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Letters (August 11, 2022)

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The students deserve better.

The dismissal of the Point Arena high school principal was a witch hunt by board members with their own personal agendas and a superintendent with zero oversight. The administrative leave was issued without board approval; hopefully the Independent Coast Observer will correct last week's article.

Marty Wilkes was the biggest asset this school district has seen in ages. The proof is in the transition of the high school over the past four years. He inherited a mess and brought the school out of the gutter. Test scores are up, attendance is up, kids are graduating with goals for their future. He also led the effort to get the school out of the probationary status and re-accredited.

The students respected him and the rules and discipline he put into place. They all learned from it. The shortsightedness of the Superintendent took none of this into consideration.

Anyone thinking of sending a child to this high school should really take the time to understand what just went on here. The superintendent let an employee go who worked with honesty and integrity and the good of the students at the forefront of his management.

The excuse that the principal referenced an author in his graduation speech that was known to be a racist is not grounds for dismissal or administrative leave. Other teachers in Point Arena referenced authors with the same controversy in their graduation speeches and were not reprimanded. As far as I'm aware this is still America where freedom of speech is allowed!

We need a board that shares the common goal of the students first and holds the superintendent accountable for their actions. It is time for change at the top. There are five school board positions up for election this November. Please consider helping make a change.

Kathleen Huse


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Nice to hear some sea stories. I have some to share. Somehow I became interested in going to sea. It probably came from reading Melville, London, “Two Yeats Before the Mast”, Kerouac, Steinbeck, and even Lenny Bruce. They all talked about the magic of “going to sea”. Uncle Merrit encouraged me too. He was one of those marines who went through five major campaigns in the South Pacific before he was wounded and sent home. One of those marines left ashore when a Japanese flotilla showed up at Guadalcanal. Uncle Merrit knew the value of just being alive. He told me how beautiful it was to go out on deck at night when the ocean was glassy smooth, the moon was reflecting off the ocean, and a flying fish would take off and skim across that moonlight. I wanted to see that and I did.

This was the early 70’s and shipping was winding down after the end of the Vietnam War. No chance to get work on an American ship. Somewhere along the line I ran into a young guy who told me that the Scandinavians hired foreigners and they had a hiring hall on Embarcadero. They posted the openings mornings at ten and I was there when the job for a deckhand on a Swedish oil tanker came up. They sent me down for all my vaccinations and flew me into Seattle to pick up the ship. It was running a very high grade of oil from Arica, Chile to a refinery in Anacortes, Washington. We did several of those trips before going through the canal and picking up a load of oil in Venezuela. This oil was very low grade, looked like it was ready to pave roads, and had to be kept heated all the way across the Atlantic.

I learned that the deck hands are primarily there for letting go and docking. At sea you occupy yourself with chipping rust and painting. I also took the life boat drills seriously. Docking is not easy. This ship was small by oil tanker standards but it carried 36,000 tons of oil and that was also about what the ship weighed. So the deck hands are using those big 4 inch nylon ropes on big winches to move more than 70,000 tons into position.

The ship went into dry dock in Portugal and I got to spend two exciting weeks in Lisbon. Seamen ashore know how to have fun. From there we crossed the equator into Gabon, Africa and then back across the Atlantic to Puerto Rico. It was the ugliest, smelliest oil refinery I saw anywhere. A large number of smoke stacks burning off excess natural gas 24/7. Then things took a turn. The seamen had always said that when there was no oil to be bought elsewhere, the ship would go to the Persian Gulf. Two months into Karg Island, Iran the heat was unbearable and we were only allowed to go to the seaman’s club where I occupied myself with guzzling beer. We did hit some big seas coming out of the Persian Gulf and into the Indian ocean. We were headed directly into waves that were about 50 feet high.

When they are loaded, oil tankers ride very low in the water. The bow of the ship would bury itself in the base of these waves, the big propellers on the back would lift out of the water, and the whole ship would shake. I was glad to get around the Cape. Two months later the ship delivered the oil to Houston and I was paid off. Four months at sea was enough of the real seaman’s life for me. I later went back working on Norwegian Cruise ships for several years. Glamour ports and beautiful Scandinavian women on the crew made for a different experience. I landed on six continents, did cruises all the way around South America, all over Europe and up the coast of Norway, and down through the South Pacific and over into the Orient. I went into China when it first opened up and they were still wearing Mao hats. I also lived in Sweden for a year and crossed the Atlantic on a tug boat pulling a barge. I have wanted to write the tugboat story up for years because the contrast between the unionized Scandinavians and the free spirits out of Morgan City, Louisiana is startling. Believe it or not, to get the job I had to sign an agreement never to write about it.

There is more to tell at another time.

Don Cruser

Little River

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Thursday’s Press Democrat contained yet another article about the water shortage in Southern California; this time discussing a 45-mile tunnel to move water from north to south (“New plan scales back cross-state water tunnel”). No estimate as to the cost was given.

This tunnel would of necessity parallel the shore of the Pacific, no matter how far inland it might be. The Pacific contains a lot of water.

The sun provides free energy, although there is a cost in building the structures that would use this energy to purify ocean water. The point is that it is worth considering the possibility that solar power could provide the energy to distill ocean water, thus increasing the water supply, instead of reshuffling the already scarce water supply. I have no way to evaluate the cost, but it seems as if in this time of changing climate, it makes more sense to do what we need to increase the fresh water supply, rather than spend a lot of money to shuffle a scarce commodity from one place to another.

Paul S. Treuhaft

Santa Rosa

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Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All” was a misnomer, making it out that Medicare for seniors is free. Far from it. Medicare funding comes from working people paying 1.45% of their income to the Medicare fund. At 65, a person pays $170.10 a month for Medicare — usually taken out of their Social Security check.

A person needs a supplemental plan for prescription drugs and medical costs. Choosing an HMO like Kaiser Permanente includes prescriptions and medical services for a low monthly cost. Monthly premiums vary depending on annual out-of-pocket costs, with a cap.

But you are limited to the network in an HMO. Choose a PPO for your medical plan and prescription drugs and monthly costs are higher and varying premiums affect your out-of-pocket costs. However, this gives you more freedom choosing doctors and pharmacies.

Medicare does not offer direct medical services. It’s an administrative organization that collects money to pay administrative and health care costs. It reimburses money to healthcare organizations that provide the services and prescription drugs. Medicare also sets the rules to access health services.

Andrew Smith

Santa Rosa

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Many stories have been broadcast on this issue:

Excerpt from KCRA-tv in 2022:

May 13, 2022 — At the rate of $2.5 million per mile, it will cost PG&E $25 billion to underground 10,000 miles of power lines.

And, from Associated Press in July 2021

“SAN RAMON, Calif. — Pacific Gas & Electric plans to bury 10,000 miles of its power lines in an effort to prevent its fraying grid from sparking wildfires when electrical equipment collides with millions of trees and other vegetation across drought-stricken California. The daunting project announced Wednesday aims to bury about 10% of PG&E's distribution and transmission lines at a projected cost of $15 billion to as much as $30 billion, based on how much the process currently costs. The utility believes it will find ways to keep the final bill at the lower end of those estimates. Most of the costs will likely be shouldered by PG&E customers, whose electricity rates are already among the highest in the U.S.”

So, meanwhile they estimate there about 8 billion trees within striking distance of their electric lines. I didn’t try to find the number of miles of line they have in total, but it seems it’s a huge undertaking

Marilyn Boese

Fort Bragg

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Attached (available on request) please find what is labeled:”Statement Of Economic Interests Cover Page: A Public Document.

The filer of this form is alleged to be none other than Sage Sangiacomo I really have a hard time referring to someone as dumb as him as "Sage.”

Please note it says he has no real-estate. Do we need to pay him more so he can afford a home? NOT!

More likely our City of Ukiah “Sage” is too dumb to realize this would include his home.

I do not know if there are other pages to this form (which would explain why no real-estate is disclosed) or if his home would be exempt from disclosure; JUST SEEMS WRONG.

I thought maybe you might have some insight.


John Turri


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As the country enters the grip of a recession, the denials are pouring in as usual from Team Biden.

They propose more government spending as a means to cure inflation. Of course, inflation hasn’t affected them one iota. They travel at taxpayer expense, so no pain at the pump; they dine in the congressional dining room, so no notice of the price increases at the grocery store. They are surrounded by security at all times, so no notice of the rampant crime throughout the land.

These people live in an alternate reality, and they either cannot or will not acknowledge a problem even when it stares them in the face.

The American people feel it all on a daily basis, and we have had enough. I don’t want to wish away time, but November can’t come soon enough.

Bo Madden

Jupiter, Florida

One Comment

  1. John A. Joslin August 18, 2022

    Dear AVA-
    Please , immediately engage the AVA big-shot brains-behind-the-scenes in a full-court press , effort to BREAK Mr. Don Cruser’s NDA ( non-disclosure agreement …) w/ the undisclosed Tug Boat /Barge syndicate !
    If donuts will help… comp the guy at the Redwood Drive-In for as LONG AS IT TAKES to break down the legal blockade or his reluctance to spill all the sea-going beans !! ( I will defray expenses. )

    -JJ ( @ olde Detroit near Canada…rowboat at the ready ! )

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