Letters (Aug. 2, 2017)
by AVA News Service, August 2, 2017
EASE UP ON THE OLD GUY
To Whom This May (Does) Concern:
I believe you have caused enough headaches for my Dad. If you don’t feel safe in this town, move back to where you came from. We’ve been here all our lives and we are not going anywhere. Don’t try to squeeze money from Dad. If you need more money, grow more pot.
NICE TRY, CALTRANS…
To: Beverly Dutra, Philo
Dear Ms. Dutra:
This is in response to your follow-up letter regarding "Speed Reduction in Philo-Engineering and Traffic" dated May 22, 2017. We share your concerns, but feel that the proposed speed limit changes that were implemented on June 8, 2017 are consistent with driver behavior and will result in a safe condition.
Staff visited Philo this weekend in a spot check on the new speed zone. They were able to document that current speeds have not changed from those observed prior to the speed zone adjustment. This demonstrates that the majority of drivers traveling through Philo are driving at what they consider to be a safe speed, and not just 5-10 mph over the posted speed limit.
Let me also attempt to clarify some of your questions:
• Factors not readily apparent to drivers: these would be things like a school or large development that is not visible from the roadway. Most of the time, those factors result in collisions and influence the engineering and traffic survey in that analysis.
• Free flow: when conducting the engineering and traffic study, only the first vehicle in a platoon is recorded, as the subsequent vehicles’ speed are influenced by the lead vehicle. Also, from a "basic speed law" perspective, special events or any other "non-normal" condition are not used to influence the engineering and traffic survey.
• CHP written comment: California Highway Patrol and or the local police department are contacted for their input into the engineering and traffic survey. While their concurrence is noted in the document, we do not require a written statement.
• Clarification on discussion during January 24, 27 meeting: Regardless of who started the discussion on fatal collisions, it is important to realize that we look at all collisions during the engineering and traffic survey process. While a fatal collision is the most significant, the absence of any fatal collisions does not mean we are not able to identify speed related collisions that are utilized to influence the proposed speed limit.
Thank you for sharing your concerns. I hope the information provided will help improve your understanding and resolve some of your concerns.
Sincerely, Mark L. Suchanek, Deputy District Director of Maintenance and Operations, Department of Transportation, District 1, P.O. Box 3700, Eureka, CA 95502. 707/445-6445.
* * *
Dear Mr. Suchanek:
I was pleased to have your June 29, 2017 response to my letter about safety concerns at the Philo "downtown" site.
Thank you for the placement of the 45 mph calming signs. I hope that over time they will calm traffic. Unfortunately, as they were being installed there was an accident just down the hill from the southbound end 45 mph signage at Indian Creek Road and Highway 128. Additionally, the northbound sign site which has had seven accidents experienced its eighth accident. This time not only was a utility pole once again sheared off but a large tree was also destroyed. Inside the house "it sounded and felt like an earthquake." Luckily, the driver escaped unharmed. His large delivery truck was totalled. The new 45 mph calming sign was not sufficient. I wonder about the engineering on this particular stretch of road — and, it is very similar to the quirks that appear just down the road in "downtown" Philo.
I appreciate you sending staff for spot check in the new speed zone. Their documentation that speeds have not changed differs from those of us who view the road daily. Our anecdotal experience is that speed has increased and seems to do more so each day.
During the public hearing, resident Deputy Sheriff Craig Walker, speaking as a private citizen, warned about just such an increase. His warning was based on his experience with drivers through our the valley. Please have staff continue to monitor.
I suppose that most drivers believe that they are driving at a safe speed. It seems to me that drivers have a lot of other priorities in their minds as is partially evidenced by their statements of "I don't know how it happened." Drivers have all kinds of skill levels and perceptual abilities. The driver's consideration of safe speeds has more to do with his needs and wants than with a realistic assessment of the road. I am surprised that Caltrans relies so heavily on driver self-assessment.
You have still not address the unique nature of the Philo "downtown" site. Prior letters have described the multiple challenges and sudden surprises for the driver. Two large proposed new developments will affect ingress and egress on Highway 128 within the new speed zone. Winery tasting rooms sit immediately on the road. I feel that due to the very nature of the road and the entering incline we have a situation of "factors not apparent" to the driver.
The major value of the 30 mph zone and flashing light was that it alerted the driver to an unusual, perhaps dangerous, situation. I am sorry that we have lost that warning and feel that the loss may result in serious liability issues. Drivers have not been warned about a different road where condition which is not visible from the roadway as they approach.
Your letter has improved my understanding, but I feel I have failed to improve yours. I guess we have to agree to disagree and see where the subsequent liability falls.
AND A GOOD TIME WAS HAD BY ALL
The Anderson Valley Housing Association’s Summer BBQ took place Sunday, July 11th and was not only a successful fundraiser but also a great time.
We’d like to thank Deborah Cahn and Ted Bennett for hosting at the Navarro Ranch – a more idyllic setting and more gracious hosts than we could have asked for. We’d also like to thank the Lions Club of Anderson Valley for their work at the grill and behind the scenes. The Lions give vital support to many of AV’s local organizations, and we’re proud to be among them.
Music by Roger That (Jeff Moss, Steve Derwinski, & Roger Leonard) kept toes tapping and perfectly complimented the breezy afternoon. A silent auction featured items donated by a host of supportive local businesses, and we had quite a few happy auction winners.
We saw many familiar faces, and a few new ones as well. Thanks to everyone who came out and joined us. The services provided by the numerous volunteer and non-profit organizations in Anderson Valley help to make our home a better place in so many ways, and it’s all possible because of the support of community members like you.
Administrative Manager, AV Housing Association
PS If you have any questions about Anderson Valley Housing Association, please call or email: (707) 895-3362 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TOURISTS OR TRANSIENTS?
Letter to the Editor
Dear Ukiah - please pick one.
The national homeless per capita rate is 20/10,000, large metropolitan areas average 45/10,000, San Francisco has 80/10,000, and, according to Ukiah Valley’s own “Homeless Services Action Group”, Mendocino’s homeless per capita rate is 140/10,000. This is seven times the national average; “The highest in the nation by far” per Kael Loftus of Street Medicine at Adventist Health Ukiah. This dubious accomplishment is a fire alarm wakeup for all Ukiah citizens.
Remember “Far Out, Nearby,” Ukiah’s stab at attracting Bay Area tourists via ads in Sunset magazine? The south end of town “gateways” are the first impression a weary wallet-heavy tourist has when arriving from the Bay Area. Yet, the viewscapes on South State and Talmage during certain times of day will deter all but the most jaded or inattentive non-transient from staying and dining in town. Is this the new goal of Ukiah’s “General Plan”? Are bona fide tourists also visiting (and staying) in Ukiah at 7X the national rate?
Now, our local “homeless experts” (who are responsible for the policies leading to this crisis) plan to further blight the area with a permanent homeless shelter at 1045 South State Street. This is not just a flashing neon vacancy sign, but a red carpet for more transients. Not only does this project violate the City’s own zoning code, it is being stealthily rushed through the “process”. The first public notice for South Ukiah residents was the UDJ headline on July 25. The Planning Commission approved the plans the next night on July 26. Clearly, there exists a not-unsubtle bias from the elites and homeless advocates when dealing with the mainly Hispanic working class in the surrounding neighborhood. Those who will most suffer the consequences (decreasing property values and deteriorating quality of life) of this poorly reasoned decision were not given time to organize a protest.
Why the rush? It took the “experts” decades to bring us to this point. There should be a moratorium on all transient-related decisions until realistic plans to mitigate (and reverse) the current crisis are in place. Change the current enabling “hand-out” system into a tough love “hand-up” system. Limit the time and resources trying to “help” someone who may be incapable or unwilling to better their current existence so that other unfortunates may have their chance. Ukiah should revive work-for-food programs; trash removal (homeless camp cleanup), fire-fighting, farm work, etc.
The plan must include measureable performance metrics to lessen the number of homeless. If such planning cannot be implemented to mitigate the crisis, then it is time to roll up the welcome mat and shut down all but the legal bare minimum homeless services.
In the interim, homeless camping in Ukiah should be limited to the vacant lawn southeast of City Hall. This free Westside-located public campsite would ensure that city officials get immediate feedback on their homeless policies. The fiscally prudent plan (it won’t cost a penny) would stop the environmental carnage to our neighborhood parks, provide rapid emergency response, respect the current zoning, and clear the approach for tourists on South State and Talmage streets. We must also encourage large-hearted public servants, homeless advocates, and social justice warriors proudly displaying tolerance signs to share their private homes with transients who now occupy the commons.
I support Sherriff Allman’s plan to resuscitate local mental health services. Individuals afflicted by poverty, mental illness, and addiction warrant some but not unlimited help and sympathy. My compassion evaporates when such problems are used to justify criminal behavior.
Do transients, now called “guests” by the experts, feel gratitude for our town’s ongoing extraordinary tolerance and generosity? The 2016 UPD annual report demographics show 40% of those arrested were transients versus 32% being Ukiah residents. Given a recent homeless count of 1,238 in the county and UPD arresting 693 transients last year; in the county on average, more than one of two “guests” were arrested last year by UPD. Jetsam intentionally discarded by our “guests” is an ongoing environmental problem. When I politely ask transients to cease loitering on my private business property, their rough words, trash, and waste linger. Repeated such episodes will eventually endow an unhealthy enmity toward all homeless. UPD facts and my personal experience demonstrate many of our town’s entitled “guests” do not have gratitude for Ukiah’s hospitality or respect for our environment.
For decades, I’ve waited quietly, patiently, with growing alarm for the well intentioned “homeless experts” to get it right...and today, Ukiah has the highest homeless per capita in the nation. Good intentions obviously do not ensure good results. The truth is painful. It is clear to me, that this Ukiah taxpayer funded enterprise to “help the homeless” is an expensive, longstanding, and ongoing fraud.
It is time to change course, not double down on decades of failure.
The next Ukiah City Council meeting is this Wednesday August 2 beginning at 6pm.
Ukiah Citizen for 23 years
LET DOROTHEYA RETURN
Letter to the Editor,
Now is the time for all good members to come to the aid of their "fellow" co-op member!
Recently "fellow" member Dorotheya M. Dorman of the Ukiah Natural Foods store and Co-op was videotaped by surveillance cameras. (?) Tasting for cranberries at the soup and deli bar to determine their suitability to add to her bean soup.
In shades of the flying monkeys, she was "swooped down upon," in her words, by the manager and a tall assistant (management is upstairs or upper tiers.)
For this "serious" threat to the store, Dorotheya's Co-op membership was revoked by the board, her membership fee of $200 returned to her, but not cached by her. Worse, when she attempted to shop as a regular customer, management threatened to call the police if she didn't lead.
Is this the way to treat an elder member of the co-op? Is this good policy? Maybe good for for-profit corporate policy, but not for the image and atmosphere of the friendly small town Co-op! It doesn't feel good. It could happen to anyone.
It could create a real hardship in terms of travel, time, cost, loss of senior discount and other sale items and a 10% quarterly discount, and availability of needed products found only at the Ukiah Co-op. For example, I'm 75 years old and Dorotheya is a couple of years or so older. (Forgive me, Dorotheya.) For the past six months I've been recovering from shingles and the shingles salve, found only at the Ukiah Co-op, was extremely soothing and beneficial. I feel very uncomfortable now at the Co-op knowing I'm under surveillance.
So let's support a rethinking of this action and call or write letters to management and the Co-op board of directors and also to our newspapers.
Let's support Dorotheya clicking her sparkling red shoes to get back home.
To Whom It May Concern,
My name is Joseph Mork and I am currently doing two 16 month local prison sentences at Mendocino County Jail. The two sentences are to run concurrently so from what I understand when one is complete then they both should be complete even if I had different amounts of tax credits on each sentence. I got a memo from Probation while in court saying exactly that and when I brought it to Probation's attention I was told it was up to the jail how they interpreted my court order and how they applied my credits and ran my sentences. When I asked the jail they said I only get the 194 credits on one sentence and the 79 credits on the other because that is what the paperwork stated. I was told I needed to go back to court if I thought it should be different. So I tried to have the public defender's office who represented me on the matter put me on calendar with the court but was told once the case was closed they do not represent me anymore. I then filed my own request for calendar from jail as best I know how and was denied with no explanation. So I tried again two months ago and still have not heard anything back.
Just after I filed the second request I filed a writ of habeas corpus just in case I was denied my request again. I don't have help from anyone outside the jail so I have to use the U.S. Postal Service and mail coming and going from the jail is probably the slowest I've ever seen.
I received the "writ" back around July 7. I had filed it about June 5. It said my credits were correct and there is no need for a hearing.
I don't know what to do to get back into the courtroom so the judge can clarify for me and the jail that when doing two concurrent sentences either I’m finished when one is done or if I have to do more time on the other because it started with less credits. One of my sentences ended in June. So you see why I would like the courts of Mendocino County to clarify this for me and the Mendocino County Jail.
If you can help me in any way I would be most gratified. You can write me at Joseph Mork, A#14497, Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Corrections Division, 951 Low Road, Ukiah, CA 95482.
Thank you for reading and any help or input on the matter would be appreciated.
BLANKET, T-SHIRT, PEPPER SPRAY — Q
My name is Jason Gilstrap. I am doing four months in San Quentin for taking a blanket and a T-shirt out of the garbage that be will at Goodwill store was throwing away -- "the stuff they couldn't sell." I was homeless at the time and living in a tent envelopes reservation.
I ended up in prison because I also had a small can of pepper spray on me because a mountain lion and her babies were living very close to where I was staying. I only got the blanket and shirt because for the third time I can't cite an and rated and I was desperate and cold. I will be out at the end of November of 2017. I was wondering if you could send me copies of your paper until then. I can't pay you until I get out. I miss home and reading your paper in the Mendocino County Jail. If you can't, that's okay. I understand. But I had to give it a shot.
Thank you and keep up the good work,.