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Letters (March 31, 2022)

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I wanted to reach out to Mendocino County in hopes we can all remember the loss of Deputy Sheriff Ricky Del Fiorentino. 

On March 19th, 2014 we lost Ricky when he fell victim to murder while protecting Mendocino County's Coastal community during his scheduled patrol shift in Fort Bragg. 

We often think of how a person dies while forgetting how they lived.

Del Fiorentino

Ricky was an amazing man, a gentle giant, a father, son, husband and brother. We at the Sheriff’s Office miss him every day. Ricky never had a bad day. He truly cared about the people he served as well as his partners. Ricky was the embodiment of a Mendocino County Deputy Sheriff.

Ricky had an infectious laugh that would change the mood in one second. Working with Ricky never felt like work. I feel so very fortunate to have known and worked with him, I am also fortunate to have reminders of him still.

Ricky’s son Tim Del Fiorentino chose to serve our county as a Deputy Sheriff following his father’s death. 

Tim has been a much needed addition to our office. Tim was chosen as our recent Field Services Division Sworn Employee of the Year based on not only his work and service to our community, however because of his superior attitude, constant remembrance of his duty to serve and his truly caring nature. 

The apple didn’t fall far from the tree there. It reminds me how blessed we are to have people like him working here.

This past year we saw a 58% increase in the murders of police officers across our nation. 

All of the folks who are serving our residents and visitors arrive to work each day knowing this is a dangerous job and currently the danger is increasing. They also know there are much worse things in this life than an honorable death. 

Without knowing this and embracing this we would be powerless and unable to serve. It does take bravery to successfully serve the public.

I am asking our resident’s to take a moment to remember not only Ricky however all of the deputies and police officers serving on patrol, custody, and investigations who have chosen to serve you. 

Again I wanted to thank all of the folks who have called, sent cards and emails supporting the Sheriff’s Office during this time and throughout the entire year. You are the reason we are here and we appreciate you.

Sheriff Matt Kendall


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Recently, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill transferring much of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad right-of-way to a nonprofit determined to convert that defunct rail line to a bike-hike pathway from the edge of San Francisco Bay in Marin to the North Coast in Humboldt County. It will be called the Great Redwood Trail.

I am concerned about what that means for the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District’s grand notion of providing freight service on their tracks, especially since they have hired a six-figure manager tasked with selling that business. From my perspective, there is no boon in this boondoggle.

Hobart Bartshire


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To the Editor:

I read with great concern that the Mendocino County’s CEO Office was cancelling its subscription to the Anderson Valley Advertiser.

I would have paid for Office’s subscription. It seems to me that the the Board of Supervisors and the CEO need to get excellence in journalism from all reliable sources.

Transparency in government is one issue addressed by our local journalists. Our county is largely governed by a club of political insiders. They fight transparency. They vigorously fight transparency.

As Exhibit 1, I hold up how our recently departed CEO told us we had a big budget surplus, exceeding, perhaps, $20 million, when, in truth, we have a projected $12 million budget deficit. The shortfall in cannabis taxes is costing at least $3 million. How is it possible we didn’t know these facts until after our CEO left?

The other issue addressed by good journalism is the extent to which our county’s upper management isolate themselves from the realities of their constituents. Good reporters and editors close that gap.

What is that fundamental reality?

Our CEO gets a total compensation package of $308,000. Our Board of Supervisors get total compensation packages of $142,000. For compensation statistics, see:

Meanwhile, approximately half of all county residents are so poor they are eligible for Food Stamps, and one third meet Medi-Cal eligibility requirements.

John Sakowicz


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We have big problems. By sending production to Asia to boost corporate profits, U.S. corporations hollowed out our industrial capacity. These moves pushed the company’s stock price up so the executives can cash in their “no money invested” stock options. Walmart, Amazon and others are using foreign goods to help their company sell at huge stock-price multiples. But it leaves the U.S. with few manufacturing jobs here for our own people.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are disasters as leaders for the country. I ask that readers evaluate my opinion with a non-partisanship perspective. Biden is a puppet for whomever has control of his strings. This economic and global disaster in front of us now is only partly due to one party or the other.

The Middle East wars, which U.S. leaders should never have gone into, are at the fault of former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Bush and Cheney should be viewed as war criminals just as much as Russian President Vladimir Putin. Right now, he is doing something similar in Ukraine as to what they did in Iraq.

My solution is to register as an independent voter. I will no longer vote blindly for a single party. I hope we increase the numbers of independently thinking people who vote. Hopefully, that will increase the number of independent-thinking and independent-voting politicians.

There should be no more special treatment. All politicians must follow the same rules.

Tom MacAusland

San Anselmo

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This is a difficult letter to write. 

Right now, both of our poles, the north and south, are experiencing temperatures so far above their average that scientists who have studied them for decades are using words like ‘unimaginable’ and ‘unthinkable’. Antarctica is 70 degrees (F) above average and the Arctic is 50 degrees (F) above average despite being in opposing seasons.

Although currently an anomaly, if this trend were to continue, the poles would melt much faster than any scientist could have predicted and the results would be catastrophic. 

This information should be deeply confronting to all of us and people will react in different ways. Anger, denial, rejection, anxiety are all completely understandable. I just ask that you don’t scroll on, but instead stop for a moment, and try to feel the reality of what is happening to our planet. 

Our deep connection to nature and the living world, a connection that is so often forgotten, means that we should be experiencing strong feelings.

When we are honest with our emotions, and we let ourselves feel, we accept the reality of our circumstances and free up space to power forward into action with clarity.

There are still so many things we can do, extraordinary things, but we won’t do them if we lose people to fear, if we lose people who refuse to accept the current reality and would prefer to just keep numbing or distracting themselves. Emotional courage is more important than any solar panel or electric vehicle in this moment. It is the most renewable energy we have. 

I spend almost all of my time in the solutions space and know that a beautiful and more connected world is still possible. The seeds of this world are being planted everywhere and shoots are already turning into branches in some places. But news like this reminds me of the cost of any further delay. Our planet is crying out for help. It needs people that are ready to deeply feel its losses, to accept the reality of its condition, and then to boldly act on its behalf.

Damon Gameau

Santa Rosa

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HUE 1968


HUE 1968, by Mark Bowden is an excellent book. It is the Viet Nam war in a nutshell. The Viet Nam war was my generation's war. The book discusses all aspects of the war from LBJ, Westmoreland, the American soldiers getting killed and maimed in Hue and even some coverage of the North Vietnamese. Westmoreland's continual statements that he had outwitted the North Vietnamese reminds me of Trump. Westy would never admit that he had been fooled by the North Vietnamese. The battle for Hue was the beginning of the end of the war.

Jim Mayo 


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To the Editor:

On 16 February, 2022 Congressman Jared Huffman wrote a letter to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Glick urging that the process of decommissioning the Potter Valley Project, which would in his view, include razing Scott Dam which forms Lake Pillsbury, proceed expeditiously. There is good news and bad news about this letter…

The bad news is that the congressman in his rambling, inaccurate and replete with false information and lies, thinks nothing of throwing the 750,000 people in the Russian River Basin who one way or another depend on the water coming through the Potter Valley Project, under the bus. He casually discounts the value of the green electricity generated by the Potter Valley powerhouse (enough for 2,500 to 3,000 homes), and falsely claims hundreds of miles of a mythical Holy Grail of pristine spawning grounds upstream of Lake Pillsbury when in fact there are fewer than 50 miles which is less than one percent of the total Eel River watershed. He erroneously warns that when the renewal date for FERC relicensing passes on April 22, 2022 liability coverage will lapse; this demonstrates either monumental hubris on his part, total ignorance of the facts, or worse.

On 18 March, 2022 FERC Chairman Glick wrote him and set him straight. According to law, If the license is not renewed by 22 April a one year license will be issued, and will be continued to be issued until final disposition of the matter is settled. Mr. Huffman rejoices in the notion that PG&E will not take steps to repair problems with equipment at its powerhouse, totally ignoring the fact that PG&E has announced that it WILL do the necessary repairs. He says that, “PVP has outlived its usefulness as a hydropower project…” and he gleefully looks forward to, “environmental justice….” If he were a true environmentalist instead of the bonehead zealot that he is, he wouldn’t support the unbelievably stupid notion of during these drought times, eliminating a lake that holds more than 25 million gallons of desperately needed water. The congressman also brags about his so called, “ad hoc” committee of mostly handpicked members which he says has looked into the matter, a group from which he personally excluded Lake County (wherein lies most of the offending infrastructure including Scott Dam, of the PVP) representatives claiming that they would be, “disruptive,” in the meanwhile not lifting a finger to help gather funds necessary to study the long term effects of the loss of Lake Pillsbury on the Russian River Basin.

So, what can be the good news in all of this? The good news is that Congressman Huffman has finally revealed his woke environmental radical hand. His contention that he, “continue(s) to support both essential pillars of the Two Basin Solution….” Is now shown to be a charade and a lie. One can only hope that voters in Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin will finally realize that the man should be shown the door while the people who actually have done something, built something, responsibly cared for and maintained something can go about their business living a good live that he and his ilk intend to destroy.

Guinness McFadden

Potter Valley

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Normally I am a fan of Mr. Kramer; but last week’s rant about protesters is both somewhat insightful (as always) and complete idiocy. There are what we might call “professional protesters” that can always find a protest “du jour”; they are tiresome since they rarely follow through. The AVA might be classed as such though it follows through on many issues. 

There are protesters like Linda Perkins and Bill Heil who constantly protest on timber issues, follow through and make the world a better place. Without protesters this county would be even more a bastion of bad government than it is.

Come to think of it, isn't Mr. Kramer calling the kettle black? I seem to recall that most of his columns, entertaining and informative as they are, protest something. It seems to be easier to criticize something than to remedy it. 

Peter Lit


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Letter to the Editor – 

Release of the UN’s climate change report last month should set off our alarms and inspire everyone to do what we can to mitigate climate change. 

Here in Fort Bragg that certainly means moving as fast and aggressively as we can to lower carbon emissions. We’ve known we needed to do this for years, and many in our community have stepped up to move in that direction. We’ve in-stalled solar on our homes and businesses to reduce our carbon footprint and those hated PG&E bills. Some of us have purchased electric vehicles and installed charging stations either on our own dime or by tapping government and utility program subsidies. Many of us have written letters and lobbied political leaders to put electric buses on our streets for public transportation. Good news! It is working, and more of us are installing green energy solutions every day - Yea! 

But while Fort Bragg’s residents have been taking action, the City Council has been doing almost nothing! Despite setting goals back in 2019 to lower the car-bon footprint of the City’s operations - no new solar systems have been installed on City buildings. Fort Bragg has a grand total of TWO charging stations for elec-tric vehicles at City Hall. And while the County is moving ahead to convert its fleet to cost-efficient electric vehicles, the City’s done nothing. What’s wrong with the City Council? 

Fortunately, there is a solution! This November, four of the five City Council seats are up for election. Fort Bragg has a chance to vote in a new City Council majority that’s committed to taking real action to combat climate change and make the City more efficient and effective. 

It’s time for new community leaders! Your friends, family and neighbors need you to step forward and become the candidates they elect to lead the City forward. Do you really care about this community and are you willing to be our climate change champions? If so, we need to hear your voices now! 

Sincerely yours, 

Peter McNamee 

Fort Bragg

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Tonight, as Vladimir Putin's brutal invasion of Ukraine enters its second month, suffering and hardship is immeasurable. 

In spite of his strategic incompetence, and catastrophic reversals of Russian arms in the field, Putin shows no sign of relenting. Barring some miraculous Russian comeback, he knows that his days are numbered. Because no one is more aware than Vladimir Putin of the many examples in Russian history when leaders who suffer military defeat are not only removed from power, but often brutally executed.

Yet as certain as his day is coming, the fact is that tonight the suffering on the ground continues. I have found myself wanting to do more to combat Putin and to assist our Ukrainian brothers and sisters.

One way is direct financial donation to agencies that get aid onto the ground in Ukraine. Many of our Mendocino neighbors among us have given money and my hope is they continue to do so.

There is another tool available: withholding of dollars from firms that continue to do business in Russia. Boycott those firms that continue to do business with Putin. 

Most firms withdrew or immediately paused their Russian operations after the attack. Yet despite intense and unprecedented international pressure, there are outliers and violators that continue to enable Putin.

The Yale University graduate school of management is tracking all firms that do business in Russia. This group of graduate students and their advisor watchdog the activities of these large multinational corporations - operations like McDonald's, PepsiCo, Nike, and Archer Daniels Midland.

A list is published and regularly updated. Forbes magazine - better known for celebrating oligarchs than bringing them to book - has helped publicize it and it's gained a lot of traction and is having major impact.

The list has three simple categories: 1) Corporations that have done the right thing and entirely ceased Russian operations; 2) those that have significantly reduced or paused their (now-tainted) operations in Russia; and 3) those multinational corporate outlaws, violators and pillagers that continue to enable Putin's butchery by selling their products to him.

The list is readily available online, but I include a link to it here as well:

I'm very pleased to have this information because it enables me to take another concrete step to counter this darkness among us. 

I hope you agree and join me.

Andrew Scully 


One Comment

  1. Pat Kittle April 1, 2022

    Damon Gameau,

    Name one ecological problem that would not be reduced with a smaller human population.

    (Maybe this calm rational suggestion will escape the censor.)

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