to forcing school kids to wear uniforms. Since dress is self-expression, here's H.L. Mencken writing in 1949:
“The whole drift of our law is toward absolute prohibition of all ideas that diverge in the slightest from the accepted platitudes, and behind the drift of law there is a far more potent force of growing custom, and under that custom there is a national philosophy which erects conformity into the noblest of virtues and the free functioning of personality into a capital crime against society.”
Or Voltaire: “Our wretched species is so made that those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road.”
Instead of old folks fixating on how they can rescue the young from youth, they should focus on how they can rescue them from the old.
NOT THERE, PLEASE
Dear Laura Hamburg,
I have not yet received a response to my letter of August 29th. Again, I hope you will reconsider your choice for a marijuana dispensary between a church and a family restaurant. Additionally, have you considered the “less than 1000 feet from a school” prohibition of marijuana? Across from your present choice of dispensary location is the Mendocino County Fairgrounds. They host many school activities there.
Section 9.31.090 of Mendocino County Code Violations, number 3, “prohibits the cultivation of marijuana in any amount within 1,000 feet of a youth oriented facility, school or park.” In my opinion, equal limitations to the location of a pot dispensary would seem to be morally equivalent.”
Again, please reconsider.
WHAT’S WRONG HERE?
What's wrong here?
We spend hundreds of billions of dollars bailing out a bunch of crooks on Wall Street and $8 billion a week on a war in Afghanistan. But when the post office loses $8 billion in one whole year we hear talk about a “new direction.”
Think about the millions of dollars saved by our mail persons who take our letters back to their office. We receive our catalogs and shop online, saving us time, money, gas and the environment.
The purpose of government is to protect the citizenry and provide for the general welfare. I don't mind paying taxes for the Postal Service, Social Security or health care, but I resent our corporate-sponsored representatives in Congress telling me the Postal Service should not lose money. What hypocrisy.
Memo of the Week
On September 2, 2011, the County sent SEIU a letter withdrawing the 36-hour revised MOU provided to SEIU on July 21, 2011. Since that time, there have been many questions from County employees regarding the status of SEIU negotiations. This memorandum is intended to clarify and respond to the many questions that have been raised. It is also intended to provide a factual account of events which have transpired since negotiations began in August of 2010 and shall not be construed as an attempt to influence or interfere with the negotiation process.
As you know, we have been negotiating with all of our bargaining units since March 2010, and specifically with SEIU since August 2010. During the 12 months of negotiations, there were 24 meetings, 32 tentative agreements signed off by both parties and 9 detailed SEIU information requests and responses from the County but no resolution of the wage concession request. On May 16, 2011, the County declared impasse.
As required by the Employee-Employer Relations Policy, the parties are required to hold an impasse meeting prior to requesting mediation. It was at this meeting that SEIU proposed a 36-hour workweek concept. After agreeing that consideration of the 36-hour work week concept would not affect the impasse declaration, the County’s negotiating team agreed to take the 36-hour work week concept to the BOS for consideration. On June 7th, the BOS met and gave direction to County staff to pursue and investigate whether the 36-hour workweek concept proposed by SEIU was feasible. The Board did not vote on or agree to any proposal. From June 20 through June 23, 2011, SEIU voted on a “Contract Settlement Proposal Summary” that had not been reviewed by or agreed to by the County, and despite the County requesting that the vote not go forward until the details of the 36-hour work week concept proposal could be discussed and an agreement reached. It is for this reason that the Board of Supervisors authorized CEO Carmel Angelo to send a message dated June 22, 2011, to all employees, stating that the Board had not agreed to many of the proposals that were included in the “Contract Settlement Proposal Summary.” There was no agreement on the specific details of the 36-hour workweek concept proposal when SEIU chose to take their language to the membership for a vote.
Without changing the County’s position on impasse, and despite the SEIU vote on proposals that had not been agreed to, the County continued to diligently explore the 36-hour workweek concept. Consideration of the 36-hour workweek concept was always based on the understanding that it would result in savings that would be the equivalent of a 10% reduction in pay.
On July 21, 2011, after a comprehensive review of the 36-hour workweek concept, the County met with SEIU and provided a complete revised MOU based on the SEIU request for a-36-hour workweek. Each provision was explained to the SEIU bargaining team at that meeting. For a full month, SEIU did not respond with a counter-proposal or acceptance of the revised MOU. On August 22, the County sent SEIU a letter informing them that they had until September 2, 2011 to advise the County as to whether the proposal would be put to a vote by the membership. During this timeframe, SEIU sent three information requests to which the County timely responded. SEIU and the County met on August 31 and remained in contact by email and phone, but no agreement was reached.
SEIU was reminded that the County would withdraw the 36-hour workweek proposal from further consideration if they, SEIU, did not respond by 5pm on September 2, stating that they would recommend the revised MOU be put to the membership for a vote. SEIU did not respond and gave no indication that they were prepared to recommend the revised MOU to the membership for a vote, so the proposal was withdrawn.
Additionally, the County then sent SEIU a second letter making the following proposal which was consistent with discussions that have occurred over the past year:
1. Term — 1 year thru September 30, 2012.
2. Wages — 15% ongoing salary reduction effective upon adoption of a new MOU.
3. Retirement — create a new tier for new hires.
4. On the job injuries — modify current language.
5. Inspection of personnel files — add new language.
6. Disciplinary action definitions — add new language.
7. All Tentative Agreements signed by both parties.
The above offer is valid until September 12, 2011 at 5pm. As of this writing, SEIU has stated via e-mail that neither proposal is acceptable.
We hope this memo answers some of your questions. Thank you all for your ongoing efforts to continue to serve the public with pride and professionalism during these difficult times.
Mendocino County Board of Supervisors
Mendocino County employees launch public campaign for open, accountable government. Protests This Week Call Out Board of Supervisors for Breaking Agreements, Threatening Workers and Bad Faith Bargaining.
The people who provide public services to Mendocino County will hold simultaneous countywide actions on Monday to call the public’s attention to abusive tactics and secret actions by the Board of Supervisors that are harming the critical services county residents rely on. They will also carry their protest to the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday.
County residents are invited to take part at these times and locations:
WHEN: Monday, September 12 at 12:50pm
WHERE: 1) County Courthouse, Ukiah — Corner of Perkins and State Streets. 2) County Courthouse, Fort Bragg — 700 South Franklin St. 3) Babcock Park, Willits — Hwy 101 near the Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital.
And Tuesday, September 13, 9am, Board of Supervisors meeting — 501 Low Gap Road, Room 1070
County workers had no choice but to expose the Board publicly when the supervisors unilaterally reneged on their own offer after the workers had already agreed to it.
“We agreed to the supervisors’ proposal with the largest show of support in county history. Employee morale was high and productivity was up. But the Board responded by retaliating against us and backpedaling on their own deal,” said Andrea Longoria, a substance abuse counselor in the Health & Human Services Agency and member of the SEIU Local 1021 bargaining team, which represents more than 700 county workers.
“They're now threatening to slash our wages by 15% instead of bargaining, and threatening to retaliate against us by imposing these terms if we don't accept them unconditionally by 5pm on Monday,” she said. “And this is after we had a deal.”
“The kicker is that it’s Mendocino County residents who get hurt the most — by a far lower level of services and by secret, unaccountable government,” she said.
During negotiations this summer, county workers presented the Board of Supervisors with more than $6 million in proposed cost savings for the county, a proposal the supervisors have continued to ignore. In December 2007, the supervisors gave themselves a 43% pay raise while increasing county workers’ health care premiums by 43%.
At the Monday actions and Tuesday board meeting, County workers will circulate a petition calling on the Board of Supervisors to accept the same package they are forcing upon the workers — a 15% pay cut and change to “permanent part-time” status — and to move Board meetings from 9am to 5:30pm so that meetings are more accessible to the public.
Find more information on the public campaign website, Mendocino Forward: www.mendocinoforward.com
Dear community service organizations, schools and health facilities:
Guided Learning and Psychotherapy; Equine Echoes at Mountain View Stables in Boonville.
We invite you to experience a free demonstration of a type of guided learning and psychotherapy called Equine Assisted Learning or Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. This approach incorporates horses for emotional growth and learning. It is a collaborative effort between a mental health professional and a horse professional working with clients and horses to address personal, family or team goals. We find this work gets to the issues quickly in a nonthreatening manner.
Our team includes Brenda Stone, barn manager and equine specialist. Brenda is a professional horse trainer with 25+ years of experience in natural horse training and competition and has taught many clinics over the years — everything from natural horsemanship and massage therapy to kids pony camp.
Lesley Osman is a licensed marriage and family therapist who has been in private practice for over 20 years and has her M.A. in counseling psychology. Leslie has worked extensively with children and adolescents and is currently contracted with Redwood Children's Services. Lesley incorporates a nature-based approach to her private practice in Boonville where she works with individuals and families.
The equine assisted guidance and learning association (EAGALA) approach has a wide appeal and can be used for teambuilding, improved communication in groups and families, individual therapeutic and counseling purposes. We work outside in an enclosed environment such as an arena with individuals, couples, families, groups and organizations.
We are both certified in this method. www.eagala.com is the organizational website to provide you with more information about this approach.
We will provide one hour of group activity with the horses which have been hand-picked for this kind of work. As it is difficult to explain how beneficial the experience with horses can be, we believe the demonstration will give you a better understanding of the fundamentals first-hand. We want to share this exciting work with you to be considered for your referrals. The next demonstration will be offered on Sunday, September 25.
Please RSVP to 272-3902 or 895-2852 or email Lesley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Plan on up to two hours total, processing time included. Dress comfortably. Horse-riding clothing is not necessary as this is not a riding experience. Please wear closed-toed shoes (no sandals or flip-flops). You will be standing, walking and sitting outdoors. Light refreshments will be provided.
The demonstration will occur at Mountain View Ranch just past the high school and airport on Mountain View Road in Boonville. Although we are offering this experience at no charge, any donations would be used to help offset the cost to disadvantaged clients. We look forward to sharing this with you.
Leslie Osman MFT, and Linda Stone, equine specialist
Alexander Cockburn’s columns are always fascinating because they are so off the wall. I guess when/if you must turn out such long columns weekly, the search for something significant to say gets difficult, particularly if you live in Eureka so far from the action. As an example, the columns he has written asserting that global warming is all a conspiracy theory designed to get earth scientists grants or whatever are remarkably disjointed. Conspiracies do happen, not by a bunch of shady individuals sitting around in a smoky room, but simply by common interest as Will Parrish has so well documented of the efforts of a few to monopolize northern California water. Is this only a conspiracy theory? Mainstream newspapers, television news, and news magazines both in print and on the web, where most get their information, don’t mention it, only left-wing environ blogs and far out newspapers like the AVA that no one but nuts read.
Roosevelt and WWII come to mind. England was in deep trouble and Churchill was begging Roosevelt for help. Congress resisted, fearing engagements in foreign wars. Pearl Harbor was the solution and the Battleship Arizona was left as a sitting duck just as the Battleship Maine had been in Havana Bay and the USS Maddox in Vietnam. How many military and civilian lives were lost to save England? Of course, you say, looking back it was vital to stop Hitler, but at that point American capital had mixed feelings about him.
Kennedy was in the process of taking control of the money supply from the Fed when he was shot. He was becoming a danger to powerful people in this and other ways as were his brother and MLK Jr. who was coming out strongly against the Viet Nam War. The assassins surly couldn’t be unidentified or linked to power in any way or conspiracy theories would get started. So, somehow or another, unknown nuts were the unquestioned felons in each case. President Johnson was naturally apprised of all investigations associated with his predecessor’s death. He was once asked what had really happened and he replied, “You don’t want to know.” Of course, this is only hearsay. There are many of us who wonder that the persons, places, and times the killings occurred are just too pat in each of these cases. When the dice keep coming up boxcars, one questions.
I come to 9/11. Recently a psychologist reported some interesting experimental results. If someone believes something to be true and is presented contrary evidence, he will refuse to consider it and, instead, become more strongly committed to his belief. I stumbled on an article by a person who had been a doubter of a 9/11 conspiracy several years after the attack. Still, he decided to investigate further. As he considered the evidence, he concluded there was a smoking gun. I subsequently read the books in which he presented his evidence, which really caught my attention. There was a lot of funny business about the trade center collapse that, as far as I can learn, was never investigated. There was no forensic inquiry, because “they” knew who the instigators were apparently by the next day; all the evidence was quickly cleaned up, much of it shipped off to China. Shortly after, the news began to focus on Iraq. All the 9/11 “conspiracy theorists” have ever asked is for an objective forensic investigation, although many believe they know what the answer will be. Anyhow, a lot of top secret documents would have to be exposed to get to the truth and important people required to respond to questions, and that won’t happen.
Now, we are learning about another conspiracy, one in which adjustable-rate mortgages with little down payment were widely made, packaged in mortgage securities with other more solid mortgages, and passed off by the rating agencies as prime investments. As they were doing this, there is evidence that they understood that this boom would bust, but by that time they would have reaped huge profits — which they did — and the traces would have disappeared — which they almost did. Now Fanny Mae/Freddy Mack and the Attorney General of Nevada are after them. It is mostly hearsay that they with afore thought were guilty of fraud and theft. It would appear someone might have to raid their offices, sequester all their records, and filter through them for proof, but think of the work involved. It appears to me that these are high crimes and misdemeanors, racketeering. Think how many have been hurt by the losses of their homes. As usual the mainstream media hasn’t noticed and the other 49 state Attorney Generals and the Attorney General of the US are sitting on their hands. So, this must just be another conspiracy theory.
Do we have to attend Koch Brothers’ gatherings to see that indeed conspiracies do happen, are happening all the time in the “high” places of our economy and government? Rule number two, in my book, after love your brother and sister as yourself is to always question authority and test their answers for veracity.
The GOP repeatedly tells us that their primary goal is to defeat Obama. Their solution to the financial crisis remains the same policy that created our problems: no taxes, no regulation, destroy the environment, and more war.
Voters are angry with Obama for not standing up to a GOP devoted to rich monopolies, wealthy individuals, banks, and the insurance industry, all intent on enriching themselves.
The attack on the public must be turned around by a real jobs program:
a new WPA to rebuild our infrastructure;
extend Medicare for everyone;
Social Security for anyone over 60 who has been out of work for 2 years;
a 30-hour workweek for everyone;
fair taxes on the richest ten percent;
taxes on overseas corporate profits, and
an end to part-time work with no benefits.
We tried saving the banks; it didn't help. Now it's time to save ordinary working people.
THE SELF EXPRESSION ARGUMENT
Why such upset about what the High School kids are wearing? Is it inciting violent behavior on campus? Are the kids’ grades suffering because of it? My understanding is that the answer is no, it is not. So, what, exactly, is the problem?
As the mother of a wonderful, creative and talented high school senior who has gone to AV schools since 4th grade, I don't understand what the fuss is about. “Choose your battles,” people! Kids drinking alcohol? That's a battle worth fighting! Kids smoking dope and/or cigarettes? Absolutely worth fighting. Vandalism? Violence? Nip it in the bud. Gang paraphernalia? Not acceptable. But clothes?? Clothes are an excellent way to self-express, and it doesn't hurt anybody.
Here is some information from the latest Smithsonian magazine: Finland's students get extremely high scores, ranking 2nd, 3rd and 6th on the standardized exams in science, reading and math taken by students around the world in 57 countries. (US schools come in around 25th — 30th.) The Fins do this without mandated standardized tests apart from one exam at the end of a student's senior year in high school. The article says, “What's up in Finland's schools? These schools are joyful places. The teachers come in jeans and sandals. Some of them wear funny costumes on holidays.” They make learning fun, and well-educated students come out of it.
How about when it's considered wrong for a girl to cover too much, to wear a head scarf to school? Remember when ladies were frowned upon if they didn't wear gloves to the city? “Fashion,” what clothing is considered acceptable, is always changing. It's totally subjective. Why do we get so riled up about it? There are so many truly horrendous things going on to get upset about, like the budget cuts to the state, with our economy 7th or 8th in the world, yet no money for our schools. Let's put our energy into righting that wrong; Higher education is getting so expensive, only the very wealthy can attend without racking up gigantic debts. There’s something to change. “The transformation of the Finns’ education system began some 40 years ago as the key propellent of the country’s economic recovery plan,” states the Smithsonian. Now there’s a thought! Again, I say: Choose your battles!
PS. Check out the Sept. 2011 Smithsonian article, “A+ For Finland” (or Smithsonian.com/finland)
LOOKS ARE DECEIVING
One thing that Mr. Cockburn and all the wicked and deluded conspiracy theorists can agree on is that it sure does LOOK like controlled demolition.
President Obama promised on October 27, 2007: “I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am President, it is the FIRST THING I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank.”
On Peace — President Obama has been in office for 32 months and there are still 45,000 troops in Iraq and 100,000+ troops in Afghanistan. When we voted for Obama we expected our future President to keep his word, not involve us in FOUR MORE WARS! PRESIDENT OBAMA: You're ON NOTICE. Next election Americans will come out in great numbers to vote for a peace-focused presidential candidate that will keep his word.
On Commercial-scale Renewable Energy — We felt validated that we voted for Obama when early in his presidency our President pledged to begin to develop safe, sustainable and renewable energy. We saw it as an excellent way to put the American workforce 'back to work' and begin to build a renewable energy future for America. Since then NOT ONE significant renewable or sustainable energy project has been created nor backed by the federal government. If there is one, please name it! The validation we felt back then has expired long ago into distrust and disrespect.
On the BP Gulf Oil Leak — Mostly based on watching our President minimize and shield his eyes (along with Energy Sec Chu) as the BP Oil Leak continues to leak and spew oil into the Gulf of Mexico, to this day. We are beyond disappointed that no significant or innovative remedial (as in clean up) action has been taken in the Gulf or poisoned coastal areas.
On Fukushima & Nuclear Reactors — Then we were shocked when our President in his address to the nation, moments after Fukushima went into melt-through in March 2011, disbelieving our President's pledge of allegiance to more, new nuclear development in America. Except for President Obama's corporate backers, the rest of us DO NOT WANT MORE NUCLEAR ENERGY REACTORS in the U.S. We demand our President begin to close down all U.S. nuclear reactors now, also a position very far from our President's nuclear energy corporate BFF's.
The natives are becoming restless mr. President!
Put America back on the right track
1) Immediately BRING ALL TROOPS HOME to be re-deployed in cleaning up the affected areas, as in making whole again, at the on-going BP Oil Leak in the Gulf of Mexico.
1-A. Fire & replace Energy Secretary Chu with a qualified, earth-friendly, safe renewable energy visionary.
2) Segment a significant portion of your new Jobs Bill towards sustainable and renewable energy R&D to create a VISION & PLAN FOR AMERICA to become the world leader in these new, safe technologies.
2-A. Consider and fund Mendocino Energy, a fast-tracked commercial-scale renewal/sustainable energy thinktank to get started TODAY. Learn more about Mendocino Energy. http://bit.ly/t7ov1
Mr. President, let us live in peace on a healthy planet.
JOIN US, JOIN IN at the Peaceful Party: http://on.fb.me/hBvNE3