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Letters (October 14, 2020)

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Thank you, Wes Smoot.

For your wonderful article about the Gaskill School.

I've been driving by that building near the bottom of Haehl Hill for almost fifty years now wondering what its story was. By its design and size I knew it was a stock kit elementary school even as I slowed the car to puzzle who might be the local historian to tell the rest of the story.

Wes's recollection covers it all: the donating property owner, the school's origins and served community, and most rich what it was like to be a student in the one teacher elementary school system so successful all over rural America for 150 years.

His story also captures how isolated from one another the various Anderson Valley communities were even after World War II, and how intimidating Boonville town and its consolidated high school system was for a south of Yorkville boy in 1946.

Thank you for your snapshot of Anderson Valley life back then, Wes Smoot, eminent local historian.

Brad Wiley


PS: Wes, I've been asking for years: what's the story of the “Old Chatham Ranch” further up Haehl Hill?

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To the Editor:

Over 30 years, the Enchanted Pumpkin Path has grown into a beloved community tradition – offering young children in our community a safe, fun alternative to trick-or-treating on Halloween. Adults too often enjoy watching familiar stories come to life and mingling with friends and neighbors in the Smoky Cauldron Café or playing games.

This year the Waldorf School of Mendocino County is sad to announce that current Mendocino County Shelter In Place guidelines preclude all possibility of safely hosting any version of this magical event. We wish families in our county good health and look forward to next autumn when we can once again welcome the larger community to share the experience of the Enchanted Pumpkin Path.

Emily Rose Smith,

The Waldorf School of Mendocino County

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As a Donald Trump supporter, I am extremely disappointed with the president’s performance on the national debate floor. When you back a president, you take the good with the bad. Nobody’s perfect, but what upset me most was the childlike bully mentality Trump exhibited by continuing to interrupt Joe Biden.

What makes Trump a maverick in the White House doesn’t suit him well in a television debate. Sadly, with all the other problems going on with the world, we now have this presidential debate circus to deal with. The American people deserve better than a Jerry Springer WWE wrestling match.

Like the old saying goes, you dance with the person you brought. But Trump’s fan base is concerned about his self-control. And after what I saw last week, so am I.

J.L. Robley

Santa Rosa

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I’ve been informed that there has been an application for a permit for a pot dispensary to be located at the southeast corner of Franklin and Alder streets here in Fort Bragg. That would be kiddie corner from the post office to you that are not familiar with the area. I would not be writing this letter if I was not concerned about this project. The dispensary’s warehouse doors are approximately 40 feet from my family’s property, which is on McPherson Street. I have never been a fan of the legalization of pot for recreational use, but I have no problem with it being used for medicinal purposes if prescribed by a physician. There are concerns with property values and safety issues. Are the police going to have to change their nightly patrols on account of a warehouse being stored full of pot? If this place is robbed are the people going to hide in my backyard from the cops? How are they going to control the smell that is going to invade our neighborhood? I thought the city had already zoned other places for this type of business. All I know is that I definitely do not want this in my neighborhood. How about you?

Jay Koski

Fort Bragg

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Dear Editor, 

There was an excellent op-ed article in the PD today regarding logging and the propensity for mega-fires written by Chad Hanson. “Weather and climate influence fire behavior much more than other factors. Alarmingly, in forests where trees had been removed by logging, burned hotter and faster.That’s because removing trees reduces shade; creates hotter, dryer and windier conditions; and causes highly combustible grasses to spread.”

Now we have legislation put forth by Senator Diane Feinstein (S 4431 Wildfire + Public Safety Act of 2020) which puts the Timber Interests in the driver’s seat once again. For anyone who has ever observed a forest it is abundantly clear that more overstory or canopy equals more moisture and less vegetation in the understory in a coniferous forestland. More industrial logging only exacerbates the problem. They remove the high quality mature timber, leave huge piles of slash, and expose the forest floor to compaction and degradation. Thus the recipe for the mega-fire is well established.

Here in Mendocino County the liquidation logging proceeds apace with the blessings of CalFire. There is no meaningful regulation in these THP’s. No follow up inspections to insure compliance with Forest Practice Rules. I have tried to contact Cal-Fire directly with concerns over timber harvest practices to no avail. Apparently public input and concern for the mismanagement and degradation of the west coast temperate forests is of no concern to this agency. It’s all bought and paid for! 

The voters of Mendocino county passed Measure V to address the issue of —hack and squirt — herbicide poisoning of Tan oak trees and yet the problem continues unabated today as the forests are full of dead standing Tan oaks . 

Here, where I live on the front range, two miles from the Pacific Ocean, the forests on my parcel are dense and moist, whereas adjoining parcels which have been logged in recent years are parched and the soils are compacted as a direct result of recent timber operations. 

When the fire comes, and it will come, I believe the climax forest will endure whereas the harvested forest will burn. It appears we need a regulatory agency apart from the timber interests which have so dominated the methodology of forest management for the past century. 

I propose we as Californians empower the Climate Crisis Agency to direct and supervise all subservient government agencies in their budgets and priorities. Let Cal-Fire continue to fight wildfires, which they do remarkably well, but make forest management policy under a more current understanding of climate change.


Tim McClure 

Fort Bragg

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To the Editor:

The County is proposing to buy the Best Western Motel on Orchard Avenue, and it is my understanding that escrow has already been opened. I have the very strong concern that this is the wrong place to put a homeless residential shelter. We live in a wonderful part of California, and we must not let one of our major corridors to the City of Ukiah be further impacted by a facility structured in such a manner just because money is being offered from another governmental agency. Remember! It’s your money no matter what pocket it comes from. Transparency has been lacking on the process, and its time our community knows what is going on.

My letters to the city: I am setting down my strong objections to this purchase for the following reasons:

It takes a successful, tax/BID paying business off the tax rolls which affects the income for the City of Ukiah The location is poorly chosen for the following reasons: There is a school, a day care center, and an elementary school within a three-minute walk.

There is a thriving real estate office within 25 feet of and other business in the near vicinity to the motel that will be impacted.

In looking to the future, the entire corridor of Orchard Avenue should be used for commercial that supports (not detracts from) the economy of the City of Ukiah.

The proposed mix of different types of homeless people is not conducive to a successful treatment/residential facility at this location. The severely mentally ill, high risk COVID patients, (with housing vouchers) nor those with complex medical conditions, as well as those experiencing domestic violence, should not be placed in this type of facility. Believe it or not, this is what is proposed.

The City has no allocated funds for homelessness, but this facility would create just one more policing nightmare just like Willow Terrace and Building Bridges, thus taking funds away that should be spent on other City defined priorities.

It is too far away from other services, i.e., Plowshares, Food Bank, etc.

 The price being paid is $10,600,000. Now if you ask me, that is a lot of zeros. Then there is only $1.3 million allocated for maintenance and staffing. As we business people can tell you, that amount will evaporate in a very short time. We all know this COVID mess will end sometime, and when it does, the Federal dollars will dry up, and so will the handouts to local governments. Where will the money come to support such a facility?

I sit on the Adventist Health – Ukiah Valley Citizen’s Advisory Council, and for the last year, administrators have shared with us the plans for Adventist to build a $180,000,000—–$200,000,000 state of the art medical facility off Perkins Street north of the existing hospital. Orchard Avenue should be used for ancillary service buildings for the hospital and not be transitioned into another homeless encampment. It is recognized that the Crisis Residential Treatment Center will be down the street, but this is a very small facility with the correct funding and hopefully good management practices. Hopefully, it will look more like a doctor’s office than an encampment.

The County has contracts with the facility managers of both Building Bridges and Willow Terrace. Talk to your Police Chief Justin Wyatt about the failed effective management and burden on his department of these homeless facilities. There is absolutely no guarantee that this one will be managed any more safely or effectively to prevent impositions or conflicts with other neighbors.

Again, it is time for the City to demand more transparency on these types of projects that affect the long-range goals that hopefully do not include making Ukiah solely a homeless encampment. (There are many residents who already feel they are living in such an environment.)

I understand the City Council approved the proposal for the County to receive the funds for the purchase of a homeless residential facility, but this is the wrong place, and there are alternatives. The County already owns “COVID Motel” on Whitmore lane, so why not put the housing there? It’s much closer to Plowshares, would be in the County and not on the best commercial land in Ukiah.

In light of the importance of this matter, I will be asking the BOS and County Administrator Carmel Angelo for a public, widely spaced meeting, to allow concerned citizens to voice their concerns about this project.

Martha Barra


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A few thoughts on the situation…

As we slip into tragedy at an exponentially accelerating pace, maybe a bit of analysis can help prevent the future from degenerating into total disaster. Consider the mistake that millions made in 2016 by voting GOP: Can the world recover from it? Maybe, maybe not. Since then, so much evil has been foisted upon us that the chances for recovery diminish with every day that passes. Come Nov. 3, the luxury of voting GOP is not an option that can be afforded. 

Considering the ease with which new products roll off increasingly mechanized assembly lines, many wonder why the economy doesn't work better for workers, and why instead the gap between rich and poor grows ever wider, which advantage allows the ultra rich to buy off political reps with the instruction to keep things going just the way they are, thank you very much. The accelerating rise of productivity will take care of the rest, as an increasing share of the benefits of higher productivity accrue to the rich. The widening of the gap slowly converts our once-thriving democracy into a shameless dictatorship of the billionaires, and this corrupting process is exceptionally accelerated when a deluded electorate mistakenly elects a billionaire to be their savior, which borders on the unimaginable, had not so many previous tragic examples already been suffered over the ages. 

As human labor gets replaced by machine labor, people wonder aloud over what to do about the unemployment that results. Several work-sharing tactics have evolved over time that have proven at least somewhat effective: making overtime more expensive than mere time and a half, a shorter work week, longer paid vacations, sabbaticals, more paid holidays, and so on. All of those mechanisms deal with time, not money. With productivity on its relentless rise, more and more work-sharing tactics should be adopted to keep pace. Resistance to the measures arises from the inevitable fact that work-sharing does little to enhance profits. But, when the top three tycoons enjoy more wealth than the bottom half of the entire USA, should tears be wasted over a little belt-tightening on the part of the bosses? Especially when studies have shown that overwork, instead of improving productivity, can actually be more expensive. That work reductions can in fact enhance the bottom line may sound counter-intuitive, but it should be remembered that humans are not dumb machines that automatically produce more and better when the whip gets cracked over their heads. 

Conservatism is doomed, so say some pundits, and yet it seems to thrive in the USA. People want liberation from labor, but seem to care less that the conservative ideology to which they seem so susceptible is the very ideology that can only make things worse. As time goes on, and productivity accelerates due to tech evolution, more and more workers are bound to be displaced and laid off. Human labor signifies enslavement to the means of production, while machine labor signifies human liberation. As employment inevitably declines, would-be workers will call for relief, though little will come their way, as the very limited covid relief programs bear out. Conservatives will quote their bibles saying: “He who does not work shall not eat.” But, workers will not be sufficiently nourished thereby, and may seek help from the more liberal among us who understand that a few words from the bible cannot put food on the table. 

Ken Ellis

New Bedford, Massachusetts

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What you say! Now you think you have heard it all? Grab onto your K-401 savings, a kid or two, the cat and get grandma's walker!

Last week on the morning news it was disclosed that your exalted ruler governor Cave-In Nuisance is putting together a research task force (I would like to know what that costs you and me) to see what can be done for: Black families who had ancestors who may have been slaves. 

A joke? I'm afraid not!

Reparations equals dollars of unknown quantity and/or costs payable in money or labor or goods etc.?

There is no question that history repeatedly verifies that the black race has/is being misused and abused! Let's learn from the past and correct all things correctable without masking over with monies and false promises.

A safety net should not in truth to be a financial hammock. A chicken in every pot should not equate to a T-bone steak for all at breakfast. Get it?

I can hear the peanut gallery now loud and clear: What the F___! You're paying, we want steak!

An opprobrious ode for your governor -- Cave-in Nuisance: May a freshwater Kraken in a stealthy movement rise from your water closet/porcelain throne and assail the genitalia leaving the reproductive capabilities in doubt.

Grandma says: not nice for Nuisance. You shouldn't be giving little Krak junk food. I said: make up a batch of your peanut butter cookies Gram. That may take the bad taste out of Little K’s beaked mouth, a Herculean task! Love you Gram.

God bless America, the Donald, Jerry Philbrick and the Kraken.

Older and angrier,


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Over four million acres have been burned in these California fires this year. Can you imaging all those fires starting without being set? Of course they’re being set. Maybe a few of them were started by lightning. But most of them were started by man. And the reason is that they are getting even with Mary Nichols and Gavin Newsom and Jerry Brown and the CARB Air Resource Board BS where they took away thousands of trucks from people. 

God Bless Donald Trump.

Jerry Philbrick


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Dear Coastal Resident,

For coastal residents, Ukiah, and our county government, can seem distant and disconnected. With only two Supervisors representing coastal districts, our unique concerns are often inadequately addressed by the Board of Supervisors - or worse yet, are addressed by inland Supervisors who don’t take the time to study the issues. On every issue, the coast is reliant on having at least one inland Supervisor who iseducated and interested in our coastal perspective. That’s why who is elected 2nd District Supervisor this November is EXTREMELY important to our community.

The next few years the county will face budget shortfalls, complex problems, and competing priorities. The next 2nd District Supervisor could make the deciding vote for how our community addresses coastal land use issues and protecting and promoting our community. The new Board of Supervisors will determine the remainder of our coronavirus response and course of our economic recovery.

With the unprecedented challenges we face, what are we looking for in the leaders who make decisions for our entire County?

Integrity, experience, intelligence, and empathy: we want a Supervisor we can respect, one who listens to our concerns and takes thoughtful decisive action.

We believe that Mari Rodin embraces these qualities and so much more. She is the better choice for being our next County Supervisor.

Here is why Mari is our choice:

* During Mari’s 11 years on the Ukiah City Council she consistently demonstrated her intelligence and facility with complex issues, was always well prepared, and welcomed and considered all opinions and information presented to the Council. She is adept at synthesizing and applying facts to complex issues and skilled at bringing people together.

* Mari is the only candidate in the race who opposes offshore oil drilling and supports the continued protection of our coastline from destructive commercial and industrial developments. Mari’s opponent has only said she needs to “learn more” about offshore drilling and has taken campaign contributions from eager real estate development PACs.

* Mari cares about our community and has the proven track record to deal with the challenges we are currently facing — a public health crisis, developing safe, affordable, and appropriate housing for all income levels, and bolstering our economy.

* In all her work to support our community, Mari has never sought recognition or to aggrandize herself. She has always shown herself to be a person of maturity and integrity; working hard for our collective good. She is running because of her love of and commitment to our whole community.

Mari has all the qualities we want in a County Supervisor. But before she can serve, she needs to win this election. Her opponent has a year head start in campaigning and lots of special interest money. We need your help to catch up! That is why we have stepped forward to send this letter to you.

Please join us! Here is how you can help:

Donate — Via credit card or PayPal on Mari’s website:

Endorse Mari for 2nd District Supervisor— Allow the public use of your name endorsing Mari. You can endorse on her website:

Volunteer — Make calls, be an active and engaged supporter on Facebook, and write postcards. You can also put up a sign and help with events. Mari is running a visible and well-organized grassroots campaign.

Please join us today to help Mari Rodin win election to the Board of Supervisors.


Rachel Binah, Kendall Smith, Meg Courtney, Greg Peterson, Jeff Tyrell, Paul Tichinin

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I don’t support offshore drilling but I am known to need more information before responding to a question. I’m not sure where this came from, just thought I’d set the record straight that I don’t support offshore drilling and I have been 100% transparent about my endorsements and contributions. You can see all of them at

Also I have put the Q&A from individual organizations directly on my website under the visions tab if you’d like to read for yourself.

Maureen ‘Mo’ Mulheren

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To the editor

I've been hearing a lot of bleating and bellowing lately about “saving our democracy from Trump.” Let's begin with disposing of that delusional nonsense. The United States of America might possibly be described accurately as an attempted, intended, or potential democracy for a short period after the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and until the June 1788 ratification of a decidedly anti-democratic U.S. Constitution. Despite offering a smattering of the language of democracy in a Preamble as unbinding, insincere, and empty as the contemporary Democrat Party convention and campaign rhetoric of egalitarian inclusion, the text body of the Constitution itself was carefully and deliberately designed to protect the properties and privileges of a small, elite land-owning aristocratic class and to provide a bulwark against the ambitious machinations of an organized people outside that club to try to redistribute those properties and privileges in any way. You may have been taught in high school civics class that this constitutional document provides a system of checks and balances. This hallowed myth is observably false. The legislative chamber we call the House, which happens to be the most democratically representative branch of our government, is also the least powerful. The Senate chamber is roughly eight times less representative of the people than the House and, by virtue of the Constitution, more powerful by about the same factor. The Senate chamber, as prescribed by the document, could certainly be equal in power to the executive branch had it not some time ago, in flagrant dereliction of its sworn responsibilities, ceded a good deal of that power to the even less representative office of the Presidency. More powerful yet than the executive branch is a Supreme Court comprised solely of unelected justices serving for life and threatened by no practical process of removal. In light of this constitutionally effected imbalance, we can clearly conclude that the only real check provided by this founding document is that on the will and voice of the people in order to prevent any zealous democratic overreach on the part of the rabble. So sorry, but no democracy here to save from Trump. Never has been. If you think you'd like to see what it's like living under a democracy, you must endeavor to scrap the existing U.S. Constitution and then rewrite it to allow for that possibility. Spoiler alert... The designers anticipated this effort and built in rules that will make this kind of project very, very difficult, if not actually impossible. However, this isn't to suggest that there haven't been periods in American history during which those citizens unfortunate enough to exist outside the aristocracy have fared substantially better than in other periods. The ruling class seems to swing on a pendulum between being content with protecting and preserving the vast wealth and power that they already command and, at the other end, being obsessed with expanding that wealth and privilege by systematically diminishing that small portion desperately clung to by those less powerful than them, which obviously would be all the rest of us. As in the 1920's, we seem to currently be at the viciously greedy end of one of those swings. A soft swing back towards a kinder, gentler plutocracy was the FDR led response to the ravages of the Great Depression. That could happen again, but we probably shouldn't count on it. One of the tragic flaws of classical Marxist thinking lies in its misplaced faith in historical determinism. As much as we might like it to, history will decline to write itself. Any action we can possibly take at this time towards influencing the pendulum to swing back is an action we should vigorously pursue. As much as I've always admired Karl Popper's tireless advocacy of the pursuit of what he termed an “open society”, I've also always been equally leery of his contentment with the strategies of accepting incremental progress toward that goal, especially when applied within the context of the United States. It just seemed that given the already existing concentration of wealth and power combined with high level of the institutionalized corruption, our incremental progress was consistently reduced to one step forward and two steps back. But when circumstances change enough, we sometimes have to adapt our positions to meet them. I may be ready now to embrace some incremental progress. The System, served in turn by both parties, has long stopped and frisked us whenever the mood struck, has held us down and spit in our faces while stealing our milk money. But for the last four years, under Trump, the System has had its knee on our throats and now we can't breathe. In 1972, I was barely of voting age and cast my first ballot for George McGovern. I attribute that decision to inexperience and youthful idealism. McGovern would probably still have lost that election even if his own party hadn't failed to support his candidacy. Still, I found myself dismayed and appalled at that deliberate abandonment. Since that time as I came to better understand how our two party system works and whose interests both parties actually serve, I've voted third party in every election. The fact is I loathe the Democrat Party and hold its leadership responsible for moving our nation so far to the right during my lifetime that we're now expected to revere such figures as Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and the Clintons as our “liberal” heroes. Strip away the seductively appealing rhetoric and focus only on their actual policy achievements and you find Obama just a bit to the political right of Richard Nixon and Joe Biden on about a par with Reagan. As for the Clintons, well, the name Barry Goldwater comes to mind. Having said all that, I'm now going to confess my intention to cast a straight Democrat ballot in November, from Biden-Harris right on down to our local dogcatcher. We need a pause right now, a chance to breathe again so that we can regroup in order to begin to work again for real change. We can start fighting Biden the moment he's sworn into office. There can be no pause or new breath, though, until Trump is driven from the playing field. I cannot be critical of anyone who chooses to support a third party bid this year, or even those who choose to not vote at all shunning the process altogether. I still believe those to be arguably valid decisions. I can only act in accordance with what my own powers of reason demand at this time. I apologize for taking up so much space with the excessive length of this Letter to the Editor, but the political waters that surround us and impact all of our lives just aren't as simple and easily approached as Philbrick would have us believe. Thanks for listening,

Michael DeLang 

Coal Creek Canyon, CO

P.S. One more comment, and this is addressed to white supremacists. Not the ten to fifteen percent driven by hatred and stupidity. Theirs is a pathology that will stand unresponsive to argument, facts, or reason. I speak to the remaining eighty five percent of Trump's base; the ones who have become so comfortable and accustomed to the benefits of white privilege and their resulting position in society that they live in constant fear and have succumbed to the lies they're fed that this special standing is in danger of being taken away from them and that only Donald Trump is fighting to preserve that needed advantage for them. I want to tell them that they have nothing to fear from Joe Biden. Joe and company stand for business as usual. There will be nothing in their program that remotely begins to erode your privileged position. Trump, on the other hand, has been pushing towards the chaos of an inevitable civil war. In war, and especially a civil war that will trigger the collapse of an already fragile economy, everyone will lose. If you own a business, it will suffer and you may lose it. If you don't, you probably work for someone who does, so your livelihood will also be placed in jeopardy. Your precious white privilege won't protect you as we will all be punished for allowing Trump to continue. You don't need to cast a ballot for Biden if that is a bridge too far. It is enough that you do not cast one for Trump.

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Trump had a rally on Feb. 28th, in a packed stadium he said the following.. 

“This is their new hoax.. we have 15 people in this massive country (infected).. and because we went in early we could've had a lot more.. we're doing great! This virus starts in China, bleeds it's way into various countries around the world, doesn' t spread widely at all in the USA because of the early actions of myself & my administration.. the press is in hysteria mode.. but we're doing such a great job.. when you have 15 people & in a couple days it's going to be down to 0...” 

At the same time Trump was saying this publicly, he was recorded in interviews with Bob Woodward saying the opposite was true, that he knew it was a deadly disease, but was DOWNPLAYING it so that people “wouldn't panic”... 

We now have over 210 THOUSAND DEAD AMERICANS and there's Trump's own words of divisiveness and dark political theatre as proof of his incompetence. 

Trump's own words show it was HIM who was wrongly “politicizing” this virus by calling it a “hoax” and blaming the Democrats. Instead of working honestly together as Americans he dishonestly divides using lies, vanity and appeals to greed, the very opposite of the values most claim to have. 

Now that Trump, his wife.. and 34 other white house staff have tested positive for Covid-19, I don't see how Trump's fit to lead anyone, anywhere except to an early grave. 

Please if you support Trump, for God's sake, how can you continue to ignore or downplay his dangerous divisive lies and childish blame-game, name calling.. as anything desirable. 

Trump now's publicly calling to jail: Biden, Obama, Clinton.. O.k, but where's any proof of criminality? NONE! Just Trump hot air blowing a bunch of insane conspiracy theories, as usual. 

As an Independent, Non- Partisan, Patriotic American, I cannot support Trump's diseased vision of a divided U.S.A., headed towards a new civil war. 

Remember, it was Donald TRUMP who paid a $25 Million fine for FRAUD, just 3 years ago, not BIDEN or Obama or Clinton! If anyone deserves prison it's Trump, as he's the one who is the ACTUAL criminal! 

Best Regards 

Rob Mahon 



  1. Pat Kittle October 15, 2020

    Michael DeLang:

    Yes, those “White Lives Matter” terrorists who burn loot murder through town after town while patronizing Big Media, Big Sports, & Hollywood kiss their privileged asses are the problem all right.

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