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Letters (December 8, 2022)

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D.Briley asks:

Curious, in the Doug Stone case, what does pre-trial settlement mean? And combining into one case, what does that do? Benefits who?

Bruce Anderson replies:

Well-heeled defendants can delay matters endlessly because the pathetic Superior Court of this lost county allows it. Ditto for the DA in this case.

Mark Scaramella replies:

In my experience, pre-trial settlement (and its preparation) is mainly a way for lawyers to make more money. It never occurs at the outset of a case, but only after months of legal bills piling up so that a case can be made legally eligible for settlement, aka “ripe” as my lawyer once told me. The courts/judges never order people into mandatory settlement discussions at the outset of a case like they should to possibly save time and money and court time. Instead, they require that the saps, aka, litigants, pay through the nose before they can be allowed to talk to each other under court supervision when many cases could be “settled” at a relatively low cost and where legal rules are much looser. Take, for example, the Sheriff’s case against the County. Instead of ordering the County and the Sheriff and his lawyer into immediate mandatory settlement talks, Judge Moorman dragged the relatively simple question out for months and months, requiring lots of billable hours on both sides. And now it’s still open and under appeal. I could give many more examples. The lawyers (which of course all judges are) call all the shots.

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Here we are, among the winter months and holiday season. If you don’t want to put off those little projects or “ to do” things I can help you get it done in a timely manner with expertise and attention to detail. We all need a little help once in a while and this season is just the ticket to help this community.

With over 30 years experience in the business, local references, tools and transportation I’m sure we can find a solution for any circumstance both simple and intricate. I’m available and excited to work with you on anything you have in mind.

Pauly Gondusky

The Happy Handyman

H (707) 397-1484

C (707) 357-3071

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After 53 years of McLaughlin family ownership by my parents and myself, the Independent Coast Observer, Inc. is preparing to transfer ownership and operation of the weekly Independent Coast Observer to a newly-formed nonprofit community corporation, Independent Coast Observer Community News, Inc. The 501(c)(3) corporation’s founding board includes Drew Fagan, President; Susan Levenson-Palmer, Vice-President; and Jeanne Jackson, Secretary-Treasurer.

We anticipate completing the transition to new local ownership early in 2023.

We plan to make this transition as seamless as possible. Most of our current staff will continue under the new ownership; I will retire from the publisher post, but will be available on a consultancy basis after the transition to new ownership. Editor Chris McManus will also take on management responsibilities of publisher.

Our community’s newspaper will continue to publish, both in print and online at, with the same look and spirit as it has for half a century, chronicling news and life, while driving local commerce on the 50 miles of California coast we call Mendonoma, from Elk to Jenner

J. Stephen McLaughlin Publisher, Independent Coast Observer PO Box 1200 Gualala, CA 95445

707-884-3501 x 13

ED REPLY: We’re all non-profits, Steve, one way or another.

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I have noticed that many people have the same problem I do: our AT&T landline goes out and we can never get a repair person to fix it. That’s because AT&T does not want to maintain their copper land lines and they are hoping local customers will just give up out of a exasperation.

There is a solution that I have found that works — Call Assemblymember Jim Wood’s office at 707-463-5770 and ask for help. After doing this our phone service was restored one day later after having been out for over two weeks. We all need to do this to make sure AT&T keeps maintaining our land lines.

Dan Feldman

Anchor Bay

PS. Thanks to all who voted! Democracy lives on to fight another day in 2024!

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A hundred years ago a person in San Francisco could take the ferry to Tiburon, get on the train and later that same day be on the Eel River as a guest in a tourist hotel, with good food, fishing, swimming, all the activities available to a person on a riverside vacation. There were places down the river from Dos Rios such as River Gardens and Nashmead which catered to these train tourists. Personally I would like to see something like this happen again, with perhaps parking at Longvale (junction of 101 and 162) with a little store for outfitting, another place in Dos Rios to leave your car and get on the trail. A shuttle from Alderpoint? There are dozens of rail to trail conversions in other parts of the country and these are delightful. I have been to some of them and believe me the easy grade on an old rail line is wonderful to walk on or bike. Yes, Bosco and his crew are swindlers. There are always scams associated with railroads, part of the territory. And California might be essentially incompetent to pull this off. A three mile pedestrian right of way along Highway 162 in Round Valley has been in the planning stage for ten years now, a million dollars (more or less) spent on “studies” and right of way, and the thing isn’t built yet. I really don’t know how California can ever get this Great Redwood Trail built with the present “can’t do” culture. But I still like the idea.

Lew Chichester


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Since the election of Joe Biden, we live in an age of lying. The president and sycophants like Alejandro Mayorkas routinely lie. When caught they double down.

Biden and Mayorkas’ Big Lie is that the border is secure. They’re Democrats — they don’t have to tell the truth. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is encountering up to 8,000 illegal immigrants every day. In fiscal year 2021, monthly border encounters grew from 72,000 to 210,000. The border isn’t secure.

Among Biden’s Big Lies is that he knew nothing about his son Hunter’s business dealings in Russia, China, Ukraine and elsewhere; that Hunter’s laptop was “Russian disinformation.” The New York Times and Washington Post acknowledged the laptop is not Russian disinformation. The Post awarded Biden a “bottomless Pinocchio” for his fabrications.

Biden lies about his law school grades and scholarships, where his son Beau died (not in Iraq), that he used to drive a tractor trailer, that al-Qaida is gone from Afghanistan, that the price of gas was over $5 when he took office, that he was arrested on his way to see Nelson Mandela, etc. Biden ignores inconvenient facts.

Sandy Metzger

Santa Rosa

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Letter to Editor/Senator

Dear Senator Padilla,

“It must be recognized that the cause of all world unrest, of the World Wars which have wrecked humanity and the widespread misery upon our planet, can largely be attributed to a selfish group with materialistic purposes who have for centuries exploited the masses and used the labor of mankind for their selfish ends. From the feudal barons of Europe and Great Britain in the Middle Ages through the powerful business groups of the Victorian era to the handful of capitalists—national and international—who today control the world’s resources, the capitalistic system has emerged and has wrecked the world. This group of capitalists has cornered and exploited the world’s resources and the staples required for civilized living; they have been able to do this because they have owned and controlled the world’s wealth through their interlocking directorates and have retained it in their own hands. They have made possible the vast differences existing between the very rich and the very poor; they love money and the power which money gives; they have stood behind governments and politicians; they have controlled the electorate; they have made possible the narrow nationalistic aims of selfish politics; they have financed the world businesses and controlled oil, coal, power, light, media and transportation; they control publicly or sub rosa the world’s banking accounts.

The responsibility for the widespread misery to be found today in every country in the world lies predominantly at the door of certain major interrelated groups of businessmen, bankers, executives of international cartels, monopolies, trusts and organizations and directors of huge corporations who work for corporate or personal gain.” — The Tibetan Master D.K., via Alice Bailey.

This was written at the end of WWII, and holds true, and worse, today!!

What are you doing to ameliorate this

Better and enforce anti-trust laws? Ranked choice voting? Stop giving the military so bloody much money?

Excellent “socialized” “MediCal” medical help for everyone? 

Election day a holiday, and every citizen MUST vote, with no one allowed to intimidate voters? and/or everyone mails in their ballots? 

Govt paid for election information about every candidate, so each has an equal chance to tell the people what they are about? I.e., free TV and radio spots and debates? Get the money OUT of the election process? Honest reporting on news media? (W/ anti-trust laws enforced, this would be easy. With about 6 corporations owning about 90% of businesses, we, the People, are SCREWED!!) Nationalize- AGAIN- utilities- energy, water; hospitals, prisons, USPS, schools etc.? (Those are NOT things that anyone should be making a profit on!!) Raise taxes on the super wealthy? Stop their tax loopholes? Stop government subsidies of Oil/gas companies?

There are so many things that could and should be done to have a truly viable society where no one is left out, and the environment is taken care of! We hope you are doing all you can! We are pretty depressed about it all, not to mention disgusted.


Nancy MacLeod


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Electric bill…

Having just received my monthly electric bill, I’m wondering how on earth I’m going to PAY it! It’s suddenly $241! I’d appreciate feedback on various ways to cut down on my use of electricity. I already turn off the heat to the Water Heater portion on my electric panel/power box. I only heat water once a day, and it only needs to be on for about twenty minutes to last all day. What else can I do? My sleep pattern is horrible, but I don’t know how to change that, either. I wake up every 2 to 3 hours needing to pee. (I’m 88 years old). But too often, when I wake to go to the bathroom, I wake up too far, so I go on my computer and do jigsaw puzzles or something like that til I get sleepy again. So I sleep for 2 or 3 hours at a time. But I’m up the rest of that time, so I don’t want to have to turn my heat off during the night! $241 for electricity is RIDICULOUS. What to do?

Ellie Green


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Suddenly it seems my body doesn’t fit anymore

I wake up clenching my teeth

Or with aches and pains I never had before

I feel like I spent the whole day moving house

When I was simply relaxing with a book

I bruise like a banana

And do not remember what hit me

Hands sore from holding the steering wheel

What’s up with this?

I am aware of every movement

Not pleasantly.

Where I would run and climb

I now know falling is dangerous

3 broken ribs that will not heal

I am careful to stick to flat surfaces,

Stairs, hills and uneven sidewalks are enemies.

My mom used to laugh and say:

“I don’t know why I am so tired,

I never do anything.”

I get it now,

I watch the children running and jumping

And wonder

How bad does it get

Before one gives up

And goes for a trade in?

Do we just wait until the weariness and aching

Becomes too much and we say “Enough.”

Emjay Wilson


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Living in America is tantamount to living on the front lines of a battlefield. Whether you’re in a grocery store, a school, a workplace or a nightclub, you’re painfully aware that some people are out there with deadly assault weapons ready to kill you. These weapons were intended for use only in war.

We are living in a more dangerous society than the lawless Wild West of the 1800s. Why are these weapons of war so prevalent in our country? Because almost 100% of Republican politicians consistently vote against banning these deadly weapons from our civilian society. They have a perverse view of the Second Amendment, which was written long before the United States became the most powerful military in the world.

These days we don’t need a civilian militia to protect us. But Republicans are more interested in getting political donations from the National Rifle Association and catering exclusively to gun-loving voters than creating a safer, less violent America. All they offer are “thoughts and prayers” instead of action.

Meanwhile a huge majority of Americans want to see an end to all these mass murders and feel powerless to accomplish it. The answer is simple — use your power to vote, and vote against those who refuse to ban assault weapons.

Tom Lanzone


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My name is Charles Gielow #BU 4708. I’m from Albion. But I am currently residing in North Kern state prison doing a three-year bid for conspiracy to commit insurance fraud. I’m celled up with another Mendo boy, Joseph Ballard, and we thought we would drop you a quick note to say, “Happy Thanksgiving,” and to let you know how much we miss the AVA we used to get weekly in the county jail. We are both enthusiastic practitioners of “fanning the flames of discontent.” We were wondering if you could find it in your heart to send us the best Christmas present we could hope to get this year. A subscription to your wonderful publication would really make a couple of your “homeboys” day. It would help us not be so homesick for our beloved Mendocino County and so that we can stay up to date on the comings and goings of neighbors and friends back home.

Thank you.


Charles Gielow #BU 4708. 

North Kern State Prison

B-2 234-Up

PO Box 4999

Delano, CA 93216

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A security, by definition, must secure something of value.

Cryptocurrencies do not secure anything of physical value, and they don’t do anything for anyone. The argument that cryptocurrency is money is also bogus. Money, by definition, is a unit of exchange that originates from a securitized debt. There’s that word again. Security. Cryptocurrencies are fresh air in a bottle, minus the fresh air, minus the bottle.

James Miller

Santa Rosa

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All the inmates and guards here in the Mendocino County Jail read your paper and most have asked me to write something good that is going on with me. I have some clout here for being the funny guy and giving the cops trouble. But they are all good with me. Just recently I was cell-extracted and made them carry me all the way around the jail. But I was separated from someone I love. So this will make them laugh and get my point across. You guys are great. Thanks and God bless.

All Is Fair in Love and War.

This is for someone very dear to my heart, someone I trust, believe in and love, no matter what. Soon to be together again my love, there is no one who can change how I feel for you. You are my night and my day and my every thought. Every second of every minute I think of you a lot. The cops must move me back to 400 block.

They may have won the battle, but I shall win the war.

Luna, Daniel loves you to the moon and back.

Daniel Batten #99931

Mendocino County Jail, Ukiah

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Regarding the Nov. 30 letter: “Sometimes the late 60s felt like this.”

See the movie “CSA: Confederate States of America.”

Recommended by E. Baines.

Jay Williamson

Santa Rosa

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To the Editor:

‘Solar on every rooftop’ is a critical goal as we implement needed efforts to limit climate disruption. State planners agree we need to triple large scale solar AND rooftop solar to meet the State’s energy goals for electric vehicles and heat pumps for heating and air conditioning.

But the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is proposing to vote to decrease the credits it pays to new solar customers who generate excess power for PG&E by 75%. This credit decrease effectively stops new solar installations as was demonstrated in Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii when those states enacted similar measures.

PG&E claimed that solar customers don’t pay their fair share. On the contrary, solar customers pay to install solar, pay for long distance power distribution and help the state during summer heat waves by providing enough power to curtail rolling blackouts. PG&E claims solar installations were only on wealthy households. Currently most solar installations are on low/ moderate income households. Fair solar credits are needed to encourage new solar installations.

PGE is guaranteed a 8-12 percent profit on distribution infrastructure in the form of rate hikes. Rooftop solar reduces the need for those lines and thereby reduces their profits. Is PGE’s assault on rooftop solar because of the profit it loses by not needing to build more long distance power lines?

You should care about this issue. An easy action is to go to and scroll down to the box to email Governor Newsom.

Eileen Mitro


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President Biden just announced his willingness to talk with President Vladimir Putin of Russia regarding the war in Ukraine. This brought on a response from our ally President Zelensky of Ukraine stating “Ukraine won’t negotiate until, “every Russian soldier leaves Ukrainian soil.” President Biden said that Putin must first make some indication that he wants to make peace. Putin hasn’t done so. While this move by our president may help, it may be too soon.

In the Old Testament (Isaiah, 2,) the prophet Isiah said,

For out of Zion shall go forth Instruction, and the word

of the Lord from Jerusalem.

He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate

for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into

ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks;

nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall

they learn war any more. O House of Jacob, come, let

more. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD.

The Hebrew prophet Isaiah lived in Jerusalem from the 8th to 7th centuries BC, before the birth of Jesus Christ. Present weapons can kill and destroy more but Isiah’s words still hold true.

Frank Baumgardner, III

Santa Rosa

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An unsolicited new idea that you will like.

It seems like if the percentage of young people voting was higher in would work in the Democratic Party’s favor. We are talking about voting. We want voters under 50 and especially those between 18 and 30 to vote in much higher percentages. As they age, older voters become more selfish and narrowminded — but they vote.

The proposal is for a trial run in the 2024 California election with the hope that other states will adopt it.

All persons will receive a ballot by mail and all ballots must be returned. It’s called mandatory voting. You do not need a vote, but under our proposal most will be eager to vote.

The candidates are 12 in number. Your representative and senator plus state offices from Governor to Board of Equalization.

Out of numbers from 1-100 you must assign a number to each of the candidates you voted for. You must write the number down on the numbered detachable strip on the ballot. This is your lottery ticket. Don’t lose it. The governor has some children. They will conduct the drawing. 100 numbered play turnips will be placed in a sack. The children will draw out 12 turnips.

The person who has a match for the most of the 12 play turnips wins the first prize of $5,000, a modest sum because this is a trial. But there should be a lot of smaller prizes to track potential voters.

After the 2024 election we will have some idea how much running this lottery will cost. But we cannot ask the State of California to pay for it because they need millions for their failed homeless programs. Instead, we will ask the participants of the 2024 election to slip a $1 bill into their return ballot. No dollar, no lottery. We hope this lottery will attract Democrats.

Ralph Bostrom


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