Letters To The Editor

by AVA News Service, June 13, 2013



Mendo County Supervisors under cover of darkness tried to grandfather sewage sludge composting.

RE: June 10 Agenda timed items, and specific. Item 5(d) "...Waste Composting..." Concerns, Item timing and Agenda summary inaccuracies to confuse and distract the public, possibly to improperly gain a competitive advantage or disadvantage, Re: Bd Supes Agenda: June 10, 2013

Greetings County of Mendocino Board of Supervisors:

June 7, 2013 9 AM

Supervisors agenda sets a new low in nefarious night soil politics, with scheduling an after midnight, that being a 1:30 AM timed item for Monday, June 10, 2013, on Agenda item 5 (d) "Small Indoor Green Waste Composting Facilities."

Also the agenda summary makes false claim in a now futile attempt, that is, if rejected by the Board of Supervisors who are sometimes known to swallow whatever agenda item paperwork garbage fed to them in a dazed blur, to grandfather in a zoning statement that Cold Creek Composting, circa 1995, to wit "accepts all types of compostable materials."

Without due diligence, the County administration is now trying to make an end run against the ban on major sewage sludge biosolids composting at Cold Creek Composting, above Lake Mendocino, potently jeopardizing critical reservoir supplies and municipal drinking water quality for downstream users along with threatened or endangered species.

The class A and class B biosolids processing combining by Cold Creek Composting, in essence now claimed to be allowed by the County, could invalidate approval of the resultant compost products for certified organic crop production, constituting a major threat to organic wine grape production of local economy in Mendocino County, and the 5 or 7 counties that Cold Creek Composting may transport to or from.

However this may have minimum impact on the commercial wine industry growers which may dominate the Russian River Compact which was recently puppet string steamrolled with approval by the Mendocino Supervisors.

Recently surfacing in the newspaper media news, was Cold Creek Composting, who illegally rot a large whale without permit authority, and the skeleton is now destined for display in Fort Bragg.

“5(d) Agenda Item (in part) PREVIOUS BOARD ACTIONS: 1987 adoption of the Inland Zoning Ordinance only allows particular uses as defined by the Use Classification. In 1995, the Cold Creek Compost Facility, which accepts all types of compostable materials… <snip>”

The point is, if the County has typo mistakes with this agenda item on night time scheduling and night soil processing, what other mistakes are being made under cover of poor oversight on this agenda item before the Board for approval?

Don't burden and waste my time and that of other public with sleaze strategy over procedural errors and false statements to invalidate or reset mind frame of planning land use issues which have been battled out in the past, in an attempt under cover of inadvertent or professional incompetence to distract from real issues which may be present with this agenda item and County policy. You do the heavy lifting. Without or with tongue in cheek, I'm done.

Eric Sunswheat

Potter Valley




1. Should Mr. McEwen have chosen to verify his assertions The Willits News published photos of the altercation between CHP and Mr. Katz we received from CHP or CalTrans, I would have been happy to provide him with the phone number of our photographer and publisher who took TWN photos that day and the independent videographer who took the videos. We published them on our site within hours to allow people to make up their own mind.

I assure you neither CalTrans nor CHP were in anyway helpful to our coverage, having threatened a number of us with arrest throughout this occupation. As best I know neither agency has chosen to publish any photos or video of the day—even though the CHP photographer was certainly on site and many state officials had video cameras.

2. Mr. Katz pleaded guilty. CHP chose not to make a particularly big deal of either Katz or his cohort choosing to throw the content of their buckets at them, but the vile aroma was certainly smelled by all who were on scene. While many in the protest movement have spread a version of the incident underplaying this activity, it happened nonetheless. This tossing of feces happened before the CHP officers entered the specific tree Mr. Katz was in.

3. Mr. McEwen may have been in court but he was not at the scene of the mess. We were.

Linda Williams, Editor, The Willits News





Just picked up the June 5 edition, still lukewarm off the press, from Ukiah's original M.B.C. (Books, not beers)

As per established ritual, I first whet the appetite with McEwen, inevitably followed by a couple hours during which my wife and son know better than to disturb me.

His latest, "CalTrans, the movie," left me unable to resist writing my first letter to the Mighty AVA after years as an admiring reader.

Bear in mind that the Willits bypass sensation provokes little more than a yawn here. Nevertheless, if Mr. McEwen is inventing a little narrative detail in his courtroom reporting, then his writing is superb. If he's not, then it is downright genius.

Or is it the other way around?


Sam Kircher




Dear Editor:

The fire department has a group of volunteer fire lookouts that are setup to triangulate on fire sightings in order to give a more precise location for the fires. This is particularly important when there are multiple fires in the AV. We are encouraging additional folks to join us fire spotters. The spotter will need a wide view of the valley and surrounding ridges, a sighting compass, and a bit of experience in using it.

We will have a meeting on June 26th at 18:30 hours (06:30 pm) at the Boonville Firehouse. We shall review the procedures for spotting fires and reporting the information.

For additional information please call either Fred Martin, 895 2607 or Collin Wilson, 895 2022.

Hope to see you spotters on the 26th.

Fred Martin




Dear Editor:

Your item in the May 29 Off The Record about the scam the North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) and the "operator " Northwestern Pacific Inc. (NWP) have going is a very appropriate addendum to the excellent article on NCRA by Mark Scaramella. You do wonder on this "sweetheart" deal the two have going just how much overhead is cranked into the deal and if there are any other "arrangements." The NCRA was a sick joke when it was chartered by the state legislature and is still a sick joke.

You comment, "as long the feds, state and the public falls for this choo-choo sucker play, the NCRA can keep chugging along indefinitely fixing and upgrading tracks for a mythical railroad."

I am not sure whether the feds, state and public would react to the disclosure of what is going on. It’s all chump change for the feds; as I have indicated in previous letters, State Senator Darrell Steinberg and the Governor's office could care less about what goes on with NCRA; and the public already knows the Tooterville trolley is a joke.

However, CalTrans might care. You previously indicated that they want back the $3 million they advanced for an EIR. The Board of NCRA had commissioned the EIR but when it came back they didn't like the results and disavowed the EIR. Hopefully, the legal division at CalTrans is working on recovering their money.

In peace,

James G. Updegraff





“Mendocino County has a long history of drawing attention to how far afield the complexities and absurdities of modern life have taken us from the simpler ways of the past.” — Doug Bosco, Press Democrat, June 7, “A mountain of rules for home burial”

* * *

Adi-Dan's back yard burial now has leg — the legs of a zombie. Bosco is defending Adi-Dan in the PD.

The simpler ways of the past concerning burials was simply to intern grandma in a cemetery where friends and relatives could easily access and visit. Now—in the terminal phase of the civil rights movement—a friend of the dead disliked by a property owner could be shot for trespass. Sure, plant everyone out by the barbecue. It’s a national movement—every suburb a cemetery; every condo a crypt. Yes, Mendocino County does have a long history of drawing attention: Jim Jones; serial killers Ng and Lake, and a very high body count in the marijuana woods. And, yes, who isn’t saddened by the loss of a man’s wife.

However, sympathy aside, let us not forget that the grieving man in question, championing our right to plant grandpa by the fish pond, is, in fact, a serial activist politician and currently the Chair of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors. He’s suing his own (going broke) county for damages! Add that to the long history of drawing attention. It will cost taxpayer money to defend this frivolous suit, and possibly even more if it succeeds. That’s money that could be better spent filling the potholes on Mendocino County’s third world roads, or hiring deputy sheriffs to protect our kids so that they don’t end up in a cemetery.

Sarky, aka Michael Koepf





The mystery is over. After a month of waiting, it turns out that an 84-year-old woman in Florida has won the $590 million Powerball lottery. As for how much tax she’s going to have to pay, the IRS said it’s too early to tell because they don’t know whether she’s a Republican or Democrat.

The IRS spent $4 million on a conference in Anaheim that included luxury hotel suites, passes to theme parks, and tickets to sporting events. They say they're not sure of the exact amount they spent because they didn't keep any receipts. Right about now Wesley Snipes is saying, “Hey, what about me? I didn’t have my receipts.”

Miguel Lanigan

Clearlake Oaks




The Marfa, Texas, travelogue by William Hughes ("James Dean Lives") entirely missed the point of going to Marfa. It's not the midget windmill from the film "Giant," it's the mysterious "Marfa Lights" which ufologists attribute to extra-terrestrials. Too bad he missed them.


Don Morris





OK. So Michael Koepf does not like Dan Hamburg for all of the reasons he laid out. He is after all a namby pamby progressive/environmentalist responsible for our untaxed marijuana cultivation industry. Not that the IRS could not tax the growers out there if it wanted to. Having unclaimed income and evading taxes is against the law. Dan has not crusaded against paying taxes as far as I know. But Michael wants to associate Hamburg with this and all manner of wrong because he obviously does not like him. His arguments are so weak that he has resorted to attacking him for his religious/spiritual associations. If Dan were a Catholic, would Koepf denigrate him for all those pedophile priests? If he were Muslim, would he associate him with Al Qaeda? If he were Jewish, would he blame him for the persecution of the Palistinians (or maybe praise him)? Dan Hamburg's religious or spiritual predilections, should not be used to denigrate him in a public forum and I object to the AVA's publishing of such offensive crap.

Dan has chosen to fight the system on a matter that is more than personal to him. His wife's dying wish was to be planted on their rural property. California is one of the few states that will not allow this ceremonial act and there are those of us who think that California should mind its own business in this regard. Dan knew that there could be (or would be) a problem, so he did not bother to ask for a permission that would not be granted. He is prepared to fight this jurisdictional battle over the disposition of his wife's remains in court. And I expect at great personal cost in money and stress. He should be given support for this battle rather than criticized by some local goof who has an issue with his politics. He may not become the Rosa Parks of home burials, but he is fighting the same kind of institutionalized disregard for our civil and personal rights.

Nicholas Pinette,

Oakland/Point Arena

Michael Koepf Replies: Dearest Nicholas, the thing about Robespierre is that he never actually cut anybody’s head off. He left that for his Sans-culottes: the fanatic followers that did his chopping. Let’s be clear: it’s sad that Dan lost his wife, but Dan is a known serial activist, and his wife was ill for years, which means he had plenty of time to plan. Frankly, I don’t care where he buried his wife, for as my dear Irish grandmother used to say “if you don’t bury me for the love of it, you’ll bury me for the stink of it.” However, Dan Hamburg is my supervisor and president of the County Board of Supervisors. It’s clear, that as a public official, Dan was well aware of the law prohibiting the backyard burials of cadavers. It’s also clear to the few remaining sober citizens of Mendocino County that Hamburg deliberately set out to break that law and cast himself—once again—into his cherished spotlight of serial activist; this time as a champion of the backyard dead, who you, dear Nicholas, equate with the actions of Rosa Parks!

Now we learn that Dan is suing the county with the apparent help of an attorney who is Dan’s political ally, which means Dan may not pay a dime for his lawsuit. However, Dan is suing for damages, which means another hit on the county budget if Dan’s nuisance suit succeeds. Perfect: Dan gets paid for planting his wife—with a whole lot extra for his grief—and the rest of us have less money to fill the potholes on our roads, or hire deputies to protect our kids. Dan’s a serial activist alright; for himself.




Seeking Subsidized Housing

Warm spiritual greetings, Please know that the Harrison House in Berkeley, CA staff have said that I need to move on from there, and get myself subsidized housing. The staff informed me yesterday that I have no further need of them, and that at 63 years of age, willing to pay 1/3 of my income ($359 monthly social security retirement), and having an exemplary spiritual life with lots of good karma, there ought to be no problem in my finding a suitable place to live and set it up for productive creative writing. I need a writer's pad! I wish to leave Harrison House as soon as possible, and will be happy to immediately move into a short term arrangement, while continuing to seek out a suitable longer term rental. If you wish to be part of the continuing creative spiritual adventure, please leave a telephone message for me at (510) 525- 4469, and my caseworker there is Tonette Woodson who may be reached at (510) 725-8572. Obviously, it is all off for my returning to Washington DC at this time, due to a total lack of interest from my peers that I go there again for the seventh time, to participate in radical environmental and peace & justice activities. I decided not to get myself there, and then squat the sidewalk for the sake of advocating world peace. To those of you who wish to stay in association with me, let's get amazing.

Craig Louis Stehr


NOSCW, P.O. Box 11406, Berkeley, CA 94712-2406

Blog: http://craiglstehr.blogspot.com



Ah Captain Fathom,

Re: Your May 29, 2013, letter to the AVA. “Chemo” is worse than bloodletting. It doesn’t just make you feel anemic and apathetic. When I was “misdiagnosed” by our local medical profession for which they then prescribed “chemo” for me for three weeks, one afternoon after the second week of “treatment” while I was at home alone I screamed, “Even death can’t be this unpleasant!” The continual nausea and vomit was worse than the bout of flu I had fought in London in first grade. I spit on the “cure” that makes me feel it would be better to be dead, and doesn’t guarantee recovery.


Detective Diana Wood Duck Vance

Deadtree, Mendocino

PS. I taught “Aristotelian rhetoric” in my Composition 101 class at the University of Maryland when I was 23, which advocates not abstinence or indulgence, but moderation; the Golden Mean heals all ailments I’ve seen.

PPS. Ah sockless William Jackson: Yes, I’m on your side. There’s too many DAs essential to us for legal substantiation who instead of an office visit allow us to witness their reckeless joyride through the Ukiah courthouse wilderness. Is this judicial arrogance? Let there be liberty and legitimate lawyers in Mendocino County to provide for us defense. It’s spring and the grass is sweet.




Our supervisors recently agreed to contract with private mental health facilities: $8.8 million to Redwood Management Group, $6.7 million to Ortner Management Group. These contracts are for fiscal 2013-14 with additional $79,754 (Ortner) and $68,000 (RMC) “transition of services” June 2013.

Who will have oversight of patient treatment plans, progress notes, daily health and welfare, re-entry solutions? Who will prescribe medications? Tom Ortner stated his company will utilize “assertive” methods, aka forced medication; same with Redwood Management? Who will prevent any possible medication/mental/physical abuse(s)? Will an independent entity advocate for mentally ill patients who are unable to speak for themselves? Will valuable insights and observations of family and friends be included during a patient's intervention?

Laura's Law was deemed too expensive by Mendo supervisors, yet these two contracts equal $15.5 million (per year); apparently money for privatized mental health care companies is available, while Laura's Law has a proven record of success and would cost our county far less to implement. In Nevada County Laura's Law has reduced the following costs: Hospitals = 46.7%, Incarceration = 65.1%, Homelessness = 61.9%, Emergency contracts = 44.1% (source Mental Illness Policy.org).

Proposition 63, originally meant to help mentally ill people, has morphed into programs to prevent mental illness (source SF Gate, 11/4/12).

Privatization (for profit companies) treatment for mental illness does not belong with corporate entities. Realizing profit from the misery of mental illness is wrong on too many levels.

Elizabeth Ryan

Fort Bragg




The town of Caspar CA is buzzing with excitement that the art space called "What's Afoot?" is making a comeback. Local artists Fred Sternkopf & Doug Desmond have teamed up to find ways to rent the space to meet the needs of a dynamic artists' community on the coast, using theater, local culture & the arts to attract the talent & sustain the venue. It will serve as a showcase for local art plus an event venue, continuing a north coast community tradition that goes back 20+years.

In the 1990s, local artists showed their art via studio tours described as "diverse forms of art all in one place" from ceramic sculptors to fiber artists.

The self-named "usual suspects" launched Art Expo 2002, 'high funk venue in downtown Caspar' ... 'tobacco road with an attitude'... "friends working together in the spirit of cooperation, affection and genuine admiration."

After a years-long haitus, What's Afoot? once again opened its doors on Fri May 24 for an Art Show & Sale. Nine local artists as well as Cannabis Cards had space at the reception. It's a large clean comfy refurbished barn like gallery with a back room & a second floor. With black raven mobiles hanging from the ceiling & a lively ambience, organic food & wine, art on every wall with sculpture in between, the show was well-attended with positive signs of resident & public official support.

Sheriff Tom Allman came from Ukiah and attorney Tony Serra from San Francisco as invited guests. Local musician/artist Kay Rudin, aka one of the original "usual suspects", dropped by on her way to Washington DC as courtroom artist for the Bradley Manning defense team & described her scramble to buy appropriate clothing for the august occasion. As official courtroom artist (based on her own 1st Amendment motion), Kay's top notch sketches of witnesses have since appeared in national news articles. Garnish of Corners of the Mouth came to welcome his ol' bud Tony Serra. A Leonard Moore Co-op rep dropped by to give pointers, having had years of experience running an art gallery. Tim Blake with partner Samantha of Area 101 came from Laytonville with news of this year's 10th annual Emerald Cup moving its venue from the country to the city (Santa Rosa Fairgrnd)  as outreach from organic cannabis farmers to thousands of new people in the "marijuana majority".

Fred Sternkopf, the driving force behind the art show, spent months envisioning & refurbishing What's Afoot? for artists' use, reaching out for partners in the venture.

Fred said, "It is perfect for creativity and for all the arts coming together. We can revive an historical site for community benefit. Events can be held here. We can open up these barn-style  doors & drive a vehicle in here for theatrical or educational purposes. It's also perfect for the spirit of community, a place where artists can plant themselves & grow."

Pebbles Trippet


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *