Letters To The Editor
by AVA News Service, February 1, 2012
KEEP THE CODE
Something Wicked This Way Comes is, of course, the famous line from the Shakespearean play Macbeth, which forewarns of an impending ominous, dangerous and traitorous entity.
Fast-forward from the seventeenth century, to a real threat we now potentially face in Mendocino County, which is perhaps no less insidious or alarming; with modern day wide-reach and consequence for the entire county.
The proposed Harris Quarry Expansion Project, is the benign-sounding name of a determined push to install a 300 ton per hour asphalt manufacturing plant neighboring the LaVida school, Christ's Church of the Golden Rule and Golden Rule senior residential park, which are proximate to the famous Seabiscuit Ranch- former home of legendary race horse Seabiscuit. The Bountiful Gardens research garden and cherry orchard are also nearby. Further, this proposal seeks to ambitiously involve the entire County through zoning changes specifically allowing heavy industrial / manufacturing uses on land designated in the General Plan as " RL-Range lands"; which includes 90 % of the private property in Mendocino County. Everyone's "back yard" in Mendocino County could potentially be vulnerable if the designers and proponents of this plan get their way. There is legitimate concern the so-called Mineral Processing Combining District Overlay feature of this proposal is an add-on, benefiting special interests. Sooner or later this (ear-mark) may affect unsuspecting citizens County-wide, in a very up-close and personal way.
Many are concerned that this movement which is portrayed ostensibly as a need for a single asphalt plant, is actually a much farther-reaching agenda "opening the door" to manufacturing related development of not only more asphalt plants around the county; but also possibly for the development of oil refineries (to accommodate off-shore drilling), natural gas, geothermal and concrete manufacturing plants, along with a whole host of other activities which could bring adverse and unforeseen consequences heaped upon a surprised, non-informed citizenry.
For those of us appropriately concerned with Mendocino's economic future, it is important to note, objections are not anti-business in spirit. A careful reading of the Environmental Impact Report's "fine print" reveals an admission that only 4 local jobs might be generated if the Harris Quarry asphalt plant becomes a reality. Compare this with the real fear of more employment losses due to discouragement of tourism along with plummeting property values which could result from inevitable environmental pollution from the asphalt plant on Ridgewood Summit- the highest point of land along Highway 101. It is arguable that an already struggling tax base could be further compromised. Heavily loaded, polluting, over sized trucks would dominate and slow traffic on Hwy 101 at this dangerous intersection. An unsightly and incongruous, smelly smokestack looming over an otherwise pristine countryside, and night time lights would point the way to the historic Seabiscuit Ranch; and serve as monument and beacon to poor planning and short-sighted subservience to special interests. Is this the template we want to approve county-wide ? This may be a plan bringing an evil wind that blows no good- to a property near you.
The voluminous, complex and expensively produced report called an Environmental Impact Report has been fashioned by all the proper authorities and advocates on the subject. Public outcry had forced the Applicant to withdraw and re-submit as inadequacies and deficiencies were exposed. A continually changing, re-adjusting, and morphing project has strained the patience and resources of a weary public addressing a moving target- but the resolve remains firm.
Recently, it has been announced that Ignacio Gonzales, Planning Director for Mendocino County, and (prior) former Special County Consultant on this same project- has resigned. It has been reported that Director Gonzales left for greater challenges and higher compensation in Santa Clara County. This begs the question: Should the citizens of this County be saddled for generations to come, with what many consider an ill-conceived, complex, poorly explained, far reaching zoning change that would allow industrial expansion throughout the county ? A plan designed, and engineered, if not advocated, by individuals who may not be here to deal with the profound long term adverse consequences !
The Planning Commissioners are scheduled to make recommendations to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors very soon. The BOS is the ultimate authority representing the citizens of Mendocino County. This board will be asked to vote yes or no, or suggest alternatives. Please voice your concern and let the Board know how you feel by contacting your District Representative, or by reaching the Board collectively by e-mailing: email@example.com
Please help bring this proposal out of the shadows and into the clear light of public scrutiny. Let's confine "Something Wicked" to the pages of fiction- and out of the back yards of Mendocino County.
For Keep The Code
Education in peril without school buses or Internet
No school buses AND insufficient high speed Internet coverage for both kids and adults in their homes is double whammy for rural California. It is a sad AND unacceptable situation for kids whose parents may find it a hardship to get them to and from school. If all residences had high speed Internet, young people could be educated from home and not need to worry about the school bus cuts. The Leggett Valley Unified school district started an online K-12 program last fall as the Lost Coast Virtual Academy as a pilot program for Mendocino County. This might be the wave of the future as the government gets more distant to the realities in the really rural areas. One more reason to demand high speed Internet as a must have in the 21st century and support the Broadband Alliance in their efforts to get all residences connected.
May Peace Prevail on Earth.
Broadband Alliance of Mendocino County
NOT AS REPORTED
I'm a Philo part-timer; but I live in Berkeley mostly. I am a retired lawyer. For political reference, I was a founder and co-chair of the progressive caucus in the California Democratic Party and a lifelong progressive activist. I am a friend and strong supporter of Norman Solomon in the 2nd CD race. I am also an elected member of the KPFA local station board. I was therefore horrified/amused by the reference to our station in the Off the Record column in early January referring to, and wildly mis-stating, the nature of the struggle at KPFA and Pacifica. The short description of that battle is that it is about several things: local control, and a sound that will attract and keep listener-subscribers.
The majority of the elected local board believes in the quaint notion that those of us elected by the local listener-members should have a modicum of control over our station. The reality is that, in November 2010, the Pacifica Executive Director summarily purged the paid staff, eliminated the most popular and most remunerative program -- the Morning Show -- and its staff, without so much as consultation with the local station management or board, and has proceeded to run the station high-handedly ever since. The fight is not so much over content, although there is a continuing undercurrent of vilification of Democratic Party activists (of which -- see above -- I am one) which I see the AVA has repeated. A lot of folks in the Democratic Party consider our progressive politics in no way related to Nancy Pelosi. I was the author, for example, of the resolution censuring Dianne Feinstein for, essentially, being too conservative. It was the progressive caucus that passed a resolution strongly critical of Obama and mentioning the heresy of a possible primary challenge. I subscribe to the belief that the two party system is currently the only game in town (I was a Henry 'Wallace supporter in 1948 and a Peace and Freedom Party member in the 1960's) and if you want to fight for social justice now, you can rail from the sidelines, or you can get in and get dirty.
But that is not what the fight at the station is about; the Democratic Party issue is straw man, a subterfuge to cover the far more mundane, local issues involved. The local board majority supporting the recall consists of socialists, independents, Greens, and progressive democrats. No one is trying to turn the station into a mouthpiece for any point of view. The board majority retains the notion that local management should run the station, that it should have a professional format and sound, that it should speak truth to power and that it should not be the mouthpiece of any tendency or faction. Or party.
The recall campaign is related to the two issues mentioned above. Ms. Rosenberg is vulnerable in both categories, and has committed many offenses against local control, as well as others detailed in the campaign. It is true that she is "committed," but to what, other than her self-aggrandizement? As most of your readers don't hear or subscribe to the station, I will not bore them with the intimate details. But I thought it important to correct the one-sided diatribe in the AVA earlier this month.
We need the AVA. It is the only media outlet that provides real — read true — political information in Mendocino County. It also provides good writing on a variety of subjects — for example Todd Walton — and it has an excellent "open letters policy" which permits negativity.
It should be more widely read but it is not. Much of what the AVA terms "coast lib" won't read it although it is the best, often only source of information on issues that concern them.
Why is this the case? I believe it is because of the mean-spirited, cheap shot writing that occurs. This was formerly the bailiwick of the esteemed editor, but now that age has mellowed him it is practiced by Bruce McEwen. I believe lines such as, “He responds to his wife's hand signals with the alacrity of a well-trained Jack Russell terrier,” whether accurate or not, tends to drive away more readers than his pandering to the desire for distraction that our entertainment oriented population attracts.
Although I rarely have the fortitude to read an entire McEwen story, in spite of my hope that his reporting on the failures of the justice system might help to bring about change, I recognize that crime reporting sells papers.
Since I would like to see the AVA thrive, I suggest that the editor edit with an eye to distinguishing humor from gratuitous cruelty.
PS. How can it be a "major fubar" if replacement copies are being sent?
Ed reply: “He responds to his wife's hand signals with the alacrity of a well-trained Jack Russell terrier.” Mean-spirited? Cheap shot? Are you kidding? Everyone in the courtroom remarked on it. I call it good reporting, and McEwen's by far the best court reporter around. Crimeny, Pete, we can't all be Charlie Acker! PS. Combined website and hard copy, the AVA is easily the most read publication in the county which, granted, isn't saying much in the country where most people get all their information from television. But only us and the PD reach every area of Mendo from Mina to Gualala. This fact distresses lots of people, lockstep libs especially. Always has.
MEMO TO KENDALL SMITH
Let me be clear. Actually, now more than ever, in terms of a level playing field, all options are on the table, if you will. At this point in time, we are cautiously optimistic but must be proactive with a sustainable footprint — on the ground in real time, at the end of the day. Iconic? Not so much.
NITT & MEWT
Mitt and Newt. Newt and Mitt. Do we need any more evidence that the process has been hijacked, that the system is broken? Richie Rich and Baron von Munchausen vying for the opportunity to spend the summer and early fall making Wall Street's errand boy in the White House look like the sane and reasonable option. Is anybody still not convinced that we're fast approaching, if not already arrived at, a state of irreparable civic wreckage?
When the media monsters and networks leveraged out the League of Women Voters and took over managing and presenting the debates, it felt as though the adults had left the room and headed for the SuperPac slot machines, leaving the children behind glued to a teevee offering a continuous repeating loop of Fear Factor.
How would you like to have been the Texas businessman who got excited when Rick Perry threw in his hat, donating $50,000 to the campaign in hopes of gaining privileged access once the Governor moved into the White House, only to find out a couple of short weeks later that yes, Virginia, there really is a candidate who can appear so stupid that even the pig people and teabaggers can't bring themselves to vote for him. Must have felt like that time he met that little gal at the bar of the Convention Center, bought her services for the whole night, only to wake up in the morning and find the bed empty and his wallet gone. Well, don't take it too hard, Tex, there's a whole lot of us feeling that way these days.
In fact, I'm thinking that it's high time to just opt out. Let's sit this one out and stay at home next November. Let them think that we're too busy out in the garage sharpening the pitchforks to be bothered with going to the polls.
But if you absolutely must go, be sure to vote outside The Choice. Vote for Pat Paulsen, Leonard Peltier, Stephen Colbert, Barry Commoner, Ralph Nader, Gus Hall, or even Ron Paul if you're so inclined. It doesn't really matter what alternative you choose, just as long as you let them know that you're no longer buying into their game. Because the only vote that means anything now is the vote that refuses to legitimize the farce.
Coal Creek Canyon, Colorado
WOMEN & CHILDREN LAST
I just rec'd this via email from an old friend:
The current plight of the Costa Concordia reminds me of a comment made by Winston Churchill. After his retirement, he was cruising the Mediterranean on an Italian cruise liner. Some Italian journalists asked him why an ex-British Prime Minister would choose an Italian ship.
“There are three things I like about being on an Italian cruise ship,” said Churchill. “First, the cuisine is unsurpassed. Second, their service is superb. Then, in time of emergency, there is none of this nonsense about women and children first.”
The page number mixup and the mere eight pages of the January 11 issue represented but the iceberg's tip.
I address you as co-author with Mr. McEwen of “The Newspaper Did It.” The newspaper did, indeed. You write here of “exactly one media.” The words “exactly one” definitely sounds like singular to me and, gents, the singular is definitely “medium,” and the plural alone is “media.” Later in the same article you refer to “a single media,” and I cringe to see this egregious error compounded. When are you going to shoot (or hire) the copy editor over there?
Kick this fool out when you dispose of that dumb ass spellchecker which doesn't know a homonym from a hominy or a homily. I know you had recent ill health and you are terribly busy and you have only one reporter and so on and blah blah. But when stuff like this goes out under the editor's byline, well… I would hate to imply that you sound like out of the illiterate backwoods, but sometimes, well, really.
Chugging right along, keep up those worthy words.
PS. Oh, and Major? The word “ablutions” refers just do the washing part, the cleansing with water. You can look it up, as Casey Stengel said.
WHAT’S WITH YOU PEOPLE?
I love that little All That Good Jazz Stuff in Loonieville.
I always stop on my way home from “civilization” back to Fort Bragg and check out what funky stuff is in there now.
What's with you people in Anderson Valley? Where are the torches and pitchforks?
You can just bet there will be some uptight overpriced doodad “shoppe” with coordinating organic earthtones taking its place or worse, a tasting room.
You can always get them back where it hurts: their wallets.
The landlords are Johnny Schmitt who owns the Boonville Hotel and the restaurant inside and Roger Scomegna who owns Signal Ridge Winery. Boycott them! Show your outrage. Don't referr people to the landlords' own businesses. Don't buy Signal Ridge wine. Don't stay or eat at the Boonville Hotel.
Talk to them, e-mail them, write them, and tell them that the evicting All That Good Jazz is a crappy idea.
What the hell are you waiting for? Put down his newspaper and call them!
Greenbelt — Less Wal-Mart
Fifty to 75 years ago, the Ukiah Valley was still a beautiful place. The valley floor would be covered with deep blue lupines and golden poppies. Today you have to search for lupines and poppies for seed saving. Have we lost our appreciation for nature's paintbrush? So much so that we bulldoze, pave, build and destroy all of the natural world which provides a quality of life beyond the business practices of shopping and earning money? What's wrong with Wal-Mart's plan to expand its store? Looks like everything to me.
Why should taxpayers be asked to subsidize the obscenely wealthy Wal-Mart/Walton family through food stamps and the food bank programs to feed poorly paid Wal-Mart employees? The Ukiah co-op and the other stores pay living wages. Why doesn't the greedy Wal-Mart corporation pay equally fair wages to all its employees?
Wal-Mart wants to expand its paved areas with more asphalt in a floodplain, dumping more automobile pollution into the Russian River — more traffic — more air pollution in a valley which suffers from summer air inversions trapping pollution close to the valley floor — more water usage when climate change challenges us with many unknowns such as alternating drought and flooding.
If Wal-Mart were to demonstrate goodwill towards our community, Wal-Mart would donate anywhere from $1 million-$10 million toward the construction of a greenbelt along the Russian River, a walking park with bicycle paths to include riparian habitat restoration, wildlife protection and wildflower and native plantings. Such a greenbelt would truly benefit Ukiah/Haiku as parks like this have revitalized and restored downtowns and abandoned city areas all over this country. Ukiah could be an example of a progressive community instead of a regressive one choosing predatory capitalism. We need to green our city. The Open Space Council, Audubon Society, Ukiah Trails, Mendocino Land Trust, California Native Plant Society need to join together, organize for local sovereignty, instead of corporate predation of our wealth. Think of Wal-Mart as an invasive species. Look at how the wildly spreading thorn-covered gorse has overtaken our coastal grasslands, pampas grass too. Inland, observe the spreading of toxic star thistle which is so difficult to remove.
All of us joined together can create a powerful coalition for change. Why should citizens have to beg a panel of unaccountable bureaucrats to rule in the best interests of our community? Progressive communities have begun to discharge their planning commissions in favor of citizens' coalitions and liaisons. Perhaps this will be necessary to accomplish the long-term revitalization of our city.
Dorotheya M. Dorman
GOING TO KUWAIT PARTY
Staff Sergeant Steven Alvarez is a May 2005 graduate of Anderson Valley High School, grandson of Harold and Shirley Hulbert, son of Baldimar Alvarez and Melody Perez. He finished boot camp at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, then went on to train in diesel mechanics. He has been to Aberdeen proving grounds in Maryland, Fort Lewis in Washington State, Vilsec, Germany, then in Iraq for 18 months. For the last two years he has made his home in Pleasanton, California, working for Lockheed-Martin. Soon he will leave again for Kuwait as an employee of Lockheed-Martin.
We will have a farewell potluck dinner for him on Saturday, February 11 at 5:30pm at the Senior Center in Boonville. Everyone is welcome to come, eat, say good luck and give him our goodbyes.
NOT SO PINK SLIPS
In January, the Point Arena Unified Board of Trustees went over the 2011-2012 Mid-Year Trigger Cuts during the Point Arena School Board Meeting. Last year, 2011-2012, the district’s ending balance was $1,594,225. This year 2012-2013, if the projection holds up, it looks like the district will have an ending balance of $1,221,153. Of course, this is not how it was reported in the Independent Coast Observer which stated Superintendent Cross told them, “The mid-year cut means the district projects to deficit spend into its reserve as much as $430,000 for 2011-2012.” The trustee “reserve” budget for emergency spending is approximately $2 million. At the meeting when discussing the failing budget, Trustee DeWilder quickly added that “we have the Action Network’s Lawsuit to thank for this.”
Let’s be realistic. Action Network obtained a grant for the students. It was a School Safety & Violence Prevention Grant to the tune of over $362k. This grant started approximately two to three years ago and will end in 2013-14. What did Action Network get from the suit against the district? The ICO reported they received $25K. I am not sure why DeWilder is looking a gift horse in the mouth. This year it allowed the district to use the entire amount to for “Instructional Salaries.” I am sure there are other schools which would greatly appreciate having more funds for instructional use instead of grumbling about it.
The ICO also reported that Cross “was authorized to distribute pink slips to an undetermined number of certificated employees…” I called Dr. Cross and inquired as to what positions are being eliminated from the district and was informed the “pink slips” would not happen until the due date of March 15th. I asked her to keep me informed when it does happen.
I will keep you updated!
Suzanne L. Rush,
SAME OLD SAME OLD
Once again, President Obama talks the talk of equality and fairness, but walks the walk of special privilege for the rich.
Sure, increasing the capital gains tax from 15% to 30% is a great step, but the top rate on ordinary income is still higher at 35%. Plus, those in the middle class pay a higher percentage in sales tax, property tax, payroll tax, etc.
So Obama’s proposal is still a special gift from those whose income is mostly labor to those whose income is mostly investment. Are we going to fall for the Republican good cop, Democrat bad cop routine again? Why not simply have the same tax brackets for any income, regardless of its source? The added revenue would be all that’s needed to put the Federal budget back in the black, just as it was under Clinton, before Bush cut taxes on the rich with the capital gains tax break in the first place.
ALL IN ONE, ONE FOR ALL
We want to thank the Mendocino County Fire Safe Council, the good works of Executive Director Julie Rogers and Colin Wilson of the Anderson Valley Fire Dept. for sending help to trim back our driveway and yard making our home safe from fire and our road access open, safe and available for emergency equipment if either we or our neighbors are ever in need.
The crew run by Aaron Peterson’s All-IN-1 tree service who came for a FULL day was friendly and professional and left our property safe and cleaned-up.
The program funded through MCFSC is much needed and most appreciated.
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for this amazing gift.
Barbara & John Stephens~Lewallen
WELL, SHUCKS, ANYTIME
Occupy the Courts: a Phenomenal Success!
Thanks to you and many others, our “Occupy the Courts” events on January 20 turned out better than we ever imagined! Events protesting Citizens United took place at 138 federal courthouses, in parks and plazas, and at the Supreme Court.
Far too numerous to mention here (including over 1200 print/online articles and 450+ TV/radio clips!), please check here for a round-up of the news stories.
We were able to stage protests at federal courthouses in 48 states, and bring thousands upon thousands of our fellow citizens out on a week-day, in the middle of winter.
It was a measure of the great grassroots organizing going on within this coalition.
Amending the Constitution to abolish corporate personhood requires us to work in our own communities to build support for it. “Occupy the Courts” show us that when we all pull together, we succeed. So pat yourself on the back for a job well done!
Going forward, Move to Amend will continue to lead the fight against corporate personhood and “money is speech.” In order to do so, and meet the growing demand for information and resources, we have recently upgraded our database to better serve you.
You’ve probably already noticed that our emails look a little different. Our new system has improved our communications ability tenfold and offers a lot more flexibility — but it does come at an expense.
Help us succeed in all of our efforts — become a sustaining member today!
“Occupy the Courts” taught us that when we are able to focus attention on our mission instead of on raising money, we can accomplish great things.
If every Move to Amend member contributed just $10 a month (the cost of a movie ticket) we could focus our attention entirely on the Movement to Amend and passing the 28th Amendment.
Please become a Move to Amend monthly sustaining donor!
Ben Manski, Nancy Price, David Cobb, Leesa “George” Friday, Jerome Scott, Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, Lisa Graves, Laura Bonham
Move to Amend Executive Committee, Wherever USA
NOT THE SALOON?
Amongst all the turmoil and scandal of the stories featuring J. Schmitt and All that Good Stuff , the High School Fight Club and its accompanying student suspensions, and the P.T.A. financial irregularities, perhaps the most disturbing piece of news I have heard this past few days is that The Boonville Saloon (formerly The Boonville Lodge) is closing and the liquor license being sold to an establishment in Pt. Arena... If this is true we may never get one back here in the Valley... Say it ain't so.l
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THINGS FALL APART
As staunch and really are carted off to the recycle bin let us bring on erg and joule and let the housewife dwell on the second law of thermodynamics and entropy as she hits the reheat button on her microwave.
To those concerned…
Last Friday the parties actually involved in the lease negotiations of “All That Good Stuff” met to pick up where we left off a few weeks back. Leslie has been offered a two-three-year lease, pretty much the same deal offered prior to the Steve Sparks article. This is with no rent increase or long-term obligation on her part should she decide to find a suitable space sooner. While some would view this as an eviction, others view this as generous notice.
For those who would like to help Leslie and Claudia succeed, what we can do is help them look for a future location for “All That Good Stuff.” If anyone has positive suggestions or has a suitable building they would like to rent, please let us know. If you still have the need to sling mud, please reconsider, as you are only hurting the parties involved as well as the community we love.
Johnny, Roger and Melinda
FOUR YEARS AGO…
Open letter to media:
I’m appalled at the amount of airtime and press coverage devoted to the presidential primaries. It’s just another example of how the corporate media decides what is “news”. Instead of news of important issues or events, we are exposed to corporate candidates who debate the issues that the corporate world frames for us to hear. Those outside the mainstream, who wish to debate real issues, are quickly sidelined as being “unelectable” (anyone not selected by the two main parties).
I have come to expect as much from NPR, but now I have the same complaint about Democracy Now! and Free Speech Radio News. I have depended on these sources to give me REAL news, but they, too, are now featuring hot items from the Dem and Repub “Dog and Pony” shows.
This major distraction occupies the front pages of most print media, as well. It has even crept into the pages of the AVA.
Please - Amy, FSRN and AVA, spare us from the daily updates of these meaningless “news” reports and get back to your real news items.
Ed note: We defy anyone to find an unironic reference to any of the candidates of either party in this fine publication.