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Letters (August 26, 2021)

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As part off a growing national awareness of our country’s history of racial injustice folks are removing statues and renaming localities that honor the Confederacy and its former slave empire.

Statues of Robert E. Lee have been removed from their pedestals in Charlottesville, Virginia and New Orleans, Louisiana and trucked away.

Congress has directed the Department of Defense to formulate a plan to rename all ten military bases that honor Confederate officers. Fort Bragg, North Carolina will be renamed within two years.

Two years ago the town of Confederate Corners, California was renamed Springtown.

Last month a residential neighborhood in North Carolina removed the name of Braxton Bragg from one of its streets.

Our Fort Bragg is the last municipality in the state of California to bear the name of a Confederate and slaver.

As I read about Braxton Bragg, for whom Fort Braggs (in both California and North Carolina) are named I become more and more dismayed.

As someone born into a slave holding family in North Carolina, Bragg enjoyed and benefited from slave labor all his life and never said a single word against this unjust system. When he went off to West Point, a slave accompanied him for personal service. When he took up a military command and fought in the Mexican War a slave was forced into labor for him.

After the Mexican War he married the heiress to a wealthy slave owning family in Louisiana. He and this wife named their 1600 acre plantation Bivouac and joined “the elite ranks of the slave owning aristocracy.” They worked 105 enslaved Black men, women and children on their estate for their personal economic advancement earning “a net profit of $30,000” in 1859. He defended his use of slave labor thusly: ”We have a large class in subordination - just and necessary…”

Joining the secession of southern states Bragg rejoined the Army as a Major General and said of secession: “Our course is just and we must triumph.”

(All quotes are from the book Braxton Bragg: The Most Hated Man in the Confederacy by Earl J. Hess.)

It seems to me absurd that our town honors a slaver and traitor by bearing his name.

I don’t know how you feel about this. I am working with some folks to change our City’s name to stop honoring Braxton Bragg.

I don’t believe you have to live within our City limits to have an opinion or to be involved in this work.

If, perhaps, you would like to join this effort, please let me know.

Philip Zwerling, Ph.D.

Fort Bragg

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Americans are a pretty accepting bunch of people. As a general rule, we do not like to judge others. We have our own personal north star — values that guide us and point us in the right direction. However, there comes a time when we have to say the obvious out loud. Maybe even from the rooftops. 

One of our two major political parties is completely off the rails. They have endorsed a former president who is callow and has only one guiding principle: to obtain and hold power. 

All else revolves around that goal. Truth does not matter, only the fictional narratives that will feed the possibility that he, and he alone, can control things. The pandemic is a hoax. Joe Biden did not win the election. The insurrection was a love fest. Immigrants are horrible and our biggest problem. Climate change is for Europeans to foolishly worry about. 

No longer can we as a people accept this frame of mind as our reality. For goodness sake, get off the fence and start howling like you mean it, or the ship of democracy is heading to Davey Jones’ locker. 

Noel J. O’Neill


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Dear Friends of Mendocino Wildlife,

We Won!!!

We are elated to be able to report that on Tuesday evening at 6:00 pm, by a 3 to 2 margin, Supervisors John Haschak, Ted Williams, and Maureen Mulheren voted to terminate Mendocino County’s contract with the cruel and ineffective Wildlife Services agency to manage wildlife in Mendocino County. 

This is a great victory for the people and wildlife of our county, and we have a lot of people to thank for helping to make this happen. Thanks to all our supporters who showed up time and time again to raise the voice of the public loud and clear. Thanks to Camilla Fox, Michelle Lute, and Keli Hendricks of Project Coyote who lent shared their invaluable expertise in exposing the inefficient brutality of Wildlife Services. Thanks to the three supervisors who listened to the public and the established science, and found the courage to go against the influential Farm Bureau. 

Now that Wildlife Services has finally been vanquished in Mendocino County, we turn our attention to creating a non-lethal wildlife exclusion service that will enable humans and wild animals to peacefully coexist in this magnificent county we all call home. We’ll keep you posted on further developments as this new exclusion service takes shape. In the meantime, let’s all take the time to celebrate this great victory we share for the wildlife in Mendocino County. 

For the wild,

Mendocino Non-lethal Wildlife Alliance steering committee

Rosebud Ireland

Carol Lillis

Don Lipmanson

Carol Misseldine

Jon Spitz

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We have had legal marijuana cultivation in Mendocino County for several years. As a resident of Covelo, I have watched hoop houses and gardens sprout all over town. As a teacher at the school, I have watched the students start the year full of enthusiasm only to drop off in their attendance and motivation in October when the crops ripen, filling the air around the school with skunky odor, and filling the bodies of the students with disinterest in anything but being stoned.

Legalizing this plant was inevitable, but it only increased the illegal and dangerous climate in our home towns, because frankly, regulations strangled legitimate growers, and enforcement of the law is barely existent. If you were going to be afraid to enforce it, you had no business legalizing it.

We run cows on various properties. These properties are covered with illegal grows, too many plants, illegal generators, lights, poorly constructed illegal roads and pesticides.

Now, they, since many are growing on rangeland that has no water source, are pumping water out of the valley and hauling it up the mountain to the tune of hundreds of thousands of gallons a day. The trucks are illegal as are the sellers of water. The Cartel thinks the law is a big joke.

Our wells are going dry, but their plants and crime are flourishing. Our legitimate businesses are struggling, but illegal growers, most of them residing outside the county, are sailing around, destroying our roads with their speed and heavy trucks. The lights from the grow houses are brighter than the regular lights from the town when viewed from the mountain. Now, individuals are sucking our water out of the ground as fast as they can, endangering the rest of the population’s ability to create defensible spaces around their homes and have water for fighting fire, not to mention destroying our ability to live here.

This is an emergency situation you need to address. You are responsible not for the Cartels’ well-being, but for the well-being of those of us who are legitimately paying taxes on our products. We did not elect you to preen before the small population of legitimate farmers, but to look out for the well-being of all your constituents. If there is not enough money available to shut down the illegal water pumping and thus protect the rest of our residents, then you had better find the money.

Please help us!!! We are, at this point, beyond desperate!!!


Ann Marie

Retired teacher, Rancher, citizen of Covelo

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Contrary to what Elizabeth Warren and Gavin Newsom think, the recall isn’t about Trump Republicans. This is about Newsom’s air of superiority. It’s about telling everyone else to mask up and social distance while he dined as he did at the French Laundry. It’s about giving out Golden State stimulus checks to everyone except those who needed it the most — those on disability and Social Security (because they didn’t have “earned income”). It’s about giving Medi-Cal to illegal immigrants, young and old, while citizens have to wait forever to be approved for it. So, Newsom can’t blame anyone but himself. This is all on him.

Becky Bonkowski


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“First of all, don't vote Republican. They cause an INCREASE in abortions and an increase of unintended and unwanted children every time they get into power by cutting aid to international family planning clinics.”

That is a sentence from a letter I sent to the Editor a week or so ago. The editors changed the words “an increase” to “an decrease’ making the sentence absurd and untrue. The Republicans “buy” votes from the anti-abortionists by claiming to be against abortion. They withdrew US support from any family planning clinic and its sponsors that even mentions abortion. The result s that families are cut off from their contraception resulting in an increase in abortions and unwanted children. So if you are against abortion the last thing you want to do is vote Republican.

Don Phillips


Ed note: Our apologies for the error.

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Watching a full morning of news everywhere dedicated to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation, I began pondering what else might have been addressed in that time. For instance, am I alone in having no idea of actual steps our government pursues to fight global warming? Has a single coal-fired power plant been taken offline? Any talk of metering nonessential driving — even numbered license plates some days, odd on others?

Any discussion about training military regiments as firefighting support and diverting money from unnecessary battleships and missiles to converting cargo planes to water tankers? We get the stock market numbers all day long, what about Enivronmental Procticetion Agency updates?

As an inveterate consumer of news and political articles, if I can’t answer, “What are we doing about global warming,” I have to assume others can’t either. Shouldn’t use of the public airwaves involve some responsibility to educate the public about critical issues in addition to selling their attention to advertisers? Mark Zuckerberg did not make that one up, and with identical motives, it is no accident that news stories are framed for maximal emotional reaction, exactly like Facebook.

We are diverting ourselves to death.

Peter Coyote


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Dear Editor,

Please vote No on the recall ballot which the Republicans have successfully forced California registered voters to vote on. This recall should not even be happening in the first place. Here the governor is elected every four years, and Governor Newsom’s term is supposed to run until late next year. This “recall election” is really just a power grab by the richest Californians to unseat a governor who is trying to simultaneously deal with a set of very difficult problems: the worst wildfires in state history, the Covid-19 pandemic recently made worse by the delta variant, homelessness, among others. 

Republicans could not even come up with a single candidate, instead foisting upon a ballot filled with 46 separate names. The costs for this crazed “election” will top at least $278 Million and may reach as much as $400 million of taxpayer dollars. Vote “NO.” so that Governor Newsom can finish his term of office. 

Frank Baumgardner

Santa Rosa

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To the Editor:

The pandemic is spreading again, the climate crisis is worse than we expected, and our democracy is under attack. All three crises are exacerbated by Republicans.

Trump and his Fox Lies mouthpiece said Covid was a hoax, don't get vaccinated. 600k Americans have died, and todays' big surges are mostly in— Surprise!— red states.

Likewise, the GOP has long denied that their funders' fossil fuels cause global heating, despite steadily increasing temperatures, wildfires, flooding and droughts. Yet they still stymie efforts to reduce carbon emissions and relieve those most affected.

Thirdly, most Republicans support Trump's Big Lie that he won the election and are working to increase voting restrictions, gerrymandering and dark money funding of elections.

A party with this terrible record, that relies on divisive culture wars and hot-button issue and doesn't have a program to better Americans, is a disgrace and deserves an indecent burial.

Tom Wodetzki


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To the Editor:

Referencing the letter by Tom Wodetzki.

Who's at fault?

The pandemic, the fires, and the climate "crisis", are all caused by the Republicans, President Trump, and Fox News, according to Tom Wodetzki. All this without an ounce of proof to back it up. Obviously Tom's only news sources are probably CNN and MSNBC.

President Trump is alive and well in Tom's head.

While Trump was in office, the economy was great, fuel prices were down, people were working, minorities especially more than ever before, our military was the best in the world, the southern borders were closed, a wall was being built, then Covid-19 hit. Trump acted quickly and got the pharmacies to work on a vaccine which was presented in record time.

We now have President, Joe, the liar, corrupt, plagiarist, gaffe master, dementia brain, Biden. We also have an incompetent Vice President, Kamala, the Giggler, Harris!

Now, under Biden and a Democrat Congress, the economy is awful, fuel prices are way up, inflation is on the rise, the pandemic is getting worse in some areas, the southern borders are in crisis with thousands of illegals entering our country without masks and have covid and probably other diseases to spread across our country. A super spreader so to speak.

I have to say this is all the Democrats fault. The Republicans need to win back the Congress so they can fix what the Democrats have broken, and then win back the presidency in 2024, and who knows, it might be Donald Trump!

Bob McIntosh


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Our time is up. The game is over. One last chance to avoid checkmate. The U.N. secretary-general, António Guterres, referred to the latest Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change report as a “code red for humanity.” Other leaders have called it dire and bleak. The time for procrastination has passed. We can no longer go about our daily routines while ignoring the reality that our children and grandchildren could live out their lives on an uninhabitable planet. The extreme weather (heat, drought, fires, floods, hurricanes) witnessed around the world today is but a hint of what is to come if we ignore this report.

Myriad changes must be made — now. Some will be effective; some not so. If we do nothing, we know the outcome. There are many actions that experts believe would be effective but are thwarted for political or economic reasons. One is carbon tax and dividend. All carbon is taxed at its point of origin, and the accumulated money would be distributed to citizens — similar to oil in Alaska. It’s time to contact our elected representatives to demand that immediate actions be taken. Let’s start with the carbon tax and dividend plan.

Gene Hottel

Santa Rosa

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To The Editor,

In the latest copy of the AVA (August 18) there us a Letter to the Editor from someone named Temple O. Smith from Cloverdale concerning local water problems. At the end of the letter is an editor’s note that reads as follows: “Lake Mendo is dependent on the diverted Eel at Potter Valley: Lake Sonoma gets most of its water from the Russian River, which is also dependent on the diverted Eel”.

I totally agree with the first part of the Ed. Note regarding Lake Mendocino. However, in the case of Lake Sonoma, according to a Warm Springs Cultural Resources Study in Nov 1980, the two main sources of water for Lake Sonoma (Warm Springs Dam) are Cherry Creek and the misnamed Dry Creek which runs all year round, and, when water is being released from the dam, eventually feeds into the Russian River. These two creeks are themselves fed by many small feeder streams.

The Russian River is located a few miles east of Lake Sonoma, and no water from the Russian River goes into Lake Sonoma.

Thank you,

David Anderson


Ed note: Yeah, I thought I knew that, but I haven't got my Prevagen yet and find myself subject to, ah, slippage, I guess you could call it. 


  1. Rye N Flint August 26, 2021


    Ted Williams has made it perfectly clear, he does not intend to do anything about all of the APPROVED “ministerial” AG exempt hoophouse loophole. He must think that county workers are stamp robots that don’t understand the illegality of issueing permits to people that aren’t supposed to recieve them. He would rather blame the small farmers for choosing quality over quantity, and not willing to scale up like all of the illegal grows, basically condoning the current behavior. Even though we the citizens have made it perfectly clear we don’t want greenhouse grows! They are not necessary in a place where it can be grown legally outdoors. I know Covelo is not in Ted’s district, but Hopland is. Ever been out Feliz Creek road or Fish Rock Road? Same problem, less concentrated.

    “There are two broad types of permits: ministerial and discretionary. A ministerial permit is a permit that is granted based upon determinations that the proposed project complies with established standards set forth in either the Coastal or Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinances. These determinations are arrived at objectively, involve little or no personal judgment, and are issued by the Planning Director or his/her designee. This type of permit is commonly referred to as an “over the counter” approval. Some tree trimming and tree removal permits as well as film permits are ministerial. In addition, Zoning Clearances issued over the counter are also considered ministerial.”

  2. Rye N Flint August 26, 2021


    Did he ask for it? Besides the French laundry hypocracy, (like you never violated masking orders right?) has he really done anything that deserves being recalled?

    The big question is: Who is the viable replacement? I couldn’t find a single candidate that didn’t look like they had some crazy agenda of wackiness… except maybe that stereotypical College Student.

  3. Mark Laszlo August 26, 2021

    Defending Bob Wodetski:
    From Bob Mcintosh:

    Notwithstanding The Editor’s Maxim That Both Democrat And Republican Parties Are Existential Threats To The World

    Bob wrote back to Tom:
    “The pandemic, the fires, and the climate “crisis”, are all caused by the Republicans, President Trump, and Fox News, according to Tom Wodetzki. All this without an ounce of proof to back it up. Obviously Tom’s only news sources are probably CNN and MSNBC.”

    No Bob. Tom said this:

    “The pandemic is spreading again, the climate crisis is worse than we expected, and our democracy is under attack. All three crises are exacerbated by Republicans”.

    cause = originate | exacerbate = make worse

    Tom wrote:

    “Trump and his Fox Lies mouthpiece said Covid was a hoax, don’t get vaccinated. 600k Americans have died, and todays’ big surges are mostly in— Surprise!— red states…”

    Bob Wrote back to Tom:

    “President Trump is alive and well in Tom’s head.”


    From Bob, Back To Tom:

    “While Trump was in office, the economy was great, fuel prices were down, people were working, minorities especially more than ever before, our military was the best in the world, the southern borders were closed, a wall was being built, then Covid-19 hit. Trump acted quickly and got the pharmacies to work on a vaccine which was presented in record time”.

    Pharmacies don’t develop vaccines Bob. Pharmaceutical corporations do.

    Bob wrote to Tom:

    “…the pandemic is getting worse in some areas, the southern borders are in crisis with thousands of illegals entering our country without masks and have covid and probably other diseases to spread across our country. A super spreader so to speak.”

    Tom, is that your best lie, to put the blame on immigrants, with not one once of proof?

    From RAGE; Craig Unger’s 2nd book on Trump and other sources: Covid19 came to the USA on a cruise ship to CA in 2020, after Trump met with advisors 1/26/2020, where the best warned him it would cause a pandemic, so shut down travel from China, to gain time to prepare. But not only did Trump not stop travel from China, Trump also disabled years of pandemic preps already made by others in the govt!

    Who could Donald Trump be working for, by intentionally causing a half million more Americans to die who might have been saved if he had followed his advisor’s best informed advice in the 1/26/2020 meeting?

    Tell us just why we should believe that Donald Trump, did not spread COVID19 personally to his supporters, big donors, rally goers, the WH staff, the government. Tell us the Joint Chiefs of Staff did not have to quarantine when they learned Trump was infected and had not told them.
    Tell us Trump did not infect his own little boy Baron and his own wife, Melania. Some other republicans spread COVID deliberately.

    Bob, before you defend Trump any more, tell us why anyone should think Trump and republicans in Congress are not working for Russia. You barely tried to blame the pandemic on immigrants, with no proof to back up any of it. Give us your best lie. The obvious fact is, you follow THE PEID PIPER. You are not a sucker. The word has not been coined. Don’t let us down! We need to laugh!

    organized human existence = civilization

    Mark W. Laszlo

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