Letters to the Editor

by AVA News Service, September 1, 2010

PAVING WITH GOOD INTENTIONS

Editor,

Ron Epstein's Sunday View column in the August 22 Ukiah Daily Journal attempts to explain why he thinks the planned for asphalt hot mix plant at the Harris quarry site south of Willits is a really bad idea. The pro­posal is by Northern Aggregates, a small Willits-based firm in the basalt and crushed stone business for over 20 years with less than $3 million in yearly sales and employing 25.

Their application for a permit was turned down two years back and has now been scaled back to eliminate the companion readymix concrete batch plant and by restricting the life of the plant to 30 years rather than allowing operation of the site until the “end of life” of the quarry, which could be 70 years from now. The new EIR will be ready by October and the public will have 45 days to challenge it before submittal to the Board of Supervisors.

Ron Epstein, getting off the first salvo against this yet unpublished plan, argues that there are: 1. Serious cancer risks from asphalt fumes, 2. That it would seriously pol­lute the greater Ukiah area with these carcinogens, 3. That the original EIR concluded that health and odor were insignificant, it did not take into account the vola­tile organic compounds (VOCs) such as benzene deriva­tives, the major source of carcinogens. The fourth (4.) criticism is that the revised EIR is basically inadequate. The asphalt plant being considered under the new EIR is no different from that which was evaluated two years ago so I will respond to Epstein's critique using the old EIR as a basis. Each of these charges is easily dismissed by anyone willing to take the time to read the 263 pages of the 2007 EIR, and to comprehend what he or she is reading. Admittedly, not many of us have even the time nor the technical background required. As a retired pro­fessional chemical engineer, I have the time and experi­ence working in oil refineries and asphalt plants. So here goes.

Pure asphalt is produced from the “bottom of the bar­rel” in an oil refinery. It contains all the heaviest ele­ments of crude oil, those that do not vaporize at moder­ate temperatures, as does gasoline, diesel oil and kero­sene. It would be trucked to the Harris quarry hot mix plant while being kept warm to keep it from solidifying. There it would be mixed in a rotary kiln with aggregate that has been mined at the quarry, and then stored in a silo prior to use. The new state of the art plant at the Harris quarry will be equipped with filters to efficiently remove particulates, and with various controls and air quality monitoring systems. It will be technically and environmentally far superior to the two existing hot mix plants along the Russian River in Ukiah and probably will result in their being shut down.

Responding to Mr. Epstein's specific charges: 1. The toxic air contaminants emissions (TACs) from the new plant, are estimated to be far, far below the levels that could be of harm to any residents in the vicinity. The state and federal criteria define as a significant risk the possibility that one out of every one million people liv­ing in the project area would suffer from cancer caused by the asphalt plant if it were operated at capacity for the 70 years of an average person's life. The calculation shows that at the nearest site, a trailer park, 0.27 persons would be at risk of cancer over their lifetime. (Never mind that there are probably fewer than 100 people liv­ing in this remote area 7 miles south of Willits and 20 miles from Ukiah and it would be physically impossible to cram 1 million into the immediate area.)

Mr. Epstein's second charge, is that it will seriously pollute the greater Ukiah area with carcinogens and rep­resents a significant risk to the health of large numbers of county residents. I have no idea how he came to this sweeping conclusion if you read the EIR and its appen­dices carefully. There would be no significant pollution of the greater Ukiah area from this asphalt plant as dem­onstrated by the air dispersion modeling techniques employed in EIR. The third charge is that the EIR did not take into account the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as benzene. The volatile organics, mainly petroleum derivatives, are a large portion of the TAC emissions category mentioned in item one above. They are fully considered although Mr. Epstein seemed to have missed it. The toxic consequences of the VOC's are not significant.

In his final complaint, Mr. Epstein concludes that the EIR fails to consider the cumulative buildup of toxics from a multiplicity of sources over one's lifetime and that it does not consider the magnified effects of toxics upon infants and old people. He wonders about the conse­quences of failure of air filtering systems and other equipment and the ability of the county to adequately monitor the plant operation. He also worries about an overturned asphalt truck on Highway 101.

Please note here that hot mix asphalt is routinely applied to Highway 101 and county roads, an application not much different from an accidental dump on the roadway and not considered an environmental disaster by our Transportation department.

After this discussion, Mr. Epstein complains that so-called safe pollution levels set by the federal government for toxic substances “are believed to be grossly inade­quate by mainstream communities of medical and scien­tific researchers.”

On the contrary, we have often heard complaints from industry that the toxic emission standards are impractical and far too severe. I would like to see some references to these “mainstream communities” who apparently think 10 cases of cancer in 10 million over a lifetime is not a strict enough criteria. If he wants to tighten up the regulations, then he should do battle with the EPA in Washington and the state office of Environ­mental Health Hazard Assessment in Sacramento, not with Northern Aggregates in Willits. What would he have us do? Refuse to approve all industrial projects in Mendocino County while he gets the EPA and the state to mend their ways?

I do not like to see people's fears raised by means of unsubstantiated charges published in the County’s only daily newspaper. I've talked with Ron Epstein, a most reasonable man, and I hope that he will respond to my letter and try to be more careful in his future letters to the Editor. Maybe come October we can arrange a public debate?

James Houle

Redwood Valley

PS. I drove all over the area. There are not more than 100 people living within a two-mile radius of the quarry. So you take the 0.27 cancers per one million in the area and adjust for only 100 people, and you come up with (0.000027) cases of cancer amongst the hundred resi­dents in the area over 70 years. Fear and panic seem to be our daily bread. The Ground Zero mosque bullshit is our most recent example.

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SEX REGISTRATION BLUES

Bruce McEwen:

I have agonized since March about writing this letter. It is very difficult to explain my situation and/or reasons why I deserve exception or tolerance as a 290 PC regis­trant.

“We routinely disqualified testimony that would plead for extenuation. That is, we are so persuaded of the rightness of our judgment as to invalidate evidence that does not confirm us in it. Nothing that deserves to be called truth could ever be arrived at by such means.” M. Robinson, Death of Adam.

Every time I have been guilty (including my original offense on October 3, 1990) I have taken responsibility for my actions. I have been open and honest about my history. I have disclosed my situation as a sex offender registrant to all of my family and friends and anyone who I felt had a need to know. My honesty and openness about my past has caused me nothing but heartache. But for me my honesty was my personal accountability. I’ve chosen to break the chain of abuse even though the only reinforcement I have received for my changes in behav­ior has been negative reinforcement.

After 12 years of difficult compliance with PC 290, I had the misfortune of running afoul of the Willits Police Department while en route to Arcata, California on Sep­tember 20, 2008. I had registered previously in Arcata on August 20, 2008. Transients are required to register every 30 days, rather than every year with a stable address. While registered in any jurisdiction you are legal to go anywhere in California (as I made a side trip) as long as you don't reside in any other jurisdiction more than five days. On September 18, 2008, I was in Ber­keley, California. I knew that I needed to go back to Arcata by Monday noon, the 21st to register. My intent was to at that time to register as out-of-state and return to New York State.

On Sunday, September 20, 2008, I was arrested at the Jack-in-the-Box in Willits for trespassing. I was booked into the county jail for failure to register even though there would have been no way for me to register on a Saturday or Sunday.

When I was finally released after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor, 30 days time served in 20. I was never notified by the Sheriff’s Department of Mendocino County that I now have a requirement to register in a county that I do not, have never, and plan never to reside in!

I spent a few days in Willits helping a friend move. On September 13, 2008, I hitchhiked from Highway 20 and 101 to Rochester, New York. I registered in Reno Nevada and then Rochester New York as per state New York State law, my original state of commitment. I have lived there since December 2008 without serious issue. I have had one inconsequential police contact. I've been living my life with the intention of never being incarcer­ated again.

Fast forward to October 21, 2009. I returned to my home town to see my mother as she had just gotten mar­ried only to be arrested on a felony warrant from Mendo­cino County. I was refused entrance into the San Diego County jail because of high blood sugar. I registered as out of San Diego and came her to face the court on my own power on October 22, 2009. While in the court I was released on my own recognizance but the judge ordered me to register in Willits. I walked across the hall and registered even though there was no legal reason for me to do so except the court order. I was yelled at and threatened by one particular Willits Police Department officer and treated unprofessionally by everyone else I dealt with there. I left their concerned for my life and/or well-being only to be followed until I left town by Offi­cer Jeff Andrade. I rode the bus back to Ukiah.

I returned to court on November 12, 2009. I was released to go home, Rochester, New York, to find evi­dence if possible.

Never had I registered in Mendocino before. I had been threatened here and I just wanted to catch the bus. I didn't even think about my registration. My only thought at the time was how to get back to New York. I was planning to return by February 24, 2010 for court there. Upon my return to Rochester I registered in accordance with New York State law.

If anything I've made a mistake. I followed the law and the judge’s order to the best of my ability. The Dis­trict Attorney's office here in Mendocino County wants a felony conviction/prison and/or parole time because I followed a court order. There was no legal reason for me to register here. My California registration was current as of October 27, 2009 as out of the San Diego area. I was here less than five days and I live in New York.

The original warrant that I returned to Mendocino to clear up has been dropped for lack of evidence. The pre­sent charges were dropped on August 9, 2010, then immediately refiled.

I will continue to put faith in the motto on the door of the courthouse: “truth, liberty, justice and tolerance.”

During the last 19 years I have lived within the bounds of societal and cultural morality. My honesty has been the cornerstone of my positive changes. I have been kicked and beaten both metaphysically and physically because of my honesty. But I have not re-offended! When I have been prosecuted there has been no evi­dence.

Rights and liberty are only as good as those that we protect for the least of us citizens of the United States.

It seems that the District Attorney's Office would claim that I am a great danger or a scary person to the Mendocino community. I have doing quite well living 2900 miles from here. I have less interest in being here than they seem to have in dragging me back.

Thank you,

Brian K. Wallace

Mendocino County Jail

Ukiah

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HEMP & HAMBURG

Editor:

Is Calvin Walker a Judas? The “repugs” are always trying to “crucify” Dan on a bed of “grass.”

I/we like Hemp & Hamburg!

Captain Fathom

Tom Allman’s Poor Man’s Health Spa

Ukiah

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MAN UP, DAN

Anderson Valley Advertiser

This is in response to Dan Hamburg’s comments about me and my family in the August 18 AVA.

It is true that I have sat at Dan Hamburg’s table many times. It is also true that Dan knows my mother and sis­ter, my children and my grandchildren. But let me be clear about that. The only reason Dan Hamburg knows my family at all is that at one time I was proud to be his friend and I introduced him to my family because of that. Believe me, that is the only reason.

Dan Hamburg also describes me as a confused, lost soul with the character of that of the village idiot who is constantly in and out of jail.

I am a union trained sheet-metal man, one of the best sheet-metal layout men in the whole of the United States of America. That is a bold statement and I can back it up. I have an advanced knowledge of the theory of triangu­lation, geometric design and layout. An ex-sheet-metal heating ventilation air-conditioning contractor and passed both the state of California contractor’s license test, trade exam and contractor law the first time.

I am a journeyman in at least half a dozen trades and build houses from the ground up doing all of the aspects of the total building package.

Also, I am one of the best medical marijuana growers in Mendocino County. I have it down to a science. Which is the reason Dan Hamburg asked me for my help to grow a medical marijuana garden on his property during the spring of 2008. Then he cheated me out of a fair share of the garden.

Dan Hamburg also recently said that none of the mari­juana from the two gardens I grew on his property belonged to me, which is a flat out to lie. For two grow­ing seasons, 2008 and 2009, I planted and tended for the two marijuana gardens that I grew on his property in a partnership of trust only to be cheated.

At no time did Dan Hamburg or any member of his family offer to help me other than supplying material in those two years.

That gave Dan Hamburg and family two years of not a care in the world as far as the medical marijuana gar­den.

And then Dan Hamburg has the nerve to say I had no right to any of the medical marijuana from those two gardens.

As far as my politics go, my filing the small claims lawsuit against Dan Hamburg was a political move. But it was my move. I am attempting to keep Dan ever from being elected to the Fifth District supervisor job in November because Dan Hamburg can not be trusted in the guardianship of Mendocino's County’s West Coast or the taxpayers’ money.

So Dan Hamburg, don't tell me I am confused about the issues.

As far as my housing and arrest record goes, the only time I have ever been sentenced to jail time was 20 days for driving on a suspended license. I have never been convicted of a felony and at the present time I have no probation, no tickets of any kind, no court date. I am a law-abiding citizen.

So, Dan Hamburg, pull your head out of wherever it is stuck and man up.

Sincerely,

Calvin Lee Walker, 8/23/10

Ukiah

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STILL A LESSER-EVILIST

Dear Colonel Anderson:

Not that you give a rat's ass but, for the record: I admit that you and A. Cockburn et al. were, in the main, were right about Mr. Obama. My enthusiasm upon his elec­tion arose chiefly from my amazement that a black man could be elected president of this racist country. If you check back, I believe caveats were included with my kudos, to the effect that I wasn't keen about many of his positions. Still — enthusiasm prevailed. My error.

It has become obvious that Obama would not have been allowed to run, much less given a chance to be elected, had he not first gone to the powers that be and convinced them that, to paraphrase Churchhill, he did not intend to become first minister of the United States in order to preside over the liquidation of the country's capitalist status quo. No revolutionary, he.

Despite the disappointment we feel we of the left feel about his presidency so far, the alternative would have been, I assert, much worse. And the American people may well be ready, in their truculence, to opt for that “worse” in the coming election. If it wasn't unbecoming of an atheist, I would urge prayer.

Respectfully,

Don MacQueen

Eugene, Oregon

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FLYING BUMMERS

Dear Editor:

Just in case lawmakers are interested in what the citi­zenry thinks about the recent marijuana eradication operations on the Big Island in Hawaii to judge from the amount of pure, unadulterated hostility the DEA heli­copter generated in my neighborhood, it wouldn't have been a surprise if the collective stinkeye had blown them out of the skies. If there is such a thing as “karma,” it may take a couple of lifetimes of community service for the perpetrators of these crimes to pay their debt to soci­ety for all the days they ruined, and all the people they totally bummed out.

The federal government in particular is behind the times when it comes to representing the will of the peo­ple with respect to marijuana laws. Flaming liberals and rabid right-wingers alike can agree that new legislation is needed. Those running for public office who don't want to be on the wrong side of history might win by a land­slide by pledging to bring more sanity to the discussion. People are darn mad, and they don't want to have to take such violations of their personhood anymore.

Aloha,

Bill Brundage

Kurtistown, Hawaii

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ALL IN THE FAMILY

Dear Editor,

I am writing in regards to how could a brother whose family showed him nothing but love and support for his safety and well-being in the most critical time in his life turn on him as if they were the ones who were seeking the death penalty for him!

The brother I am referring to is Eugene Allen Lincoln Jr. A lot of people know him as “Bear Lincoln.”

My name is Eric Lincoln. Bear is the oldest brother of the family.

On April 14 of 1995 Bear was accused of killing Men­docino County Deputy Sheriff Robert “Bob” Davis. This had been a very bad and uncertain time for us all.

Family stuck with him all the way. From the time Bear turned himself in to Tony Serra's office in San Francisco until the day he was acquitted of all charges in Ukiah.

For reasons we will probably never know, when he came back to Covelo his whole attitude had gradually changed for the worse towards his family. The same family who stood by him during what was perhaps the most difficult time of his life. The friends and the sup­porters he had made along the way toook the place of his natural family.

The house in Little Valley which the whole family build he figured belonged solely to him. Him being in that state of mind moved anything that he felt didn't belong in “his” house outside literally in the dirt!

And if that wasn't enough, my eldest sister Tina told me that she went up to the family house to gather some of her stuff. Bear confronted her telling her to get what she wanted and let her know that she and her family were not welcome up there anymore!

He has no f-ing right in hell to say who can and can­not be up at the family house. Before our dad died one of his last wishes was that the house in Little Valley belonged to all of us — a wish that obviously Bear has no intention of honoring.

I honestly have no clue to what could have happened to cause a total reversal of character. His unpredictable actions are tearing his family apart.

And now our mother Lucille, is considering leaving her modular (where everyone stays after Bear put Little Vally off-limits to them) to him after her passing.

I'm going to try to persuade her to change her mind. I mean he already ran everybody away from the big house (its nickname). How much more damage can he do to his family?

I didn't mean to use your paper as a way to air my dirty laundry. I just intended to let the other side of Bear Lincoln be known, the side he keeps hidden from his friends and supporters. But it is the side of him that his family is aware of every day.

When I get back home I will have to deal with reper­cussions of writing this letter. But I did it for my family who I care for and love very much — yes, even my brother Bear.

Bare the truth.

Eric Lincoln

Ukiah

PS. Family — United we stand, divided we fall. Sad but true.

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WORDS TO VOTE BY

Editor,

“I want to win the lottery, buy three ships, man them with American Indians, and send them over to discover Italy.” — Henry Oettinger

“I don't know if I'm going to change the world, but I'm sure as hell going to try to see that it doesn't change me." — Ammon Hennessy

“There are a lot of stupid people in this country, and Sarah Palin is their leader."

A reader

Willits

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DRIP DRY

Editor,

In the last 3421 years, 268 have been without war. We peaceniks are 12 percenters. A poll of men along Manhattan's skidrow revealed they are in touch with the world. At any given moment, 1800 thunderstorms are in progress on the Earth's surface, where lightning strikes 100 times every second. It was declared on KY radio this morning that 20% of Pakistan is under water. And the difference between man's soot and nature's grime is that while we are all wet, nature knows how to clean up on this planet. Things get deep or dusty.

Ciao,

Diana Vance

In what was

Mendocino's Redwood rainforest

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THIS IS REHAB?

To the Editor:

My sister is in a drug and alcohol recovery center. She is now dating a man at that Center who is from from Ukiah. This man had two DUIs in one month. First one was a hit and run while under the influence of alcohol, heroin and meth. He was booked and released. Second one, he hit two vehicles while under the influence of all of the above drugs. His mother bailed him out. He did 90 days in County Jail and was granted 90 days in rehab. Well, $6,000 and a month at this rehab center and no restitution for his victims.

My sister spent two nights with this man in Eureka. I guess after 30 days, clients can get a two night pass (away from the facility). My parents are furious because my sister and this man are planning to leave Ukiah and move to Garberville together after he sells his home. The lack of supervision at this rehab is just that, a lack of supervision. They spend all day together from morning to 10pm driving around in her vehicle, alone. They are in love.

Can anyone tell me what's wrong with this picture?

Janice Jenkins

Ukiah

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MIRRORS

Editor,

Regarding Mariano Lopez Fernandez (AVA, 8/25/10. Page 4.)

A response to Jessica regarding the loss of her hus­band who was shot and killed by law enforcement offi­cers when confronted in an illegal marijuana grow.

Jessica, the loss of a loved one is always traumatic and heart-rending. However, your rant in the AVA blaming everyone but yourself and Mariano begs a response.

Your husband was involved in felony criminal activ­ity, a 2000-plant marijuana garden. He was hired to guard the garden and was armed with a military style assault weapon for that purpose. You said he would never have fired at deputies! But does any sane person expect a deputy to wait to see if he will be fired upon when a person is pointing a rifle at him? Oops, I was wrong, he did shoot and now I am dead!

You said he had a family to think about. If he was so concerned about the care of his family why was he engaged in criminal activity? You and he knew the risk, as you said, you always told him that if he got into trou­ble and was deported you would follow him to Mexico. Why didn’t you use every means in your power to steer him away from such dangerous and criminal activity? If you had he would not be dead.

You said the deputies have destroyed many lives. Have you ever considered the many lives that are destroyed by those who are involved in these large and small marijuana grows?

You know that drugs, including marijuana, beget huge profits, are sold and marketed in the major cities, and fuel the majority of the crime, death and suffering that is present in our society. Yet you did nothing to remove yourself and your husband from this sordid activity, choosing instead to openly support and encour­age him by promising to always be there for him. You obviously still support this illegal activity as you said you know who was there and will not give names ever to anyone.

Well, Jessica, you have made your choice in life and choices entail responsibility. You made bad choices which have resulted in the tragic loss of your husband and the father of your son. I suggest that if you wish to see who is responsible for his death you need only to look in a mirror! No one else but you and Mariano could have prevented his death.

Stacie Good

Boonville

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HAMBURG’S VISION

Editor,

In the aftermath of my debate with Wendy Roberts yesterday afternoon for Ukiah Valley TV (to be broad­cast on Mendocino Coast TV, MCTV), I want to describe what I see as the difference between your two candidates for supervisor. Wendy is a self-described “Stanford liberal.” As such, she doesn't deeply question corporate prerogatives, often repeating the contention that “they're all good people.” She describes the MLPAI (Marine Life Protection Act Initiative) in this vein, insisting that the Resources Legacy Foundation Fund (funded by the family charities of Intel, Getty, Packard, etc.) has no particular agenda when it comes to the dis­position of our coast. She believes that the placement of Catherine Reheis-Boyd, chief operating officer and chief of staff for the Western States Petroleum Association, on the Task Force making the decisions about our coast raises no particular concern. On other issues — from the privatization of county solid waste disposal to the increasing loss of agricultural land to outside real estate investment trusts — she voices support or raises no loud objection.

I'm a Stanford grad, too, but would describe myself as a progressive (registered Green due to my disaffection with the Democratic Party's capitulation to corporate interests) who believes strongly that the current order, in which the US functions like an international rogue cop, enriching corporations while gutting the middle-class and guttering the poor, must pass.

I noticed that Wendy recently criticized me (Ukiah Daily Journal, 8/26), as have Grant Miller and other Wendy supporters, for being “too concerned about national and global issues.” I don't know how one can be “too concerned” about those things. Being a good county supervisor means “thinking globally and acting locally.” For example, the need for us to build a local economy, particularly in the food and energy sectors, is precisely because Cargill, Archer-Daniels-Midland, PG&E, BP, Exxon, etc. are evil. That doesn't mean that their execs are necessarily evil. These folks would act most amiably at a Stanford University reception. They wouldn't be rude. They would use all their eating utensils correctly. They would smile at the children and pet the dogs. The issue isn't whether they are evil, it's whether the power relationships they condone and in many cases embody, are evil in the sense that they are taking the planet and its people in a cruel and unsustainable direction.

The current order will pass because its contradictions have become obvious. Nearly two billion people world­wide are starving, many without access to clean water and sanitation. Our very planetary life support system is on red alert. These are not simply problems “out there.” They are problems right here. When Mendocino County destroyed its resource base, with plenty of encourage­ment from Wendy's supporters at the Employers Coun­cil, we contributed our share to global warming and lost thousands of good local timber and fishing jobs.

We can get Mendocino County back on track but it will take a different vision than the one Wendy and her supporters have pressed for far too long. The Fifth Dis­trict is a great place to start!

Dan Hamburg

Ukiah

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SMART METERS: A DUMB IDEA

Editor,

What are “smart meters” and how do they work? Smart meters are expensive devices that allow electric companies to track and control electricity usage in an individual household. Consumers are skeptical that they are worth the $5.4 billion California utilities are charging for them.

Are the meters supposed to save electricity?

No. Smart meters merely track electric usage, just like their older, dumber predecessors. Consumers who purchase additional devices can receive detailed infor­mation on the energy costs of individual appliances. Utilities will encourage customers to sign up for high “time of use” rates in order to reduce peak demand.

What additional expenditures will be required on the consumer end?

Existing air conditioning cycling programs, energy efficiency measures and consumer education programs are the most direct way to reduce demand for electricity, especially during peak times. Consumers who take advantage of existing programs can already lower their bills and carbon footprint substantially.

What additional expenditures will be required on the consumer end?

In order to get the purported benefits of smart meters, consumers will purchase their own communications devices, computers, high speed internet, special thermostats, appliance chips and other automated equip­ment. The cost of retrofitting or replacing existing appli­ances alone will be astronomical.

Without the expenditures, consumers will not see any difference from the new meters except higher electric bills.

Why are so many consumers complaining about smart meters?

Many consumers believe the meters are inaccurate, or that their usage data is not being transmitted correctly. Due to the hundreds of complaints The Utility Reform Network (TURN) and others have received about smart meters, the CPUC recently launched an investigation. TURN is demanding a moratorium on smart meter installations until the investigation is complete.

What other problems are associated with smart meters?

Elimination of meter reader jobs.

Allows utilities — or hackers — to shut customers off remotely. Risk of private data being lost, stolen or accessed. What consumer protections are needed? Pri­vacy protections to prevent loss, theft or misuse of cus­tomer data. Moratorium until CPUC investigation is completed. Allow customers to opt-out. Provide rebates and energy efficiency assistance to consumer whose bills have increased due to smart meters.

Mark Toney, Executive Director

The Utility Reform Network

San Francisco

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OBSOLESENCE

Editor,

Increasingly it appears that the nastier realities of the economy are going to drive the next decade of politics at every level, particularly the federal, where policy faux pas can effect tens of millions of Americans. The current debate is classic guns and butter choices, with our over­seas warfare costs sinking he ship of state in a sea of international red ink.

The rapidly aging "baby boomers", whose impact on history and marketing has dominated the last half century of our society, are now asked to take the money and die while Congress raises the bar for the piddling payments of a Social Security System long looted by one or another war mongering administration since Eisenhower beat Stevenson. The current argument notes the statistics on life expectancy to justify raising the age for "retire­ment" by a decade over the next quarter century. While it true that medicine has increased the average lifespan, most of the increase comes from reducing infant deaths from epidemics and bad water. Walk your local cemetery and look at the numbers of kids brought low before the vaccine revolution of the 1930’s.

But living longer does not mean working longer. Physically and mentally mankind deteriorates beginning in the third decade of life, accelerating its ravages throughout the "productive" years until we are worn out and must be replaced in the assembly line of modern society. Increasingly those replacements are technologi­cal rather than human; leaving a surplus of highly tra ined technicians with obsolete skill sets. And the pace of such automation is increasing.

In my working time, I have outlived nearly every job skill I mastered. I learned to solder cleanly with solid irons and flux on a brush in junior high school metal shops at the same time I learned to use a manual type­writer and mimeograph machine. In high school I wrote for a school paper that demanded we learn  type setting and linotype compositing with hot lead. In by scouts I learned Semiphore and Morse codes along with tying knots of every sort, skills long lost today.

In the Navy Iwas taught entirely erroneous versions of electricity and electronics just before the invention of the transistor and solid state circuitry. I pulled survey "chain" on hydro projects along the Pit River south of Mt Shasta, in the days of the four man transit crew.  Now laser surveying needs only a warm body to hold the pole and the gunner whose readings are trigonometrically cal­culated and transmitted back to the base computer which sp its out topo maps in minutes.

In my radio career the art of sophisticated music pro­gramming derived from the taste and knowledge of the "disc jockey", many of whom developed encyclopedic memories and private collection of rare music. Today the songs selected by a music director are downloaded to the station’s database and often auto programmed to a for­mat. Local radio has been replaced by satellite syndica­tion services, allowing license owners to hire s few teen techies to baby-sit the broadcast day at low cost.

Like most of my contemporaries, I am, once more, obsolete, reduced to the dying craft of editorializing in a time when the print medium itself is failing.

Save Social security, combine it with unemployment, and pay for it by bringing the troops home.

Travis T. Hip

Nevada City

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BALANCED BUDGETS

Editor,

There are numerous articles on Proposition 13 regard­ing its being repealed if Proposition 25 passes this November. The current law requires a congressional two-thirds majority to pass a budget and Proposition 25 would reduce that to a simple majority.

Reading a few articles on the left and right it is evi­dent that California being a liberal State has enough votes in the legislature to get a simple majority vote unless that changes by virtue of the upcoming election. Frankly what I've seen so far does not give me confi­dence that the California legislature will go toward the center let along go right of center.

Arguments from the left and right are to substantiate their positions but I think both sides miss the issue a lit­tle.

From the left: The reduction in property taxes by Prop 13 has hurt California and should be reinstated and the current real estate taxes on businesses should be increased to make businesses pay more in taxes.

On the right: The taxes should remain as is.

My view.

On the left: The left forgets that before Prop 13 folks close to or in retirement were being forced to move from their homes with major property tax increases. Person­ally I know of relatives in the 60s in 1970s who lived in Califonria all their life whose taxes went up (roughly from memory) from $4,000 to $7,000 and then $13,000 a year in the span of about five years. They moved to Texas to have money to live on.

The left forgets that, and we went through the Prop 13 initiation, sales taxes were greatly increased as were water bill and garbage disposal taxes, etc.. If you want the pre 1978 property taxes then cut all the other taxes since initiated back to their pre 1978 tax level.

On the right: The right says leave everything the same. Well maybe we should revise the business real estate taxes, but this will require a proposition that excludes home owners and the simple majority only pertains to businesses.

My thoughts: Increase business real estate taxes and they will move to another state or increase the price of their products affecting the consumer.

California Medicare fraud, illegal alien costs each year costing California $10 billion a year, sanctuary cit­ies violating the law should see those city politicians in jail — take from the law abiding taxpayer and give to an illegal.

California can not live within its budget plain and sim­ple. Pass a constitutional law to have a balanced budget.

Bryant Whittaker

Boonville

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IF BECK WERE HONEST…

Editor,

(This is the ‘I have a Dream Speech’ that Glenn Beck would give at the Lincoln Memorial if he were being completely honest.)

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from tax increases or increased regulation of your speculative financial instruments. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of government takeover and stag­gered by the winds of police laxness toward Mexicans and minority crime. You have been the veterans of crea­tive suffering, under our current strange mixture of fas­cism, communism and Islam (Islamo-commie-fascism as I call it).

Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffer­ing cannot be cured by a government take-over of healthcare. Go back to the Hamptons, go back to Grosse Point, go back to Alaska, go back to Utah, go back to Idaho, go back to the suburbs and exurbs of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation of having an African-American president can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that some men are only worth 3/5s of others.’ I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down and recognize that our president doesn’t like white guys. I have a dream that one day even the borough of Manhat­tan, a borough sweltering with the heat of socialism, sweltering with the heat of Islamic fascism, will be transformed into a mosque-free oasis of freedom for people just like me.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their gold port­folios. I have a dream today…

Satire by Juan Cole, professor of Middle Eastern and South Asian history at the University of Michigan. His most recent book “Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Mid­dle East] (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007) has just been published.

Ann Arbor

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SEEKING CHARLES STATLER

Editor

I would like to get in touch with my good friend Char­les Statler, who resides some where in one of Cali­fornia's prisons.

He will be easy to notice for he has the biggest mouth this side of the Mississippi and can sing like a caged bird!

Just listen for “The Midnight Special” or any Hank Williams song. I as a free man am not at ease to give out my address but Charlie if you would please send your post to Trent Foster, General Delivery, Ukiah CA 95482 I will send you the proper address after that. Thank you.

Trent Foster

Ukiah

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WHAT’S WRONG WITH KZYX?

To the Editor;

Whatever has happened to the local radio station? It seems to have morphed into some sort of NPR “lite,” with all the accompanying sleazy corporate underwriting and even promotional commercials to fill up the con­venient breaks provided in all their programs. There are NPR’s “very own” correspondents who lend their voices to local programmer commercials. Often, after these promotional commercials, the radio station tacks on “right here on…” as if the radio station might be pro­moting a program for some other broadcaster!

Then there’s the top of the hour litany. FCC rules require very little by way of station identification, once an hour, on the hour, the station is required to give its call letters and city of origin and three times a day the translator ID. All the rest is just self promotion.

Mendocino County Public Broadcasting? Not really. If the radio station really served the whole county they would be broadcasting Fox News and more significantly not broadcasting a lot of current programming. Actually, it’s a rather exclusive station that appeals to a relatively small group of people. It’s hard to say what “public broadcasting” means, but it has a lot to do with not hav­ing commercials.

Listener supported? Clearly not. It has been said, on the radio, that only 1 in 10 listeners are members. Either there are a lot of people who don’t think it’s worth pay­ing for or, more likely; less people than they think listen to “public radio.” Listener supported would be KPFA, where they have no sleazy corporate underwriting, no local underwriting and generate all the funding for their programming from membership support and from selling their excellent programming to other stations.

Member supported? Well sort of. Throughout its life, the radio station has struggled to find and keep 2500 paying members, attrition seems to be a problem. Underwriting helps, also fund-raising events and some grants. Constantly reminding members that the pro­gramming comes with their support is unnecessary; members already have that smug self-satisfied feeling that comes with paying the pledge. Would it not be more effective to just mention the underwriters?

Here are a few suggestions: For the locals; for less than the cost of a membership you can buy, from Radio Shack, an antenna to put on your roof and there is a good chance that you can pick up KPFA. It comes in well when it’s foggy. North of Philo you can pick up KMUD, which is everything KZYX is without NPR and then a lot more. Think about the kind of radio station you wish to support.

To the staff and board of KZYX: Measure your suc­cess by how well you serve your membership not by your ability to “grow” the station. Avoid over-promo­tion. If someone is listening they know what the fre­quency is, it’s written on the radio dial! Promote pro­grams to the listeners of the program you are promoting as in ‘On next week’s program my guest will be…’ Ran­dom and repeated promotions sound like commercials, are counterproductive and nobody likes them. Keep the underwriting brief. As locals, we know the businesses that do the underwriting and we don’t need the virtual tour of the store. Being over professional is not neces­sarily good. Your listeners know your names, no need to introduce yourself multiple times in each hour, the big over-produced stations do that, but you don’t need to. Avoid repetitious introductions to programming. Don’t feel obligated to use the convenient spots NPR provides for commercials unless you plan to become a commer­cial station in which case move on down the dial and let us revive local radio. Finally drop the guilt-tripping, the strange emphasis placed on the words “listener” and “member” — it doesn’t work. If your product is good it will sell.

Anthony Leighton

Navarro

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SIDDOWN & DANCE

Editor,

Warm spiritual greetings, Please know that I am pres­ently in Berkeley, doing nothing of any great conse­quence, and would prefer to be on the east coast involved in the ongoing effort to “intervene in history” while we joyfully await the imminent full scale implosion of materialism's failed promise to deliver lasting satisfac­tion to the human race. I am particularly interested in the success of the International Monetary Fund days of dis­sent October 7-11. Please consider giving me a place to go to on the east coast, and I look forward to being fully spiritually involved, as I usually am, in opposition to the ridiculous, absurd path of materialism and its extreme sense gratification craziness, supported by wars for oil.

Does this email message make you want to get up and dance?

Craig Louis Stehr,

593 62nd Street, Oakland, CA 94609-1246.

Email: craigstehr@hushmail.com

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ALBION, MY ALBION

Editor,

Thanks Albion.

Last Sunday we had our party to celebrate the suc­cessful search for Naomi Kerwin and her dog Rosie. A great time was had by all down at the Albion River Campground (thanks Bruce Campbell for lending the space). The weather Gods and Goddesses even smiled upon us by bringing us our first fully sunny day in weeks. The attendees had a great time eating food pre­pared by Susie and her amazing grill crew. Stacy Weil-Dye and others from the Albion-Little River Fire Department were present discussing the search and answering questions, and we even made some money for the department to upgrade search and rescue equipment.

There are a lot of people to thank: for the event, all who put time into the search, and really, all in our com­munity who showed up in a big way in time of crisis. Albion has a lot to be proud of.

Chris Skyhawk

Albion

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SIMON SAYS: NO HOPE

Editor,

If you think there’s hope, think again. A careful read­ing of David Michael Green’s latest political essay in his series he calls The Regressive Antidote explains it this way.

We are not, he says, in a recession. We are not in a downturn that is part of the cyclical pattern of upturns and downturns. We are not in recovery. We are, he says, in a compressive deflationary contraction.

I think two things have happened in the past few dec­ades. We have ceased being a nation that produces real wealth. The Wall Street fiasco is predicated on the con­cept of getting something for nothing. They created financial instruments that they knew were extremely high risk and then hedged their bet by selling insurance instruments to back them up. There was no real wealth there, but investors, including large pension funds, bought the myth that there was real wealth there. Then it all came crashing down.

There is no free lunch. An economy cannot be based on mythical wealth. You can’t cash in derivatives at the bank; they are the bank. Real wealth comes from manu­facturing of goods. We have outsourced that aspect of our economy. Until and unless we bring back that manufacturing base there is no hope of saving our econ­omy. Manufacturing creates jobs, whereas financial instruments make billions for the Wall Street guys but the profits do not flow down into the economy, they do not create jobs.

The destruction of the middle class is not an accident. It is an intentional strategy of the ruling class (large cor­porations, large banks, large Senators) to create within our shores a third world country with a miniscule middle class and a large lower class and a small upper class. Reagan began the process with the systematic destruc­tion of the labor unions. This was followed by the dot-com revolution that bubbled up and then burst. Then came ‘downsizing and restructuring’, which wiped out retirement pensions and sent jobs overseas. Next came social media, emails, texting, Facebook and so on, which has taken an entire generation further into unreality.

First came movies, then came television, now come the social media, yet another step in the direction of unreality. The young people think they are communicat­ing about their reality, when, in fact, they are simply sharing gossip about their personal private worlds. It’s no less a fantasy than are movies and television. It is escapism, pure and simple. Ask them any question, any question, about what is going on in the real world and they haven’t got a clue. How could it be otherwise when the marketing mentality is so pervasive that the eco­nomic masters can sell anything to anyone, even if they know they don’t need it.

The present 11 year war is not real to the mass pub­lic. The mass media do not allow reality to enter the air­waves. Just as fantasy football is not real, fantasy war is what we have from the mass media, and it’s not real either. Take a walk down the hall of Walter Reed Medi­cal Center in D.C. as I did the other day visiting my fos­ter-son who was blown up in Afghanistan and it gets very real very quickly.

The money flows up, it does not trickle down. The angst flows down, and the rulers are so insulated, so arrogant, so greedy, that the malaise of the middle class is unnoticed by them. The despair of the lower class is written off as individual personal failure and unattended to. The masses are silent, blaming themselves for the failure of the system. The economy is in ruins and the Tea Party people are busy blaming the symptom, rather than the cause. They fail to separate the actions of the giant corporate rulers from the actions of the govern­ment. The impasse in government is the symptom, not the cause. Nothing meaningful happens because the eco­nomic rulers frame the debate, they create the language of the debate, and then peddle it to the masses via all of the television networks, not just Fox news.

When you have, as we do, a growing number of disen­franchised, alienated, angry, out-of-work, confused citizens, for whom government is impotent to address reality at its causes rather than the symptoms, you have the breeding ground for fascism. Economic conditions create reality, but, when those conditions are mis-explained, rationalized, and even denied by both the Left and the Right, the demagogue steps in and promises to end the confusion. What he or she ends it with is a nightmare.

We can’t wake them up. The fantasy is too pervasive; they are too dumbed-down, manipulated, confused, to see the reality of endless war, the end of discretionary income, the ownership of politics by the ruling class, the worship of war (as long as it doesn’t effect our daily lives), and so on. And then, after all of that, comes the final nail in the coffin of liberal democracy, which is the item in Proverbs, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Therein lies the basis of the anti-intellectualism in our culture. God help us all.

There is no hope until people stop believing and start thinking. Don’t hold your breath.

Lee Simon

Far ‘n Away Farm, Virginia

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DE NADA

Editor,

Gracias a todos y cada uno que nos apoyo el sábado pasado en los juegos que se dio acabó enla cancha de Anderson Valley JR/SR High School. Les a agradecere­mos por haber asistido al los eventos y por haber par­ticipado en el baile y la comida. Gracias a ustedes nuestro equipo de futbol recaudo nuevos uniformes.

Thank you for all of the support last Saturday (August 21st) during the soccer games at the Anderson Valley Jr/High School. We thank everyone who assisted at the event and who participated in the fundraiser at The Grange that evening. Thanks to the community the soc­cer team will be able to purchase new uniforms.”

Sincerely,

Sergio Gutierrez & Carlos Mendoza

Co-Captains of Anderson Valley High School

Boys Soccer Team

Boonville

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