Letters to the Editor 7/08/09
by Letters to the Editor, July 8, 2009
AIM IT OVER THERE
You may remember several years back that a cell phone tower was erected outside our gate on Sam Prather's property. At that time there were a lot of “tinfoil hats” people afraid of being fried by various electronic stuff who protested although, funny enough, there were only three attendees at the actual hearing including my dad and myself. Various letters were read that looked and sounded as if they had been written by two-year-olds which, in fact, made the case against the installation even weaker. In fact, at that time I was not opposed to the tower but I was opposed to the proximity to the house and in the outcome: the amateur decision made by the Planning Commission. The ridiculous technique and tactics of the Edge Wireless attorney were stupefying.
The tower was eventually erected and, in fact, it really does not look too bad and healthwise, well — I probably already have brain damage from high school!
I sent the following letter to the Planning Commission for their upcoming hearing on the cellphone tower application by T-Mobile. You may know that they applied to install additional antennae and service facilities at the existing site where the Edge tower went in several years ago.
I am not opposed to the tower at this point and in fact I am not opposed to the additional equipment since this would be in lieu of erecting another tower. I am merely stating to the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors that they need to adopt a real set of rules — I have provided a sample — and, rather than falling back on the federal guidelines, make some educated decisions on their own. I also suggest that if they are going to make statements as they have previously like “aim the antenna away from the Pratt house” that they have a scientific and known basis for this guide and a way to monitor compliance.
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To the Planning Commissioners:
I am sorry I was unable to attend this meeting as I did the last.
At the time of the original hearing to erect the cellular communication tower for Edge Communications which is the existing tower that this new case decision will utilize, it was clear that the tower, although eventually approved, was far too close to the Pratt residence located just above the cell tower site.
I brought this to the Commission's attention as clearly as possible although no health concern could be addressed as we know. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 prevents states and local governments from “regulating the placement, construction and modification of personal wireless facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions to the extent that such facilities comply with the commission's (Federal Communications Commission's) regulations concerning such emissions.”
At the completion of my statements in your last meeting regarding this cell tower, I was careful to not, per the restriction of the commission, mention anything regarding health issues that could be presented and posed with the close proximity to a residence. In its final decision however the commission changed the rules a bit allowing the tower and the Edge facility to be erected on the grounds that the antennae be “aimed” at a certain degree away from the Pratt residence. Clearly this sudden conclusion and selfless decision to include health issues as a reasonable concern was used to base the decision to proceed. I was shocked by this move and the Commission’s shallow attempt at deception. As of yet I have never seen or been notified of any policing organization who has EVER inspected the Edge tower or its antenna placement.
The health concern is truly now more than in the times of the original tower construction, a reasonable concern and there are several examples of municipalities that do include health in their decisions. The FCC admits that their decision was never intended to supersede local laws but to act as an umbrella where local laws were not in place. I have attached some additional material including excerpts and academic interpretations and summations of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. I have also included a “model ordinance” provided by Scenic America, an organization that conservatively lobbies for better restraint and management of inevitable progress.
I have enjoyed watching Mendocino County and its lawmakers be leaders in so many areas and being independent as a County not always deeply and lazily using the federal guidelines and laws as its model. Often Mendocino County has led a progressive momentum away from genetically engineered foods, toxic paint and other chemicals and a host of other decisions based on community concerns, not the federal guide.
Knowing that progress is inevitable and in fact the good cell towers actually do bring to communities — less wire, better coverage, highway emergency reporting, etc. — I am not opposed to the towers. I am opposed however to poor management. If the county does feel that directing the antenna in a particular direction is a legitimate concern then there needs to be a system in place to more scientifically determine this direction and manage it. Using this restriction to help justify the placement of the tower is not taking a serious and educated stand.
I am not protesting here the inclusion of more antennae on the existing tower. In fact, I am encouraged that at least one tower can be used for many carriers. I am protesting that there is no management in place and that the County, rather than investigate and make a serious and what could be a controversial decision, has opted to follow the mainstream. And the Commissioners, without any scientific consultation, have mandated that there is no serious health concern but that “just in case” the antenna should be aimed a certain direction.
Certainly also, I would be neglectful, if I did not mention that there will, with an additional carrier located on the site, be additional vehicle traffic and construction vehicles and crews accessing the site. This again would traffic the road that is maintained by the Pratt family as its only access road.
In addition, as with the last applicant and original builder of the tower, it must be made clear that the tower is simply a repeater and no further wires will be tolerated to connect the facility into the “grid” at this location. It is unclear from where I sit now if the power to the facility is obtained from PG&E, but if so, please keep in mind that these poles were paid for originally by the Pratt family. Regardless, I encourage solar power as a serious and progressive challenge and visionary goal. I hope T-Mobile can consider itself visionary!
I urge you before making a decision today to review the material I have provided for you here and furthermore take the action that makes Mendocino a leader in awareness, and gain some further knowledge through research and consultation before assuming that the Telecommunications Act is right for the County, its citizens, and is up to date in its decree. Even the authors of the Act itself assume you would as local decision-makers use your judgment in its interpretation.
Again, I am truly sorry I could not be there today to say this to you in person. I hope you will take this letter as seriously as if I have been there and trust you to make an educated decision about this and further cell tower installations.
PS. I include a general summary and local model and laws of further study of cell tower placement and FCC recommendations to local governments in understanding and reviewing site placement. I also strongly recommend before your decision about the cell tower expansion or further cell tower sites and expansions elsewhere in the county that you thoroughly review all findings noted at emrnetwork.org which is an nongovernment organization that has an academic, scientific and unbiased overview of all electromagnetic radiation. Without reviewing this material and website I have suggested above before making your decision, I will know that the Commission made an uneducated decision. Please use these tools before making that choice. There is a lot of data and information available on the subject to help communities and regulators. I think I have presented here the most middle ground and balanced research I was able to find. I encourage you to look further however if you find this information incomplete in any way.
Last month in the slam.
Recharged in mind and body, it takes what it takes.
Firewater and tobacco are out.
We welcome God, weed and wonderment. The state caught me just in time. Almost dead, my luck ran out — or in.
We got what we deserved.
Decades of fame, fun and modest fortune. The best of women. The best of friends. Our share of abalone, fish and urchins. The children, strong and productive. A mild success in an amusing fable with far more ups than downs. This life has been a fabulous ride.
Ready for the next round.
Alan ‘Captain Fathom’ Graham
News Flash: Department of good news. Fresh strawberries replaced canned fruit on the inmates’ lunch trays for three days straight.
BUSH, BUT SLOWER
I didn't see any fireworks in Fort Bragg on July 4 but there will be fireworks in Baghdad in July. And at the end of 2011 “once all the US troops are gone, it will be time to deal with the 800 pound gorilla — Iran.”
PS. Bangladesh’s Believe It Or Not. NSA has an injection that allows PTSDers to recall. Extinct amnesia now y'all! Deny murder but not the dead body. Deny the new Fort Bragg high school parking lot, but not the dead trees. Fractured Farina bangs her dish at Fort Bragg high — save the trees and plant more please, wood you? How long has it been since you've driven through a redwood or passed a sheep that grazes in a field in Little River?
Now that the Obama/Clinton economic team stimulus package is finally succeeding we can all breathe a sigh of relief.
The highly stimulated elite are shopping again: luxury yacht sales are booming; upscale high-rise condos are selling like hotcakes; Tiffany's entire inventory has been bought and hoarded; and employment is way, way up for undocumented servants.
Meanwhile the unstimulated lower masses can enjoy a leisurely cruise in the vast whirling cesspool of laissez-faire feudalism.
Isn't it about time to end the charade? Emperor Obama should ditch the buzzcut, sprout Neronian bangs, don a gilded, star-spangled toga, and fiddle while Rome burns.
When in Rome, do as the barbarians: burn, baby, burn!
Joe Don Mooney
PS. Always on the cutting edge, California has come up with a brilliant solution for a reputable global currency: The IOU.
THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD, KZYX BRANCH
Dear Mr. Anderson,
Now and then you write about a person named “Sister Yasmin.” Could you tell me what Order she belongs to?
Herr Cockburn’s broadside on the Hate Crime Legislation (sic) coupled by the denunciation from sturm-oberst Jasmine of the Me-First Free Speech Movement seems to augur for a new era in Mendo-Retro-think: can we look forward to convictions for racial threats from religious venues which dare to point out that we are imperfect? I would love to put some few (I have a list of names) old clerics through the inquisition based on their mean-spirited suggestion that original sin makes me the logical victim of righteous cranks who detect my indifference to the feelings of assholes.
Can I count on your support?
Port Townsend, Washington (formerly San Narcisco)
LOSS OF LIFE
I need to tell the story and maybe enlighten your readers to the way the California Parole Department ruins peoples lives. I guess I will start at the beginning.
On January 31 of 2008 I overindulged on the local mushrooms and brown beer. I blacked out and woke up in the County jail. I found out to my surprise that I was being booked for burglary. Upon reading the reports I concluded that what I had done was mistaken the Century 21 Real Estate office for my motel. I was inside after picking up a cheap camera trying to open the office doors with my motel key. Needless to say I was caught in the building in a blackout without much defense. I therefore concluded that my best move was to take a plea for two years with half time and do a year in state prison to pay for my stupidity. And pay I have.
One of the first things you are told by your counselor is to make a parole re-entry plan. I knew that if I did nothing I would be sent to Ukiah and probably stay at the Buddy Eller Center to be kicked out at 6am not allowed back until 7pm in the winter cold with nothing to do all day but walk the streets and be hassled by the police with little chance of finding employment. Not a pretty thought.
So I tried my whole incarceration to transfer my parole to Sonoma County. Because there I could go to the Mary Isaac Center which has many resources and brags of having an 85% success rate getting people off the streets. Needless to say I was given every excuse and run-around and never got my transfer. I was therefore put in the exact situation I didn't want to be an. So much for parole trying to help me get on the right path. If it's not in their self-interest they are not interested.
In early February of 2009 I was paroled and stayed at the Buddy Eller Center for a while but it was too trying for me. So I started camping out. I met Maggie Buxman and we started seeing each other. She was in a relationship that she didn't want to be in. She moved out of her apartment, put everything in storage and moved onto the streets with me. She had a small income and was saving money to get us a place to live. We pretty much lived on the streets supplementing with Motel 6.
On the 3rd and 4th of May it rained hard and we stayed at the motel. On May 5 the sun came out and we decided to leave. We ran into some friends with a car and decided to go to the park for a picnic and get rid of our leftover food.
Part of my parole is a no-alcohol clause. Part of Maggie's doctor's orders include no alcohol. Her liver was not in good shape. On occasion we might share a taboo quart of beer. We stayed healthy and took care of each other. On the way to the park we bought a quart of beer to split. At the Park our driver friend stopped the ice cream man. The next thing I knew we were stopped by the police man.
Being stopped while on parole is no fun. You have no rights. I was trapped in a two door car in a backseat half full of clothes with Maggie Mae on my lap and half a quart of beer at my feet. The police called Parole and were told to breathalyze me. I blew a 0.02. The minimum for DUI is 0.08. But that makes no difference, Low Gap Road here I go. Maggie was in tears. I tried my best to reassure her and she was visibly upset. But the situation was beyond my control.
On May 14 I got to San Quentin and on May 22 I got my hearing and was sentenced to time served. I was free to go. It took ten days to process my paperwork and I was finally released on May 31. A total of 27 days for a sip of beer.
On May 29 Maggie Mae had gotten in a bike wreck as a result of drinking brandy, her drink of choice. This was two days before my extended release. As a consolation I got to watch her on her deathbed. She died on June 12 of liver failure. I'm sure her injuries from the bicycle accident didn't help.
I can't really blame anyone for Maggie's death. But I know one thing. And that is that if I had been around on May 29 her day would have been different and she would be alive today.
I can't understand how sending me to prison for a sip of beer did anyone any good except maybe some state officials to make a living off of other people's misery.
I guess they will make a little more off me in July. I decided to leave Ukiah and go to the woods on Highway 2o to mourn Maggie's death.
I'm supposed to report to Parole every week because I'm homeless. The last I reported was June 10. I got arrested on July 2 for absconding. My parole officer went looking for me at the Buddy Eller Center. I don't know why. She's had my phone number since March. Maybe she gets paid more for driving. Maybe she lost my number. I don't know.
What I do know is that I lost a woman who I love very much.
RIP Margaret Mae Buxman, 5/20/58 — 6/12/09.
Ukiah/San Quentin Bound
BACK ON THE COUCH
Dear Mr. Anderson and Mr. McEwen,
This is a formal and legal demand that your print retractions for all false and libelous statements made against me in the June 17, 2009, June 24, 2009 and July 1, 2009 issues of your paper, the Anderson Valley Advertiser, and cease and desist from all further libel.
Ed reply: This is a formal and legal ed reply informing you that I am no longer available for weekly therapy.
I was home yesterday, 10 July, and happened to catch some of the “open lines” program on KZYX.
My reaction to listening to the show was to be thankful I had invested in the FM antenna that lets me listen to KHSU.
It sounds like KZYX needs a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. How did the station get so far in the hole? Who made the decisions? What power do they hold now at the station? After listening to some of the things Mary Aigner said (and didn't say) on Open Lines, I am not hopeful that anything like that is going to happen anytime soon. And since our last contribution check languished in a drawer someplace for over a year before they cashed it we won't bother sending them another.
So I'll increase my subscription to KHSU, the station I was enjoying before the FCC allowed KZYX to set up shop in the frequency next door. They still have those “annoying” Car Guys, Prairie Home and BBC news. I'll check on Sunday evenings to see if Burton Segal is playing jazz but other than that I'm not going to bother with the station out of Philo.
I wonder if part of the problem is the drive to expand into new locations like Jefferson Public Radio. Repeaters cost money, both to install and maintain. It's hard to truly call yourself community radio when you are spanning over 100 plus miles in radius.
Charles Hunter Wilson
IT’S CALLED REPORTING, NOT KISSING YOUR ASS
Thanks so much for the two papers you sent me. I really appreciate it. I met your new writer at the meeting. She is very nice, but got a few facts wrong in her article. She seems to be taking on your style of having to bash people, put them down, be sarcastic, and not just stick to the facts. Since she has not lived around here since she was a kid, she does not really know “the scene” at the station, who The People are (were), or stuff like that. Yes, it was an entertaining article, but — not exactly what happened. Oh well. The beat goes on.
If The People (masses) finally are ready to WAKE UP, maybe WE can take back OUR radio station. If not, it'll be business a usual, until the whole enterprise goes down the shit hole, or else, only The Rich will support it, and the rest of us will have lost a good radio station. How sad.
Again, thanks again.
COUNTERING SNAKE OIL
Another Snake Oil Letter to the Editor—
In her letter to the editor titled Still Shopping in Santa Rosa (UDJ Sunday, July 12) a writer asks “Why is Ukiah so afraid of allowing this town to grow?” and then proceeds to cheer the Monster Mall Big Box Stores. She states “If we don’t let a few of them in, then we will have to go to Santa Rosa to shop and spend our hard earned money, it won’t be spent in Ukiah.” This argument continues to be put forward in the paper even though it continues to be countered with facts. This is the old Big Lie tactic of repeating falsities over and over, hoping to win over those who are not paying close attention.
OK, I’ll counter it again. The City of Ukiah is not afraid of growing. It has set aside properly zoned land in the City for more retail stores. They recently purchased even more land for retail. That is where retail for Ukiah and the surrounding area belongs, with its appropriate requirements of environmental, design, and traffic impact reviews and requirements. The Masonite site should not be rezoned for retail because it is properly zoned for green industrial, better-paying jobs, which the Obama administration is intent on helping us create. Just the facts, ma’am.
TOWERING IN PHILO
As you can imagine I am not thrilled with the unsafe, unhealthy upgrade of the cell tower above our home in Philo. The FCC process is a outright corporate money grab to silence frustrated Americans, who have no say in the truth that this technology has very dangerous impacts. The impacts have to do with the nature of the signal and not the wattage although many gotta have it users with modest physics backgrounds seem to feel their fuzzy logic is better than actual research that shows immune system compromise, blood brain barrier interruption, Calcium uptake disruption, DNA damage and local heating problems with the Russian Roulette tool known as a cell phone. The difference in the latter is there is no chance, no roulette, you are being damaged. Your cornea is being cooked and an auditory tumor benign or cancerous is in your future. The speed is related to the duration you have the gun/phone to your ear.
Here's what the county needs to pay attention to. The same county so worried they might be sued because citizens need to pass electricity under roads to other parts of their land and can't find a way to mitigate it and allow residents these basic rights, is willing to go on a big class action suit exposure because along with incorporated cities are the only ones vulnerable to the anger of impacted citizens to this technology. They will be sued. And we have a long memory. We have the blessings of being way below the tower, out of its direct beam but others are too close and our constantly bathed with the impacts of the FCC lies. But if you are in direct view of this tower you are very vulnerable! If their is a pond in front of you, look out! That is why the Mendocino stealth towers have been so impactful, water magnifies the problem!
So here is the real poop. The company gets some unknowing citizen to go for the dough, then the county warn neighbors that this is happening. Next you can only comment on its cosmetic impacts, when you know no one will buy your house or the value will drop when then energize these suckers because of health concerns. Themes of 1984 double talk. In planning meetings and other official events, local regulators put in ear plugs if you mention health issues. I say okay, put the damn things next to the planners homes first! Here comes the final rub, down the road every other company can co-site a antennae there and they can upgrade to more powerful technology and new technology like HDTV. Whoopee some vidiots say. Yet interestingly, several German doctors sent a letter to the young President Obama warning of their concerns as HDTV is causing noticeable health impacts in their cities. Doctors are generally conservative professionals, careful not to rock boats.
Remember this well. Childhood cancer was unknown 40 years back and brain cancer was a disease of those in industrial environments. Both of those statistics are rocketing up and I am sure they will be higher here where the technology works even power due to our mountainous terrain and the cheap nature of the corporations that like to get more bang for their antennae and thus site them less here in low density rural land.
Yes I am angry. It's in my back yard and I can't do anything about it but protect us via a grounded metal roof. I am particularly angry as ignorant and stupid compadres reach for WiFi at their neighbor's and personal impacts. I do not frequent business that I know have WiFi especially organic ones which I find offensive. Organic is the most bent word in our language next to Natural. For more info on this FCC define safe danger: www,bioinitiative.org. Hear what research studies are finding.
Thanks for letting me rant about this.
I had dinner with our representative, Mike Thompson, last night (July 11). An intimate affair with a few hundred others.
The good news is that Single Payer advocates showed up in force. There were activists outside with flyers and placards, and many more paid their way inside. I think Mike knew we were coming, as he closed his speech with a big healthcare-reform finish. Then he opened up the Q&A session. The subject of Single Payer dominated that last half hour, and everyone that spoke was for it.
Mike's rhetorical tautology against Single Payer is that we just can't have it. (What that really means is that he is unwilling to take on one of his primary donors, the medical industrial complex.) He's just another off-the-table democrat. One of Mike's favorite excuses is the mythical American unicorn who “likes his healthcare plan” and is "terrified of change.” Mike is terribly concerned about this person, and doesn't want to scare him.
Look, we can always find some kook out there who believes anything, but should we base our public policy decisions on the fears of the most uninformed and ignorant among us? Non-kooks would say no. The real reason Mike keeps trotting out this aberration is it is about all the industry has left to fight with. Imaginary fear. This unicorn is the 2009 version of Harry and Louise.
The bad news is that Mike Thompson was pretty much as expected, a career politician who has become comfortable in his position. Let's just say this blue dog spends a lot of time curled up by the fire, at the feet of Master.
The most disappointing aspect of the evening, for me, was the high level of prevarication that is tolerated in such a forum. The whopper of the evening was when Mike told us that money has absolutely no effect on legislators. Imagine that! “Attention, lobbyists and PACs, your money has no effect on Mike Thompson and friends. Attention, Health Insurance Industry, your $1.4 million spent every day is being wasted. Go home. Your money is no good here.”
Folks, I'm here to report that Mike Thompson isn't about to represent us in congress. He has other priorities. Twelve years of this is enough. We need to find another representative come 2010. Preferably, a progressive independent. Anyone out there?
Beyond the Deep End (Navarro)
P.S. It's a shame Christina Aanestad wasn't available to cover the event. It was a real public disservice to dismiss such a competent local reporter. Here's an example: Christina's report of Mike's previous appearance at a local business luncheon (last month) caught some of his reactions to the Single Payer protest outside the venue. One of his statements was (paraphrase), “Look, there's only twenty people out there, and the numbers go way down from there.” At Mike's dinner, last night, he told the crowd he never said that. It would be hard to refute that if Christina hadn't recorded it.
Recently I had an occasion to read about the amazing Alaska pipeline, This 24-inch pipeline was built over some 800 miles. That’s about as long as California. This was done over mountains, rivers, in the harshest environment. Huge amounts of road had to be built to bring all the workers and materials. Think of the thousands of truckloads of pipe, cement and the massive quantities of material for the workers in this mostly uninhabited area.
But here is the kicker: it was all done in two years and two months by a group of private oil companies. When one thinks about it, one would say impossible. But it was done.
Again the Bay Bridge approach has been under construction for over ten years and going. Why do I pick on the Bay Bridge? Because everyone knows about this debacle.
But it’s whatever the government does. It’s like the little bridge across Anderson Creek at the beginning of the Ukiah Road. It seems like I was a young man when they started that. It’s all very simple. Both government and private industry have incentives. In private industry the quicker and more correctly a job is done the more money is made. In government the longer and slower the job takes the more money is made by all. Cost, of course, is no object. There is always the taxpayer.
In California we have watched the cost of government balloon and to rein it in is almost impossible. The only way as I have stated before is to cut wages for everyone in stages according to their compensation. This furlough is a farce.
A few days ago there was a spill of some goop which snarled traffic. Since it was a Friday with some furlough in place there was this very, very slow response. Furloughs are great opportunities for all those agencies that have furloughs to purposely create a slowdown and a hardship on the public. I think there is a word for it. Oh yes, “extortion.”
Recently, State Senator Pat Wiggins said that even the legislators should help solve the state’s budget problem. And she was willing to take a 5% pay cut. To me those who created this budget crisis should be held to a higher standard than the rest of us who are losing anywhere from 20% to all their income and values. I think that 5% is an insult to the citizens of California. On the other hand, to my knowledge none of the other legislators have offered any cut of their own salaries. I forgot that they are the American Royalty.