Press "Enter" to skip to content

Letters (December 22, 2022)

* * *


Hi folks,

I drove three hours this morning to San Ramon and then back this afternoon to appear on the CIF agenda about the outrageous computerized ticketing system and outrageous gate fees that cost more than a day's wages for some of our families. 

Here are my remarks. 

Good morning,

I am Superintendent of the Anderson Valley Unified School District located in Boonville, California. I greatly appreciate the work of CIF, and I am here today with a suggestion to make CIF better, and more importantly, to ensure that all of our parents have barrier free access to their kids' extra curricular games.

I am proud to say my boys soccer team won their regional CIF championship. I am sad to say that some of my parents and families watched that game behind the fence because they couldn’t afford the ticket fee.I am going to put my teacher hat on--how many folks in this room have a credit card? And I am sure like me, many of you have more than one. I assure you many of my parents do not have credit cards. They cannot access the online ticket system. And, even with a cash box, the $15 gate fee represents one hour of labor for a minimum wage job. Asking a family of two parents and two kids is a $50 investment in a game where the average household income is $35,000 is unconscionable. Some of you may say, well the district should subsidize it.

Let me tell you the reality of Anderson Valley School District. I have 70 year old buildings. I have two collapsed septic systems with sewage flowing out on the field and playgrounds. We are not in a position to subsidize sports; yet, because parents need to be there, we have eliminated the fees at all our home games and urge CIF to do the same in all high poverty schools.

Parents have a legal right to participate in their students' extracurricular activities and the high play-off prices are preventing that. I know your funding structure is unstable and maybe we need to partner with the legislature on subsidizing low income schools to fit into the CIF model. I don’t know what the solution is, but I do know parents need to watch their kids play. 

We already faced the huge inequity of the wealthier school districts whose students play club sports. They arrive in their private vans, and their travel suits, their $400 shoes, and their extra months of practice under their belts, and my kids are scrappy enough to win a championship through true grit, earned skill, and hard work. Our parents deserve the chance to watch them play. They also need the opportunity to go to away games and see students play. This ticketing system excludes anybody without a credit card, and I shouldn’t have to front that as a district. 

There was some suggestion not based in reality, after I talked about fundraisers to off-set fees, and then one really brave member of that panel spoke up and I applaud him. He said not all title schools are the same. He had been to Boonville. He had seen our kids play. He said it was time CIF looked at this issue. We have been referred up to the next tier of meetings at cif to review this proposal. If you can drop this gentleman a note of sincere appreciation, I would appreciate it. He was brave.

Gabriel Albavera, Principal at Elsie Allen HS in Santa Rosa.

Again: Send that man a note of thanks. He did a good thing and swam against the tide. Good stuff.

Let's see where we go....

Louise Simson, Superintendent

Anderson Valley Unified School District

Cell: 707-684-1017

* * *



About Boonville between 1979 & 1982 I went to Bachman Hill School a mile down from Boonville post office or Anderson valley post office I recited at Bachman Hill from 1979 to 1982 when I graduated there's a story you forgot about the green man who lived in Hendy Woods, he thought world war II was still going on. Then he finally died of malnutrition campers used to leave him clothes and food and there's a lot still to be researched, we had three log cabins and then the owner had her personal property on our property that she lived in and she was building kind of a mansion that never got finished built, I heard that they turned our log cabins into a hotel, I'm shocked that you had not mentioned Bachman Hill whatsoever, is a very rare boarding school and we had a totem pole, they used to have, I used to have compromising Court instead of small claims, like our dust used to get on our neighbor’s laundry when he hung it outside so we had to oil our roads, stuff like that, I used to talk but like I know one sentence. Do you want to go to Horn of Zeese and have a slip of Charlie Brown?? That means would you like to go to the coffee shop and have a piece of pie!

Tina Conner (via on-line post)

* * *



As 2022 comes to a close and we begin to gather with family and friends, I hope everyone can appreciate the great things which have occurred in Mendocino County this year. During this season we receive cards and letters from a public who clearly supports us. 

Many of the people serving at the Sheriff’s Office work nights, weekends, and holidays. Receiving this support reminds them of why they forsake this time with their families to carry out their duties. This is very humbling, and I wanted to say thank you for this. Our deputies, dispatchers, and professional staff have expressed to me the overwhelming appreciation they have for these kind gestures. 

Normally in December I begin looking over statistics, personnel, budgets and start putting together a “where we are now” overview. My Undersheriff and I begin preparations for next year by planning new strategies to meet the needs of the communities within the county. We have completed some work that I think the entire county can be proud of, while we still have some hills to continue climbing.

I wanted to focus on a few samples of the data from recent years. In 2020 we had 11 murders, in 2021 we had 8, in 2022 we had 3 murders. We have made arrests for all of the murders committed in 2022 and the suspects are currently facing prosecution. Having 3 murders is still 3 too many, however it is much closer to zero than we were in years past.

The reduction in homicides allows us to continue working on cases which have yet to be solved. We still have many cold cases and missing persons cases which we believe to be homicides and we must continue working those. If we had no new crimes come into the Detectives bureau, we would still have many years of work to complete.

The dual response unit in which a well-trained mental health worker is partnered with a deputy sheriff is clearly paying off. In 2020 we took 95 investigations in which we were called to a subject in crisis due to a mental health issue. We began the dual response model in 2021 and that number dropped to 64 cases, and in 2022 we have taken 39 cases. This is a reduction of over 50%. This is directly related to the excellent dual-response partnership that serves our communities. We owe a big thank you to the Mental Health Technicians who have partnered with us as these are some truly caring and incredible people.

The reason we should rejoice in this is twofold. First the trained mental health technicians are clearly providing resources and meeting folks half way in order to prevent persons from digressing into crisis. They are building relationships with those in need and therefore are providing services based on a true understanding of the needs. 

The second reason is we are not sending peace officers whose job is to investigate crimes into situations they are not trained to do. Sending people to complete a job they aren’t trained to complete isn’t fair to the public or the officer who is handed this task. This also allows deputies more time on the streets and in their beats to prevent crime.

Our coroner’s investigations took a steep rise over the past few years. In 2020 we had 472 coroner’s investigations which was an increase of 136 cases from 2019. In 2021 we had 475 coroner’s investigation and in 2022 we have had 395. Many of these cases were due to drug overdose or suicide. That is a tragedy by definition as I consider those types of cases to be truly preventable. We still have a few weeks left in 2022 and therefore I believe that number will continue to climb a little.

Quality of life issues such as homelessness and drug abuse continue to rise. Catalytic converter thefts are coming to Mendocino County. Much of this is due to legislation which removed penalties for these types of issues or re-defined them from felonies to misdemeanor crimes. There seemed to be little to no framework put into place after removing penalties which were previously handed down by the courts. I am uncertain what will occur with this situation until such a time that good framework is constructed.

We are continuing to see a high number of arsons. We had 18 arson investigations last year. That’s over one a month. That is a frightening thing when we have all lost so much due to the recent fires. We have to remain vigilant and continue to keep each other safe. Our preparations served us well this year and we had no loss of life due to wildfire. That being said, we will never be able to forget the incredible losses we have seen in the past, both in human life and in property and homes. 

We are still seeing several robberies, mail thefts, package thefts and property crimes. Please pick up your mail daily. Don’t leave packages on your steps or porch and look out for your neighbors and their homes and property as well. If you see something, say something and we will all be a little bit safer.

Our Corrections Deputies continue to do great work serving the public and our inmate population. We have many saves of persons who have overdosed, or attempted suicide. They are continuing to keep a calm and well run facility while progressing in their careers. 

Our Search and Rescue team has become an incredible force of well trained and talented people. They received the Blue Ribbon award this year at the fair. They have also been requested by name for some extremely difficult work. Their reputation for incredible work hasn’t gone unnoticed with our surrounding counties and throughout the state.

We have completed several new hires since June of this year. Our numbers are coming up slowly, however they are coming up. I am very happy to say we are doing much better than many counties with our personnel numbers in our Patrol, Corrections, and Dispatch Divisions.

We are working to bring on Sheriff’s Services Technicians to assist with many of the newly legislated duties our deputies are facing. State mandated data reporting is taking several hours of the day away from completing investigations, patrolling neighborhoods, and keeping the public safe. As we move forward in hiring these folks, they will be assisting with many of these duties which will allow more patrols at a time when personnel are limited.

We had a couple of very tough crimes this year. The human race has an incredible ability to do good and to do evil. Man’s capacity for cruelty at times is something I can’t wrap my mind around. Some of the crimes we have seen, I simply can’t take measure of. They test our resolve and faith. They affect all of us and shake our communities. We all have to come back together to heal from these events, knowing full well they will leave a scar. This scar should remind us to continue looking out for each other and to do things better than we did yesterday. 

We solved these horrific crimes because of good relationships with our communities including our tribal communities who provided us with much assistance as they always do during times of need. I wanted to thank all of these folks who came to our assistance when we needed them most.

Mendocino County will always be a special place not only because of its beauty, however because of the people who live here and look out for one another. This is where our strength truly comes from. 

As always thank you for supporting the men and women at the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. These folks are our sons and daughters, neighbors, and protectors, thank you for remembering this.

Sheriff Matt Kendall


* * *



I came into Sonoma County Agriculture about 50 years ago in Alexander Valley and my wife’s family has been in Dry Creek Valley for over 100 years. When I started farming, 20 acres supported a family. Now it takes 40-plus. Many buyers have no interest in farming for profit. That’s why the ag element of the county general plan is so important.

The cottage industry needs to be protected so small farmers can produce enough income to sustain themselves, thus preserving open space and farmland. Sonoma County supervisors should support farmers and keep the land bountiful. Dairy, eggs, veggies, cannabis, grapes and all other crops keep our county beautiful and prosperous. Ag tourism fills hotels, rentals, restaurants and wineries.

I would like the supervisors to task the Economic Development Board to consider helping farmers reinvent themselves and keep their farms alive. We need to curb intrusive rules and regulations and develop a cohesive plan for farming to thrive.

The best way to keep open space is keeping agriculture viable. All ag products should be able to be sold direct to the public. The road map is the ag element of the general plan. Please take this into consideration as we develop this beautiful county together.

Steve Sommer


* * *


To the Editor:

What I learned from the reporting of last Wednesday’s Ukiah city council meeting is that councilmember/mayor Jim Brown is a class act, even as he leaves his office. What a gentleman! I congratulate him on his years of service and admire his kind and generous comments. The city will miss his dedication and strong commitment to the betterment of the community that he loves so much. Great job, Jim.

I cannot say the same about the incoming bunch. As a city property owner and 50-year observer of the local political scene, I am appalled by the obvious slight to the councilmember next in line to be mayor. While I recognize that there is no fixed line of succession, I cannot help but point to the obvious discrimination against a person with a disability that should have been accommodated. That a sitting councilmember willingly admitted to organizing the railroading of another for the office of mayor is reprehensible. One more co- conspirator would have been a clear violation of state law. Shame on you. I look forward to better decision-making from those in power.

Philip Gorny

Redwood Valley

* * *


AVA Readers/Editor,

I enjoy the AVA. I have been an avid reader and fan for 40 years. I have never been critical of your publication until recently when I wondered why David Giusti continues to have a forum in which to spew his hate and anger and toxicity.

Mr. Giusti is a whack job who is obviously projecting in his rants about Mendocino County. How could David possibly find fault in Mr. McCowen who dedicates his free time to cleaning up garbage at the river? Regardless of McCowen's political beliefs or endeavors, it is in extremely poor taste to slam him in the AVA for cleaning up our community.

David Giusti, as we are all familiar by now, is a mentally ill free range homeless whack job whose brief visits from prison to Ukiah are spent pushing a shopping cart around town accosting people who he feels wronged him. His mental health decline is well documented as far back as 1984 when he was sent to prison for the brutal attack on his very own father in Fort Bragg. From then until now his life has been in and out of state prison, never once contributing anything to the world except two daughters who refuse to have contact with him.

You can tell a lot about a man based on his relationships with his children. Giusti's only family member is a distant aunt who he has attached himself to in a parasitic way for prison commissary.

In the November 9 edition of the AVA his mental health decline is obvious when he accuses an inmate in the county jail (me, Alan Crow) of striking a deal with District Attorney Eyster where the inmate is released from custody in exchange for the inmate writing against David Giusti in letters to the AVA.

Mr. Giusti, surely you must be on meds by now! You are not that important! David Giusti walked up on an elderly homeless man who was prone on the ground. He pulled out an ax handle and savagely attacked William Barry, a 79-year-old homeless, defenseless man striking Barry more than 40 times! Barry, whose upper torso bones, most of which were shattered by Giusti, was left to die behind a Ukiah store.

Doctors at the Ukiah Hospital would work miracles in saving Barry's life but could not save his mental faculties. Barry currently resides in a Bay Area convalescent home in a mostly vegetative state. But the vicious attack on Barry would not end there. Giusti, once in custody, was placed in an isolation cell where he refused to shower for months. He would appear at his own jury trial wearing dirty, soiled, jail issue clothes. After prolonging his demise for most of two long years, he finally was given 18 to life in prison. Once in prison the unprovoked attack by Giusti continued with an onslaught of letters where he called Barry everything from a woman beater, a paid snitch, and a petty thief in letters to the AVA.

Giusti, realizing he is a lifelong failure will never again return to the streets of Ukiah or a shopping cart. He continues to spread his hate at Mendo's community. Mr. McCowen and others are now the focus of his rage.

When is enough enough? You lose, Mr. Giusti! You will never return to Mendocino County. Your destiny is to die a lonely, dirty, angry old man in a prison cell. No one made your decisions. You did! You will never be a part of my community again! So I ask you to please go away! No one wants or needs your negative toxicity. Our community is all the better without you pushing your cart around town. Please direct your hate elsewhere! You don't matter, buddy! 

In closing I want to thank District Attorney Eyster for flushing the toilet on this turd. I also want to thank Mr. McCowen for caring enough about my community to pick up trash along the river. My county may have its issues, but I wouldn't wish to live anywhere else on earth.

All my love and respect to the Barry family and people of Mendocino who make it the best place on earth.

Alan 'Sonny' Crow


PS. Several weeks ago in one of Giusti's letters to the AVA he wanted us all to think he knows so much about baseball,. He wrote that Ty Cobb was the recordholder for having the most all-time hits. This is not correct. The all-time record holder for most hits is the best hitter of all time, Mr. Pete Rose! Get your facts right, Mr. Giusti. You don't even know your baseball. Nobody wants to sit and read 500 

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *