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Letters (March 3, 2022)

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BEAUTIFYING BOONVILLE

Editor,

I think one of the best things that could happen to beautify Boonville, would be to plant lots of Redwood trees along 128 to [eventually] hide the hideous CalTrans yard.

I like your idea of converting the top floor of the “Grozny”/old Holiday Inn into a restaurant/night club/music venue! That could be really terrific!

Buy cheap goldfish at the Anderson Valley Farm Supply. If you haven’t been in there lately, check it out. It’s become a really nice place! I go fairly often, get some plants, some cat food, potting soil, beautiful planters, this and that, some goldfish! (The raccoons and snakes make sure I need to buy fish on a fairly regular basis.) Plus, super nice people to help you out! (I also got a fantastic kitten there a year ago. Jennifer does a great job of taming up feral/semi feral kittens.)

Finally, “medical business.” That’s this country's pathetic situation, that people go for making a killing off of people’s health or lack of, rather than being satisfied with “just” making a living. This has, of course, been going on for some time. I had a fantastic doctor in the 70’s, Everts Loomis, who ran an amazing heath/healing center, and charged totally reasonable prices, Friendly Hills Fellowship, in Hemet, CA. He was actively looking for a doctor to take over from him as he got older and older, but all the young doctors he talked to wanted to make a lot of money, not merely a living. So he had to just close his place. Very sad. He helped me, and so many other people who did not have a lot of money, to get well. (I recently looked up his name, and he is now widely thought of as the “father of holistic medicine.”)

Take care, 

Nancy MacLeod

Philo

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HISTORIC FIRST

President Biden has nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman to be elevated by a President to join the Supreme Court of the United States. Of the 115 Justices that have served on the Supreme Court since 1789, only five have been women and only one has been a woman of color. Representation matters and that has been especially true in our nation’s legal system, which has disproportionately impacted and Black and Brown communities. The Mendocino women's Political Coalition applauds President Biden’s ongoing efforts to diversify the judiciary.

“Being the first is never easy and Judge Jackson is doing what so many women have done before her, breaking not just barriers, but blockades, to ensure that she is not the last. President Biden could not have chosen a more stellar candidate for the job,” said MWPC Chair, Val Muchowski. ”We celebrate this historic nomination and look forward to advocating for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation in the confirmation process.”

We call on the U.S. Senate to deliver a speedy confirmation to the United States Supreme Court.

Val Muchowski 

Philo

”Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it's the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

https://mendocinowomen.org

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ON UKRAINE

Dear Editor,

Days ago Russia’s President Vladamir Putin began the long-anticipated and feared invasion of Russia’s neighboring nation Ukraine.

Since November, the West has watched while Russian military units, men, tanks, missiles, aircraft, and ships massed around Ukraine on three sides.

During the past three months Putin and Russian diplomats kept up a constant stream of denials that Russia would attack Ukraine, Using the argument that Russia only meant to defend the “independence” of two eastern Ukrainian regions, Putin defended his massing of Russian forces as “military exercises.”

Russia has killed about 200, shelled numerous cities and towns and has captured Chernobyl on the outskirts of Kiev, a capital city of over 4 million. Putin has demanded Ukrainians lay down their weapons; it appears they will fight as long as they are able.

There is no doubt the American efforts to find a so-called “off ramp” to this invasion have miserably failed. Sanctions are now set down, with little or no effect upon Putin’s plans. Sanctions have never done anything but increase the popular support for autocrats and dictators, whether it be Kaiser Whilhelm, Hitler, General Tojo, Mussolini, or, in this latest case, Vladimir Putin.

Frank Baumgardner

Santa Rosa

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KATHY & CARMEL

To the Editor:

Regarding Jim Shields’ article about how Grand Jury foreman Kathy Wylie calls any criticism of outgoing County CEO Carmel Angelo, “hate speech”…I always thought Wylie was in Angelo’s pocket.

Look at the public record. Wylie always steered grand jury investigations away from Angelo. Nary a single critical grand jury report by Wylie’s coffee klatch of senior citizen grand jurors on the CEO office and the CEO’s years of bullying the Board of Supervisors, the Sheriff, and county department heads.

Nary a single critical grand jury report on the county’s mythical financial reserve. The so-called “reserve” was built on the backs of county workers who suffered high vacancy rates in their departments. It was built on deferred maintenance of county buildings. It was built on a ballooning unfunded county pension liability.

Nary a single critical grand jury report on the county’s RICO investigation by the U.S. Attorney on public corruption in the local cannabis industry, county government, and and local law enforcement.

Nary a single grand jury report on how Angelo privatized mental health services and made Camille Schraeder and her friends at Redwood Community Services stinking rich with almost no accountability.

Nary a single grand jury report on how Measure B funds were hijacked to become Angelo’s private county slush fund.

Nary a single grand jury report on how the carpetbaggers and scallywags at Flow Kana had all their zoning and permits fast-tracked and rubber-stamped to the detriment of local farmers.

Nary a single report on how Angelo consolidated power at the CEO Office…bringing auditor and treasurer functions, budget, emergency services, risk management, IT, and general services into the CEO’s Office along with the existing human resources and county counsel.

Nary a single critical report on how Angelo “disappeared” numerous county employees, including department heads, resulting in numerous expensive wrongful termination lawsuits.

John Sakowicz

Ukiah

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CVS SAVES THE DAY

Editor: 

The other day I was on a quest for two pints of ice cream. That turned into a crazy insightful day. I thought I would just pick it up at a local convenience store. Big mistake. One store in Cloverdale wanted $6.99 for each pint. I put it back and said sorry. The next store was even more: $7.99 per pint. I said no and walked out. I tried CVS and paid $10 for two pints. Not great, but one was half off. If I’m buying ice cream, I need some change back. Twenty dollars does not go that far in today’s economy. These days you have to watch the ever-changing prices or get stung by inflation.

N.M. Sartain

Ukiah

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A RESOUNDING ‘YES!’

Editor: 

Joe Gaffney’s letter concerning California’s proposed single-payer health plan contained several misunderstandings. The benefits of single-payer are far superior to the best private health insurance plans, with no co-pays or deductibles. Everyone is covered, and no one can opt out. Not only can you keep your doctor, but you can access any doctor or hospital, unlike the current system.

From 2008 to 2018, employees’ share of premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose from an average of $3,394 a year to $5,431. And employers’ share for individual employees rose from $12,298 to $19,565 during that same time period.

In 2020, prior to COVID, 24% of non-elderly adults had problems paying medical bills, 21% failed to fill prescriptions, and 15% skipped needed medical care due to cost, all according to the Commonwealth Fund. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services report that cutting cost-sharing for 41.5 million people living below the poverty line would lift 8 million out of poverty.

Gaffney posed the question, “Is it worth trashing our entire health insurance system?” The answer is a resounding yes. We need to remake the most dysfunctional health care system in the developed world.

Dr. Nick Anton

Santa Rosa

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NO NEED FOR MORE DISPENSARIES

To the Editor:

I strenuously object to allowing the sale of pot 2 blocks from City Hall, two and a half blocks from a school and a park on the “coveted” west side.

This area is one of the nicer areas, surrounded by handsome, older homes.

This business would be a black eye on any neighborhood.

It is also one block from the seasonal ice rink and the plaza where many Ukiah’s children congregate. Such a business should be located in an industrial area away from children.

Ukiah is trying to upgrade its image to attract tourists by beautifying the downtown. The avenue leading up to the civic center is a lovely landscaped avenue. We don’t need a pot store to detract from it.

If we allow a pot store we may as well move the Forrest Club there. Calling it a “cannabis dispensary” doesn’t change it from a pot selling store.

As the maid in Gone With the Wind said, “You can dress yourselves up in fancy clothes, but you’re still mules in horses harness.”

We already have enough “dispensaries.”

Janet Freeman

Ukiah

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ECO-LENINISM

Editor!!

“Eco-Lenins”!!! Har-de-har-har!! That’s great!! The funniest thing I’ve ever read in the AVA in 30 years! It’s even funnier than my own rapier-like bon mots! Eco Lenins! Tell ya what....Ukraine is in the news....why don’t you go there and talk up EcoLeninism with the locals....mention the Holomodor, ask them about it....you might want to wear a helmet and hire some large bodyguards if anyone will work for you....maybe mention that everything would have been great except for an unfortunate stroke clearing the way for Santa Stalin....and they were supposed to be Green Gulags....how about a do-over, eh....give the EcoLenins a break...maybe they’ll get it right this time....hire the Cuddly Chekists instead....ECOLENINS!!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Wow! Gotta get my breath here....

OK, I’m better now...don’t do these things to me...one heart surgery was enough....

Listen, let’s cut the crap. The EcoLeninist revolution begins with YOU! First, confess to your own Capitalist Sins. YOU took YOUR MONEY (capital) and INVESTED IN MEANS OF PRODUCTION (The AVA). WHY did you do this? You wanted PERSONAL FREEDOM TO PUBLISH YOUR OWN NEWSPAPER! You wanted to FREELY EXPRESS YOUR OPINION without having to request permission from an Owner to do so!

Not just that, but any PROFIT generated by your business would become YOUR MONEY (capital) that you would be FREE to spend on ANYTHING YOU LIKE! Now, as it turns out, maybe your investment hasn’t exactly shed showers of gold onto your office hovel, but that’s the chance you took! Or would you rather have had a hidden ecoLeninist associate editor looking over your shoulder all these years? What with all their expropriations, they might have made a better business of it, for a little while.

Let’s cut more crap out of the way. You could SELL the AVA to any buyer who wants it, and put the proceeds (capital) in your pocket to do with as you will. But you are a man of Rectitude and you are thusly accorded Respect in the Community. Intentionally or not, you have created an Institution! And now as the Wolves of Age come snarling ever closer and as the EcoLeninists accompanying them wave their Writs of Seizure, you have a Last Chance to immortalize yourself in the Pantheon of Journalism! It is in your power alone, Machtig Redaktor, to so organize your Final Affairs that the AVA be granted to a Trust, and that said Trust be so arranged that as much as possible its governance shall be immunized against Malign and Self-Interested persons or combinations, and that the Mission Statement of the Trust clearly express Your Will as to the future Social Utility of the AVA.

It’s reasonable to believe that you have deeply pondered this subject, and it is reasonable to expect that you disclose your plans to your Loyal Readers without us all being gobsmacked some day by some evil revolution. You don’t want, I suppose, to be surprised by a squadron of EcoLeninists who will put the pistol to your temple and oblige you to sign certain documents. You should have in that case by study of history recognized that the EcoLenins would turn on you. 

Yours, 

Jay Williamson

Santa Rosa

ED REPLY: By “eco-Leninist” I simply meant people with Lenin-like commitment, but since Vlad seems to have been a one-off, and except for a handful of courageous Native Americans, direct action to cripple the earth-destroying mechanisms seems isolated to these brave few. And weekly newspapers are more like corner groceries — doomed. Trusts? I don't trust them.

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COLLUSION

Dear Editor,

You shouldn't be so dismissive of the “collusion” thing.

Why would Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign manager, give proprietary polling data to the Russians? More than once! Why would the Russians want it?

Isn't that the sort of cooperation we think of as collusion?

You should read the Mueller report, at least the first part. It'll give you a better perspective on the extent of the Russian effort to help Trump. (Hint: it wasn't small).

I don't get why you are so set against the possibility. It seems pretty obvious.

Douglas George

Eureka

ED REPLY: Putin accurately sized up Trump as the weak and highly manipulable windbag he is, but my point is that the Democrats and their media bullhorns at MSNBC and CNN and the NYT made it seem as if Trump was a satellite of Russia, devoting thousands of hours and reams of print to this false accusation. Putin wanted Trump because he knew he could manipulate him, made a big effort on social media to get him elected, and he was elected, and will probably be re-elected because the Democrats gave us the weakest, least credible president since, well, Trump, and have no one to oppose the return of Trump in '24, assuming, of course, there is a '24 given the present nuclear saber-rattling.

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PG&E's WAR ON TREES

Editor,

We have lived on our family's ranch since the early 1900s, 5 miles SW of Cloverdale, our Home Town. We have no neighbors next to us. It's peaceful and so quiet till THEY COME. Then nothing but CHAINSAWS and CHIPPERS and more CHIPPERS. And it seems like the last 10-11 years we get a visit from PG&E's Tree Trimmer in January. They were doing just enough to say they were here on our place.

Each year it is a different crew. And God knows where they are from. Usually from a different Country and cannot speak English, let alone they cannot READ. Over the years they bring these huge trucks with a CHIPPER the size of a TANK and just as loud as a TANK

I've told them over the years NO CHIPPERS; they have no place to turn around period. I have made signs coming up our paved road: NO CHIPPERS. And besides no ENGLISH, they cannot READ EITHER.

In 2020 here they come in January. With this huge truck and Chipper. No place to turn around. So they did their job. Came up our road and got off the asphalt and took out a 3-foot by 21 foot section of our road. Does not seem like a lot, but our road to our home is only 10 feet wide.

When backing and off the pavement now they took out our 48 year old Fig Tree we planted when we built our home. In doing so they also backed over my Great Grandpa's walk behind a steel plow he brought when they settled in Anderson Valley and Yorkville in 1855 from upstate New York.

Needless to say, I was PISSED-OFF. They finally got it turned around. And I let them know I was not happy. They finally got it. I was mad. They also figured out that I wanted to talk to their Boss. OK OK they said. Boss Coming and will be here in one hour. He is just leaving Fresno now.

Yes, Fresno, one hour. Now they can't figure out time. More like an 8-9 hour drive to Cloverdale. I'm still waiting for them. That was 2020.

If you are a Logger in Sonoma or Mendocino County you have to jump through major hoops to get a permit. And then sometimes it is denied. Yet if you want to Clearcut for PG&E, no problem. Or Clearcut for a Vineyard, no problem. With the vineyards we get all the chemicals that wash off into the Russian, Navarro, Garcia, Alder, Eel Rivers… We should have the world's best STEELHEAD fishing here in our backyards. But no. Back in the 60s and 70s the rivers were loaded with trout and steelhead.. The Russian River is no more. We have not seen anything like what's coming in 2021 for us. OMG.

In June of 2021 here they come. Five [5] College Students working the Summer together. They were have a gay old time, Laughing, taking breaks, then lunch, and more laughing. They were here for a week and then gone one day. Not saying they were done, but just left.

None of the Tree Trimmers let you know they are here. You just hear the saws and CHIPRERS going.

This has been a NIGHTMARE to say the least. From June 2021 to Dec.27th 2021 we had these crews on our Ranch. Most days were from 6:30 a.m. till after 5:00 pm 6 days a week and some days till noon on Sundays. They told us we had 85 trees that had to come out, PERIOD.

In the end there were well over 100 trees. It's like they clearcut the area on both sides of the line if it were to fall.

What they did was beyond belief! They even told us trees that were close had to come out. We had a few trees that my wife's Grandpa planted back in around 1900. And we were told they had to come out as they were dying. When in fact they were not at all but a healthy oaks.

We now have messy piles of logs all over our next to our home. We have piles of wood. I mean piles. They said they’d be back in Jan 2022 to take care of it all. We are still waiting. We told them we would keep some of the logs for firewood and they left us spray paint to mark them.

But the mess they have left is not right. Over the 6 months with all this heavy equipment coming and going, 2 of our culverts are giving out, I have signs saying NO CHIPPERS, YET THEY STILL COME.

We have found where they were smoking on our property and left the butts for us. Along with water bottles everywhere, besides taking our Asphalt Road out, They took a 43 old Fig tree we planted when we built our home. My Grandpa's steel plow he brought from upstate New York as they made their way West and settled in Cloverdale, Yorkville and Anderson Valley. My other Grandparents were some of the first settlers to arrive in Anderson Valley. My Great Great Grandparents were the Murray Family and my Great Great Grandmother's maiden name was Anderson, as in Anderson Valley. What an honor for me.

I have stepped in their HUMAN WASTE they left for me, They broke 3 of our gates coming into our place. One other they just cut the fence then drove in breaking off the 8x8 post I had in place. They had a huge bag of garbage and I told them they needed to take that. They did all the way to Dutcher Creek Road and then put it in our trash can. We are allowed one bag a week. After they left in December I found two more bags of their trash in my Boat. So now I'm three weeks behind in trash removal. I have my pick-up parked at the barn. I didn't use it much but I needed it. So I backed up and my tailgate fell off.

WTF! GET OUT! And they took out my right rear bumper and taillight. 

One night in August we came home late to find our main gate was locked. Which was fine. BUT THEY LOCKED US OUT COMPLETELY WITH THEIR LOCK. Of course, we have no key for their lock. So I had to drive into town and bought $78 worth of tools from Ace Hardware. We had no tools with us. Plus I'm not able to walk up to our home. We got in, but after $78 later. The next day I let them know what went on. They were all smiling so I guess they did not know what I was saying.

I have yet to let PG&E know what their crews have done. They have no respect for the land or us. One Saturday in July we had 7 — yes 7 — different tree crews in here. Out of all of this there was never a Boss on site. Other than the one that would be here within an hour as he just left Fresno. 

Just when you thought they were done another inspector would come. Oh, here is more to take out. We did have a PG&E Foreman on site in August and signed them off that all work was done. Only to find out the next day, not so.

My Father-in-Law and Mother-in-Law built their home back in 1946 just after the War. Their house can be seen from ours. In 1946 PG&E would not bring power to here until the home was done. Every board in that home was hand cut by them. 

So when it came time for PG&E to bring power they only would bring it to the hill above their home. But first they had to get the line from their home up to where PG&E would hook them up. Back then we could use trees as our poles. They found the best trees possible. And they got power.

Up to 2021 there was never a problem. So the tree trimmers that were here in 2021 decided to trim one big Oak. They did and it killed the tree. That mistake cost us over $5,500 to get a new line in. There was nothing wrong before then.

This has been a nightmare for us. The coming and going of all these crews. To name a few they were from Orland, Miami, Houston, Dallas, Ft Worth, El Paso, New York State and the Bronx, Kansas City, Billings, Elko, Reno, LA, Portland, Salem, Carson City, Eureka, Fortuna, Salt Lake and Twin Falls to name a few.

Just when we thought it was over and could not get any worse it did.

The Chippers have been gone since Dec 2021. PEACE at Last? 

NOT. 

AND ARE WE PISSED OFF NOW. 

My Mother-in-Law was 101 years young in September and Cloverdale [where we live] gave her a party at our Senior Center here in Cloverdale. Our Chief of Police picked her up in Cloverdale's police ATV and drove her all around. SHE WAS SO THRILLED.

She was going strong for 101 years old until 3 weeks ago. She fell hitting her head very badly. She spent 8 days in Kaiser Hospital in Santa Rosa. She was released with the Help from Hospice. We thought she would recover but she never did. We wanted her home and with the help from Hospice we made her comfortable. But she was declining and went into a deep sleep last Thursday. 

Then on Friday we heard a loud noise. WTF! Yes it was tree trimmers at it with the CHIPPER. I WAS BY HER SIDE WHEN I heard this. AND SHE OPENED HER EYES TO ME as if to, say go get them. 

These West Sierra Tree trimmers were told not to come over to our place PERIOD. They were at our relative’s ranch across the road. And she told them directly: DO NOT GO OVER THERE. But they did. No respect for us, my Mother-in-law and hospice. They just don't get it.

Here is my Mother-in-Law in a deep sleep and dying. Only to open her eyes as if to say go get them. AND I DID. They never had the balls to check in with us. They just drove up and started CHIPPING. They were chipping the logs that we hired a few guys to get them off of the hills and for firewood.

Again none of them spoke English. They could tell I was pissed and wanted me to write down my name and phone number so an English speaking person could contact me. I'm still waiting.

 It is impossible for me to think that we had Hospice here with us then. Yet they never even let us know what they were doing. I had to hear it first as did my mother-in-law. 

I HAD THE BEST MOTHER-IN-LAW in the whole WORLD and I mean that. She died at 9:30 pm Friday night with us by her side. Let’s hear it for pg&e and the tree trimmers. Hospice or not to hospice — we must get the job done. 

What next?

Thank you

Gary N. Murray

Cloverdale

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PG&E WANTS TO HEAR FROM YOU

To the Editor:

We are hearing from our customers in the Ukiah area that their PG&E bills are higher than normal. We understand any increase can be challenging. We are taking action and here to help.

Natural gas prices have gone up significantly, about 90 percent higher than last winter in PG&E’s service area. This is happening nationwide, and globally it’s even higher, about 400 percent. PG&E passes through the cost of energy purchases directly to our customers and does not mark-up that cost. What we pay for our customers’ energy supply, both natural gas and electricity, we pass through directly to customers.

Higher natural gas costs combined with lower-than-normal temperatures in some areas are causing folks to crank up their heaters, resulting in an increase in monthly energy bills.

PG&E works to reduce gas price volatility impacts by buying and storing gas when prices are lower for use when prices are higher and maintaining access to lower-cost gas in gas production basins.

Customers can help cut costs, too. More than 70 percent of winter energy costs are from the heating system, water heater, and washer/dryer. A few ways to save:

Set the thermostat at 68 degrees or lower, health permitting, save 2 percent for each degree the thermostat is lowered.

Clean or replace air filters monthly, and keep warm air moving by reversing ceiling fans to force warm air into living spaces.

Set the water heater thermostat to 120 degrees or lower; install low-flow fixtures to use less water (or take shorter showers); wash clothes in cold water.

As the weather warms up, usually during March and April, energy usage and bills should decrease. For more info, visit www.pge.com/winter.

Thank you for your feedback,

Ron Richardson

Ukiah resident and Regional Vice President, PG&E North Coast

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