Letters to the Editor

by AVA News Service, November 17, 2010

HATCHETMANIA

Letter to the Editor;

Carmel Angelo the Hannibal Lector of fiscal manage­ment!

And the poor bastard Tom Allman the Sheriff. It is like telling somebody “I want you to build me a house, but I can not give you a hammer, and with out a hammer you need not nails, and with out nails what is the use in having any wood?”

Hatchet mania cuts the middle and the poor but leave the upper crust alone!

She knows where her job security is, now doesn’t she!

$20,000 dollar a year pay increases, let us turn a blind eye on embezzlement charges, a $200,000 dollar a year shrink, and for the little guy “Let them eat cake!” This thinking is as worthless as a wart on a nipple!

Tax increase, and for what! To further feed the hour­glass economy.

Does this ring a BELL!

Sheriff Allman will fight tooth and nail, no doubt about it. But let me remind you of a little interdepart­mental vote around four and a half year’s ago.

I have a solution. (Take this tongue and cheek.) What we need is a police raffle.

What we can do is take the entire deputy sheriff ros­ter, and put it on line and mail out sheets and sell votes at, let’s say $280 for 14 votes as a raffle were the citi­zen’s can pay to play on eliminating their top 14 depu­ties. Since this only a raffle and not a vote it can also be put on the commissary in the jail as well.

This is democracy at its best, a cause for democracy!

Trent Foster

Ukiah

_________________________________________________

MY HEROINE

Letter to the Editor,

For many it is a dog eat dog world we live in, pov­erty is more than prevalent and there is no end in sight, people are having a hard time keeping they’re heads above shark infested waters, if you have a job you well better hold on to it! The needed items of life are hard to come by. Be it food, clothing, housing or health care. Or just shelter!

Fifty percent of all Americans would like to see the President’s health care plan repealed according to recent polls, both Uncle Sam and the Governor have cut back on grants and health care programs. Are we to see even more in the future? And even if so can we expect to see IOU’s and promised payments that shall effect the health care providers and the very people that work in these fields?

At times a person could feel that no one out there really cares, and that a simple act of kindness could make all the difference in the world.

And then you could stop and look around and start to see the unsung heros and heroines of our community, those people that by a simple act of unselfish considera­tion have done as such, and may I add with out hesita­tion. Those who have made a huge difference to others of need in our community.

The top of that list in my opinion is Linnea Hunter!

She started the Hillside clinic in Ukiah, with the goal as to see that those who are of need for quality health care receive it and she has accomplished this goal, fur­ther expanding the operations to Lake County and then Willits.

The quality of her operation is reflected by the doc­tors, nurses, psychiatrist’s and staff under her umbrella. I would like to give a list but there is not enough room on this page and I am all ready in enough trouble by being Panache!

To give an analogy towards Linnea Hunter’s achieve­ments. And how it is shown by her employee’s.

You know what they say runs down hill, in this situa­tion it is sugar running down an ice cream sundae, no considering the other two clinics. It is a banana split!

A good is example my friend Tom Chapman a profes­sional driver who operates the caravan, Linnea not only has him shuttle people back and forth from the clinic, and other agencies needed not only for health care but for goodwill and welfare alike, he picks up the hun­gry and takes them to have lunch at Plowshares, to see that they are fed! A simple act of kindness that has impacted the life’s of many on a near daily basis and that for the most part has been taken for granted. This service is provided from an act of kindness. It is not mandated! I personally feel that not enough gratitude and much to much attitude is being shown Tom and Linnea. But as they say “Never a good deed goes unpunished.”

Linnea Hunter this act of sincere admiration is for you, for being the heroine that you are.

Trent Foster

Ukiah

_________________________________________________

OVERCOMPENSATION

Editor,

Mendocino County supervisors gave themselves a 43% raise in 2007.

A 10 percent cut in base salary right now is modest, especially considering the additional travel and commu­nication stipends board members receive, plus benefits, plus being vested in the pension plan after 5 years.

The BOS is asking for wage cuts from all county employees, including those in-home health providers who earn less than $10/hour right now taking care of our most vulnerable citizens and allowing them to stay in their homes, providing compassion and human dignity and saving us all heaps of tax money in the process.

It is unconscionable, in my opinion, for the Board of Supervisors to continue to ask for wage cuts from rank-and-file and management employees while not taking a cut themselves. Sometimes it’s very important for leaders to make “symbolic gestures.”

The idea that anybody who isn’t earning $68,000 a year is “forgoing compensation” is really insulting, frankly. Most of us who live on a salary here in Mendo­cino County earn considerably less than that, and not all of us have non-reported income, either.

Jennifer Poole

Willits


_________________________________________________

SLIM HOPE & SPARE CHANGE

Editor,

I hope the Republicans can chew thoroughly before having to swallow their own words on the desperate need to decrease the deficit and pay down the national debt. It was the GOP, you may recall, who demanded the crea­tion of a special commission to come up with a plan to restore fiscal virtue to government spending. After due consideration the president agreed, at which point the Republican’s reverted to their basic policy of opposing anything Obama supports and the very members who had sponsored a bill to create the commission voted it down.

Now the president knows, deep down, that America needs a total overhaul of nearly every element of gov­ernment and the expenditures of public moneys. Fraud and corruption are common in everything from Medicare to defense contracting, with tax breaks and subsidies for big political donors running close behind. With Republi­cans howling at the deficit moon through the latest elec­tion cycle Obama could not be blamed for creating the bad news, so he created the Deficit Commission himself, with orders to report back before Christmas. One can almost hear Br’er Rabbit begging Br’er Fox not to throw him in the briar bushes.

Now Senator Simpson and former Clinton advisor are out with a first draft, and nearly every constituency imaginable is screaming as if they were being eviscer­ated alive, which most of them are. Homeowners would loose their mortgage interest deductions, parents no loner could deduct their kids, investors might see their capital gains taxes double, and anyone born after the turn of the century will work a lot longer for less benefits under Social Security. The preliminary draft does not recom­mend any of these draconian cures for America’s fiscal failings, simply laying out the measures needed to fix each problem in order.

Most observers agree that near none of the actions will be taken by the increasingly timid congress, par­ticularly with the House Democrats demanding the newly empowered tea bag majority make the cuts required to stop the hemorrhaging of dollars, mostly borrowed, in the budget. Some immediate move, how­ever, could save Social Security in the short term. Aside from making people work an extra thirteen years to col­lect retirement, which won’t kick in for decades, how about we lift the cap on the social security tax, which currently sunsets at less than a hundred grand.

Let the rich pay the same percentage as the line worker and see how much money it would generate from America’s millionaire class. In taking extreme measures we need to remember that the numbers represent both oranges and apples, some of which are rotting in the barrel. Just because people live longer doesn’t mean they can work longer. Retirement means being worn out, and replacement is cheaper than repair from the company’s point of view. Anyone laid off after age fifty should be able to collect retirement until he gets another job. Long-term unemployment is the future for industrial workers, regardless of which political gangsters are in charge in Washington, and now we know just how desperate things really are. What we can do about it, is still an open question, but glad you asked.

Travis T. Hip

Nevada City

_________________________________________________

DEMOCRACY FOR RENT

Editor,

The corporations now own the election system and are able to tip the results with unlimited campaign spending. We keep the corporations coffers full by giv­ing them our money. We, the consumers, are the prob­lem, the corporations are only capitalizing on our care­less ways. As we slow our spending, the corporations have pushed the government to create some cheap money to see if they can lure us back. Don’t go back. If we continue to be thrifty, and are careful where our dol­lars are flowing, we can starve these monsters that are destroying our planet. If we simplify our lives, we can reduce our needs; spending less, working less, driving less. When shopping, we can avoid the over packaged and heavily processed items. We can buy fresh foods that our bodies will recognize and be able to fully utilize, not wasting resources by participating in the production and consumption of unwholesome foods. We can repair the broken, re-use the re-usable, and trade or do for our­selves when possible. A home garden is our most pow­erful tool. If our house seems too small, we can give something away to create more space. If our cupboards and closets are too full, we can thin and give away until they become functional. We have too much stuff, and the corporations need us to buy more. We can bring them down with our thriftiness. These are not sacrifices, they are thoughtful changes. In capitalism, we vote with our dollars, how are you voting?

Glen Squire

Navarro

_________________________________________________

ALASKA’S UPSIDE

Dear Editor:

I imagine a lot of lower 48ers take it for granted we’re a lot of rabid right-wingers up here, but it ain’t so. Yes we elected Sara Palin. But we had no idea who she really was, kind of like the way the Obama election went. Still we feel like fools for doing it. But look what we’ve done now! You may have heard about the Tea Party candidate that got a huge injection of TP money and beat our incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski in the primary. Lisa ran a write-in campaign and whupped him, I think it’s the first time anybody ever won a Senatorial write-in here. This is a huge defeat for the Tea Party so you haven’t seen much about it in the regular press. Too bad too, there was some interesting voter fraud that the whole state participated in joyfully, sometimes the good guys have to cheat too. Now you know what Alaska thinks of Sara Palin and the Tea Party. We feel very smug about it.

John Finley

Alaska


_________________________________________________

BRING BACK BARRY

Dear KZYX General Manager John Coate:

It’s 2 p.m. Sunday and no Radio Curious for the third Sunday in a row. This listener wants you to reinstate Barry Vogel’s unique half-hour show, Radio Curious.

When I asked why you had suspended Radio Curi­ous, you told me that the show in which Barry inter­viewed both Wendy Roberts and Dan Hamburg was outrageously biased against Roberts. The standard dis­claimer that Radio Curious did not necessarily represent the views of KZYX was insufficient in this instance, you said.

The election is over, albeit the final results are not in. Dan Hamburg likely won the election for 5th District Supervisor by approximately 11 per cent. Barry’s show is not responsible for Roberts losing the election. Many factors were involved, not least of which is the fact that most voters in the 5th District are very liberal, more so than Wendy Roberts.

There is abroad in the land what one commentator calls “The Free Speech Death Watch.” Consider the fol­lowing: (1) CNN fired Octavia Nasr when she tweeted a sympathetic remark about the Lebanese Shia cleric Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah on the occasion of his death; (2) NPR fired long-time reporter and ana­lyst Juan Williams for saying that he felt uneasy when he saw people in Muslim dress; and (3) NBC suspended “indefinitely” Keith Olbermann for making political do­nations. Of the three, only Olbermann has been rein­stated when NBC came to its senses.

KZYX also should come to its senses and reinstate Barry Vogel’s unique show, Radio Curious.

Let free speech flourish on KZYX.

Sincerely yours,

Janie Sheppard

Ukiah

PS. Please consider letting John Coate, KZYX General Manager, know how you feel about Radio Curious. His email address is gm@kzyx.org

_________________________________________________

CLEAR THE DESK!

Editor,

Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on for­ever in a finite world is either a madman or an econo­mist. Today the world is bleeding to death as the person goes about his or her business oblivious to it. Where is the tourniquet? Ecologists live in a “world of wounds.” The population of the United States has doubled in six decades from 120 million in 1928 to 250 million in 1990. This huge population expansion within two generations accounts for great changes in social and economic insti­tutions. Our own species, homo sapiens, has expanded from 500 million people on Earth in 1652 to a population of more than 5 billion in 2010. Global warming, acid rain, depletion of the ozone layer, and exhaustion of soils and groundwater are related to population size. Let’s clear the desk and clear the air and have a cup of tea beneath the trees.

Diana Vance

Mendocino

PS. The island of Java in Indonesia now has the world’s densest population of 2400 people per square.

_________________________________________________

HOME SWEET HOME!

Okay here goes.

I’m not usually compelled to write, as I’m a farmer, and the clear fall days call me out of doors for the last gleanings of another season gone by, and preparing the field for the promise of next year. It’s different every year and an endless learning experience. Boring isn’t it, as your wonderful “Farm to Farm” amply describes.

I love your rag! It comes to me out here in the woods via the possibly well-known Don MacQueen, my father. He taught me well: stuffing envelopes at 19 for McGov­ern, running off to live a poetic life in rural Oregon. (Worked for a while as a pressman’s assistant in a news­paper, poetry in motion!) Never much money, but that ain’t the point, is it?

And now I’ve landed where I wanted to be all along on a piece of land with a willing partner keeping my body healthy, my bills low, and a piece and quiet few people get to enjoy. I credit my dad (Pop MacQ to me) with my mostly level head, a taste for security and the home, and, well, my extreme liberal left leanings. Oh and the good sense to laugh.

While our land is paradise, the closest town to us is an appalling example of poor and proud of it — stub­born, unhealthy, Republican through and through. I see a broader story: lumber barons steal it all, the people being sold a capitalist bill of goods with not enough money left for them to spit with. Why do they still believe the dou­ble speak? I’m vexed.

So until it gets good and dark I’ll go wandering around outside, looking at the light on the trees, watch­ing the wind take leaves rushing down the river, envi­sioning projects, and here come the crows up the valley for the night, hundreds of them against the soft gray of dusk. Yep, chickens are closed in, shop lights off, stoke the fire and think about dinner.

Your newspaper is great! The writing is superb. I love the profiles of the folks. The ups and downs of a life are damn complicated! There is great compassion under all your grumbling. We need your voice.

Thanks for caring,

Jane MacQueen.

Sweet Home, Oregon

PS. I am really enjoying having the old man around. He just thinks himself into a frenzy sometimes, the energy is great fun.


_________________________________________________

FOOL’S GOLD

Editor,

Perhaps Joe Don Mooney, Local Yokels at the Hop, AVA of November 3, 2010, should interview someone who participated in the production of the 1969 super low-budget feature film GOLD. The film, produced by the original three, Bill Desloge, Dorothy Schmidt, and Bob Levis, who incorporated Dome Films, was con­ceived as our response to an incident of excessive vio­lence to us in our home from four members of the San Francisco Tactical Squad. GOLD, fotografed by Bill Desloge, was named for its location on a rented ranch in the gold country near Volcano, California, hardly a wil­derness. The story was improvised on a daily basis, typi­cal of Del Close and Gary Goodrow’s SF Committee’s style.

Del cast himself as the Che Guevara revolutionary. Gary Goodrow, writing his own part, became the crimi­nal cop. Carolyn Parr, North Beach dancer and child gem smuggler for her family’s jewelry store, became the criminal cop’s prostitute girl friend. Orville Schell, Chi­nese scholar and later head of UC Berkeley’s Department of Journalism, patiently taught revolutionary theory from Chairman Mao’s Red Book by his mentor Del Close, played Leroy Acorn, the town drunk. Funky Feature’s psychedelic poster’s Sam Ridge appeared as the politi­cian. I played the politician’s dream lady, his imaginary lover.

In this surreal pix, the cop gradually gains power over the townsfolk, arresting everyone for anything. Eventually the whole town, except for the fast talking politician, is confined within a barbed wire enclosure, the jail, while (Del Close) Che, and Leroy Acorn (Orville Schell), hid in the hills studying revolutionary theory, planning to free their people. Their transport was an ancient rusted jeep, jumpstarted on a deeply rutted, steep dirt road with “Che” and Leroy on board. Careening down the dirt road, its steering mechanism rusted shut, the jeep overturns, killing Leroy. Just out of camera range, three of us ran down the hill behind the jeep to be sure that Orville (Leroy) was just faking dead. He was.

Right behind us, the cheering freed prisoners streamed out of their jail. A jump in time — The cop is chasing Del/Che, bent on his capture. The location is the movie industry’s favorite train, the antique steam pow­ered locomotive and passenger cars of the Sierra Rail­road, rented for the day. Del, injured and running on crutches to escape the cop’s pursuit, grabs hold of a rail­ing on the passing train hoisting himself and the crutches aboard, followed by the cop. Racing past the startled passengers on his crutches, Del stands precariously between the swaying cars. Climbing to the roof of the train car, we watch Del run across the rooftops, jumping from car to car on his crutches. Having successfully eluded his pursuer, in this crazy denouement, Del blows up a Christian cross, the symbol of death, a coffin, and a gold mine. In the grand finale, cast, crew, extras cele­brate in the ranch pond with a nude water ballet. It was a hot summer day.

In the boredom and ennui of imprisonment, the politi­cian’s dream lady is seducing her lover. With renewed determination, Del, “Che,” after mourning the loss of his friend, commandeers the use of a ranch bull­dozer. At its full speed of 40mph, he charges into the barbed wire encampment. Behind him, a Viet Nam vet climbs the barbed wire spitting treads of the dozer to join Del, both shaking the fist of power. I followed suit, leaping over flying barbed wire. Right behind us, the cheering freed prisoners streamed out of their jail.

That’s the story. Bob Levis didn’t lead anyone, Joe Don Mooney. Bob was a stagehand, set builder for a Chicago little theater. He had never before worked on a film. Bill Desloge, cameraman for Richard Brautigan’s film poem, The Bed, had just finished working on the American pavilion for Hemisfair for filmaker Willard Van Dyke. I had completed my editing job for Gordon Ashby’s multi-screen extravaganza, 44 screens of film and slides for the Texas pavilion of Hemisfair. For ten years previously, I had worked as a freelance film editor in my home town, NYC, mostly on documentaries — Filmmakers Don Alan Pennebaker and Ricky Leacock’s cinema verité firsts, Cuba Si, Yanqui No, Two docu­mentaries on Jomo Kenyatta, and Integration New Orleans shot by Madeline Anderson. Were we the ragtag band of dreamers, dropouts and drug happy darlings you imagine cooked up this film?

The incident which spawned the idea of the movie occurred after a strenuous day of shooting the last of a series of short comedies in Golden Gate Park. With Desloge shooting, Orville Schell and I played the World’s Tallest Lady. I sat on Orville’s shoulders wear­ing a long skirt which hid Orville. As the Tallest Lady strolls through the park, she encounters a park attendant vacuuming the grass. A little later the same man is vac­uuming dead leaves out of a oak tree. As the Tallest Lady walks under the tree, she is sucked into the tree, top half first. To accomplish this, she had to jump out of the tree, her feet tucked under her blouse, followed by the bottom half. Reverse printing in the 16mm laboratory convinced viewers that she had been sucked into the tree. It worked. In the next scene, The World’s Tallest Lady attempts to cross the rugby field while the opposing teams are huddled with their coaches.

Halfway across the field, she intercepts a fly ball, run­ning and dodging the players to score a goal. Drop­ping the ball over the finish line, she grabs the square crossbar of the goal post, tucking her legs under her blouse, a detached but victorious torso. Underneath her, the bottom half of the lady, skirt over his head, is trying to rejoin the top. THE END.

Next week. The incident with the San Francisco Tacti­cal Squad.

Sincerely,

Dorothy Schmidt, my former married name

(I value my privacy.)

_________________________________________________

JOE DON MOONEY REPLIES

Editor,

Viewing tips for the movie “Gold”—

The notorious Dorothy Schmidt first appears amidst a squirming pile of naked mud-gropers. Next, after a bout of paddycakes, she’s busted, along with two other chicks for skinnydipping by the local cop who frog marches them at gunpoint into the cadaver bay of a black Cadillac hearse headed for the hoosegow. Dottie’s major speaking role happens soon after the bust at the town’s political mayoral convention where, togged out in a black caftan, Dorothy Schmidt denounces the establishment candidate as “repressive” and favors the town drunk because, if elected, he’ll “do nothing.” Her major close-up appears soon afterward, kanoodling in the ferns with the establishment elected town mayor followed by a nude piggyback romp through the woods. After that, bodies all over the place, mostly starkers. The movie’s climax has her and the two other busted skinny-dipping chicks liberating the town cop and converting him to the hippie lifestyle — a metaphor for the counterculture prevailing over the establishment. The message of the film is that the real “Gold” at the end of the rainbow is the hippie lifestyle which will make us healthy, wealthy and wise. The “solarization” technique in the early part of the movie during the choo-choo pitstop boffing scene was an attempt at “artistic expression” by the authors to con the censors. It didn’t work. Italics For the masochistic film buffs, the special features commentaries are worth enduring. At a minimum, the 60 Minutes interview of “Gold” producer/director, Bob Levis by a New York City pseudo-intellectual is worth the time. It’s mostly sociocultural bafflegab with the last 15 minutes talking about the political significance of the film.

Joe Don Mooney

Hopland

_________________________________________________

GOT FAITH?

Dear Editor,

Faith is the enemy.  It is antagonistic to any approach to human existence based upon reason, rationality, evi­dence and facts.  People who base their approach to problems with faith, as individuals or as cultures, have their heads so far up their asses that they can’t even any longer see their underwear.

They don’t even really believe in the faith they claim to believe in.  If they did they would not go to the doctor, they would rely on their faith to have their god fix the illness.  And with very few exceptions they do not do that.  They go to their doctor, whose ideas are based on scientific research, not faith; on experimentation, not faith; on trial and error methodology, not faith.

If they really believed faithfully, full of faith, in the god they say they believe in, who sent down the com­mandment not to kill, they would never be able to bring themselves to preemptively invade other people, or exe­cute them in the chair.

It seems to me, more and more the older I get, that faith, not money, is the root of our evils.  It excuses stu­pidity; it excuses wanton disregard for human and other species of life.  It regresses us back to the age prior to the 18th Century Enlightenment.  People believe the most superstitious, non –sensical, unverifiable, make-believe ideas, without ever checking them out or applying the test of reason to them.  They believe so they can tell themselves that they believe.  It makes them feel better, safer, belonging, eternal, but none of those deal with the real world. They only deal with the make-believe world, so they make themselves believe, even though the real world evidence piles up around them.  The higher the pile gets, the more absurd the beliefs become, as that is the only way they can keep on denying the reality.  It becomes a self-fulfilling pile of absurdity.

Every human epoch comes to an end, sooner or later.  Are we now witnessing the unraveling of the Age of Reason?  Only if we let it happen.

Lee Simon

Far ‘n Away Farm, Virginia


A Prosecutor’s Responsibility:

Editor,

What should a prosecutor be doing? For the People By the People?

The prosecutor is the representative not of an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereignty whose obli­gation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obli­gation to govern at all; and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done, as such, he is in a peculiar and very definite since the servant of the law, the twofold aim of which is that guilt shall not escape or innocent suffer. He may prosecute with earnestness and vigor — indeed, he should do so. But while he may strike hard blows, he is not at liberty to strike foul ones. It is as much his duty to refrain from improper methods calcu­lated to produce a wrongful conviction as it is to use every legitimate means to bring about a just one. The law in its own wisdom, has seen fit to surround those accused of a crime with certain rights and privileges. Prosecuting officials have no right to weaken those and other protec­tive Constitutional devices. No doubt some prosecuting officials feel restive because of necessity of proceeding step by step in the manner provided by law in the han­dling of prosecution, and seek to substitute their fixed “belief” in guilt of the accused for the proof required by law. Prosecuting those accused of crimes is often a tedi­ous and tiresome process. But this is the process required by law, and short cuts cannot be tolerated. Constitutional guarantees are not arbitrary pronouncements adopted to protect government oppression. They are necessary to protect the innocent. If an accused, even a guilty accused, cannot be convicted except by a violation of the principles, then he should not and cannot be lawfully convicted. It would be a sad day for the administration of justice if the court was to condone the substitution of the personal beliefs of a district attorney that the defendants have too many rights, and that the accused should be convicted because the district attorney thinks he should, for what the law guarantees a fair trial. District attorneys are not the arbiters of guilt or innocence. If a conviction is secured by means not sanctioned by law, the convic­tion cannot and should not sand! Simply put a prosecu­tor, even an old one cannot manipulate the justice system to suit his needs. He cannot turn his head at exculpatory evidence, even when it makes his case more difficult to prove. Prosecutors are not at liberty to pass judgment upon the accused. They are allowed to present the facts but can’t be allowed to manipulate the facts. The truth is the truth a fact is a fact the accused deserves to have all the facts brought into the courtroom. If a prosecutor violates any of the protective safeguards afforded by law to a defendant during a trial he is quilty himself of prose­cutional misconduct, or even prosecutional malpractice and exposes himself to be prosecuted himself by the system he stood for. When a prosecutor takes it upon himself to manipulate the system to suit his needs he needs to know it is time to step down, retire, or move to private practice. When a prosecutor removes a defen­dant’s counsel because he knows his skills surpass his own and with that representation the defense is assured a verdict of innocence. Then when a prosecutor intention­ally has a witness lie on the stand to discredit the defen­dant and falsely implement blame on him. To deny dis­covery to the defense to falsely sway a jury into a finding of guilty when it shouldn’t have, Tim Stoen did all this in the prosecution of Kenneth Rogers. Rogers turned down 3 years only to get 25 to life. This will be exposed in his appeal.

Is there justice, what is justice, “and justice for all?”

Is a judge a God, when a judge manipulates the truth instead of referees. When there is a jury isn’t a judge’s duty to see that the accused is granted all of his rights as afforded by law? When there is no jury a judge himself becomes the jury, he holds the ability to make the important determination on what the evidence shows, beyond a reasonable doubt guilt or innocence. When a judge allows himself to provide his opinion of guilt or innocent when ruling on the merits of a case before a jury he becomes a prosecutor, he fails to be the neutral party which his job demands of him, his primary func­tion is to be a referee between the prosecution and the defense. The defendants must be held as innocent until being proved guilty accept if he has been wrongly or unfairly found guilty because “any” of his rights were violated thus not giving him a fair trial. If there is even a question of his rights being violated at any point during a trial the accused should not just have the possibility of a new trial but must be absolutely granted a new trial. If there is even an obscure chance that the jury pool has been tainted (as in my trial), or fouled by prejudice to a defendant’s right to a fair trial a new jury must be impaneled and a new trial must be granted. When a judge is aware that juror tainting has occurred and fails to grant a new trial he is guilty himself of standing the way of a defendant’s right to a fair trial. For example. During juror selection in a criminal trial, a panel of juror is seated. A group of prospective jurors is brought in to the courtroom to be questioned by the defense and prosecution. One of the prospective jurors holds his hand up to get the bailiff’s attention. He hands the bailiff a letter to be given to the judge. The judge reads the letter aloud, the letter is taken into the record. Based on the letter the judge asks the juror a few questions and grants him relief from being considered for jury. The letter has been read aloud in the court, in the presence of the already impaneled jury and the balance of the other pro­spective jurors. The letter states that the prospective juror had been “confronted” in the hallway outside the jury assembly room by two men. The victim and the ex-prosecutor of the case. He states that the two men made statements about the defendant which were so repulsive that based on what they said (true or not) he felt he couldn’t be non-biased and objective in believing the defendant could be innocent. He asked to be relieved based on his inability to give the defendant a fair trial. Although the judge allowed that one person to go, there was nothing said about how many other jurors were with him when he was confronted. The judge said nothing about relieving the jurors present in the courtroom. Hearing the content of the letter the defense attorney even at the urging of the defendant failed to demand a mistrial or even object! The judge failed to inquire into whether anyone else had been confronted. Apparently off the record he asked the prosecutor to please ask the victim and the ex-prosecutor in the case not to hang out outside the jury assembly room hallway and tell all the prospective jurors facts or allegations about the defen­dant any longer. Now based on that would you feel there might be the possibility that the jury pool could have been tainted or compromised? Would you think the judge did all he could to guarantee the defendant a fair trial? Being there are specific rules and strict laws about jury tempering wouldn’t you think a written statement of fact from a sworn potential juror would be sufficient to possibly charge the two “violators of the law” for the crimes they undoubtedly committed together? What is the crime when two or more people speak about breaking the law together, isn’t it conspiracy? If you were the defense attorney and it is your job to protect your client’s rights at any cost, wouldn’t it make sense that you could possibly believe the jury pool could be tainted, wouldn’t it make sense to object and demand a new jury and trial. Being the judge’s primary job is to “assure” the defen­dant’s right to a “fair” trial?, wouldn’t it make sense for you to decline a mistrial to guarantee the defendant’s constitutional rights to a fair trial? If he failed to do that wouldn’t he be guilty of judicial misconduct or malprac­tice? Wouldn’t the defendant’s attorney be also guilty of ineffective assistance of counsel? Shouldn’t the victim and ex-prosecutor be held responsible for their actions and be charged? Shouldn’t the district attorney be guilty of prosecutional misconduct by not looking into the matter further in the “people’s” best interest of a fair trial for the people by the people? And in fact if he found the allegations were true and failed to prosecute for the offense, wouldn’t that be prosecutional malpractice or misconduct? So if this was a trial for your son or neigh­bor wouldn’t you feel he should be granted a new trial? Should the fiscal budget needs of a county being over budget and lacking money to even pay jurors to come to court their gas money play a part in a defendant’s rights to a fair trial or a judge’s decision not to declare a mis­trial merely because of the additional cost incurred. This is only the beginning of the prejudicial that was directed in the trial of an innocent family man with no record. This is the beginning of a trial which took almost 5 years to start, This is after the accused accepted a plea bargain of 120 days county jail time and turned down an amended deal for 3 years state pen. Time. Why? He is innocent! That man lost his attorney of choice to the DA, calling him as a witness never even be called after all it was all done just to remove competent counsel. The man was later convicted in this same trial and sentenced to 25 years to life and is in prison awaiting his appeal being granted and a reversal awarded. This was the way Men­docino County Republican Party Chairman, E.M.T., ex-fire chief, family man. Does it sound like justice to you? Would you like to be given this kind of trial? Where is justice? Is this how the peace loving?

The special responsibility of the prosecutor to refrain from misconduct has been emphasized repeatedly by the Supreme Court and other appellate courts. The prosecu­tor is the representative not of an ordinary party to a controversory but of a sovereignty whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that he shall win a case, but that jus­tice shall be done, as such, he is in a peculiar and very definite since the servant of the law, the twofold aim of which is the guilt shall not escape or innocent suffer. He may prosecute with earnestness and vigor — indeed, he should so, But while he may strike hard blows, he is not at liberty to strike foul ones. It is as much his duty to re­frain from improper methods calculated to produce wrongful conviction as it is to use every legitimate means to bring about a just one when he sets this aside to jurors ….. or get a conviction he should return. He is making his law.

Kenny Rogers

San Quentin

2 Responses to Letters to the Editor

  1. Terrence Boyd Reply

    November 24, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    wow. you have the weirdest letters to the editor section I’ve ever seen.

    • Trent Foster Reply

      January 9, 2011 at 4:40 pm

      Why thank you Terrance Boyd!
      I work hard at being weird so that others do not have to be, consider it a social service, keep on reading for you have not seen anything yet the best is yet to come.
      Do you wanna arm rassel?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>