Letters (Aug. 23, 2017)

by AVA News Service, August 23, 2017

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Subject: Homeless Action Plan, Public safety committee

To: Fort Bragg Public Safety Committee

I would like to share my observations and thoughts on revamping the responses of our city to the homeless problem. In reading the minutes of your committee from 6/21, I disagree that our local homeless problem stems from poverty or lack of housing.

If 80-90% of our transients suffer from mental illness and/or substance abuse disorders, these problems must be addressed before housing can be considered. Poverty results from these two problems, and is not usually the basic cause. Providing free food, shelter, clothing and other necessities, which has been the thrust of homeless services here, simply enables transients to stay stuck in an endless non-productive cycle, with more spending money to maintain substance abuse. I notice a complete omission of any job training programs, or even work-for-food policies, which I believe are crucial to ending the cycles of homelessness and dependency. 'Work' is not a dirty word.

My opinions, btw, come from my family history. Like thousands of other Americans, my father was homeless during the Great Depression. Handouts and services were rare or non-existent. The only indoor shelter was jail. He worked his way west, on foot or in boxcars, working along the way until he found a place with a WPA program, offering room and board with vocational training that enabled him to find better jobs, become a contributing member of society, and eventually a very successful businessman, who could send his own children to colleges. He was motivated.

Handouts don't help, they just enable people to stay stuck. I believe Fort Bragg needs to study the efforts of Eureka, with a serious homelessness problem, to put its focus and funding on dealing with substance abuse, a top priority, before housing or vocational training is feasible for this group. The mentally ill need to be treated in an appropriate facility. I am forwarding a very informative report on what Eureka is doing now.

Mitigating the negative impacts of the homeless on our town is the responsibility of two groups, service organizations that rely on a homeless problem for their funding and salaries, and on our law enforcement. The latter needs to follow the lead of the PDs in Eureka and Santa Rosa, and begin stricter enforcement with appropriate consequences, using the laws and ordinances on civil and homeless behaviors and those actions that undermine public safety, quality of life, property values, and the local economy. Both Eureka PD, and Santa Rosa PD are exchanging tolerance for enforcement, and we need our PD to do likewise. All this can be done without violating anyone's civil rights, if proper protocol is followed.

The policies espoused by Ruffing and Owens may have helped a very few homeless people, and has attracted an increasing number of them to Fort Bragg, the majority mentally ill or addicted. They have failed, to put it simply, and we now need new leadership to replace Owens and Ruffing, and formulate a new Homeless Action Plan.

I am sending info on what Eureka is doing now, by separate email.

Alice Chouteau

Fort Bragg

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AV Advertiser Editor,

I am writing in regard to David Severn's article in your paper regarding water rights on the tributary to Indian Creek.

I have been Sam Prather's neighbor for 46 years and we have always gotten along amicably. Except for the court case over my water rights, (which was against Brian Padilla and Sam Prather, jointly), I have had no problems with my other neighbor, Mr. Padilla. When I lost the case, I was lucky to find well water on my own land and am very happy with my water system now.

But, I did spend many hours up in the gulch, for more than 38 years, trying to get airlocks out of the lines and get the water running on the water system referred to in David Severn's article.

We all used the springs in the winter, and the creek in the summer when the springs dried up. The Edwards (previous owners of the Padilla property), had a deeded right to the water and had already moved the creek line upstream from the original box in the creek when I moved here in 1971. They also left many old pipes and fittings up alongside the creek when they repaired the water lines up there in the gulch. I think it is unfair to blame Mr.Padilla for leaving a mess and debris up there, when a lot of it, or maybe all of it was already there when he bought his property. The two springs and spring boxes and the line in the creek were already there in 1971 when I moved here, and had been in use for many years by the Edwards and the other households on the system. Also, there was an overflow from this system that went to a watering tank for Sam's sheep from the Hulbert's line, so Sam's sheep also got water from this same system.

Warden White (Fish and Game) may have been legally correct in pulling the line out of the creek, but I think he was remiss in advising Mr. Prather to pull out the spring lines and all the water lines all the way to the holding tank, a very long distance, without checking to see if there was a deeded right or easement first.

David Severn asked me a few questions about this water system before writing his article and I told him that I did not want to be mentioned in the article as I was not part of this dispute. But since he used my name, and the article is so biased, I felt I had to put my 2 cents in.

Thank you,

Lynn Archambault


David Severn Replies: I am truly sorry but I could not have left out a mention of the beef caused you by Padilla and the public records court case that ensued. Sam brought it up. Sam's lawyer Brian Carter brought it up. Chris Neary, Padilla's lawyer, brought it up. Padilla's actions were integral to the story. Thank you for agreeing that everthing was handled "amicably" until Brian Padilla showed up and wanted all the water.

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A most interesting opinion piece appeared in the July 20 Ukiah Daily Journal titled “A Granny flat for every Ukiah Homemaker,” written by Ukiah’s favority hypocrite, former city councilman Phil Baldwin.

The article concerned something called “ADUs” or “Accessory Dwelling Units,” and Phil claims that these units will be built by people with a desire for greater personal income and not as a means to help the down and out by lowering rents.

The reason I say Phil is a hypocrite is that he has, on the property where he lives, a small apartment unit as well as a rental house built across the top of Gibson Creek (and how he gets away with that one I’ll never know).

Phil also has a rental house to the west of his property on the north side of the street. Quite a collection for someone who is opposed to ADUs.

I wonder just how afforabe Phil’s rents are especially since he has retired from his job as a teacher.

David Anderson


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To the City of Point Arena, In care of Richard Shoemaker, County Attorney, and City Council, Point Arena, CA 95468

Re: Point Arena city Council, conflict of interest and voting.

Dear politicians, elected officials and administrators (working on behalf of the city of point Arena):

Several weeks ago in June, City Council took a vote on alcohol consumption on Main Street during the annual parade. I believe one of your council members voted and commented in conflict of interest.

As well as "The Whale Bar," "215 Main" also serves alcoholic beverages and would thus be affected by this City Council vote. Councilwoman Burkey volunteered her comments regarding her preferential decision to vote, admitting that she manages a business also selling alcohol at 215 Main where she manages the business.

May I remind you all that it is your responsibility as elected public officials go sit in the audience, removing yourself from the vote by recusal, resisting all comment on the issue, when, for any reason, you stand to profit in any way from the business you own, operate or work for, and the vote you cast, impacting that business. In this case: an employee or paid manager.

If you can sway the vote in any way related to the income of your business, you must recuse yourself from comment and voting. Especially from commenting to the local public or press for print in the local newspaper which is how I found out about this particular vote.

I am sure your city manager could provide you with the exact wording of the code concerning this law as it relates to you.

In the past, City Hall provided an in-service training to newly elected officials which might be a good idea legally at this point. Jeanine Nadel lead a workshop on the Brown act for the City years ago before becoming a judge.

Thank you for informing yourselves on Brown Act as it relates to conflict of interest and voting accordingly.


Deborah Keipp

Point Arena

PS. Once again I write to you (the city) regarding conflicts of interest at City Hall: this time as related to Lloyd Cross.

Is it true that Lloyd Cross serves as the city's paid bookkeeper?

Is it true that Lloyd Cross is also Treasurer for the city of Point Arena, an elected city official position?

(In prior years it was determined to be a huge conflict of interest to have one individual serving both positions as elected Treasurer and Bookkeeper (employee). So why has that changed when in years prior, County Counsel has repeatedly advised the city of Point Arena against this conflict of interest?)

Does this then also mean that Lloyd Cross calculates his own pay?

Is Lloyd being paid for both positions then?

Does he receive benefits in either position?

How have you justified this conflict of interest regarding Lloyd Cross as both an employee and elected official?

Voters await your response.

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Last chance to see on the big screen (essential) “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.” While bare of plot, this movie bombards you with so many fantastical images relentlessly without let-up that it prompted one reviewer to write: “It’s like eating way too much candy and vomiting and then eating the candy vomit and vomiting again.”

You’re welcome,

Paul Hedges

San Francisco

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To The Editor,

I’m seeing softball playoff umpire problems. I started the first co-ed league in Ukiah and ran it for eleven years, including putting on over a hundred softball and basketball tournaments.

I will bet $1,000 that 75% of the base umpires do not know where to stand when a base runner is on first or second and the correct call on runner interference at second base. I used the KISS method (keep it simple stupid) when I put on clinics for umpires, stressing five points: Common sense, know the rules, common sense, hustle and common sense.

Ray Whittaker


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To The Editor,

Today I discovered that if I can’t prove I have a home in Ukiah, I can’t have a PO Box. The application requires me to have ID (such as driver’s license or State ID, passport, alien registration card or certificate of naturalization, all of which I have. A second ID is required — one of: a current lease, mortgage or deed of trust, voter or vehicle registration, home or vehicle insurance policy. The application doesn’t specify, but I was told that the second ID must show my home address (mine shows my PO Box in Willits because that’s where I get my mail). I live on Clay Street in Ukiah. It occurs to me that were I without a home, I would have to have mail sent to “General Delivery” and stand in line to get it. This would be a huge difficulty to a person seeking employment or just needing to communicate with family. It’s demeaning and clearly discrimination and I can’t see why it’s necessary. What are we afraid of? Maybe someone can enlighten me.

Janet Denninger


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Dear AVA,

I thoroughly enjoyed Malcolm Macdonald’s “Manfully Hanged” historical account in the 8/9 AVA, especially the colorfully incomprehensible testimony of Mr. Offer. I admire his presence of mind in counting all 235 steps he and McPherson ran after the latter was plugged. But I must take issue with the 34 alleged yards of the shot, supposedly measured later with a six-foot pole. The pole-standard was at the time and remains ten feet, because if you don’t touch someone with a six-foot pole they’re already too close. Plus, six don’t divide evenly into 34. Happy to be of help.

Flynn Washburne


PS. Has the unfortunate Mr. McPherson or his family anything to do with McPherson Street in Fort Bragg?

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One of the main problems in our country today is our past presidents. Counting backwards, starting with George Bush I: Four years. Then eight years of Clinton. Bad, bad. Then we had eight years of Geo. W. Bush, not much better. Then we had eight years of Obama. And that was the final clink in the wall. He was the worst president, by far, even worse than Jimmy Carter! These people, these liberal activist stupid bastards have had 28 years! To get their stuff together! And we haven’t had a president that can fix things except Geo Bush. The last good president we had was President Reagan. So they’ve had 28 years to get their ammunition together and they’re all over our guy right now, Donald Trump, who’s trying to straighten things out, and he will, eventually, he will overcome this crap. So let’s keep our fingers cross that we won’t have a nuclear war because I think he’ll keep us out of that. But the rotten, filthy liberal Democrat bastards will give him trouble all the way. Oh, and there is one person in this country that is worse than Obama and that is the asshole who’s running California: Governor Jerry Brown. And I don’t mean maybe. God bless Donald Trump.

Jerry Philbrick


One Response to Letters (Aug. 23, 2017)

  1. Zeke Krahlin Reply

    August 23, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    Alice Chouteau: You are ill informed as to the main causes of homelessness. They /are/ poverty (including too-low wages to support oneself, let alone another or a family), skyrocketing rent and housing costs, and a dearth of jobs that pay a living wage. The majority of homeless are /not/ mentally disabled, as you claim…but they /are/ the most visible, for obvious reasons. Your spreading disinformation about homelessness smacks of maliciousness at worst, and ignorance at best. Let me guess: you’re a Republican.

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