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Letters (January 5, 2023)

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The Press Democrat was right that California’s legal marijuana system is a mess, but wrong to blame it on “people who saw profit potential” and not on the state Legislature. In fact, marijuana interests had no role in funding or drafting Proposition 64 (if they had, it might have actually turned out to be profitable for them). Proposition 64 was primarily funded by Facebook billionaire Sean Parker and drafted by a team of consultants who had no business interest in cannabis.

The Legislature in fact bears some responsibility for the shortcomings of Proposition 64. Before Proposition 64 passed, it enacted the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, which imposed an unduly complicated, unwieldy regulatory structure over the industry. The architects of Proposition 64 perforce adopted this structure and were further influenced by a blue ribbon task force overseen by the lieutenant governor.

Proposition 64 is yet another example of California’s unfortunate penchant for overregulation and over-taxation, which has rendered its government so dysfunctional in recent years.

Dale Gieringer

Director, California NORML (National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws) San Francisco

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I had an emergency veterinary appointment in Sebastopol. I stopped for cash at my bank on Fourth Street in Santa Rosa. There were no meters left, and I was in a hurry. I parked for one minute next to a car at a meter in front of the bank. I put my flashers on and ran to the ATM. I was in the middle of my transaction when I saw a parking attendant across the street writing a ticket.

I watched and waited for my transaction to be complete. He was taking photos of the car, writing a ticket and placing it under the wiper. I ran to the car, opened my door and got one foot inside. He sauntered across the street and said, “Unfortunately, I am going to give you a ticket.” I said, “I watched you. You were not even finished placing that ticket before I got halfway into my vehicle.” He said it didn’t matter and he was going to ticket me for illegal parking.

This is why I will not shop, eat or go downtown anymore. I can walk to Montgomery Village where I will do my business. Santa Rosa will watch its downtown die with these draconian parking measures.

Kate E. Black

Santa Rosa

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The President of the California Public Utilities Commission justified a reduction in solar subsidies saying “we are using ratepayer funds” for the subsidies. I don’t see any mention of reducing rates for those who do not have rooftop solar. It looks to me like PG&E, as usual, is simply trying to increase its profits. PG&E compensated its CEO to the tune of $51.2 million in 2021 for keeping profits high. Utility companies, which have a monopoly, should be nonprofit.

Robert Plantz

Santa Rosa

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I have watched Fort Bragg over the past 40 years suffering through the seemingly eternal cycles of new leadership but the same old failures to mitigate the downward economic cycle that I observed when I worked there as the Finance Director about 20 years ago. The phenomenon mimics third world regions where leadership has defaulted to what is left of the residual talent pool.

Here are my suggestions to break out of the current cycle:

Get some expertise in municipal capital markets.

Expand the tax base through LAFCO.

Use the valuable water resources at Fort Bragg to sustain the tax base.

Get leaders to learn the complexity of municipal governance.

Educate the citizens on future challenges faced by current trends.

Anees Azad

Fort Bragg

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Chris Skyhawk Wrote: KZYX&Z Has An Opening For Membership Director

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Marco here. Several problems with this. 

1. Nowhere on the page does it say what the pay is, and it's the law now that you have to do that with a job notice.

2. KZYX has 2,000 members. Membership is either $25 or $50 a year. That's $100,000 total as a high estimate, which is coincidentally close to what just the Manager and Program Director suck out of the station for themselves in pay. So all the membership money goes to just two people in the office. Add to that the pay of the person cranking the begging wheel (whatever that amounts to; see 1, above), and the pay of the Business Underwriting Coordinator, who presides over schmoozing with wineries and so on, and the only thing paying the real expenses is the six-figure tax derived CPB grant and huge grants from rich people, to make sure never is heard on the air a discouraging word about them or their interests or class. Which is a lot. KZYX is swimming in money,* easily enough money, if the management model weren't tangled into a pretzel, to pay each of the regular airpeople a stipend of more than $1,000 a year; that's a mere $20 a show, and they won't even do that.

3. You heard right: the local airpeople, the ones at least going through the motions of doing all the real work the radio station is there for in the first place, are paid nothing. And if any of them ever speak up about the internal workings of the station or voice disaproval of the status quo or air a surprise without getting managerial approval, they're out like a shot. So the only people left on the air there over the course of thirty years of this are ones who are happy with the way things are because they don't need money, they have their show to play their harmless record collection on, or chat on the phone with their friends, and that's enough for them, or they're kids and they don't know any better, and it's fun for them. Of course it's fun; even crappy radio is radio.

*And they're building a million-dollar office situation in Ukiah with even more money from rich families and corporations, relying on innocuous canned crap from a thousand miles away for so much of the broadcast day and night. With no plans to ever open up the schedule to anyone doing anything out of the cookie-cutter NPR-colonized station sphere, and I'll say it again: nor to ever pay local radio people for doing real local radio.

Look: they say it over and over: “Listener-supported community radio.” It's the same lie every time they run that tape. It's not listener-supported, it's government and rich people-supported, and much of the community is permanently vibed out if not shut out of doing radio there. People died of old age waiting through half a dozen managers' tenures to get back on the air there after they were kicked out for not kowtowing properly to the well-paid comfortable autocratic management.

But, sure, a job notice.

Marco McClean,

Fort Bragg

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My name is Warren Beck II. I have been in Mendocino County Jail for going on six months now. I recently wrote to you to plead for help which I still need, all the help I can get. I would love it if people could find it in their hearts to send me home to Ohio. But if not that then if people could write to me offering work of any kind. I will do any type of work to get funding to get back to my children, my 15-year-old daughter and my 11-year-old son. I need any resources that anyone can offer. Readers can respond in writing to Warren Beck #74115, P.O. Box 300211, Prison Mailbox (PMB) 35803, Durham, NC 27702. Or write to me at the Mendocino County Jail, 951 Low Gap Road, Ukiah, CA 95482.

I greatly appreciate all support and kindness in these trying times. I know the holidays can be hard for some people. I personally do not like the holidays ever since my mother died on Christmas Eve in 2002 when I was only 16. But that is not for today. Today is about me and my children, Seriona and Dartanyan, both of whom have told me now in return phone calls that they miss their daddy and they would happily give up all their Christmas and birthday presents just to get me back home. After tireless days and nights trying to find out what I need to do or what I need to have to get home I found out that I need a mere $600 to get back to the ones who mean the world to me. If it you can offer assistance of any kind, write to me at the above address or to fund my journey home donate anything you can to my account at the Mendocino County Jail for Warren Beck #74145 or at the website. Please and thank you. Blessings to all and have a very happy holiday and happy new year.

Thank you, a loving daddy,

Warren Beck


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On listening to the January 6 Congressional Testimony on June 21, 2022:

Yes, they shit in their nests

And ask us to eat it.

It's a death cult.

Goya could capture it.

And consider this

their children and their grandchildren,

they live in the past

and their fathers and mothers,

they don't care.

These ghouls call on the children

to join the jackbooted mobs,

Thugs with guns in hand,

to lay waste,

across the burning landscape

This is their legacy.

What is ours?

Peter Wiley


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Hopefully, the recent rains are a good omen of more coming in 2023. Our arthritis is telling us the Bay Area’s “storm door,” at last, may be opening again. “Yaa-hoo, Mountain Dew!”

Kathleen & Frank Baumgardner

Santa Rosa

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So, 1.2 billion people watched the FIFA World Cup final. Well, they grew up with the game; equipment is inexpensive; in many countries, nothing more interesting is available.

American football is situational. Each play presents a team with different challenges and decision points (yards to a first down, field position, time remaining, score differential, etc.) Everything can change in an instant. Combine this with amazing athleticism in a very tough, physical game.

Soccer players run back and forth across a huge field. Most of the time, the ball is nowhere near the goal. No wonder scoring is minimal. Boring!

Dave Stein

Santa Rosa

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