Letters to the Editor

by Letters to the Editor, March 4, 2010

CHRISTY BOWS OUT

Dear Community,

To all the People of Mendocino 5th District Community,

It is with a heavy heart that I must tell you all that I'm withdrawing from the 2010 Fifth District Supervisor race. My reasons being family, financial, and timing.

It was already a stretch for me to run, with two young children and a small business, but recently my father, who will be 80 this Saturday and lives with me, has had repercussions from a car accident he was in. He has a crushed spinal column that doctors are recommending surgery to aid against further problems and to rehabilitate This will be a start of many trips to UCSF to get him treated. He comes first.

He wants me to keep running, but there is no way I'm not going to be there for him during and after the surgery. Honestly, I entered this race late and this allows me to take a breath and spend more time in the county to study the issues and become a better candidate in 2014.

As bad as it hurts to stop this campaign at this time, please know that I'm still here for all those who have supported me and those I'm still meeting and talking with. My phone number is still the same, I'm in the book. I will answer your calls and just like tonight, I will still go to the meetings and join in whenever I feel I can accomplish positive change in our county. It's important that we stick together.

This journey is something that I never expected. It's changed my life. Most of my tears have been from joy, and a few out of sheer terror when thinking of the responsibility of what it would take to come up with solutions for Mendocino.

At this point I feel I've learned many things concerning the issues in our county. Meaning I am more familiar with the laws. I'm active in meetings. I know the names of people on both sides of the issues, and who to talk to and draw information from if I had to as a Supervisor.

I feel confident knowing that I could represent the people's will. But of course there are more than 500 zillion issues and counting. In the coming years I will spend my extra time doing all that I can to learn about every issue and make it to as many Supervisor meetings possible. (Please call me if you're going that way so we might carpool.)

The next reason is financial, and probably the biggest. I'm not good at asking for money for myself. Other people yes, but for myself, no. My husband and I realize how much it costs to run a campaign. We are struggling to pay our bills and feed our family and keep our guitar factory going. It's been really hard. As many of you know, we work like many, 7 days a week, 12+ hours most days. Every second counts and I have not been able on my own to carve out the time really needed to organize benefits for my campaign in a timely manner. I'm just not the type to have fundraisers at fancy hotels while there is so much to do at home and in our business. I have kept going this long because I know that the 400+ people who signed my Petition in lieu of fee (and still counting) have inspired me. Keep believing.

We need to stick together and we can make a change. What I have heard and how I feel is that the people of this County and our country for that matter are fed up with the way politicians are running our lives and we want our county back. Take Mendocino back to the original ideas that drew the first settlers here in the first place. Most of us are regular people who work multiple jobs to survive into an unpredictable future. What is our County government going to do next? More so, what can we do about it? Stick together I hope.

I am deeply committed to the betterment of Mendocino County and I will continue to do all I can for our community in that respect.

Peace be with you all,

Christy Wells-Fritz

Albion


WHEN THEY’RE GONE…

Letter to the Editor:

I hope it doesn't come down to one or the other, but if I had to choose, it would be salmon all the way. I can grow vegetables and fruits in my backyard, but I can't grow salmon. The farmers may come and go, but once salmon is extinct, it is gone forever. I don't think future generations could ever forgive us if we let that happen. I sympathize with the farmers and hope there is a way to support them too, but the priority has to to be healthy salmon. The loss of this species would cause untold damage up and down the food chain and fishermen are as important as farmers.

But the real priority must be saving the wild salmon, the fisheries along with them. Then we can save the farmers.

Anne Petersen

Sonoma


SHOW OF HANDS

Editor:

I refer to the AVA of February 3. Having been in Manila for several weeks I'm running behind on everything.

The always entertaining letters section was several cuts above average. But, specifically, I am responding to J.B. Reynolds well-written letter having to do with “speed traps within speed traps” on California highways.

Clearly, our legislators, both state and federal, have too much time on their hands. It's easier (and much safer) to author a bill doubling the jail time for stealing a lollipop from a baby in a pram than it is to address the real issues of our troubled times.

A good friend — Rest In Peace, DBM — once suggested a way to counter this trend: introduce a bill that would require the removal of two laws from the books before any new law could be added. That made sense to me then and it makes sense today. Can anyone really profess familiarity with the totality of our thousands of pages of state codes, even the most senior of our attorneys?

Do I see anyone raising a hand to sponsor such a measure?

Sincerely,

Stewart Bowen

Suisun Valley

PS. Outstanding letter from Frank Graham on our hopelessly botched health-care reform efforts! And from one curmudgeon to another, I'm glad to see Harold Ericsson is still on the job. But I'm starting to sound like Don MacQueen. (Where is Don?)

Ed note: Don moved to Eugene, Oregon a while back and has cut back on his letters.


SLIDE GUITAR

Greetings

I was cruising home after a nice weekend in Mendocino. Down on 128 at that slide I witnessed a small man in white surfing down the slide on a guitar. I know, I know it sounds goofy, but then so do all the other letters you have recently published.

Ralph Livingston

San Francisco


REMODEL YOURSELVES, PAUL & MARK

Dear Editor

Regarding the AVA, “Off the Record” Article on Tichinin naming Iacuaniello as Mendocino County’s “schoolmaster/superintendent of the year,” this is a joke, right?!

Can Mark Iacuaniello really, really possibly be the absolute best of the best, crème de le crème, top of the heap Mendocino County has to offer our students in the way of superintendents? SAY IT AIN’T SO, JOE!!! If Iacuaniello is, I can’t imagine who the worst can possibly be!

Iacuaniello has told me that he is “proud” of his accomplishments while at Point Arena. However, let’s see what Iacuaniello has accomplished in order to receive this most prestigious coveted award and I will let you be the judge:

1. The elementary school is back into State Program Improvement. The elementary school was only taken out of program improvement after the hiring of Matthew Murray as the elementary principal. However, Iacuaniello terminated Mr. Murray because of a few disgruntled teachers who didn’t want to change and Iacuaniello instead of sticking by the principal gave into the disgruntled teachers. Finally, telling the Board either “he goes or I go” in a closed door session. However, Iacuaniello stayed and Murray, who was actually making great progress at the elementary school, was out the door! Does this deserve an award? PLEASE, SAY IT AIN’T SO, JOE!

2. The high school has been unable to meet State and Federal Goals for the last two years. Does this deserve an award? PLEASE, PLEASE, SAY IT AIN’T SO, JOE!

3. In order to build (not remodel as stated in the AVA) onto the elementary school in Point Arena Iacuaniello used bond fund money taxpayers voted on, to build a K-5th grade elementary school in Gualala. The bond was actually presented to the voters as a “conversion of existing classrooms” to a middle school once the Gualala elementary school was built. However, this never happened. Instead of retiring the original bond (suggested by community members) and allowing voters to decide through another bond how they wanted to spend their money, Iacuaniello used bond funds and did not “remodel” or “convert old classrooms” (as presented to the voters in the bond) but actually built two new buildings at the elementary school in Point Arena. Also, another point I would like to emphasize, Iacuaniello is the chair/secretary of this Bond Oversight Committee, which is in violation of California Department of Education Law. The Law clearly states that “no public employee” shall serve as a member of this Committee. Does this deserve an award? PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, SAY IT AIN’T SO, JOE!

4. Our district is a basic aide school district, which means the majority of our funds come from our property taxes. Basic aide schools are truly envied by State funded schools because while those schools are getting funds cut from their budgets we only see a trickle down effect and actually can count on a 2% increase each year from property taxes. As a matter of fact, this year our district will be receiving $7,437,402.56 (according to CFO of the Point Arena School District) in funds and grants to educate (or de-educate in our district) 413 students, which equals $18,008 per student! According to the California Department of Education 2007-2008 study, the current education expense per student is $8,594. There is no way this amount per student could have possibly increased by $9,500 per student in two years! At last night’s Board Meeting (Feb 25th) the community was informed that unless there are cuts done to the current budget that the district would end up with a “projected deficit” of $622,404! Huh?! What is even more interesting is that an undergraduate student going to California State University in San Francisco currently pays fees of $6,474.00 (inclusive of books) per academic year enrolling in more than six units. Does this deserve an award? PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, SAY IT AIN’T SO, JOE!

Iacuaniello is retiring this year and I believe will leave the Point Arena School District worse for being there (as you can see from above). Other than the new buildings he has built within the district (3) he has failed to upgrade the education of our children. However, do buildings educate our children? Obviously, Tichinin and Iacuaniello must believe this because this is the only accomplishment Iacuaniello is leaving the district in Point Arena with, after being there for eight years. His legacy really is he arrived with an elementary school in program improvement and he has left it in program improvement, additionally now the high school is falling behind. Again, this goes without saying, the one and only principal who was able to achieve the goal of getting the elementary school out of Program Improvement (Matthew Murray) since Iacuaniello arrived in the district was terminated without cause! Great going, Iacuaniello! A stellar example of how important and vital it is for the superintendents and principals of Mendocino County to be upgrading buildings instead of upgrading the education of our children.

So, in essence, Tichinin has presented to the other superintendents a very hefty and lofty goal to strive and work towards, in order to be considered a nominee and in order to receive this outstanding award. Yes folks, in order to receive recognition in our county as schoolmaster/superintendent of the year, school superintendents need to be working on upgrading their schools instead of upgrading the education of the children. Who would have thunk!!

I believe Tichinin should receive an award for being the worst County Superintendent of the Year and our children should present it to him.

An ugly rumor is floating around our district that Iacuaniello will be replacing Tichinin when he retires. I would like to see a breakdown of what our county has accomplished with Tichinin at the helm. Heaven help the education of our children and the finances in educating them in Mendocino County if this should ever happen! On the bright side all the schools may get “remodeled”!

If I were a superintendent capable of achieving the goal of assuring our children are being educated (through great teachers) and reaching State and Federal Goals (certainly there must be some superintendents in our county achieving this) but is being passed over in lieu of someone like Iacuaniello, I would be furious! Certainly, I cannot be the only one outraged by this ridiculous farce!!

Respectfully,

Susan Rush

Manchester


FAIR PLAY FOR FRANCE

Dear Editor:

France is a small nation, about the size of Texas. But it's been the stage for much of Western history's most significant events.

Probably the most significant was World War I.

Much of this war was fought on French soil. And French casualties were appalling. There were almost 1.7 million people killed outright and 4 million wounded. And keep in mind — these casualties were suffered by a tiny nation with a population of less than 40 million. 15% of the French people were killed or wounded in this war. Not 15% of the military — 15% of the total population suffered personal physical harm or death.

A generation later came World War II.

Obviously, France has not yet recovered. Psychologically and manpowerwise, they were unprepared for this new conflict. Nevertheless, they mounted a strong defense — and suffered terribly for it. Their World War II losses to the Nazis were similar to those suffered by the Americans.

Europeans in general, and the French in particular, are grateful for the help they received during the Second World War. But the real heavy lifting was done by the Russians — mostly on the Eastern front. Their losses dwarf those suffered by the Allies. It is estimated that their casualties were between 20 and 25 million. They lost almost 100 of their people for every American casualty.

Not knowing this history, many Americans are contemptuous of Europeans for their feeble defense. But this derision is more a commentary on American ignorance than European cowardice.

Sincerely,

Bart Boyer

San Diego


A DREAM OF OOPS

Hello AVA,

Does Diana Vance hold a grudge against some poor fellow by the name of Liebenstraum? (I'd hate to be on her bad side.) Liebenstraum doesn't mean “living space” in German as she asserted. That notorious byword for expansionist justifications was “Lebensraum.” Liebenstraum means “a dream of love,” which I'm sure one's enemies could, after all, rework into even juicier innuendos if they tried.

Just clearing the air.

Wishing you loam,

Wolfgang Rougel

Cottonwood

PS. Could you get Scaramella to explain, for those of us unfamiliar with either one, the legal and practical differences between a Grand Jury and a “Tiger Team”?

ms replies: I'm pretty sure it was my mistake in typing Ms. Vance's letter, not Ms. Vance’s. However, reading your very amusing letter makes it all worthwhile. PS. A Grand Jury is a self-selected group of civilian citizens who investigate public organizations and bureaucracies and make bland and generally ignored advisory recommendations. A Tiger Team is derived from the military and is usually any dragooned group of non-volunteer supposed specialists who are asked to look into one specific, important problem and fix it or make recommendations to fix it. Generally, the person in charge orders that their recommendations be carried out. Grand juries have no such authority. What little authority Grand Juries have is to recommend that the District Attorney prosecute illegal acts that they discover. But the District Attorney seldom does that. And, to our knowledge, has never done it in Mendocino County.


NO PAROLE

To the Editor:

I had to write this letter because several weeks ago someone wrote to the Mendocino Observer begging for people to write to the parole board for a murdering lunatic! How can anyone ever forget the Valentine’s Day murder and slaughter of Perry Lee Hoaglin, “Shorty,” as everyone knew him by?

It will be 24 years ago last week that Steven Craig Crump murdered and slaughtered my brother. I say that horrible word slaughter because that’s what it was. The doctors stopped counting the stab wounds at 46! Shorty was beaten and stabbed so bad that the doctors couldn’t believe he was still alive. After beating and stabbing him to death, they thought at the time, they dumped his body at manor’s gate, a little past the Rez, and left him for dead.

The will to live is a powerful energy. Shorty had so much will to live that after they dumped his body and drove off he crawled toward the road and made it up the road about 20 yards when someone finally came along and found him and called for help. At the hospital he lived long enough to tell the police who did this horrible thing to him!

Shorty was only about 4 feet, 8 inches tall and about 140 pounds. He was a quiet kind of guy who could make you smile or laugh with some of his stories. He enjoyed kicking back with his friends and watching movies or playing cards. He enjoyed football and baseball and would always head down the coyote trail to watch the baseball games at Harwood Park.

Shorty loved life and was always there to help anyone who needed help. He never hurt a living soul in his life. He respected his elders as we all do and he wanted to live! He was only 22 years old when he was brutally murdered, slaughtered and left for dead and dumped by Steven Craig Crump!

One day in the courthouse in Ukiah as we were all standing in the hall talking, this man Steven Crump came up to all of us and started pointing his finger and naming the people he would kill next! The lady next to me stepped back and was shocked at this attack right in the courthouse in front of a bunch of cops. He started screaming and coming closer when we started hollering at the cops to do something. They finally grabbed him and dragged him away. He was laughing and screaming about killing everybody.

This thing called Steven Craig Crump never needs to ever be released from prison because he will kill again. He said so right in front of the cops, lawyers and all of us. So yes, do write to the California Board of Parole, and the Board of Hearing and Rehabilitation, PO Box 4036, Sacramento CA 95812, and tell them to keep him forever!

Paulette Hoaglin

Laytonville


THE INSANE BANNING POSSE

Editor,

For the ever growing list of individuals who have been ostracized by the Insane Banning Posse at Berkeley's Long Haul Infoshop, there will be an alternative Anarchist Bookfair Afterparty in Berkeley at Kip's (located near the corner of Durant and Telegraph Ave., one block south of the entrance to UCB), Saturday March 13th from 8pm onward. There is no reason why sane, rational radicals hereabout cannot get together after the annual SF anarchist bookfair for a chat and a brew. Come on by Kip's and socialize with :the people” — white radical environmentalists, black people with historical Black Panther associations, full blooded indigenous warrior tribal members, and it's hosted by the Chinese rooster clan!

No one turned away for any reason whatsoever.

Craig Stehr

Berkeley


HOW TO DUMP YOUR LAWYER

Letter to the editor --

Attention: Glenn Sunkett —

I read your articles on that no good public defender, Glenn. (Linda Thompson, a.k.a. the No-Good Witch.)

Okay. Here's what you do, Glenn: write to the State Bar of California. Ask them for attorney misconduct forms. They will mail them to you ASAP. When you go to court, get it on the record that your so-called Public Defender is guilty of ineffective assistance of counsel. Site case law: Strickland v. Washington. Also cite the U.S. Constitution, 8th Amendment, cruel and unusual punishment. And the 14th amendment, equal protection-due process. You can write/contact the State Bar at:

State Bar of California

180 Howard St.

San Francisco, CA 94105-1639

415/538-2000

Kenny Calihan

Corcoran


MENDO WILL ENDURE

Editor,

The American economy is in the toilet. Nationwide, 50 million people need to use food stamps to eat. 50 million have no health care, with 60% of bankruptcies resulting from medical emergencies. Americans have lost $5 trillion from their pensions and savings and $13 trillion in the value of their homes since the latest economic crisis began. Meanwhile, the prison industry thrives with the US having more people incarcerated than any other nation in the world. The real unemployment rate is over 20% with 30 million US citizens unemployed or underemployed. 60% of Americans live from paycheck to paycheck.

So what does all this have to do with Mendocino County? Like nearly every political jurisdiction in the country, our county is broke and getting broker by the day. While critics point to local mismanagement, no fair observer could maintain that government has done a worse job than major pillars of the private sector. When the banks went belly up, the feds showered them with trillions in bailout cash. No similar bailout will be coming to help state and local government.

The federal government spends more on war-making than all 50 states combined spend on education, health, welfare and public safety. This is insane. When a group of county citizens went to the Board of Supervisors last year to protest this misappropriation of our tax dollars, we were met with silence. Yet this is an issue that every elected official should take up. We're all being forced to pay for wars that most of us don't support and an armaments industry that only serves to make the world more dangerous.

I hope that the resignation of county CEO Tom Mitchell will lead to the kind of shakeup that the county administrative office sorely needs. The Board of Supervisors and county administration have made errors in judgment over the past decade that have intensified a woeful budget situation. But until we are able to redress the waste of our tax dollars on war-making, and the corporate stranglehold on national politics, we will continue to struggle to make ends meet.

In the midst of so much dysfunction, Mendocino County is yet a beacon of hope. We may be small in population, but we are rich in natural bounty, ingenious people, and a will to maintain livable communities regardless of outside circumstances.

Dan Hamburg

Ukiah


APPRECIATION & SUPPORT

Letter to the Editor,

I’m sorry to announce the passing of long time Anderson Valley resident David Meek of Navarro who lost his battle with cancer on February 19, 2010. I want to also take this opportunity to send a special Thank You to the Anderson Valley Health Clinic team — Mark Apfel and Judy Nelson provided the utmost support during David’s difficult time. They also assisted in making it possible for David’s adopted son Joseph Marlin to be by his side during his passing. They went out of their way on numerous occasions and David and our family truly, truly appreciate everything.

A memorial service with support from David’s family and his close friend, Dave Evans, will be held at the Navarro store on Saturday, March 6, 2010 at 2pm.

Thank you,

April and DeeDee

Navarro


PREVENTION

Editor,

The very idea of cutting AODP funding is ludicrous in itself!

If you believe in the disease concept of addiction, this is tantamount to closing the emergency room. If you were to close the emergency room people would be dying in the streets, the same for AODP.

As Public Defender Linda Thompson has stated, the state mandated Prop 36, Drug Court and even PC 1000 diversion programs are all dependent upon AODP. These are requirements that have changed the lives of many people for the best. It is easy enough to say that the County of Mendocino has a large segment of population that have drug addiction issues, recently seen in the news such as the feeling of a need for a police dog to search the high school lockers for drugs in Ukiah. Without proactive intervention the problem will sky rocket, and stopping the funding to AODP will send a clear message to the public that the powers to be are not interested in curbing such problems, thus enabling the addicted to give a “F-it!” attitude.

As I have said in the past the way to stop the addiction problem is to nip it at the bud, the cost of incarceration of our already filled jail and/or further treatment down the line, and the general mayhem that addiction costs to society at large, warrants the further funding of AODP.

Drug addiction is a medical problem not a criminal problem, incarceration will prove not effective to the cure!

Patricia Guntley has done a great job with AODP, obtaining grants to further educate the youth of the harmful effects that addiction will cause.

Sheriff Tom Allman has set innovated ways to educate our youth about addiction with the face2face project and other vehicles of media.

Rob Henderson advocating for the dual diagnosed singlehandedly works diligently to provide services to the needy who are addicted as well!

Dr Carnevale finds prescription medical alternative solutions to stop the use of dangerous street drugs.

We also have the Ford Street Project and UCC fighting in the trenches with one on one and group counseling, and assisted housing to mend the lives of those who have been torn by addiction.

Let us not throw away the good intentions of the good people who have gone out of their way to find solutions by sending the message that we don't care by cutting the funds to AODP.

Trent Foster

Ukiah


GOTTA PLACE FOR LOICK?

Dear Editor;

A 16-year-old French youth, Loick Crouzet, would like to visit in the US this July for a month to improve his English, and so is looking for a host. Also, his French family would like to host an American youth there in Provence.

Loick likes rugby and soccer and is “open” to learning new things and eager to discover. He is a scout and loves to camp out in nature. He has studied English for five years, and Spanish for three years. At the moment, he is thinking about becoming a doctor.

Loick would like to come to the States for 3 or 4 weeks between June 25th and July 30th of this year. It would be nice for him to be in a family with kids of his age. Also, his family in France would be really pleased to host a youth from the area in their home in Provence, not far from the Alps and the Mediterranean coast.

If you'd like more info about this possible hosting or youth exchange, please contact Loick and his mother, Nancy Crouzet, at: nancy.crouzet@orange.fr

Tom Wodetzki

Albion


OHM’S TOLL ROAD

Dear Editor,

A Chron Reader or PG&E Mole wrote last week about the Grid. This person knows a bit but lacks a lot.

It was claimed that if a municipality owns their own utility that they get a free ride because PG&E has to maintain the grid. Not really.

From an accounting standpoint there are two main components regarding the grid. One is the cost of the electrical energy moving throughout the grid measured in watt-hours, or billions of watt-hours depending on quantity. The power plants that generate the electrical power get paid for that product. The “juice” gets passed on through sundry buyers and sellers until reaching the final customer.

Then there is what is known as Wheeling. You see, the grid is like a toll road and whoever owns the road gets paid for the energy that flows through the various portions of the grid.

One large example is the City of San Francisco, which has its Department of Electricity. It creates power up in the Sierras and consumes a lot of it at the International Airport and within the streetcar and electric bus system. The power is wheeled most of the way over PG&E transmission lines. The City pays for the use of the lines but not for the electricity. The wheeling use is calculated by mWh (million/billion watt hours).

There are many other municipalities that own their own utility. Alameda is another one. Electricity is generated by plants owned by a consortium, the Northern California Power Authority. A great deal is from renewable sources like geothermal and hydro. The power is wheeled for the most part over PG&E lines to reach places like Alameda, which owns all the distribution system within city limits. Alameda pays wheeling fees, which pay for the maintenance of the cross-country lines. Alameda, btw, sells electrical energy for less than what PG&E charges their customers.

The bottom line is that everyone pays for only what they get and no more. The claim that public utilities get a free ride for maintenance is bogus. Their share of maintaining the grid is paid for with wheeling revenue — and don't you forget it.

Carl Flach

Alameda


TRACKING CARMEL

To the Editor:

When I read that the Board of Supervisors appointed Ms. Carmel Angelo to a two-year contract as CEO, I was very disappointed. In my disappointment I sent around an overly cranky email directed at John McCowen, who had sent around a notice of the Board's actions.

I apologize for the overly cranky email. Since then I have heard that Angelo is indeed a very good administrator, and had I had information on her performance in other jobs, or some evaluation of her performance I likely would have agreed that her appointment was a good thing for the county. I do like the fact that she is actually living here (she is, isn't she?) and therefore is not someone who has to be moved to the county and introduced to all the players.

That said, it would have been helpful if the members of the Board had shared their thoughts in a wider forum than in individual communications. It's the preemption of public input (in a public forum) that drives county residents crazy.

And then there is the issue of a two-year contract. Would she have just picked up and left if the Board had said she would continue as the interim CEO until the Board decided whether to continue the CEO model, or do something else? If the answer is yes, then maybe she isn't so dedicated to the welfare of the county residents as we would like to think she is.

In sum, after two disastrous CEOs, to go ahead and appoint another one without some deliberations (in public) seems dangerous.

Going forward, I would like to see the Board adopt a formal tracking system so that the Board receives updates on its priority items. This is something I have seen work in my career in the federal government.

Janie Sheppard

Ukiah


INSURANCE v. US

Dear Editor:

Obama's bipartisan health care summit turned out about the way I expected. The Republicans showed a total lack of concern or compassion for those with pre-existing conditions or the rest of the 40 million uninsured Americans. The only concern and compassion the Republicans showed was for the health insurance companies. All their plan offered was to provide health insurance for 3 million of the uninsured. In other words T____ S__ for the other 37 million uninsured — truly a magnificent gesture.

I am not impressed with the modest plan which the Democrats seem to be putting forward. However, it is probably the best they can due since they have to appease the Blue Dog Democrats. A spineless bunch of closet Republicans.

Incidentally, in watching the health care executives testify before the Legislature and Congress committees I noticed they weren't fully dressed. They had forgotten their masks and guns.

In peace,

Jim Updegraff

Sacramento


DEBBIE’S SPOON

Editor,

Freda Moon you’ve done it again — a “news” article completely biased and full of misstatements and false innuendos. I don’t believe the internet or anyone’s webpage should be used by people with “an axe to grind” to try and alter facts. What a disgrace to good investigative reporting. Here is the other side of the story that wasn’t covered in Freda Moon’s AVA “news” article:

First of all- there was no “fight.” There was only an assault and battery by Jim Muto upon Dan Hemann on the public sidewalk- and not inside Muto’s V'Canto Restaurant as Muto’s attorney suggests in this article. Dan Hemann merely suggested to Van Peer through V’Canto’s open doorway- that Muto needed to stop the late night vandalism of Dan’s building. Muto hearing Dan say this to Van Peer in a sudden rage lunged at Hemann through VCanto’s open doorway into the public street and knocked Dan to the ground while Muto then continued to hit Dan Hemann multiple times in the head. Dan never fought back, but was only trying to save his new eyeglasses from being ruined in the fall from Muto’s sudden attack. Dan and his girlfriend, Debra Hock, were both holding coffee mugs as they were drinking coffee at the time on the public sidewalk and not planning on using the coffee mugs as a “weapon.” The coffee spilled on all parties in this sidewalk incident due to Muto’s sudden unexpected physical attack upon Dan. Muto says he doesn’t remember hitting Dan, but the police report and the hospital emergency room records show that Dan Hemann was hit in the head and ear multiple times by Muto causing hearing loss and scratches on Dan. Van Peer took photographs of Muto hitting Dan, but offered no assistance to stop Muto. Therefore, Debra Hock — who dropped her favorite coffee cup doing this- helped to pull the flailing Muto off of Dan while Dan tried to save his new eyeglasses. The Fort Bragg police later returned to Debra Hock her coffee spoon.

It appears that it is Muto that is a bit “unhinged” and that he should be embarrassed for his behavior. To tell news “stories” about Dan Hemann and Debra Hock doesn’t alter the fact that the dispute between Dan and Muto started years ago over VCanto’s violation of city ordinances in playing amplified music outside of the normal Central Business District Hours of Operation which are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Business hours that may interfere with the quiet enjoyment of residences in this mixed use downtown area must obtain a Use Permit and follow the rules of the City Use Permit. Muto had his liquor license temporarily suspended by the Dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control because the Fort Bragg Police Dept. reported to ABC that Muto had been violating the special provisions of his liquor license by playing amplified music outside his approved hours of operation which was in violation of the Fort Bragg City Noise Ordinance and V Canto’s ABC license and City Use Permit. It appears that Muto, then in anger for this temporary loss of ABC licensing- took out his rage upon Dan Hemann and Dan’s building instead of admitting that he needs to follow the rules of his business permits or risk losing the right to operate a restaurant serving alcoholic beverages downtown.

There are no charges by the Police Dept. or D.A. against Dan Hemann. He was offered the same mediation as Jim Muto for this incident as he also has no prior criminal record of any kind. It appears that the Police Dept. isn’t interested in prosecuting either party to this incident and that Muto and Freda Moon of the AVA are making up a “story” to help Muto save face for his unruly behavior.

My advice to Muto is to please stop the war. You got the business hours that you wanted already through “bending the rules” with the City of Fort Bragg and ABC who have bent over backwards to help you succeed with the restaurant. If your business still has problems they are not Dan Hemann’s fault. Maybe it’s the bad economy and/or your inability to follow the rules of your permits. Your business needs something positive to draw more customers. All of this dreadful gossip and hate towards your neighbor will not bring you any good luck.

Amplified music is not allowed in the mixed use Central Business District according to the F.B. City Noise Ordinance and any restaurant music should not be heard by downtown residents outside of the restaurant premises especially after 10:00 p.m. in the mixed use CBD which is zoned both residential and commercial. If V'Canto wants more noise making- then they need to re-locate outside of the mixed use Central Business District. Slander or attacks upon your residential neighbors will not deliver to you the right to make late night noise.

Pamela Morey

Mendocino

Freda Moon responds: There’s a difference between bias, which is defined by prejudice, and an opinion based in reporting. I don't know either Hemann or Muto personally, so I can say unequivocally that I hold no grudge and have no ax to grind. But in reporting on the Green Door-V’Canto dispute, I have spoken to both Hemann and Muto and have come away from those interviews with a vivid impression of each man and his respective role in the community. In my story, I went out of my way to say that I could not know what happened on the day that Hemann and Muto crossed swords. As is often the case, the only people who can are those who were actually there. What I could do was attempt to get each man’s perspective and let readers make up their own minds about who they believe. I’d hoped Hemann would share his version of events directly. Instead, we learn his account through you, in a kind of modern media version of the children’s game Telephone. Since you seem to be his spokesperson, I’d hoped to ask you a few questions. But when I dialed a phone number listed online for Pamela Morey, certified iris analyst, I reached Dan Hemann at his Green Door Studio instead. I’d still like to hear Hemann’s account in his own words. But your recitation was evocative—and goes a long way toward filling in the details from a Hemannian perspective. I especially liked the part about the spoon. Anyone interested in what all the hubbub is about can find archived stories at TheAVA.com.


ADVANTAGE CANADA

Letter to the Editor:

What percentage of Canadians have decent medical coverage, compared with what percentage of Americans? Answer: 100 percent of Canadians have pretty good coverage compared with less than 50 percent of Americans. Fifty million Americans have no coverage: Advantage Canada; what system is most economical? Answer: Canada spends 10 percent of its GDP; United States: 17 percent. Advantage: Canada. How many Canadians declare bankruptcy because of medical bills each year compared with Americans? Answer: Zero Canadians declare bankruptcy, versus over 900,000 Americans every year: Advantage: Canada. Which country has the best health care outcomes for every single one of the major life-threatening diseases and conditions (cancer, heart attacks, stroke)? Answer: Canada. Advantage, Canada. Who has the best health care system by every relevant yardstick of accessibility, outcomes, cost, and availability? Answer: No contest – Canada. The United States isn't even in the game.

Carl Diehl

San Francisco


EL REY

Editor,

I am corresponding for a friend. His name is Julio Perez, a regular Latino, hard working with a drinking problem. Julio and I have been friends ever since he pulled over to help me get out of a pinch on 253. The other day he came to me shaken, and very sober. I think being in the US without his wife and children has worn him down and to soften the hardness of life, he drinks. But this visit he seemed estranged and his eyes very clear. He told me of a strange event behind his casa, where he had gone out late one night to pee. He witnessed a strange little man in a white jump suit singing a song of desperation and resolve. He had a guitar and as he played his eyes sparkled. Somehow Julio understood the words and then there was a puff of smoke and the area where the man had been was vacant. Julio is convinced it is a message from God. I can hear him, “mi dios, mi dios!” I realized it might have been this Black Elvis character your readers have been mentioning. I helped Julio find the album of Elvis that match his song and now he plays that song over and over again and refuses to drink. Julio appears to have re-engaged his life for which I am very happy. You know I wonder about these sightings, but well Julio is a better man because of a wondering wooden icon. What can I say?

Johnny Royale

Yorkville


FARM HUNT

Hello,

We’re writing this letter to see if you or someone you know may have land for sale in Anderson Valley. We are looking for a place to purchase, farm and build a home on. We value sustainable, local food production, responsible land management, and hope to stay in this community.

A little about us: we’ve lived in the valley on two acres since 2002, raising animals for meat and tending to our small garden. Our two children, Willow (4) and Sam (7), attend the local school. Torrey runs a graphic/web design business in Boonville and Alan does cabinetry for local building projects.

Our hope is that someone in the valley with multiple parcels would be willing to sell one to us. Our ideal would be 20-40 acres. We would build a home on the parcel, garden and raise livestock. At least partial pastureland with southern exposure and adequate water would be ideal.

We are approaching this with a “nothing ventured, nothing gained” attitude. Our hope is to find a mutually beneficial sale to give us the opportunity to expand our farm and the seller the opportunity to make some money while supporting local farmers.

Thank you for taking the time to read our letter.

Torrey Douglass & Alan Thomas

Boonville

torrey@pacific.net/donkeyote@pacific.net

895-2013


DANCING IN THE DARK

An Open Letter To “The Supes”:

The Board of Supervisors (affectionately known as THE SUPES) called a special session on Monday Feb 22nd with only 24 hours notice put surreptitiously on the internet on a sleepy Sunday morning. The topic was whether they wanted a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to run the county, as they have, quite unsuccessfully, these past 6 years, or whether it was time to go back to the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) arrangement that had been the 'modus operandi' for many decades. They also needed to decide how to fill the costly shoes of CEO Tom Mitchell, who had summarily resigned a week earlier following a performance review by The Supes and who immediately turned off his cell phone and left town on a fasat horse. While the public has shown interest in the CEO/CAO question and a citizens ad hoc committee was being organized, The Supes were in a big rush to get a new CEO in place to hack viciously at the overrun budget and relieve them of this burden.

Almost no one knew of the Special Session and only a few loyal business interests attended. They received essentially no public comment beyond support from the Farm Bureau, the Employers' Council, the Builders' Exchange, and a member of the Ukiah City Council. At the insistence of David Colfax they went through the motions of a debate although they all seemed to know how the deck had been stacked. “Lets get this over with quickly, discussion now would be distracting”: opined Johnny Pinches. “There is no big difference between the CEO and the CAO in terms of powers and duties” intoned John McCowen heavily.

They seemed to agree that their role was mainly to “set policy” rather than to manage the county government. Three Supes (McCowen, Brown and Pinches) eventually voted to stick with the CEO arrangement for at least for another 2 years and happy leave the burdensome management of the many various County departments to their un-elected and only recently appointed Acting CEO, Carmel Angelo. Anyone who has managed a fair-sized company knows that you cannot set policy if you do not know what works, what doesn't work, and how things are going within the organization. Divorcing management from policy has left The Supes looking like five neutered butterflies pinned down in their leather chairs on that raised dais, fluttering their wings fitfully. Our last CEO, Tom Mitchell, even forbade the Supervisors from meeting privately with Department Heads to find out anything about our leaky little Ship of State. The problem with a CEO-led model is that the Supervisors give away their ability to know what is happening within the various Departments, to set goals, and to review the performance of the Departments and of their senior personnel. These matters are all relegated to the CEO, an unelected center of power unanswerable to the citizenry.

The CEO decides for himself who is meeting his standards, and can hire or fire Department Heads at will. He can ask The Supes to review his judgments but The Supes have little or no first hand knowledge upon which to approve or disapprove such judgments. CEO Mitchell liked to hide behind his lap top computer at meetings, seeming to ignore The Supes endless discussions, and set up his well-paid staff to take their questions. The Supes are often confused and frustrated by the financial buzz-words and management-ease spoken by these minions. Only Supervisor Kendall Smith appears educated in the tricky 'lingua managementus' often spoken on Low Gap Road. In fact, at this past Monday's special session she introduced two new phrases to our overburdened lexicon: “managing in a holistic manner” and “budgetarial functions”. It is immediately obvious even to someone attending even their very first BOS meetings that something is very wrong with this set-up. The Supes sit some twenty feet back and five feet higher than the audience, seemingly to avoid frontal thrusts by citizens with pitchforks.

By contrast, a Chief Administrative Officer-led government makes the Supervisors responsible for the performance of each department. They can drop in at Department meetings from time to time to find out how things are working, learn who the employees are, and to listen to them. Supervisor Colfax went on at length about the difficulties of being burdened as supervisor by administrative, legislative and judicial duties. It all seemed a bit overdone: The Supes have no truly judicial duties and can easily pass off routine administrative functions to others when the burdens become too taxing. He felt the public was not well-served by the CEO model. Kendall Smith thought it was “presumptuous” for a county as small as ours to need an expensive Executive Officer with supporting staff. She confessed that she had been wrong in agreeing to the CEO model six years back, but had wanted to be a “team player”. Al Beltrami, our longest surviving former CAO, suggested they wait 4 to 6 months before deciding on a new CEO or CAO, and agreed with Benj Thomas of the Ukiah City Council that they let the Acting CEO be watched and tested in the job before making a final decision. No one pointed out that Carmel Angelo has no prior experience as either a County Executive or Administrator and had served within the Public Health Department until a few months ago. Mark Johnson of the Employers Council felt that The Supes should not be “consumed with management and administration”. He neglected to describe their current

diet.

Upon completion of the purportedly “public session”, The Supes disappeared into a darkened executive session where transparency was avoided and where the voice of the people could not be heard. Upon emergence some hours later, they announced that the Assistant CEO, Carmel Angelo, would be appointed CEO upon the completion of Mitchell's contract in a few weeks. No public discussion was encouraged, no talent search for a more experienced candidate would be undertaken, no explanation was offered as to why such a precipitous decision was needed this red hot minute, nor why Al Beltrami's reasonable suggestion of a trial period was ignored. The Supes are Dancing in the Dark once again, as they did when they fired John Ball as CEO without explanation, when Tom Mitchell mysteriously resigned without warning, and now when an inexperienced and untested person has been given a two year contract at a handsome salary without even a word of justification by Our Supes. Someone needs to turn on the lights on Low Gap Road!

Sincerely,

James Houle

Redwood Valley

CHRISTY BOWS OUT

Dear Community,

To all the People of Mendocino 5th District Community,

It is with a heavy heart that I must tell you all that I'm withdrawing from the 2010 Fifth District Supervisor race. My reasons being family, financial, and timing.

It was already a stretch for me to run, with two young children and a small business, but recently my father, who will be 80 this Saturday and lives with me, has had repercussions from a car accident he was in. He has a crushed spinal column that doctors are recommending surgery to aid against further problems and to rehabilitate This will be a start of many trips to UCSF to get him treated. He comes first.

He wants me to keep running, but there is no way I'm not going to be there for him during and after the surgery. Honestly, I entered this race late and this allows me to take a breath and spend more time in the county to study the issues and become a better candidate in 2014.

As bad as it hurts to stop this campaign at this time, please know that I'm still here for all those who have supported me and those I'm still meeting and talking with. My phone number is still the same, I'm in the book. I will answer your calls and just like tonight, I will still go to the meetings and join in whenever I feel I can accomplish positive change in our county. It's important that we stick together.

This journey is something that I never expected. It's changed my life. Most of my tears have been from joy, and a few out of sheer terror when thinking of the responsibility of what it would take to come up with solutions for Mendocino.

At this point I feel I've learned many things concerning the issues in our county. Meaning I am more familiar with the laws. I'm active in meetings. I know the names of people on both sides of the issues, and who to talk to and draw information from if I had to as a Supervisor.

I feel confident knowing that I could represent the people's will. But of course there are more than 500 zillion issues and counting. In the coming years I will spend my extra time doing all that I can to learn about every issue and make it to as many Supervisor meetings possible. (Please call me if you're going that way so we might carpool.)

The next reason is financial, and probably the biggest. I'm not good at asking for money for myself. Other people yes, but for myself, no. My husband and I realize how much it costs to run a campaign. We are struggling to pay our bills and feed our family and keep our guitar factory going. It's been really hard. As many of you know, we work like many, 7 days a week, 12+ hours most days. Every second counts and I have not been able on my own to carve out the time really needed to organize benefits for my campaign in a timely manner. I'm just not the type to have fundraisers at fancy hotels while there is so much to do at home and in our business. I have kept going this long because I know that the 400+ people who signed my Petition in lieu of fee (and still counting) have inspired me. Keep believing.

We need to stick together and we can make a change. What I have heard and how I feel is that the people of this County and our country for that matter are fed up with the way politicians are running our lives and we want our county back. Take Mendocino back to the original ideas that drew the first settlers here in the first place. Most of us are regular people who work multiple jobs to survive into an unpredictable future. What is our County government going to do next? More so, what can we do about it? Stick together I hope.

I am deeply committed to the betterment of Mendocino County and I will continue to do all I can for our community in that respect.

Peace be with you all,

Christy Wells-Fritz

Albion


WHEN THEY’RE GONE…

Letter to the Editor:

I hope it doesn't come down to one or the other, but if I had to choose, it would be salmon all the way. I can grow vegetables and fruits in my backyard, but I can't grow salmon. The farmers may come and go, but once salmon is extinct, it is gone forever. I don't think future generations could ever forgive us if we let that happen. I sympathize with the farmers and hope there is a way to support them too, but the priority has to to be healthy salmon. The loss of this species would cause untold damage up and down the food chain and fishermen are as important as farmers.

But the real priority must be saving the wild salmon, the fisheries along with them. Then we can save the farmers.

Anne Petersen

Sonoma


SHOW OF HANDS

Editor:

I refer to the AVA of February 3. Having been in Manila for several weeks I'm running behind on everything.

The always entertaining letters section was several cuts above average. But, specifically, I am responding to J.B. Reynolds well-written letter having to do with “speed traps within speed traps” on California highways.

Clearly, our legislators, both state and federal, have too much time on their hands. It's easier (and much safer) to author a bill doubling the jail time for stealing a lollipop from a baby in a pram than it is to address the real issues of our troubled times.

A good friend — Rest In Peace, DBM — once suggested a way to counter this trend: introduce a bill that would require the removal of two laws from the books before any new law could be added. That made sense to me then and it makes sense today. Can anyone really profess familiarity with the totality of our thousands of pages of state codes, even the most senior of our attorneys?

Do I see anyone raising a hand to sponsor such a measure?

Sincerely,

Stewart Bowen

Suisun Valley

PS. Outstanding letter from Frank Graham on our hopelessly botched health-care reform efforts! And from one curmudgeon to another, I'm glad to see Harold Ericsson is still on the job. But I'm starting to sound like Don MacQueen. (Where is Don?)

Ed note: Don moved to Eugene, Oregon a while back and has cut back on his letters.


SLIDE GUITAR

Greetings

I was cruising home after a nice weekend in Mendocino. Down on 128 at that slide I witnessed a small man in white surfing down the slide on a guitar. I know, I know it sounds goofy, but then so do all the other letters you have recently published.

Ralph Livingston

San Francisco


REMODEL YOURSELVES, PAUL & MARK

Dear Editor

Regarding the AVA, “Off the Record” Article on Tichinin naming Iacuaniello as Mendocino County’s “schoolmaster/superintendent of the year,” this is a joke, right?!

Can Mark Iacuaniello really, really possibly be the absolute best of the best, crème de le crème, top of the heap Mendocino County has to offer our students in the way of superintendents? SAY IT AIN’T SO, JOE!!! If Iacuaniello is, I can’t imagine who the worst can possibly be!

Iacuaniello has told me that he is “proud” of his accomplishments while at Point Arena. However, let’s see what Iacuaniello has accomplished in order to receive this most prestigious coveted award and I will let you be the judge:

1. The elementary school is back into State Program Improvement. The elementary school was only taken out of program improvement after the hiring of Matthew Murray as the elementary principal. However, Iacuaniello terminated Mr. Murray because of a few disgruntled teachers who didn’t want to change and Iacuaniello instead of sticking by the principal gave into the disgruntled teachers. Finally, telling the Board either “he goes or I go” in a closed door session. However, Iacuaniello stayed and Murray, who was actually making great progress at the elementary school, was out the door! Does this deserve an award? PLEASE, SAY IT AIN’T SO, JOE!

2. The high school has been unable to meet State and Federal Goals for the last two years. Does this deserve an award? PLEASE, PLEASE, SAY IT AIN’T SO, JOE!

3. In order to build (not remodel as stated in the AVA) onto the elementary school in Point Arena Iacuaniello used bond fund money taxpayers voted on, to build a K-5th grade elementary school in Gualala. The bond was actually presented to the voters as a “conversion of existing classrooms” to a middle school once the Gualala elementary school was built. However, this never happened. Instead of retiring the original bond (suggested by community members) and allowing voters to decide through another bond how they wanted to spend their money, Iacuaniello used bond funds and did not “remodel” or “convert old classrooms” (as presented to the voters in the bond) but actually built two new buildings at the elementary school in Point Arena. Also, another point I would like to emphasize, Iacuaniello is the chair/secretary of this Bond Oversight Committee, which is in violation of California Department of Education Law. The Law clearly states that “no public employee” shall serve as a member of this Committee. Does this deserve an award? PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, SAY IT AIN’T SO, JOE!

4. Our district is a basic aide school district, which means the majority of our funds come from our property taxes. Basic aide schools are truly envied by State funded schools because while those schools are getting funds cut from their budgets we only see a trickle down effect and actually can count on a 2% increase each year from property taxes. As a matter of fact, this year our district will be receiving $7,437,402.56 (according to CFO of the Point Arena School District) in funds and grants to educate (or de-educate in our district) 413 students, which equals $18,008 per student! According to the California Department of Education 2007-2008 study, the current education expense per student is $8,594. There is no way this amount per student could have possibly increased by $9,500 per student in two years! At last night’s Board Meeting (Feb 25th) the community was informed that unless there are cuts done to the current budget that the district would end up with a “projected deficit” of $622,404! Huh?! What is even more interesting is that an undergraduate student going to California State University in San Francisco currently pays fees of $6,474.00 (inclusive of books) per academic year enrolling in more than six units. Does this deserve an award? PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, SAY IT AIN’T SO, JOE!

Iacuaniello is retiring this year and I believe will leave the Point Arena School District worse for being there (as you can see from above). Other than the new buildings he has built within the district (3) he has failed to upgrade the education of our children. However, do buildings educate our children? Obviously, Tichinin and Iacuaniello must believe this because this is the only accomplishment Iacuaniello is leaving the district in Point Arena with, after being there for eight years. His legacy really is he arrived with an elementary school in program improvement and he has left it in program improvement, additionally now the high school is falling behind. Again, this goes without saying, the one and only principal who was able to achieve the goal of getting the elementary school out of Program Improvement (Matthew Murray) since Iacuaniello arrived in the district was terminated without cause! Great going, Iacuaniello! A stellar example of how important and vital it is for the superintendents and principals of Mendocino County to be upgrading buildings instead of upgrading the education of our children.

So, in essence, Tichinin has presented to the other superintendents a very hefty and lofty goal to strive and work towards, in order to be considered a nominee and in order to receive this outstanding award. Yes folks, in order to receive recognition in our county as schoolmaster/superintendent of the year, school superintendents need to be working on upgrading their schools instead of upgrading the education of the children. Who would have thunk!!

I believe Tichinin should receive an award for being the worst County Superintendent of the Year and our children should present it to him.

An ugly rumor is floating around our district that Iacuaniello will be replacing Tichinin when he retires. I would like to see a breakdown of what our county has accomplished with Tichinin at the helm. Heaven help the education of our children and the finances in educating them in Mendocino County if this should ever happen! On the bright side all the schools may get “remodeled”!

If I were a superintendent capable of achieving the goal of assuring our children are being educated (through great teachers) and reaching State and Federal Goals (certainly there must be some superintendents in our county achieving this) but is being passed over in lieu of someone like Iacuaniello, I would be furious! Certainly, I cannot be the only one outraged by this ridiculous farce!!

Respectfully,

Susan Rush

Manchester


FAIR PLAY FOR FRANCE

Dear Editor:

France is a small nation, about the size of Texas. But it's been the stage for much of Western history's most significant events.

Probably the most significant was World War I.

Much of this war was fought on French soil. And French casualties were appalling. There were almost 1.7 million people killed outright and 4 million wounded. And keep in mind — these casualties were suffered by a tiny nation with a population of less than 40 million. 15% of the French people were killed or wounded in this war. Not 15% of the military — 15% of the total population suffered personal physical harm or death.

A generation later came World War II.

Obviously, France has not yet recovered. Psychologically and manpowerwise, they were unprepared for this new conflict. Nevertheless, they mounted a strong defense — and suffered terribly for it. Their World War II losses to the Nazis were similar to those suffered by the Americans.

Europeans in general, and the French in particular, are grateful for the help they received during the Second World War. But the real heavy lifting was done by the Russians — mostly on the Eastern front. Their losses dwarf those suffered by the Allies. It is estimated that their casualties were between 20 and 25 million. They lost almost 100 of their people for every American casualty.

Not knowing this history, many Americans are contemptuous of Europeans for their feeble defense. But this derision is more a commentary on American ignorance than European cowardice.

Sincerely,

Bart Boyer

San Diego


A DREAM OF OOPS

Hello AVA,

Does Diana Vance hold a grudge against some poor fellow by the name of Liebenstraum? (I'd hate to be on her bad side.) Liebenstraum doesn't mean “living space” in German as she asserted. That notorious byword for expansionist justifications was “Lebensraum.” Liebenstraum means “a dream of love,” which I'm sure one's enemies could, after all, rework into even juicier innuendos if they tried.

Just clearing the air.

Wishing you loam,

Wolfgang Rougel

Cottonwood

PS. Could you get Scaramella to explain, for those of us unfamiliar with either one, the legal and practical differences between a Grand Jury and a “Tiger Team”?

ms replies: I'm pretty sure it was my mistake in typing Ms. Vance's letter, not Ms. Vance’s. However, reading your very amusing letter makes it all worthwhile. PS. A Grand Jury is a self-selected group of civilian citizens who investigate public organizations and bureaucracies and make bland and generally ignored advisory recommendations. A Tiger Team is derived from the military and is usually any dragooned group of non-volunteer supposed specialists who are asked to look into one specific, important problem and fix it or make recommendations to fix it. Generally, the person in charge orders that their recommendations be carried out. Grand juries have no such authority. What little authority Grand Juries have is to recommend that the District Attorney prosecute illegal acts that they discover. But the District Attorney seldom does that. And, to our knowledge, has never done it in Mendocino County.


NO PAROLE

To the Editor:

I had to write this letter because several weeks ago someone wrote to the Mendocino Observer begging for people to write to the parole board for a murdering lunatic! How can anyone ever forget the Valentine’s Day murder and slaughter of Perry Lee Hoaglin, “Shorty,” as everyone knew him by?

It will be 24 years ago last week that Steven Craig Crump murdered and slaughtered my brother. I say that horrible word slaughter because that’s what it was. The doctors stopped counting the stab wounds at 46! Shorty was beaten and stabbed so bad that the doctors couldn’t believe he was still alive. After beating and stabbing him to death, they thought at the time, they dumped his body at manor’s gate, a little past the Rez, and left him for dead.

The will to live is a powerful energy. Shorty had so much will to live that after they dumped his body and drove off he crawled toward the road and made it up the road about 20 yards when someone finally came along and found him and called for help. At the hospital he lived long enough to tell the police who did this horrible thing to him!

Shorty was only about 4 feet, 8 inches tall and about 140 pounds. He was a quiet kind of guy who could make you smile or laugh with some of his stories. He enjoyed kicking back with his friends and watching movies or playing cards. He enjoyed football and baseball and would always head down the coyote trail to watch the baseball games at Harwood Park.

Shorty loved life and was always there to help anyone who needed help. He never hurt a living soul in his life. He respected his elders as we all do and he wanted to live! He was only 22 years old when he was brutally murdered, slaughtered and left for dead and dumped by Steven Craig Crump!

One day in the courthouse in Ukiah as we were all standing in the hall talking, this man Steven Crump came up to all of us and started pointing his finger and naming the people he would kill next! The lady next to me stepped back and was shocked at this attack right in the courthouse in front of a bunch of cops. He started screaming and coming closer when we started hollering at the cops to do something. They finally grabbed him and dragged him away. He was laughing and screaming about killing everybody.

This thing called Steven Craig Crump never needs to ever be released from prison because he will kill again. He said so right in front of the cops, lawyers and all of us. So yes, do write to the California Board of Parole, and the Board of Hearing and Rehabilitation, PO Box 4036, Sacramento CA 95812, and tell them to keep him forever!

Paulette Hoaglin

Laytonville


THE INSANE BANNING POSSE

Editor,

For the ever growing list of individuals who have been ostracized by the Insane Banning Posse at Berkeley's Long Haul Infoshop, there will be an alternative Anarchist Bookfair Afterparty in Berkeley at Kip's (located near the corner of Durant and Telegraph Ave., one block south of the entrance to UCB), Saturday March 13th from 8pm onward. There is no reason why sane, rational radicals hereabout cannot get together after the annual SF anarchist bookfair for a chat and a brew. Come on by Kip's and socialize with :the people” — white radical environmentalists, black people with historical Black Panther associations, full blooded indigenous warrior tribal members, and it's hosted by the Chinese rooster clan!

No one turned away for any reason whatsoever.

Craig Stehr

Berkeley


HOW TO DUMP YOUR LAWYER

Letter to the editor --

Attention: Glenn Sunkett —

I read your articles on that no good public defender, Glenn. (Linda Thompson, a.k.a. the No-Good Witch.)

Okay. Here's what you do, Glenn: write to the State Bar of California. Ask them for attorney misconduct forms. They will mail them to you ASAP. When you go to court, get it on the record that your so-called Public Defender is guilty of ineffective assistance of counsel. Site case law: Strickland v. Washington. Also cite the U.S. Constitution, 8th Amendment, cruel and unusual punishment. And the 14th amendment, equal protection-due process. You can write/contact the State Bar at:

State Bar of California

180 Howard St.

San Francisco, CA 94105-1639

415/538-2000

Kenny Calihan

Corcoran


MENDO WILL ENDURE

Editor,

The American economy is in the toilet. Nationwide, 50 million people need to use food stamps to eat. 50 million have no health care, with 60% of bankruptcies resulting from medical emergencies. Americans have lost $5 trillion from their pensions and savings and $13 trillion in the value of their homes since the latest economic crisis began. Meanwhile, the prison industry thrives with the US having more people incarcerated than any other nation in the world. The real unemployment rate is over 20% with 30 million US citizens unemployed or underemployed. 60% of Americans live from paycheck to paycheck.

So what does all this have to do with Mendocino County? Like nearly every political jurisdiction in the country, our county is broke and getting broker by the day. While critics point to local mismanagement, no fair observer could maintain that government has done a worse job than major pillars of the private sector. When the banks went belly up, the feds showered them with trillions in bailout cash. No similar bailout will be coming to help state and local government.

The federal government spends more on war-making than all 50 states combined spend on education, health, welfare and public safety. This is insane. When a group of county citizens went to the Board of Supervisors last year to protest this misappropriation of our tax dollars, we were met with silence. Yet this is an issue that every elected official should take up. We're all being forced to pay for wars that most of us don't support and an armaments industry that only serves to make the world more dangerous.

I hope that the resignation of county CEO Tom Mitchell will lead to the kind of shakeup that the county administrative office sorely needs. The Board of Supervisors and county administration have made errors in judgment over the past decade that have intensified a woeful budget situation. But until we are able to redress the waste of our tax dollars on war-making, and the corporate stranglehold on national politics, we will continue to struggle to make ends meet.

In the midst of so much dysfunction, Mendocino County is yet a beacon of hope. We may be small in population, but we are rich in natural bounty, ingenious people, and a will to maintain livable communities regardless of outside circumstances.

Dan Hamburg

Ukiah


APPRECIATION & SUPPORT

Letter to the Editor,

I’m sorry to announce the passing of long time Anderson Valley resident David Meek of Navarro who lost his battle with cancer on February 19, 2010. I want to also take this opportunity to send a special Thank You to the Anderson Valley Health Clinic team — Mark Apfel and Judy Nelson provided the utmost support during David’s difficult time. They also assisted in making it possible for David’s adopted son Joseph Marlin to be by his side during his passing. They went out of their way on numerous occasions and David and our family truly, truly appreciate everything.

A memorial service with support from David’s family and his close friend, Dave Evans, will be held at the Navarro store on Saturday, March 6, 2010 at 2pm.

Thank you,

April and DeeDee

Navarro


PREVENTION

Editor,

The very idea of cutting AODP funding is ludicrous in itself!

If you believe in the disease concept of addiction, this is tantamount to closing the emergency room. If you were to close the emergency room people would be dying in the streets, the same for AODP.

As Public Defender Linda Thompson has stated, the state mandated Prop 36, Drug Court and even PC 1000 diversion programs are all dependent upon AODP. These are requirements that have changed the lives of many people for the best. It is easy enough to say that the County of Mendocino has a large segment of population that have drug addiction issues, recently seen in the news such as the feeling of a need for a police dog to search the high school lockers for drugs in Ukiah. Without proactive intervention the problem will sky rocket, and stopping the funding to AODP will send a clear message to the public that the powers to be are not interested in curbing such problems, thus enabling the addicted to give a “F-it!” attitude.

As I have said in the past the way to stop the addiction problem is to nip it at the bud, the cost of incarceration of our already filled jail and/or further treatment down the line, and the general mayhem that addiction costs to society at large, warrants the further funding of AODP.

Drug addiction is a medical problem not a criminal problem, incarceration will prove not effective to the cure!

Patricia Guntley has done a great job with AODP, obtaining grants to further educate the youth of the harmful effects that addiction will cause.

Sheriff Tom Allman has set innovated ways to educate our youth about addiction with the face2face project and other vehicles of media.

Rob Henderson advocating for the dual diagnosed singlehandedly works diligently to provide services to the needy who are addicted as well!

Dr Carnevale finds prescription medical alternative solutions to stop the use of dangerous street drugs.

We also have the Ford Street Project and UCC fighting in the trenches with one on one and group counseling, and assisted housing to mend the lives of those who have been torn by addiction.

Let us not throw away the good intentions of the good people who have gone out of their way to find solutions by sending the message that we don't care by cutting the funds to AODP.

Trent Foster

Ukiah


GOTTA PLACE FOR LOICK?

Dear Editor;

A 16-year-old French youth, Loick Crouzet, would like to visit in the US this July for a month to improve his English, and so is looking for a host. Also, his French family would like to host an American youth there in Provence.

Loick likes rugby and soccer and is “open” to learning new things and eager to discover. He is a scout and loves to camp out in nature. He has studied English for five years, and Spanish for three years. At the moment, he is thinking about becoming a doctor.

Loick would like to come to the States for 3 or 4 weeks between June 25th and July 30th of this year. It would be nice for him to be in a family with kids of his age. Also, his family in France would be really pleased to host a youth from the area in their home in Provence, not far from the Alps and the Mediterranean coast.

If you'd like more info about this possible hosting or youth exchange, please contact Loick and his mother, Nancy Crouzet, at: nancy.crouzet@orange.fr

Tom Wodetzki

Albion


OHM’S TOLL ROAD

Dear Editor,

A Chron Reader or PG&E Mole wrote last week about the Grid. This person knows a bit but lacks a lot.

It was claimed that if a municipality owns their own utility that they get a free ride because PG&E has to maintain the grid. Not really.

From an accounting standpoint there are two main components regarding the grid. One is the cost of the electrical energy moving throughout the grid measured in watt-hours, or billions of watt-hours depending on quantity. The power plants that generate the electrical power get paid for that product. The “juice” gets passed on through sundry buyers and sellers until reaching the final customer.

Then there is what is known as Wheeling. You see, the grid is like a toll road and whoever owns the road gets paid for the energy that flows through the various portions of the grid.

One large example is the City of San Francisco, which has its Department of Electricity. It creates power up in the Sierras and consumes a lot of it at the International Airport and within the streetcar and electric bus system. The power is wheeled most of the way over PG&E transmission lines. The City pays for the use of the lines but not for the electricity. The wheeling use is calculated by mWh (million/billion watt hours).

There are many other municipalities that own their own utility. Alameda is another one. Electricity is generated by plants owned by a consortium, the Northern California Power Authority. A great deal is from renewable sources like geothermal and hydro. The power is wheeled for the most part over PG&E lines to reach places like Alameda, which owns all the distribution system within city limits. Alameda pays wheeling fees, which pay for the maintenance of the cross-country lines. Alameda, btw, sells electrical energy for less than what PG&E charges their customers.

The bottom line is that everyone pays for only what they get and no more. The claim that public utilities get a free ride for maintenance is bogus. Their share of maintaining the grid is paid for with wheeling revenue — and don't you forget it.

Carl Flach

Alameda


TRACKING CARMEL

To the Editor:

When I read that the Board of Supervisors appointed Ms. Carmel Angelo to a two-year contract as CEO, I was very disappointed. In my disappointment I sent around an overly cranky email directed at John McCowen, who had sent around a notice of the Board's actions.

I apologize for the overly cranky email. Since then I have heard that Angelo is indeed a very good administrator, and had I had information on her performance in other jobs, or some evaluation of her performance I likely would have agreed that her appointment was a good thing for the county. I do like the fact that she is actually living here (she is, isn't she?) and therefore is not someone who has to be moved to the county and introduced to all the players.

That said, it would have been helpful if the members of the Board had shared their thoughts in a wider forum than in individual communications. It's the preemption of public input (in a public forum) that drives county residents crazy.

And then there is the issue of a two-year contract. Would she have just picked up and left if the Board had said she would continue as the interim CEO until the Board decided whether to continue the CEO model, or do something else? If the answer is yes, then maybe she isn't so dedicated to the welfare of the county residents as we would like to think she is.

In sum, after two disastrous CEOs, to go ahead and appoint another one without some deliberations (in public) seems dangerous.

Going forward, I would like to see the Board adopt a formal tracking system so that the Board receives updates on its priority items. This is something I have seen work in my career in the federal government.

Janie Sheppard

Ukiah


INSURANCE v. US

Dear Editor:

Obama's bipartisan health care summit turned out about the way I expected. The Republicans showed a total lack of concern or compassion for those with pre-existing conditions or the rest of the 40 million uninsured Americans. The only concern and compassion the Republicans showed was for the health insurance companies. All their plan offered was to provide health insurance for 3 million of the uninsured. In other words T____ S__ for the other 37 million uninsured — truly a magnificent gesture.

I am not impressed with the modest plan which the Democrats seem to be putting forward. However, it is probably the best they can due since they have to appease the Blue Dog Democrats. A spineless bunch of closet Republicans.

Incidentally, in watching the health care executives testify before the Legislature and Congress committees I noticed they weren't fully dressed. They had forgotten their masks and guns.

In peace,

Jim Updegraff

Sacramento


DEBBIE’S SPOON

Editor,

Freda Moon you’ve done it again — a “news” article completely biased and full of misstatements and false innuendos. I don’t believe the internet or anyone’s webpage should be used by people with “an axe to grind” to try and alter facts. What a disgrace to good investigative reporting. Here is the other side of the story that wasn’t covered in Freda Moon’s AVA “news” article:

First of all- there was no “fight.” There was only an assault and battery by Jim Muto upon Dan Hemann on the public sidewalk- and not inside Muto’s V'Canto Restaurant as Muto’s attorney suggests in this article. Dan Hemann merely suggested to Van Peer through V’Canto’s open doorway- that Muto needed to stop the late night vandalism of Dan’s building. Muto hearing Dan say this to Van Peer in a sudden rage lunged at Hemann through VCanto’s open doorway into the public street and knocked Dan to the ground while Muto then continued to hit Dan Hemann multiple times in the head. Dan never fought back, but was only trying to save his new eyeglasses from being ruined in the fall from Muto’s sudden attack. Dan and his girlfriend, Debra Hock, were both holding coffee mugs as they were drinking coffee at the time on the public sidewalk and not planning on using the coffee mugs as a “weapon.” The coffee spilled on all parties in this sidewalk incident due to Muto’s sudden unexpected physical attack upon Dan. Muto says he doesn’t remember hitting Dan, but the police report and the hospital emergency room records show that Dan Hemann was hit in the head and ear multiple times by Muto causing hearing loss and scratches on Dan. Van Peer took photographs of Muto hitting Dan, but offered no assistance to stop Muto. Therefore, Debra Hock — who dropped her favorite coffee cup doing this- helped to pull the flailing Muto off of Dan while Dan tried to save his new eyeglasses. The Fort Bragg police later returned to Debra Hock her coffee spoon.

It appears that it is Muto that is a bit “unhinged” and that he should be embarrassed for his behavior. To tell news “stories” about Dan Hemann and Debra Hock doesn’t alter the fact that the dispute between Dan and Muto started years ago over VCanto’s violation of city ordinances in playing amplified music outside of the normal Central Business District Hours of Operation which are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Business hours that may interfere with the quiet enjoyment of residences in this mixed use downtown area must obtain a Use Permit and follow the rules of the City Use Permit. Muto had his liquor license temporarily suspended by the Dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control because the Fort Bragg Police Dept. reported to ABC that Muto had been violating the special provisions of his liquor license by playing amplified music outside his approved hours of operation which was in violation of the Fort Bragg City Noise Ordinance and V Canto’s ABC license and City Use Permit. It appears that Muto, then in anger for this temporary loss of ABC licensing- took out his rage upon Dan Hemann and Dan’s building instead of admitting that he needs to follow the rules of his business permits or risk losing the right to operate a restaurant serving alcoholic beverages downtown.

There are no charges by the Police Dept. or D.A. against Dan Hemann. He was offered the same mediation as Jim Muto for this incident as he also has no prior criminal record of any kind. It appears that the Police Dept. isn’t interested in prosecuting either party to this incident and that Muto and Freda Moon of the AVA are making up a “story” to help Muto save face for his unruly behavior.

My advice to Muto is to please stop the war. You got the business hours that you wanted already through “bending the rules” with the City of Fort Bragg and ABC who have bent over backwards to help you succeed with the restaurant. If your business still has problems they are not Dan Hemann’s fault. Maybe it’s the bad economy and/or your inability to follow the rules of your permits. Your business needs something positive to draw more customers. All of this dreadful gossip and hate towards your neighbor will not bring you any good luck.

Amplified music is not allowed in the mixed use Central Business District according to the F.B. City Noise Ordinance and any restaurant music should not be heard by downtown residents outside of the restaurant premises especially after 10:00 p.m. in the mixed use CBD which is zoned both residential and commercial. If V'Canto wants more noise making- then they need to re-locate outside of the mixed use Central Business District. Slander or attacks upon your residential neighbors will not deliver to you the right to make late night noise.

Pamela Morey

Mendocino

Freda Moon responds: There’s a difference between bias, which is defined by prejudice, and an opinion based in reporting. I don't know either Hemann or Muto personally, so I can say unequivocally that I hold no grudge and have no ax to grind. But in reporting on the Green Door-V’Canto dispute, I have spoken to both Hemann and Muto and have come away from those interviews with a vivid impression of each man and his respective role in the community. In my story, I went out of my way to say that I could not know what happened on the day that Hemann and Muto crossed swords. As is often the case, the only people who can are those who were actually there. What I could do was attempt to get each man’s perspective and let readers make up their own minds about who they believe. I’d hoped Hemann would share his version of events directly. Instead, we learn his account through you, in a kind of modern media version of the children’s game Telephone. Since you seem to be his spokesperson, I’d hoped to ask you a few questions. But when I dialed a phone number listed online for Pamela Morey, certified iris analyst, I reached Dan Hemann at his Green Door Studio instead. I’d still like to hear Hemann’s account in his own words. But your recitation was evocative—and goes a long way toward filling in the details from a Hemannian perspective. I especially liked the part about the spoon. Anyone interested in what all the hubbub is about can find archived stories at TheAVA.com.


ADVANTAGE CANADA

Letter to the Editor:

What percentage of Canadians have decent medical coverage, compared with what percentage of Americans? Answer: 100 percent of Canadians have pretty good coverage compared with less than 50 percent of Americans. Fifty million Americans have no coverage: Advantage Canada; what system is most economical? Answer: Canada spends 10 percent of its GDP; United States: 17 percent. Advantage: Canada. How many Canadians declare bankruptcy because of medical bills each year compared with Americans? Answer: Zero Canadians declare bankruptcy, versus over 900,000 Americans every year: Advantage: Canada. Which country has the best health care outcomes for every single one of the major life-threatening diseases and conditions (cancer, heart attacks, stroke)? Answer: Canada. Advantage, Canada. Who has the best health care system by every relevant yardstick of accessibility, outcomes, cost, and availability? Answer: No contest – Canada. The United States isn't even in the game.

Carl Diehl

San Francisco


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EL REY

Editor,

I am corresponding for a friend. His name is Julio Perez, a regular Latino, hard working with a drinking problem. Julio and I have been friends ever since he pulled over to help me get out of a pinch on 253. The other day he came to me shaken, and very sober. I think being in the US without his wife and children has worn him down and to soften the hardness of life, he drinks. But this visit he seemed estranged and his eyes very clear. He told me of a strange event behind his casa, where he had gone out late one night to pee. He witnessed a strange little man in a white jump suit singing a song of desperation and resolve. He had a guitar and as he played his eyes sparkled. Somehow Julio understood the words and then there was a puff of smoke and the area where the man had been was vacant. Julio is convinced it is a message from God. I can hear him, “mi dios, mi dios!” I realized it might have been this Black Elvis character your readers have been mentioning. I helped Julio find the album of Elvis that match his song and now he plays that song over and over again and refuses to drink. Julio appears to have re-engaged his life for which I am very happy. You know I wonder about these sightings, but well Julio is a better man because of a wondering wooden icon. What can I say?

Johnny Royale

Yorkville


FARM HUNT

Hello,

We’re writing this letter to see if you or someone you know may have land for sale in Anderson Valley. We are looking for a place to purchase, farm and build a home on. We value sustainable, local food production, responsible land management, and hope to stay in this community.

A little about us: we’ve lived in the valley on two acres since 2002, raising animals for meat and tending to our small garden. Our two children, Willow (4) and Sam (7), attend the local school. Torrey runs a graphic/web design business in Boonville and Alan does cabinetry for local building projects.

Our hope is that someone in the valley with multiple parcels would be willing to sell one to us. Our ideal would be 20-40 acres. We would build a home on the parcel, garden and raise livestock. At least partial pastureland with southern exposure and adequate water would be ideal.

We are approaching this with a “nothing ventured, nothing gained” attitude. Our hope is to find a mutually beneficial sale to give us the opportunity to expand our farm and the seller the opportunity to make some money while supporting local farmers.

Thank you for taking the time to read our letter.

Torrey Douglass & Alan Thomas

Boonville

torrey@pacific.net/donkeyote@pacific.net

895-2013


DANCING IN THE DARK

An Open Letter To “The Supes”:

The Board of Supervisors (affectionately known as THE SUPES) called a special session on Monday Feb 22nd with only 24 hours notice put surreptitiously on the internet on a sleepy Sunday morning. The topic was whether they wanted a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to run the county, as they have, quite unsuccessfully, these past 6 years, or whether it was time to go back to the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) arrangement that had been the 'modus operandi' for many decades. They also needed to decide how to fill the costly shoes of CEO Tom Mitchell, who had summarily resigned a week earlier following a performance review by The Supes and who immediately turned off his cell phone and left town on a fasat horse. While the public has shown interest in the CEO/CAO question and a citizens ad hoc committee was being organized, The Supes were in a big rush to get a new CEO in place to hack viciously at the overrun budget and relieve them of this burden.

Almost no one knew of the Special Session and only a few loyal business interests attended. They received essentially no public comment beyond support from the Farm Bureau, the Employers' Council, the Builders' Exchange, and a member of the Ukiah City Council. At the insistence of David Colfax they went through the motions of a debate although they all seemed to know how the deck had been stacked. “Lets get this over with quickly, discussion now would be distracting”: opined Johnny Pinches. “There is no big difference between the CEO and the CAO in terms of powers and duties” intoned John McCowen heavily.

They seemed to agree that their role was mainly to “set policy” rather than to manage the county government. Three Supes (McCowen, Brown and Pinches) eventually voted to stick with the CEO arrangement for at least for another 2 years and happy leave the burdensome management of the many various County departments to their un-elected and only recently appointed Acting CEO, Carmel Angelo. Anyone who has managed a fair-sized company knows that you cannot set policy if you do not know what works, what doesn't work, and how things are going within the organization. Divorcing management from policy has left The Supes looking like five neutered butterflies pinned down in their leather chairs on that raised dais, fluttering their wings fitfully. Our last CEO, Tom Mitchell, even forbade the Supervisors from meeting privately with Department Heads to find out anything about our leaky little Ship of State. The problem with a CEO-led model is that the Supervisors give away their ability to know what is happening within the various Departments, to set goals, and to review the performance of the Departments and of their senior personnel. These matters are all relegated to the CEO, an unelected center of power unanswerable to the citizenry.

The CEO decides for himself who is meeting his standards, and can hire or fire Department Heads at will. He can ask The Supes to review his judgments but The Supes have little or no first hand knowledge upon which to approve or disapprove such judgments. CEO Mitchell liked to hide behind his lap top computer at meetings, seeming to ignore The Supes endless discussions, and set up his well-paid staff to take their questions. The Supes are often confused and frustrated by the financial buzz-words and management-ease spoken by these minions. Only Supervisor Kendall Smith appears educated in the tricky 'lingua managementus' often spoken on Low Gap Road. In fact, at this past Monday's special session she introduced two new phrases to our overburdened lexicon: “managing in a holistic manner” and “budgetarial functions”. It is immediately obvious even to someone attending even their very first BOS meetings that something is very wrong with this set-up. The Supes sit some twenty feet back and five feet higher than the audience, seemingly to avoid frontal thrusts by citizens with pitchforks.

By contrast, a Chief Administrative Officer-led government makes the Supervisors responsible for the performance of each department. They can drop in at Department meetings from time to time to find out how things are working, learn who the employees are, and to listen to them. Supervisor Colfax went on at length about the difficulties of being burdened as supervisor by administrative, legislative and judicial duties. It all seemed a bit overdone: The Supes have no truly judicial duties and can easily pass off routine administrative functions to others when the burdens become too taxing. He felt the public was not well-served by the CEO model. Kendall Smith thought it was “presumptuous” for a county as small as ours to need an expensive Executive Officer with supporting staff. She confessed that she had been wrong in agreeing to the CEO model six years back, but had wanted to be a “team player”. Al Beltrami, our longest surviving former CAO, suggested they wait 4 to 6 months before deciding on a new CEO or CAO, and agreed with Benj Thomas of the Ukiah City Council that they let the Acting CEO be watched and tested in the job before making a final decision. No one pointed out that Carmel Angelo has no prior experience as either a County Executive or Administrator and had served within the Public Health Department until a few months ago. Mark Johnson of the Employers Council felt that The Supes should not be “consumed with management and administration”. He neglected to describe their current

diet.

Upon completion of the purportedly “public session”, The Supes disappeared into a darkened executive session where transparency was avoided and where the voice of the people could not be heard. Upon emergence some hours later, they announced that the Assistant CEO, Carmel Angelo, would be appointed CEO upon the completion of Mitchell's contract in a few weeks. No public discussion was encouraged, no talent search for a more experienced candidate would be undertaken, no explanation was offered as to why such a precipitous decision was needed this red hot minute, nor why Al Beltrami's reasonable suggestion of a trial period was ignored. The Supes are Dancing in the Dark once again, as they did when they fired John Ball as CEO without explanation, when Tom Mitchell mysteriously resigned without warning, and now when an inexperienced and untested person has been given a two year contract at a handsome salary without even a word of justification by Our Supes. Someone needs to turn on the lights on Low Gap Road!

Sincerely,

James Houle

Redwood Valley

One Response to Letters to the Editor

  1. Wendy Roberts Reply

    March 5, 2010 at 11:12 am

    There are so many blatant inaccuracies in Mr. Houle’s letter that it would require a similar tomb to respond.

    Apart from venting understandable frustration, it is simply not something to be taken seriously. With so many pressing issues and so many critical budget decisions to be made, there are a lot of more productive ways to spend this kind of energy.

    A short newscast video of the 2/22 public comment is available at http://www.ukiahvalley.tv To access it, enter February 25 News in the box marked “Search Videos.” Benj Thomas and Al Beltrami are among those whose comments were recorded. I am interviewed at the end of the short program, responding to some questions on this and other topics.

    Regarding Mr. Houle’s letter:

    1. The CEO meeting was properly noticed with other business on the county website on the Thursday prior to the February 22 discussion. It was also noticed in the Ukiah Daily Journal which is available electronically at a cost of $32 per year. (selected articles also appear for free.) Mr. Houle was informed of the proper noticing when he raised the issue in last Tuesday’s board meeting. I assume that he had already submitted his letter to the AVA. The final decision was made in closed session because this is required for personnel matters. The result was reported out immediately following the meeting, as required by law.
    2. Ms. Angelo will work under a 2-year contract at a salary of $150,000. While this sounds like and IS a hefty pricetag, it is $30,000 less than Mr. Mitchell was being paid. His contract was for 5 years.
    3. The 2-year contract corresponds with the anticipated time required to correct structural deficits that have over-whelmed the budget process. It is also intended to provide some stability to administrative leadership. To call a 2-year contract “permanent” is a mis-nomer.
    4. Neither Mr. Beltrami nor Benj Thomas objected to the appointment of Ms. Angelo. They did caution against a “permanent appointment,” which may well have influenced the decision to limit the length of the contract.
    5. It is not true that the CEO can hire and fire at will. The CEO is only authorized to bring recommendations to the Board of Supervisors and to provide information supporting those recommendations. Anyone who regularly monitors the meetings has seen numerous examples of agreement and of disagreement.
    6. It is also inaccurate to allege that the Supervisors have no access to staff. I have regularly observed every one of them query staff on various topics. What they may NOT do, acting as individuals, is to unduly influence staff actions out of view of the public and without board consensus. This was a regrettably common practice under the CAO structure.

    These are extremely difficult times. Public expression is called for, but dis-information, mis-information and mis-placed anger will not help us move forward.

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