Letters to the Editor
by AVA News Service, November 11, 2010
WHY THE CENSORSHIP, STEVE?
I would like to thank you for allowing members of the community to write letters in order to get the truth to its readers unlike the Independent Coast Observer (ICO). I sent the below letter to the ICO and the editor, Steve McLaughlin, edited pertinent parts of the letter and in one instance in his deletion of the truth it completely changes what the law clearly states.
When this happened the first time on a letter I submitted, I contacted McLaughlin and was informed my letter exceeded their 350 word limit. Since that time, I have been very careful in the abiding by the rules they set forth. However, McLaughlin did it again and once again I contacted him. I informed McLaughlin, he edited pertinent information from my letter that I believe the public had a every right to know. He then informed me "the public has heard plenty from you". Today, November 8th, I was notified by McLaughlin that I had been incorrect in my assumption of the 350 word count and that it is actually 300 words. However, since I am not a subscriber to the ICO and can only go by what I was told over the phone there was no way for me to know this.
So, why does it surprise me that he cut out pertinent information in the letter below that only has 343 words? I asked him but have not received an answer. See the letter below regarding what was cut out which is in bold. Perhaps, you have an answer as to why it was deleted. I truly believe we should have more transparency from editors and reporters as we do with the AVA who continue to see the truth and tell it like it is.
Again, thank you AVA for standing up for truth and justice.
Attached. To the Editor of the Independent Coast Observer:
This is in response to William Meyer’s letter on "Transparency”. Meyers states, “The law in essence says the government can’t say anything bad, even if it is true, about individual employees to the public”. This statement is false according to Brown Act Law 54957: “Under the law, an employee may request and require a public hearing where the purpose of closed session is to discuss specific charges or complaints against the employee”. “Under the act, the employee must be given at least 24 hour written notice of any meeting to hear specific charges or complaints against the employee. (The ICO, McLaughlin, placed a period and quotes after the word employee and added a quotation mark. However, this actually changes what the law states and what I stated in my letter which actually went on to state after employee, or any action taken at the meeting will be null and void.” I believe this to be important for members of the community to know because what the district school board did in the firing of Mr. Murray was “null and void” since he was never given the proper 24 hour notice.)
Matt Murray, ex elementary school principal, in Point Arena made such a request to the board, which Meyers was on at the time and his request was denied. Also, Murray was never given a written 24 hour notice.
Meyers also states, “Public transparency would help protect those employees who are being dismissed despite doing a good job." Did Murray’s “good job” protect him? Murray not only did "a good job" but an excellent job which took the elementary school out of State Program Improvement (PI), and decreased truancy and discipline problems at the school.
Finally, Meyers’ states: "In at least some cases, most popular outrage would dissolve if the public knew the details available to those stuck with doing the firing for the public good." Huh? Exactly what did the vote Meyers was “stuck with” — to fire Murray — do for our community and for the "public good"? (McLaughlin left the following sentence completely out of the letter): More importantly, what did it do to the students of the elementary school who are now back in PI? (I believe McLaughlin continues to keep our community in the dark and ignores the fact that we continue have a real problem in the district since the firing of Mr. Murray.)
The board should be held accountable to do what they are called to under the law, “exist to aid in the conduct of the people's business.” (All through Meyer's letter he spoke of transparency and yet, McLaughlin, disregarded putting the next sentence in the letter:) “It is the intent of this law that their actions be taken openly and their deliberations be conducted openly.” (The law clearly states every board under Brown Act Law should be conducting the people's business openly and with transparency. One thing Meyers apparently did not do when he was on the district school board but now he calls for it to be done.)
Perhaps, there should be a law that any individual seeking a seat on a board under the Brown Act needs to be tested.
PS. Again, my thanks to the AVA for seeing truth prevails inspite of being hindered by others.
LOTS OF LUCK
My hernia’s still aching and my stomach makes squeaks. My wife hollers at me and my kids are all freaks. Every side I get up on is the wrong side of the bd. So I finally decided to write to you instead.
Signed: Squeakmaker, Watsonville
Dear Squeakmaker: You have no complaint. See, you are what you are and you ain’t what you ain’t. So stop lookin’ for bad luck and stompin’ on good. — Signed, Abby.
* * *
Editor: The October 27th AVA was a thing of beauty. The New York Times and the New Yorker Mag have to wait while I devour my AVA.
‘SANE FOR A DAY’
Sane for a Day
Warm spiritual greetings, I have been following the “Restore Sanity” gathering on the Smithsonian Mall on the Washington DC Independent Media Center website. This morning, I attempted to post an item whereby I asked the Washington DC IMC how they can be sane and continually remove my postings in which I ask for cooperation to permanently move to Washington DC for the purpose of participating in radical environmental and peace & justice campaigns. Obviously, Washington DC is the place in the United States where the major political decisions are made which affect this world significantly. In spite of my having been there five times in the past since 1991, serving free meals with Catholic Worker to the hungry masses in DC, and being there for large venue protests at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (where I was a street reporter for the DC IMC), the Washington DC IMC continues to censor my basic message to receive cooperation, or “mutual aid” as anarchists refer to it, in order to move there permanently. I mean, if we're all being sane today, how is it that I am not being valued and what I represent is not being valued? If you are sane, I want you to give me whatever it takes to get me moved there so that I may participate. If you are insane, I want you to get out of my way! After all, if you are insane, what do you care? I am ready to leave Oakland and I am accepting any cooperation to get to DC. I have $3.51 at present, because I don't do anything but focus my spiritual attention on earthly concerns such as global climate destabilization, intervening in a history distinctive for war and financial implosion, and I am also conscious of the needs of other sentient beings which live on planet earth. Now, if you are sane, please contact me and give me “mutual aid” immediately. I'd thank you, but I feel stupid thanking anybody for giving me cooperation to just be here on earth sanely. If you in fact do not appreciate me, then I believe that you are crazy. Hey, that's just the way things are. If you're applauding right now and just love the heck out of this note, contact me at:
Craig Louis Stehr, 593 62nd Street,
Oakland, CA 94609-1246
Or email me at email@example.com
FALLOUT & FAILURE
Midterm fallout. Big deal. America mastubates with its right hand for a couple of years. The capitalist experiment has failed. As far as I'm concerned, until I'm offered a choice other than between two capitalists competing for a place at the trough and an opportunity to maintain the status quo, our experiment with democracy has failed us, as well.
PS. For what it's worth, last week's AVA failed to complete the postal journey to Colorado again, so keep on their USPS case because they're still not getting the job done.
The Honorable Mike Thompson, Congressman, United States House of Representatives, 231 Congressional Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515.
Dear Congressman Thompson,
As you are probably aware, I was the lone vote to not send a letter from Mendocino County to delay the EIR process for our Navy to do training activities off the Northern California coast.
My first point is when NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) was signed in 1969, I don't believe anyone in our Congress thought that it would require our military to complete a multi-year process before they could train. Here we are. Also, I don't understand why our coastal communities are so upset with our Navy training and affecting our ocean life but are not upset with foreign fishing fleets wiping out our fisheries within sight of our coastline. If our Navy can't train off our coastline, where will they train? Maybe off the Korean's coast or in the Sahara Desert!
On the same subject, NEPA, after 40 years of add-on requirements we have regulated business, industry and even local government to a stop so I guess it should not surprise me that it is now affecting our National Defense. As a veteran of Vietnam, I am sure you must be concerned. The regulations keep coming. We in politics continue to talk about job loss, unemployment and home foreclosures. These are not the problem, they are the result.
If our Navy cannot train or CalTrans after 12 years of trying to obtain permits cannot build a bypass, it doesn't give private business or local government much hope to invest and plan for the future. It has evolved over 40 years to the point we are putting rats on the endangered species list. Does that mean our homeless population will be removed from our alleys and under our bridges to preserve the habitat of a rat?
I will continue to strive to bring common sense to this situation as it is bringing real tragedy to the people I represent.
Thanks for listening,
John Pinches, 3rd District Supervisor
Mendocino County Board of Supervisors
I should have written that Representative Dan Hamburg's Headwaters Forest Act eventually saved more than 3000 acres of old-growth redwoods, for I do not think anyone (save the small-minded) would quibble that its passage in the US House (and subsequent defeat in the Senate) raised the debate about the rapacious timber harvesting practices of Charles Hurwitz and Pacific Lumber, to the national level.
This raised debate — it is indisputable — led to the “saving” of Headwaters Forest.
My sincere apologies to Messrs. Jared Carter and Ms. Wendy Roberts and to Ms. Barbara Rice and any other reader upset with my inadvertent error.
TOO MANY FOOLS
Overpopulation is THE problem and those who cannot see that situation are fools. The other problem is that fools are in our legislatures and churches including the Pope.
People want jobs and a better economy. Sounds great except that if more people were working more of our planet would be trashed faster than it is. Work requires supplies folks.
Earth is a mess, garbage everywhere, buildings and infrastructures bombed leaving piles of useless junk that not only will take up space somewhere but will cause more of our finite supplies to be consumed in replacing the worthwhile stuff that was there. Soon there will be nothing but a pile of junk, disease, air and water not fit to support life… You name it. It is happening right before our eyes. Look!
Before (and after) the voting cigarette smokers argued that marijuana smells bad therefore not allowed. Well, it is a natural odor that everyone may not enjoy but not everyone enjoys farts either. Cigarette smokers should stop smoking then soon they would realize that the smoke from burning chemically treated leaves and paper stink worse than the smoke at the old trash dumps.
All animals, except for select humans, run from smoke and that is a statement in itself. Think about that the next time you light up whatever. But also realize that no one ever died from smoking pot. You cannot overdose on it. It is not a narcotic. You can stop smoking anytime without withdrawals. 12 Steps are not needed, one just gets tired of being stoned.
The results of the votes were sad. We humans are not fit to manage ourselves or the planet and all the other forms of life. Makes you want to cry.
MY OWN EX-MAN-BEATER
I met Daniel Shealor while incarcerated in both San Quentin State Prison and Chino Institute for Men. During that time he was been receiving the AVA but will soon be discharged to his hometown of Fort Bragg. I would love to continue to receive the AVA as I find it both informative and entertaining. I feel as if I have a need to follow the exploits of Captain Fathom and try to figure out who Pebbles Trippet really is.
I am also waiting to see if, or rather when, my ex-wife will end up in the “Man Beater of the Week” feature. She currently resides in Ukiah and it’s really more of an issue of if the “man” will call the authorities, not if he would be assaulted. Unless she has suddenly woken up one morning and drastically changed her spots. But I fund that highly unlikely. My ex-mother-in-in-law will always be dear to my heart. She lives in Cleone and reading the AVA makes me feel a little closer to her and her brother. My two sons spend a lot of time there with her also and love it there. Knowing that I’m reading the same paper they may very well be reading also helps me feel connected. Thanks for your consideration.
PS. If you print this letter please withhold my name. I wouldn’t want to make it to easy for my ex-wife to figure out.
After a long night of rain I was excited to go out and see the results, so I loaded up my twin girls and headed out for the ocean this morning. After about two inches of rain overnight Salmon Creek was flowing fast and muddy, and the beach below the bridge was much smaller than usual due to much wave and water action. Still, there was a nice raft of seagulls floating easily in the water just off the mouth of the creek and the girls were happy to be strolled down the steep hill and back up with nothing to do but watch the water, and the sky for hawks. Speaking of which, the migration seems to be kicking in. I have started to see sometimes several birds at a time, and I saw a really dark one earlier this week that I still need to reach for my bird book to see if I can ID it. It was certainly not a hawk that is common around here.
Then we headed off to Navarro beach. Earlier this week I had been down there when the big waves were crashing. Any of you see those big 20 footers rolling in? The large sea stack at the south end of the beach, maybe 60-70 feet high (?) was sometimes completely obliterated by the waves crashing against it and rolling up and over it.
Anyway, the river is flowing in a very healthy and robust manner out to the sea right now and I would recommend that you get out there if you have the chance- it is currently making a most beautiful and eloquent ‘S’ curve as it heads out, a lovely shape that I do not recall seeing there before
I had to explain to the girls that the swift river was not a puddle the likes of which they like to splash in with their new boots, and to demonstrate I threw a few really big pieces of driftwood into the flow and we watched them head out into the sea where they were met by the crashing surf. They understood.
With all of the drought of the last few years, and even last year where the dry weather kept the creeks and rivers from opening, we can be thankful that this year our remaining salmonids should see good conditions for their fall run after their long journey and life at sea.
DOLLAR-CAN’TS & CORP-CAN’TS
Well, it was fine to see the Dollar-crats receive their well-deserved rebuke last Tuesday, but frustrating to see that void filled by even more regressive Corp-icans. Until Americans locate the imagination and courage to start voting for third party candidates who better represent their actual views and interests, we will all continue suffering under this Corporate Duopoly, and our elections will continue representing the coin flip from Hell: Elephants, they win; Donkeys, we lose.
I was pleased to see half of the hermaphroditic walk-like-a-Democrat-but-quack-like-a-Republican Blue Dogs expelled (talk about a useless species). Unfortunately, our very own Republicrat, Mike Thompson, survived the purge. Here in California's First District, the St. Helena Somnambulist received 108,118 votes; Loren Hanks, the actual Republican, got 54,556 votes; and Carol Wolman, the Mendo Green, received 5,836 votes. Here's the thing to remember: if less than half those Thompson votes had gone for Wolman instead, she would have won the election, and at no point in that process (of siphoning votes from Democrat to Independent) would the Republican have had more votes. It was a perfectly safe move, and a missed opportunity. For a district as "blue" as this one, we should really be sending much better representatives to Washington. Nearly 6,000 voters did it this time around, let's do better in 2012.
One other thing to remember about last week's election: the Supreme Court opened the floodgates on corporate campaign spending back in January of this year (the Citizens United case), and I recently heard that all that new money went to Republicans about seven to one. So it should not surprise us that the Corporate Party made some gains. (Of course, the other big winner in this orgy of campaign spending is the direct recipient of all those dollars, the corporate media -- so don't expect any complaints from that quarter.)
Voters are simply going to have to figure out how to ignore, or see through, political advertising and think for themselves. It's the only way out of this box, other than outright revolution.
Beyond the Deep End (Navarro)
SQUATTERS STOLE MY HOUSE!
To the Editor,
I own property on the Mendocino Coast. I asked my tenants to move out so I could move in and be near my family. In the beginning of August, a few days after the home was vacated, I was on my way from Colorado to move into my house when three squatters moved into my property.
My property manager called the Sheriff to get these people arrested and removed from my house. The Sheriff says it will be treated as a civil matter. They said 80% of their calls are on this and they have been told to stand down and to treat it as a civil matter. I’m told that this comes from the top, and they won’t do anything. They are apparently getting this policy from the District Attorney’s office.
These squatters have forged a lease and presented that to the Sheriff. They have paid no rent or security deposit. They have falsified court documents. They are experienced house thieves. They know the system. They stretch out the legal process.
I am losing the property to the bank, as I can get neither rent nor occupancy of my house. I had to leave town and go back to Colorado, as I couldn’t afford the motel bills while these squatters and the courts hold up my house. The courts take months to get them out, plus thousands in legal bills.
These people are thieves. They stole my house. They are people who should be in jail. They could be growing marijuana or cooking meth in my house. They are a menace to the community. When I get them out they will do this again. Where will they hit next time?
If this policy continues Mendocino County will become a very scary place to be. There are stories coming out of people taking the law into their own hands. What would you like to do if somebody moves in and takes over your house?
My attorney says this is a big problem and that it’s getting out of control. The DA’s job is to protect the people and their property.
FROM OUTTA THE WAY
Just finished the October 27 issue which struck me (only a glancing blow, but thanks) as being especially rich. Comments, in no particular order—
McEwen is unfailing as usual. Isn’t there some sort of award for his quality of reporting from out-of-the-way venues? Charles Willeford’s evocative reminiscence about 1938 LA. It’s my hometown (b. 1925) and he sets the tone of that bleak, day-to-day Depression time very well. I wouldn’t go back if I was comped. Why did Willie kick the one-legged man’s crutch into the gutter? Because it was there? To get to the other side? Leah Collins doing good work in Ethiopia and having the spiritual reserves to find, through the horror, the friendship and beauty that’s there. Bless her. It’s about time Pat Patterson was featured in the AVA and Steve Sparks does his consistently fine job of it. The mug shot was most expressive. My best to both Pats. The Adam Smith quote (p.2) reveals how the economic powers that be have so grievously distorted his views for their own bloated ends. J. Biro’s letter calling for the Giants to smite the unrighteous Texans! Amen. Alex Cockburn’s fierce corrective to major media’s misrepresentation of the French strikes’ cause. Kathy Borst’s concise column on Sartre and Lessing who, while acknowledging the Nobel’s eminence, had deep reservations about getting it. All statuses are straightjackets. Todd Walton’s thoughtful essay on Disappointment, from which I learned. And, yes, your own wide-ranging memoir about the excruciating Giants, the Bay Area, your life there, your ballplaying days (!). Fascinating.
Anyway, thought you and the crew deserved a well-earned, front door thumbs up, even at the risk of some MacQueening.
THE ZOMBIE PARTY
Tea Party schmee party. What Americans should be watching for is the Paul Reverian two light signal, two if by land. The attack is coming on this soil! The strange American memory that seems to focus on two years of so called Democratic based attempted repairs rather than the system that has been striped, trampled down, pillaged and loan paid by the Republican trickery of the Bush Administration. When did the stock market crash? On Obama’s watch? I don’t think so. Gee, we could have had our social security based on that crashed stock market if Bush would have had his way. With each war dollar spent, we are selling America to other countries that are buying those bonds, or holding our trade dollars. Those cheap products that you buy from China, Honduras or where poor people toil are becoming the obscene profits of American merchants and are allowing other countries to own us, our land etc. Is it protectionism or just simple bookkeeping not to send all our trade dollars off to one county and have nothing to trade back? And we do the most damage by selling weapons to all of these countries so they can keep a stalemate or getting out of control and use them, calling for more loans with another country’s helpful military response. Weapons are just precious resources quickly transformed into CO2, entropy and global warming.
Our new House of Rep. leader seems content that Americans chose his party to do what they do. No. Americans want change and the Democrats failed to understand that. The Repugs will just cut and slash more.
Americans keep making mandates at the polls and then watching the two party junta system do what they please because it is not them who run their parties, it is the corporate dollars that our Supreme court is allowing to lobby them once they are in office, so they are not beholden to us, but to corporate needs such as lack of regulation, tax shelters, etc. That is where the problem is. We get governmental leadership based on corporate lobby dollars and beyond obscene election stuffing. The candidates know who to listen to: the money! The poor corporations were losing their first amendment rights. What rights?! This is a nonliving entity (Zombie made from…) What we need is election reform, limited spending, defined and cheap means of getting the message out, like free radio and TV slots for all candidates clearly defined. What we get is our post boxes stuffed with expensive attack ads and our phone machines filled with star voices and scary Repug ads. Thank God it came on Halloween when the rest of the spooks were out. Frankly I would rather take my chances with the trick or treaters; at least you know what the real demands and consequences are.
We need to ignore the Grizzly gals of Alaska projected by whoever is behind the curtains and really look at what’s going on. Meanwhile, we get toxic foods and containers, tainted food scares, cosmetics with dangerous lead and estrogenic mimics, the poorly calculated smart grid, the resurrection of too toxic nuclear power that kills and maims everywhere it pokes it radioactive head — mining, processing, uses, storage and reuse unnecessarily in so called depleted (hardly) uranium (= nuclear) weapons. With the Republicans crowing in the house, we will have everything locked up and regulations that at this point hardly do anything, being quietly carved off of everything. Let’s have some tea and think about it.
Ignore the two parties and demand real policies that protect us and not the corporate persons that have more rights then the living. Talk about zombies amongst us!
PS. Thanks to Steve Sparks and American Legion folks for a very good Veterans memorial at the cemetery.
21ST CENTURY BIGOTRY
One of the unpleasant aspects of our country's history is the religious intolerance that periodic manifests itself. Early on Quakers were hanged in Boston because their religious beliefs were contrary to the Puritan theocracy; the Know Nothing Party with its virulent anti-Catholic actions: discrimation against and murder of Mormons; rioting against German and Irish Catholics; anti-Semitism which has a long and disgraceful history; and the Smith-Hoover Presidential campaign of 1928.
Now the religious bigots have a new target — Islam. They and their supporters in the media and blogs have railed against the proposed Islamic Culture Center in lower Manhattan. In the just concluded elections the voters in Oklahoma voted not to allow Sharia Law in their courts! At first glance it appears to be just another silly action by a Bible Belt state. But it actually represents an act of religious bigotry by the voters. Quite clearly those who voted “yes” are bigots who suffer from Islamphobia.
This history of religious intolerance would be a great disappointment to the framers of the Constitution. Madison, father of the Constitution, Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, and Washington who were influenced by the writings of John Locke and his views on religious tolerance envisaged a secular state where all including Mohamedans (Muslims) would enjoy religious freedom free from the entanglements of government.
James G. Updegraff
BAY AREA BASEBALL GLORY DAYS
Your recent piece on the Pacific Coast Baseball League with emphasis on the San Francisco Seals and the Oakland Oaks brought back many memories of my boyhood growing up in Oakland and following the “Oaks.” That old clapboard park where a Sunday Oaks vs. Seals doubleheader would first take place in the morning in Oakland from where hundreds of fans would board the SF ferries to trek out to Seals Stadium on Potrero for the afternoon game. What a lovely 20,000-seat ballpark with the best weather in the City!
Notable Oaks whose baseball cards I cherished were Ernie Lombardi, Snead Jolly, Dairio Lodagiani (my favorite), and of course Casey Stengel and rookie second baseman Billy Martin. Casey wore #1 on his uniform. When Martin went up to the Yankees he wanted to wear #7, his Oaks’ number, but Mickey Mantle wore #7, so Martin, in honor of his Oaks’ mentor Casey Stengel, requested and got #1.
My father’s priest friend, Father Leo Powelson, Director of the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) inaugurated a novel fund-raising event in which off-season local Pacific Coast league players would compete against local major league players. I was personally introduced to both Joe and Don DiMaggio at one of these games. What an experience for a 12-year old kid!
Your references to Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson also brought back memories. Both came out of West Oakland. My predecessor at St. Mary’s Church, 7th and Jefferson Streets, Father John Duggan, founded the St. Mary’s Boys Club which participated in the Oakland City’s Police League. Robinson played for Duggan. After I succeeded Duggan I was acquainted with young, middle-schooler Vada Pinson who rode around West Oakland streets on his bike with his mitt attached to the handlebars. I was told that Vada played on two teams in the Police League.
Years later when the Cincinnati Reds were playing the SF Giants in Seals Stadium (before Candlestick Park) Duggan and I went to the game and later met with both Robinson and Pinson at the locker room door. I was stationed at the Hanna Boys Center in Sonoma. Pinson told me that he was engaged to marry a Catholic girl from Alameda named Jackie Giarabaldi and wanted to talk about their wedding. I met them at a Jack London Square restaurant for dinner. I remember Vada driving up in a white T-Bird. During the dinner I explained that I could arrange a meeting with their parish priest, Father Gene Shea, an avid baseball fan. When I called Shea and inquired if he was interested in meeting Vada and Jackie, he almost jumped through the pone.
I attended their wedding at St. Joseph’s Church in Alameda and later went to Vada’s mother’s house in Oakland for a small reception during which the photographer asked me to take a picture with the bride and groom. As we were posing up he said, “Hey Reverend! Get a little closer to the bride. I guess that’s about as close to one as you will ever get?” Little did he know that my future would prove him otherwise.
Thanks again for the piece and for dredging up my memories.
THE REAL LOSER
I guess I’m dumb but I don’t understand the rhetoric about creating jobs when business can’t sell everything it makes — despite the wars; despite the national debt; despite the coming inflation. If our economic system had been on the ballot I think it would have lost in a landside.