Letters (Sep 7, 2016)

by AVA News Service, September 7, 2016

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AMBULANCE FUNDRAISER: ANOTHER SUCCESS

Dear Community:

The Anderson Valley Ambulance Service Fund Raiser was held on August 28, 2016. The Board would like to take this opportunity to thank the following individuals, businesses, clubs, etc. for making this event a huge success:

Anderson Valley Lions Club, Joe Blow Band, Thanksgiving Coffee, Navarro Store, Jack's Valley Store, Rossi's, Judy Nelson, Susan Bodine, Philip Thomas, Judy Basehore, Terry Ryder and her Mom Muriel, San Francisco Giants, The Pot Shop, Bramble Olive Oil, Anderson Valley Inn, Blue Meadow Farm, Boont Berry, Gowan's Oak Tree, Boonville Hotel, The Apple Farm, Anderson Valley Nursery, The Other Place/Sheep Dung, Anderson Valley Brewery, Larry Mailliard and Jeanie Eliades, Pepperwood Pottery, Lauren's, Little River Inn, MacCallum House, The Skunk Train, Chez Marie @ Elk Cove Inn and Spa, and the following wineries: Meyer Family Cellars, Yorkville Cellars, Maple Creek, Four Sight, Seebass, Philo Ridge, Lichen, Elke, Balo, Knez, Bink, Signal Ridge, Baxter, Brutocao, Scharffenberger, Roederrer, Toulouse, Navarro, Handley, and Husch.

The Ambulance Service operates as a non-profit business and relies greatly on the generosity of our community. Once again, thank you so much for your continued support.

Allan Green, President,

AV Ambulance Board, Boonville

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MORE BAD NEWS ON CLIMATE CHANGE

Dear Editor:

It seems hardly a week passes by without bad news on Climate change. The latest is a report published by the weekly The Norwegian American news - 'Permafrost thaw threatens mountains - New research shows in greater detail which parts of Scandinavian earth is permafrost.' Permafrost is permanently frozen ground. Today there are 26 countries conducting research on permafrost and have pooled their expertise in the International Permafrost Association and the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost. Permafrost is most prevalent in the central mountains of Central Norway and in the mountain chains along the border between Norway and Sweden the far north. Global warming could destabilize the mountains as the permafrost continues to thaw. Permafrost is the glue that holds them together. Unstable mountains slopes could destroy roads, railways, buildings and threaten lives. It goes with out saying, thawing of the permafrost areas of the marshes of the High North could release enormous quantities of greenhouse gasses. It should also be noted record temperatures are being set in Norway's Svalbard Arctic Archipelago. I will leave for another day what climate change is doing the coffee growing areas of the world.

In peace and love,

Jim Updegraff

Sacramento

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NO RAIN?

Dear Editor,

I read with dismay in Todd Walton's column (August 24th AVA) that NOAA's long range forecast was for "zero, zilch" rain this winter rainy season, 2016-2017. I have good news to report that when I checked the NOAA models it seems we are due for average rain, although there is considerable uncertainty. Areas south of Santa Rosa appeared to be below normal with a weak La Nina, and some areas of Washington and Oregon expecting above normal. Readers are invited to do their own investigation and also to sing any rain songs or do any rain dances if they feel so inclined.

Bill Taylor

Redwood Valley

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EGG McTRUMP

Letter To The Editor (with a nod to Mother Goose):

Tumpty dumpty sat on a wall

Tumpty dumpty had a great fall

All of Ryan's horses

And all of Ryan's men

Couldn't put the party together again.

–Clint Miller, Half Moon Bay

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YES ON 57

Dear Editor,

I just read your comments concerning Proposition 57 in the July 27 AVA Off the Record. I am compelled to toss my two-cents out there.

I am one of the Americans who Proposition 57 will possibly affect being someone who has been convicted of assault with a deadly weapon.

First of all let me give you some background on my case: in 1997 I was at a concert with my new girlfriend who was only 19 at the time. To make a long story a bit shorter she got jumped by six wannabe tough guys — male and female — who I had a "history" with. I beat up a couple of the guys years before.) Basically they jumped on my girl because they heard she was my girlfriend. In their drunken state they fail to realize I was not in jail like they thought. But I had grown out my hair and was standing right next to her! So I stupidly ended up with a knife in my hand and with all six of them stomping on her face, back etc., I reflexively tackled the whole pile off of her. What I didn't realize at the time was I ended up "injuring" one of these wannabe gangbangers with the tip of my knife leaving a half-inch nick that didn't even need stitches. These people were using deadly force on my girl, kicking her in the face and head and leaving bootprints on her neck and back that lasted for weeks. I had every right to use deadly force to stop it even if I had intentionally tried to stab someone, which I didn't. But I was on parole and had no business with a knife and I was in Bakersfield (which is the asshole of the universe). So now I was facing a third strike. (My prior strikes were from an "armed robbery" in 1985 where I tried to recover some drugs that three guys stole from a friend. I got all three strikes from that one case because there were three people there! Anyway, I was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon and given 32 years to life. I have been in prison for over 17 years for defending a girl. By the way, assault with a deadly weapon only carries a maximum sentence of four years.

So on to Proposition 57. Yes, it could help me get out. If my assault with a deadly weapon had a "great bodily injury" on it I would be ass out of luck, but my "victim" was barely scratched and didn't even realize it at first. (Funny how these so-called tough guys who want to play gangbanger games cry for the police when they get hurt!)

I realize from your comments that you are for locking up and throwing away the key for most anyone who gets arrested. But that is not the answer in most cases. I have very little violence since I've been down — a couple of fistfights that were unavoidable. That says a lot for someone who has spent almost two decades in Level 4 prisons. I have four boys who have grown up without their father because of the three strikes law which is more than a farce. I agree that some people have had more than enough chances. But I didn't have a 32-to-life sentence coming, just for stopping some a-holes from stomping my girl out. How would you feel if I was out with your daughter? Would you want me to stop the ass-whooping or would you want me to run away and call the police and hope they get there in the next hour before she was stomped to death? I did what any man should do: no matter the odds, no matter what kind of hoodlums it is, you stand up and defend your girl at all costs. And in this case the cost was high: the state took my life and left my four sons fatherless.

Not all the people who Proposition 57 affects are bloodthirsty dope fiends. Your neighborhood will not be more dangerous if they let me out. The days of "death by incarceration" are over. No one benefits from caging people forever. Governor Brown's other idea/proposition of allowing all inmates to earn good time credits is a way to curb prison violence. What reason does a life prisoner in a Level 4 prison have to not stab etc. other prisoners, guards, staff etc.? When there's no hope then people don't care. When you are given 25-life for a petty crime and the state has basically taken your life, your kids, your world, you tend not to give a fuck! What do you have to give a fuck about? In the years before the politicians got the "truth in sentencing" crap started, all prisoners got half time which meant that if you obeyed the rules and if you worked or went to school you could earn day for day credit, every good day earned you another day. This encouraged prisoners to not fuck up and gave people a reason to act right. Would you rather a person was in the habit of following the rules and being productive and getting out of prison with this mindset a few months early? Or would your hate-filled revenge demanding self want someone who had no reason to follow the rules or work who inflicted violence on others at will or got all their time and refused to work but did all their time even though it wasn't that much more to begin with? Is there really a question? The latter will have a very fucked up mindset and your revengeful insistence on him doing every last day will feed his need for revenge. I have been down for 17+ years and believe me I have heard so many revenge plots due to these Three Strikes and Truth in Sentencing laws that I can't even count them. Why wouldn't you want American prisoners to participate in rehabilitation programs? Why wouldn't you want to help prisoners want to follow the rules and laws? This so-called tough on crime BS has been poisonous to our society. Prisoners are not "them," "we" are the prisoners. A percentage of Americans are prisoners but that does not make us the enemies. We are all part of the American society. The politicians want you to look at us as others, not your sons, husbands, friends, wives, etc. The attacks disguised as laws are not making society safer. They are just creating a bunch of pissed off people with nothing to lose. That's not the kind of neighbors I would want.

Yes, Proposition 57 may let some people out who would otherwise do much more time, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The state is not going to just release a bunch of maniacs. Proposition 57 only allows people to go in front of the prison board and plead their case if you've been behaving and if you've been participating in rehabilitation programs and if they feel you are no longer a threat to society and you could get parole. Don't let Propositions 36 and 47 influence you. This has nothing to do with letting a bunch of drug users out of prison. And if you don't think there's a bunch of people doing way too much time for way too little then you need to open your mind and seek the truth and stop blindly believing what district attorneys and cops tell you. They have an interest in keeping humans in prison: all that blood money.

Anyway, this is just my case. I've done more than enough time for a case that should have been dropped. Bakersfield! What a shithole!

Take care,

Scott Pinkerton,

Lancaster

PS. Check out my art, etc. at www.betweenthebars.org/blogs/1347

ED REPLY: Assuming the facts of your case are as you've described, you got a nearly medievally cruel amount of time. You also must have had a very bad attorney. I've railed for years about disproportionate sentences, and I've complained about the preponderance of crime victims on parole boards. I agree that our DA and Sheriff have selected worst-case felons. But at the legislative level of state and federal government we suffer the most abysmal group of unprincipled time-servers perhaps in the history of the country. Some of the black officeholders address the issues you've raised since black people are in prison out of all reasonable proportion to their numbers in the population, but the few humane and principled legislators are a small minority of the rancid whole. There is no remedy for people like you. Serious crimes that used to earn people ten years in 1950 now earn them upwards of twenty years because there is a lot more crime and lots more shocking crime. Every day in Mendocino County there is an episode, or more than a single episode, that would have had people talking for months in times past. And our media, natch, plays this stuff up and people get more scared, creating what we have now — a nation of 'fraidy cats well down the path to fascism, the philosophy of the fearful. 

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BATTLE AT THE BALLOT

Editor,

The big battle at the ballot in November is between two local cannabis measures -- the Mendocino Heritage Initiative (AF) sponsored by the cannabis community, and the Cannabis Tax Initiative (AI), presented by the Mendocino Board of Supervisors. They are competing initiatives with clear conflicts. Whichever gets the most votes will prevail in its entirety, leaving the rival with nothing.

"In the event that this measure receives a greater number of affirmative votes, the provisions of this measure shall prevail in their entirety and the conflicting provisions of the other initiative or ordinance shall be null and void."  –Cannabis Tax Initiative, Section 7.

The Heritage Initiative Committee turned in over 4000 voter signatures to gain ballot status, believing the voters would approve reasonable regulations. They reached out to supervisors, Ag & other stakeholders, hoping for either a mutually agreed upon regulatory ordinance to be passed by the BOS or BOS support to the Heritage Initiative as sensible regulation to replace prohibition, leaving them the ability to make changes after passage (unlike Prop 215). But instead of cooperating with local growers, the BOS threw a nasty curve for a strike. They placed their own rival Cannabis Tax Initiative on the same ballot for the express purpose of defeating Heritage. Adversarial in nature, they have made clear they do not view the cannabis community as friends to be welcomed back into society after being prohibited & criminalized since 1937. They prefer that cannabis growers be criminalized in entirely new tax-related ways.There are major differences. The BOS initiative has a tax ceiling of 10% with an allowance of 2.5% every year to raise revenue for the General Fund, compared to Heritage, with a ceiling of 2.5% for medical, 5% for recreational.Only Heritage includes:

1) an Appellations Project honoring & protecting cannabis achievements & strains based on geographical location.

2) an ongoing Cannabis Advisory Commission to help guide the regulatory process, with an economic impact report due after one year in operation.

3) A shift to cannabis as an agricultural crop with cultivation regulated through Dept of Food and Ag.But the biggest difference is in the BOS' attempt to recriminalize cannabis farmers with a new criminal misdemeanor for tax violations. The BOS Cannabis Tax Initiative, Section 6.32.270 spells it out in no uncertain terms: Violation Deemed Misdemeanor

Any person violating any of the provisions of this Chapter shall be deemed guilty of a Misdemeanor and shall be punishable therefore.The BOS has created a new cannabis crime for tax infractions for which they are trying to get voter approval. As we are exiting prohibition in the state, we are facing recrim in the county with tax 'violations deemed misdemeanors', if the Cannabis Tax Initiative passes. "Shall be deemed guilty" is worse than in criminal court where your guilt must be proven, not deemed. Here guilt & punishment are 'deemed', not proven, without so much as a trial or presumption of innocence. While the rest of the world is exiting prohibition, shedding criminal misdemeanors, Mendo County is attempting to adopt new misdemeanors for 'any' violation of the Tax Chapter. This is a mean-spirited prohibitionist move to hold the cannabis community back from equal opportunity and equal protection as regulations unfold & previously outlawed growers come forward in good faith. They are understandably reluctant & want to make sure they aren't being given blankets with smallpox, pretending its for protection.Anyone can be late or mistaken while dealing with complicated tax provisions. The BOS wants to pass their Cannabis Tax Initiative as a trick bag to catch & criminally punish newly legal growers for minor tax violations with voters as conduits for increasing prohibition. We can't let them do that.

Vote Yes on AF (AgFarms), Mendocino Heritage Initiative.

Vote No on AI, Cannabis Tax Initiative.

Pebbles Trippet

Mendocino Medical Marijuana Advisory Bd.

Elk

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BONNIE & JARED CARTER SAY NO

Friends,

Re: Marijuana Takeover Act on Mendocino ballot

For many of us who do not share any enthusiasm for marijuana it looks like it is time to start paying attention to this initiative on our ballot this November. This “'call to pay attention/ get informed” comes from four solid citizens who have some real concerns about this initiative.

Bonnie Carter

Ukiah

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Subject: Marijuana Takeover Act on Mendocino ballot

Dear Neighbor,

Initiative Measure AF, written by marijuana growers, has qualified for Mendocino County's November ballot. It is named the "Mendocino Heritage Act," but would more accurately be called the "Marijuana Takeover Act."

It appears to us that Measure AF would give marijuana growers an open field to do anything they want in Mendocino County. It would legalize commercial marijuana production in every zone, including residential neighborhoods. Marijuana plantations of up to 1 acre of plants could reach within 30 feet of a neighbor's property and within 100 feet of a neighbor's house.

It would abolish the right of anyone to complain about the odor of marijuana, since marijuana growers would be covered by the Right to Farm ordinance which effectively blocks nuisance complaints.

It would allow marijuana cultivation and sales 400 feet closer to our schools and parks.

It would cripple the enforcement of rules of any kind by replacing the sheriff with a civil procedure that would be so weak and slow as to be non-existent.

It would allow an unlimited number of dispensaries in any commercial zoning.

Incredibly, it would make butane processing of marijuana a "principal permitted use" in all industrial zones, even though this dangerous practice has caused innumerable fires.

It would be yet another loud siren call that if you want to make a fast buck growing lots and lots of marijuana, come to Mendocino County. The rules for marijuana growing shouldn't be written by the marijuana growers but instead by our Board of Supervisors who can ensure that our community is protected from bad practices.

You can read the "Mendocino Heritage Act" at https://mendocinoheritageinitiative.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/an-initiative-of-the-people-of-the-county-of-mendo_032216_v7.pdf

We are organizing a committee to oppose the Marijuana Takeover Act on the November ballot. Please join us. Defeating Measure AF will take a lot of time and money from concerned citizens. If you can offer support of any kind, please contact one of us directly or email to NoMeasureAF@yahoo.com.

You are also invited to an organizing meeting on Thursday, August 25 at 6:30 p.m. at Factory Pipe, 1307 Masonite Road, Ukiah.

Sincerely,

Hal Wagenet, Willits;

Chris Neary, Willits;

Ross Liberty, Ukiah;

Mike Sweeney, Ukiah

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PIPE DREAMS

To the Editor:

I just got my first look at the new “MMRSA” document. For those of you who aren’t in the know, the MMRSA is the acronym for Mendocino County’s Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, coming as a measure to your county ballot in November. It is 60 pages long, almost a novel, written mostly in legalese, by some very sharp lawyers for the proponents of marijuana cultivation in Mendocino County. It pretty much covers the multitude of hopes and dreams that every upstanding marijuana grower deems necessary to continue raping, pillaging and plundering our county’s natural resources for profit.

The stated purpose of this initiative is for county regulation to permit the cultivation, manufacturing, testing, distribution, transportation, delivery and dispensing of marijuana in the County of Mendocino in the event that the State of California approves the use of marijuana for recreational use.

The problem is they don’t want any county law enforcement to interfere with their continued profit making. They state in bold type, no civil enforcement. They want to elect an oversight committee to enforce violations because they state that “no violations of this law shall be subject to criminal enforcement.”

There is language for county permitting, but no mention of permit fees, only a $300 deposit to be paid to the county for the permitting process. County taxes are be paid on the honor system at 2.5% for medical grows, 5% for commercial grows on gross income to be determined by the grower. It’s all above board you know, and we all know growers are honorable when it comes to paying their taxes.

This ordinance shall be known as the Mendocino County Heritage Act of 2016. They want to make marijuana an agricultural product repealing Mendocino County Code 9.31.0 (Medical Marijuana Cultivation Regulation) thereby circumventing the laws that are in place at present which protect our children and ourselves from the smell, criminal element, trimigrants, unsightly felony fences and all the other pleasant things associated with marijuana cultivation.

It’s time to take a stand, or we can expect that everyone from everywhere will start packing their bags and heading for Mendocino County where they can start growing marijuana next door to your house, your park or your church and there won’t be anything you can do about it. If you don’t like the smell, the extra traffic on your private road, the hills denuded, the streams dried up, the wild life poisoned and shot, too bad, you will no longer have the right to complain or take civil action.

For years most of us have observed firsthand the damage that marijuana cultivation has caused to the land, the water and our natural resources in Mendocino County and yet we continued to accept that the revenue was needed, but it’s never really added that much to our county coffers.

If this measure were to pass it would allow legalized commercial production of marijuana in every residential neighborhood. It would abolish the right to complain about any part of the marijuana growing production you might find offensive because it would be covered under the “Right to Farm Act” which would effectively block any and all nuisance complaints. It would allow cultivation and sales 400 feet closer to our children’s schools, bus stops, churches and our family parks. It would cripple our Sheriff’s Department by replacing it with a civil procedure that would be so weak as to be absolutely ineffective. It would allow an unlimited number of dispensaries in any commercial zoning. It would allow butane processing of marijuana which is dangerous and explosive in industrial zoning.

Marijuana cultivation is not agriculture as most of us know agriculture to be, at present it is grown as medicine, as in “Medical Marijuana” which makes it a drug, pure and simple and should be labeled a drug, treated like a drug and taxed as a drug. We are not going to stop the legalization of marijuana for recreational use that is coming, the barn door is open, Elvis has left the building. What we need to do is allow our elected supervisors and the Marijuana Ad Hoc Committee time to do what they were elected and appointed to do and that is to come up with fair and equitable laws that we can all live with, not circumvent the system for personal profit and gain. We need to vote NO! on this initiative and others like it in November.

Clyde Blundell

Potter Valley

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