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Letters (March 10, 2022)

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Today, March 4, 2022, Mendocino County Public Health is lifting the universal indoor mask mandate. This is happening now because COVID-19 infections have fallen dramatically in the last 2 months of the Omicron surge, and the stress on our hospitals is coming under control. 

Yet the CDC shows that we are in a HIGH TRANSMISSION community where wearing masks indoors is STILL STONGLY RECOMMENDED at this time. 

So why lift the mask order now? Because our community has learned and continues to learn to cope with the pandemic. 

While we are all happy to have made this progress it is important to know that we are not done with COVID-19. We expect that there will be more surges in the future. Another more contagious variant is already spreading through the world and more are expected. So, it is NOT OK to go without a mask to most indoor public spaces. 

Also important is to acknowledge how much we have learned in such a short time. This has been a very difficult 2 years, with almost a million deaths due to infection in the USA alone, over 120 souls lost in Mendocino County, with many more sickened and some continuing with symptoms of Long Covid. Health systems were overwhelmed, businesses closed, organizations, schools, and recreation were all affected. We do not want to repeat that experience. But we cannot turn back the clocks. 

Our community has learned the advantages of masking, vaccinating, increased ventilation and distancing, which have gotten us to this point. And we must pass this on to our children to learn, just as we teach them other ways to protect themselves, without being ashamed or bullied for doing what is right for themselves and the most vulnerable members of our community. 

So, as we go forward we have to be aware of our health risks and intelligently respond. Public health organizations from CDC to CDPH to our local Mendocino County Department of Public Health exist to investigate and inform us of the risks we face and how best to protect ourselves. Speed limits, seatbelts, avoiding tobacco, testing for cancer, protecting our children with vaccines, and other advisories are researched carefully before making recommendations or laws. And they have saved millions of lives. 

And Public Health is continuing to learn through research in the laboratories and the field. Research takes time. To protect ourselves against COVID, advice has included getting vaccinated, increasing activities outdoors and improving ventilation indoors including distancing when practical. It also includes masking. As uncomfortable as they are, they save lives. The California Department of Public Health has taken the lessons of the past 2 years and created the SMARTER plan (Shots, Masks, Awareness [to protect ourselves], Readiness, Testing, Education [keeping schools open], & Rx [new medications]) to go forward. 

Also, please remember that by federal and California state laws, masks are still required for everyone in some settings such as public transit and health care facilities. Masks are still strongly recommended in indoor settings for all at this time, especially if you are unvaccinated or if you have medical conditions that put you or your household at increased risk. 

Thank you Mendocino County, for your continued hard work in fighting this pandemic. 

Mendocino County Health Officer, Dr. Andy Coren 


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Dr. Coren,

I listened to the Covid-19 update yesterday, February 25, 2022, and I’m happy to see our numbers going down. However, there is a number not mentioned throughout this pandemic and I’m hoping you can shed some light on it for me.

As a Mendocino County resident, I understand the challenges of Covid but have to wonder and ask about the balance of other concerns such as those listed below.

My questions are:

How many folks with illnesses other than Covid have fell through the cracks because of lack of beds/staff during this pandemic?

How many deaths (other than Covid) have resulted from people not being able to be admitted to Mendocino County hospitals because of lack of beds/staff?

How many people are sent home with illnesses because of lack of beds/staff and later died?

How many are sent home from the ER because there are no beds available in other counties?

How many suicides have we had in Mendocino County since the pandemic started?

Seems to me we are talking a lot about Covid and not mentioning those affected by lack of treatment for other illnesses because of the numbers of Covid patients/lack of staff.

Judy Valadao

Fort Bragg

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Dear Syd’s Tempeh,

I saw your ad (DBA) in the AVA and would like to contract you. I love fresh tempeh! Are you selling yours at any local outlets? Please let me know.

Louise Mariana, 937-4837


ED NOTE: According to a quick on-line search Mr. Sydney Grange is (was?) the Secretary of the Community “Garden Friendy Community” in Fort Bragg. (But it may no longer be active.) You could also try writing to him at the address on the DBA: 17557 A Simpson Ln, Fort Bragg, CA 95437.

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“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 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 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 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. 


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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Not a week goes by without a news story reporting the assault, rape or murder of a victim by a suspect described as homeless. That comes as no surprise to me, a former police chief, and others who understand the underlying cause of chronically homelessness, which is mental illness, drug addiction or both. Efforts to provide housing for such individuals is a laudatory goal, but it is ultimately a Band-Aid approach not a solution.

Even if we could build enough housing, all we are doing is warehousing this problem, and it does not change the underlying anti-social or criminal behavior.

One questionable solution is to keep the homeless addicted, presently being initiated in drug-ridden cities like San Francisco, which seems a clear statement of defeat in addressing mental illness and drug addiction.

The best method in the long run is for the state to focus on providing the medical and rehabilitative services these individuals need rather than continuing to accommodate their addiction and mental illness by supporting their habit, hiding them away or permitting them to live in tents on our streets or in our neighborhoods, making our communities less safe for everyone, including homeless people.

Sal Rosano

Santa Rosa

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I think most Americans — save a few Putin fan boys like Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump — are dismayed and appalled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And I think it is true that the economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the European Union will hurt the Russian economy and the pocketbooks of the oligarchs.

But neither Europe nor the U.S. is willing to hit Putin where it really hurts: oil and gas exports. As a petro-state, nearly all of the Russian government’s revenue comes from this. Both President Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin know that an embargo would raise the price of energy globally, something that no politician wants to be seen doing. This is Putin’s trump card and our greatest vulnerability.

The root cause of the West’s powerlessness over Russian aggression is our dependence on oil and gas. Effectively, we are hostages to our addiction. If we truly want to safeguard democracy and a livable future, our only option is to scale up the development of clean energy as quickly as possible and break the fossil fuel habit.

In the meantime, my heart breaks for the people of Ukraine, the pawns in someone else’s game.

Larry Robinson


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Hello AVA,

While I’m a Bernie socialist progressive who opposes the corporate Dems and works to move the Dem Party further left, I’m impressed that Biden is as left as he is, as described below, considering his and the Dems expected losses to the GOP in the upcoming elections. Instead of moving to the center, as Dems have usually done, he is almost FDRish today. 

I know you knock him constantly, but please read this (on-line) report below and see what is good about his administration.

Tom Wodetzki


ED REPLY: See "Off the Record." 

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Dear Editor,

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been ongoing for approximately ten days. The number of civilian casualties is unknown. As of last Monday there were 227 civilians killed and 522 injured including at least 50 children. Clearly many more are currently dead or wounded. Nearly 1.5 lmillion Ukrainian citizens have fled; millions more may soon try to escape death or injury.

In an interview televised by KQED last night, former Senator Barbara Boxer noted, “Putin is living in the past.” By invading independent Ukraine, his aim is obvious: to restore Ukraine to Russian control: a part of the Soviet Union.

Total military casualties are also unknown, but as of yesterday Russia states its number of dead soldiers is 498 and 1,597 wounded, while Ukraine puts the number of killed Russians at 9,000 with over 3,500 wounded.

While statistics are unclear, what is clear is that Putin’s war is becoming increasingly costly to the Russian Army. Russia faces a united front of 30 nations in NATO, now joined, at least in part, by Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Finland, and Sweden. Even traditionally neutral Switzerland has invoked economic sanctions. Putin may start WWIII.

Frank Baumgardner

Santa Rosa

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To the Editor:

Today, March 6, in the Anderson Valley Advertiser's blog "Mendocino County Today", former Mendocino County Assistant CEO stated the following: “Attorney Duncan James is incorrect in his stated timing of any snooping. While I was the Assistant CEO in 2015, the alleged incursion had happened prior to my arrival and various security measures had been implemented by that time which precluded any such activity from happening again. I trust upon a more careful review the record will corrected.”

Alan Flora is correct; he is absolutely blameless.

It was Assistant CEO Kyle Knopp -- Carmel Angelo's chief deputy -- who committed the wiretapping violation at the direction of Ms. Angelo, and the year was 2013.

In 2013, Knopp surveilled those county workers who were SEIU shop stewards when SEIU was renegotiating its contracts with Mendocino County. SEIU was renegotiating its contracts after Carmel Angelo's massive firings and furloughs of county workers, followed by a five-year salary freeze for those workers who survived the cuts.

Those draconian measures were implemented by Ms. Angelo during the recession of 2008. By 2013, the economy had recovered, but Ms. Angelo had county workers where she wanted them...down and out, desperate and subservient, and most of all, afraid of losing their jobs.

Immediately following the discovery of the illegal wiretaps, Kyle Knopp quit his job and left Mendocino County. Carmel Angelo found Mr. Knopp a job as the city manager of Dell Rio in Humboldt County.

Mr. Knopp took the fall, but he landed on his feet -- resilient lad -- and the whole affair was swept under the carpet.

The coverup was aided by Kathy Wylie, foreman of the Mendocino County Grand Jury whose own 2021-2022 grand jury report of recent snooping by the CEO into the Sheriff's Office makes specific reference to the 2013 affair.

Want to do some fact-checking? Here's Mr. Knopp's phone number: (707) 764-3532. Call him. See if he'll talk with you. I bet he won't.

Perhaps, Alan Flora will come forward and tell what he knows.

What should we do now? The illegal wiretaps and the coverup that followed should be investigated and prosecuted. It should happen now. Right now! Even if the statute of limitations has passed, the terrible truth of Carmel Angelo's "Reign of Terror" should be exposed.

Sheriff Matt Kendall are you listening?

SEIU are you listening?

John Sakowicz, Ukiah

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In his recently published commentary, Dan Walters indicated that the state is undergoing a chronic crisis in water and electricity supply. Water is critical to life. Electricity is critical to civilization. They are both critical resources.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. officials plan to raise its monthly electricity rates by more than 9% for the average residential customer. Our rates will most probably be among the highest in the nation. But, given that PG&E is responsible for managing the forestry for an area as large as many nations, it will remain one of the highest cost electricity producers.

Meanwhile, according to recent reports, Michael Burry, the eccentric investment genius who pretty much invented credit default swaps on mortgage-backed securities and was featured in “The Big Short” film, is now investing heavily in water. He is purchasing water rights, buying water-rich farmland and investing in water utilities, infrastructure and equipment. His foresight should be a wake-up call for all of us.

Gaetan Lion

Mill Valley

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For those interested in the FACTS of the Mendocino County Grand Jury, our grand jurors are typically "sheepeople" who follow the lead of perennial foremen like Kathy Wylie. 

And just like the same few foremen are recycled year after year, the same grand jurors are recycled year after year.

These sheepeople are a coffee klatch of senior citizens with time on their hands. They also like the per diems they get paid and their mileage allowances. It's a nice supplement to their Social Security checks.

Above all, our grand jurors are compliant, docile. They are intimated by the likes of Kathy Wylie, Carmel Angelo, and Jeanine Nadel.

Just look at the public record.

No aggressive, meaningful investigations into how CEO Angelo grabbed and consolidated power, privatized services like mental health and in so doing made her friends rich, purged department heads and other senior management who didn't kowtow resulting in wrongful termination lawsuits, hijacked Measure B funds, railroaded cannabis ordinances, failed to provide meaningful, detailed monthly reports to the Board of Supervisors, controlled both the Board's agenda and the Board's clerk...and on and on.

And now we also read in the Sheriff's response to the 2021-2022 grand jury report how CEO Angelo had her assistant illegally surveill county workers back in 2015.

The remedy for our pathetic grand jury?

New foremen. New grand jurors. And if we don't get them, the Board of Supervisors should slash the grand jury's budget. By law, the county grand jury is required to do only one report a year.

I would also like to see the conduct of our grand jury investigated. A neighboring county's grand jury may be able to conduct this investigation. Or perhaps the California Attorney General could investigate.

Bottom line?

The cronyism that plagues county government goes deep. It even includes our grand jury.

John Sakowicz


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For those interested in the FACTS regarding Grand Jury conduct prescribed by California Penal and Government codes, please see the California Grand Jury Association's FAQ on local grand jury operations.

Per California Penal code, at least 12 jurors must vote to undertake any public action including the selection of investigations and the publication of Grand jury reports.

Kathy Wylie


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This image of San Francisco is from about 1852. In that year the wages for a worker were about $6 dollars a month. Then something happened.

On January 24, 1848, James Marshall, discovered gold at John Sutter’s mill-works on the south fork of the American River. The place was called Coloma.

Shortly thereafter it was almost impossible to hire anyone to work for wages. In fact, one Colonel Richard Mason found his soldiers deserting at every turn.

“The struggle between right at six dollars a month”, he said, “and wrong at seventy five dollars a day, is a rather severe one.”

The Times of London wrote, “Those who could not procure better means of collecting gold, wandered off in its quest with tin pans, buckets, and whatever else could be used to separate the metal from the earth by washing… Since no capital is required, they are working in companies of equal shares, or alone with their basket.”

“No capital required.” The Times did not care for this notion, commenting, “The effect produced in California by this new source of wealth has been anything but beneficial to the colony or advantageous to the public service... From the fact that no capital is necessary, a fair competition in labour without the influence of capital, men who are only able to procure a month’s provisions have now thousands of dollars of the precious metal. The labouring class have now become the capitalists of the country.”

The Times goes on to say, “As yet, all attempts to employ capital in procuring the gold have resulted disastrously. Those who have organized a company to collect the precious metal have lost their outfits, for the persons hired for such a service invariably leave on their own account, taking with them the implements entrusted to them.”

Yet another problem is seen by a Washington newspaper, “This grain gold is now shipped off in large quantities to Mexico, Chili, and Peru, where it will be coined under the insignia of those republics, and lost to the metallic base of our own circulating medium. This gold can be secured to our own country only by a mint.”

Since San Francisco had no mint, the gold dust itself was traded for goods and services. And the thunk of these small heavy bags of dust could be heard to drop on every bar in the City.

The Washington Union concludes by trying to dissuade the skeptics who have heard, but don’t believe, the tales from California, “When the wealth of these gold mines is really known and believed in the United States, there will not be wagons and steamers enough that can be spared, to bring the emigrants there.

You are now all incredulous; you regard our statements as the dreams of an exiled imagination; but what seems to you mere fiction is stern reality; it is not gold in the clouds or in the sea, or in the center of the rock-ribbed mountains, but in the soil of California—sparkling in the sun and glittering in its streams. It lies on the open plain, in the shadows of the deep ravine, and glows on the summits of the mountains.”

If that wasn’t enough incentive to make a young man want to go to California, nothing ever would be enough. For those men who stayed in the East, their great-grand children are probably still there. For as Nathaniel West once remarked, “It was as if someone had turned the country on it’s end and everything that wasn’t nailed down rolled in to California.”

I guess my ancestors weren’t too nailed down because they rolled in sometime in 1849 and founded the brewery pictured just opposite Meiggs Wharf which is jutting out into the bay. Instead of looking for gold my great grandfather decided to sell beer to gold miners. This turned out to be a wise decision.

Bill Kimberlin

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When planning a landscape for a yard, one might consider mulch instead of rocks. Birds can forage for food in mulch, but not in rocks. In my yard, I used mulch without sheets of plastic and planted drought-tolerant plants and ground cover. I enjoy seeing birds in my yard and am pleased knowing that I am supplying them with food. As for weeds, if they are picked before they flower and go to seed, there will be less of them each year. There is a trend to cover entire landscapes with pavers, fake grass, and/or rocks over plastic. This will result in repelling birds and creating soil that is not alive.

Lynn Hoyle

Santa Rosa

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We wish we had a paper like yours.

Traveling through as a tourist on Sunday, I stopped for breakfast and bought a copy of your paper. What a change from what passes for journalism in much of the Bay Area.

It was both fresh and irreverent, yet full of the kind of local news and analysis that is too often missing.

Our town of 28,000 has a single local paper with only one reporter/editor and publishes virtually anything someone sends in.

I don’t know how you manage so much more in a much less populated area, but as an ardent fan of local journalism, it would be great to replicate your work down here.

Keep up the good work.

Steve Young


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