Letters (Jun 1, 2016)

by AVA News Service, June 1, 2016

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SUCCESSFUL BENEFIT

Editor,

The organizers of the Lynda Aubrey benefit thank the following businesses, organizations and individuals for their generous donations:

Greenwood Community Center & Civic Club, Sacred Rock Resort, Ledford House, Albion River Inn, Little River Inn, Raven Restaurant, MacCallum House, Elk Cove Inn, Queenie's, Flow, Brewery Gulch Inn, Cucina Verona, Motel 6, Greenwood Ridge, Toulouse, Seabass, Balo, Navarro, Duckhorn & Husch Vineyards; Phillips Hill, Drew, Baxter & Knez Winery; Bink & Witching Stick Wines; Lulu & Handley Cellars; Barra of Mendocino Wine, Roederer Estate, Brutocao, Signal Ridge, Anderson Valley Brewing Co., North Coast Brewery, Albion Store, Navarro Store, Lemon's Philo Market, Elk Store, Safeway, Harvest Market, Down Home Foods, Good Life Cafe & Bakery, Thanksgiving Coffee Company, Espresso Drive-Thru, The Apple Farm, Gowan's, Corners of the Mouth, Yerba Santa Goat Dairy, Hot Pepper Jelly Co., Cypress House, Triangle Tattoo, Mary Pjerrou-Huckaby, Maggie Watson, Jay Frankston, Gallery Bookshop & Bookwinkle's Children's Books Inc., “The Bookstore”, Alison Gardner, Merry Winslow, ruth weiss, Family Hands Home Design, Pierrot, Doug Browe, Hugh Dakers, Cliff Glover, Judith Greenleaf, Frame Mill Artworks, Kathy MacDonald, Katherine Lewis, Joelle Signorelli, Jaye Alison Moscariello, Chuck Hathaway, Debra Scott, Panache Gallery, Silver & Stone, Rhoda Teplow, Lee Zabin, Walt Rush, Ellen Athens, Mary Dougherty, Rabbani Kenyon, Harolde Searles, Suiseki & Michael Reilly, Beautiful Earth, Rock Stop, Sharon Garner, Daniel Fiddler, John Birchard, Sallie Mac, Carolyn Carleton-Browe, Rita Crane, Lolli Jacobsen, Amanda Outten, The Great Put-On, Siobhan, Simply Succulent, Robert Jamgochian, Greg Ross, Rossi's Hardware, Coast Hardware, Shabda, ER Energy, Icons, Kendall Smith, Rubaiyat Beads, Amour, Tonk's Tree Service, Jane Corey, Southern Exposure, Pam Huntley, Mendo Mill, Coast Cinema, Spunky Skunk & Racines, Rosi Acker, Eva Katz, Felicity Waterman, Nicole Fish, Donna Call, Carole Raye, and Connie Taylor. Many thanks also to the wonderful volunteers who helped make the benefit a great success.

Anne Marie Weibel

Fort Bragg

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NECESSARY NEGATIVITY

Editor,

It happens that I get challenged about my negativity. My question is why would anyone want to be positive about what is happening today? The concept reeks of complacency. The world is dying — suffocating and gagging on man-made poisons. The problem is getting worse, not better, a negative progression. To turn things around, humanity, it seems, should first acknowledge what the problems are. Then comes motivation and focus. If I tell you how great things are, where is the motivation to make change? I grumble because I care. I care because this is such a beautiful life and world. I would like to think that all the grandchildren of the world could experience the wonder and joy that has blessed me. Relative to positive change, I would rather shake you awake than lull you to sleep.

David Severn

Philo

ms notes: My uncle, Fifth District Supervisor Joe Scaramella, said it like this: “Criticism is an essential part of life. If nobody says anything negative, how can you expect things to improve?”

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THANK YOU

Editor,

The Mendocino County Animal Care Services Shelter would like to extend its heartfelt gratitude to the wonderful folks at the Anderson Valley Farm Supply and the Lion's Club for hosting a Mobile Adoption Event on Friday, May 20. Both organizations donated their time, plus food and drinks.

AND-- all the money collected was donated to the shelter!! With those funds, the shelter will be fully sponsoring two of our guests! Thank you so very much. We appreciate the generosity of the folks in Anderson Valley, and all over our county! Check out the shelter's official website for information about all of the shelter's great guests, our sponsorship and foster programs, and information about becoming a volunteer, at www.mendoanimalshelter.com. And thank you again to Anderson Valley Farm Supply and the Lion's Club.

Mendocino Animal Shelter, Ukiah

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RAOUL, WE HARDLY KNEW YE

Editor,

To Raoul van Hall, KZYX's very promising, very talented, recently hired Program Director who has recently and unexpectedly resigned -- I am so sorry to see you go, brother, especially for the reasons you stated. Cronyism at KZYX? You bet! Politics at KZYX? You bet! Politics at KZYX is like Soviet-era politics. KZYX has its own Nomenklatura -- an insiders club. KZYX's own Nomenklatura has a total monopoly on power, on ideology, on finances, on financial disclosure and audits, and on programming. Piss off the station's Nomenklatura and you are purged.

To the rest of the KZYX community — Watch Werner Erhard-clone, Stuart Campbell, ascend to power once again. With a good man like Raoul van Hall now out of his way, Campbell will set his sights on KZYX GM, Lorraine Dechter.

To Lorraine Dechter — You don't stand a chance against Campbell. He is obsessed with power and control. Total power and control. He is obsessed. He won't quit until he has it all. Until you're out of a job. Until he finally destroys our beloved community radio station, KZYX.

John Sakowicz

KZYX Board of Directors ((2013-2016), Board Treasurer (2014). KMEC Radio, co-host and producer

Ukiah

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MULTIPLE MOTES

To the Editor:

John Arteaga’s generally thoughtful monthly column went off recently into a discussion of architectural achievements in Ukiah: “The lustrous ground concrete floors in the new gas station at the Coyote Casino which looked like Terrazzo,” and “The imaginative complexity of bolted-together timbers which reminded [him] of a Japanese pagoda.” He looks forward to the soon-to-be Chipotle Drive-In at Perkins and Orchard after having discovered that the Chipotle outlet in Santa Rosa has “a very nice kind of postmodern ambiance with its beautiful walls of perforated plywood.”

I had to check your masthead to assure myself I had not picked up Architectural Digest by mistake. I imagine Arteaga is on the edge of his seat awaiting the forthcoming splendor of the Dollar Store in Redwood Valley and the In-and-Out Burger destined for the Raley’s mall.

Then Arteaga’s column glanced off into a rant about the delays in approval of the Costco Big Box destined for the far end of Airport Boulevard with 16 unneeded new gasoline pumps in a town not experiencing long lines at existing gas stations. He complains that “some hack lawyer from the Central Valley” is hanging up City Council approval of this “hugely popular project with whatever kind of nonsensical lawsuit.”

He does not bother to mention that Costco and the City Planners never bothered to consider the major traffic hazards at the Talmage Interchange the additional Big Box would create. The Planners themselves hung up the project for two years while preparing a $6.2 million traffic mitigation plan that CalTrans refused to approve. By that time, the State Legislature had canceled the RDA (redevelopment) program, the expected source of the $6.2 million, and the City was left high and dry with no available funds for the road work. Costco declined to fund the road improvements themselves.

Arteaga solves this problem by blandly suggesting that the “county (actually the City) has got to borrow a few million to make the necessary road improvements on Talmage and probably repaving Airport Boulevard” that Arteaga feels is crumbling. He reassures us that such a loan “would quickly be repaid by sales tax receipts from the store.”

If this is the case, why-oh-why doesn’t Costco, with the huge profits Arteaga predicts, just pay for the road improvements itself and be done with it?

Could it be that, with Walmart shutting down 256 stores this year across the country and other big boxers scaling way back as well, the days of huge shopping malls crowding out local retailers is finally about over and Costco is having second thoughts about Ukiah? Could it also be that the bankers are not interested in loaning more money to the City of Ukiah? The City is deeply in debt and needs to pay off, starting in 2021, the RDA loans they took out years back and that are now costing 6% interest per year. With no foreseeable growth in our economy or tax receipts in the near term, the City Council will just have to occupy itself with their interminable indecision about the Palace Hotel while dribbling out small amounts from the General Fund for such silly projects as one lane traffic on State Street, a proposed round-about at Low Gap and State, and subsidized outdoor luncheonettes.

James F. Houle

Redwood Valley

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TRUMP’S WALL

Editor,

By now, anyone who has been following Donald Trump’s policy statements is aware that he proposes to pay for a wall between the U.S. and Mexico by taking the money from Latin Americans who send money (in the form of remittances) to their needful relatives back home. He says that while remittances total about $20 Billion a year, he’ll only need $10 Billion for the wall’s construction. Does this mean that their relatives will still get half what is sent? Will he, a small government ‘geek’ have a new bureaucracy set up to collect this money—something not unlike the IRS which collects taxes? Is he unaware that if such a plan was put into effect that Latinos can’t find a way around such a scheme?

Of course, the rich, the highly esteemed 1% (rich conservatives for the most part) would be delighted that their supposed security needs will be paid for by many below the minimum wage ‘furiners’, i.e. not ‘real Americans. So, what do they care, let him have his wall. As for the average blue-collar worker who turns out for Trump rallies, do they embrace the idea because it is one more way to get back at Mexico? Who knows.

The worst part of this farce is that we no longer have a vibrant free press, one with real journalists who investigate, verify, and critique such off-the wall nonsense to call Trump out on this. Not even Chuck Todd or Rachel Maddow, etc. on the so-called progressive roster seem able to make a good effort to dig below the utter nonsense of what Trump says. After all, Trump makes news by his blustering. The job of today’s mass media is to talk fast, smile, and read (regurgitate) what some half-educated lacky in the control room feeds them through their ear piece or teleprompter. And, how about print? New York Times or Wall Street Journal, or Washington Post? Well, they have been bought out by huge corporate companies. So much for the 4th Estate. As for the Democratic candidates, they may fulminate to get a laugh at a rally. But as for getting the real story out? So much for ‘all the news fit to print.’ Where in hell does all this leave us, those who will be voting in November?

Franklin Graham

Navarro

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WHAT’S AN EOB, YOU SOB?

Dear AVA,

I enclose a scanned copy of a bill I recently received from the Ukiah Valley Medical Center, the Adventist Hospital in Ukiah. This is a bill for a routine follow-up “encounter” with a specialist after some surgery I had a couple of years ago. In the past, these simple office “encounters” (which do no good other than checking to see if there has been any recurrence of the condition I was treated for back when; there hasn't) have never exceeded $70 or $80 after Medicare coverage is accounted for. Now all of a sudden I am being billed for almost $170, more than double the charges for previous “encounters,” with mysterious add-ons labeled as either "Medicare payments" or "Medicare discounts." One of the Medicare "payments" is listed as a negative payment of about $11.

Obviously, I don't understand the mathematics nor the reason for the mysterious Medicare add-ons, so I called the customer service number listed on the bill. After many failed attempts I finally got hold of a friendly but inarticulate young woman named Julie who listened to my question about why the Medicare payments were added and what they meant.

She immediately replied, "Oh, our bills are very hard to understand."

She then rattled off a bunch of other charges which I didn't understand and which did not appear on any statement that I have which she apparently was reading from a screen concerning my account. I asked what those numbers were and she mentioned some other Medicare acronyms I again did not understand.

Julie then told me that she didn't understand the reason for the Medicare entries and that I should call 1-800-Medicare and ask for an "EOB." She then proceeded to explain the process of asking for an "EOB" without telling me what an EOB was. Finally I interrupted her and asked what an EOB was and she replied, "Oh, sorry, that's the Explanation of Benefits."

I replied that I didn't see that I was getting any benefits at all; in fact, I was being charged extra. She did not see any humor in that remark and told me again that UVMC bills are hard to understand and the Medicare information is plugged in there by a computer program.

Notice also that the bill shows that that this was a second notice, because I had tried to get an explanation for the earlier bill but couldn't get through to their customer service representatives and therefore did not pay it.

I told Julie that I wouldn't mind paying making a partial payment along the lines of my previous payments of about $70, but that I didn't see why I should pay for charges that I don't understand and doubt apply or are computer mistakes.

Julie agreed and said that the partial payment would be fine.

I am left wondering about whether I will be denied service at Ukiah Valley Medical Center in the future if I don't make a full payment for something that I doubt is correct. Or if a partial payment will only complicate things further since I doubt that “Julie said it was ok” will stand up as a reason for partial payment in front of Judge Nadel in small claims court. Or trying to call Medicare and asking (probably another computer) for an EOB that will probably not "explain" anything but just kick the over-bill down the road.

Any advice?

Name withheld

Ukiah

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CAPTAIN KIRK SAYS VOTE FOR V

Editor,

Measure V is a public safety ordinance written and supported by local experienced firefighters and others in our community. Retired CalFire Air Attack Captain Kirk Van Patten is a primary proponent of Measure V and worked for 40 years for CalFire. Although retired, he now works training firefighters and is highly respected by his fellow firefighters. Voters should consider his arguments seriously as he has been working locally directing the fighting of fires. Ted Williams, Albion Fire Chief, is also a primary proponent of Measure V. His letter to our Board of Supervisors in early 2015, on the county website, is actually an academic document with facts and footnotes on the science of fires in the forest.

Measure V simply requires forestland owners to remove dead and standing trees that they have killed because dry wood burns hotter and faster and ignites more easily than living trees. All California rural landowners are required to clear 100 feet around their homes for the same reason. The 90,000 acres of forestland with herbicide killed dead and standing trees present a clear and present danger to firefighters as “snags” or dead trees kill firefighters every year. A forest fire fueled by these dead stands in Mendocino forests would likely be deadly to the many neighbors of Mendocino Redwood Company as roads are few in these areas.

The primary opponents of Measure V are Mendocino Redwood Company and the Ukiah Daily Journal. Mendocino Redwood Company has spent at the least $200,000 opposing Measure V. Their argument is that they bought a forest devastated by L.P. Lumber in 1996. They proudly state they are growing 14 million redwood and fir trees and that the only way they can do this is by leaving dead and standing trees killed by an herbicide. They don’t agree that dead and standing trees catch fire more easily and they have company experts to tell you why they don’t. They spend $300 per acre to hack and squirt. Other alternatives cost more so they are not considered. MRC is putting company profits above the safety of the public. George Hollister, in the Ukiah Measure V forum admitted that the fire danger from dead trees will be high for the next year but is an acceptable risk. Since trees are killed with hack and squirt every year, every year into the future “the fire danger from dead trees will be high.” In this way, MRC conveniently takes the profits, while taxpayers bear both the risk and costs of fighting the fires.

MRC local management simply says MRC is great and shifts the blame on to the forest management done before them. Their election mailers are almost entirely pictures and devoid of substance.

The Ukiah Daily Journal has been a strong supporter of L.P. Lumber’s forest practices since I came here in 1974. The UDJ editorial role has been to politicize the issue. Lacking any evidence, they claim proponents have ulterior motives to “stop logging.” In other words, the proponents are simply “tree hugging hippies.” Such baseless ad hominem contributes nothing to their argument. They utterly fail to address the argument on its merits or to provide any true rebuttal to experts in firefighting like Kirk Van Patten and Ted Williams.

Neither MRC or the UDJ even recognize the concerns of the firefighters. Look on the web at MRC’s info and compare it to Citizens for a Fire Safe Forest. Get the facts.

Vote YES Measure V.

Peter Good, Loni Baur

Ukiah

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NETANYAHU’S DEVIL DEAL

Dear Editor:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after a week of negotiations reached a deal to bring the Yisreal Beiteinu (Israel our Home) party into a coalition with his Likud party. The deal will increase the number of seats in the coalition from 61 to 66 seats in the 120 seat Parliament. The result will be a ultra right wing government. A condition of the agreement is that Avigdor Lieberman would be named Defense Minister. Mr.. Lieberman, an immigrant from the former Soviet Union was a member of the Likud Party before forming his own party, Israel our Home. His main source of support are the 1,000,000 immigrants from Russia. His military experience was as a corporal in the IDF and apparently he is not held in high regard by the military. He is give to bombastic statements like recommending the beheading of Arab citizens who show disloyalty. He has a peace plan which is not doable.

The future does not look good for Israel- they have few friends in the world except for the U. S. who they have to come to periodically with a tin cup looking for a dole to keep its economy going and to cast a veto at the Security Council if a vote comes for UN membership for the State of Palestine. Over the long run the demographics are against Israel with the Arabs in the majority along with the difficulty in maintaining an apartheid state. Also, if there is another war the IDF may not be able to stop a coalition of invading troops.

In peace and love,

Jim Updegraff

Sacramento

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