Letters (May 31, 2017)

by AVA News Service, May 31, 2017

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Dear AVA,

Corrections to a Letter to the Editor

It's always nice to be remembered and I thank Beth Bosk for her letter published in your May 24th issue, but I must straighten out the record.

From beginning to the end of her letter:

I was, in fact, 18 years old, not 21, and wasn't yet a college student.

I drove to Chicago the day before with my older brother.

The iconic photograph — Jeff Blankfort's, in fact — was printed in Ramparts Magazine, not on the cover of Life (see Attached).

I didn't become one of the Chicago 7, I was a witness for Rennie Davis and John Froines of the Chicago 7 in their defense against Federal conspiracy charges.

Hoping to set the record straight. And, yes, still alive and kicking.

Lee Edmundson


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PG&E Fraud last week.

We had a close call with a scam last week that I wanted to download you on. Maybe something good to forward to the Advertiser.

Thursday afternoon we got a call from a blocked number saying that our PGE bill is 60 days overdue and they're disconnecting power in 30 minutes.

We had two accounts and the issue was that we paid one of the accounts off and PGE mistakingly applied the payment to another person's account. They said they would be mailing back a check back to us to refund that payment, and that in the meantime we needed to pay our acccount in the amount of $7500 and with a minimum payment of $2300 that day.

They had Julian call an LA area code saying they would put a hold on disconnecting our services while he drove to Ukiah to make payment. They were asking him to place a phone call from a red phone at Food Max in Ukiah.

Julian called them back and asked what form of payment he could make, and they said cash only. That's when Julian got suspicious and talked to our bookkeeper who investigated and found out that our account was in good status and this was a fraud call.

Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think.


Bob Wilms


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As a response to Ukiah’s housing crisis, the proposed 121 home, environmentally absurd subdivision paving Lovers Lane vineyards misses the objective completely. There is no crisis in Ukiah homes for sale, as anyone who walks or drives around town will remark; nearly every street has one or more homes for sale. And we all know that were the tract homes to be approved (in opposition to existing General Plan law) a good percentage would be converted by out of town speculators to high priced rentals.

It is Ukiah renters who experience the housing crisis. And while new rental construction is underway, in pleasant environments like ours demand always outstrips supply. The crisis always returns regardless of new units built.

The only way a caring community can prevent rent gouging in a tight, crisis market is to institute rent control. Modern (Constitutional) rent control must guarantee the owner a fair return on investment, allowing inflation and improvement costs to be passed through. Ukiah already established rent control for its mobile home parks in 2010. This will make it easy then for our Ukiah City Council to tackle rent gouging by simply expanding it for all Ukiah rentals of three units or more built before the year 2000.

Phil Baldwin


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We already have beau coup books telling us about the history of Mendocino County. I would rather that Ms. Tahja do a book on Mendocino anecdotes. It will be easier, faster and likely to sell better. (Have McEwen think up a cute title.) Only a tiny fraction of county residents buy or read books. They don't even buy newspapers (except on Monday if the football team wins).

How many copies of Mendocino Noir did you sell, Mr. Scaramella? Huh? How many? [1] Mulligan Books had a copy but every few days Dave Jones [2] had do wipe the dust off it.

There are hundreds of interesting anecdotes. The road from Ukiah to Willits was narrow, curvy and steep with no places to pass. By the time vehicles reached Ridgewood Summit their radiators were boiling over. Fortunately there was a large tank of water there. Rena [3] became interested in local history, particularly Indians. She also had plenty of chutzpah. When Rena heard about old people living in the northeast part of the county she would try to catch them before they died. She marched up to their house uninvited, knocked on the door and demanded an interview. Each year at Fourth of July the Willits News would print a special section containing 10 or 12 pages of Rena’s interviews of the past year.

In the 20s and 30s there were at least 25 places on or near Highway 101 where a chicken dinner could be bought. Jack and Charmian London rode their horses from Lakeport through the county.

As an example of the lack of political leadership, for over 50 years a high priority in Willits and vicinity was an alternate north-south street to remove some of the congestion on Main Street. After one phony excuse after another it turns out that a couple of Main Street business owners who didn't want to see any reduction of traffic on Main Street used their influence to keep the alternate street killed. Now the Main Street business owners want free money to compensate for loss of money due to the bypass. A lack of leadership is evident when it was learned that the bypass was to be built without an exit to central Willits or Highway 20. That was the place to fight. But Republican Supervisor Pinches and the Republicans on the City Council would have had would have had to go hat in hand to state and federal officials (Democrats) for help [4]. The best Pinches, who should've taken the lead, could it do was to issue a plaintive statement "that's not the way I would have done it." [4]

A wire across country from the Eel River power dam station to Willits was inspected each month by a young man named Shirley Tharp who walked the line from Potter Valley to Willits. You can still find the glass resistors on the ground today.

Both the North and South bound trains arrived in Willits in the early evening and laid over until the following morning. Some ladies from a Ukiah adult entertainment business came up on the evening train, stood in the shadows along the route from the railroad tracks to the Willits Hotel and a generation of Willits high school boys lost their virginity.

Every Fourth of July morning a tub of ice cream was put on the northbound train and delivered to Nash Mead (north of Dos Rios). The entire population came down to the railroad tracks with their spoons and ate ice cream as fast as they could before it melted.

In September 1929 a group of men including Winston Churchill were motoring from Vancouver to San Francisco. They arrived in Willits and stayed overnight at the Van hotel. The room clerk thought that Winnie, covered in dust, was their driver and assigned him a room in the basement.

In the early 30s a few people began to get radios and it was not uncommon to invite neighbors over on Sunday evenings to listen to a couple of popular programs. In the mid-30s every radio in the county was tuned into the Joe Lewis heavyweight fights.

Looking at election results, Redwood Valley and the Willits area are the most conservative parts of the county and the Willits School District, with the exception of Covelo and sometimes Manchester and Geyserville, has the poorest performing schools in Mendocino County and Sonoma County. Ralph Nader received a high or higher percentage of votes of any county in the United States right here. Likewise Dennis Kucinich in the Democratic primary. I don't know if Bernie set any records here but he beat Clinton 2-1, Ross Perot got more votes than Bush. I have visited every used bookstore in Las Vegas, population 1.5 million, and the largest and best is smaller than the "Book Juggler" in Willits and with a poorer selection.

Dos Rios is the most interesting town in the county where the bridge is bigger than the town. Willits is famous for the fall and spring Friends of the Willits Library (FOWL) book sales (approximately 5000 books). Ukiah has several attractions: a 24-hour classical music station also heard in Willits with no advertising. The lowest grocery prices between Eureka and Rohnert Park (Wal-Mart), three places where the Times is sold. Maybe one of the best retail stores in the state (Friedman’s). A publication that has many practical uses after being read (Ukiah Dreary Journal).

Now we turn our attention to anecdotes that have not occurred yet:

The PD replaces the three newspapers with a weekly daily news magazine.

Supervisor George Washington Croskey travels to DC and convinces the croaker/sawbones to allocate $41 million in Mendocino County to be used to subsidize low-cost housing.

In an historic agreement Supervisors agree to suspend all taxes to an investor group from New York for 25 years for developing the vast wasteland east of the Willits Bypass. Included are a private jet landing facility, a group of high-end fashion shops and a mall to be called "Vanity Fair West." This fashion outlet will include many items which are not available except on Fifth Avenue, Palm Beach and Beverly Hills. In the future you may see advertising "Mode du femme-Paris, Zurich, Abu Dhabi, Willits."

A luxury hotel and spa named "The Pence-Ryan Insurance Suites.”

A Sotheby's Auction House that only the stinking rich can afford to patronize.

Three restaurants not less than three stars. (Also discreet adult entertainment). Dormitories will be erected for carefully screened guestworkers.

A minor dustup/scandal occurrs when most of the county homosexual community decide to start in attending Mormon church services. Just a popular new fad. The folks at KZYX were quite amused.

Noo York has a public advocate. The towns in his county want one too, god dammit. If you want to be the public advocate for a term of two years notify the newspapers, radio stations, etc. in Ukiah for instance. Pick up a numbered ballot at "it takes a village" bookshop and drop it off at Carl's Jr. or at Jack in the Box with your choice. It is not a public office. Unincorporated areas could have a public advocate if they wanted as well.

Ralph Bostrom


Mark Scaramella notes: 1. We have sold over three hundred copies of Mendocino Noir, and about that same number of the other two books in the series: Mendocino Papers and Behind the Green Curtain. Mendocino Books said it was their best-selling local book — not that the numbers were particularly high compared to nationally distributed books. (2) The owner of Mulligan books was Dave Smith (not Dave Jones), who has done his own collection of local interviews for us over the last few years. (3) “Rena” is the late Willits News reporter Rena Lynn, widely admired for her local interviews and profiles. (4) We are not aware of any Official Willits complaints, Republican or Democrat, about the last minute removal of the central interchange to Willits/Highway 20 from the byass because Caltrans said it cost too much and would have put the project over budget. 

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Dear Editor —

I began teaching in September, 1957. I taught history. History teaches us the Who did what, when and where. I am still "teaching" as a substitute. "Teaching" is in quotes because over the years I have discovered that real learning only takes place when we deal with an attempt to answer the question "Why?"

Dealing with "why?" is very subjective. Why were the Kennedys and Martin Luther King "killed"? I put "killed" in quotes because my "why?" goes beyond the standard historical answer. I am talking about "assassination."

This is where "why?" leads to a dangerous conclusion. Rather than enter into the realm of conjecture, the educational "establishment" chooses to avoid dealing with the question. I'm talking about K-12 as well as universities such as Stanford where I graduated.

The Anderson Valley Advertiser offers its readers a chance to see the reasons beneath the "facts." Consequently, many object to "fanning the flames of discontent." But if we don't fan those flames, how will we ever learn?

Julian Assange cannot afford to leave the safety of the Ecuadoran embassy in London. Those who expose the "truth" are rarely popular and mostly threatening to those in power.

Little children are often asking "why?" The answer is often, "because." Until we begin answering the questions truthfully, we will never learn and never grow.

Ashley Jones


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Dear Editor,

If what I am led to believe is true, the new First Lady of France is a child molester. This woman first set her sights on Emmanuel Macron when he was a schoolboy in her classroom. At the time she was practically old enough to be his grandmother, was married, and had three children of her own. Emmanuel's family disapproved of this. They removed him from the school and then moved to another town. She continued contacting the child and, in the end, gave up everything — her marriage, her children, and her profession in order to marry this youngster.

I would not presume to tell the French how they should vote, however, I am amazed that President Obama made a special effort to endorse these people. What if this woman has abused other children? What if a middle-aged male teacher went after one of Obama’s daughters? What would he think?

To me, Obama’s endorsement sets a very poor example for America's children and I just do not understand.

Alison Hicks

Santa Cruz

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There were a couple of changes in my last letter (May 17 issue) one of which reversed my meaning from the original. I can’t complain much with what happened to your own writing, that capital T that keeps jumping your f-i combination (Tremen for firemen. Tretruck) must be driving you nuts. Besides, my ribbon was faded and I sent you the typed original. So anyway, what I wrote was that the Sun, should John Calvin lead a Crusade to beat it down and put it where it belongs, would zip him into nothingness faster than an insect in the fireplace. It would be the same for a Jihad. Zip. Zip, not rip. Kind of petty I know, but I really liked zip.

The second one I want to clarify more seriously. I was going on about how some people intend, even procaim their intent, to use Democracy and its protections to destroy Democracy and its protections. Mainly I was furious about the case in Detrioit, the doctor who before his arrest had set up a FGM [female genital mutilation] practice that some women were actually willingly supplying their daughters to (ages 6-8), an unbelievably cruel act that sets a chid or woman up for a lifetime of overwhelming pain, blockages, infections and geeneral suffering that could not possibly be intended by the Origin or Creator of hman beings’ anatomy. It’s like cutting out a child’s eye or tongue.

A New York Times editor published an article about it, saying she didn’t want to use the word “mutilation” to descibe it, considering it culture-threatneing and preferring the word “cutting.” 166,173 children under 18, not living in the US have been put through the procedure, if I may use the words “put through.” It is very common for the mother to tell her daughter that it’s not going to hurt, but in some places the neighbors dance around the vicitm, I repeat victim, singing traditional songs about how she will suffer pain and walk bowlegged all her life. So I wrote, “Whatever the New York Times says (comma,), it is not a senentive issue, it is an issue of insensitivity at its absolute worst.” Meaning whose senses are being violated in this matter, the editor? The culture?

Otherwise, regarding the efficiacy of Scripture, in truth it varies, sometimes its authors were obviously self-serving, and by saying it isn’t perfect or eternal I mean that it is human, and didn’t exist before it was created by humans, largely from spoken lore that far predated it, with a lot of writing and translating, derivations and influences since. The self-serving authorship and the embellishment over centures of hierarchies is not at all atypical of political life in general, social, cultural agreemetns without much consideration or interest in what life will be like for most people, the basic idea is that they can do what they are told and be sueful, while what meaning you can find in it is too easy to put aside for the fruits of intimidation. But the real meaning of life is ultimately unavoidable, and stupid cruelty is no match for it.

Scott Croghan


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To whom it may concern:

Hello. My name is Jarrett Williams. I'm currently in Mendocino County Jail. I'm facing several burglary charges. This letter is intended for several people. I'm not going to say their names and put them out there for they never asked for any of this. I cannot speak for anyone else but myself. And this comes from within my heart.

I am so so sorry for entering your home without your permission and stealing things for my own greed and bad habits. I know I hurt you and made you feel uncomfortable in your own home. I'm honestly sorry for that. I know this won't make you feel any better, but you and your home were never ever targeted or watched. It was random, spur of the moment. Nobody home. I know you have worked hard for your things and they mean a lot to you. And I know you've lost things that cannot ever be replaced. Again with everything inside of me, "my deepest apologies."

I am so ashamed of myself because my grandparents did raise me better. But most of all I also know what it feels like to have something you love stolen. One thing for sure, I'll never do this again.

My case is still active and ongoing and I was advised to postpone this letter. But like I said, it comes from the heart and my heart knows this is the right thing to do.

Maybe someday you will be able to forgive me. If not, I totally understand.

Again, I'm sorry for causing you heartache.


Jarrett Williams


3 Responses to Letters (May 31, 2017)

  1. Sue Sponte Reply

    June 3, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Lady, take a pill! Macron’s wife did not become romantically involved with him until he was an adult; a relationship initiated by Macron.

    • Sue Sponte Reply

      June 3, 2017 at 12:23 pm

      And the idea that somehow Obama should not have endorsed Macron-who was the candidate, not his wife-over neo-fascist Marine LePen represents the height of obtuse, petty middle class respectability.

      Then again, fascists have always pandered to that. Franco and Pinochet were great, church going family men; that they killed thousands of political prisoners is of little importance.

    • Sue Sponte Reply

      June 3, 2017 at 1:27 pm

      Not that it matters, but this is approximately the same age difference between Donald and Melania Trump. Yeah I know, in Aunt Bee’s world, the fact the guy is the one who is older makes it OK.

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