Letters (July 12, 2017)

by AVA News Service, July 12, 2017

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I am in the process of writing a biography of Hall of Fame baseball player Arky Vaughan, and I wondered if you knew of anyone in that area who might be willing to talk to me about him. At this point, I’m hoping to find people who might have been fans of Arky, although I realize that’s a long shot, given that he played so long ago. This would have to be people who were very young (teens or pre-teens) who were fans when Arky was playing in the 1930s and 40s.

If you know of anyone interested, please share my contact information. I live in the Pittsburgh area (western Pennsylvania) but still have a 209 area code on my cell phone, as I worked in the Central Valley (Modesto area) and Sierra foothills (Calaveras County) for most of my adult life.

Thanks in advance,

Frank Garland
Asst. Professor/Journalism Communication
Gannon University
Room 319 Center for Comm. & the Arts, MS#65
109 University Square
Erie, PA 16541-0001
814-871-5808 (office),  209-605-8008 (cell)

ED NOTE: Joseph Floyd ‘Arky’ Vaughan was born on March 9, 1912, in Clifty, Arkansas, a farm village about 25 miles northeast of Fayetteville. When Arky was seven months old, his parents, Robert and Laura Vaughan, moved the family, including two older sisters, to Potter Valley, and then to Ukiah in Mendocino County. They later relocated to Fullerton, California, where Robert found work in the California oilfields. Joseph Floyd Vaughan’s childhood friends began calling him Arky as soon as they learned of his birthplace, and he was known as Arky Vaughan for the rest of his life. Vaughan drowned on Aug. 30, 1952, in Eagleville (Modoc County) at the age of 40. 

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The Ghost Ship Fire piece we ran last week by Marilyn Davin:

Plenty of blame to go around, and Oakland, which is run more like a Third World fiefdom than a modern American city, is far from exempt.

However, the tenants, as well as the subculture they represent, can’t have it both ways. For years they were like, “Stay out of our autonomous spaces, we don’t need your bureaucracy and your rules,” turning away any visits from fire inspectors or police. At which point, the City of Oakland, to its everlasting discredit, shrugged its collective shoulders, saying in effect, “Well, they won’t let us in, what can we do?” (I’ve had enough personal experience with the authorities of more rationally run jurisdictions to know there is plenty they can do, but never mind that…)

Ultimately, though, you’ve got a bunch of self-proclaimed anarchists and rebels claiming that they don’t need the protections of government and the law, until, the minute something goes horribly wrong, they begin wailing, “Why didn’t the government protect us?” Given the ubiquitous and nearly institutionalized disregard for rules, regulations, and the law in Mendocino County (the whole Emerald Triangle, really) there may be some lessons to be learned here.

Larry Livermore

New York

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The recent town hall meeting about obstetrics service at the Mendocino Coast Hospital was rooted in the difficult economics of the hospital. The projected budget for 2017-18 is continued debt. Inpatient care, while medically necessary, is not very productive in an economic sense. The North Coast Family Health Center is still losing more than it earns. Laboratory and radiology departments help the hospital's bottom line, but other departments cost more than they generate.

The administration suggested to the board that several million dollars could be earned by a pain program, an ophthalmologist, and a second orthopedist. The board agreed and the services were started several years ago. The costs include guaranteed annual incomes for each of the doctors.

There have been repeated requests to the administration for information about the overall costs and benefits of these programs. The administration has refused to provide this information which should also be public and is thereby impeding the fiduciary responsibilities of the members of the board.

The administration's persistent silence has finally led me to file a formal Freedom of Information request to obtain a report for the fiscal year of 2016 about these programs' performances and their economic status. Are those programs generating income for the hospital, or are they costing the hospital more than they generate? Why is the hospital providing a guaranteed minimum income for each, and how much? And, incidentally, and curiously, why do these doctors not have individual Fort Bragg business licenses?

Peter Glusker, M.D.

Mendocino Coast District Hospital Board Member

Fort Bragg

SCOTT PETERSON NOTES: Dr. Glusker is right on the money here. What he couldn’t say is that Dr. Luke Campos is the new ‘pain management’ dude and that Dr. Kevin Miller is the new ophthalmologist. Campos is on the board and chairs the finance committee. Miller is also on the board and chairs the planning committee. Showing the numbers for those departments will undoubtedly be embarrassing for both.

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In regards to Bill Allen’s letter in the June 28th AVA — I did not refer to CalFire brushing project as a publicity stunt. I said it was needed for fire safety but was bringing them good PR as an added benefit.

Roy Laird, Battalion Chief, AV Fire


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This is a statement I made to the Willits City Council on June 28, 2017:

There have been some ironic and disturbing revelations in the past couple of weeks.

One is the news that instead of costing a mere $300 million, the Caltrans Willits Bypass actually has cost $460 million. Compare that with the city's total general fund expense (in the proposed 2017-18 budget) of $4.2 million — in other words, the money spent on this freeway could have provided police, parks and recreation, roads and public works, planning, and administration for our entire city for well over 100 years.

Because of the Bypass’s impact on our local economy and in turn the city's expected reduced gas tax sales and transient occupancy tax revenues, the city of Willits budget projects a $400,000 general fund deficit. The Bypass has cost more than 1000 times that shortfall!

Most of the bypass cost was born by state taxpayers (which includes us, of course), but about $42 million came from MCOG (Mendocino Council Of Government) transportation funds, wiping out pretty much all our funds for our entire county’s needed road projects.

It's no use crying over spilt milk and all those hundreds of millions of dollars that could have been saved if Caltrans had considered a different Bypass route -- one that better served our community, environment and Native American heritage.

Now we must try to put our town on the map as one of the best towns in Northern California, worth getting off the freeway for. Try to help more businesses survive and thrive post-bypass. Count on our small city staff to keep our services going with their dedication.

But then it's especially ironic that Caltrans, on a small little project here in town, decided it was more convenient to cut down four lovely old cork oak trees on Main Street in front of the high school than to work around them. Shade, beauty, and nature were not valued. Again, no use crying over spilt milk.

But there's something wrong with the priorities in this country and in this state when billions are siphoned from programs that serve the public needs and instead give tax cuts and enrich the richest few, the special interests. When we spend more on prisons and education. When we ignore climate change while continuing to burn coal, frack for oil, and — yes — build more freeways and cut down trees.

Here locally, what are our priorities and values? In whatever ways we can, I want Willits to be part of the solution. Let's help and support each other in our community, make improvements that benefit all, and protect the precious resources we are still blessed with. It's up to us, individually and collectively, with our hearts, hands and brains, to make the future we want for our children and grandchildren.

Madge Strong

Member, Willits City Council


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To the Editor:

I read last week's article in the Ukiah Daily Journal about Lake Mendocino recreation areas with a sense of dismay that the improper slant towards the problem of homeless and drawing a line between that and the Lake's recreation area closures. I was there just this weekend and did indeed see the closures, but the homeless "problem" is nothing new.

The improper journalistic slant in that article that I perceived was helped by the quote from Mike Dillabough, Lake Mendocino's acting manager in his capacity as Chief of the Operations and Readiness Division for the San Francisco District. Said paraphrasing by Mr. Dillabough in the article stated that he "noticed a spike in homeless camps around the lake." If Mr. Dillabough visited the lake more often he'd know that the homeless have camped in and around the lake for the past 25 years in similar proportions. This is nothing new.

Rather, the homeless "spike" serves as a convenient scapegoat to cover Mr. Dillabough's diversion of staffing resources away from the lake, most likely towards Sonoma County Water Agency and its facilities. They own Lake Mendocino anyway and are the ones who actually call the shots, not Mr. Dillabough.

Brandon Merritt


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Contrary to what was reported by a reader in last week’s Off The Record, the Willits bypass route options were discussed and analyzed extensively around 2000 or 2001, with CalTrans showing eight different possible routes and asking input from the community. One of the bypass options was west of town and would have intersected with Highway 20 and with traffic from Brooktrails, and would have had little environmental impact and millions of dollars less cost compared to the route through the valley and the wetlands.

However, that western route would have cut across the bottom of property owned by Hal Wagenet, whose family was very influential in Willits. Mr. Wagenet did not want a freeway down the hill from his house. Mr. Wagenet fought against the western route tooth and nail, he lobbied and argued and petitioned for the valley route, and persuaded the town and the City Council to go along with his opposition. I guess you have to admire Mr. Wagenet for his determination. He certainly admired himself, as it gave him a taste of political muscle that he then used to run for county supervisor.

The western route that Mr. Wagenet shut down would have been the most direct and least expensive route, other than John Pinches’ proposal for using the railroad right of way, which could not be accomplished because the railroad, which was state owned and also regulated by the Federal Railroad Administration, refused to give up the right of way, claiming it was an active railroad even though it had been unused for years and was slowly crumbling away. State and federal law was on the railroad’s side, and even CalTrans could not overrule it. John Pinches had a lot of good ideas but had no way to implement them and had no support from the people who had the authority to do something, a big part of Mr. Pinches’ ineffectiveness.

The great majority of people who lived in and around Willits wanted and worked for a bypass for many years. Its location was of much less concern to them than the basic human desire to live in a town that was not continually polluted and damaged by a non-stop parade of semis, busses, RVs, and car after car after car of vacationers headed north on Fridays and south on Sundays. A small and mostly “new-settler” population of people who had the luxury and good fortune to live out in the valley were opposed to a freeway destroying their idyllic existence, but they were outnumbered and “out-politcalized” by the locals. The hippies and city-bred “farmers” who moved to the valley were disliked then, and still pretty much disliked today.

The City Council and the city administration gave significant input to the freeway design and options, and they stuck by CalTrans until they discovered (and admitted privately though never publicly) that they’d been screwed. By then it was too late, the damage had been done and all the talk in the world would accomplish nothing except embarrass themselves. And CalTrans has been sticking it to Willits ever since.

Name Withheld


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I can tell those who are new to the concept of Marcobiotics that it's a great way to live and stay well, and it isn't as hard to follow and it's nowhere near as expensive as the less enjoyable and way more expensive and ultimately inferior diet systems. Here's a short guide. It's not complete, but it's enough to cover the basics:

There are three basic foods:

1. Spaghetti with tomato sauce (a good kind, never Prego) and three to five Italian-style meatballs from the frozen food section. (They come in a big bag, enough for a week or more at less than a dollar a day. Johnsonville brand is noticeably more meatly porkish, and if you like that, then fine.) Put frozen meatballs directly into a 2-quart pan half-filled with water, boil the water, break an okay-gesture of spaghetti into it (last joint of thumb overlapping last joint of index finger), boil 6 minutes (still a little chewy), drain it and dump it into a big bowl with the sauce. Add cayenne pepper and grated Parmesan if you have it.

2. Salad. It can be just iceberg lettuce and any vegetable oil and vinegar, but it's better if you do it right and that only takes two minutes more: cheap lettuce; bagged spinach; maybe kale; onion; yellow or red bell pepper; sliced radishes; celery; black or kidney beans; garbanzo beans (be careful not to get those disgusting little white beans); tomatoes and black olives and avocado if you have them. (Dressing: mixed olive/canola oil, the cheapest white vinegar, smashed and chopped garlic, cayenne pepper and chunky salt.) (Also if you have corn chips, crumble them into the salad.) (Cold chicken or rice or hard toast are also good crumbled in a salad.)

And 3. Maybe a fried egg or a hard-boiled egg or an omelet every once in awhile. Bulk-section baked wasabi peas, or toffee peanuts, or hot-sauce cracker mix. An orange from the fridge. Lemonade made with part of a lemon and ice and two or three packets of Sweet-Mate or Equal or any other not-sugar. Or sugar.

And other things: Checkered vanilla ice cream/orange sherbet. Microwaved chicken corndogs with mustard and pepper. Special occasion: a Jenny's Giant Burger (north end of Fort Bragg). Saltine crackers and colby/jack cheese. Salt and vinegar potato chips. (Or a microwave-baked potato with cream cheese.) Self-rising crust frozen Safeway Select pizza (break it in half, still frozen; put half in the fridge and half in the toaster-over on 425 for 25 minutes or half an hour. Safeway-brand diet grapefruit soda timed-cold from the freezer, in a mason jar 2/3-full of ice (drink it, then chew up all the ice). A Dollar Store bag of Fruitastic bubble gum. Salted hard almonds. A whole disk of Mexican Abuelita chocolate smashed into chunks with the butt of a big knife. An unbroken brick of Oriental flavor ramen, flavor packet, and enough water to cover it in a pyrex or microwave-safe ceramic pot/bowl; put in 700-900 watt microwave oven for 10 minutes, pour in a handful of frozen peas, add cayenne pepper, eat it with a fork like spaghetti and peas... yum. A real treat: a Denny's BLT with extra everything.

Oh, right, I almost forgot: a mason jar full of hot water and one tea bag when you get out of bed, and two to four hours after you get up you become hungry and make something to eat (see above). So -- one or two medium-size meals a day and, on a radio show night, crackers and an apple and another mason jar of whatever kind of tea that's left there and, if you're not too tired when you get home, another bowl of spaghetti and meatballs before you go to bed.

And that's Marcobiotics. It's surprisingly cheap to eat like this, and most of it is very nutritious comfort food. And then you're 58, reasonably energetic, a hair short of 6 feet 2 inches, you still have all your own teeth, fall asleep easily and wake rested, and you weigh the same approximately 165 pounds you weighed when you were in high school.

You're welcome.

Marco McClean


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Dear AVA,

My girlfriend and I need to find my dog Geronimo a home. Geronimo is a 52 pound midsize dog. He is a Shiba-Inu mix, black with a tan mask. Very very smart! I've raised him since he was six weeks old. He is now going to be two years old on September 11, 2017.

My girlfriend, Valerie, has three large dogs already and I'm on my way to San Quentin. This is a very special dog! All dogs are special, but of course I raised him so he’s dear to me.

He’s fixed and has a microchip. We had these two procedures done at the Ukiah shelter. Geronimo needs to be in a home where he's not tied up outside. He is a great protector and loves being in a car or back of a truck. He's very well-trained and listens to everything and does what he's told to do.

He gets along with other dogs at the beach playing and in dog parks playing, but he tends to want to be the top dog at home so it’s better if it's just him and a family of people. He's great with people of all ages.

Here is the contact number for my girlfriend Valerie in Fort Bragg: 530-265-9009.

Sincerely, Randy Miller


PS. Geronimo lives with Valerie in Fort Bragg. We do not want to leave him at a shelter and just walk away. We had flyers out there for two months all around Fort Bragg with no takers. I really feel that someone in Boonville or Anderson Valley is destined to be with his dog.

PPS. I'm incarcerated right now so I’m trying to help the situation from inside this jail cell and you guys are all I could think of.

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To the Editor:

Serious improvements need to be made to mental health services in Mendocino County. The current system is not working. And it has not worked for many years. Today there are roughly half the services available than were available a decade ago. And the services that are available are fractured between the county and various nonprofit agencies.

At the same time the county has a Behavioral Health Advisory Board that is exceptionally weak and with little input from consumers even though it is required by law to be a major component.

This past year I have been able to take a look at current mental health services, how they operate, the agencies that operate them, and I have seen glaring holes. I also witnessed the ballot measure that would have created, if passed, an expensive facility with no money to operate that would not have been monitored by anyone with a background in inpatient psychiatric services, wrongly mixed substance abuse services with mental health, created an expensive and unnecessary law enforcement training facility, and would have been overseen by a bevy of politicians other than the Behavioral Health Advisory Board or the Board Of Supervisors. At the same time the oversight board would not have included in the mental health consumers. It was not appropriate for Mendocino County.

And so, what is needed? This is something I have spent many years considering and writing about. Some of these once even existed.

First, Mendocino County can easily start turning over more services to Redwood Community Services. From what I have seen over the last year, Camille Schrader and her team at Redwood Community Services have been diligently working to offer the best services possible. They have significantly improved crisis services and can truly turn around other services if given the opportunity. There are some kinks that need to be worked out (like hiring managers and administrators with experience in adult service), but they are doing a wonderful job with the limited resources the county is giving them.

Secondly, there is an immediate need for a psychiatric crisis center located at Ukiah Valley Medical Center next to but separate from the emergency room. This would only be for psychiatric emergencies, not for people who are high on drugs. It would be staffed by Redwood Community Services crisis workers and would be modeled after the former crisis services center that many truly dedicated people created in the year 2000 for the county. It was a great place that helped a lot of people until the Board of Supervisors started cutting its budget. As for this new facility, located at Ukiah Valley Medical Center, people going through a psychiatric crisis can be seen by a crisis worker while also having needed emergency medical treatment available. These types of facilities are common at hospitals around the world. The citizens of Mendocino County deserve it.

Third is the establishment of the Homeless Services Outreach Team. In the 2000s, through a grant program from the state of California, Mendocino County operated an outreach team in Ukiah. Three workers, all formerly homeless mental health consumers, worked with the Ukiah Police Department and Sheriffs Office to help the homeless individuals who also suffered from mental illness. This is a program that Redwood Community Services would do an amazing job of operating. Many homeless mentally ill individuals were able to find housing, access to medical care, and some found employment. The program even had its own drop-in center that was a valuable resource.

Fourth, a Community Support Team is absolutely needed. I would actually call it a Crisis Response Team. This could be an easy reworking of the crisis program already in place. San Francisco has this. Crisis workers respond to the scene of 911 calls or calls to the crisis line — either along with law enforcement if the situation is critical or by themselves in noncritical situations. Law enforcement could use the help of trained crisis workers. At the moment the county is not making enough financial resources available for such a team to be created. This needs to change. Having a Crisis Response Team would also significantly reduce the amount of resources being taken up at Ukiah Valley Medical Center and by law enforcement.

And fifth, when it comes to a short-term inpatient psychiatric facility, the need is obvious. But, it should not be owned or operated by Mendocino County. And it should be modeled after a program similar to St. Helena or Langley Porter at the University of California-San Francisco. Right now Adventist Health could easily work with Redwood Community Services and the city of Ukiah to start plans to build a modern, 20 bed facility. And I believe that with proper planning and people with experience in successful operation of short-term inpatient facilities in charge it can be open within four years.

But in the meantime Adventist Health can easily take steps to significantly improve access to inpatient psychiatric care for Mendocino County residents. In the 1990s and 2000 Mendocino County “purchased" beds at both St. Helena and a facility Adventists owned in Vallejo. This made sure that there were always beds available. People in crisis never had to sit in the emergency room at Ukiah Valley Medical Center for three days waiting for a facility in Sacramento or Redding to have an opening. It's time for the Adventists and Redwood Community Services to come together and make a similar deal.

It is time for the Board Of Supervisors to start putting general fund money into mental health services.

William French


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Letter to the Editor

Do not pass this health care bill !!!

Thank you,

Sherrie Lee


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Dear Editor:

As reported by the Guardian the issue of the Chagos Archipelago which is officially part of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) has become the subject of a non binding legal agreement by the United Nations to present a resolution to request an International Court advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague on the legal status of the Chagos Islands. The vote in favor of the resolution was 94-15 with 65 countries abstaining including many of the EU member states. In 1965, three years before Mauritius was granted independence, the UK separated the Chagos Islands from the rest of its Indian Ocean Colony apparently in breach of UN resolution 1514, passed in 1960 which specifically banned the breakup of colonies before independence. This action was supported by the US. In 1971, the 1,500 islanders were deported so the US could built an airbase on Diego Garcia, the largest island. The islanders, Chagossians, were Creole speaking people who had lived on the islands for over 150 years. The UK House of Commons was displeased that the BIOT was being used by the CIA for rendition and interrogation operations. The UK has agreed to return the islands when they they no longer needed for military purposes. As a sidebar, the treatment of the Chagossians sounds just like the treatment of Native Americans by the U.S. government. Since the U.S. Senate refuses to release the report about CIA rendition and torture centers we do not know exactly what when on at Diego Garcia.

In peace and love,

Jim Updegraff


One Response to Letters (July 12, 2017)

  1. Jeff Costello Reply

    July 12, 2017 at 11:57 am

    Marcobiotics – advice on how to eat from someone who doesn’t know much about what to eat.

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