Letters to the Editor 7/1/2009

by Letters to the Editor, July 1, 2009

MORE THAN A WINDSHIELD
Editor,

Based on the letter in the June 17, 2009, AVA (“In the interest of justice”), it sounds like Ernest Elliot Sr., “Chief of the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians,” is getting a raw and unfair deal by having been incarcerated for doing some minor property damage.

I don’t know Mr. Elliott and found it hard to believe that he would be jailed for a simple, non-violent crime of windshield vandalism. So I did some basic checking.

According to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s website’s booking information (which goes back to 2005 on-line, as far as I can tell), Mr. Elliott has had numerous law enforcement encounters.

In December of 2005, Mr. Elliott, 42 at the time, was booked into the County Jail for violating parole, which means he was on parole, which means he was convicted for committing a prior felony (unknown variety) to get on parole.

On July 5, 2006, Mr. Elliott was booked into the County Jail for driving under the influence, driving on a suspended license and violating parole.

On February 24, 2007, Mr. Elliott was booked into the County Jail for violating parole, driving under the inflluence, being under the influence of a controlled substance, evading a peace officer, receiving stolen goods, and taking a vehicle without the permission of its owner.

On October 9, 2008, Mr. Elliott was booked into the County Jail for violating parole again.

On November 10, 2008, Mr. Elliott was booked into the County Jail for violating parole again.

On March 4, 2009, Mr. Elliott was booked into the County Jail for vandalism with the value of the damage estimated at “over $50,000” and parole violation. Even if the cop estimate of vandalism damage is exaggerrated, if that’s the windshield incident, something’s at least wrong with somebody’s damage estimate math. And since Mr. Elliott avoids mentioning his record in his letter, I tend to find his claim of relative innocence hard to believe and dishonestly self-serving.

In addition, Mr. Elliott is listed in the County’s Court case index as a defendant in eight criminal cases (two of them traffic related) going back to 1997. He’s also listed as “petitioner” in two criminal cases. I don’t have time to go to the courthouse and look at all eight criminal cases, but I’d be willing to stipulate that they are not violent crimes against persons. Mr. Elliott’s problems seem to be primarily related to booze, drugs and property. With this record, Mr. Elliott should not be surprised to find himself being somewhat of a law enforcement priority, either for his record or his enthnicity or both.

I’d be willing to bet that if Mr. Elliott did not have the record he had before he broke that windshield (if that’s all it was), he might not be in the unfortunate situation he now finds himself in.

Too bad he’s not willing to put his current situation in context, so that readers can have a more complete understanding of how he ended up being jailed for simply breaking a windshield.

If Mr. Elliott really is the “Chief of the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians,” let’s hope he finds a way of staying out of jail in the future and thus sets a better example for his fellow tribal members.

Name Withheld
Hopland

YOUR STATION, NOT OURS
Dear John Coate/KZYX,

People in Mendo County really really care about hard hitting local news like what Christina Aanastad was consistently delivering before KZYX let her go. From water to fire to cannabis, she was navigating her way more and more skillfully through the investigative terrain, learning the ropes, turning out professional stories one after another, until she got pretty darn good at what she does. That's when you axed the ace!

Judging by the overwhelming response from the community, close to 100% support for Christina's remaining with KZYX. She's one of your children. You helped train her. She's one of our children. A community love for her has developed. We don't let one of our own suffer a separation without all of our hands going out at once to throw her a lifeline. Everyone else is uncontroversial by comparison. But Christina must stay!

If KZYX misses this opportunity to keep Christina on board when the community is volunteering to raise the funds for her salary, it will prove you don't deserve to manage the station since you're not listening to the community you preside over. If you rethink your decision in light of the overwhelming community opposition to it, it will be a win-win.

The ideal result: KZYX broadens out to a new audience instead of continuing to shrink. The community retains our respected ace. The station gains credibility from keeping her on board and from letting the community insert itself into the process since the station staff was unable to do the job. If KZYX opens its doors to new ways of fund-raising — letting community members with grassroots experience try their hand, allowing independent decision-making by the people raising the money — and from that, you see results, wouldn't that qualify as a win-win? If we fail to do the job, then you can fire Christina with regret but with a clear conscience.

We all remember the massive outpouring of community support when there was a threat to KPFA listener-sponsored radio in Berkeley in the 90s. Thousands poured out into the streets and parks to block the transfer of power with waves of optimism, determination and loyalty to the station they considered theirs. They saved the day for KPFA.

If Christina is gone, the station will no longer be considered ours. You will have severed the final invisible umbilical cord that connects our community with its best reporters. Don't bother trying after that. It will be a slow leak, the ship will float til it slowly finally irrevocably sinks.

This is not to say we don't value many of the programs being presented by smart competent volunteers and old hands in the community: Blankfort, Rezner, Glaser, deVall, Miller, Vogel. But they are not the issue. The ace reporter is the issue.

Give us one month to spark this drive to save Christina's job and watch KZYX be rejuvinated, the base broadened and the future of the station assured.

Respectfully,
Pebbles Trippet
Elk

WHAT A WASTE
Editor,

How can anybody just sit back and allow the wheels of justice to turn the way they do in Mendocino County? The Big Dogs who run the administration of this County continue to point out just how broke they are. And yes they allow the Sheriff’s Department and your ever-so-famous District Attorney’s office to waste taxpayer money with underhanded methods of injustice. The Sheriff’s Office as well as the District Attorney’s office both took an oath to uphold the law, however they are the most corrupt of all, and they both perform their best inside the courtrooms of the Ukiah Courthouse.

I know without a doubt that many of you out there know exactly what I’m talking about and there are a few of you who have family members who are victims of the corruption of both the Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney. I’ve sat in this jail many times and have seen just how crooked the DA can get, not to mention the Sheriff’s Office. I mean, all we have to do is think back to the case of one Mr. Bear Lincoln. And if that doesn’t jog your memory I don’t know what will. Those where serious times and the stakes were a lot higher.

The corruption of the District Attorney and Sheriff’s Office has gotten so petty it’s no longer funny, and it seems that the spotlight is shining on one Assistant DA more than the rest. Scott McMenomey, that’s his name. This is the same guy who has charged one individual with a vehicle code violation, and this person was running down the road. ADA McMenomey is the same guy who took a 1987 Oldsmobile to Farmer Brothers auto shop to get an estimate for a broken windshield. Farmer Brothers does only custom work and they are the most expensive shop in town. If the average Joe took his 1987 Oldsmobile to Farmer Brothers the Brothers would probably turn him away. I wonder just how much money the Assistant DA had to pay Farmer Brothers? More hard-earned taxpayer money in the interest of justice.

Like I said the DA’s office sure has gotten petty since the days of the Bear.

What about the Sheriff’s office? One of the first deeds they performed for the DA’s office was the dismantling of the law library at the county jail. Now the prisoners in jail must fill out request forms in order to receive legal material that could be vital to their cases. And here is the catch, all legal requests go through the deputies here at the jail, which gives the Deputies all knowledge of everyone’s legal strategies. This is just another tactic of the DA’s office which is illegal as hell.

But hey, we must remember the DA’s office as well the Sheriff’s office. Both have taken an oath to uphold the law, but yet they set up a system that violates the constitutional rights of the prisoners in the county jail, not to mention state and federal laws that they, the District Attorney and Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, have vowed to uphold. The Big Dog Administrators who run Mendocino County will allow the DA’s office to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars prosecuting frivolous cases that are so ridiculous that any other county would throw them out simply because they don’t have the time or money to waste.

And where do the victims of these absurd cases reside? Yes, you guessed it, the same place the taxpayer money goes to housing its oh-so high profile criminals. The Big Dog Administrators will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to house and prosecute the pettiest of crimes but will refuse to reimburse Mr. Dan Fox for the loss of his personal property.

Yeah, you all remember good old Mr. Fox. Well, here is a little more insight of how the DA and Sheriff are trying to get Mr. Fox to break down and take the good old deal after a year a half of awaiting trial. Mr. Fox is finally going to get his day in court. So Mr. Fox prepares, his family brings his trial clothes to the jail, and our boy Dan makes a request to try his clothes on, since it’s been a year a half and he wants to make sure his clothes fit. So Mr. Fox is called out of the tank for his fitting, and lo and behold there are no clothes to be found. The deputies at the jail threw Mr. Fox’s clothes away. According to jail staff the clothes were misplaced. A search was conducted but still no clothes.

So Mr. Fox asked what is going to be done? The answer he received was that there is nothing the jail staff can do, and was Mr. Fox really sure any clothes were in fact dropped off? Well, even Sergeant Studer had seen Mr. Fox’s clothes.

It’s a wrap for the clothes and Mr. Fox was given the proper paperwork to fill out for reimbursement of his clothes. So after exhausting all administrative remedies at the jail and sending all the proper paperwork with statements from the powers to be at the jail, Mr. Fox’s clothes were indeed lost due to the negligence of Mendocino’s finest. Mr. Fox was still denied reimbursement by the administrators of Mendocino County.

I know more than a few of you out there are wondering why I would be writing about something so crazy. What’s the use, right? Wrong. My point is that there is so much underhanded bullshit going on in this county that someone needs to bring some kinda attention to it. The Big Dogs of Mendocino County are cutting much needed funding to all kinds of programs that have a positive effect for the people. These programs shouldn’t be the first to go.

I know that there are some types of watchdog committees out there that could force an investigation into the underhanded illegal activity that is being produced through the Mendocino County District Attorney’s office and without a doubt through the Sheriff’s Office. This County is very corrupt and dirty as hell. And sooner or later the people of this county need to step up and stop what is going on or it’s just going to get worse and the next victim might be you or even one of your children.

Crooked and corrupt on the taxpayer dime. Look at Sheriff Allman. You don’t know whether to pat him on the back or kick him in the ass. He came up with a way to legally tax the legal pot grower’s zip-ties at $25 per plant.

Once again, in closing I send my respects to all my Native Brothers and Sisters. You all need to start realizing that you too also have a voice in this community. Remember it’s the local casinos who pay for much of this County’s activities, yet they claim they are broke. In the words of Dan Fox: C’mon.

Ernest Elliott Sr.
A charge man and member of the
Hopland Band of Pomo Indians.
Ukiah/Hopland

ONE TRUE MIDDLE MAN
To the Editor,

In the 6/19/09 Ukiah Daily Journal there appeared an article titled “DDR Initiative Restraining Order Denied” which stated that one Richard Johnson requested a temporary restraining order to prevent the Board of Supervisors from putting the DDR initiative on the November ballot.

The restraining order was denied and in a following interview Johnson stated among other things, that the DDR initiative was “an attack on Middle America.” Well now, I consider myself a member of the middle class and I very much resent that, in my opinion anyway, an ultra left-wing, Green party dimwit like the so called “One True Green” Richard Johnson would have the gall to claim to be my spokesman on any matter whatsoever.

Thank you,
David Anderson
Ukiah

WHAT A WASTE
Editor,

Solid Wastes of Willits provides refuse and recycling through a franchise agreement with the County of Mendocino for the area from Gualala to Elk. We began services in August 2006 providing any subscribing customer with a plastic refuse cart or dumpster and a plastic recycling cart or dumpster. Although providing service in this area has its challenges, for approximately the last three years we have had four increases in disposal fees at the Sonoma County Annapolis Transfer Station. In August 2006 the dump rate per ton was $79.50 and today it is $105.40. Because dump fees are a significant part of our operating expense collection rates have increased by 8% just to cover this expense. In addition to the dump fees paid at Annapolis we have to pay a fee in Sonoma County for use of their road, and the site is only open four days a week creating additional difficulties in routing.

To add insult to injury, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors made a decision to raise franchise fees from 7% to 12% on revenue generated in the franchise area beginning July 1, 2009. The additional 5% will generate an additional $291,000 in revenue for the County from all franchise areas. As the fee collector for the county, this franchise fee increase will have to be passed on to customers in higher collection rates. And yes as the dump fee increases so does the franchise fee income to the County as franchise fees are based on a percentage of revenue collected from customers in that service area.

We apologize to our customers for these significant rate increases, but due to the circumstances we have had no choice. Of course, a customer can try to minimize the amount of waste they have through additional recycling and reducing their refuse cart size or reducing their pickup schedule or they can haul their own waste to the South Coast Transfer Station on Fish Rock Road. In either event, disposing of waste is more expensive.

One alternative we have brought before the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors is to expand the south coast transfer station to accommodate the dumping of our commercial refuse trucks and bypass the Annapolis transfer station. The refuse trucks would dump into 45-foot transfer trailers and be direct hauled to the Potrero Hills landfill in Suisun City where we hold a favorable long-term landfill agreement. Instead of paying dump fees in the $105 range, our landfill tipping fee at Potrero Hills is currently in the $24 a ton range. Even with the additional expansion and transportation costs, we firmly believe collection rates can be lowered while providing a long-term stabilization of disposal costs. We are currently pressing the Board of Supervisors to place the additional 5% franchise fee revenue in a capital improvement fund for a solid waste project. One of these projects would be the expansion of the south coast transfer station facilities.

If you have any questions regarding the increase in franchise fees, and capital improvement fund, or the expansion of the south coast transfer station, please do not hesitate to call our customer service representatives or your county area supervisor.

Rates in Anderson Valley will increase by 5.6% beginning on July 1, 2009.

Best regards,
Gerald W. Ward, President
Solid Wastes of Willis

WHO CARES?
Editor,

On June 23, 2009, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors passed a unanimous resolution supporting the Redwood Forest Foundation's (RFFI) effort to acquire state financial support to sell a Conservation Easement on their 51,000 acre Usal Redwood Forest. Fourth-district Supervisor, Kendall Smith, made the motion and First-district Supervisor, Carrie Brown seconded it. The resolution passed unanimously with all five supervisors present and voting. Selling the Conservation Easement will assure that this forest is protected and will be used as a timber-producing land in perpetuity. The proceeds from the sale of the easement will allow RFFI to manage the forest sustainably in support of their effort to restore a resource-based economy to the redwood region.

Henry Gundling, former and original RFFI Board Member, spoke in support of the resolution. He pointed out the importance of restoring this 51,000 acre forest to its original grandeur, while producing jobs, recreation and future revenue for the county.

In mid 2007, RFFI purchased the nearly 51,000 acre Usal Redwood Forest (Usal), which is located in northwestern Mendocino county. The purchase was made possible by an environmental loan from the Bank of America. Selling a conservation easement on the property will play a vital role in the financing that will allow RFFI to sustainably harvest timber from this site. After the meeting, Art Harwood, RFFI Executive Director, explained that selling the easement to the Conservation Fund with bond monies from the State of California is essential to maintaining the world's largest not-for-profit community benefit forest. Communities in the redwood region will be the beneficiaries of the eventual net revenue that is generated from the future timber harvests on this land.

Harwood pointed out that over half of the timberland in the US is privately owned. 75% of this privately-owned timberland has changed ownership in the past 20 years. Over 22% has changed hands in the past five years alone! There is substantial concern that the impact of this pattern of accelerating change in ownership. will adversely impact forest eco-systems and the communities that are dependent on them. The Redwood Forest Foundation brings people with different perspectives together to address these types of issues. You can learn more about the Redwood Forest Foundation by visiting their website at www. rffi.org.

Lin Barrett
Mendocino

BOUNDARIES
Sir

Please urge Emil Rossi to wear his seatbelt. He is a national treasure. Ralph Nader almost gave his life so those seatbelts would be in his vehicle. Emil: do it for Ralph.

The Steve Sparks interviews are ur-AVA material. We're getting a much better understanding of your matrix. Naturally, the fury evidenced in the Off The Record material warms my heart. Reminds me of the fire and bile of yesteryear. I don't think Letterman is funny either. There *are* boundaries. He knows fully well where they are and he seems to enjoy crossing them. He has more than enough moolah by now. He should retire! The Brooktrails controversy is too twisted to believe. Golfing is a nutty way to waste the sand remaining in your egg timer.

I wait for the AVA every week. But I repeat, don't encourage Emil to drive around without a seatbelt. We need his rants. Tell him to ask for a jury trial! I wanna hear Bruce McEwen's description of Ms. Harpham's prosecution.

Andrew Rebori
Houston, Texas

THE OTHER BOB
Greetings,

Steve Heilig’s article (but NOT the picture) pretty much sums up the “world music” event in Boonville for the fourth year now and his observations, in my opinion, are accurate. It is good to see the local community accepting and participating as well as it will appreciably authenticate and ameliorate an already good thing.

The Jamaicans and other “world” musicians are well aware of the great American artist (aka the “other” Bob) who wrote in 1963: “come… throughout the land and don’t criticize what you can’t understand … for the wheel’s still in spin…”

Of course many years later he wrote: “I used to care but things have changed.” Stay tuned.

Tom Force (Rootstock)
Ukiah
PS. It seems the “Rasta Man” on p. 4 took your previous week’s Welcome seriously.

COUNTY CAVES TO WINERS
Dear Editor,

When is development not development? The answer given by the Board of Supervisors this week is ‘when it takes place on agricultural land.’

On Monday, June 22nd , in a three to two vote (with John McCowen voting with Carrie Brown and John Pinches) the Board decided that that activities such as the conversion of rangeland to vineyards with associated wineries and tasting rooms should not be considered development and did not need to be “supported by [a] water supply adequate to serve the long-term needs of the intended density, intensity and use.” (Draft Mendocino County General Plan Update) Although they did suggest that the development of wineries and tasting rooms might be reconsidered as part of the revision of the zoning code.

Over the past year, there has been extensive discussion (at number of public hearings of the Planning Commission, with Planning staff, the consultants hired to update the General Plan and members of the public representing both agricultural interests and water conservation interests) of whether agricultural water use and winery development should be exempt from regulation or should be considered development needing planning oversight. In the end the Planning Commission (including the timber and ag representatives to the Commission) decided unanimously to recommend that all “new water uses shall be supported by a water supply adequate to serve the long-term needs of the intended density, intensity and use.”

Unhappy with the Planning Commission recommendation, the Farm Bureau and Cattlemen’s Association sent letters to the Board of Supervisors asking that the requirement for adequate water be limited to residential, commercial and industrial development, since the language used by the Planning Commission “will allow for the interpretation of agriculture as development [and as] written this restriction on the development of water could effectively stop any new agricultural opportunities in the county…” (June 18th letter to the Board from the Farm Bureau)

After that vote, along with several others supporting the Farm Bureau position that development on agricultural land should be exempt from the county planning process, I was left with a number of unanswered questions.

Why is water development “development” when it is done by residential, commercial or industrial interests, but not when done by agricultural ones?

Why was the decision of the Board of Supervisors different from that of the Planning Commission? Is it because the Commission looks at these issues from a planning perspective and the board from a political one? Would the Board have voted differently, if like the Commission, they had heard the input of dozens of people (in at least four hearings with 50-100 people in attendance) concerned with diminished water supplies and the impact of the development of vineyards, wineries and tasting rooms in their communities.

Where were representatives from the Mendocino Environmental Center, the Willits Environmental Center, the friends of the Garcia, the Native Plant Society, and the fishing industry when this important decision was being made?

Diane Paget
Boonville

DEPRESSION GARDENS?
Foodsheders,

There is a $200,000 grant application for park infrastructure from the Stewardship Council that is due July 17th.

I talked to Donna about it and she thinks that the school district would apply for it to be used for a small graveled parking lot (something that the parents of small kids have been requesting) and the development of infrastructure and initial planting of a community garden in the area between the park, tennis courts and soccer field.

But there needs to be a group willing to take the lead in developing the garden and maintaining it after it has been built.

Is the Foodshed group excited enough about this to collaborate with the school district to make it happen? We would be organizing work parties to create the beds, etc and then doing the on going maintenance. The school district would provide the water. The grant would pay for any needed heavy equipment work, installation of drains and/or rain water catchment systems; and materials for a drip irrigation system, beds, soil if we need it, and the initial plants. One idea is to plant a lot of it in edible perennials (fruit, nuts, berries, herbs, etc) in order to minimize the on going maintenance.

We are meeting July 2nd and can talk about it, but since I would be writing the grant application and it is due on the 17th of July, I'd like some feedback from all of you now in order to know if it is worth while for me to start working on it or not. About five or six people saying “yes, I'm willing to put some time into this for the next couple of years” would make writing the application seem worth while.

Diane Paget
Boonville

REMEMBERING THE EEL FLOOD
Hello,

I just read about the Eel River flood of 1964 that Tim Freeman wrote about on your website. This is very true. My father worked for the North Western Pacific Railroad from 1955 to 1976. He was a Shovel Helper as he called it. I think he was just a mechanic with a shovel clearing tracks and what not. I remember then I was about 10 or 11 years old and he used to live in an Outfit car which was an old wooden boxcar that was made into living quarters. Since we lived in Sebastopol (near Santa Rosa) he would go to work on Sunday afternoon and come home on Friday night. He did this as long as I could remember.

I remember his boss called him at home one day before he left to go to work and said: don’t bother because the outfit cars are no longer in the place where they were left. The Eel River had flooded and washed the outfit cars down river some. We went up there after the river waters went down and found the outfit cars on the river bank on a tilt. Dad’s outfit car had a huge hole through it. It looked like a big log hit it and went right through. We went inside and found that most of Dad’s belongings were gone except for the pans hanging on the wall under a lot of silt. A real big kicker was his hand-made Martin guitar that he left under the blankets of his bed. He did this in case the car got moved it wouldn’t fall to the floor and get damaged. We shoveled off a thick layer of silt and found his guitar like it was never touched and he smiled and picked it up and it fell apart because all the glue let go. He sat and cried. This had been given to him by his grandfather.

This is one of the things I remember from the Eel river flood that took out Pepperwood.

Regards,
Phil Wilson, Assistant Chief Engineer
Premier Bakers Inc.
Modesto

KZYX’S POT-ADDLED BRAINS
Editor,

I had sent John Coate the following email last week and received his reply:

Hello John —

When I read that you had to eliminate Christina's position and possibly cancel several shows, I wondered how the station came to such a rough patch.

I know you inherited a debt when you took over and that this mess is not of your making, but I wonder if there is another way to address it.

I suggest you ask the Board to support laying out the situation for the listeners — including numbers that are as close to accurate as you can get them. Then come up with some options for addressing the deficit, including the option of rehiring Christina. The options would be tied to the amount of money the station could raise. For example, option A would allow the station to continue various programs that are now on the chopping block, etc. plus rehire the local news person; option B would allow the station to continue only the following shows; and option C would allow the station to hang on by its fingernails while we await better times. Perhaps more options…

I don't know how to gauge listener reaction to hearing the true financial state of the station, but I suspect — if I'm a representative listener — that if I knew what was going on and that there was a sound plan to address the deficit that I would reach into my pocket to help out. Just hearing that the station needs money doesn't do it for me — it's very much a mixed message, especially when it's mixed with thanks to donors for helping the station meet its fundraising goal. Furthermore, the present message doesn't show us a way out.

Thank you for considering these suggestions and any others that you may receive.

Janie Sheppard
Ukiah

John Coate’s reply: Hi Janie. Thanks for your thoughts. Starting today I am going to do exactly as you suggest in communicating what is going on — was already the plan. This weekend was sort of wacky because we had to do the Sierra Nevada festival which consumed a lot of time and attention. — John Coate, General Manager, KZYX

Huh?
Dear Editor;

It is sad when people of repute get their comeuppance in such a public way, as the last two politicians have had to do.

One, being a “Promise Keeper” who kept his promise; after all, she is a married woman. And the other, again , having an affair with a married mother of two. But I do question the good governor's patriotism when he chose someone not even of US citizenship for his affair. That is not being loyal to the party that projects the Flag and Family Values as their main platform or to American women.

I do recognize the power of obsessive compulsive disorders but please don't lecture , as these two have done from their thrones of power, to those that have shortcomings and character defects.

Let us hope that the GOP can come up with some serious candidates in the future rather than the panderers to narcotic-addicted, four time divorced, “family Values” talk show hosts.

Sincerely.
Gerard F. Orme
Sonoma

TOTAL REFORM & REHAB
Editor,

Let's start with a premise that I don't think a lot of Americans are aware of: We have 5% of the world's population; we have 25% of the world's known prison population. We have an incarceration rate in the United States, the world's greatest democracy, that is five times as high as the average incarceration rate of the rest of the world. There are only two possibilities here: either we have the most evil people on earth living in the United States; or we are doing something dramatically wrong in terms of how we approach the issue of criminal justice.

The elephant in the bedroom in many discussions on the criminal justice system is the sharp increase in drug incarceration over the past three decades. In 1980, we had 41,000 drug offenders in prison; today we have more than 500,000, an increase of 1200%. A significant percentage of those incarcerated are for possession or nonviolent offenses stemming from drug addiction and those sorts of related behavioral issues.

In many cases these issues involve people's ability to have proper counsel and other issues, but there are stunning statistics with respect to drugs that we all must come to terms with. African-Americans are about 12% of our population; contrary to a lot of thought and rhetoric, their drug use rate in terms of frequent drug use rate is about the same as all other elements of our society, about 14%. But they end up being 37% of those arrested on drug charges, 59% of those convicted, and 74% of those sentenced to prison by the numbers that have been provided by us.

Another piece of this issue that I hope we will address with this National Criminal Justice Commission that I am proposing is what happens inside our prisons. We also have a situation in this country with respect to prison violence and sexual victimization that is off the charts and we must get our arms around this problem. We also have many people in our prisons who are among what are called the criminally ill, many suffering from hepatitis and HIV who are not getting the sorts of treatment they deserve.

Importantly, what are we going to do about drug policy — the whole area of drug policy in this country? And how does that affect sentencing procedures and other alternatives that we might look at?

America's criminal justice system has deteriorated to the point that it is a national disgrace. We are locking up too many people who do not belong in jail.

Senator Jim Webb
Virginia

BRING BACK AANESTAD
To: KZYX:

Perhaps the decision to let Christina go can be reconsidered. I hope so.

From my view, as a listener, she is a first-rate journalist and a real pro on the air. The syndicated programs being dropped will surely be missed by many, but they are mainly entertainment. Christina was on top of real, local issues. She truly made KZYX a “community” radio station.

Surely, the reason for her dismissal had nothing to do with the quality of her work. If it was some “personnel” issue, we'll never know.

During my 20 year association with KZYX, my highest priority support has been for the Community News. When Christina came on board, I couldn't believe our little station was so lucky to get someone so capable.

Can we reconsider?

Respectfully,
Bruce Hering
Boonville

SELF-DESTRUCTION
Dear Editor, et al,

The inanity of some political parties is awesome to behold. Some wingnuts would rather believe in various packs of lies than allow dissections thereof to challenge their self-assuredness. Some brains are happier repositories of ideological nonsense than easily verifiable truths, which explains why some De Leonist clubs might forever remain dedicated to a trivial pursuit, no matter how much the times cry out for a unified effort to rein in the burgeoning powers of predator capitalists.

Long-time Socialist Labor Party revolutionaries, understandably upset over the failure of their national organization to thrive and survive, would much rather blame some external factor (such as government interference) for their collapse than to blame their legacy of having dishonestly tried for decades to make Marx, Engels, and even Lenin appear to advocate a program akin to workers organizing themselves into Socialist Industrial Unions (SIU) and abolishing political government, a perfectly anarchist program that the communists M, E, and L obviously would have rejected.

And what of the Party writers who understood the revisionist basis of SLP theories, and yet maintained silence to prevent disrupting funding of the dissemination of their 'great socialist truths'? Will the complete disintegration of their enterprise release any of them to reveal secrets of the century-long defrauding and exploitation of Party followers? After all they have written over their lifetimes, the urge to chronicle the truth about the Party's betrayal of the workers might finally be unleashed, if only they can admit to themselves the depth of the fraud they helped perpetuate (and even freshly perpetrate) for the good of providing for themselves and their families — which behavior is not so unusual in this profane world, considering the many who have succeeded so well in fleecing the vast legions of the unaware.

What was it worth to the Party to inflate Lenin's appreciation of Daniel De Leon? SLP exaggerations must have inspired at least some proud (but gullible) disciples to part with some hard-earned dollars. What was it worth to falsely claim that 'the peasantry in less developed countries was the real target of Marx's proletarian dictatorship'? The Party's revisionist theories certainly helped defuse natural instincts to politically struggle against predator capitalists, along with their corrupt governments.

Now is the time to hear from those who knowingly helped perpetuate fraud, if only they can muster the courage to refute Party propaganda, despite the wrath inevitably due from the few true believers in “the only hope for mankind,” i.e., their SIU Program. Will the Party's knowledgeable intellectuals find the courage, or will they forever cower in the comfort of the rewards of having perpetuated an anarcho-syndicalist fantasy, cleverly marketed as Marx's revolutionary program “for industrialized countries”?

Ken Ellis
New Bedford, Massachussetts

GURNEY’S THREAT
Editor,

I am delighted with your reply to Gurney's letter and his lawyer's, too. It was all news to me. The “trial” was all done *in camera*, in the judge's chambers, probably to keep any of it from becoming known to the public. All I knew was what my source told me last spring that he was rolling around drunk in the back of the ranger’s cruiser, threatening to kill the ranger's wife and kids. My source was also concerned that they hadn't taken Gurney's guns.

I share this worry. Gurney blew up in my face last spring, at the courthouse, and he has stalked me and staked me out a few times that I know of, perhaps other times when I haven't caught him. Then, when the paper came out last week, he followed me from the library to the health food store, followed me inside, and verbally assaulted me with a stream of invective. He dropped his shoulder like he was going to take a shot at me, but thought better of it and just threw the AVA at me saying, “You haven't heard the last of me, I'm going to get you, you motherfucking lying son of a bitch, you.”

I called the cops, and Gurney's wife drug him away by his sleeve. Tim Stoen said he would put a restraining on Gurney if I wanted, and advised me to report any further incidents. Also, Rex Gressett has driven by in his VW convertible, shaking his fist and shouting threats. I think Gresset (who punched the guy doing the petition for DDR at Harvest Market) and Gurney are buddies.

If Gurney wanted to keep his adventures out of the press, his plans have backfired beautifully. The richest part is that he cleared up the point that there was no alcohol clause in his probation, which my story, due to a typo, suggested there was. What's so amazing is that there should have been.

Bart Kronfeld, his first lawyer, perhaps inadvertently, divulged the part about swerving over the double yellow line, when he argued the Pitchess Motion last winter.

Sorry it took so long to answer. Checking my email is hit or miss at the crowded and rarely open Fort Bragg library.

Bruce McEwen
Fort Bragg

THUMP THOMPSON
Mighty AVA,

As promised, a little more info on local Single-Payer Healthcare events—

The annual July 4 Parade in downtown Mendocino will feature a "Healthcare for All" float this year. Anyone interested in marching along is most welcome! The parade starts at noon. Marchers are encouraged to arrive a tad early, to locate their place in the flotilla. Saturday, July 11, from 5 - 7:30 pm, Mike Thompson will be hosting a Pasta Dinner in Fort Bragg at Pentecost Hall (822 Stewart Street — across from Rossi's). mikethompsonforcongress.com has more information on this event. Meanwhile, starting around 4:30 pm, Single Payer advocates will congregate outside the Hall to demonstrate to Representative Mike where much of his constituency stands on the subject.

Come join the summer fun!

Mike Kalantarian
Beyond the Deep End (Navarro)
PS. 83 Representatives now co-sponsor HR 676 (MediCare for All), but our congressman, Mike Thompson, remains missing (thomas.loc.gov).

SEDOWSKI SHUTS DOWN BREWERS
Editor,

I don't get it. The Truth was wierd enuf, so why change it to make me The Bad Guy, as usual, and the Ice Cream Lady the nice, kind good guy? It weren't like that Bruce.

First, you can't/won't just print my announcements about my gigs, just normally, like you do everyone else's. You have to first put me down, beliitle me, bash me, then let folks know where I am playing. Why is this? Please explain.

RE: The “Ice Cream Parlor Incident”: You got it ALL WRONG, as usual, Bruce. I was not screeching, yelling, or in any way rude to That Woman. It was HER who was screeching at me. Why insult me and put me down and say horrible things about me? What's the point? You have done, as usual, Revisionist History, as you love to do. The Truth is not good enuf for you, Bruce. You gotta make it meaner, more nasty, more wierd than reality. Why?

What really happened on Monday, June 22 in Boonville: I was sitting outside the Ice Cream Parlor talking to some folks. A dreadlocked Black Man (I do not know if he was or is a “Rasta”) was sleeping in a chair. He did wake up once and looked around, then went back to sleep. I left to visit you (remember?), put up some posters, then returned to buy an iced coffee from the Ice Cream Place. She (Erica) was on the phone dialing 911 when I was in her store, and I heard her saying that she was calling the Police because he would not wake up. I asked her very politely and quietly if she had tried waking him up first, before calling The Law. She immediately became irate and defensive. I told her I would try to wake him and suggest that he move, and I bought him a BIG cup of strong coffee. I woke him, explaining that “the cops were on the way” and it would “be best for him NOT to be there when he/they came.” He agreed, thanked me (I think), and moved on. I returned to my coffee in her business to finish putting in cream and sugar, and I said, “You know, SOME police are not nice to Black People in general, and to Black Men in particular.” I think I also said that, “Cops are historically violent to Black People,” which enraged her, and SHE started yelling at ME that “she was not doing a Rodney King” on him!,” which really confused me, since I had not mentioned Rodney King, or HER doing anything. I was speaking of POLICE Brutality in general. (Hey, I grew up in LA, listen to KPFA and regularly read the San Francisco Bay View newspaper, and know how cops treat Black People & People of Color, ok?). So, she started yelling and told me to “immediately leave her store.” I told her, I am/was a paying customer, had just spent over $5 in her business, and would “leave as soon as I finish putting cream & sugar in my coffee.” She kept saying that I was accusing her of being A RACIST, which really confounded me, since I had said NO SUCH THING, and would not, since I did not know her at all. But, I did and do feel that like most White People who do not live among Black People, perhaps she was afraid of him and thought she would not be safe waking him up, maybe. I do not know her at all. I was only concerned that this visiting stranger would not be taken over the hill to Ukiah, where they might put a “24 hours Psych hold” on him, since she was telling them that “he needed help” implying to me that she thought he was “a nut case, a drunk, a doper” or some such thing. And yeah, just like I told you, as I exited her store, and her little girl was listening and watching us intently, I did say, “Mother, set a good example for your little daughter!” which was very true. I did not at any time use the words “Rodney King” or “racist” to her about her. Not at all. She just went kind of nuts on me.

So, yeah, I was quite upset by her attacking me (she Bruce was screeching, yelling, arguing with me, not the crap you put in the paper!), and actually, I was speaking very quietly and calmly, because she seemed like a crazy person. So when I was in Boont Berry shopping for food, and an older (not young) Dreadlocked Brother was also in the store, I told the story, and he and the others in the store supported me, and validated me, unlike you ever do, Bro. Bruce.

I wonder why you don't think you can sell enuf papers without every damn week putting me down. I guess it's fun, huh? Also, since she is a local business owner in your town, and I don't live there, it makes a better story to make her The Good Guy and me The Baddie, as usual.

Damn Bruce! You can't even mention my gig in Point Arena or anywhere without first putting me down. What is it with you anyway? I came into your office to THANK YOU for your hospitality and gave you my flier. You could have mentioned it or not. I did not twist your arm or threaten you. I wonder why it's OK to do this to me week after week? I don't get it.

But anyway, that's what REALLY happened in downtown Boonville that Monday, and will you print this? Doubtful, but if you do, it's guaranteed that you will make a bunch of sarcastic, crappy comments after this letter, as you always do.

Oh well. That's you, Bruce. And as my 93 year old Mother always says, “Why do you keep trusting and dealing with that guy? You know how he is!” Yes, Mom!

DJ Sister Yasmin
Anchor Bay

Ed note: Hasn’t your mother also asked why you keep trusting and dealing with KZYX? You know how they are!”

FOOT DRAGGING: GOOD
Editor:

Mendocino County has not yet been hurt badly by the financial crisis — for three reasons. First, because marijuana is our number one product; second, because that product, unlike timber, is bought and sold and circulates in cash; and third, we were not on the fast-track, high-growth frenzy that had captured other areas in the state south of us.

We have heard for many years the constant frustration and fury by developers that it is nigh impossible to get anything through our local planning departments. We may want to stop a minute and thank our bureaucrats for being so grossly slow and inefficient.

The Monster Mall folks finally gave up and put their dumb growth project on the ballot. They're determined to suck the lifeblood from our county and send it who knows where, to who knows who. Citizens in Windsor, San Diego, and San Joaquin Valley had very high throughput planners to help in their building frenzies and big box growth, and now they're suffering horribly for it. They might want to send their planners up here for seminars on how to drag their feet.

But what of our local future? A slow squeeze has begun on another of our major sources of income: decent- and good-paying local and regional jobs supported by taxes such as teaching, police and fire, public services, etc. Unless teachers get into outlaw agriculture, growing bud is not going to take up the slack. As cash becomes scarce, small businesses will suffer, local stores will close, tax income will go down further, more jobs will be lost — and we will join the death spiral that many other communities are experiencing.

Then we will start asking hard questions about why we are spending money at big box and chain stores that send our money out of our county; about why some locals would want to welcome even more occupiers in to plunder what little money we have; and how shopping local circulates our money around and around here at home, creating jobs, rather than taking leave for parts unknown.

We will also then consider creating our own local currencies, as other communities are doing, that stays local, purchasing food from our own farmers and restaurateurs; purchasing goods from our own merchants, makers and suppliers; purchasing entertainment from our own neighbors and local talents rather than watching it on the boob tube.

And you'll be thankful you did because what you spend and send around locally, comes back to you and our community's common wealth in so many ways.

Dave Smith
Ukiah

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