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Letters (May 6, 2020)

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On this May Day, the international day of the worker - I reflect on what we have won and how far we still have to go. Yes, we have worker safety and child labor laws, overtime pay and the weekend, for which we should all rejoice and thank our forebears for the sacrifice and courage it took to get them. But this pandemic has laid bare, if it was not already, the viciousness of the paradigm in which we all still attempt to survive. As Trump invokes the Defense Production Act to compel workers to return to meat packing plants but not a finger is lifted to compel Personal Protective Equipment, and the governors of these states threaten to withhold unemployment insurance from workers who refuse to comply, well one might be justified in asking, What has really changed?

I remember when I was running for county Supervisor the frustration I often felt on many issues. 

Take, for example, affordable housing. Of course citizens are correct in asking their local representatives for ideas and active collaboration in solutions, but all solutions must be found within a very small and tight space allotted to us, when we have trillionaires who expertly stash away their wealth in unreachable accounts, then you end up with thousands, maybe millions of people homeless and under-insured. Does anyone really believe these two things are mutually exclusive? 

I grieve for all of the suffering this pandemic is causing, but this current system is not worth the humanity we spend on it. 

Happy May Day. 

Chris Skyhawk


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Bruce Anderson's recent report on the never ending saga of Bari and Cherney brought back many memories. We awoke fresh from our dreams of the salad days of the Albion Uprising. The Albion Nation was young and vibrant as we rallied to save our beloved land. Anderson might have added that the uprising was backed by a solid core of fisherfolk and "wood dogs" who got up early and worked hard. The glory and magic of those days was that we all pulled together for the common defense. Bari and Cherney, Beth Bosk, Annemarie, Utah Phillips, Kay Rudin, the hipnecks from Boonville, Mexicans and Native Americans, allies, Bruce Anderson, Bill Heil, Linda Perkins, Val, Daphne (the Viking Princess), the Albion countrywomen. The uprising’s IWW-EF! ranks swelled with the active support of the Mendocino Coast lunatic fringe which was larger than the cloth. We also got a fair and decent shake from our good Sheriff Tony Craver.

With our bodies and lawyers we saved a few fish and trees. We remember great music and fabulous smoke. Redwood Summer brought IWW activity to the Fort Bragg mill and countless EF! demonstrations.

The clearcuts finally stopped, alas not from our efforts. The greedy timber companies clearcut their lands of marketable timber for their mills and the "shortfall" commenced.

Judy Bari could articulate the goals of the anarcho-syndicalism (IWW) with more humor and good sense than anybody else. She had an anarchist head but sadly Leninist reflexes. Nonetheless, she was often insightful. Bari told me her ex-husband was an "asshole but not a monster." My old pal and ordained Catholic priest James Patrick Donahoe stated, "The hottest hole in hell was reserved for a man who would kill the Jewish mother of his children."

God knows who blew up Bari and Cherney and we pray at His time and place. He will take care of business.

Alan ‘Captain Fathom’ Graham


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Immoral, even criminal neglect!

Deathly sick patients are not getting the medicine they need to improve their quality of life and to prolong their lives. There are very few real compassionate care programs in the medical marijuana world. Almost all of it is merely lip service.

The government is frustrating many health care providers and doctors with their uninformed policies and hyper regulatory actions. The only government officials who genuinely appreciate the astounding benefits of the marijuana plant are the ones who have been impacted by it on a personal level. (Tony Linegar, retired Mendo and Sonoma County ag commissioner, heart attack and near death experience, is a fine example!)

No mere mortal can afford to grow any kind of significant size compassionate garden. There is way too much financial burden to carry — lawyers, code enforcement, permits, testing, tracking and all sorts of other compliance requirements. On top of all that there are many in the government who, in spite of all the documentation (by real doctors) still believe that cannabis is just a placebo and has no medical applications. These government officials have sworn to keep their constituents’ best interests at the top of their priority list! This is not happening.

Sick and/or dying patients have no voice, no power and no influence at all! The media coverage of these individuals has been almost nonexistent. Shameful corporate jerks!

There are a number of reasons why sick people need help and these include: physically unable to grow, no gardening skills, no space in their living situation (landlord), conservative neighbors (for example Pervine Lane in Sonoma County), can't afford the very expensive dispensaries, can't drive, no money to grow, homebound, mental issues, etc..

Some solutions:

Ask the patients what we can do to help them now and in the future -- maybe a survey.

Tax-free, permit free, and only health regulations (to be under the Agricultural Commissioner's jurisdiction).

Create a screening program for potential donees (recipients.)

Make grants or funding a real thing as to attract experienced, competent, conscientious cultivators.

Implement a tracking system to prevent diversion and abuses of medical marijuana.

Free delivery to homebound individuals.

Shut down the pharmaceutical industry’s monopoly over the healing medicines available.

No more lies about the sunsetting of Proposition 215! Lies without basis!

Somehow change federal policy on medical marijuana — a huge part of the solution.

Medi-Cal and Medicare for patients’ medical marijuana costs.

Create a separate noncommercial medical cannabis "industry."

Create a foundation to supply sick patients with free medical marijuana until the time the government gets its priorities in order (probably never).

Do some good.

Oaky Joe Munson

Sonoma County

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Julia Acker Krog, chief planner Mendocino County Building & Planning Services Department, notified AT&T that all construction in preparation for the wireless communications facility at the Lord’s Land on Navarro Ridge Road in Albion must cease.

There will be a full coastal permit development process which will take 6-8 months. It’s an “after the fact” discretionary permit, meaning that both the County and the CA. Coastal Commission will review it and make changes as needed with the CA. Coastal Commission having the final say.

A total of 50 wooden poles that were placed on both sides of Navarro Ridge Road leading up to the site (3 miles from Hwy 1) and the cables strung from pole to pole can’t be removed just yet since they are evidence of the construction.

There will be a public hearing and all residents who live in close proximity to these poles on Navarro Ridge Road will be notified by mail.

There is no exemption from coastal zone regulations for this new construction which violates the protection of the highly scenic area, and must follow the Local Coastal Plan (LCP) approved by the CA. Coastal Commission.

The County’s Building & Planning Services Department has also contacted the Coastal Commission.

Annemarie Weibel


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What gives that idiot Newsom the right to close all the parks and beaches down? Or the right to spend our tax money so foolishly on Communist China and illegal aliens and not helping the infrastructure one bit? How does he get away with it? Because he's a dictator! Nobody can do a thing about it unless Californians get pissed off enough to rush the capitol and throw them people right on their asses. That needs to happen. 

By now everyone's heard about Joe Biden being accused of sexual molestation. How does it feel you left-wing antibiotic democratic fools? You are getting a taste of your own medicine like what they did to poor Brett Kavanagh when he was nominated for the Supreme Court? That cost $30 million for nothing. How do you like it, liberals? I hope they make Joe Biden go through the same horrible treatment Kavanagh had to go through. I love it. Run him through the gauntlet. Makes me happy. 

God bless Donald Trump.

Jerry Philbrick


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To the Editor:

Residents of Mendocino County: Wake up and tell your county health department that there is no curve to flatten.

We had been told before this shelter in place order went into effect that we needed to ‘flatten the curve’ so our hospitals would not be overwhelmed with Coved-19 cases. I read in our local newspaper that not only has that not happened, but it is unlikely that it will happen here. So where is this curve we wanted to flatten and why are we not working at our businesses and enjoying our local parks? Remember, these shelter in place orders were not necessarily implemented to keep anyone from getting Coved-19, but rather to stagger the people getting sick so hospitals would not be overwhelmed. Not only are the hospitals not overwhelmed, but many in the healthcare industry have been laid off or furloughed. We have no medical crisis in Mendocino County and yet our constitutional rights to assemble peacefully, work at our businesses, and even leave our homes have been disregarded in the interest of ‘saving lives’. Could it be that our local and state government officials are testing us to see how many of their draconian orders we will put up with? A bad precedent is being set and must be stopped if we want any semblance of freedom for our future. This is just another assault on our liberty by people who want total control over everything we do. Our founders were willing to fight and die for freedom rather than live under tyranny. Have we come to that place again in America?

Duane Grilli


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To the Editor:

A big shout out and appreciation to our public health officers Drs Doohan and Flaherty for all their hard work preventing the spread of Covid-19 in our community, even to those who lack the understanding and/or patience to be properly grateful. Our public health department intervened early and skillfully, and we are so fortunate that as of today we have zero community spread of the virus, unlike our neighboring counties of Humboldt and Sonoma. I also appreciate all of you who are faithfully practicing the guidelines, maintaining social distance, postponing visits with family and friends, dealing with loss of work, kids out of school, financial stress. Thank you all, the life you save may be your own or someone you love. And thank you to all health care workers, first responders, essential workers for staying on the job in spite of the risks you are taking on.

Judy Luria RN


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Dr. Noemi Mimi Doohan, Mendocino’s missing in action public health officer, released the fourth health officer order Friday April 24. The new order makes a couple of pointless princess and pea modifications. The housebound can now drive up to 20 miles from their home to exercise. Driving to a place of exercise was previously banned. But all the parks and beaches at health clubs are ordered closed, so it's not clear where this exercise can take place.

Doohan, in another bold move, decreed that singing in churches is now allowed but only if there are plexiglass screens between singers or other protective measures and no more than four people are present. Dr. Doohan’s previous ban on singing in church made national news, cementing Mendoland’s reputation as the land of kooks and nuts.

Facial coverings are now required except when they're not which is probably a good thing if only people would comply. Mendocino County,l as of this writing, is up to 11 confirmed cases with the last six all coming from Covelo where an outbreak was announced last Thursday. The Covelo cases are all stable and self-quarantining at home. But they are probably the tip of the iceberg depending on how much contact the six confirmed cases had with other community members.

The total shutdown of any business labeled nonessential continues and one wonders how long small local businesses can stay closed and have any chance of survival. But anyone can drive to the big chain stores in Ukiah or Santa Rosa and buy stuff that they could buy at a local store if only the local store were allowed to open.

Doohan worked for Adventist Health until last year when she was either forced out or fired. Mendocino County, which needed a public health officer after Dr. Gary Pace resigned in protest of the forced disappearance of Barbara Howe, quickly higher Doohan. Howe is reported to be working for Lake County while she pursues legal action against Mendocino County for unlawful termination while Doohan has authority under a declared emergency to tell Adventist how to run their hospitals.

Doohan’s father was Dr. Claude Steiner, a Berkeley psychiatrist who bought Round Mountain Ranch northwest of Ukiah in the 1970s and started a back to the land hippie commune. Steiner was a leading proponent of "radical therapy" the now debunked offshoot of "transactional analysis" which, like all psychobabble going back to Freud is also mostly all bunk. Steiner may be best known for writing "Warm Fuzzy Tales" which spawned the slang term "warm fuzzies," his signature signoff.

Steiner's original vision for the Round Mountain Commune was that everyone would contribute equally in money and services and all would have an equal say. Except since he put up the money for the original purchase he would have a veto over all decisions made by the group. And he stood ready to foreclose if the land payments (at 7% interest) were not being made. Things started to go awry when Claude invited a group of traveling gypsies, "theIlluminated Elephants" to live on the ranch without making a financial contribution. Or at least the terms of their agreement with Claude were kept secret from the other communards.

As it came to pass, after a couple of years Claude asserted his right to sole ownership of the property including 14 substandard low-rent hippie shacks and detached bedrooms, which left the other "investors" as nothing more than renters with limited say in how the ranch was run, but with no financial benefit no matter how hard they worked to improve things. Instead of their rent payments going to retire debt on the property and increase the value of their share, it all went to Claude who paid the mortgage, made minimal repairs and did as he wished with the rest.

As the holder of absolute power, the founding father of warm fuzzies admitted that he "fell into authoritarian behavior." Where new arrivals had to be approved by 100% of the current tenants and once accepted can only be sent packing by 100% disapproval, there was one glaring exception. Anyone could be sent packing at any time if they fell into disfavor with the founder.

Dr. Doohan, daughter of the father of warm fuzzies, must be feeling very warm and fuzzy herself at the plum position she has landed, having just received a $100,000 raise after violating her own stay in place order by departing to San Diego where she probably has a short walk to the beach. She has all the benefits of her highly paid position without ever having to look any of the people in the eye whose lives are being strained or broken by her dictates.

Name Withheld


A READER NOTES: Sounds like letter writer, Name Withheld, has more of a gripe with Claude Steiner, Dr Doohan’s dad, than with Dr Doohan. The missive would be more believable if he/she wrote about Doohan’s abilities rather than her touchy-feely father’s history. Sounds to me like he/she was perhaps an annoyed member of the former Round Mountain enclave. I don’t see what Claude’s (who’s in the big fuzzy in the sky) actions have to do with covid-19. But I guess the writer got to air some dirty laundry and vent. 

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