Letters to the Editor
by Letters to the Editor, March 24, 2010
HANG ’EM HIGH
Hello my friend. It has been awhile since we have been in touch. I hope this letter finds you well and in good spirits.
I just read an article in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat by a columnist for the San Diego Union Tribune, Ruben Navarrette Jr. It's about a case involving John Albert Gardner III who was charged in the murder of 17-year-old Chelsea King. Gardner has also been charged with the death of 14-year-old Amber Dubois.
In his article Mr. Naverette says that he has been “processing the events surrounding the murder of 17-year-old Chelsea King with a mixture of sadness, frustration and rage. Mostly rage.”
He goes on to say, “Naturally, most of this anger is aimed at John Albert Gardner III, a 30-year-old registered sex offender who was charged last week in King's death.”
I share his rage and frustration as I am sure millions of people throughout the United States do who have heard of this terrible crime. But come on! Let's drop all the politically correct BS for a moment and say what's really on our minds! Sure, this scumbag Gardner should be executed. Personally, I think if people like him were shot in the face in public for their first offense it might just deter others from committing such crimes, moreso anyway than the severely flawed laws we have in place as far as sex offenders are concerned.
In 2000 when Gardner was charged with molesting a 13-year-old girl he should have been given life in prison! If he was given the type of sentence warranted for any crime against a child or any forced sex act he would have never been out of prison to kill this girl! But no, the California “justice system” is so flawed that people are being given more time for property crimes and what the state deems “victimless” crimes than someone charged with rape or child molestation. How, I ask you, can we as humans with a conscience be all right with that?
You have to wonder who came up with the statutes in the first place? Who was the legislator who proposed such lenient sentences for monsters like this repeat sex offender John Albert Gardner III? And to make matters worse yet, the San Diego County District Attorney, Bonnie Dumanis, hasn't decided whether to seek the death penalty. Is she serious? I wonder what poor Chelsea King and Amber Dubois's parents think about her indecision?
If this piece of garbage, the scum of the earth, this repeat sex offender and killer isn't given the death penalty then this is a society that I do not want to be a part of. We need to rally together to change the laws. We need to force the Legislators to act on this and do something drastic, something that will show these psychologically damaged individuals that crimes against children and women and any human being will not be tolerated.
Please don't misunderstand what I am saying. I am not in any way trying to radicalize the society we want to protect. I do not want a single person to act even an inch outside the scope of the law. I am merely trying to convey what is widely known: the California “justice system” needs to be revamped from the top to the bottom.
When the sexually violent predator law was enacted enabling the state to commit repeat offenders to a state mental facility indefinitely, the other laws should have been changed as well. This should cover “first” time offenders. Why do there have to be numerous victims for this law to work? Is a single victim less deserving of justice than numerous victims?
There is something intrinsically wrong with lawmakers who think it is okay to spend billions of tax dollars every year to house nonviolent criminals but set the sex offenders free! Write to your congressman, write to your legislator; let's do something about this!
I welcome any and all comments. You can reach me at Billy.email@example.com or my other e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. If anyone is interested in reading my other ramblings you can read an excerpt from my novel “Sad But True,” or order a copy from any of the following sites: Trafford.com, authornation.com, Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com or Borders.com. Just put in Sad But True by Billy Bond.
My time has finally arrived. I will be released on March 25 from Corcoran State Prison. Thank you for the kind subscription to your paper during my incarceration. Best wishes to Chris Fetzer, Valerie Smith, Ernie Elliott, Lisa Sherwood, Lance Scott, Johnny Boots and Cameron Whitlock. Keep your chins up! Wish me luck. I have a feeling I'm going to need it.
On my way to Ukiah
IS IT FAIR TO KENNY?
Is it possible for Kenneth Rogers to get a fair trial?
My family and I have been going in and out of court for in this matter for 4-1/2 years. During his time there has been much hatred and prejudice against my husband, Kenneth Rogers. He has been subject to numerous personal attacks and slanderous statements made by the local radio stations, local newspapers and even the Internet. His original attorney was released under a loophole exploited by the prosecution. Mendocino County is very rural and sparsely populated. The local media and some people, from day one, four and a half years ago, convicted him without trial. This made it nearly impossible for him to get a fair and unbiased trial jury of his peers in Mendocino County.
From my understanding a person is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. My husband was not given this courtesy. The judge, jury, probation department, and even his own court appointed attorney formed their own negative opinions of my husband before trial even began. Kenny was never given the right to a fair trial. I'm sure that there must be many people wrongfully imprisoned due to hatred and opinions formed early in a case by jurors and the media. Far too many people, especially in higher profile cases in small towns, are convicted by the public before trial even starts. This is very evident in this case especially. Regardless of anyone's personal opinion of whether or not he is innocent, people really need to be concerned about one's right to a fair and unbiased trial in the event that they are on the receiving end of the so-called justice system.
There is a serious disconnect between what is happening and what is reported as happening in the mainstream media. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are one case in point. Nowhere is there, nor has there been, any television coverage of the damage to their country and the death and maiming of the innocent there.
Another obvious case in point is the disconnect between the common good and what Wall Street has and continues to evidence as a policy of greed driven make-believe. It is nothing but a government financed, private Ponzi scheme for the good of so few. Add to this the disconnect between what is needed to promote and provide good health care and the package that is being peddled as reform.
More? How about the disconnect between millions of Americans economic interests and the support they give to those who rule in favor of policies and practices that work against those very economic interests. Add to this the disconnect between what the public schools are supposed to be doing and what they actually do to young minds. How about the disconnect between the professed beliefs of the religious fundamentalists and their behavior
How about the disconnect, reported a lot in your paper, and reported well, between the theory of the criminal justice system and what actually happens. In fact, if you take a good hard look at any one of our major social institutions it is disconnected at its core, just like those mentioned above.
So, let’s assume for a moment that it’s really true, that this society is so dysfunctional that it can no longer tell that it is dysfunctional. That borders on, if not actualizes, social psychosis. Any individual who says he or she wants something, and then does what cannot bring that something about is nuts. Then the key question is, how does this cultural psychosis manifest?
It’s a split between reality and perspective. The majority of Americans have been sold a view of what is happening that is so far removed from the reality that even a reasoned proposal is viewed as a danger. Paranoia rules the day. Fear drives the masses. People in a state of fear never view reality clearly. It gets distorted by their need to have a scapegoat, an enemy onto whom they can project their general state of fear. It arrives as anger at the person or group or institution onto whom it is projected., but it’s unreasoned anger. It is generally based on an unwillingness to posit any deep change, an unwillingness to risk the new. It wants to go backwards, not forwards. Why risk it if you’re unaware of the real reasons for the disconnect, or unaware that the disconnect is even there. If people are unaware of the real reasons why things are so bad and disconnected, they can’t possibly avoid being angry at the most convenient people and institutions that run the system.
It’s a three-fold scenario. They can get angry at the person or people. Or they get angry at the institution(s). What they don’t do, because the cause of the disconnect is unknown to them, is get angry at the system itself. Systemic change is scary, unless and until a people understand why it is necessary. Until then, they give forward change a dirty name and label it unthinkable. To have that understanding is rare, held back by the separation from reality in their minds.
In short, it is much worse these days than most people think it is, on every level, and it’s not going to get better without the possibility of the system returning to a pre-18th Century Enlightenment state. in the process of change, if change ever does begin to happen. When the karma makes its demands, draconian measures will ensue to make sure that the change in the institutions does not actually change the system to something progressively new. The names change, but the system grinds on. Minor alterations will occur; co-opting will occur; but not deep systemic change. New Orwellian terms will be created to continue the disconnect and to make us believe that there really is no disconnect. War is peace; slavery is freedom; up is down. The forces that do and will repress progressive change are armed with tools of repression unheard of only a century ago. They control the words and the guns.
Is this just my pessimism, or a realistic assessment of where we’re at?
Far ‘n Away Farm, Virginia
(Here is my message to library activists. Any help you can render in distributing this will be appreciated.)
I am the Mendocino County Library Advisory Boardmember for the 3rd District. I am writing to ask for your help. If you choose to take action as outlined below, please cc me a copy of your email or letter.
Your students may be negatively impacted by budget cuts to the library. Your actions may persuade the BOS to ameliorate some of the impacts to the Willits Library.
On Monday, March 22, at 9am the Board of Supervisors will hold a budget workshop. The county library budget may be discussed and action taken. There will be an opportunity for public comment.
This is a good chance to positively impact the decision making process.
If you attend the BOS meeting, fill out a public comment card available inside the chamber. Give the card to the clerk.
Things to mention:
+ Importance of keeping all library branches open, including the bookmobile.
+ Reduced library service is better than no service.
+ Any budget cuts to the library should be less than or equally proportional to the cuts of other county departments.
+ Why the library is important to you and your community.
+ For Willits Library supporters:
• Willits branch serves the entire north county
• It is the only real source for research, books and computers for students in K-8, Charter School and homeschoolers
• Closure will demoralize the Willits area.
• It is the venue for after school and literacy tutoring, on-line access, community meetings, books, periodicals, etc.
• We have already suffered the loss of the Superior Court and risk loosing the Willits Service Center.
What you can do:
1. Send letters: Board of Supervisors, 501 Low Gap Rd. Ukiah, CA 95482
All supervisors can be reached with one letter IF you put the names of all supervisor's [Mr. McCowen, Mr. Colfax, Ms. Smith, Ms. Brown, Mr. Pinches] in the heading of the letter. Please mail or email me a copy.
2. Encourage students and youth to get involved. They will have the greatest impact.
3. Send emails.
One email will reach all supervisors IF you likewise put all the supervisor's names in the body of the email: email@example.com Please cc me a copy.
4. Tell your friends and Friends of the Library membership.
It's time to act!
EDITING, BY THE ICO
I am attaching a letter that I sent to the I SEE ZERO (aka the Independent Coast Observer (ICO).) What they deleted is in strikethrough and what they added is in bold. The reason they deleted so much is that they wanted to respond to me with the following comment:
“Editor's Reply: In the interest of accuracy, the ICO did report why Iacuaniello was given the award: Supertendent of Schools for Mendocino County Paul Tichinin selected Iacuaniello for the Administrator of the Year for the California Schoolmasters' Club.
“Each, year, the Schoolmasters' ask each county superintendent to select an educator and an administrator for the awards based on recommendations from their respective districts.
“The superintendent then makes the final selection for the award. The ICO would also like to remind Mrs. Rush that it have no influence on the selections process, final decision or the Schoolmasters' as an association.”
I called MacmeLaughing [aka Editor Steve McLaughlin] and told him that I was upset that he cut my article and not allotted me the 350 word count that every other person is allotted. I told him I took the time to go to the district and find out how much funds our school district is receiving to educate the students (something they never did) and also took the time to call CAL State to find out what it cost in fees and books for an undergraduate student. I believed the truth should be given to our community. I also told him that I wasn't defaming the ICO but in all actuality merely stating that nowhere in the article did it state why Mr. Iacuaniello was deserving this of this award. He informed me that, “Tichinin never told them” (this makes it okay — heaven forbid that he would take time our to find out!). So, I stated I believe the public had the right to know why this award was deserved, what did he actually do to deserve it. I told him that I read who selected Iacuaniello in the ICO and also his past employment but what did he do to deserve this award. He hmmm'd and hawww'd and again informed me that I have voiced my opinion many times in the paper. I just reiterated that I wanted to get the truth to the people and if he had a problem with what I stated he should have called me instead of cutting out important information. He said that he doesn't call people when they don't like what they say and I stated, “but you will cut the information out, important information out”?
I am disgusted. They won't take the time to talk to me or to even get the story right by calling Tichinin and asking him why out of all the superintendents would you pick Iacuaniello so they can properly give the people the truth but they will tear me apart. Ugh!
Here is the original letter with their editing: (What they delected is with strike-through; what they added is in bold.)
On 3-12-10, the ICO reported [Mark] Iacuaniello, superintendent Point Arena Schools, received an award: “Administrator of the Year for Mendocino County”. O’Hara failed to report why he received this award. Let’s summarize Iacuaniello’s accomplishments during his 8 years:
1. Elementary school: was in State Program Improvement and still is. The only principal [Matt] (Murray) able to move the school out of PI was terminated, without cause.
2. High school: unable to meet State and Federal Goals for the last two years.
3. Bond to build a K-5 school in Gualala: didn’t happen. Taxpayer’s funds were used to build a middle school not to “convert old classrooms” (as stated in bond) but actually built 2 new buildings. Community members suggested retiring the original bond and allowing voters to decide how these Gualala school funds should be spent. Iacuaniello is the chair/secretary of the Bond Oversight Committee, a violation of California Education Law which clearly states “no public employee” shall serve as member of this Committee.
4. We are a basic aide school district: majority of funds come from our property taxes. We are envied by state funded schools because while they are getting funds cut, ours only see a trickle down effect and can count on approximately 2% increase each year from property taxes. This year our district will be receiving $7,437,402.56 (according to the CFO) in funds/grants to educate 413 students equaling $18,008 per student! The California Department of Education 2007-08 education expense per student is $8,594. An undergraduate student attending California State University, San Francisco currently pay fees of $6,474.00 (tuition and books) per academic year enrolling in more than 6 units! At the Feb 25th Board Meeting the community was informed unless “cuts” are made to the current budget the district would end with a “projected deficit” of $622,404!
5. He hired non-certificated teachers in the elementary and high school: they were never terminated but received different titles and kept in the classrooms!
Truly, should this really be classified the “Golden Raspberry Award” in education for superintendent in Mendocino County?
THANKS FROM THE HULBERTS
The Harold Hulbert family would like to thank everyone for their prayers, visits, calls, cards and flowers. He’s recouping at home and hopes to be out and about in a couple of weeks.
The Hulbert Family
CALLING CAPTAIN FATHOM
Letter to Alan Graham,
Alan, Brother: I'm bothered. Bothered enough to almost start off with Asshole but changed my mind. Why didn't you call me when you were down in Escondido visiting your priest friend? You were going to work on your book with him. Or didn't you make it — not in Low Gap are you? If you are, forgive me for thinking you were an Asshole for not calling me.
Anyway, send me your address either through email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or through the post office. You've got the address. Email is best, but you're a worse Luddite than Bruce Anderson so I won't count on it.
I was digging through some boxes in my shed and I found copies of the Illustrated Paper-'66-67 that I want to send you for a trip down memory lane: Nurse Nancy, Tully, José Cross, Bob Ross, your love Judy W., Walter and Hilly Wells, Donna Pervier, Speedy Pryor, Jack Afleck, Terry Miller (and his tormenter, Betty Dostal), Phil Bianchi, Phil Lewitt, Peter Barg, etc. Or is that enough already?
THE BLOODSUCKERS’ LAMENT
Greetings, Mr. Anderson;
One of the drawbacks to subscribing to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat is that you actually end up reading it, some days. When I was young it was a mystery to me why so many people eagerly devoured a daily 'paper, because it seemed as if it was little more than a detailed catalogue of other people's catastrophes and miseries. And the more catastrophic or miserable, the better. It wasn't clear to me how this enriched my life.
But I have just learned that looming on the current events horizon is California's next gubernatorial election, which is good news in the sense that the incumbent, Arnold “Steroits? Vhat steroits?” Schwarzenegger can coast back into his meatbag movie roles or simply resume doing what he does best, namely rolling around naked in an immense haystack of money while laughing maniacally. Note to gov: best to put out the colossal Havana cigar first, big fellah.
And as the election nears, the candidates start doing their thing. To quote the PD's lead: “Whitman, Poizner Spar Over Taxes.” My sense of humor might have died that Tuesday morning when Congress approved the four trillion dollar public-monery-into-private-pockets Bank Bailout Boondoggle, so now I can can only gape in disbelief at the Republican candidates' “solutions” for our drain-circling economy: cut corporate taxes by a further 10%, or eliminate them entirely.
My, what a difficult choice to make. Are they both raving nuts? Or just so absurdly greedy, wealthy and out of touch that reality means nothing any more? The answer is, who can tell?
America = Big Business, and Prosperity = Deregulation. These are the magic formulæ which successfully delivered Congress and the Senate into the laps of the CEOs and simultaneously gutted the national economy, not just proud California's. (And leave us not forget the shock waves that are going through the world economy.) So naturally, the Party of Lincoln's new stooges can only envision prosperity in terms of more big business and no rules.
Well hey, Ms. Billionaire and Mr. Multimillionaire, start up all the new businesses you like! What good will it do when their tax-free owners (presumably meaning YOURSELVES) promptly outsource the payrolls to China and Bangalore? Or — and here we admittedly veer into total fantasy — let's say you're forced by law to hire token Americans; who will buy their final product once it hits the market? The legions of the new poor? The hundreds of thousands of middle-class families now penniless thanks to their deregulated con-man mortgages? Or perhaps the aging multitudes whose 401-ks, pensions and life's savings disappeared down Wall Street's insatiable maw? Will your advertising hacks target our record number of bankrupts, 60% of whom have been ruined by a single medical crisis?
Attention, candidates: 80% of Americans now have no money! It's the top 1% — the smug CEOs and their loathsome toadies “running the country” — who have the money. (And do note that “running” and “ruining” differ by a single paltry “i.”)
When your patient has lost half his blood, righteously niggling over how much less you want to transfuse into the poor sod isn't going to help anything. Our bloodless economy is crippled with debt, inconceivable, spine-crushing debt. It's the logical outcome of Ronzo Reagan's “Deficits Don't Matter!” philosophy, exactly the sort of wisdom you'd expect from The Incredible President With No Brain. If you really want to save your patient (a dubious supposition) and not just stuff your already bulging pockets, you need to start giving him some blood. Get some actual money back into the treasury. But where will it come from, you ask? Duhh...let's think...
You can only get money from people who HAVE THE MONEY. And oh dear, this means taxing them, as responsible grownups know. But suggest — just suggest — that the billionaires part with even the tiniest fraction of their ludicrous riches and they howl like fat little babies deprived of their warehouse full of candy.
When will it be the grownups' turn to start fixing things? Are there any grownups in office any more?
TOO MANY PAGES
This week the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors will be taking public comment and possibly voting on controversial proposed amendments to Ordinance 9.31 (the 25 plants per parcel Public Nuisance Ordinance) which have expanded a 7 page ordinance to 30+.
MMMAB is strongly opposed to the passage of this over-reaching extension of an already arguably unconstitutional and illegal county ordinance.
We urge stakeholders to prepare a three-minute statement and attend in order to participate in public comment on the measure, scheduled for 2pm.
Visit the MMMAB website to read the county's draft proposal and details of MMMAB's opposition to the measure.
A group of stakeholder plaintiffs are already litigating against the county in an action filed in Superior Court on Sept. 11, 2009.
What a coincidence! Two young men named Aaron, both born and raised in Fort Bragg, are both locked up for killing child rapists.
Because of obvious political considerations, Aaron Vargas has been jailed in lieu of exorbitant bail in Ukiah for a year now waiting trial for killing a very emotionally ill old man who many times raped him as a child and more recently threatened Vargas’ own child. Vargas’ many advocates, including members of the dead man’s family, continue to be totally ignored by Mendocino County officials, some of whom are up for reelection soon. (For more information, www.saveaaron.com.)
In a much less clear case of homicide, Aaron Channel has been imprisoned much longer for the death of a pedophile a few years ago. Also because of obvious political considerations, Channel has been moved a number of times — at great expense to taxpayers, may I add. Now he is being moved again, this time from Corcoran (no country club) to Soledad. The only reason that makes sense is that Channel’s severely disabled wife and his most vocal advocate, who has each time moved with him, keeps making waves for the criminal justice system. (For more information, www.freeaaronchannel.com.)
In failing these two young men and their loved ones, the “system” has also failed all of us.
WHO IS BRUCE McEWEN?
I'm blown away by your man McEwen's paragraph (March 17, page 12) about his own history:
“A little over a year ago, I was at the Buddy Eller Homeless Shelter … wandered the streets, begging for work, camping along the same tracks where Jerry Knight died. I'd been beaten up Christmas morning myself in SoHum, my meager possessions taken, and I had spent the Prince of Peace's birthday hitch-hiking with a bloated, bloody face…”
The guy writes well, knows a lot about law, is very observant — and now this!
How about a little more background on Bruce McEwen? Pleeeeease?
Ed note: Mr. McEwen is a gifted, tempest-tossed ex-Marine who life's vicissitudes almost made a meal of, but he's doing the eating these days. Maybe we can get our ace interviewer, Mr. Sparks, to properly introduce him.
The newly passed health insurance legislation is a major political symbol wrapped around a shredded substance. It does not provide coverage that is universal, comprehensive or affordable. It is a remnant even of its own initially compromised self – bereft of any public option, any safeguard for states desiring a single payer approach, any adequate antitrust protections, any shift of power toward consumers to defend themselves, any regulation of insurance prices, any authority for Uncle Sam to bargain with drug companies, and any reimportation of lower-priced drugs.
Most of the health insurance coverage mandated by this legislation does not come into effect until 2014, by which time 180,000 Americans will die because they were unable to afford health insurance to cover treatment and diagnosis, according to Harvard Medical School researchers.
The bill’s 2,000 pages afford many opportunities for insurance companies to further their strategy of maximizing profits by denying claims, restricting the benefits of their present customers, and the benefits of the new customers who are mandated to buy their policies, all backed by hundreds of billions of dollars of federal subsidies.
Its main saving grace is that it is so inadequate and so delayed in implementation that the position supported by the majority of people, physicians and nurses —- full Medicare for all —- will have abundant opportunities to build around the country. The spiraling price hikes by the insurance industry are sure to spur the single payer movement to new popularity. (See singlepayeraction.org)
THANKS FOR THE KINDNESS
Letter to the Editor,
As you know, my wife, Frances Martin, passed away a few weeks ago and there was an enormous expression kindness and generosity on the part of many neighbors and friends, even in the weeks leading up to her passing. I wish to thank you all for your sympathy and care, which I found at times overwhelming, very humbling; I sometimes wonder if I am really worthy of all this attention. Nevertheless life moves on and I hope that I may in some modest fashion return your kindness to the community.
FAIR PLAY FOR SUNKETT
To the Editor:
This letter is in regard to a few articles I’ve read in your weekly paper, specifically concerning Mr. Glenn Sunkett. First off, I want to elaborate on the racist conditions at the Mendocino County Jail. In my opinion that the Jail staff treats Mr. Sunkett a lot differently. I have seen this with my own eyes and can vouch for some of his claims, like being shackled and chained up to take a shower or searching his cell when they don’t search anyone else’s. You can just tell they don’t like him and for what? He seems like a pretty smart guy.
Also, is there one black police officer working in Mendocino County? If there is I haven’t seen one on the streets or as a correctional officer. Why is that? Probably because this area and the City of Ukiah are predominately white. I can’t speak for everyone but I can speak about what I know. I know that growing up in and around this area it was pretty racist.
This is only part of what I want to express.
I’ve heard more than one guard say that Mr. Sunkett is guilty and he belongs in prison. They are quick to pass judgment around here. As for the court system? It’s a joke! They don’t have public defenders — more like public pretenders. I’m speaking out for Mr. Sunkett because I feel he is being wronged.
Also, how come the crappy local paper — the Ukiah Daily Journal — doesn’t report anything on Mr. Sunkett? It’s not like they report anything good. It seems like the Daily Journal is scared to speak out against local law enforcement. Despite the fact they know what’s going on. Is the local Daily Journal on the DA’s payroll too? How many lives have to be jeopardized and how many people have to die by the hands of the Mendocino County Court system and law enforcement agencies before another media outlet besides the Anderson Valley Advertiser speaks out and addressees these issues? Something needs to be done.
This jail is very bad. There are ants crawling all over the place and the jail staff has never, not one time, in the two whole months I’ve been here, asked me if I want to clean my room. The shower room where we shower is even worse. I hope somebody — anybody out there — can help us fix these issues. We are people with rights yet they treat us as if we are already guilty.
This is my first and last time in the Mendocino County Jail. Like I said, anyone out there who can help us please do so because the Mendocino County Jail and law enforcement agencies are not above the law. Our rights are being violated.
70 YEARS FOR $70
Murder One (AVA, 3/17/2010) St. Patrick’s Day, is well done by Bruce McEwen. Stab, smash and stomp; cutthroats is no euphemism for Murder Two.
And 70 years for $70 won’t bring Gerold Knight back to the deserted train tracks. Sometimes the sky and what people do to each other is BLACK.