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Letters (August 18, 2022)

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Dear Community:

A big THANK YOU to all of you who attended our fund raising event for Anderson Valley’s First Responders. What a lovely evening with great food, wine/beer and music. 

Special thanks to the following for their contributions: AV Lions Club, Jeff Moss Cruise Control Band, AV Market, AV Brewery, AV Farm Supply, Antoinette Von Grone, Aurelia, Bee Hunter Wines, Boonville Hotel, Disco Ranch, Domaine Anderson, Farmhouse Mercantile, Goldeneye, Handley Cellars, Husch Vineyards, Jack’s Valley Store, Jeff & Merry Miller, Larry Mailliard, Lee Serrie, Lemons Market, Lucille Estes, Lula Winery, Marvin Schenk, Meyer Family Cellars, Michael Wilson, Nancy McCloud, Navarro Vineyards, Pepperwood Pottery, Philip Thomas, Roederer Estate Vineyards, Rossi Hardware, Sandy Mailliard, Seebass Wines, Scharffenberger Cellars, Susan Bodine, Terrie Lockwood, The Apple Farm, The Bohemian Chemist, Tom McFadden, Toulouse Winery, Valerie Gowan, William Allen and Judy Nelson. We apologize if we have missed someone, it was not done intentionally, just an oversight on our part!

Anderson Valley Volunteer Fire Fighters Association

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Dear Editor,

Ernie Pardini and I were discussing the river otters Friday night. He was telling me how they have made a comeback in the last few years. (He also told me that is where all the sucker fish and crawdads went to). The next day we went to our swimming hole in Philo and lo and behold two river otters came. They swam and played for about a half hour. I was lucky enough to have my camera with me and got a few good shots! Thought I would share with you.

Lisa Nunes


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Dear Editor,

It's been a while since I have written. I have been down south for several years, Level 4-Lancaster. Hot as hell. It's on and crackin' almost every yard. But I'm back up to North Salinas Valley, making my way to San Quentin. Hopefully I will be there before the end of 2023.

You mentioned Tai Abreu? How is he? Is he free? Can I get in touch with him somehow? Maybe I will leave my address? Luckily a friend of mine spent $52 and got me a years worth of your paper. I love reading it. I also get a kick out of the petty thieves and womanizers who call themselves “convicts.” You really don't qualify by stealing an EBT card or burglarizing some chick's house when she finally falls asleep. I may not see eye to eye with my codefendant, but even he commits real crimes.

Who am I to talk, right? Ha ha ha. Laughing like the Joker. In society's eyes I'm garbage and in prison. I am almost a celebrity. I would give it all up to be free one more time. I've learned my lesson.

The lesson is “loyalty” has a shelf life. Period. The lesson is, when you get a sentence like I got you separate the chaff from the wheat. I don't have as many friends in my life, but the friends I do have are quality who really care about me and who I really care about, not what they have for me or what I have for them. None of that matters. It's just all love. It's better that way, don't you think?

I hope I haven't ruffled any feathers. Make good choices and be productive.

Walter Miller #AE 5304

Salinas Valley State Prison

PO Box 1050

Soledad, CA 93960

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When I was a child, the thermometer hit 117 degrees once; my father said it was likely the hottest day we’d ever experience. If only! “Global weirding” is unpredictable, but it’s hot. Red hot. In May, parts of India hit 121 degrees Fahrenheit. Birds dropped from the air. Human activity became impossible. More people die when temperatures rise, sometimes even if they have air conditioning and abundant water. Heat messes with our systems.

Don’t stop reading. It’s upsetting; we’d all like to enjoy our summers. But extreme heat is happening in Oregon as well as in the global South. Experts agree we have little time to slow, let alone reverse, climate change.

We must leave fossil fuels in the ground, greatly accelerate clean energy use and capture way more carbon. We must prioritize the global South and low-income communities to invest in climate justice. And we must defend fair and free elections, so our government listens and acts.

Please urge President Joe Biden to declare a climate emergency, whether or not Congress passes his important Inflation Reduction Act, which funds critical climate solutions. I shudder to think of the roastings my great-nephew will suffer if we don’t pull together fast. Now. Urgently.

Leah Halper


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What is the big deal with wrestlers at the fair using the term “Midget Wrestling Warriors”? Being referred to as midgets doesn’t seem to offend them. It is their prerogative to be called what they are comfortable with and what brings in the crowds. They are entertainers. They are athletes. The “rasslers” have trained many hours to learn a variety of moves, holds, falls and how to avoid serious injuries. They develop a character the fans like (heroes) or despise (heels). It is a job and obviously one that they enjoy.

Robert Broom said calling them midgets was denigrating. He can call them “little people,” “people of small stature,” etc. But, at the end of the day, it is their call.

Ronald Crowley


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Getting burned up is my top concern. Current fire information is not current enough. PG&E, Cal Fire, cryptically named wildfire cams — existing information is too geographically broad. During two recent fires in Lake County, smoke blew for miles, but I could find nothing online about what was happening until hours later.

I need minute by minute intelligence to get, for instance, off Glass Mountain or across Tubbs Lane or up Highway 128 to Boonville to get away from fast moving flames. Nothing provided so far is sufficient. I listen to Cal Fire’s radio, watch flightradar24, look out the window, count firetrucks and see which way they went. We need real time information in one place, not a competitive scattering of website memberships and hour old news.

Gregory Sprehn


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To the Editor 

Is it just me? I drove down Franklin Street in Fort Bragg this morning on my way to work and I couldn't help but take note of all the empty storefronts. And then I think, what is our City Council doing to address this? More “affordable” housing? Another dog park? Economically, this town is in the toilet. Residents go out of town for health care, veterinary services; looking for trailer rentals instead of apartments. Elections are happening soon.Be sure what the candidates are prioritizing for our town!

Rosemary Mangino

Fort Bragg

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Re: Check Their Priorities

Although the City Council doesn’t do much that can affect some of the areas of concern noted in the letter (like veterinary services) the state of disrepair of our downtown along Franklin Street is something we could be doing something about. Many previously-empty storefronts are being filled but those that remain vacant are not being maintained and the City could be doing something about it. What happened to the façade improvement program we talked about or a business improvement district that could help retrofit all the buildings with fire sprinklers? Why does the City Council accept push back and reasons why we can’t turn the vacant corner lot at Franklin and Redwood into a pocket park with additional much-needed public restrooms? What happened to reforming our nuisance ordinance and possibly start imposing a vacancy tax for empty storefronts or inactive businesses taking up valuable real estate. Why has the land use table not been amended to require a retail component to all downtown storefronts to encourage pedestrian activity and a vibrant downtown? Why does our town sometimes still smell like an open sewer because of how our own wastewater treatment plant operates when the equipment that was supposed to address that problem has already been installed?

The community might want answers to these questions and more as we consider our choices for who we want to represent us on the Fort Bragg City Council.

Jacob Patterson

Fort Bragg

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Why does Nancy Pelosi have the right to put our country on the brink of another world war? Because she is speaker of the House, she has total power over her own decisions, regardless of the president and our military advisers.

Pelosi’s dangerous trip to Taiwan was paid for by those of us who pay taxes. I grew up during World War II and served in the Air Force in the Korean War. Wars scare me. Fortunately, those wars never brought fighting to our own shores. Things would be different in the future. This is not about politics. This is about who is putting the United States on death row because of her self-centered desires.

Robert Clopton

Santa Rosa

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I have just returned from three weeks’ travelling around Britain to discover Mike Jay’s article in the June edition of the London Review of Books about the death of the very thing I had been doing all that time: hitchhiking. I hitched more than sixty rides and travelled well over a thousand miles. It may be that only 9% of motorists would pick up a stranger, but only once did I wait longer than half an hour for a lift. I am 24 years old and was picked up by people of all races, genders and ages, some as young as 18. As has always been the case, hitchhiking affords extraordinary conversations and chance encounters, which to my mind make it the best of all methods of transport. As one driver put it to me: “Kindness is still a currency.”

Nico Lethbridge


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Mike Jay wrote recently in the London Review of Books about the heyday of hitchhiking in the 1970s. I didn’t hitchhike much: I usually had a car, and as a woman I didn’t regard the practice as entirely safe. On one occasion, however, when I was stationed at Quantico Marine Base in Virginia, I wanted to go up Route One to buy some clothes. My VW was totalled and I probably looked kind of rough: I’d lost a tooth in the accident and the scars on my face were still fresh. Heading back, I got a lift from three construction worker types in a big stake-bed truck, who eyeballed me in a way I didn’t quite like. They asked where I was headed? Were they going past Quantico Marine Base? Yes, did I live in Quantico? Yes, I replied, I’m in the Marine Corps. They scooted over to give me a little more room and looked almost relieved when we stopped at the light by the main gate. I thanked them and got out. No one ever gave me any trouble.

Hazel Beeler

Newport, Virginia

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Dear Editor,

The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing. Which one of these animals is usually wrong? 

I have a wonderful new idea. While people get their scoffs ready I will give the news. Elon Musk's mosquito water company is ready to take over the western third of the United States from the Mississippi to Hales Grove. Clean water filters are in place at Lake superior and Lake Michigan. The musketeer's fireproof system is ready. Fireproof trees and grass have been planted in strips throughout the vulnerable areas. The musk flood control system is in place. Arrangements have been made to drain floodwaters into man-made pits which will become lakes. Jeff Bezos has the remaining three great lakes and control over the eastern two thirds of the country. He is too busy with two new girlfriends, one for daytime use and one for nighttime use. Both Bezos and Musk expect to become trillionaires soon. Everyone needs water. 

The reason Hutchins lost the election is she didn't follow my instructions to wire all the County schools so a summary of the Press Democrat news could be broadcast at 1 PM each school day followed by a civics lesson until 1:30 PM. By that time the graduating students will have received 1500 civics lessons. 

Now I am going to present my new idea, hopefully it won't fall flat on its face like the rest of my new ideas have. I am pretty good at US history. I know something about literature and adventure stories. I have 40 Hamilton books stacked up unread. You only get one chance with Hamilton as the best books sell out and are never listed again. I know how to make a weekly profit betting on the horses. I know how to build a house from start to finish. 

My real level of expertise is classical music which I got addicted to in 1943. I have listened to classical music at every opportunity since then for 80 years. You might get the idea that I listen to the programming on KZY&X. With the exception of Russell Piti on alternate Mondays who does a pretty good job with his program, I don't like Susan Juhl who thinks just because it is a composer's birthday his music is worth playing even though it is boring and unlikable. The same goes for Gomes who likes to show off what he knows about classical music, the result being many pieces played that nobody likes (done deliberately). They may go three programs without playing anything from the standard repertoire. Cohen and Black like to talk, talk, talk and I have trouble putting up with them. 

Where does that leave me? Online. Specifically Google which specializes in streaming classical music. A few are only on Windows 11. I listen to classical music on 20 classical music stations. They all mostly play the standard repertoire. A few, like WQZR in New York mix in quite a few unfamiliar works but they are never boring and unlikable. One station, WCPE in Raleigh, North Carolina, wholesale their music to smaller stations. All stations display on the screen what is being played and usually what the last piece played was. They all will print on the screen future works that will be played later that day, but not a complete list so the listener has no idea what is coming up all afternoon and evening. A $25 headphone will give you very good audio.

My idea is to encourage four stations to print their afternoon and evening program lists on their webpage. There is plenty of room. Many stations place advertising on the page. Let's say we group KQAC Portland, WFMT Chicago (you will recall that is Studs Turkel's station), WRCJ Detroit and KMFA Boston. Or you might want to group KING Seattle, WQXR New York, WLRN Miami and WRTI Philadelphia. Get a pencil and paper, go over the list and see what's playing at each of the four stations. You may want to find Mozart concertos, you may be a Debussy or Ravel nut, you may turn up your nose at anything that is not Bach. 

Since we're on Google it doesn't take long to switch between these four stations. You have the time that each of the works you want to listen to is on. You don't have to waste time on work you don't want to hear because it reminds you of a Republican personality. 

Democrats could remain in control if they can convince voters in swing states that letting Republicans win would be disastrous. Never mind the usual tactics. Just "vote for Democrats" is sufficient.

Ralph Bostrom


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Thanks to Larry Bensky for his reminiscences of the late Pacifica radio host Larry Josephson (“Plugged Out,” AVA, Aug. 3). Bensky writes, “It helped that he was funny as hell.  And an equal opportunity mocker of earnest integrationists, segregationists, communists, fascists, feminists, sexists et al, he was fundamentally one kind of “-ist” — a humanist.”

I recall as a teenager tuning in to New York's WBAI one day in the late 1970s.  Apparently, a staff member or members had objected to some ethnic humor that had been broadcast over its airwaves.  Josephson's response during the program I had just tuned into was to defend the importance of humor and laughter on the Left.  To underline his point, he proceeded to rattle off a litany of ethnic jokes for the remainder of his show, two of which I remember to this day:

Q: What constitutes Irish foreplay?

A: “Brace yourself, Bridget, I'm coming.%

Q: What is a Jewish American Princess's favorite position?

A: Facing Bloomingdales.

Gore Vidal, Alexander Cockburn... and now Larry Josephson.  At least the mighty AVA's Off the Record is still bearing the torch.

Doug Loranger

Walnut Creek

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Dear Editor,

I have been coming in and out of the Mendocino County jail since 1986. For the past 36 years I’ve seen my share jail deputies come and go. Some of them to suicide, being fired, quitting, exchanging cigarettes with female inmates for sex, and some of them retired. 

Then there are the handful of deputies who are forced down the road for abusing inmates. These are the ones who for obvious reasons I can spot a mile away. I predict right now that the next deputy to leave the jail over abuse towards inmates will be a twenty-something bloated pimply pasty white bipolar rookie who routinely berates inmates in sudden outbursts of rage filled with vulgarity and profanity. I have witnessed him on several occasions physically abuse and assault inmates on a criminal level. I can assure the reader that had any of these incidents been videotaped and the video of posted to the community the citizenry would be at the steps of the jail protesting. Yes, it’s that bad! 

What makes the situation even more despicable is this deputy’s abuse has been witnessed and condoned by his fellow deputies in the jail. We have all watched the videos on youtube and the evening news. Some poor schmuck is handcuffed in a holding cell being beaten on by a jail guard while a handful of deputies are present with their heads turned the other way. 

During my humble yet chaotic 54 years on this earth I have been subject to many forms of abuse and witnessed many varieties of abuse. One of the worst is that of a physically abusive corrections officer. Mainly because they are most often beating and abusing a human being who is restrained and has no way of defending themselves. I can not imagine a more cowardly act than that. 

Do not get me wrong. Most of the corrections that are decent people. They do their jobs with integrity and treat inmates with dignity and respect. Like human beings.

But then there are the deputies who have undiagnosed mental health disorders, the abusive ones who eventually get weeded out and set down the road. In this deputy’s case I sadly predict that it will happen with him. Hopefully sooner than later!

The jail has become more and more crazy over the years. Most of my adult life I would come here and be housed in B-tank, the convict tank where most of us old school prison guys know how to act and live by the convict code of behavior.

Nowadays the jail consists of mainly mentally ill inmates and those who are so tweaked out by bad dope that they are unmanageable. A perfect feeding ground for the abusive deputies in the system. 

The only way for an old-school dude like me to survive this cesspool is to roll solo. When I arrive in booking I tell the deputies from that I am assaultive. They then clear a holding tank just for me where I have it all to myself. I grab a roll of toilet paper for a pillow and sleep for a few days. They book me and I am housed in isolation where contact with crazy inmates and assaultive cops is held to a minimum. 

This trip through the system has me going to state prison for seven years this time. Back in the day this crap was kind of fun. Now it is so nasty, surely I must change my evil ways!

All my best,

Alan ‘Sonny’ Crow

Mendocino County Jail, Ukiah

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As I read that there is a teacher shortage, not only in California but all over the country, I am not surprised. Sadly, teaching has become an occupation that a lot of young folks can’t afford to enter. Teachers are seriously underpaid. I taught school for 32 years in a district, and it took me all those years to make more than $50,000. Why would anyone choose teaching as a profession based on salary?

Teaching also has become a somewhat dangerous job. Classroom shootings have become common news. I cannot imagine being told I had to have a gun in my classroom. Scary!

Times have definitely changed during my 23 years of retirement. Violence and guns have become the main attraction for far too many folks and, unfortunately, our highly paid politicians do little to address the problem. Teaching is a worthwhile profession that deserves respect, a decent salary and a safe classroom.

Linda Elliott


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Dear Supervisors,

The Redwood Valley Municipal Advisory Committee hereby joins the chorus of those in our community calling on you to form a standing committee to deal with the issues surrounding the cannabis department and the development of a local cannabis industry. This is an issue of great importance and concern to the people of Mendocino County, and we want to see that our supervisors prioritize the issues that matter to us.

As is obvious to everyone now, the roll out of the cannabis permit program has been fraught with hiccups and missteps since the inception. Many local growers who stepped from the shadows to become legal producers still have not received their permit which is necessary to attain state licensure. The county has been awarded a substantial amount of money to distribute to the people who have stepped forward into the legal market in order to assist in their transition out of the illegal market. This process too has been fraught with problems.

The development of a legal, robust and profitable cannabis industry is of vital importance to our economy and our communities. To safeguard our quality of life, we, the Redwood Valley Municipal Advisory Council, request that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors form a standing committee that includes stakeholders from the cannabis industry,the Mendocino Cannabis Department, the community at large and defenders of the environment.


The Redwood Valley Municipal Advisory Council

Jini Reynolds (Vice Chair), Katrina Frey (Treasurer), Chris Boyd, Marybeth Kelly, Sattie Clark, Patricia Ris-Yarbrough, Adam Gaska

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Speaking about global climate change, Herschel Walker, a U.S. Senate candidate in Georgia, said, “When China gets our good air, their bad air’s got to move. So it moves over to our good air space. Then we got to clean that back up.” I thought that was idiotic. Then I read quotes from some congressmen and senators and realized Walker’s quote fit right in with those who want to delay phasing out coal, gas and oil. Welcome to the club, senator. But if you lose the election, “Saturday Night Live” has a role as host for you.

Jon Yatabe

Bodega Bay

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