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Letters (Oct. 27, 2022)

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Dear Editor: 

I would like to urge voters to vote Yes on Measure O on the November 8th ballot. Measure O provides smart, sustainable support for the libraries of Mendocino County, the libraries that provide information, knowledge, entertainment, and a sense of community for all for free. 

Measure O asks for 1/8 cent sales tax to supplement the 1/8 cents the libraries already receive, and makes it permanent and also allows for 40% of those funds to be used for a serious backlog of building repairs and infrastructure needs Since the County does not provide any General Funds for our libraries, this measure is essential. It will go into a special library fund to be allocated between our six County libraries and the bookmobile. The Mendocino County Library Advisory Board will be developing needs assessments to determine a fair and equitable distribution of those funds, and making recommendations to the Board of Supervisors to be certain the funding is allocated equitably. 

There will be no tax increase, as 3/8 cent sales tax is expiring. If you would like more information, the website is

Thank you!

Carolyn Schneider

Chairperson, Citizens Committee for the Library Initiative

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We are getting ready for another November election cycle. With it comes usually different tax proposals and this election cycle is no different. We live in a state with some of the highest/if not the highest taxes of any state (i.e., gas, income, property, sales, business) to name a few examples. 

We have two ballot measures proposing addition sales tax increases this November.

Measure P. This is a quarter percent (.25%) hike in sales tax for county fire departments. If you read the ordinance it states “Nothing in the ordinance shall prohibit the county from entering in agreements with the Cities of Ukiah, Fort Bragg, Willits and Point Arena to share a percentage of the increase of the voter approved tax proceeds.” Furthermore, “The funds from the tax are not legally restricted and may be used for any valid county purpose.” Basically these funds will just provide additional moneys for the county to spend as they see fit at our expense.

Measure O. This is a quarter percent (.25%) hike in sales tax for the county Libraries. The libraries current tax of (.125%) percent is set to expire in 2027. However they wish to revoke the sunset clause and make it a permanent tax along with (.125%) increase. Most people today have cell phones/computers so Libraries aren’t as vital as they probably once were. Why doesn’t the library system establish user fees for the different services they provide? That way those who use the library would pay directly for the different services they are requesting. Public transportation, some bridges and museums charge a fee (to name a few) for use shouldn’t libraries do the same? This shouldn’t be a tax payer handout. Libraries provide a service to some and should charge those that they are providing the service to. 

With all the different taxes we currently paying do you think it is a good idea to just continue to raise your families cost to live in this state? How do other states get by with fewer/lower taxes? With the way our cost for everyday living is sky rocking do you really want to pay an additional .5% added on the current 9+% sales tax you currently pay on purchases? Sales tax is approximately $10 for every $100 dollars you spend now. When will this insanity end?

Dale Briggs


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This reply addresses two incorrect or misleading points in Dale Briggs letter published in the October 19, 2022 online edition regarding ballot Measures O & P.

Mr Briggs' main concern seems to be his belief that the Measures would increase the current sales tax. He states "do you really want to pay an additional .5% added on the current 9+% sales tax you currently pay on purchases." Mr Briggs statement is factually incorrect in two ways. First, the sales tax rate in Mendocino County is currently 7.875% (the bulk of which -- 7.250% -- is state tax), individual cities may be somewhat higher because they add some tax of their own. (See 

More importantly, if both Measures O and P pass the current sales tax level WILL NOT INCREASE. There would be no addition to the current level of tax as Mr. Briggs incorrectly asserts.

Mr. Briggs also points out that Measure P is a general sales tax and could therefore be spent on anything. That is correct, but misleading. Mr. Briggs fails to mention that, at the same time they sent Measure P to the ballot, the Board of Supervisors unanimously passed Resolution 22-159 which provides a detailed map of how the money should be spent to support the, desperate, needs of our emergency service agencies and for wildfire prevention efforts. See the Ukiah Daily Journal endorsement of Measure P for more detail.

Mr. Briggs suggests that, instead of passing Measure O, there should be fees for services so that, e.g., children should start being charged to check out books. Notably Mr. Briggs does not suggest that there should be new fees for services each time a local department responds to an emergency. If our departments started receiving fair compensation for all of the, largely volunteer, work they do for us, including all of the training needed to be ready to provide it, that would be a huge fee/tax increase indeed. There is not likely to ever be a less painful way to get our fire departments some of the support they need than passing Measure P.

Scott Cratty Mendocino Fire Safe Council Ukiah

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Letter To Editor,

We’d have to look far and wide to find a citizen in our County against supporting or funding our firefighters, librarians, or mental health workers. I’m sure we agree how important and critical ALL of these folks are to our safety, well being, our daily lives. It follows then that if we intend to pass any tax on ourselves to fund these key services, it should be for all three entities = Fire, Library, Mental Health. Fortunately, we have exactly that opportunity on November’s ballot with Measures O and P to provide funding to these services through the mechanism of our sales tax. 

Take a look at this graph; it details what sales tax is sun-setting, what is proposed to be redirected, and where it will be refocused. More Good News – just5/8 of a centwill do more probably than we ever have before, providing essential financial support for these important needs. We won’t pay more tax, but the SAME tax. Plus this is Sales Tax paid by visitors who may use these services, and paid by us throughout the year. To me, it’s a good deal all around. 

Vote YES on both Measures P and O. Voting FOR Measures P & O does not take away from Mental Health. Get ALL these services without raising your taxes!

Lisa Bauer

Yorkville resident & voter

Board Member, Mendocino County Fire Safe Council

Measure P Campaign Committee

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Open Letter to Mendocino Voters

I will surely make far more enemies than friends by expressing my concerns over Proposition P (and all such similar tax measures). But I do so out of an abiding belief that we must find a better way to tax ourselves for essential services. The Prop P approach is just wrong.

I like firefighters. I’m very glad we have them. I “support” them (whatever that means). I want them to have all necessary equipment for both fighting fires and protecting themselves while doing so. Virtually 100% of us feel the same. So Prop P will pass because it is a “substitute” tax use that maintains the existing sales tax rate rather than seeking to bump up that rate. 

When Measure AA passed on the coast many years ago, it was because those who supported it like myself articulated a “new tax” need for a K-8 school in the Mendocino Unified School District. We developed plans, costs, analyses – and then “sold” the package to residents with information specifically about when and how that money would be used.

Compare with Prop P. Hyperbole abounds. We are simply told the tax proceeds will “support local fire departments” as well as “wildfire-preparedness programs.” Well, who could be against that? And certainly we all agree that “costs” have increased over the past five years. We are told all our departments countywide will get “financial relief they desperately need now.” (All emphasis in original.) Strong words. I had not heard about any such desperation previously. So what are those desperate needs? We’re never told. 

I don’t know the individuals opposing Prop P nor am I aware of any “special interests” backing them. I’d like to know more but Prop P proponents don’t tell me. All I could discern from the Voter Information Pamphlet is that Ukiah is going to get the biggest bundle of funds. To be used for? Why isn’t Chief Hutchinson featured prominently? The website is not more helpful, other than to stoke more fears by telling me the “current volunteer fire system is not sustainable!” OK. But when did that happen exactly and what does “sustainable” mean? Six years ago, the Board of Supervisors expressed that Prop 172 funding would not meet fire needs. So why hasn’t the Board of Supervisors put a dedicated tax measure on the ballot since then?

In the future, maybe we can do better allocating tax funds based on articulated and precise needs. Taxpayers deserve as much. 

Rod Jones


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I serve on the Mendocino Co. Fire Safe Council (MCFSC) board. I am also working on the Measure P campaign. This letter is to provide your readers with a summary of the Measure P information Mr. Jones states he cannot find in his Letter to your paper yesterday. I have already provided a more extensive, three-page list of information and emergency/fire needs directly to Mr. Jones.

Mr. Jones states he had not heard of our “desperate needs” for Fire until now. Measure P does have a web site, but it is also on social media, mailers, signs, campaign flyers, letters to editors and more. Words are limited in these formats. Campaign representatives have been at city forums, farmers markets, the county fair, local events, candidates nights, Zoom forums, radio spots all across the county. These ‘speak to the experts’ events are the best opportunities to ask questions, receive indepth information about Measure P, hear the plans our 20 fire departments have for the funds if/when they get them. Too bad Mr. Jones wasn’t at the Albion-Little River open house last Saturday, the 15th, to see the extensive plans for that fire station, the goals and objectives laid out for the public (not to mention he missed a great tri-tip bar-b-q fundraiser for only $15! ). The information is available, as voters we should all be accessing it. Please ask your local fire chief how they plan to spend Measure P funding – they can tell you.

“When did this happen?” Our fire and emergency response situation has indeed been discussed for many years now in this County. As far back as 2016 the Board of Supervisors agreed to some proportional funding for the County’s fire agencies from Prop 172, a public safety sales tax, an amount of approximately $560,000. Then Chair Gjerde stated in his letter of May 26, 2016 about Prop 172, “it is our understanding that fire agencies need at least $3 million more and perhaps as much as $10 million more each year . . “ That was in 2016; costs for everything along with 911 calls have increased dramatically. Measure P was placed on the November Ballot by the BOS because they have long recognized and discussed the need for additional funding to support Mendocino County fire departments. Measure P is an opportunity to get, yes! desperately needed funding to fire districts right away.

I sent Mr. Jones a list almost two pages long of “articulated and precise needs” from county fire chiefs; this is available to the public. Basic operational costs like: our mostly volunteer firefighters have to be covered by Workman’s Compensation - those costs have skyrocketed; outfitting them in protective gear (Personal Protective Gear, PPE, for one firefighter costs approximately $15,000); purchase of equipment, maintaining equipment, replacing equipment; purchase of water tenders and fire engines (these cost more than $400,000 new); maintaining ISO ratings – meeting those state criteria. (ISO is Insurance Services Office, a score provided to fire departments and insurance companies. This brings a whole other issue of keeping fire district ISO ratings high enough so we can keep our fire insurance.) Not having enough revenue to pay for these basic operations does very clearly presents a desperate situation.

The individuals opposing Measure P, who wrote the Against P statement on our ballot include Steven L.Gomes, Arthur McChesney, James Crabtree, Robert Blake. The rebuttal is signed by Steven Gomes. There is no actual campaign Against Measure P, they just submitted the Against P ballot statement. What is their agenda? What is their interest in this? If any of you know these individuals you might take a guess regarding their “special interests”. 

Mr. Jones mentions the work he did on passing Measure AA on the coast years ago for the Mendocino K-8. Our situation with County Fire and emergency response is much more complex, it is county-wide. We have 20 Fire Districts, each with their own district board. Those board members are elected locally. These boards understand what the immediate and future needs are of their communities, they do indeed have agendas and goals. Developing coordinated, county-wide planning with 20 independent, local entities will require a huge effort. This is not just one, small school district. 

Most all of our 20 fire districts are comprised of mostly volunteers, very few have paid chiefs or staff let alone paid firefighters. That should be our first alarm bell. Is this a safe way to run emergency services, with mostly volunteers? When will we need to begin paying salaries for firefighters? Indeed, some districts have needed to hire seasonal firefighters to get them through fire season. This is a very scary way to run emergency response. For the moment we must rely on these volunteers, as we have in the past. However, we know costs have risen, availability of new volunteers is limited. Thank goodness these volunteers are dedicated and experienced folks, but they have their real jobs to do as well, i.e., the one that pays their bills.

I don’t agree that the Measure P campaign is trying to stoke your fears. The reality is we really are in a very scary situation. The current volunteer fire system is not sustainable. We need more. Let’s pass Measure P. I think this is an emergency measure. And yes indeed – we must find a better way to tax ouselves for these essential, emergency services. So next let’s get to work and make longterm, extensive plans for the future to safeguard ourselves, our families, and our homes.

Thank you, 

Anna Garza, 

For Bragg resident & voter

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Spitz and Haschak Attacked by Scaramela…

It’s funny how AVA columnist Mark Scaramela chooses to respond now to a critical letter to the editor I wrote to the AVA eight months ago about their coverage of the County’s new non-lethal wildlife management program, especially since the AVA didn’t even have the balls to print my letter in the first place. 

OK, fair enough, I’ll now respond to this latest bit of drivel emanating from Scaramela’s paper, even if the AVA doesn’t print it.

The basic gist of Scaramela’s complaint is that the County has not followed through on its promise to provide a non-lethal wildlife management program to replace the barbaric USDA Wildlife Services program that was terminated by the County, and he blames Supervisor John Haschak and myself for this failure. 

It’s interesting to note that Scaramela references me, Supervisor Haschak, County Counsel Christian Curtis, and job applicant Traci Pellar, to make his case, but he never makes mention of County Animal Care Services (ACS) Director Richard Molinari who is the person actually in charge of administering the County’s new non-lethal wildlife management program. As a result, Scaramela’s report has no legs. You’d think a good reporter might consider going directly to the source to get their story straight. Instead, for Scaramela, it’s much more fun to attack Spitz and Haschak.

It is not for me to comment on hiring decisions made by the County, and I was not at all involved in the hiring process for the County’s wildlife exclusion technician contractor. I am as frustrated as anyone that the County has failed to set up this new non-lethal program, but failure is only a speed-bump on the road to success, and I know that Supervisor Haschak and ACS Director Molinari are working diligently to set up a program that will serve the needs of county residents.

Jon Spitz


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Bruce Anderson Replies: Spitz seems to think his tiresomely self-righteous letters are prose dynamite. We didn't get the letter bomb he claims we deliberately didn't print, but we printed his next missile, and of course will print this tactical nuke of a communique, at the very risk of our lives! PS. Scaramella is spelled with two ells, but our best to both of those much misunderstood martyrs, Haschak and Spitz.

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Mark Scaramella replies: I do not “blame” Spitz and Haschak for the absence of a wildlife exclusion services contract, nor was my recent update on the situation any kind of a response to poor Spitz the Victim. Although for the life of me I don’t understand why a person of obvious interest and capabilities like Ms. Pellar isn’t on the job. I just find their repeated empty assurances that “work” is being done, like almost everything else (not) coming out of the County these days, to be laughable. Mr. Spitz is understandably defensive about nothing being done on his pet program so he continues his rash insistence that something is being done when it’s not. I suppose that a year from now when I quote Spitz as having said that “I know that Supervisor Haschak and ACS Director Molinari are working diligently to set up a program…” and there’s still no “program,” he’ll still think that I’m “attacking” him. PS. They can’t even get their promised wildlife exclusion library assembled. 

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I paid for a year's subscription to the Advertiser. As of August 24 I have only received nine months worth. I am due September to November. Could you please send me the editions I paid for? Can I get some respect?

If the problem is this prison not delivering then please run a tracer to find out and send me the evidence so I can relay that to the California Supreme Court in my next appeal letter. This prison has no right to rob me nor withhold the AVA from me. Please, I need some help here. I have helped your papers sell tremendously especially in the Fort Bragg area. Could you please return the favor?

You need to understand that 18-to-life isn't a fun sentence to serve. What do you surmise of my crime? Ask yourself this. What would you have done in my place? My homeless camp was invaded by two woman haters, possibly rapers too, that possibly had robbed and killed two of my hobo pals! And you had the gumption to print slander about me in your paper. This slander was written by notorious crybabies Thomas Hanover Sr., Alan Crow, David Eyster and a punk name Humphreys.

I stand on my laurels for being the right thing. Those two sneak thieves have left Mendoland for good!

David Detective Youngcault Giusti BS 7708

No. Kern State Prison, B-234

PO Box 4999

Delano, CA 93216

PS. I was in Mendocino County jail most of 2021 and all of 2022 until July 25 with Alan Crow. He never once went to the doctor and received any medication. I was in a cell next to him most of this time so I know these facts to be true. Now all of a sudden he's dying of liver disease? He certainly isn't on the street long enough to drink himself into a bad liver. Did you ever find out how he was cured of the 2001 cancerous terminal brain tumor he claimed to have had?

I never see Alan Crow at this prison because he is in protective custody for being a big-time snitch. You haven't figured out he is a phony baloney? Or is he your long lost kid?

Psalms 31:24 -- be of good courage and he shall strengthen your heart, all of you who hope in the Lord.

Augie Heeser

PSS. Here's a photo of my first boss, A.A. Heeser from the Mendocino Beacon. He died around 1969 at the age of 99. A great boss. A bit ornery and always carried a nickel plated .38 pistol in his front pocket. My first pay for eight hours work was sweeping the entire Beacon building for five dollars. I was only six years old and that was the first time I ever saw Lincoln's photo. I have always worked for a living. I never snuck around homeless camps robbing and killing hobos. Me, my mother and Grandma Crow always helped feed hobos! See if you can publish this photo of August Heeser and write a byline on him.

ED REPLY: Since Mr. Giusti was sent to the Delano prison we have received several pieces of correspondence from him with his mailing address which we immediately entered. Subsequent mailings have added additional minor bits of information such as prisoner number and bed number. After each letter we sent bundles of back issues. We suspect the mailing difficulty has something to do with somebody on the Delano end being finicky about the address. The above is the latest address we have. But, of course, we don't know for sure what the problem is. Once the correct address is established we will replace back issues and extend the subscription.

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If you don’t like abortions, don’t have one. Does that sound sarcastic? Yes, it is. The reason I said it is it’s none of my business, I’m a man. I don’t have the equipment to have a baby. But the man is responsible for the pregnancy. So here’s my suggestion: If you are a woman, you control your body and all its functions. If you are a man, control yourself if you don’t want to make a baby. If you are a person in government, it’s none of your business what a woman does with her body in the privacy of her home. It’s pretty simple.

Bruce Mallon


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Oil prices are at all-time highs, as are oil company profits. And the greatest burden is felt by those who commute to jobs far from their homes. What seems to be missing from media coverage of this issue? An honest assessment of how oil travels the world looking for the highest prices.

According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the U.S. imported 8.47 million barrels of oil a day in 2021. The U.S. also exported 8.54 million barrels of oil per day. That makes us a net exporter of oil. Any talk of rising gas prices has nothing to do with our access to oil. It is because U.S. oil companies remove oil from our country is search of higher profits.

While we need to reduce our dependency on oil for humanitarian reasons related to climate disruption, we can stabilize own market by forbidding exports of U.S. oil. Shouldn’t taxpayers see some benefit from the $16 billion tax-funded subsidy the government gives to the oil industry every year?

Peter Dekramer


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I just finished reading Anisa Thompson's letter regarding lithium mining and clean energy.

As an aside, nationwide use of solar panels on all structures having southern facing roofs where ample sunlight is available should be funded by the US government.

It seems to me that this approach, in addition to the capture of wind energy and tidal forces could lead to an enormous decrease in the use of fossil fuels. As to the problems associated with lithium mining (a nonrenewable energy source), a major increase in mass transit and discouragement of the use of private vehicles could possibly lead to a decrease in the need for lithium-ion batteries. Also, a concerted program of scientific study of new battery design technology could bring us to a point where we would provide power in a much less destructive fashion than is now available.

This is all to say nothing of this potential of energy from hydrogen powered transportation would could conceivably be derived from solar powered de-ionization of seawater.

And finally, to paraphrase Jimmy Humble, May you all have peace, love and understanding in your lives.

David Jones


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During the month of October the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office has been swearing in new personnel. Currently we are on track to hire 6 corrections officers by the end of the month, and this is exactly what we need to see. We have been working on recruitment of local people to help us meet the needs of our communities. As we continue to recruit we also have to retain in order to continue filling our ranks. 

Much if this is because our county is a wonderful place to live and work. For that I am grateful to all of our communities. 

Law enforcement across the United States has been suffering losses in numbers and California is no exception. Early retirements and people simply quitting the job is plaguing police departments and Sheriff’s Offices. This combined with fewer police academy cadets is creating a vacuum, people simply aren’t entering the law enforcement profession as they have in the past.

Over the past 30 years I have always enjoyed my job. It is challenging and fulfilling at the same time. Working with our communities which have completely different needs from one end of the county to another is very rewarding and the deputies who work for us often find their personal niche in the communities they serve. 

So we have to ask ourselves why is this happening. Exit interviews are revealing why this is occurring in policing. Much of it appears to be a lack of support by our leaders for those who serve us. There is a National narrative at work. 

Police Officers and Deputy Sheriff’s are tied to the laws the legislators hand down along with the policies of the state. If the legislation is flawed, the people forced to enforce it will suffer the backlash, not the legislators. Much of this legislation has had a direct effect on crime. The felonious killing of police officers has risen by 57% in the United States, the job simply isn’t safe. The national narrative which continually pushes the police are the problem simply isn’t true. 

We have to find balance and currently we have become so polarized our in our nation that I am afraid it’s going to take some very strong and dedicated leadership to make this happen. We have to start here in our communities. 

George Floyd has become a household name in our nation, however when I mention the names of Michael Paredes and Joseph Santana, no one knows who they were. These men were police officers gunned down just a few months ago in California. If one person is to be remembered, all should be remembered.

The national narrative is telling us police violence is the problem however no one is talking about resisting arrest, assaults on officers or the personal responsibility of residents to obey the law. I don’t understand this, how did we get here.

Everyone is talking about our rights however no one is talking about responsibility. Rights and responsibility are connected to one another. No one will have their rights unless they exercise their responsibilities. It seems when a few refuse to excursive responsibility and aren’t held accountable, we all pay with the loss of our rights. 

If a felon has no fear of his intended victims, then he must have fear of the police, the judge and a jury. This is the way things have to work in order to keep peace in a chaotic time. When we detect the crime, the criminal is often the person who will dictate the outcome of this encounter. No one is talking about that and it’s high time we start.

I am seeing new narratives being spun every day. If a person is on drugs the narrative is “self medicating” if a person attacks a deputy the narrative is “behavioral health”. Believe it or not there are criminals out there who commit crimes because they are criminals. 

In the past few decades we have seen these narratives used in many cases as excuses to remove the personal responsibility we should all share. I have seen many cases in which the narrative is clearly asking people to simply outsmart their common sense, that never works out for anyone.

Let’s continue to do things better in Mendocino County than what is being done across the remainder of the state and the nation. Let’s continue to support each other, be good neighbors no matter what someones background or political beliefs may be. Let’s continue to support our deputies and first responders. 

This has been very helpful in allowing more recruitment of the best candidates we can find. Don’t allow the national narratives and polarization of our nation to polarize Mendocino County. 

Remember we are still hiring for Dispatchers, Deputy Sheriffs, Corrections Deputies and Professional Staff. It’s a great place to work and a career one can be proud of.

Thank you.

Sheriff Matt Kendall

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David Taber is right that treating water as if it’s free is a bad idea. Any cost-benefit analysis should evaluate impacts to Eel River communities since the Eel became a Russian River tributary.

These impacts include huge losses for Eel River fishing-related businesses, tribes and property owners from a century of lost water, lost salmon and lost way of life. Commercial and sport fishermen up and down the coast traditionally relied on salmon from the Eel River as part of a thriving port economy.

What about the economic value of a fully restored fishery on the Eel and other beneficial uses of 398 river miles designated wild, scenic or recreational? People once came from far away to enjoy the river and brought money into the local economy. One study valued protecting and rebuilding Eel River fish stocks at $150 million per year, and a restored local commercial fishery at $50 million-plus annually.

To select the best course of action, decision-makers should consider a reasonable price for water transferred from the Eel River.

Vivian Helliwell


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Our evolution in the early 20th century from horse-drawn wagons to autos included dumping waste into rivers, lakes, oceans and air without any thought of the consequences. We know better now and are left with little time to fix the mistakes of the past.

Corporations are concerned with providing a return on investment to their stockholders and offer only lip service to environmental concerns. Yes, the grid will need improvement to support electric vehicles, and once the industry understands the rules have changed, it will be no different than the auto industry complying with California’s rigorous emission standards — a long-standing and successful mandate.

As an aside, one of the U.S. auto manufacturers now has a fully electric, four-passenger auto with a range of 300 miles for $42,000. Sounds like they’ve been paying attention.

Svetlana Artemoff


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Everyone should have the right to choose whatever hair style they like. This should include braids, lacs, twists and bantu knots. For example, I'm nearly completely bald and proud of it. Rep. Barbara Lee (D), Oakland, is advocating passage of the Crown Act which would ban racial-discrimination on the basis of the way a person wears his or her hair. This bill is now before the Senate after twice passing the House.

Young brown and black girls or boys must not any longer be coerced into using hair straightening products to look different or to get into college or to get a job. A recent medical study of uterine cancer has shown a greater incidence of this deadly disease in Black patients as opposed to whites. If there is a connection of such hair straitening products to uterine cancer, the FDA should step up to ban such cosmetic products.

Frank Baumgardner 

Santa Rosa

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