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Letters To The Editor


Dear Editor,

I want to thank the good home town newspaper of Boonville for keeping me informed on what is going on around Mendo County. I love it when I can open up the AVA and read about someone I haven't seen or heard about in many many years.

I'm currently serving a four-year sentence due to my addiction. That seems to be the case with a lot of society's biggest problems these days. It all started for me in my beloved town of Boonville California. I was born in Ukiah in 1974 and raised and went to school in Anderson Valley, elementary and high school. A good portion of my family still lives there and although I haven't lived there since 1991, I still inquire about the people and family and friends there. I've often thought of moving back to Boonville but there isn't really anything left for me in California. I went back through the years and I say to myself, “I love my hometown.”

People ask me all the time if I have the Boontling talk. I sometimes wonder because I never really talked to myself to know if I do or not! Just kidding! I just wanted to write to you Mr. Editor to thank you and ask all my friends and family that it would be really nice to hear from them. If anyone wants to check out my facebook it is under Glenn Jenkins 34. Or they can write me at Glenn Jenkins Jr., #AK-6244, San Quentin State Prison, San Quentin, CA 94974. I love letters and pictures and I do write back. I would like to reminisce about old times. Thank you again.

Your hometown homeboy and family member,

Glenn Jenkins Jr.

San Quentin



Dear Editor:

It’s much worse than most people think it is. The progressives are aware that that is so. The majority of Americans know it is bad but are not in recognition that it is much worse than they think it is. The regressive right-wingers don’t want to know that it is bad, let alone worse than bad. They hide out behind the Bible, which in reality is a sand box into which they stick their heads.

So what’s wrong? Nothing that a brain enema wouldn’t cure. One of my favorites is calling anti-abortion “pro-life”. As Bruce Patterson eloquently pointed out in your 3/21/12 issue, the “pro-lifers” do not stand up against anything that shows concern for human life.

I think that their unconscious opposition to abortion is really their fear of and disdain for sensuality and sexuality. How dare you people fuck and enjoy it.! We told you not to, because our god told us not to. We told you to abstain, you vile, sensual woman. We even make it difficult to get affordable birth control so you will choose to abstain; and look at you, pregnant and wanting to abort that fetus. Sinner!

Calling it murder is a legal concept. Calling it a sin is simply a religious belief. In order to preserve our nonsectarian political culture, which is what the Constitution mandates, we need to get all religious ideas out of the body politic. Christopher Hitchins nailed it when he said, as the subtitle to his book, “How Religion Poisons Everything.”

We are rapidly moving forward toward the past. The regressives, like Santorum, want to go back 150 years. I thought that the Scopes Trial put an end to it, but William Jennings Bryan is alive and well in the form of Rick Santorum! It is not surprising that he believes what he believes and says what he says. What is amazing is that instead of being laughed out of town by an educated citizenry, he is being voted for by tens of millions of dumbed-down,, head-in-the-sand, frightened, know-nothing, Bible-pounding, ______, ________(add your own terms here).

So what went wrong? I think we took the 18th Century Enlightenment for granted. We projected our own ideas onto the populace, when, in fact, they have been reading the Bible instead of the Constitution. We assumed, since the Enlightenment was based on reason, that it was reasonable to assume that everyone would go for it. Not so.

If you are a devoted reader of this weekly newspaper, and Santorum gets elected in 2016, I hope you have your spot picked out to which you will exile yourself. If history is any guide, and it better be, if he gets elected, the forces of righteousness will be coming for you. They will have the flag in one hand and the Bible in the other hand. They will persecute you violently and rationalize it as the need for dominance. The only ideas they will approve are their own ideas. You and I will be labeled traitors and heretics. Count on it.

Lee Simon

Far ‘n Away Farm in Virginia




Sometimes people ask what we do down here in Baja. Mostly we do what others do and that is eat, drink and try to stay healthy. My favorite answer to what we do is from a book written by acoupethat moved to Mexico full time. His reply was “I got up this morning with nothing to do and by evening I was only half finished.” But most days we get a cup of coffee, walk half a block to the ocean, sit on the sea wall and watch the waves, birds and maybe a dolphin or two. Amy, my dog does her morning chores while we relax for a few minutes. Then it's off to the fitness center where we work out for 35-40 minutes. I then take Amy for another walk before we head back to Neva's home and have breakfast.

We get the San Diego paper and so work on the crossword with breakfast. Then a few chores like water the plants, do dishes and it's soon time for lunch. After lunch we usually have a nap and up and at 'em to make dinner and sip a margarita as the sun slips into the sea. A little reading in bed or sometimes the evening news which is mostly bad and then to sleep. Other days when we don't use the fitness center, we go for a hike in the hills across the highway from our complex. Our annual goal and big hike is to the top of El Cornell, whose top elevation is 2500 feet. Starting at about 100 feet it's quite a climb. It's seven hours roundtrip. Neva has done it thirteen times and I've done it once. Oh yes, the hike along the beach during low tide is fun too. The easier walk is one and half miles and the longer one is 3 miles. Each hike has a cantina at the end so we slither in for a drink and eats. After lunch we go out to the highway and catch a bus or taxi back home.

One of the products Baja shares with Anderson Valley is good wine. The Guadalupe Valley is only 35-40 miles down the highway near Ensenada. Ninety percent of the wine consumed in Mexico is made in the Guadalupe Valley. A bit of history first about how wine made it's way to Mexico. The Spanish were used to eating and swilling wine to wash down their meals, but when they arrived in Mexico they found nothing but ceremonial wine used in the missions for Mass. Something had to be done about this. So, maybe some of the sailors eating raisins spit the seeds out and they grew into vines or maybe they planted the seeds or brought cuttings from Spain. But the grapes grew by whatever way they came. However the history of good wine making in Mexico is relatively a recent event. Early winemaking techniques remained primitive, with cowhides used as containers in the fermentation of the grapes. Imagine how that would affect the taste….maybe having a nose like cow hide and taste of leather boots. Gradually a commitment to quality improvement was made when the Santo Tomas Winery hired Dimitri Tchelistcheff as technical director. He was credited with replanting Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Reisling, Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay. Cold fermentation of whites was introduced and Tchelistcheff is credited with producing Baja's first sparkling wines. The many wineries of the valley can be found on the web site . There are a couple of wineries we have visited that are worth mentioning and they are LA Cetto and Vena Cava. LA Cetto is the largest producing winery in Mexico and is located in the Guadalupe Valley. This winery produces over one million cases of wine and so is found in most places in Mexico as well as exported to over 30 countries around the world. They make most varietals but their best in my opinion is Nebbiolo. Their young wine maker hired back in the seventies named Camillo Magoni began his training at Alba in northern Italy's Piedmont region, followed by a study of clonal varieties of the Nebbiolo grape at Nino Negri in northern Lombardy. The Guadalupe Valley's Mediterranean climate was conducive to the cultivation of Italian varieties as well. The Nebbiolo wine has a nicely balanced flavors that linger on the finish. It is priced around $ 15 a bottle but I have seen it for around $13.50 at Costco. So, we enjoy the Mexican wine but they really can't match the taste of the wines produced in Anderson Valley.

The Vena Cava winery just opened in January 2012 and is located on the grounds of the La Villa del Valle, a fancy bed and breakfast located 20 miles northeast of Ensenada that opened in 2005. The owners are Phil Gregory and his wife Eileen who designed the Mediterranean style inn perched on a hill in the heart of the wine country. It is flanked by its own vines as well as organic vegetable and herb gardens that provide makings for their Corazon de Tierra restaurant built in 2011. They have a lovely cactus garden and a separate yoga studio for your morning workout. As one approaches the complex it takes a while to absorb the fact that there are upturned fishing boats partially submerged in earth among the grapevines.These land bound vessels are the roof structure for the 3,200 square foot facility for making, aging, storing and tasting wine. In creating this 'wine cave', designer and builder Alejandro D'Acosta states that storage of wine underground maximizes energy efficiency and makes the most of a limited land area. When we visited in early March of this year, the tasting room was not open but the workmen opened the doors for us to amble around in the various wings of the cave. It is a truly great idea for the winery to do this sort of thing and has to be seen to be believed. Their Vena Cava blend consists of Syrah, Zinfandel, Cabernet, and Petit Syrah and it the best Mexican wine I've tasted. It sells for $20 a bottle at the restaurant but less by the case. In my opinion Anderson Valley doesn't have to worry about competition from Mexican wines. Most of the wines made in AV are superior tasting to the Mexican ones. Next adventure is seeking out the whales in Guerrero Negro area as they give birth and move north for the summer.

Kent Rogers and Neva Dyer





Read your article on the competing Marijuana Initiatives. You cleared things up for me, thanks. I’ll pass it along.

Wrote you a rhyme.


John Wester

San Diego

Attached: 70,000 every year

Arrested because of pot.

Millions and millions of dollars they steer

Toward making sure the users get caught;

And millions more in defense we pay

For a victimless crime, they say —

But doing the time for acts that rate

A mighty yawn from the Golden State.



Dear Constituent:

Thank you for contacting my office regarding the closure of California State Parks. I appreciate hearing from you on this very important issue.

As you know, our state is in the midst of a very serious fiscal crisis and difficult choices must be made. One of the most difficult issues the Legislature has faced is the reduction in funding to State Parks. I feel that these recreational areas are the jewels of our state. There were 70 parks identified statewide for closure, 17 of these in the First Assembly District.

Last year the Governor signed AB 42, a bill I co-authored with Assemblyman Jared Huffman which authorizes the Department of Parks and Recreation to enter into contracts with qualified non-profit organizations to assist with the operations of State Parks. Since the implementation of the bill in January, local organizations have been working with State Parks to develop proposals for the continued operations of parks slated for closure. There are many moving parts and it is not a simple process. That said, I am proud of, as well as inspired by, the hard work that many people in our community have been doing in an effort to keep the parks open to the public. My office will continue to do what it can to assist in this process. .

Assemblyman Jared Huffman and I have also authored AB 1589, the California State Parks Stewardship Act of 2012 which would identify new revenue enhancement opportunities for state parks. This would include enhanced fee collection within state parks, a new state park environmental license plate, and tax incentives for purchase of state park access passes. It would also create a state park enterprise fund; modify the criteria and public disclosure requirements for state park closures; place a cap on the number of state park closures that can be implemented without advance notification to the Legislature; and state legislative intent that a multi-disciplinary advisory council conduct an independent assessment and make recommendations for the long-term management and funding of California's state park system.

AB 1589 has cleared its first hurdle and gained unanimous, bipartisan support from the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee. The bill will now be scheduled for a hearing in the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee. If you would like to track the progress of AB 1589, you may do so by logging

Thank you again for your correspondence. If I can be of any assistance in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Wesley Chesbro, Assemblyman, 1st District





Loved your piece on how you know you're a native San Franciscan. Here are a few more:

• Shopped for school clothes at Macy's on Union Square and always had lunch at Blum's on the first floor.

• Always stopped by Robinson's (made famous in “The Birds”) on Maiden Lane to check out the adorable puppies.

• During the holidays, made the trip downtown to see the towering Christmas tree at the City of Paris, the window display at Gump's and the decorated trees at florist Podesta-Baldocchi.

• Had lunch downtown with Dad at Jack's, Paoli's, The Iron Horse, The Red Knight, Gino's and Tadich Grill.

• While at Jack's, sometimes saw good buddies Herb Caen, Willie Brown, Wilkes Bashford and Harry de Wildt gossiping about the rich and powerful.

• Sailed around Alcatraz when it was still a federal prison while men in bullhorns warned you not to get too close.

• Went to the original Fillmore Ballroom at Fillmore and Geary, the Avalon Ballroom on Van Ness and Winterland where you not only saw the Ice Follies every year but also the Rolling Stones with Stevie Wonder as their opening act in 1972.

• Picked up free rock posters and handbills every week at City Lights Bookstore.

• Paid 35¢ to sit in the bleachers at Candlestick Park before it was enclosed where you could stand less than 20 feet away from the greatest ballplayer of all time, Willie Mays.

• Ice skated at the rink on top of the Jack Tar Hotel, at Legg's Ice Arena south of Market and at the Thurstons' on 48th Avenue.

• Had your first legal drink, a Mai Tai, on your 21st birthday at Trader Vic's.

• Saw the Grateful Dead, Youngbloods, Jefferson Airplane and others in free lunchtime performances at the bandshell across from the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.

• Remember the controversy when the Transamerica Pyramid and the Bank of America headquarters were built with people fearing they would ruin the skyline.

• Considered the Palace of Fine Arts a great place to go at night with friends and a couple of joints.

• Remember the Carousel Bar in the lobby of the Fairmont Hotel.

God, Bruce, there is so much more, many of which were covered in your article. So many great memories!


Lisa Walters





Needless to say, you may not be reading this or this infamous paper with no friends. The AVA could be hand distributed solely in Anderson Valley, if it weren’t for Grangers.

A bold statement hmm? Rural mail delivery, an idea ridiculed by early representatives, was suggested by a woman in a Central western state small Grange meeting. This then 'silly' idea, to serve farmers, grew to 30,000 rural routes in 48 states, servicing 7,000,000 farm homes. Grangers supported Parcel Post too as early as 1887 and kept the fires burning under the idea until it cooked. When the special interest tried to wrench away funding for this service in the late 1900s, it was the Grange action that not only stimulated funding, but pushed for more. They spearheaded rural electrification and roads too. These combined made farming life easier and reduced the cost of food. Why support those pesky farmers, who merely feed the cities and governmental centers? Grangers supported a transition for tenant farmers to eventually own land and created Land Grant Colleges and the extension services that problem solved a bug or mold problem on your vineyard, got some nasty bug out of your garden or kept some dangerous pesticide out of your water. You’ll often find references to the Grange in old traditional American song, as the Grange was and still is the community center of many rural locations and a great place to dance and socialize.

Does the Grange still serve you? The Grange could be a driving force to rein in banks. It is attempting to cast out aggressive dangerous corporate agriculture laws that cram genetically modified foods down our collective throats with the lack of labelling. If you have gone to an event at our Grange, chances are it was a benefit, partially supported by the AV Grange. The Grange hall was a meeting place for the idiotic state park closure/privatization reaction meetings. The State Grange lobbyist is actively working with the State food regulators to revise the dairy laws to allow raw local milk production and distribution to continue by generating new rules. Grange supported events have funded the health clinic, the senior center, local students going off to college, etc. The Grange’s Theatre Guild not only brings you great plays, it provides a means to teach new actors, new lighting technicians, videographers, DJs and more. A grand piano is soon to grace the Grange stage for local piano centric performances, perhaps part of your event. It could be the place your daughter learns to dance ballet or modern, you brush up on computer skills, log on or listen to local poetry. It could be the place you celebrate your anniversary, receive your friends for a wedding or celebrate life in general. The Grange will be the place that resolutions are crafted to change laws on the state and national level.

April is the month the Grange offers a free membership to interested friends. You could come and discover our vision, or bring your ideas to create a broader commitment to our local community. Come to our Potluck dinner meeting at 7pm on April 17th.

Greg Krouse, Over Seer

Anderson Valley Solar Grange #669


PS. Perhaps Grangers can stop the idiotic idea of removing telephone wires in favor of the cellphone that failed in Japan’s recent Tsunami/nuclear disaster. It was the pay phones in Tokyo that allowed impacted citizens there to communicate when the nuclear power took down the cellphone system too. Redundancy is a popular biological and human process. Grangers have checked dangerous de-funding, added new regulation and made life a bit nicer in general.



Dear Editor and Readers;

Most people lament America's economic and political crises, but don't know how to help improve things. We see the rich and giant corporations getting richer and paying less taxes, while we struggle to stay ahead and see our neighbors lose jobs and homes, and watch our schools, roads and parks deteriorate.

We know this decline is caused by Congressmembers who provide tax breaks, subsidies, deregulation and other goodies to the corporations that fund their election campaigns. This rotten system corrupts our democracy, hurts average citizens and threatens the planet.

What can we do to help stop the rot and get our nation back on track? Concerned citizens have been trying for decades to limit corporations' campaign donations, but the Supreme Court's conservative majority recently decided that corporations are persons who have the same constitutional rights as humans, and therefore can not be stopped from flooding our elections with super-PAC money, attack ads and other distortions.

Individuals and organizations across the country have responded by proposing an amendment to the US constitution that clarifies that corporations are not persons, pouring their money into elections is not free speech, and citizens have a right to limit election spending ( ).

Municipalities nationwide, including the city councils of NYC, LA, Point Arena and Fort Bragg, have passed resolutions in support of this amendment, reflecting a grassroots groundswell demanding structural reform. Now there is a signature-gathering campaign to place a similar proposition on Mendocino County's November's ballot.

If you've been wondering what you can do to help turn our nation around, look no further. To help us gather the 5000 signatures needed, coast folks should contact Carrie Durkee, 937-2554, , and inland residents should contact Margaret Koster, 459-5970,

Tom Wodetzki




To the Editor:

A Letter to the Ukiah City Council

New Toys For the City Council:

City Manager Jane Chambers proposes to buy twelve iPads (or equivalent) for our six Ukiah City Council Members as well as for six senior staffers. At a cost of $600 each, it is claimed that this would reduce the cost of paper copying and move Ukiah towards that visionary goal of a “Paperless Agenda.”

Couldn't you save the volume of paper reproduced by merely sending each Council member an electronic agenda to review on their own personal computers? A written agenda will need to be produced in any case for public display in the lobby at council meetings. Could it be, as numerous citizens and even a few office holders occasionally opine, that the City Manager's real agenda here is to divert council members' attention with toys and gadgets and thereby allow staff an even freer hand to run the City of Ukiah as they know best? City Council Members: beware these gifts!

If you have $9,000 burning a hole your pocket, Ms. Chambers, why not have a half dozen wooden bulletin boards placed around town to display copies of the daily, weekly and monthly newspapers. There are many who cannot afford a $164 dollar yearly subscription to the UDJ but would like to know what you're up to. This is common practice in more advanced societies in Europe and Asia.


Jim Houle

Redwood Valley




Inequality is the problem, not the solution. In their fine, insightful book “The Spirit Level,” authors Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett offer irrefutable, empirical evidence that what matters most in determining not only the health and mortality of any society but also the prevalence of a host of other social problems — including mental illness, obesity and homicides — is how wealth is distributed or, in other words, the extent of inequality.

In the most unequal societies — US, Britain, Portugal and New Zealand — the level of homicides, mental illness, teenage pregnancies and so on is much higher than in the more equal societies, such as Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Japan. “The reason these differences are so big is, quite simply, that the effects of inequality are not confined just to the least well-off; instead they affect the vast majority of the population.” Inequality causes shorter, unhealthier, unhappier lives.

America is one of the world's richest nations, with among the highest figures for income per person, but has the lowest longevity of the developed nations, and a level of violence — murder, in particular — that is off the charts. For some, mainly the young, the experience of daily life at the bottom of a steep social hierarchy is enraging. The US has institutionalized economic and social inequality to the extent that, at any one time, a quarter of our respective populations are mentally ill. Yet we are constantly bombarded by the tiresome drone of the “free traders” and neo-conservatives touting the low wages, low benefits and low public spending that increases inequality and imposes unhappiness on us all.

If, instead, we were to concentrate on making our citizens' incomes as equal as those of people in Japan and Scandinavia, we could each have seven extra weeks' holiday a year, we would be thinner, we would live longer happier lives, and we'd trust each other more. We could start by raising the minimum wage, social security benefits, and taxes on the wealthy. Then impose stiff tariffs on incoming cheap goods from abroad as we increase small business entrepreneurship by breaking up the hugely destructive monopolies in banking, communications, and retail. We have high unemployment because of monopolies, pure and simple. When President Carter busted up AT&T, entrepreneurship in America bloomed.

The removal of economic impediments will allow a flourishing of human potential. We will all do much better and be much happier when we're more equal.

Dave Smith




Dear Bruce,

I have been rather mystified by how the director of First Five, Anne Molgaard, blathered at length on KZYX about the county supervisors being underpaid at over $60,000 a year, and that we needed to pay more in order to attract competent people. The last time I heard this it was none other than garbage czar Mike Sweeny making the same argument. Obviously, Sweeny who contracts with the county, has a personal interest in buttering up the supervisors so I suspected the same thing with Molgaard. A quick check of the website reveals to no surprise that First Five got $175,000 last year from the Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency, and supervisor Dan Hamberg sits on the First Five board. What we have here on the part of Sweeny and Molgaard is a flagrant display of brown-nosing on the public radio airwaves.

Particularly offensive was Molgaard's argument that higher pay will get better government representatives. From my observation in recent years, the opposite is true. The supervisors who were "in it for the money", I am talking Smith and Colfax here, with Hamberg falling in lock step behind them, have been the worst supervisors I have seen. They joined forces to commission the Slavin study to justify awarding themselves a 40% raise. They elevated the salaries of department heads to cover their newly exorbitant pay. With an out of balance budget they borrowed excessively to pay the pension fund. With this rip-off still insufficient, Smith and Colfax were falsifying their expense accounts to steal money from the county taxpayers. To make matters worse Smith refused to take the same 10% pay cut she was demanding of the people who really do the work in the county. No wonder they couldn't negotiate a contract. This is what you get by Molgaard's reasoning. Meanwhile, the records of these three supervisors are devoid of any significant contributions to the operation of the county.

I would like to propose another way of analyzing the county supervisors rate of pay. The budget of any county is directly related to the size of the taxpayer base. This is also a primary factor in the complexity of the supervisor's job. The issues that supervisors deal with in Sonoma County are obviously more complex and demanding than those in Mendocino County. With more people and a bigger tax base they have more resources to work with. Perhaps, a better way of comparing the pay of various county supervisors would be to look at their pay per person in the county they serve. I suspect our supervisors would look very well paid compared to most counties in the state.

I'll close with a comment on this outrageous governmental structure that allows the supervisors to grant themselves a raise. This is purely undemocratic. The people of Mendocino County should vote on whether a supervisor will get a raise on re-election. This would help make them accountable to the people they are supposed to be serving.

Barney Cartright


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