Letters to the Editor 10/21/2009
by Letters to the Editor, October 21, 2009
FIFTY YEARS AGO
We now have the same liberty as an anarchist would have had in Mussolini's Italy in 1939.
It seems like 1939 in Mendocino, or like the last days of the Weimar Republic in Germany. I'm getting $250 a month in unemployment, all the social services are shut down or barely functioning, the lumber mills are all gone, the fishing industry has been destroyed.
The younger section of the population is jacked up on speed and armed to the teeth and they have little to eat but lots of knives. It's not a pretty picture. The world of the malcontents looked better in the 60s when we were packing hardware — at least we were not on crack, only weed and wine. Thank God His mercy has avoided a civil war breaking out in Mendocino. It's a grim set of affairs when a sweet soft-spoken old man like myself has to sleep with a 90 pound pitbull and I don't mean Beth Bosk.
One of the inmates at the Jail on Low Gap Road had a dream that Obama had been killed and Joe Biden, the corporate wag from Delaware turned the country over to the military by declaring martial law, sort of like the Institutional Party in Mexico, again 1939 style.
In spite of all we still believe in Eugene Debs, our Albion nation, our IWW union, and a free press — and hippie chicks.
PS. 50 years ago we were living and working and going to San Francisco State College, although as anti-communists or rather anti-Stalinist anarchists. We were sleeping with the enemy — a beautiful Young Communist League PE major, Linda “Dizzy” Lawrence whose father was the head of the Science department at Modesto City College. We couldn't get enough of each other. I got $52.50 a week in railroad retirement benefits for “dying” on the extra board. She had a student loan and a check from daddy.
We didn't need a lot to keep us happy. My Vespa motor scooter got 100 miles to the gallon at 25¢ a fill-up. We smoked loco-grade Mexican weed at $80 per kilo (2.2 pounds) and ate at the student cafe. Nights we would go down to North Beach to hear our favorite beatnik show.
Ruth Weiss played her poems to a jazzy background. She was beautiful, sexy and brilliant. She was queen and Allen Ginsberg was king. Those were great days. We were both going to become teachers. We were both 19 or 20 and the country was strong. A buck was still silver. This was way back before the Beatles, before the Vietnam horror came along.
I gave her Orwell's Homage to Catalonia; she gave me Hemingway's novel For Whom the Bell Tolls that parroted the Communist Party line. We agreed to disagree. We preferred Howling in North Beach against the existing order with the likes of Ruth Weiss and Bob Kaufman. College was a breeze. The October weather was clear. Nursed by Anchor Steam beer, our student group, Scope2, prepared to greet the aging hateniks of the House Commission on un-American activities.
Archie Brown and Harry Bridges of the ILWU and the Central Labor Council of the AFL-CIO assured us they would back our play as we plotted the red riot at City Hall in 1960. Meanwhile back to bed, weed, wine and Ruth Weiss at the Coexistence Bagel Shop on Grant Street.
I wish, I wish — we could be there again. Your body hard. Your tummy soft like a sleeping kitten. We came together like leaves meeting in a dream forest. Where are you now? Dizzy? My love, my life.
We went our separate ways. I gave her my old Vespa. She gave me a broken heart.
Such is life.
* * *
The peace walk from San Francisco to Sunnyvale and back.
In 1959 things on the international scale seemed tilted to nuclear war. Lord Bertrand Russell said “out into the streets.”
Alan Ginsberg Howled for peace. Joan Baez sang for peace. Reverend Delatore from the Bread and Wine Mission in North Beach prayed for peace. The call went out at spring break to walk for peace.
1000 college students, the Quakers, the beatniks, the old bohemians and the young hippies hiked, demonstrated, sang, danced, smoked and poked from the military hardware and software companies in the South Bay to the Golden gate.
Nobody from the defense industries stood out to defy us. They seemed not proud of their work.
We were young, strong and had a good time. Those were good days.
GOD KELP US
The ocean is in trouble. Species and bioforms are approaching extinction and the water is overly acidic. Naturally, of course, somebody, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, came up with the idea to steamroll down our coastline through the Marine Life Protection Act process.
Californians voted for something, maybe the Marine Life Protection Act initiative. Something based on science, but marine science is like economic theory — problematic. And it brought us our new economic collapse. Science is really history no matter how much the Board of Supervisors hate that.
150-250 years ago the Russians with the help of natives just finished harvesting nearly all of the pinnapeds on the West Coast. The results are what we remaining residents have inherited. Jean Michel Cousteau said recently that we are all connected to the ocean. At a time when we need to be especially sensitive with our relationship with the drink we don't need the deadline steamroller. Please, no “no take” zones.
God kelp us and fish on.
PS. Pete Kalvas needs to be studied more.
It is absurd to think that Costco will ever come to Ukiah. Costco needs customers, customers, customers.
There aren't any in Mendocino County.
There are twice as many people in the city of Santa Rosa as there are in all of Mendocino County. The numbers are just not there for a Costco. Not even a Trader Joe's. DDR lies when they hint of a Costco and Trader Joe's.
PS. I felt sorry for the Frenchman. The poor bastard didn't know he was entering a viper’s nest.
Konocti Harbor is closing because it is in receivership according to a federal court order and needs to be sold to recoup the multimillion dollar swindling of the Plumbers Union Local 38 retirement fund that was used to build and fund Konocti Harbor Inn.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
In his October 7 column, W.E. Reinka casts too wide a net. The overwhelming importance of newspapers is the capturing of local news. Your entire October 7th edition demonstrates this quite powerfully. Even though I am from far away, I am delighted to recapture the drama of the Irate Gaul. It may have been my favorite comic piece and I am thankful to Jill for his — ahem, shall I say it — gaul. And if I hadn’t read it in the AVA, how would I ever have known about 67-year old Nancie Erline Henthorne. Sheesh! A granny meth-head.
On the other hand, Ken Hurst’s tribute and description of his mother’s death may be the finest writing I’ve had the pleasure to read in many years. I believe, if such a thing were possible, she would hold his hand again and console him as he wept.
Steve Sparks’ interview of Guido Pronsolino gives us all, as always, a piercing insight into how gloriously most lives are lived. Some may live lives of quiet desperation. But most lives are lived with a right and sturdy sense of modesty and satisfaction.
The Anderson Valley Advertiser is not only America’s last newspaper, it is a bright and shining example of why local news is important, how it is best reported and how vital to the collective human soul that it be reported. Congratulations one and all!
Sign me up for another year!
I have been asked by Jim Eddie to forward this to your newspaper. We hope that you will run it at your earliest convenience.
Richard Shoemaker for Jim Eddie
No on Measure A
To the Editor:
For some time now I’ve been mulling over this notion of changing the zoning of the old Masonite property to allow a shopping mall to be built there. I’m against it. It’s not good for Mendocino County.
Mendocino County doesn’t need more retail. It needs industrial land for well paying industrial jobs. It needs industrial land that supports our resource base.
Land use decisions done by initiatives are too subject to influences of big money advertising and campaigning and always result in poor planning that in every case, cost local governments local tax dollars to correct the ill effects of these unwise decisions. This proposed zoning change will result in economic disaster for Mendocino County.
I’m voting No on Measure A.
CLERK’S ERROR COSTS CANDIDATE
To: Susan M. Ranochak, Mendocino County Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder, 501 Low Gap Rd., Room 1020, Ukiah, CA 95482
Dear Ms. Ranochak:
On Tuesday, 13 October 2009, you spoke with my husband, Walt Rush, stating that it has “never” been the policy to put a candidate’s statement on the official ballot and the statement actually goes on the “sample ballot.” Walt then told you that we never received the sample ballot. At that point, you informed him that due to a “printer failure” the sample ballots were unable to be sent out until Saturday, October 10, 2009, (the same day we received the official ballot) and we should be receiving ours within the “next few days.”
After speaking with my husband, I called your office and I must state I left you a rather irate message because when I handed over my $600 on August 4, 2009, to Ellen, a clerk in your office, I specifically asked if the candidate’s statement would appear on the “official ballot”? I was informed, “Yes, it would.” If I had not asked this question, at least, three times and received the same response, I would have had no cause to be as upset as I was.
However, let’s just say for the sake of argument, either Ellen misunderstood my repeated question or I misunderstood Ellen’s answer. I still did not receive the paid service which should have been provided to me, as a candidate, by your office! A sample ballot does a candidate in our small coastal community little or no good when the official ballot has reached the voter’s hands five days earlier (the sample ballot was finally received on October 15, 2009). Voters were contacting me and inquiring where the statement was and what should they do!
Kim Alexander, President of the California Voter Foundation called, “The California Voter’s Experience” stated: “The official election information produced and distributed in California by the Secretary of State (the Voter Information Guide) and the Sample Ballots produced and distributed to voters by county election offices are generally considered the most valuable sources of election information for voters.” Also, in this pamphlet she went on to state the sample ballot is “generally sent out one month prior to the official ballot.”
Now, I realize we do not live in a huge metropolitan area such as Los Angeles, New York or Chicago but the outcome remains the same, you failed to perform your job which we, the taxpayers and, me specifically, a candidate, are paying you to do! Having “printer” problems (which is comparable to saying “Que Sera Sera”) just is not an excuse anyone should be using in this day and age. The job of the sample ballot should have been started long before the official ballot. So, it seems strange the official ballot was able to reach the voters and the sample ballot did not.
Whether or not your failure to send the sample ballot out in a timely fashion has any effect on the outcome of my campaign remains to be seen. However, this is not the issue. Because of your error I had to put an ad in the local newspaper, Independent Coast Observer (bill enclosed). The Anderson Valley Advertiser was nice enough to put my statement in for free. I will not discuss how much personal time I actually spent meeting with community members, going door to door meeting business owners, and putting up posters from Manchester to Stewart’s Point, and those areas in-between. You cannot put a dollar amount on my time spent in campaigning because that is what a candidate does when seeking an elected office.
The bottom line: I paid for a service which I did not receive and many voters may have already cast their votes prior to receiving the very late sample ballot. If you were unable to fulfill your obligation and do your job to those you so willingly took money from they should have been immediately notified.
Because of your lack of providing me with the service afforded to me as a candidate in Mendocino County (even if it was in the form of a sample ballot) prior to the official ballot being received by the voters, I would like to receive not only my $600 for the candidate’s statement but also the cost of $108.68 for the ad in the local newspaper. That makes a total of reimbursement to me of $708.68. Again, as you can see, I am not asking for remuneration for the amount of my personal time put into this campaign. If it was because your “printer company” failed to do their job, then you should pass this expense on to them, but I can’t because my contract was with your office and you did not live up to your end of the obligation.
I expect a response from your office within the near future.
Suzanne L. Rush
THE GOOD DOCTOR
This link takes one to the interview of Ron Paul on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart not long ago. It was this that gave me the start to order his book for my Kindle.
Like him or not, I would question the intelligence of anyone who would deny him status as a very intelligent person with a highly functional brain. (I envy.)
People feared/disliked him during his presidential run because he is very eloquent. I am halfway through his book “End the Fed” and it is a compelling read. Paul knows money (he is the head of the House Banking Committee) and he shares it all with history going back to the start of mankind but more closely to what has gone on during the past several hundred years.
We all use money, those who happen to have some, and knowing about it is appropriate and rewarding. The information also gives hints for the future. Dr. Paul (yes, he has the smarts to be a medical doctor) heals the painful voids in our minds when it comes to money and how our government has run us into recurrent depressions and inflations by overworking the printing presses to issue counterfeit money.
The numbers are breathtaking. I didn't know that based on $1 in 1913 = $1, today's $1 is worth less than 5¢ in purchasing power. Yes, it takes more than $21 today to buy what $1 bought back in 1913. There is so much more such as the gold market.
Congressman Paul knows his money, and a lot more. He shares it all in the best of interests for us all. After all, Dr. Paul has healing instincts.
EMT CLASS CLARIFICATION
I sent the email to you on Tuesday morning, and the info was in the paper on Wednesday morning! Thanks so much. That was really helpful.
I would like to clarify something. Your write-up framed the EMT class as specifically for people who want to volunteer with the ambulance. In fact, it is open to everyone, and there is no implied commitment to either the Ambulance or AV Fire Department. 50% of the people who take the EMT class do so for a variety of personal/vocational reasons, and do not intend to be involved with either of the local emergency response services. This class is available regardless of motivation, and all are welcome.
THANKS FROM THE SCMITTS
I would like to offer a very heartfelt, much belated THANK YOU to the local ambulance, fire and Calstar crew that pretty much saved my mother's life on Fair Sunday. As most of you know by now, Sally Schmitt of the Apple Farm in Philo had a fairly serious stroke just following the parade. Within minutes of realizing what was going on, we had an incredible crew of passionate, caring, familiar faces taking control of the situation and getting her to Ukiah just in time to receive some miraculous blood thinner that saved her life.
This is not the first time my parents have received these services and it makes us once again so thankful to live in such an incredible community filled with such generous souls. She has pretty much fully recovered from this episode and is home in Elk confident that they are in good hands should they ever need such help again. So much for needing to be closer to medical attention as you get older. I believe this is one of the most beautiful and well provided places you could ask for.
Thank you all for making it that way,
Johnny Schmitt & family
Boonville Hotel/Philo Apple Farm
TIN FOIL HATS, CONT’D
A couple of quick notes. First, Vote No on Measure A. It is just a corporate end run around our elected officers doing their jobs. It is redundant in that aspect. Why elect folks to do a job and then vote around them? If you think officials are doing a poor job, don't vote for them or get them removed, but don't let an out of state corporation damage our regulator process and set a bad precedence. Vote No on Measure A and let our local officials do their job.
Avoid the Highway 101 three lanes to Yreka death trap in North Santa Rosa where Caltrans and local contractors are leaving very dangerous unsafe cross lane level changes and causing fatalities. Caltrans leaders should be tried for murder in my opinion (two fatalities) and contractors should have their licenses revoked and be tried for murder as well. Use Windsor off ramp to Old Redwood Highway south to Mendocino Avenue where the death traps end. Don't drive this section of 101 at night. Signage is poor to say the least.
Contact your local planning officials and just say No to Wireless Broadband in Anderson Valley. It is bad planning and dangerous. Incidentally, to the Mendocino Planning Commission: ignorance will not keep impacted residents from suing the County and you. Blake Levitt in an interview of Your Own Health and Fitness on KPFA said that counties are not protected from the results of this dangerous technology by the FCC's dangerous rules.
And most important, demand that the AVA put a peep hole in their office door so they can keep out wayward readers or nonreaders and thus eliminate silly front page articles about non news! Don't allow Bruce to answer the door. He will let anyone in. Non news, it is criminal! It could be toxic. And yet it is just another day in the AVA. Perhaps we should have Mendocino Voters make this decision or perhaps the Supervisors!
Dear Bruce ,
It is obvious that Obama is not going to produce much change at all, and even the so-called progressives are still tied to the apron strings of a liberal’s approach to public policy. A truly radical change would include the following: In religion, rescind the privilege of tax free status to all religious institutions. Why should a church not pay the same property taxes the rest of us pay? Religion is just one of many social institutions, all of which pay property taxes if they are private institutions, not governmental ones. Giving religion a free tax pass causes the rest of us to pay higher taxes and puts religion is a privileged position it does not deserve in a secular society. Our Constitution is secular, not religious, as evidenced by the First Amendment.
In order to promulgate true equality, wipe out the right of inheritance. Then each and every citizen starts out equal and let talent and brains and effort determine who rises to the top. It is neither fair nor equal to let people leave an estate to their children and thus give them a head start and a grossly unfair advantage over those who do not inherit. Equal opportunity is a farce if some start out far ahead of the others. Give total and free scholarships to all who merit them, then we will have, as Thomas Jefferson proposed, a true meritocracy.
Have a public referendum on all issues related to war. Let the people vote on whether they want to send their sons and daughters to die. If the issue merits war then the people will vote for it. We are, as the Preamble to the Constitution says, “We the people”. Also, put a ceiling on all profits that come from war and war-related businesses. Mandate competitive bids on all war related contracts. Stop any and all pre-induction bribes for those who sign up to go and fight. If the issue alone does not get enough to sign up for the war then it is a bogus issue war . A peacetime, non-combative armed force would be maintained for defensive purposes only.
Have free and complete access by any citizen to all government documents by expanding the Freedom of Information Act to include any document outside a very narrow definition of national security, so narrow that only a direct, clear and present danger would quality to be denied. The government is the people, who have a right to know what their government is doing or not doing.
Have term limits for all public offices. Make it illegal to donate any money to any candidate for public office, and fund all campaigns with tax monies, with the same amount to each candidate that qualifies via petitions. Have election campaigns be short, intense, with position statements on all issues sent to each registered voter. Then the people will really get the government they deserve.
Disallow corporations from being treated as ‘persons’, and prevent any and all lobbying in any form other than in writing to the elected representatives. No more bribery, which is what exists now.
Institute a single payer health care system in which any citizen who pays taxes gets to belong to the system. Make all drugs bid for by both private and public providers, thus insuring competition. Modify the Canadian system to make it closer to perfect.
Increase Social Security benefits so that they become a living wage stipend.
Turn it around so that those who help people, like teachers, nurses, police people and fire people, and so on, get really high pay; then make it difficult to get those jobs unless you have brains, talent, and a strong work ethic.
Have employees have equal voting rights with stockholders in any corporation, thereby making it possible for values other than profit to come to the fore. If any corporation pollutes the environment withdraw their corporate charter and thus put them out of business. Make it illegal to make money from money, thereby ridding society of all of the financial products that serve nothing but profit and manufacture nothing and provide no services to the people.
All of these ideas are based on the premise of what is good is what is good for the greatest number, that which promotes the general welfare. Since ‘trickle down’ doesn’t trickle, and since the ruling elite are not the general populace, these ideas would turn society upside down, or, should we say, right side up.
Far ‘n Away Farm, Virginia