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Letters (June 9, 2022)

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On Friday, June 3, County Planner Keith Gronendyke showed me a communiqué from Mary Zeeble Radicevic dated May 26 reducing the requested number of event participants from 500 to 200 with 100 cars on Ray’s Road in Philo. Mary also limited the hours of amplified sound/music to 4 hours per day. Also Keith verified the implications of Zoning Ordinance Sec. 20.168.020 (C) that no permit would be required for 99 or fewer persons at an event.

Personally I am still concerned with 200 people and 100 additional cars coming and going at any given time past my house on Ray’s Road in addition to the significant residential use plus guest and workforce traffic for the four guest accommodation venues already existent in the deeper reaches of the neighborhood. 

My two grandkids and their visiting friends often play on the road as is common in residential neighborhoods. Neighbors often walk to the store, children walk to and from the school bus, AV community members often visit Ray’s Road on foot for exercise. I, myself, now half deaf, am often times startled by cars that zip by way too fast. If Ray’s Road were a river it could easily be designated as fully appropriated.

And then there is the fact that these proposed events are to take place in the heart of a residential neighborhood while the other venues are on the backside, primarily along the River. 

The Zoning Administrator Staff Report recommendation for approval relies on an interpretation of Mendocino County’s General Plan and Zoning Ordinance and it bewilders me how it can be determined “That such use will not, under the circumstances of that particular case constitute a nuisance or be detrimental to the health, safety, peace, morals, comfort or general welfare of persons residing or working in or passing through the neighborhood of such use, or…”

Certainly it will be a nuisance and a detriment to safety, peace, comfort or general welfare to us neighbors and to some degree to those working or passing through. Some folks have expressed concerns about water, some about increased fire potential and, of course, the noise issue. Even if amplification is limited to 4 hours a day it could extend into late evening. The General Plan talks about “filling needs” but whose need does another wedding event venue in a residential neighborhood fill? The General Plan lists three levels, “regional, community and neighborhood.” Even the entire North Bay region does not “need” another wedding event venue.

So, since events up to 99 persons appears to be allowed in the Mendocino Zoning Ordinance, it would seem to me that it would be most respectful to the wellbeing of our neighborhood and the AV community if no permit were issued or even asked for in the face of the reality that the opportunity is there for the proponent to show us what events up to 99 persons (and hopefully at least half that many cars) might look and feel like in our relatively small rural residential Ray’s Road neighborhood.

David Severn

Ray’s Rd., Philo


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In my long career as a journalist, I watched cops up close. I knew police chiefs, county sheriffs, and the officers on patrol. I was always awed by how they suited up and went to work, sometimes at grisly crime scenes in the middle of the night. Typically, they are honorable, hard-working public servants, dedicated to their profession and the communities where they live and work. Yes, there always are a few bad examples as in any profession or workplace. But there are more examples of those who stand out, and Kevin Bailey, the retiring chief investigator for the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office, is among them. Our paths crossed in 2010 when I went to work in the DA’s office as the public information officer after a 40-year career in the newspaper business. Kevin and I at first eyed each other warily. I was suspicious of his ‘straight as an arrow’ reputation. Kevin certainly looked askance at some of my private political pronouncements. Over time, however, we became trusted colleagues and personal friends. I grew to admire Kevin’s dedication to his profession, his personal honesty, his care and compassion for his co-workers, and the integrity of the office. Outside work, it was clear Kevin’s wife Jamie Spackman Bailey, and son Tyler are the center of his world. I wish the three of them the best in Kevin’s well-deserved retirement. 

Congratulations to Andy Alvarado who is succeeding Kevin as the DA's Chief Investigator.

Mike Geniella


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In 1991, I was a young deputy in Willits assigned to be a Field Training Officer (FTO) for new deputies. This was a very educational assignment, as it allowed me to help train academy graduates, as well as get to know them. In early 1991, I was assigned to train newly promoted Deputy Matt Kendall (promoted from the jail). We worked in the North County as well as on the Coast. Matt was an energetic and smart young deputy, who listened and learned. Being raised in Covelo and having many family members on the Coast certainly made training him much easier than out of town new-hires.

I have watched Matt’s career for over 30+ years. As Undersheriff, he and I discussed policies, large investigations and family life. I’ve witnessed a young deputy mature into a true and disciplined leader. Matt possesses ethics and he demonstrates leadership everyday. His role as a father, step-father and husband is a true example of a man who understands his responsibilities and his role.

Prior to Matt being selected to be our Sheriff, he and I discussed budgets, personnel and leadership. I would not have recommended him to be my replacement if I was aware of any flaws. As he did as a young deputy, he listened and learned. Since his appointment, Matt has excelled in budget preparation as well as leadership. Suffice it to say, I could not have recommended a better person to be our Sheriff-Coroner.

I voted for Matt because he has proven his ability to lead and improve the Sheriff’s office. Please join me in supporting Matt Kendall as our Sheriff.

Tom Allman Mendocino County Sheriff-Coroner (ret)


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I rarely respond to rumors, but let’s make sure that this fact is known. In 2007, during my first term as sheriff, rumors of misdeeds involving the command staff (including me) were loud and boisterous. I contacted the “Government Corruption Unit” of the FBI and assured them that they had Carte Blanche to access any personal or business accounts I had. I ordered (face to face) all MCSO command staff members to report any misdeeds to the FBI. I gave the FBI agent’s business card to every command staff member and I advised all command staff members that any information given to the FBI should not be reported to me, as the Sheriff. This direct order was issued with punitive action promised if anyone had factual information to report and failed to report it to the FBI.

So while others are dissatisfied that their personal conspiracy theories are not being investigated, I concur with the Editor that facts should be reported to the appropriate agencies immediately.

In other words, put up or shut up.

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The BOS is threatening to poison the well for permanently increasing the sales tax support of our libraries. This next Tuesday they will again be discussing what sales tax ordinance they would put on the November ballot. What is the story here?

For many months a group of library supporters have been working on a proposal for a permanent sales tax that would fund the operations and building maintenance for the County Free Libraries. They are now circulating a petition to put it on the ballot in the November election; they need 6,000 signatures of registered voters by the end of this month. A major selling point has been that even though the sales tax support for the library would increase by 1/8¢, the total sales tax would actually decrease because Measure B sales tax would decrease by 3/8¢.

Apparently some Supes looked at that 3/8¢ and said “Well, why don’t we grab that opportunity to get $7 million a year?” and put it on the May 17 agenda as “a possible sales tax ordinance.” Despite the innocuous wording, it seems that there was advance notice to some residents of finer detail; all public comments were supportive of water or volunteer firemen. The BOS directed the staff to draw up a plan to divvy up the money between Fire and Water. (Sounds like a reprise of the Auditor/Treasurer merger rushed/no plan to take advantage of an “opportunity”?) Adoption of the ordinance requires a 2/3 vote so they went for two items of popular interest.

There is no debate that the volunteer fire departments need help, but, if Supervisor Ted Williams wants tourists to contribute to services they use, surely the $600,000 Williams. McGourty and Mulheren gave to Visit Mendocino could have been used to pay down some of what the County owes the fire departments. Or the $400,000 they spent on remodeling their chambers. Community members throughout the county could band together and put an initiative on the ballot for 1/4¢ sales tax dedicated to volunteer fire districts. It would only need 50%+1 to pass.

But, Water? Potter Valley/Eel River Diversion came up a lot. This is not a new problem; it has been many years in the making. The Mendocino County Water Conservation Flood Control Russian River Improvement District (popularly known as Russian River Flood Control) holds and administers Mendocino County’s water right to Coyote Dam waters. For at least the first 30 years after the dam was completed it GAVE AWAY that water to anyone who wanted to pump it. Their rationale was that the property owners paid for the bond so they should get to use it for free. Sonoma County Water Agency charged their users; look at the different results.

Perhaps it’s time the property owners within the Improvement District put up some more money for their benefit. The Improvement District has the power; for example, it could levy a parcel tax. It has the water right to protect. The County has been putting money into the Joint Powers Agreement. Why should county shoppers subsidize the wine industry? The County has no water right to protect. Could this be a gift of public money?

How does all this impact our libraries? Petition signature gatherers are encountering push-back, as in "I’m saving my vote for Potter Valley.” As Dan Gjerde and John Haschak noted, a County measure has little chance of passage because the voters have little confidence in the competence of the BOS. They remember cannabis, Measure B, the Auditor/Treasurer merger fiasco, etc. Furthermore, as Gjerde astutely commented, if confronted by two sales tax measures the reaction of many voters is to vote No on both.

At the moment, Williams, Mulheren, and McGourty are poised to approve putting this sales tax on the November ballot. I suspect they will like any “plan” the staff brings forward. 

What a mean-spirited proposal. Raise your voices! Thank Haschak and Gjerde for their support of the libraries. Demand no County-sponsored ordinance on the November ballot.

If they persist, I, for one, would support a recall. County residents love their libraries. The BOS? Not so much.

Linda Bailey 


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Hey AVA, 

Many years ago I spoke with my father regarding the coal in Covelo asking why it hadn’t been used or mined.

When we were kids chunks of coal were littered throughout the creek beds. I’m certain they still are. There was a small cave on Grist Creek in which we could see a seam of coal for those brave enough to enter.

Dad said after he and mom had moved from Point Arena and he first started working for CDF in the early to mid-70s there was a geologist hired by the federal government who was working in the Covelo area. I don’t know why he was there or what work he was completing. Perhaps the government was still looking at building a dam on the Eel. Nevertheless this man had set up residence in the CDF barracks while working in the area.

My father said he spoke with him regarding the coal deposits around Covelo.

According to my father this man told him the geology around Covelo was not conducive to any real mining efforts of anything except gravel. He explained due to what appeared to him to be a lot of seismic activity over the years any seams of coal, gold, etc. were simply to hard to follow. The seam could run for 12 feet or 1200 feet, however they simply sheered off and often could not be found again.

He told my father the geology in the Round Valley area looked like someone had taken a scoop for land from every corner of the county, placed it in a box, shook it up then dumped it out.

Dad believed it was for this reason coal was never mined in any real fashion in that area. Honestly I believe that’s probably a good thing.

So that is what I was told, not saying it’s the gospel, but it does make sense to a guy who knows as much about geology as what I know about being an astronaut.


Matt Kendall


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Dear Readers,

This will not be a hateful commentary on how I was framed by the court system, but rather a cautionary tale for those of you immersed in the dope world.

My advice is, be careful who you piss off and who you do wrong! 

I was unfortunate enough to piss off the wrong tweaker. The “victim” in my case allowed me to borrow her truck to go purchase drugs. I never returned. She called the police and told them I took her vehicle at gunpoint. Obviously, she was pissed off enough to fabricate the gunfire part of the scenario. At this point I have no reason to lie to you readers, or rather you tweakers that are out there riding dirty. The damage is done! I took eight years which was the best “deal” I could get. If I lost at trial I would have received 21 years. But I'm not mad at the “victim.” I understand her anger and in a sense understand!

I am optimistic due to a three-year enhancement being dismissed once I get to prison and 66% credit on my sentence. I will be free in a couple of years.

So please my homeboys and homegirls who are in the dope world, be careful who you do dirty. I am honestly headed to prison for something I did not do. If it happened to me, it could happen to you.

Alan Crow

Mendocino County Jail, Ukiah

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Congress continues to fail the American people on so many fronts that it is not hyperbole to say that the political system is broken. The tragic and cynical failure of Congress to enact meaningful gun reform shows how broken the system is. We once had an assault weapons ban, yet Congress, beholden to the National Rifle Association, continues to refuse to do anything to help stop gun violence in this country. We urgently need meaningful gun reform now. How many more children and innocent people need to die before our political leaders act?

Derek Hutchinson

Fort Bragg

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Severed heads on a pike, gun violence and mass murders…

I have advocated that all those in Mendocino County who possess firearms designed to kill human beings shall have their name and address displayed on a signboard in front of our beautiful new courthouse. Never mind, that idea, like the rest of my ideas, died for lack of a second. 

Josefina, age 4, found selling chiclets on the street in a Mexican slum is learning to count. "Quanto estrelitas en su bandera bonita?" asked Marquess in his broken Spanish. Chepa replied, "49," one was removed. 

Kentucky has one senator who is crazy and the other has done more damage in this country than anybody else since Ronald Reagan. Good! That's more like it! 

I have nominated three left writers who have done the best job of "telling it like it is": Eugene Robinson, Thomas Frank and E.B. White. 

Frank is best known for "What's the Matter with Kansas?" He publishes books of his writings and lectures every couple of years. Too uncomfortable for mainstream readers who don't like to be reminded of how stupid they are. Frank, like Maureen Dowd, nips at your heels. 

E.B. White, best known for Charlotte's Web, wrote for the New Yorker from 1925 until 1976. Author of 20 books, he has been called the finest essayist of the 20th century. White didn't know he was "telling it as it is," it just came naturally to him. Bernie Sanders exclaimed, "Jesus Christ, he was 50 years ahead of its time." I can't think of a New Yorker writer today who would come close to his level of talent.

You have seen pictures of conquistadors with their heads removed and posted on a pike lined up on a street. Unfortunately that is illegal today. But the next best thing would be a large placard with the name, party affiliation, and picture of each senator who votes against gun control, placed on a pole and paraded back and forth after each mass killing for as long as it takes for all TV viewers to have seen it a dozen times. That's about 2.5 million people who will know just who the enemy is. We know that those senators who support the gun lobby are doing just what their constituents want them to do. If they support gun control, they are not going to get elected. It seems to me that the problem is the voters who support the "right to bear arms" (or those who support the right to arm bears), the NRA, Fox News, right-wing churches. 

The cable stations, MSNBC and CNN, have been all excited after Uvalde, blaming everybody except the family dog for the deaths of 19 children. They don't mention that the answer is a campaign to get voters to support anti-gun candidates at every level of government. A large percentage of people under 30 don't vote. A well-organized campaign to get this group of potential anti-gun voters to the polls might be the easiest way to proceed.

As a child I was told not to discriminate against people with different colored skin, people with different nationalist background, love thy neighbor as thyself, and no hating. Do not hate! Hating is out! It's certainly tough to get through a 24 hour day without hating people who vote for Republicans. I'm considering a mild hatred. After Einstein's theory of relativity, the most important fact known to man is "All the problems of the universe are caused by people who vote for Republicans." 

A ballot issue to remove the added tax on gasoline (the first rise in price for 25 years) was put there by wealthy orange county Republicans. All money spent on homelessness will now be spent on the bullet train headed to Los Angeles. It's only common sense. 

The entire Democratic platform this year will be Election Day being a holiday (Saturday), no more Electoral College, and a single six-year term for the president. Also, a mass newspaper in the United States supported by its readers, no advertising. 

I voted for Mike Bloomberg for President in 2020. Let's make a list of Democrats for president in 2024. Gavin Newsom is going to be pushed. Is Senator Brown too old? Senator Romney took 13 million from the gun lobby. Thom Hartmann knows where the bodies are buried. Buried? Principle proclamation of 2022: We don't need no stinking Navy!

All I ever needed was a 1950s Plymouth. When you stepped on the gas the car goes. When you step on the brakes the car stops. What else could anyone possibly want? Down south, everyone thinks about race every day. If you've ever spent a fair amount of time down south you know that this is not an exaggeration. In the 2016 Republican primaries all the candidates except Trump were not racist enough. 

Credit card interest rates are way too high. Stop using credit cards and the rates will come down. It won't take long. 

I don't think it's necessary to make a mud puddle of Lake Pillsbury or Lake Mendocino. We will need a lot of shovels and picks though.

Ralph Bostrom


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From 1769 until 1823, Spanish soldiers and missionaries built 21 missions from San Diego to Sonoma. Father Juniper Sera converted many American Indians to Christianity. By 1846, 75,000 Mexicans were living north of the Rio Grande. The United States bought California and much of the Northwest from Mexico for $15 million in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. What’s your replacement theory?

Timothy Long


One Comment

  1. Pat Kittle June 9, 2022

    Derek Hutchinson, like most Americans across the political spectrum, has a very low opinion of the US Congress.

    But if anyone breaks-&-enters the place, why, it’s the most horrible thing since whatever is the 2nd most horrible thing that ever happened! >:-(

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