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Letters (Sept. 22, 2022)

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I am preparing a follow up story on the criminal cases involving former Ukiah Police Sgt. Kevin Murray and Police Chief Noble Waidelich. 

To date the District Attorney’s Office has not provided any response to questions involving the Murray case, nor posted any version of the outcome including his sentencing. Why? 

It is particularly noticeable given that the District Attorney regularly posts online the outcomes for lesser offenses, including misdemeanor DUI cases that go to trial.

Why was Sonoma County Probation not provided “any crime report (s) or other pertinent documents relative to the circumstances of misdemeanor Amended Count 8 as well as Harvey Waiver counts 5 and 6, which are related to the criminal conduct inflicted upon victim Jane Doe in 2014 for the preparation of this report.”

Who is responsible for this glaring omission as noted by the Sonoma agency?

In regard to the Waidelich case, what is the current status? 

The independent investigation by Sonoma authorities into a woman’s complaint was launched nearly three months ago. Two weeks ago, the public learned that Sonoma had turned over its findings to the DA’s Office. 

When will the Sonoma findings be made available to the public?

Will the state Attorney General be asked to review for possible prosecution in light of the District Attorney’s apparent conflict because of his past involvement in alleged criminal and civil matters involving Waidelich?

Office policies do not overrule the public’s right to know. I look forward to responses to the questions presented.

Mike Geniella, Ukiah


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Recently, former Ukiah police seregeant, meth addict, and serial rapist, Kevin Murray, was sentenced to probation by Judge Ann Moorman who stated that “this is not to be interpreted as a slap on the wrist.”

She’s actually correct. It’s more like a handshake by law enforcment, the DA, and the Justice Department (we take care of our own). Any homeless black guy accused of similar offenses would have been given the death sentence.

Acccording to this level of punishment, I should be owed an apolgoy and some form of compensation for being delayed if I’m ever stopped for speeding.


Don Phillips


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Excuse me, may I ask you a question? Quite right, sir. Well, you’ve been busy with all this driving, eh? Quite, Sir. Well, I don’t wish to give offense, but it has occurred, the question that is, would you say the old bird is becoming rather gamy? Not sure what you mean, Sir. 

Well, you know, like sometimes things are left out too long, you know, that they should have been returned to the reefer a bit sooner...Oh, I wouldn’t quite put it like that, Sir. I see. I mean, are you sure?

You haven’t noticed anything, ah, a bit peculiar? No, Sir. Nothing, uh, rather tingly, shall we say, to the nostrils? No, Sir. I mean, ah, you have been at this quite a while, eh? Quite, Sir. So, if there were, ah, some sort of, ah, olfactory disturbance, shall we say, you would take notice? I suppose I might, Sir, if that were the case. And so, then, ah, would you say that might be the case, in present time, that is? No, Sir. Really. Quite. And you have been about this business for nearly a week, isn’t that so? Yes, Sir. Well, ah, if you will forgive the imputation of an unpleasant suggestion, you will be about this business for another week, before you finally, ah, part company with the, ah, consignment? Not quite sure what you mean, Sir. Well, ah, you know, the nature of the disturbance might become more pronounced as time passes, if it exists, that is, and you will be, ah, in accompaniment with it, whatever it might be, shall we say... Sir, are you trying to imply that the old bird is becoming rather gamy? Well, ah, yes, that has been the general drift, may I say, of my question. Well why didn’t you just say so, Sir? She smells like a bloody butcher shop. Really? Wonderful. May I quote you? If you buy the next round, Sir.

Harry Williamson

Santa Rosa

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We are Downtown Fort Bragg residents, property owners/renovators, voters, and in general people who care about what shapes this great place to live and work. As nearly all the City Council seats will be contested in the November Election — we challenge the candidates to publicly embrace the following planks before the election, as ways to get our votes and possibly others. We believe this is the democratic way for candidates to avoid a popularity contest, in favor of an informed electorate:

1) Commit to a comprehensive study of the existing Fort Bragg Municipal Budget, and determine how to achieve a wide range of goals with what we have.

2) Better Code Enforcement, especially with regard to willful neglect of buildings and property within the Central Business District that results in blight, public nuisance, vandalism, neighborhood property value destruction, and public health hazards. Code Enforcement needs to be initiated and administered from inside City Hall, NOT thru the City’s present ‘snitch policy.’ The latter discourages the reporting of blatant code violators. It also ramps up general distrust of public officials.

3) Support downtown as our “Arts and Culture District.” This needs to include budget-conscious improvements aimed at enhancing existing downtown assets, events, and activities — in order to create a more desirable destination for local residents and visitors. We believe the resulting basic show of pride will lead to a renewed culture of excitement about our downtown.

4) City Council and Staff Temperament. Within existing ordinances and guidelines, we are seeking MORE of “what can we do to help you?” and LESS of “us against you” or “us against them” as a method of governing. Past differences should have nothing to do with present considerations.

5) Solicit Public Skills. Because of its former mill industry requirements for employment, Fort Bragg is now blessed with a skill pool unavailable to many communities. If City Hall would just ask for help regarding problem-solving ideas, ingenuity, and experience — we believe an outpouring of support would be there where it counts.

6) Announce the intention of cobbling a city-wide short, medium, and long-term Strategic Plan for Fort Bragg. Only this time instead of outsourcing the task to expensive consultants, let a sensibly chosen civic-minded committee roll up their sleeves.

Bill Mann & Sue Rogers

Fort Bragg

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For several years, five or six I think, you carried the ruminations and expostulations of Flynn Washburne, by my lights than most talented and entertaining writer to ever appear in the pages of the Anderson Valley Advertiser. He has gone missing for reasons that can hardly be mysterious for any who avidly read his prose. A few weeks ago in response to a letter from an enthusiast of his, you replied that you missed him too.

In my library over yonder I have a copy of The Letters of Wanda Tinasky purchased a decade or so ago. I leave off here momentarily while I retrieve the volume.

I now have it at hand. I believe you adopted a nonplussed attitude within the past year while relating that a copy of this publication was being offered on some Internet site for a fabulous sum. You also aligned T.R. Factor, whoever that is. You dealt with her, and so are privy to an intimacy that might explain your disobliging evaluation of her work. The very thing that you disliked, though, the multitudinous "footnotes" arranged next to the text, was an unorthodox and yet welcome assistance to me as a reader in untangling all the obscurities and inside jokes. If she is responsible for the tremendous amount of research undertaken to unravel the tightly raveled letters, she performed an estimable job. She made the presentation much richer, I'd say.

There are those texts that seem to have been written solely to give employment to the unravellers — 'Finnigan's Wake,' Melville's 'The Confidence Man,' which are both unsatisfying as literature and as puzzles. They are both boring as hell and both written by the greatest of authors, of communicators. With the Tinasky letters we find ourselves in an inexplicable realm I should say. Directed at, showered upon, a newspaper with a comparatively negligible readership (negligible in numbers, not intellect), we can confidently suppose that the author entertained no dreams of scholastic scrutiny.

I say that fortuitous circumstances were at work. I use the word "fortuitous" advisedly, appreciating (more than you can know) your distaste for the sloppy deployment of jargon and the habitual debasement of language. Most (forgivably) believe it means something like "a fortunate accident," and the English language is such an animal that if enough people make the same error for a long enough period of time the word in fact does change in meaning. Only because that guy who was Wanda Tinasky directed his letters to you, knowing that you would print them; you being, I estimate, an anarchist au fond, of the old-fashioned sort, willing to mix it up, not fussy or precious, and magnanimous as Kropotkin was, willing to risk his neck by smuggling books over the border.

He who was Wanda, I forget his name, chose you, and then some arrangements were made with a gang of people — Fred Sternkopf, T.R. Factor, and whomever you had to deal with at Vers Libre Press, otherwise I never would have enriched myself with the letters or the adventure of which the letters were a part.

I enjoy the rich associations and implications which, if followed far enough, seemed to implicate me as well. Tinasky claimed that Pynchon was Gaddis, who wrote 'The Recognitions,' and whose unfinished masterpiece concerned the player piano with which he was obsessed. The first girl who I allowed to have her way with me was the daughter of an Italian communist columnist whose sister was the mother of Suze Rotolo, Bob Dylan's first serious girlfriend who enlightened him about Brecht and Weill; she can be seen with him walking down a snowy Greenwich Village street on the cover of 'The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.' Suze was about 20 years older than this girl who had her way with me, yet the resemblance was conspicuous. Her mother, who had money for some reason — a pension from the Italian Communist Party? — never met me, but her husband's sister, the mother of Bob Dylan's sweetheart, subsidized for many years Conlon Nancarrow, the unjustly obscure American composer who was forced to leave the United States as the result of McCarthyite redbaiting and ending up near Mexico City. (He composed exclusively on the player piano.) Gaddis knew all about him, of course, and was fixing to feature him in his unwritten or unfinished masterpiece about the player piano. 'The Recognitions,' his first novel, is about 800 pages long. I read every one. Not a fan of his, though he displayed a passable sense of humor.

Not ordinarily understood: piano rolls, the software for the player pianos, were the result of live performances: the needle that was poking holes in the paper was activated by a live human in an adjacent room, and so the player piano represented a peculiar intersection point between human and machine: the rolls contain idiosyncrasies or even "errors" committed by a live performer.

You may accuse me of going "off-piste."

Flynn Washburne is every bit the equal of that guy who was Wanda as far as his writing chops are concerned. I would go further than that. He is the most conspicuously talented writer that hardly anyone knows about. Take a look again at his work, as an editor. Very little of it doesn't make the grade.

Why not negotiate a publishing arrangement of some sort? I don't know to what degree you "own" all of those brilliant outpourings, but I imagine you to be magnanimous enough to share the wealth once the book goes into its second or third edition. It would, too. There are still enough readers to care for great writing to make of him a success.

Perhaps he would not handle the windfall wisely. That is not your responsibility. Someone of the caliber of any of the great comic writers of the 20th century chose to shelter himself under your wing, Bruce Anderson. If you were to manage to pass that on to subsequent generations that would burnish your legacy.

Name withheld

New York state

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From the online archives of the Anderson Valley Advertiser posted by Captain Fathom Alan Graham I read:

“We miss other great ones that have passed. Judy Bari, Utah Phillips, Paul Tulley, Donald Sprinkling, Alan Toffer, Jim Noyes, Patterson Kelsey David Alba — let's cherish the living.”

Yet when searching for information on my old friend and downstairs neighbor from Berkeley in the early 60s Donald Sprinkling I still find online contact information about a 90 year old living in Fort Bragg.

If indeed Donald Sprinkling has passed I would like to know exactly when or if there is a chance the posted 2019 letter might be incorrect in this regard. I would also like to know similar information about Paul Tulley, the great friend of the celebrated and much recognized experimental filmmaker and sometimes past resident of Mendocino county Bruce Baillie who did indeed recently pass. Obituary information seems to evade me regarding Sprinkling and Tulley.

I would be grateful for any interesting information about these “legendary” individuals and any informed recollections of their exploits and cultural contributions during the extended “golden” years of the communities that they were part of. I certainly respect that they were (are) both very private individuals with not a lot of “web presence” or photographic record perhaps by choice. There is an image in Nicholas Wilson’s book “Mendocino In The Seventies” of Paul Tulley participating in the The Caspar Flats Jug Band in June 1973.

The filmmaker Bruce Baillie often spoke and wrote about his long friendship and collaborations with poet and fisherman Paul Tulley but there is not much actual footage that I recollect of Paul in Bruce’s films (then again I might have to go back and review “Quick Billy” again to be sure of that. Also the 1963 film "Have You Thought of Talking to The Director" . There is some audio of Paul in one of Bruce’s later videos “The Commute” but that is about it.

I do understand the general sadness we all feel at the disappearance of these moments of utopian hope expressed in those fleeting mid century years in light of humanity’s and the planet’s current persistent plight , but I would like to have some or more of those potential cherished moments recollected if possible by others who may have known these men.

When the exodus to Mendocino county happened starting in the 60s many friends from Berkeley and San Francisco did make the move but I was not able and have great curiosity about that history now. I have only one photograph of Donald Sprinkling from the times we went looking for flotsam and jetsam at the still undeveloped Emeryville Flats when Donald was creating assemblage sculptures prior to his move to Mendocino and when he was still (briefly?) associated with Ann Buchanan who shortly thereafter became friends with the beat poet Allen Ginsburg and then later appears in one of Andy Warhols “Screen Tests”. l recall Donald bought my girlfriends 1950 Chevy red convertible — perhaps he drove that up to Mendocino. All this of course is ancient history now.

From Bruce Baillie’s filmography:1963Have You Thought of Talking to the Director? 14 minutes, black and white. Made while under the first impression of Mendocino, up the coast north of San Francisco, and of my friend, Paul Tulley. My first “serious” piece.

I would still like to know more about Donald Knight Sprinkling who remains a bit more obscure.

Myron Ort

Penngrove, California

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I am an emergency physician, practicing in this country for almost four decades. What I have come to appreciate over the years is that no matter how altruistic a medical plan tries to be, it is always beholden to the insurance company’s drive for the almighty dollar, which trumps all else in this country.

I am often amazed at the range in prices different patients pay for the same prescription for no good reason, and don’t get me started on drug manufacturers advertising prescription drugs to the public. The problem lies in a system that worked initially but has blossomed into a complex multilayered profit machine for a variety of interests, none of whom want to relinquish their profits.

We need an overhaul that requires supermajorities to defeat lobbying interests. Die-hard capitalists will warn you of the consequences of “socialized medicine,” but we are already experiencing these issues — long waits and delayed care — in this country despite the money we throw at the problem. We need universal health care. Vote as if your life depended on it, because it very well may.

Gerry Lazzareschi


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I hate to pop everybody’s green bubble, but there is no such thing as “clean” energy. Lithium mining, which is used to make electric car batteries, is just as harmful to the environment as fossil fuels — perhaps even more so. While we are driving around in our electric vehicles congratulating ourselves on how we are caring for the environment, we are doing exactly the opposite.

I am not suggesting that we continue on our path of environmental self-destruction. I’m pointing out that we can’t purchase an electric vehicle and believe we are doing the planet a favor. All we are doing is trading one environmental evil for another. In fact, most of our modern conveniences are bad for the environment. We have not figured out that we can’t have our cake and eat it, too.

Anisa Thomsen


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When is enough, enough? For two months now every time I turn on the TV, I’m hit with at least 10 commercials per hour for Proposition 27, and a couple about Proposition 26. The money the supporters of Proposition 27 spend on these commercials could probably handle the homeless problem all by itself. And we have to endure this barrage for two more months? Enough already. Oh, BTW, I’m voting no on Proposition 27.

Deb McGauley

Santa Rosa

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Gov. Gavin Newsom took the right action in vetoing the ill-advised Senate Bill 57, which would have authorized drug injection sites in San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles, cities already overrun with addicts, many of whom comprise a significant part of the homeless population in those cities. Envisioned as a harm-reduction proposal, it was heavy on ways to support addicts and light on any kind of effort to address addiction with effective treatment, other than to provide counseling and recommend treatment.

More effective will be the governor’s proposal for a Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment Court, or Care Court, in each county. These courts are designed to identify the people most severely impaired by mental health issues or drug abuse who do not voluntarily seek treatment. After a court finding, they will be placed in a county-designed facility to provide these services.

While there is opposition from many, including the ACLU, believing it violates individuals’ civil rights, this is a logical first step in identifying and assisting a significant population who now comprise the chronically homeless and will likely never pursue adequate treatment for their health needs.

Sal Rosano

Santa Rosa

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I just finished reading Jonah Raskin‘s article Decrying the loss of ecstatic ritual from modern society. It is a very apt piece. I was reminded of a time that we drummed for the Headwaters Forest. The evil and vile Maxxam Corporation, had cut an illegal road into the heart of the Headwaters Forest then they were applying to harvest the timber using that illegal road. Of course all of us Earth Firsters were vehemently opposed to this plan. The hearing was in Eureka. We all went up there and we brought drums. We decided that forest has a heart and a heart beat. So, for the several hours that the hearing lasted we circled up outside and drummed.

Sure enough, inside the building you could hear it the entire day. At one point my partner — she had to go inside to use the restroom or something — ended up at a window with one of the bureaucrats looking over the scene on the street below. The bureaucrat looked at her and rolled her eyes and said “Only in California.” My partner gave her a great response when she said, “Yes, that’s too bad, isn’t it?” 

Of course the forestry department approved the plan because they always did. But I did enjoy that for one day we did in fact bring the heart of the forest into downtown Eureka for all the bureaucrats and the forestry officials to hear. 

I could not agree more with Raskin. Loss of ecstatic ritual was designed to separate us from our natural human state into that void; then stepped in the corporate state and monotheism 

Chris Skyhawk

Fort Bragg

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