Press "Enter" to skip to content

Letters To The Editor


I am writing in response to the article regarding the disappearance of Chris Giauque. The article was composed of some facts, some theories, and the ludicrous speculation that I was somehow involved.

A critical fact left out of the article is that I, Scott McKinney, have passed a polygraph examination proving that I had nothing to do with Mr. Chris Giauque's disappearance, and the results of this polygraph examination have been provided to law enforcement. Let the record be clear: I had nothing to do with this tragedy. I love this community very much, and I have worked hard to earn respect. I have a family of my own, and I empathize with the anguish suffered by all involved. My heart goes out to Mr. Giauque's family, and I wish the family closure on this issue. Accordingly, I am willing to add to the reward money so that whoever is involved can be brought to justice. I, too, want justice for Chris Giauque and his family.

Again, I have passed a polygraph on this matter, and I am willing to add to the reward money. That should be part of the discussion.

Scott McKinney

Humboldt County




It is seeming easy to fall into vilifying another, especially if one appears to be homeless and unkempt and we haven't bothered to get close enough to understand and appreciate them for who they are (or may even suffer from) before making up our minds. It's part of our upbringing in America, to avoid close encounters of these kinds with those who seem bizarre, or say, having different appearances. . . not dressed as we are... part of what happens in having our lives daily conditioned by teachings, which form our cultures prejudices and misconceptions.

Two Times Standard reporters several year ago chose to pose and live as homeless for a few days and their whole perspective changed.

As much as we at 'Occupy support homeless causes and watch out for their welfare at the courthouse, none of the disturbances caused by 1 or 2 on drugs or mentally ill, confronting folks entering or leaving the building have ever been part of our work. We do our utmost to intervene and end these and other conflicts. But this is not what local government and police reports say, even as they know full well who is responsible.

We chose the courthouse for this campaign, because it represents the seat of local control and sits at the crossroads for thousands passing every day. We followed in the Spirit of 'Occupy Wall Street in doing so 24/7, not knowing what this would mean.

Background helps so much, before making any summaries. We've run smack into the workings of human nature here, in that a segment of public perception has been distorted and inflamed by almost total misinformation of What 'Occupy Eureka is doing, precisely at the moment when the substance of why we're here has got to be absolutely clear.

Nothing, but more of ‘We The People’ participating and working together now will bring healing we must have in these crucial times.

The Tunisian protests constituted the most dramatic present day nationwide non violent rising up of its people against the corruption, malice and greed of its government, resulting in police use of force against demonstrators, yet the people prevailed and their government was replaced within 28 days. The sordid truth of that regime, supported by this government, was exposed by those same set of official leaks put out by Bradley Manning. But human nature and the immensity of the U.S. government with its variety of military might and tools have been used to undermine 'Occupy protest here and taken its toll on the movement, while it's been further thwarted here by those locally who are willing to believe government and its police forces and their public lies, their misrepresentations, which have undermined public perception here.

A recent Northcoast Journal article subtitle states; “Courthouse Camp Crumbles.” What does that mean, for it is almost as undermining, in words, (for those who read such a report) as police who have illegally raided in darkness to destroy our protests, brutalizing some activists, tearing apart these non violent direct action camps, stealing hundreds of pieces of equipment over these past 3 months, despite our numerous arrests and charges being thrown out in court? Why this huge disparity in the truth that continues being reported?

Oft repeated police allegations in press releases vilify our presence, lie about the charges (proven false by numerous videos and pictures (beyond being recently exonerated in court) always intimating that the numerous calls they have had to answer and costs to the department were somehow the fault of peace activists and all of this reporting picked up by local press.

Even their own police cameras, focused on us in the courtyard 24/7 will vindicate who’s been offensive, who’s broken up conflicts, who continuously and daily cleans & maintains this shared public space.

The minute officials knew we were using the courthouse water spigot to wash dishes and daily clean the area, it was turned off. They turned down our immediate requests to allow us to obtain porta potties at our own expense, while simultaneously calling our camp unhygienic and telling us to leave. The prisoner visiting area rest rooms were finally closed to anyone without ID's, and sometimes are just closed to us altogether; urgently needed prescribed medicines not allowed to one activist jailed after being beaten by police in one raid.

As to the allegations of our danger to the community and the reason for their raids. Where were the explosives and if that was their reason for raiding, why never bothering to search before dumping all personal gear across the street on their first raid Nov. 7th — obviously of no importance to them at all, as was being rid of us. Now we hear of some rocks mentioned, as if they too apply to this movement. Is this kind of scenario to follow us despite the huge urgency of our real concerns?

Why we asked District Attorney Paul Gallegos, did he not elect to simply approach us with search warrants, which would have quickly cleared that matter. Why choosing to use force to eliminate and criminalizing activists unless it was part of governments orchestrated strategies against this protest and peace activists?

Local law enforcement knows quite what's going on in their own courtyard, knows who is responsible for any of those allegations against protestors, which have brought harsh criticism by a few. . even divisiveness being expressed by some who support work for change yet tend to believe police reports, before the truth can surface. Police chief Merle Harpum knows the truth, even as articles quotes him as saying how ugly this protest has become,...saying he favored it at the beginning, but this is simply not believable by the county correspondence we received right from the beginning, after some outbursts from drunk and mentally ill already directed at people entering and leaving the building.

Such misinformation and exploiting of our efforts are absolutely part of why we protest against local government, as surely as we must its counterparts in DC.

On the other hand despite difficulties with dealing with certain homeless, the goodwill and friendship are intact too, for we understand their problems, understand their outbursts, knowing they're far removed from the comforts of home, all of what they own of clothes and sleeping gear heaped on benches, many essentially refugees on the front door of this government, as surely as 3rd worlder's dispossessed by this governments endless wars of exploitations, making immigrants of 5 million alone, in the illegal Iraqi war.

It's why we continue to urge for real answers by setting aside, at least some space in Eureka for homeless sleeping and camping, without having them face harassment, arrests, ticketing, beatings or worse and destruction of their worldly goods.

It takes so much to unravel the consequences of misinformation, once it's made public.

In the Journal’s reporting, what is more projected is someone jumping up to gain their attention and “getting it.” But this totally ignores the urgency imposed upon Americans and literally the whole human race, which 'Occupy is attempting to make clear in bringing millions to their feet behind this great movement. It calls for us to act collectively to avoid these devastating consequences.

As strange, say, as would be a report on a theater performance and coming away with a story of someone in the lobby disrupting, as if being part of what happened on stage, even newsworthy enough to make it appear as if the performance itself was less important and even made more insignificant by such an occurrence.

What do we make of the continued daily encouragement shown by so many who drive by, the hundreds who have signed up to receive our reports, research studies and calls to action, those many who write back and/or wanting to be friends on Facebook.

Virtually thousands seem to “get the message” and know why they bother to support and feel inclusion is sorely needed. They did so as soon as this movement emerged, because they already knew why this corporate run and corrupted government with its fatally flawed policies could no longer be allowed to lead. Those hundreds who have brought home cooked meals, coffee and sweets, loads of other snacks and beverages, equipment, flags and other useful gifts, the thousands who have honked and do so every day, the thumbs up, the Peace signs, the waves, the smiles, the fists pumping, the yells or stopping long enough in their work day to say “keep it up!” the young, so responsive, seeing we mean to stand up to this tyranny.

Of utmost importance is how 'Occupy Eureka is home to a wide variety of the most opinionated, diverse, committed people, working shifts mounting to hundreds of hours or organizing events, reflecting all kinds of backgrounds, trainings, passions, directions and visions, but inclusive, because “it's got to be” to meet the urgency of our times! Eureka's campaign events have all been part of a packaged message, while stressing one crucial issue then moving on to another, because of the heap and grossness of too many to sum quickly.

There's no time for bickering over differences, as if our chatting and putting particular spins to these times is worthy in face of this military industrial complexes 24/7 incursions into our lives, happy to have us so diverted, while it proceeds with its slow, methodical elimination of everything we hold dear. “Oh', we say, “Its only a little more,” not remembering the insidiousness of these generations of its gross and accumulated effects!

Berkeley campus in the 60s rising up over the administrations refusal to allow tabling! That's all it took back then, when thousands surrounded police who were prepared to take away their organizers. “Odious times” they called it as Clark Kerr, then Chancellor spoke naively in wondering why such a fuss when, after all, students were there being prepared to be spokes in the wheels of corporations.

Obama signs the National Defense Authorization Act saying he doesn't agree with certain parts, but it's so-called law now, to be used against us, defying and further burying the Constitution.

The most controversial provisions for Use of Military Force (AUMF) and detention provisions is to indefinitely hold U.S. citizens arrested on American soil on suspicion of being terrorists. The FBI has already raided, broken into homes and offices of anti-war and international solidarity activist, taken their equipment, cell phones, computers and paper records.

Our freedoms under the First Amendment and Civil Rights are almost gone, what's left under attack by further methods in use by government. We've got to come to grips with this truth, re; indefinite detention, warrant-less searches, secret evidence, war crimes, assassination of US citizens, secret courts, immunity from judicial review, continual monitoring of citizens, our freedoms being eroded, extraordinary rendition, transfers to torture prisons — all of it!

The noose is tightening in this era of repression!

Our protests have been covering:

• Insidious drain of endless war/trickle down violence into all levels of life.

• Insanity of gov/corp maliciously subjecting us to nuclear energy, our greatest source of cancers!

• Banks outright stealing billions from us

• Millions of our homes being foreclosed upon

• The incredible need of health care for all, thwarted by the ugliness of corporate health insurance making billions off ever higher premiums in buying Senate unwillingness to give us Single Payer Health Care for all, as tragedies unfold and millions needlessly dying yearly lacking care.

• Loss of funding to sustain our many human services and higher education

• Labor unions and joining their workers.

• Prison treatment and police brutality

• Global warming and the death wish of racing to drill for oil OR natural gas in refusal to seriously begin ending use of carbon based sources

• GMO foods and the Monsantos.

• Support of eliminating corporate personhood.

Our list goes on and shouldn’t come as a surprise!

Extremely complex times makes it necessary for the 'Occupy movement to be savvy about the entire, incomprehensible hell of this death wish of consumption fantasy we have allowed ourselves to be chained with. No matter how absurd it sounds, we've run out of options and must deal with the totality of such reality!

Many of us continually ask ourselves how long will it be before all this is self evident to most Americans?

It means changing the whole dynamic in going directly to the sources, the abusers and our deterioration under domination of corrupted, hoarding corporate/ government with their objectives worldwide. The rich robbing and eliminating the poor and “yes” it's right here in Humboldt too!

It's a huge “Wake Up Call...” “finally” able to 'see our huge losses', see our own diminishing humanity, like as having been drugged, under the influence… and finally resolved to shake the addiction!

Nothing, but a huge collective effort will bring the changes we're after!

Jack Nounnan for

Communities For Justice and Peace, Humboldt County.





What a surprise. The Independent Coast Observer (ICO) still got it wrong! The one and only reason I wanted to address the board in the first place was to ask why there was a discrepancy in the Christy White (auditors) Report stated on the Measure E Bond Fund to the tune of $233,250. Ms. White the reporter of the ICO informed the public on February 17th that she was told by Dr. Cross, “the money discrepancy Rush is inquiring about went toward improvements to school structures, which have not been paid out yet.” Who would not question this?

Ms. White contacted me on February 22nd and informed me Cross misunderstood the question and the funds are not missing at all. I believe this misunderstanding would have never taken place if Hill would have not violated Brown Act Law in the first place and allowed me to asked my question.

However, Jim Ewert, Staff Counsel for the California Newspaper Publishers Association stated, “Rush did not speak up before the consent agenda was approved by the Board.” “I think in this case, if the woman (sounds a little sexist to me but I will let it pass) wanted to make a comment on the consent agenda, she should have spoken up sooner.”

Unfortunately, the information presented to this man must not have been factual. Yes the Board (with a capital B) did approve the agenda but it was only the meeting agenda and NOT the consent agenda. I not only submitted the proper forms but raised my hand (diligently as per Ewert’s instructions) prior to the consent agenda went to the Board for approval. Unfortunately, the relatively new reporter, Ms. White, does not know the difference between approval of the board agenda and “consent agenda because I was emphatically informed by Hill that I could not ask my question. Again, not one board member corrected him. Thus, Mr. Ewert, the violation of Brown Act Law took place. Am I wrong? Please, next time get the facts straight.

The only reason I pursued to question the difference in monies reported in the audit report was due to the ICO’s article quoting Cross as saying “the money discrepancy Rush is inquiring about went toward improvements to school structures, which have not been paid out yet.” I was informed on 2-23-12 by reporter, White, this was a misunderstanding with Cross regarding the question asked. Did anyone happen to mention that anywhere in the 2-24-12 ICO article?

This is the breakdown presented to both the Bond Oversight (BOC) and the Board (give to the ICO but not published) and what they approved in January 2011: Gualala School Funds — $1,799,131; Undesignated Revenue + $95,119; Bank/Audit — ($12,500); to defease (retire the bond) — ($33,500) (total amounted to $30,095, including wire transfer, per KNN Public Finance); amount taxpayers were to have returned to them was a total of, $1,848,250 per the approval of both BOC/board. The amount given to KNN Public Finance should have been $1,881,750, instead of $1,848,250. Of course, this means amount to retire the bond was deducted twice and this was not what was approved per BOC or the Board. There were two subsequent fees (amounting to $6,500) which I am not sure were included in the $12,500 or not because that was never broken down but for the sake of argument, let's say they weren't that still leaves $29,905 unaccounted for. This is the breakdown presented to both the Bond Oversight (BOC) and the Board and what they approved in January 2011: Gualala School Funds — $1,799,131; Undesignated Revenue + $95,119; Bank/Audit — ($12,500); to defease (retire the bond) — ($33,500) (total amounted to $30,095, including wire transfer, per KNN Public Finance); amount taxpayers were to have returned to them was a total of, $1,848,250 per the approval of both BOC/board. The amount given to KNN Public Finance should have been $1,881,750, instead of $1,848,250. Of course, this means amount to retire the bond was deducted twice and this was not what was approved per BOC or the Board. There were two subsequent fees (amounting to $6,500) which I am not sure were included in the $12,500 or not because that was never broken down but for the sake of argument, let's say they weren't which would still leave $29,905 unaccounted for and which also means the taxpayers were charged twice not once to defease the bond.

Thank you AVA for getting the real truth out to the public instead of trying to skirt the real truth about real issues the public has a right to know.


Susan Rush





The cover story in the March Discover Magazine is about the possibility of a “overturning Einstein,” speculation respectable enough to also receive attention in specialized scientific journals. There is a prospect of modifying “Einstein's model of space, time and gravity — and send physics off on a bold new course” where “some of the most fundamental things cosmologists think they know (including the existence of 'dark matter' and 'dark energy') would have to be revised.”

Could such a revolutionary concept lend courage to those who long for exposure of taboos which shelter conservative, liberal and even “progressive” ideologies and myths from change? In what ways do our increasing problems resemble those past collapsing civilizations? How have conditions and knowledge changed since our founding documents were conceived which render untenable accepted truths about rights and liberty, government, religion, the value of and sustainable place in nature of human life, etc.? What distractions deter a useful discussion leading to a fundamental change?

Judging by occasional insightful letters by thoughtful citizens in various magazines and newspapers, there is an informed constituency for leadership willing to place the opportunity to educate above the drive to achieve office.

The AVA, alone among publications with columns open to anonymous comments which protect contributors from charges of “racism,” “bigotry,” Nazism, etc., could open the door to meaningful discussion.

Is anyone “out there” interested enough to respond to this appeal?

Name Withheld

Fort Bragg



Dear Editor:

Now that the population has passed seven billion, the last thing the planet needs is more people who think “personhood” begins at conception. If passed into law it would be as much of a legal fiction as that corporations are “persons.” Neither the conjunction of two cells nor a bunch of paperwork meets the definition because both lack the very thing that makes us human: the presence of a “soul.”

Those who are opposed to abortion under any circumstances might do well to factor studies such as that of Helen Wambach (Life Before Life, 1979) into their moral calculus. A hard-nosed clinical psychologist, the author hypnotized 750 subjects who, to her surprise, were not only able to remember their own births, but “past lives,” and a “between life” state as well. Most were able to pinpoint the time their “souls” entered the fetus. “89% of my subjects,” she writes, “expressed the feeling that their consciousness was something separate from that of the fetus, and they did not experience inside the fetus to any degree until at least the sixth month. A majority of subjects did not experience the fetus until just before birth. Of those who reported joining the fetus from conception to four months, their descriptions indicated that they might also have been experiencing in and out of the fetus.”

As far as the bearing this might have on the morality of abortion the author concludes: “One impression that emerges from these 750 cases is that birth — and indeed living another lifetime — is perceived as a duty and not a pleasure. The soul currently has a choice as to which fetus to enter. If one fetus is aborted, apparently it is possible to choose another. In some cases, the soul who will occupy the fetus is in contact with the soul of the mother and can influence her decision regarding abortion. My data also indicated that souls can elect to leave the fetus or the infant body and return to the between-life state. Perhaps the sudden death syndrome in infants may be the result of a soul decision not to go ahead with a life plan.”


Bill Brundage

Kurtistown, Hawaii




Thanks very much for publishing that excellent and brave article on the history of solitary confinement and its destructive effect. I have long been aware of the supermax prisons, but did not know when/how this new, pernicious and terrible wave had begun. When I was in prison at McNeil Island in 1969-70 for refusing induction, 90 days in the hole seemed to be the max in the federal system. By any standard I did easy time and little time, but in my case I emerged with my ambition gone, replaced with a tendency to be a recluse and a great fear of ever returning to prison. Despite my academic degrees, I spent 28 years as a school custodian and never does a day pass that I do not remember prison and the damage it does regardless of one's guilt. Truly, if there is an institutional Hell on this earth, the supermax prison qualifies as one example.

Lloyd Dennis




To the Editor:

I'm currently an inmate in Mendocino County jail. I'm writing about the food here at the jail.

I was arrested in July of 2011 and upon arrest I was 205 pounds, at 6 feet tall. In the 11 months that I've been here, I've gone down to 155 pounds. That's 50 pounds. I'm not pleased with this at all.

My strength, mental clarity, and overall emotional health has seemed to decline as my weight does. I face first degree murder and attempted murder charges, of which I did not commit. My ability to focus in court has been affected by the lack of food. Just tonight, the medical staff have begun a health supplement after three weeks of monitoring my weight.

The food here is one of several ways I've been abused and mistreated. Twice now, I've been put in a maximum security code by classification without reason. Both times there was no write-up for rules infractions. Once, the excuse was because I wouldn't take mental health medication. The last time I checked, I have a right to refuse medication as long as I don't become a risk to others or myself. I'm always compliant with deputies and I've continuously been completely non-confrontational with other inmates.

Why are jails allowed to mistreat us? Are they above the law?

Simon Thornton

County Jail, Ukiah




We are sending a great BIG THANKS to the folks that put on the Roadhouse Romancin Dance at the Grange and gave the proceeds to the AV Senior Center. Rod and Judy Bashore were the initiators and coordinators, Judy Nelson and friends provided the wonderful refreshments, Alicia brought her taco and tamale stand which served excellent tacos of all descriptions and Dean Titus and the Coyote Cowboys gave us another wonderful night of dancing following a musical opening by Wild Oats. And, everyone really enjoyed Mike Crutcher's photo display of Historic Valley pictures. The Lions Club volunteers managed the bar. If I've missed anyone that assisted, please know that we know it took a team of wonderful volunteers to accomplish this great evening. In the end, a donation of about $1500 was given the AV Senior Center. THANK YOU!

Sheri Hansen




To the wonderful people in Anderson Valley:

The daughters of Walter (Shine) Tuttle would like to thank every one who contributed time, flowers, decorations and food to make his reception so special. We also extend our thanks to the men and women of the Anderson Valley American Legion for their touching tribute. The people in Anderson Valley were so important to Shine and their appreciation for him and his contributions to the valley was so evident in the kindness and generosity that was shown at his funeral, grave service and reception.

Our sincere thanks,

The Families of Linda Stewart,

Doris Vaughn and Betty Hiatt





Bigots Amongst Us: Al Blue & Michael Hardesty

I am sorry to have to report that our beloved AVA appears to have some very ignorant bigots among our loyal readers.

After my little piece in the Feb. 22 edition regarding corporate-funded, anti-science “climate cranks” appeared, I received an email from one “Al Blue” asserting that (1) climate change is an “AL GOREAN” (sic) scam; (2) HIV does not cause AIDS; (3) mental illness does not exist; (4) the holocaust was a “business hoax”; (5) Ayn Rand was the ultimate economic and ethical authority.

He even called me a “lib,” but left out the fake moon landing, the 911 Twin Towers conspiracy, and Bigfoot — you get the picture. From his language, this was an uneducated person who feels he knows more and better than everybody else about complex issues far beyond his comprehension. Even without the Rand thing, his email was proof enough that mental illness indeed exists. But then, related to nothing, he called me a “Castro Street clone,” whatever that might be. Never mind that I'm straight, but I blocked this moronic bigot from further rants. He then immediately had a friend named Michael Hardesty forward a response, wherein Blue ranted some more and signed off “Oh, you'll be reading my response as you whack off to it, ButtBoy.” Hardesty then showed he is of like mind and intellect by addressing me as “Stevie Buttboy.”

I'd not heard or read such bigotry in years. Slinging homophobic words is a sad hallmark of adolescent boys, of course. Most grow out of it, but not all, obviously (and of course there is much to suggest that those most prone to such homophobia are also most troubled by their own repressed feelings). A preoccupation with “whacking off” is likewise a juvenile trait. So I think giving these two the benefit of the doubt, and assuming they are troubled teens, is best. Otherwise there are some pathetic cases of arrested development out there, perhaps frustrated, ignorant, angry, solitary old guys, who have morphed into internet trolls and are desperate for attention, even if the only way they might get that is flinging inane insults. Some of your prisoner correspondents exhibit far higher intelligence and English skills — but may lead more productive lives.

As I expect you are already acquainted with these fine gentlemen, my apologies for bringing their names up. But I just figured other readers should know there are still such Neanderthals among us. I suspect they are well-armed as well.

Steve Heilig

San Francisco

PS: It turns out "Al Blue" and Micheal Hardesty are the same sad fellow (he also uses "Nathan Branden", after the tragic Ayn Rand acolyte - what a role model).  Multiple online identities are common among internet trolls, who tend to get banished from reasonable adult forums. As is no doubt widely the case with this pathologically lying bigot.

Ed note: He's one of these guys who should be assaulted on sight, and would be if he popped off in person like he does under his array of aliases. We 86'd him years ago but he slipped back in under a couple of pseudonyms, writing more or less like a sane person until, unable to contain himself within acceptable parameters of adult discourse, he veered off into the kind of juvenile insults you've suffered here. He's also banned by all the Bay Area publications, if it's any consolation.




Evil Criminals.

Yes Toto, there are some evil crimes locked away here in the Gulag. Every day the “fair and balanced” media, whether it’s the idiot box with “no spin,” the radio, or print journalism will disseminate stories about the evildoers’ activities. but there are many of the same ilk out there in society who are not locked up.

But not all prisoners should be relegated into the evil category. Many years ago a couple of banditos, en route to a federal courthouse to have more dozens of years added on to their already lengthy sentences for depleting various banks of their cash deposits, managed to slip free of their numerous chains and handcuffs and relieve the marshals of their handguns without hurting them. Since the marshals weren’t of the “bully-boy” persuasion, the escapees soon mailed their guns back to them.

After befriending more banker gentlemen — sometimes it’s amazing how friendly some folks can become when you display in your hand your determination to insure their cooperation — their professional combine organized a 500-man task force to stop these depredations.

While doing time before his escape, one of the duo had written a letter to a poor Chicano lady whose brother had been found in his cell with his neck in a noose — hung up dead. She had then sent him $20 even though she had five children, no husband, and had to take a bus to work every day.

The cynical adage has it that no good deed goes unpunished. Nope, not always. In this case the two law breaking desperadoes bought the lady quantities of food, took the two young twin girls out for movies and dinner, purchased new clothes, gave the mother a car and a substantial sum of cash.

Their exploits were dramatized via one of the most pernicious, ridiculous and absurd of the media — a movie. This twisted caricature portrayed the baddies as just one day casually hopping on a truck and driving out of a prison. Then one was pictured as pleading with his partner to let him kill the marshals. Of course nobody whose perception of reality is more advanced than that of a lobotomized three-toed sloth should believe such nonsense — except perhaps certain Bureau of Prisons prisoncrats. After being captured, sentenced to life without parole despite the fact that nobody was injured, nor any shots fired, while working in an assigned prison job near where trucks drove past, when the movie appeared, one of the convicts was cast into the “hole” for three weeks. That wasn’t enough. In an exercise of professional penology, the administrators looked up another unfortunate who just happened to be working on the same job. That will teach him not to be assigned to a job where he had to work alongside a notorious baddie whose exploits were portrayed in a move.

The other member of the dangerous duo was in ADX lockdown forever on unspecified conspiracy suspicions. Just-Us in action.

Ronald Del Raine




Dear Editor:

One of my best reads of the week is Off The Record and in particular when you write about the chicanery, fobbish behavior, and self-dealing of the northcoast politicians. All of these unsavory traits are layered over by an incredible level of incompetency. I get the impression that may of these politicians like Chesbro have never had a real job but rather have spent their lives feeding at the public trough. Unfortunately, you are not alone with this problem. In the City of Sacramento we have a mayor who has a towering ego along with a total lack of leadership skills. There are times when council meetings resemble a WW2 battlefield. One keeps hoping that instead of the current bunch of knaves some good citizens will run for office but I am afraid H.L. Mencken had it right when he wrote “It is inaccurate to say I hate everyting. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.”

In peace,

James G. Updegraff





Are you happy? Chances are, if you live here in the United States, you are not. Despite the enshrinement in our Declaration of Independence of the phrase “Pursuit of Happiness” as one of the sovereign rights of mankind, we are way down on the list of the happiest countries in the world. In fact, we are not even in the Top 10.

According to a new study by “24-7 Wall Street” that looked into the OECD’s Better Life Index to determine what the happiest nations on the planet are, it turns out that the happy nations spend far more of their GDP on social programs than we do here in America. The study examined quality of life things such as health, education, housing, the environment, jobs, community, work life, and income to figure out what truly makes a nation happy.

Old, stable nations of northern Europe took five of the top ten spots on the list. These include the “socialist” Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway, and Denmark, all way happier than we are down the list at number 19.

Does it surprise you that the happiest nation, Denmark, also has the highest taxes of all?

As we are continually warned and berated by the tiresome scolds in our local opinion columns and letters to the editor to fear those who hold firm on providing a basic social safety net for the least among us, we must ask ourselves what motivates such a steadfast and determined assault on our personal and community happiness.

Dave Smith




Mighty AVA,

For anyone within traveling distance of Fort Bragg, I'd like to recommend a couple local events that have become annual favorites of mine: the Winter and Spring Concerts by the Symphony of the Redwoods. Performed by excellent musicians, the shows are always transporting. And, as an added attraction, it all takes place in the beautiful, stately Cotton Auditorium (a Public Works Administration project, built in 1938). The Winter Concert is this weekend (March 3 and 4); the Spring shows are April 14 and 15. Admission is $20 for adults and children are free. Don't miss it.

Mike Kalantarian

Beyond the Deep End (Navarro)




The problem the Feds had with Mendo wasn’t about regulating cannabis. It was about the revenue the County collected. The County faced seizure and forfeiture of the fees it collected from regulation. The County could have continued the 9.31 regulation but refused to do so unless there was a huge windfall attached. The collection of money was the root of the problem. The Feds weren’t about to let the County make money off cannabis, so the revenue portion of 9.31 was repealed but the non-revenue County code left intact.

The State Health and Safety code allows a patient to grow an amount consistent with their current medical needs and the Kelly Supreme Court decision imposes no numerical limit. The State doesn’t collect fees so the Feds have nothing to seize.

If the County wanted to continue the 9.31 program it could have just dropped the fee collection and zip tie sale sections. The County only wanted regulation if it could financially benefit.

As always just my opinion,

Jim Hill

Potter Valley




Manson in San Diego (1969) when murders took place. True Story. “Charlie Manson Now.”

I watched the (CBS-8am News (world), 2/21/12) with Brie Tate on the Show along with her sidekick, proclaiming her novel about her aunt Sharon Tate and mother Debra Tate. Brie Tate stated on National TV that she was trying to keep Manson and his fellow friends (Tex Watson, Bruce Davis, etc.) who were convicted in 1971 for several murders of Tate, Folger family and so forth. Let me explain something to Brie Tate. And the USA?

I was in Corcoran State Prison, level 4-SNY with Manson from 1992-2010. We both assisted an author in the only authorized novel by Manson titled: ‘Charles Manson Now,’ published on 11-30-2010. Sharon Tate used to hang out at the Spahan Ranch with Manson, Tex Watson, Bruce Davis, Sandra Good (Blue), Lynette Fromme (Red), etc. and they rode horses, partied, hung out all the time. So why does not Brie Tate publicly state this? (She will not do this, as it will cast serious doubt about her aunt, Sharon Tate.) And why doesn’t Brie Tate tell the American news media, public, that the night of the Tate murder Brie Tate called her about Sharon Tate to come pick up her horse saddle? Sharon Tate told her niece to come pick it up in the morning. She came by in the morning only to see (LAPD) homicide cops-news media at her aunt’s house. Now if Brie Tate went over to her aunt’s house that night, she would not have been on CBS News on 2/21/2012. She’d be buried next to her aunt and her mother Debra Tate who passed away in 2010 from cancer.

I’ve personally sat down for years with Manson in Corcoran State Prison (l-4-SNY) and he told me first hand information about Sharon Tate, Folger family, and so forth. They all partied together in the Hollywood scene in the late 60s, partied at the Spahan ranch, also smoked weed, took L-25 (LSD), rode horses and hung out. Manson was in San Diego (1969) when the murders took place. Manson had a court hearing that day. People should read the only authorized novel by Charles Manson titled “Charlie Mason Now” that tells the real story.

Kenny ‘Irish’ Calihan





Regarding the February 15 article, “The Gray Box.” There is a book titled “We're All Doing Time” by Bolozoff with a forward by the Dalai Lama published by the Human Kindness Foundation. In my humble opinion it could benefit those in confinement. It used to be if a prisoner was to ask, they would receive a free copy.

Best wishes,

Hillary Beckinston

Little River




Reference your short blurb in Off the Record, 2/8/2012, (and Greg Krouse's many letters) about the extortion conspiracy between the CPUC and PG&E to charge customers to opt out of the Smart Meter program: We now know what it will cost us to forego Smart Meters (an arm and a leg), but we still DON'T KNOW what savings, if any, will be passed along to customers as a result of eliminating analog meters, meter readers, vehicles, etc., etc. I have been asking that question of both entities for over two years now and have yet to get a meaningful answer. The closest they have come to an answer is along the lines of “some savings should eventually accrue, but we cannot quantify them for individual customers…”

I even escalated the correspondence to Governor Brown, suggesting it was past time to somehow break up this too-cozy marriage between the so-called regulators and the power monopoly. No response. Hell will freeze over first!


Stewart Bowen

Suisun Valley



Dear AVA,

As Alexander Cockburn's tumbril makes its inexorable way towards the scaffold, I hope room can be made on board for the following shibboleths: 1: Shibboleth, 2: Zero-sum game. 3: Back in the day. 4: It's all good. 5: Good lookin' out (?) 6: Inanimate objects that “boast” their attributes. 7: Quixotic. 8: Any comparison of anyone at any time in any fashion to Adolf Hitler. 9: The adjective “manicured” when used to describe anything besides fingernails.


D. Bullock, loyal subscriber


PS. Thank you Carol Pankovits for assuming the standard in the battle for journalistic accuracy. The AVA staff has become justifiably tired of my constant kvetching and will no doubt be glad to learn I have given up.



Dear AVA,

Lee Simon from Far ‘n Away (Letters: 02/22/12) might have mentioned that the Übermensch, Nietzsche, lived with his mother and died of syphilis. Also, maybe Simon can tell me where Marx wrote anything to support his idea that “Marx held that there is inside of every human being, a moral compass, a conscience, and that people will be good to each other if....” He makes Marx sound like Liberal and as big a crackpot as Nietzsche.

John Wester

San Diego



Dear AVA,

Charlie Schwarm here. Just saying hello in good spirits and with the highest of hopes that Mendocino is all in all Mendocino. I ran across a paper from 2009 and Kenny Rogers' waterboard guy, Mr. Peacock, is my cellie. What a mess. Anyway, we send ours. Also I am sending you ideas and poetry. Love your honesty. Keep people informed for us.

Upon a Morning Dawn: Awakening, though the only song we saying is mourning for life and beyond the sun shines, many voices ring upon a morning's dawn with everything fresh and striving forward leaps and bounds and all the sounds that make us a human herd, a familiar word spoken as the sunlight feeds and warms upon a morning's dawn, our past, our future, cleansing storms, the land, the sea, the air we breathe, precious and granted another day, upon a morning dawn, a new seed is planted.

Charlie Schwarm

PS. Here are some tax ideas:

At least 5% tax increase on the rich to go toward business and government institution reform inside the United States. The goal would be too uncorrupt and reevaluate our moral business conduct with stronger leadership and discipline by self-government. Large business owners simplify all the dealings to basic services offered. Extra curricular state or federal funded programs that are not necessary or that are not meeting standards or hurting more than helping to be dropped. High schools to try vocation or job skills teaching to better prepare graduates for entry into the workforce out of high school. A two-year watchdog task force assembled to oversee and inform on any area to area police in low-lying government injustice or corrupt practices. Put all ideas online to help in fashioning ways to live within our means.

I am under the impression that the high-class rich are not against pitching in their share, but are leery about the agenda that this extra tax will be going to support. I believe that such a debt as the US has can only be repaid if we become economically stable, profitable and morally aligned in discipline. By strengthening ourselves we will be able to repay our mismanaged funds. From self-knowledge and the ability of knowing that when I am unstable I create an environment that is unstable, but when I am healthy then and only then am I able to help others. We must invest and help regain ourselves so that we can function and then reach to help others around the world. The priority is our home — without a home what do we have?



February 28, 2012

To the Board of Supervisors, Mendocino County

Re: Redevelopment Agency Oversight Appointments

Under AB 1-26, just approved by the California Supreme Court, the local Redevelopment Agencies will be dissolved and oversight panels appointed to arrange for the dissolution of the entire Redevelopment program. The panels appointed will include representatives of the Board of Supervisors, the Redevelopment Agency staff, the school districts, other special districts and the general public.

As with most government undertakings and particularly these Redevelopment Agencies, what started out decades ago as an attractive-sounding program to eliminate urban blight and increase low and moderate income housing soon became just another ugly pimple on the administrative corpus, using tax increment financing to pay for an expanded staff, the taking on of high interest bonds at times when these could least be afforded, and channeling an inordinate share of RDA tax revenue funds to pay for commercial development programs far removed from blighted areas and poor folks housing. While our Governor has now thankfully put a lid on this bloated program, we are left with a conundrum: just how do we dispose of the properties acquired, bonds taken on, and unneeded staff. And must we continue the unnecessary subsidization of a CostCo store?

Rather than allow this Oversight task to be handled by the same people who nurtured the RDA pimple, we should let the public and our elected representatives participate in effecting a cure. Do not appoint RDA and other administrative staff to oversee their own demise for they will quite naturally do all they can to hang on to their jobs and perks as long as possible. And do not, as the Board of Supervisors, take the recommendation of staff to dodge responsibility by not personally participating in this messy business. You will find, as I have, that the mechanisms of the local RDAs are byzantine in their unneeded and often deliberate complexity. You will be advised that such things are not suitable for comprehension by normal citizens, and do not merit the attention of our Supervisors with their broader focus on public policy. This is all nonsense of course. Our government administrators have purposely shielded the workings of the RDA program from public view and even from review by the City Council or the County Supervisors since the beginning. Let’s stop all of this right now!


James F. Houle

Redwood Valley



Editor & Fellow AVAers,

Even a bird with a long neck cannot see ahead. When one door closes, two open. Nations last as long as their topsoil. Demonstration is the purest form of information. It’s close-up time. As George Washington Carver tells us, “Plow deep while the sluggards sleep.” To burn the fields in the southern states for cotton was like burning the outside bills on a roll of greenbacks; turn the soil under. “Gratitude is the fruit of the great cultivation.” For harmony you must use black and while piano keys. In 1271, Marco Polo made ultramarine blue paint from lapis lazuli he bought in Afghanistan. George Washington Carver produced indigo blue from red Alabama clay. “One bright branch growing against the wall is grace.” Boll weevil where you bn so long? You stole my cotton, now you want my co’n. “No hungry nation can protect its flag.” Beets the stripes. Potatoes the stars. All flesh is grass and the goodness thereof, the flower in the field. When a country becomes dusty it’s time to water. As 1998 was the wettest year in California’s recorded history, the next decade was drought because we used up all the water. Mas bajo, not so loud, i basta! Enough. En boca cerrada no entran moscas, a closed mouth catches no flies, or, Ask me no qeustions and I’ll tell you no lies.

Boll Weevil, let’s larva

Diana Vance


Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.