Letters to the Editor

by AVA News Service, August 18, 2010

DEAR DAN

Dear Editor,

I'm addressing this letter to a man of stature in our community, former United States Congressman, Mr. Dan Hamburg. He is currently a candidate for the Fifth Dis­trict Supervisor seat of Mendocino County, California.

Dan Hamburg, before your mother Jean Hamburg passed away nearly a decade ago, I promised her I would try my best to help you and your family in the years to come as a loyal friend. That promise is part of the reason why I agreed to help you and your wife when you asked me if I would help the two of you grow a medical mari­juana garden for the spring and summer growing season 2008.

To be grown on your property, just off Boonville Road in Ukiah, California. I also agreed to help the two of you because I knew your wife was recovering from cancer treatment and she was unable to do the physical labor of growing a medical marijuana garden as she had for the two of you in the past to its fullest potential.

I also agreed to help me because I needed a place to grow my medical marijuana for the 2008 growing sea­son. It seemed to be a perfect partnership.

Dan, when I planted the garden in May 2008 then took care of 100% of the gardens needs for six months (May to October 2008), I did this in good faith. I trusted our friendship and our partnership. I knew when harvest time came around that there would be no question of my being entitled to an equal share of the medical marijuana garden, the garden I grew for us in a partnership in good faith!

Dan, when I agreed to help you and your wife grow the 2008 medical marijuana garden for us, my intentions were to grow the garden, then move on to find a piece of property here in Mendocino County to lease for myself. Then set up a medical marijuana garden for the 2009 growing season for myself.

That never happened, Dan, because you cheated me out of any share of the 2008 medical marijuana garden then nickeled and dimed me with just enough money for food through the winter and into the spring of 2009. I had to stay in a cabin at the top of the medical marijuana garden all through the winter. A cabin I had built during the spring and summer of 2008 so I would have a place to stay while I grew the medical marijuana garden.

Dan, after you sold the first 16 pounds of medical marijuana for $43,800 you hired a landscape crew and equipment to landscape around your home for a cash price of $10,000 plus. And offered me nothing from that money for a partial payment of my share of the 2008 garden.

During the spring of 2009 you did give me enough money to pay an attorney who helped me with a legal case. Thank you very much, Dan. After that I told you we can call it even for the 2008 garden even though it was far from fair to me. The way you failed to offer me any share of the 2008 garden.

Which brings us to the 2009 medical marijuana gar­den. The second of the two gardens I grew for us on your Boonville Road Property. The 2008 and 2009 medical marijuana gardens.

The reason I stayed to grow the 2009 garden was because I told myself that no one is going to cheat me out of my fair share of two gardens that I grew in good faith for us, Dan.

In the spring of 2009 I set up the medical marijuana garden based on a theory of mine on how to grow the maximum plant with a maximum yield and the best quality of medical marijuana.

During the summer of 2009 I had an opportunity to show the medical marijuana garden to one of Ukiah's best attorneys at law. He offered me a ride back to your property, and, after he found out that I was intending to walk back after a meeting with him in Ukiah. First I asked your wife's permission to do so.

At that time he suggested that we post our legal medi­cal marijuana prescriptions (four in total) in the 2009 medical marijuana garden for legal reasons and to ensure that I would be entitled to six of the plants from the 2009 garden. The legal limit for medical marijuana patients as far as plants per patients was six plants. Four patients could combine their prescriptions on one parcel of land to achieve a 25 plant garden (the 25th plant is a give me) by local law enforcement. The legal limit allowed by law per parcel of land during the 2009 growing season in Mendocino County.

The 2009 medical marijuana garden at harvest had a yield of 100 pounds of Grade A+ medical marijuana.

Up until the time the 2009 garden was ready to har­vest, you would show your friends the garden and intro­duced me to them as a master medical marijuana gar­dener.

Dan, at harvest time you refused me my six plants allowed to me by law and I became an insignificant SOB.

You and your wife did ask me what I would want momentarily for my six plants. I gave you a figure that was fair to me. It included my time and labor it took for me to grow.

I was led to believe that I would be paid in full the fig­ure I had given you.

The next two weeks I watched as you and your fam­ily systematically harvested a large part of the garden. Then you informed me that you were only going to pay me 40% of my asking price which does NOT work for me, not even close.

At that time I decided to harvest one of the six plants allowed to me by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department codes. I informed the two workers you sent to continue harvesting the 2009 medical marijuana gar­den that I was harvesting one plant for my personal use and that they should tell you what I was doing when they returned to your house.

Within 20 minutes you were at my cabin door where I was starting to process the harvesting of one of my plants for my own personal use. At that time you told me point blank that you were not going to allow me to take any of the medical marijuana away from your property and you insisted that I leave your property that very day because you could no longer trust me. When in fact it is you Dan Hamburg who has betrayed the trust I put in you.

I agreed to leave your property that afternoon. Even though I had lived in the cabin at the top of the medical marijuana garden for one and a half years. I would have made you evict me out of the cabin but I was starting to worry about my own safety due to the level of intimida­tion coming from you. I wasn't sure to what extent you would go to ensure that you were able to keep 100% of the 2009 medical marijuana garden for yourself. Also, who am I to argue with a former US congressman on his own property? So for my own safety I left your property that afternoon never to return. But not before the two of us agreed that I should be entitled to 20% of the 2009 medical marijuana harvest.

Before I left your property you handed me a pint Mason jar full of medical marijuana for my personal use. The medical marijuana in the Mason jar was at least two years old, maybe even three. Brown in color, barely fit for smoking. Not even one ounce of fresh medical mari­juana from the 2009 garden was I allowed to have for my personal use. The medical marijuana in the Mason jar I tossed without smoking any. In fact it was an insult to me.

Mr. Dan Hamburg, the combined wholesale value of 2008 and 2009 medical marijuana is very close if not more than half a million dollars. With a retail medical marijuana sale price of over a million dollars.

On May 10, 2009, I had a phone conversation with you in regards to two things. One being my voter infor­mation pamphlet sent to your address for me. I asked you if you would forward it to me via general delivery at the Ukiah Post Office. Because I don't want you filling out my absentee voter’s card and sending it in like you have previously done at least once in the past without my permission. I hope you forward it to the Ukiah Post Office because if it doesn't show up I will be checking to see if it was sent to the office of elections filled out. (Constituting voter fraud on your part.) The second part of our conversation of May 18, 2010 concerned my being paid the balance of what you owe me for growing the 2009 medical marijuana garden and for the six plants you refused me.

Dan, at that time you told me that the 2009 medical marijuana garden I grew was diseased and that I would receive no more monetary compensation. When in fact the 2009 medical marijuana garden produced some of the best medical marijuana in Mendocino County and ranks with the best in the world.

Mr. Dan Hamburg, when you and your wife asked me for my help during the spring of 2008 it was because you were broke at the time and living on credit. Dan, the bottom line is I needed a hand as much as you did at the time. Instead of all of us coming up from what the 2009 garden produced, you chose to take it all for yourself. Dan, your greed will be your downfall.

Dan, I’ve tried to sue you over the way you have done me, but not one attorney in Mendocino County would take the case because of who you are and the fact that it is against the law to sell marijuana. I feel it is my civic duty to try and warn the Mendocino County voters, especially those in District 5. To vote NO on Dan Ham­burg for District 5 supervisor for the primary election on June 8, 2010 and because you are asking for the voters’ help just as you asked for my help during the spring of 2008.

The voters should realize that Mr. Dan Hamburg should not be entrusted with the guardianship of our west coast or the taxpayers dollar. Because the Dan Hamburg I put my trust in is no more than a common thief, a fraud, just another person getting rich at the expense of other people. Pompous for sure.

Calvin Walker, June 4, 2010.

Ukiah

707/468-8255

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OVERBLOWN

Editor,

Countless times over the past ten years Calvin Walker sat at our kitchen table and shared meals. Mem­bers of his family often came to our home and we often visited with his family. We know his sister and mother, his children and grandchildren.

We believed him to be a basically good person down on his luck. To this day, we believe that Calvin is a decent man, but a man easily confused and now being manipulated by people who are determined to keep me from being the next Fifth District supervisor.

I'm aware that my political opponents are funding this effort. The same people unsuccessfully attempted to recall me from office almost three decades ago using similar tactics.

I've never been in a serious campaign for public office without such an attack so this one doesn't come as a surprise!

Dan Hamburg

Ukiah

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THEY CAN’T HEAR YOU

Dear Editor,

On July 20, 2010, I was in a struggle with a sheriff's deputy during my arrest. I was transported to the Ukiah Valley Medical Center for medical clearance due to having a seizure while being arrested.

Upon arriving at the Mendocino County Jail I real­ized I no longer had my hearing aid. I am deaf/hearing impaired.

My name is James D. Hoffman Sr. I am currently in the custody of the Mendocino County Jail on multiple charges that the district attorney has filed against me.

I am innocent until proven guilty.

My wife Jennifer and I were at South Boat Ramp of Lake Mendocino swimming and enjoying the coolness from the hot temperature.

Due to the fact there was alcohol drinking by a group of family members and from being intoxicated leading to being blacked out, the crime occurred at the time, sup­posedly. My wife and I were arrested. Jennifer was arrested for public intoxication and I was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and domestic abuse.

I had a hearing aid that was left behind at the south boat ramp or was lost in the struggle with an off-duty sheriff's deputy.

Due to the nature of depending on hearing assistance, I need my hearing aid which is necessary living in a jail environment.

My wife finally got released from jail three days later after being held in the women's holding cell for public intoxication meaning she was released when sober.

While I had court I had a seizure in the courtroom and immediately was rushed Ukiah Valley Medical Center by Ukiah Fire Department ambulance on July 23 at approximately 2:30pm.

My wife finally got released from custody and I was back from the medical center to the holding cells once again. The whole time from July 20-23 I have been in the men's holding cell.

My wife went back to the south boat ramp to locate the hearing aid because the corrections deputy informed her that I didn’t have my hearing aid in my possession. No such luck. She could not find it.

I have requested multiple times for assistance in my hearing-impaired disability to the medical department at the jail without positive result to this day.

Due to the Americans with Disabilities Act an inmate has a right to assistance needed and medical care and necessary devices such as hearing aids while incarcer­ated at the county jail.

According to Armstrong v. Davis and Armstrong v. Schwarzenegger remedial plan and Penal Code the county should provide the standard of a prisoner’s medi­cal needs!

I need a hearing aid.

After being booked into custody, medical staff sup­plied me with seizure medication for eight days then immediately cut me off from the meds for unknown rea­sons.

I was prescribed Zoloft for my anxiety and Trana­doze anti-depression. A doctor from mental health department in the jail discontinued my Zoloft due to budget limitations and increased my anti-depression dose.

Since the Mendocino County jail does not provide American sign language interpretation, I often have mis­communications with both medical and the correctional staff.

I feel there is huge discrimination against me based on my disability and criminal record.

Something needs to be done immediately with the medical department at the jail such as providing my proper medications and necessary medical devices such as hearing aids.

Respectfully,

James D. Hoffman Sr. A#50939

Mendocino County Jail

Ukiah

PS. If anyone has found a hearing aid around the south boat ramp area of Lake Mendocino in the July 20-23 time frame, please kindly drop it off with the Sheriff's correction lieutenant or corrections commander. Thank you.

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A GROWN MAN CRIES

Dear Editor,

What is a snitch? I'm asking you because I've read your paper and noticed the term used loosely.

To me the word snitch is a disrespectful term. I believe it's an honest person's right to call 911 in an attempt to gain assistance from medical staff, fire department staff and yes even the police. I don't consider the average Joe a snitch because he calls the police. If someone follows the law and respects the law he should be entitled to all of the benefits that come with respecting the rules.

On the other hand you have people who break the law continuously and cause trouble that they can't handle and have no business being involved in. These same people call the police and lie about their involvement. I feel like the taxpayers money is wasted on things that make no sense. Please note that just because someone is called a snitch that does not make the things that they say true.

I've been following the story about the shootout on Chicken Ridge. A perfect example for a snitch is a guy you wrote about named Jackie Slade. He is the best example I've seen in your paper. He plays the part of a mean one, but 911 is on his speed dial it seems. In your paper it quoted Deputy DA Matt Hubley as saying “something caused this man to cry.” From where I stand I believe Jackie Slade is a fraud who cannot be trusted. I will keep watching because I believe he is going to dig himself a hole. In this town of green mountains and pur­ple kush, I've seen quite a few witnesses turned into inmates right from the stand. It's like spitting in the wind and getting it in your eye. No, worse. I hear Mendocino County lock-up is pretty foul.

From what I can see this town's DAs are not as dumb as the police.

Let me make a note to the snitches out there. When you dial 911, be careful because you can't lie your way out of the police station. Well, maybe in Mendocino County.

Stockton, Red Rum

Ukiah

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BIG PIECE PETROLEUM

Editor,

In 1951, near Abadan, British Petroleum operated the world's largest refinery, an area described by a British engineer as a place of “sunshine, mud and flies.” British Petroleum's interests now run from Alaska to Indonesia, but its recent North American record is marked with mishaps. No hard cheese. No bad people. While British Petroleum's current tagline touts their company as “beyond petroleum” in an oil dependent world, they contribute to a Big Part, or shall we say to a Big Piece of the muck.

Yours,

Diana Vance, Muckless in

Mendocino

PS. Six miles up the ridge my neighbors are jackrabbits and cottontails. A time for penance and a time for par­tridge. Let them eat quail! Appetite comes with eating, while thirst goes away with drinking. One should lift swan, side haddock, break deer, tame crab, sauce capon, chine salmon, disfigure peacock. “That all softening overpowering knell. The tocsin of the soul — and the dinner bell.” Pure water. Water has preeminence. “I am drinking the stars.” “Sit down and feed and welcome to our table.” “You tell me where a man gets his cornpone, and I'll tell you what his ’pinions is.” A good cook is the best physician. Sing for your supper, but no tears for spilt milk. Your goose is cooked. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Too many cooks spoil the broth which is the greatest thing since sliced bread. In vino veritas, the purse is a better cook than the maid. The positive smell of coffee avec croissants. No taste at the table without the kitchen. The cook in Albion is a priest offering a sacrifice. And the stove is the altar.

PPS. In the 2003 Index on censorship annual report they reported that China continues to jail more journalists than any other country. The world’s worst places to be a journalist are in Iraq, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Turkmenistan, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Haiti, Russia, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. With the 21st century comes an increase of physical attacks on media personnel. In 2002 19 jour­nalists were killed. 36 lost their lives in the course of their work, two disappeared, 13 were killed. Iraq is the most dangerous place for a journalist. The above deaths were Australian, German, Spanish, Ukrainian, Palestin­ian, Iranian, Jordanian and US — four of whom were killed by US troops. Cameraman Mazen Dana was shot dead by machinegun fire from a US tank while filming near Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. Boom! No, Bang!

“High number of journalists killed during conflict.” What has happened to journalist as noncombatant and neutral observer? Consequences of journalists and/or their bodyguards involved in armed exchanges is war, isn't it?

On May 3, 2003, World Press Freedom Day, UNESCO Director General Ko’ichiro Matsuura reminded media audiences that in crisis situations and violent conflict the public relies on journalists who put their lives on the line to bring the public the information.

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MORE ANALYSIS WON’T HELP

Editor,

On Aug. 17, the Mendocino County Board of Supervi­sors will vote to turn five county transfer stations over to a private company. If this contract is approved many county residents will pay more for curbside col­lection and all residents will see self-haul rates rise at five previously operated county sites. This proposal is harmful, unnecessary and will permanently dismantle a network of transfer stations available to county residents for decades. We feel compelled to alert the public to how their pockets are about to be picked.

We have no philosophical objection to privatization of government work if it can be proven that it saves money and preserves service. But this deal is so bad that it can only be described as a give-away. It imposes indefensible costs on thousands of Mendocino County citizens without any justification.

The proposed deal negotiated by Supervisors McCowen and Pinches would award four no-bid con­tracts, 14 years long, without competitive bidding, to Solid Wastes of Willits. The corporation would take over operation of five county transfer stations — Laytonville, Potter Valley, Boonville, Albion and South Coast — and impose an immediate gate fee increase from $25 per cubic yard to $29. And every year into the future, the company can increase the gate fee based on a variety of factors including cost of living and cost of fuel.

As if that benefit isn't enough, this deal would give Solid Wastes of Willits a no-bid extension of its three curbside franchise collection contracts, covering 2,400 customers in South Coast, Anderson Valley, and North County, so that the exclusive franchise contracts all run for another 14 years. In normal government practice, a no-bid franchise contract extension is only granted if the hauler gives major concessions in rates or other financial benefits. But this deal is just the opposite. Solid Wastes of Willits would get an immediate 2% increase in all its curbside rates, plus another upward rate adjustment in only four months. Accordingly, curbside trash customers who never even use the transfer stations would therefore be forced to pay even higher rates than they now do in order to give Solid Wastes of Willits an unjustified pay-off.

It is being argued this deal will ensure that the county will no longer need to subsidize the transfer stations with General Fund monies. There is a long-standing policy to subsidize these remote sites in order to keep the gate fees low, and we can no longer afford such subsidies. But financial analysis provided by staff shows that the county can continue to operate these transfer stations without any subsidy provided that the gate fee is increased but to a level lower than the $29 per cubic yard demanded by Solid Wastes of Willits. So there is no justification for this deal except to carry out Supervisor Pinches and McCowen's preconceived notion that privatization must happen.

In June the City of Fort Bragg rejected the privatiza­tion contract because of its impact on the Caspar Trans­fer Station, co-owned with the county. We deplore the subsequent action of the Board of Supervisors majority to retaliate against Fort Bragg by issuing a notice of ter­mination for the Caspar Joint Powers Agreement, which has been in place for 33 years. Going forward, we will do everything we can to repair the damage of this pre­cipitous action so that a rational public policy can be pre­served to provide disposal service at the best possible price in the northern coastal area.

In summary, we urge the public to insist on a cost benefit analysis of this contract, including the need for a 14-year extension to three hauling contracts. Privatiza­tion at any cost is not in the public interest, does not pro­vide consumer protection and will cost residents need­lessly for years to come.

David Colfax

5th District supervisor

Kendall Smith

4th District supervisor

Ed note: See this week's lead story by Mark Scaramella for the true facts of the garbage controversy. These two scammers, Colfax and Smith, are hardly in a position to decry “gifts of public funds” seeing as how successive grand juries have said they cheated on their travel reimbursements, Smith to such an extent the grand jury said she should be indicted.

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VEILED FLATTERY

Dear Editor:

I was amused by your story in your Off the Record column about your army subscriber being taken to task by the base commander, a colonel, for reading the AVA. The colonel seems be to under the correct impression that you “encourage the breakdown of good order and discipline.”

You certainly are right in being flattered by his accu­sation. Also, if my memory serves me well I believe you are an anarcho-syndicalist and the colonel is rather insulting when he throws around words like communist.

You should send the colonel a subscribtion form and tell him for $50 he can get his own personal copy of the AVA and thus will not have to snoop through the mail of his soldiers. DOD Secretary Gates is trying to cut the fat in the military and he should start with this fathead.

In Peace,

James G. Updegraff

Sacramento

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ALBION REVISITED

Editor,

After its long vacation the summer sun, like me, has returned to Albion, bursting at the seams, calling forth more flowerings.

Paradise regained at the Richard Anderson Estate where Lady Mellon is Gardener in Residence among other things.

A longed for series of delightful moments are pass­ing. Catch them gently as you can, as you would a but­terfly. Then let them fly away on the wings of thanks.

John Patrick Donahoe,

Middle Ridge, Albion

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DON’T CHECK YOURSELF OUT

Dear Editor —

If you haven't been in a Safeway store recently, you've missed the new self-serve line to check yourself out.

Evidently, they want to lay off checkers in the future. I tried to use one, just to see. It took so long I almost gave up, but someone came to help me. I had one item. I said never again. I like people. Say no to mechanization.

Best wishes,

Trixie Stubbs

Little River

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SCAMMERS ON A ROLL

Editor,

You have to hand it to the people at SMART. They are years away from having an actual train, but there are lots ofstaffers earning six-figure incomes with over-the-top benefits. (“Staff costs for agency $2 million a year, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, August 8, 2010.) This may be SMART for them, but for taxpayers, not so much.

That’s why I think we need a new acronym. I’m pro­posing SCAMMERS — Sonoma County and Marin Medical and Early Retirement Swindle.

Doesn’t it just roll off the tongue?

Don Jones

Santa Rosa

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A FINE FRAUD

Editor,

After a huge waste of taxpayer time and money, Barry Bonds is being put on trial for lying about taking steroids. This is not about taking steroids; its about lying. This is an issue between professional baseball and the public. If the public doesn’t care if a player takes this drug, that’s what counts. If they do care, there will be little attendance at ballparks and stadiums. That’s the answer. How about other things players do to enhance their abilities like Jerry Rice who had an obsession with exercise to keep in tip-top shape? And it paid off. Is that fair to the player who in his time off sits in a bar drinking highballs?

Then about this lying business. A short time ago the judicial council put out a paper according to them to make fines more equal in California. It is a complete mess of words that no one really understands. The real purpose of this paper was to raise… Cross that out, I mean steal money from the public. They changed the meaning of the world “fine” which is what one must pay for breaking the law to “bail” which is the word what one pays to get released from jail with no explanation of their changing the meaning of words in the English lan­guage.

All courts in California were obliged to look these papers over. But I never could find out who obliged them. But the way it was apparently was not mandatory. As far as I know I presume that all counties jumped on board. I have not read of any objections to this fraud which should have been big news. Mind you in this great state of California not one person of authority tried or is trying to expose this fraud by the judicial council who seem to be some secret group. Who gave them authority to write up these papers? As most people have read about the fraud in the town of Bell, all executed in private in where the mayor and his cronies gave themselves unbe­lievable compensation.

I have stated many times that all public agencies are probably required to, but don’t, publish clear under­standable figures of the financial status at least every year. If someone out there in legal land can explain this for us idiots who pay for it all, I am sure this paper would gladly print it.

Emil Rossi

Boonville

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TEACH ’EM EARLY

Editor,

My intent is to tell you that learning a second lan­guage is no big deal, and I really mean it. What I'm try­ing to say is: “It's no big deal. If I can do it, so can you!”

It upsets me to no end the way bilingual education is being handled in this country. I recently called the Department of Bilingual Education in Washington DC (now called the Office of English Language Learners), and was hugely disappointed. None of the people I spoke with speak a second language. How can you work at this level and have absolutely no personal knowledge about what learning a second language entails? I don't like it.

I was given the telephone number of the Director in charge of hiring the Director for this new office in Washington DC. She said she had only answered her telephone because Caller ID showed “unknown caller” which is code for the White House. I told her I wanted to apply for the position of Director of this new department, but she told me the process was well underway, with lit­tle chance of being considered. Yuck! I felt powerless, again.

The objective is to start early. The sooner the child starts (pre-school) the better, because it's easiest to learn then, the affective filter is low. This means that not much thought goes into learning, it's much more automatic. When you are a teenager, and more self-conscious, this learning is not so automatic, and can be cause for much laughter (or embarrassment), and is not so productive, seems to me. At that age, I was already fluent in two lan­guages and learning a third. And that was how long ago?

I meet people, every day, who say such silly things as: “Oh, I can't speak a word of _______,” as if they should be proud of this.

In pre-school, kids love to play with words. They don't judge the experience, they just do it! Mandarin, Spanish, Japanese, French, or German can be taught early on. Early is the key. Don't wait to do this in the After-School program. By then it's too late. Foreign lan­guages belong in school, like milk belongs in cereal.

You have free public education in this country. For crying out loud, use it! Where are those monks?

Susie de Castro

Fort Bragg

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A BAD DEAL

Editor,

Mendocino county solid waste contract found want­ing

Why are three members of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors so anxious to give a near monopoly sweetheart deal to Solid Wastes of Willits (SWOW) to the detriment of the residents of Mendocino County? There are about twelve points that could be shown to be poorly negotiated from the County's standpoint . For the moment I'm only going to lay out three:

Point 1 — Why is the County ready to reward a con­tract violator? Through an independent review SWOW was found to have overcharged County ratepayers by $60,000, in Anderson Valley, the South Coast and North County areas. Customers are being paid back over time. Are they paying the customers back with interest? And furthermore, why would the County proceed to negotiate a new long term contract with a vendor that was quick to over bill us and slow to pay us back? Additionally, under the new proposed contract, instead of rolling back Anderson Valley's rate to the old and correct level, the proposed contract ‘grandfathers’ in the violation!

Point 2 — What is the County going to get for giving SWOW a 14 year contract? In Healdsburg, Redwood Empire Disposal provided a number of inducements for a 10 year rather than a 5 year contract, including offering some discounted rates and paying the City a one time $150,000 contract fee. The refuse company also agreed to haul sludge from the city's new wastewater plant, a savings of about $160,000 annually, according to Healdsburg public works officials. Healdsburg must have had a very good negotiating team. No such approach in Mendocino County negotiations. In the pro­posed Mendocino County contract does the County get lump sum payments for a couple of years? Or reduced rates for consumers for a couple of years? What do the residents of Mendocino get other than immediate higher rates and the ability for these to climb higher and higher? This exclusive franchise right prevents any other com­pany from setting up a competing operation during the course of the 14 year contract. How much is SWOW paying the County of Mendocino for this franchise right? Are they paying anything at all? Why are we being so generous with a company that hasn't treated County con­sumers fairly in the past? Who gives 14 year contracts these days? Maybe to vendors who have proven their reliability and integrity over a long period of time. That is not the case here!

Point 3 — Why does the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors find it necessary to sell off (actually give away) the five solid waste transfer stations? The main purpose as I understand it is to eliminate the County's subsidy of the five transfer stations. There are six but the Fort Bragg City Council had the wisdom to say no to the deal so the Caspar station, co-operated by the City and County, is not part of this new contract. I believe that any business, in order to survive, must provide service to its customers so they are reasonably satisfied and that the business be run as efficiently as possible so as not to lose money and eventually die. I don't think that the County has run the six transfer stations as efficiently as possible. Maybe they need new management. Maybe they need to modify rates. If the Supervisors are thought not to be doing a good job, they can be voted out of office. If SWOW is thought to not be doing a good job, we have to wait until 2024 in order to not renew their contract.

Howard Dashiell, the County's Director of Transporta­tion, in his July 23, 2010 letter to the Fort Bragg City Council stated that a rate increase to $28 per cubic yard, may mitigate all or a portion of the County's subsidy. With additional proposed efficiencies discussed with the Board last month, a balanced transfer station budget is attainable NOW. So if we are able to operate all transfer stations at the $28 rate, including Caspar, why give the operations away?

And why, why why hasn't SWOW been banned from doing further business with the County after overcharg­ing us $60,000?

To not provide the public with any explanation for the contract length and fee increases is inexcusable. A cost-benefit analysis would have done that. But the County administration and board majority seem to want this deal at any cost to the residents and tax payers. Despite best practices and the right for citizens to see an objective analysis the deal appears to be going forward.

This solid waste contract as negotiated by the Supervi­sors Ad Hoc committee is a bad deal for the resi­dents of Mendocino County and should not be com­pleted. When I left New Jersey 16 years ago I thought that I had left these kinds of shenanigans behind. I guess chicanery is universal.

Robert S. “Bob” Bushansky

Fort Bragg

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THE TIES THAT BIND

Editor

“Ukiah man proposes pot forest patrol by citizens.” (Headline in the Sunday, Ukiah Daily Journal.) It is courageous men like Ken Good who give America the backbone that makes this country so great, a commend­able solution to the ever increasing problem that we see as our national forest being taken over by the drug car­tels.

But as Bob Nishiyama of the major crimes task force has said there are some problems with this idea! Not only due to the safety of the citizens who wish to take on such a daunting task, there is also the chance that offshoot rogue vigilantly renegades confronting the cartels will turn the forest into an all out war zone.

Then we can see another problem by crop raiders tax­ing the growers, by pretending to be the good citizens that wish to make our forest safe. What I mean is a group of people pretending to eradicate a grow when in fact they are stealing it for financial gain!

There is a solution for this. It is called the PC 832(b). This is listed in the penal codes, so you do the research. Basically what this means is that such a volunteer would have to complete a course. Of course with the economy they would have to pay for this course themselves. Once completed they shall work with law enforcement to observe and report, and then allow law enforcement to do the rest with help from the volunteers if deemed needed.

By completing the course it not only prepares the vol­unteer for the job at hand, it also registers them with law enforcement and builds a bind between the two enti­ties, hence establishing the communication and organi­zation needed to have this done correctly!

Trent Foster

Ukiah

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RAMADASABBATH

Mighty Editor,

Here is my proposition. Religion must be defanged and demystified in this time. I will mention two seem­ingly monolithic and intractable foes of fundamentalist fervor, the Jews and the Muslims. Certainly there are some beneficial lessons in their respective teachings and there are some dangerously divisive separatist tendencies which don’t seem to be finding healthy outlet and expression in a modern globalized world.

My opinion is that once we begin to universalize the nationalistic religions of our past not only do we one up them morally but we steal away their exclusivist claims which are the backbone of fundamentalism and we socialize all devotees into the globalized world of inter-dependence and mutuality.

So for example, as an exercise, imagine combining the Sabbath of the Jews with the Ramadan of the Muslims.

I have always admired how observant Jews don’t drive on the Sabbath, genius, an interruption in the industrial march of humankind for at least one day of the week. Combine that with for example Ramadan, a sun­rise to sunset fast of the Muslims that lasts a month.

So you combine these two ideas and stop driving your car for a month.

Imitation is the highest form of flattery and humanity has been learning from itself through imitation since the infancy of this world. The oppressed imitate the oppres­sor, the oppressors imitate the oppressed. The young imitate the old, the old imitate the young. I once asked an orthodox Zionist where he got his fervor from. He said he saw how committed the Muslim brothers were and resolved that he would have the same zeal and commit­ment to his cause. I couldn’t really fault him, he was born who he was. Not sure what this revelation means for mankind. Perhaps we are all more similar than we believe despite the abyss of separation that looms between us all that is growing by the day.

People will have to unite. The rumors of war on the near horizon are Completely and Unequivocally Unac­ceptable in Any Degree. We will have to unite socially and spiritually to avert these crises. We will have to identify with the other, no matter how uncomfortable any of us may find that to be.

‘wearing the sandals of fear and hope’

Nate Wellred Collins

Oakland

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SAVE THE GAUGE

Editor,

Save the Navarro River Gauge—

The current message on the Navarro River stream gage reads: “STREAMGAGE TO BE DISCONTINUED OCT.1, 2010.” There is a serious potential that the USGS will no longer receive operational funds for this stream­gage. Federal regulations require that the USGS discon­tinue operation of unfunded streamgages. Any party with concrete information on funding sources to continue the gage operation should contact…

40% of the expense of the gauge has been covered bofUSGS, 60% from Mendocino County’s Water Agency. It is the scarcity of county funding that now puts the gauge in jeopardy. If this portion of the funding from the county is not re-established by October first, the gauge will be shut down ending a continuous 59-year history.

This gauge is essential to the state’s program to address the Navarro’s sediment and high temperature TMDL impairments. The state also has an obligation to develop an action plan for the Navarro that must include a program of monitoring water quality and instream flow. Additionally, the state’s AB 2121 program to restore instream flows cannot function without the data that the gauge now provides.

The recently released CEO budget for 2010-11 for the Water Agency shows a budgeted income of just about 10.3% less than last fiscal year. The budget does not disclose budgeted expenses. It is our understanding that the cost to the county is $13,450 of which the Men­docino Redwood Company has contributed about half the cost. We understand and appreciate that MRC desires to continue their support for the gauge.

We propose that the public provide an additional con­tribution to the Water Agency of $4000 for the gauge for this fiscal year to keep it in operation. We believe this will be acceptable to the county. If so, Friends of the Navarro Watershed will put up the first $1000 and work for the commitment of the balance from other supporters.

This arrangement would reduce the anticipated cost to the county for the gauge by more than 50% compared to the anticipated 10% budget cut. More importantly, it will maintain a vital data source that will be substantially funded by others.

The county has made commitments in the new Gen­eral Plan for surface water resources:

Policy RM-12: The County supports the creation of a comprehensive plan for surface and groundwater resources in Mendocino County. The comprehensive plan should include the following components:

• Assessing existing surface water resources, includ­ing water quality and instream flows.

Allowing this gauge to cease operation would defeat this county policy and is unacceptable.

We ask for your help in raising the additional fund­ing. Contact Daniel Myers dmyers@pacific.net 895-3887 or Steve Hall pipsteve@pacific.net 895-2735.

Steve Hall and Daniel Myers

Friends of the Navarro

Boonville/Philo

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POT PROBLEMS

Dear Editor,

The August 13, Santa Rosa Press Democrat story of Dan Hamburg employee Calvin Walker’s complaint against him was lamentably unbalanced. While Walker’s “troubled past” was outlined in detail, allegations of Hamburg’s earlier involvement in an unemployment fraud case and the 2008 police raid on Hamburg’s prop­erty in a marijuana case were not.

Although Walker has merely gone to court with a claim against his employer, which is not an unusual matter at all, The Press Democrat gave the story a ban­ner headline and quotes Hamburg derisively calling his former employee is a “disturbed individual.”

Obviously, the reason this story has legs is that the political season is upon us. If the PD chooses to stir the political pot by running a non-story, they should at least be fair and present the facts about Hamburg’s record as an elected official allegedly involved in illegal marijuana farming.

With $10,000 in cash, fifty plants in the ground and ten pounds of processed marijuana found on Hamburg’s property, there was surely enough smoke to concern all of us who favor medical marijuana and want to stay within the bounds of the law so the right to its medicinal use is not outlawed.

The issue is not Calvin Walker or his character, but the character and political skill of a former public official once again running for office, who is known primarily for his allegations of wrong doing in marijuana and employment issues and his weak record of achievements as an elected official. Relevant as well would be pointing out that the voters in a liberal Democratic district thought so poorly of the job done by their congressman that they replaced him with an arch conservative Republican after only one term.

In the 5th District Supervisorial contest, I recommend Wendy Roberts — a candidate who offers integrity and a genuine commitment to public service

Bill McIver (former Hamburg supporter)

Mendocino, 5th District

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WHAT MARRIAGE SHOULD BE

Dear Bruce,

This morning (August 17) I sat at the local good-ol boy hangout known as the Redwood Drive-In sharing a Logger’s Omelet with my two youngest kids, thinking of how much I had changed since the days when I was 12 years old and used to go in with my Grandma Kuny at 4am to start the coffee and doughnuts for the loggers.

Missing those carefree days. I then happened to over­hear an interesting discussion brewing between two local “good-ol boys,” a discussion that I would have found myself in the middle of if I did not have my two young­est kids with me.

Now, I know it’s too much to ask that all people be open-minded, generous to all, blah, blah, blah. So I’m glad that at least one of the men made a fairly decent decision and said, “I really don’t give a shit if gays want to get married!” Good choice — just stay out of it — fairly wise I think — keeps you from being on one side or another. The other man though, in my book, just my opinion, and like I said — if I did not have my two kids!… He says, “Fags can’t breed!” What a shame! We may have more open-minded, intelligent, good looking, professional, well dressed people on this big blue earth! What a shame that instead, close-minded, unintelligent people get to breed. I know many “Fags” that have cho­sen to adopt unwanted or abused children, spawned by drug using, negligent “straight” people — and these “Fags” are wonderful, caring, giving parents. He also made a comment that marriage was a “religious thing.”

Ha! Ha! I’m married, not because I’m religious but because I’m in love. Maybe it used to be a “religious thing” but not so much anymore. Marriage should be because two people love each and want to be together. Straight or gay, Black or White, Mexican or Jew… Etc.

It amazes me really that in this year we still have to have such close-minded self-righteous talk. It took everything I had not to comment. I just hope that my children grow up wiser, more open-minded, more gener­ous than some of the people in this valley tend to be. I hope they know that whether they are straight, gay or bi-sexual — I don’t care — I’ll love them, I won’t judge. If other people judge them, it’s other people’s loss. I think it would be ironic if the man who made the comment one day finds out his kid or grandkid is gay. You don’t choose to be gay, just like you don’t choose to be white, black, Mexican — you’re born that way. It doesn’t mean you don’t have a right to be loved. The two men in my life who have given me and my children more love, respect and opened our eyes to better things in this life — happen to be gay. My Uncle Mick and his partner, Uncle Marc. They are intelligent, business savvy, gener­ous, fun-loving, dependable — and they have the strong­est relationship of any couple I know. Gay or straight. That’s what marriage should be.

Lisa Kuny-Mariani

Navarro

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APPOINT LIZ, BARACK

Friends,

This is President Obama's choice:

Side with consumers, taxpayers and investors.

Or once again make an appointment to please Wall Street.

This administration desperately needs someone who will get tough on Wall Street.

Act now to urge President Obama to name Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren to lead the new Con­sumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The new consumer protection agency is the best thing to come out of the recent Wall Street reform legislation.

With a real reformer at the helm, the Bureau could crack down on predatory mortgage loans, hidden bank fees, credit card abuses, college loan traps and much more.

But whether the new Bureau will deliver on its prom­ise depends in large part on who runs it.

There's no doubt who would be the most effective leader of the new bureau: Harvard Law Professor Eliza­beth Warren.

Under a lesser leader, the new agency will quickly degenerate into just another part of the Washington bureaucracy.

Just what Wall Street hopes for.

Public Citizen, an organization I founded nearly 40 years ago, fought long and hard for the Consumer Finan­cial Protection Bureau. It is now leading the charge to have Elizabeth Warren selected to run the new agency.

Please sign Public Citizen's petition calling for Presi­dent Obama to name Elizabeth Warren to lead the Con­sumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Warren first proposed the creation of a new consumer financial protection agency in 2007. And as head of the Congressional Oversight Panel, she has led the commis­sion that has been the toughest official group — by far — on Wall Street. Professor Warren combines rigorous scholarship, a superb sense of needed change, and unusually clear ways to communicate those needs to families and individuals around the country.

You may have seen her on TV chairing the Congres­sional Oversight Panel's inquiry, or being interviewed by Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert. She more than held her own in each of these venues.

Many of the political and corporate bosses have taken a dislike to Professor Warren.

She has offended them by asking hard questions they are not accustomed to.

Why have you bailed out the banks, and received nothing in exchange?

Why have you done so little to address the foreclo­sure crisis, doling out trillions of dollars to big banks while spending only hundreds of millions to aid home­owners?

Do you believe the economy should work for middle-class families, or for Wall Street?

And so these powers-that-be have started a whisper campaign to defeat her. Oh yes, she's talented, they say. But she can't win Senate confirmation, they claim.

There's no reason to think this is true. She has broad support and popularity across the country. Even some Republicans have warmed to Professor Warren's plain-spoken ways, and her readiness to challenge Wall Street.

And, in any case, the responsibility of the President is to name the best person for the position, then use his powers to win Senate confirmation.

Add your name to the petition urging President Obama to make Elizabeth Warren the head of the Con­sumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Nearly two years after the Wall Street meltdown that threw the economy into a tailspin, leaving millions out of work, costing trillions in lost savings, and leading mil­lions to be evicted from their homes, Congress has finally passed Wall Street reform legislation.

The new legislation is testament to Wall Street's ongoing political dominance and the deep corruption of our government. The bill leaves the too-big-to-fail banks intact, it fails to crack down on dangerous speculation, and it has other deficiencies.

But Wall Street didn't win everything.

The creation of a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is one of the bill's hardest won and most mean­ingful reforms.

Whether its promise is realized depends in large part on who runs the new agency.

One of the emblematic failures of President Obama was his decision to populate his economic policymaking team with Wall Street veterans and allies.

Now the President has an opportunity to make an appointment on behalf of consumers and a fair economy, rather than for those who prey on consumers and under­mine our economic well-being.

Right now, Warren is considered a leading candidate for the job.

Act now to urge President Obama to nominate the peo­ple's choice — Professor Elizabeth Warren — to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Only YOU, we and others together can make the dif­ference,

Ralph Nader

Washington, DC

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