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Letters (February 9, 2023)

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I had just begun to wonder if I would hear back from the estimable Major re-my last email on the subject of The Palace when I finally got around to his latest must-read ‘County Notes.’ I was delighted and surprised to see that you had chosen to not only print that email but to give a thoughtful reply about it.

Though reporting on the present BOS and the rest of the county's bureaucracies must seem like a futile and Sisyphean task, I and the rest of the tiny minority who try to stay abreast of the county's ‘hard, hard work’ appreciate your efforts very much. I have often wondered how much things would be different politically across this great land if every county had a reporter on such a beat and a newspaper not afraid to publish the kind of frank assessments we get from the good Major.

I couldn't agree more with you guys on the stupidity of this proposed state-funded eyesore that will give a kick in the teeth to the struggling downtown economy when it's down. I believe I have written about it in the past, but it has been a while.

Ever since they have been talking about this new courthouse I have tried to make the case that the no-brainer location for it would be the Palace Hotel property; it would kill two birds with one stone! Getting rid of most of a city block of dangerously dilapidated fire hazard while building the new courthouse in the heart of downtown where it might actually liven up some of the boarded-up storefronts around it.

The most logical thing would be to clear the site and excavate it to provide underground parking throughout, then build however many courtrooms they need in a two- or three-story building above. If they wanted to continue using all or part of the existing courthouse (for all the other offices now located there), they could have a third floor enclosed bridge between the two buildings. Wouldn't that be cool? If people were so sold on the look of the existing Palace, they could recycle the bricks, build an efficient, seismic, modern steel- framed structure and make a brick veneer exterior. it could look exactly the way it looks today for a fraction of what it would cost to try to retrofit what's there now.


John Arteaga


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Dear Editor,

I’d hate to be accused of being ageist, so I’ll help Fred Gardner's youthfully spirited mind (though I’m fairly certain it is older than 76 year old 2024 US Senate candidate Barbara Lee’s brain?) safely cross the street and not trip over Memory Lane’s potholes to point out that Adam Schiff did not vote for the War in Iraq as he flatly misstates in his article. Gardner muddles the facts. I’m not saying it is age as he has been doing this for decades. But for clarity’s sake, Schiff voted for the first “emergency appropriations” of which no less than half was to be spent on disaster recovery, to cope with the devastation on 9/11 in NY as well as repair damaged facilities, (remember the Pentagon took a hit as well…), etc. A quarter went to “fight terrorism" and "those responsible” but they were unnamed (partly unknown?...) at the time. When Bush named Iraq as the wrong place to wage war, Schiff voted against it. In Gardener's twenty year old sycophant’s ditty to Congresswoman Lee, he also implies that Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank both voted for the war in 2002 as well. They didn’t.

If you can’t trust your memory, or the dust pile of your inaccurate propaganda, just check the record for that vote on The War in Iraq. 126 Democrats, 6 Republicans, and 1 Independent voted NAY. In total, 133 members of Congress. It wasn’t “Just you, Barbara Lee, just you all alone.” Lee was the single vote against the emergency appropriations, yes, and, as much as she may have seen the writing on the wall for Bush starting an unjust war under false pretenses in the wrong country, hers was also a vote against badly needed emergency funding to help clean up the toxic fallen World Trade Center, and the lives, and businesses attached or connected to it, along with the other economic fall out in America’s largest city and economic center.

The disaster recovery was not separated from the padding of the war chest. The vote wasn’t one or the other. 

Of course, it should have been. 

But our elected officials that are the true hawks and neocons outnumbered the saner negotiators and that is one of the many recurrent problems with our American political system.

I happen to be a big fan of Barbara Lee too, but let me jog your memory and remind you also of the fact that “seniority” as a US Senator undeniably plays a large part in who is selected to the most important Committees in the US Senate and who wields power in that branch of government. Tradition also holds that the Senator with the most seniority is named “chair” to those committees. Whoever is elected in 2024 as California’s other US Senator will be a first term “junior senator” (Senator Alex Padilla will become the "senior senator" when Senator Diane Feinstein vacates her position after 30 years, due in large part to her dementia seemingly brought on by old age...), so the incoming senator will have no seniority. The will not replace Feinstein at any current or past high-powered position, certainly not as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee or chair of the Senate Rules Committee or ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

For these reasons alone, if a California voter wanted maximum influence for its state of close to 40 million citizens and the world’s fourth biggest economy, they may lucidly not want their senator to start building that clout as a 77 year old freshman. 

That doesn’t seem to be ageist, it seems to be a clear thinking realist.

I hate that my own shrinking brain (science says the human brain starts to shrink in your 30’s and 40’s and then increasingly in your 60’s…) which often confuses sports and politics, but given the Niners brutal play-off loss and the season-ending injury of another QB (two really, but Johnson’s too old to even be a back up now, right?), I wonder if it is ageist to not want to give a 6 year (the length of US Senate term) contract to Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers next season to take the place of the the injured Brock Purdy and Trey Lance who are about half their age? But Brady and Rodgers are both future hall-of-famer, MVPS who have played so well in the past…

Robert Mailer Anderson

San Francisco

PS. It’s also not exactly impartial journalism applying “pompous, sanctimonious” to Adam Schiff in your first paragraph when neither of the other candidates garner any such descriptive adjectives. Schiff will also be seen as a “centrist” possibly only to provincial splinter groups of the radical left. For example, the rightwing CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) list Schiff as part of “The Coalition of The Left” and ranked the same as Katie Porter and Bernie Sanders on their political list. According to Gov.TrackUS 2020 report-card (not conservative), of the 236 dems, with Lee being the most left wing (they got that right), Schiff rates 55. That is definitely left of center for our nation. And he is 12 of 31 for California Congressional dems. Also left of Center. And left of Katie Porter who on this list is eight clicks to the right of him. Yes, these are just two organizations basing their rankings on their own matrix of actions and policy votes, etc. But “closeted neocon” and “candidate seen as a centrist” seem like an addled view of Schiff. As much as I may wish it weren’t true, Lee’s congressional district, largely made up of leftwing Berkeley and Oakland, aren’t representative of all the people of our state - not even Boonville, or barely blue Mendocino County. US Senator’s need to represent ALL of California. And political reportage needs to have a larger, less biased perspective.

ED REPLY: I'm with Fred, maybe to the left of Fred when I say today's Democratic Party is led by the most reactionary, and personally repulsive, mob of tenth-rate professional office holders surpassed only in general corruption by the other party. The Progressive Caucus has its moments, but not enough of them because they're outnumbered by the lamentable Schiff and Company. Our nation is seriously on the skids, and these people are applying giant pots of grease to the rails. 

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Letter to The Editor,

Thanks to AVA for GoFundMe outreach on my behalf to intellectuals and dissidents who value the best weekly publication in the country.

Without AVA's detailed and meticulous record-keeping over the regulatory years, there'd be no way of understanding how and why growers have never advanced toward acquiring the promised permits they were paying for under the county's failed scheme. Some blame selfish growers who 'got out of paying taxes all those years' despite evidence in front of them, showing hundreds off growers in line striving to comply til they could no longer hang on financially.

I know a couple who, after four years, $40,000, no garden while waiting, denied because of neighbors, finally got the county to acknowledge unfair treatment and promised to make good, but instead they were ushered inside to a secondary line out of sight, further prolonging a process toward financial advantage for the county and disadvantage by design for small family farms.

Only those who offer something of value for the community will likely survive; post Prop 64. A large section of small farmers is going back underground or disintegrating due to severe regulations unsuited to rural outback growers whose economic networks in the shadows forged during prohibition, kept the county alive. After the heyday of fishing, logging and movies, it was weed.

Time to reimagine a well rounded inclusive cannabis community of the future which may look to its past for guidance. We grew 45% of our food in backyard gardens in 1945; only 1% by 2020, to the advantage of large farms, i.e., corporate domination of the food supply and corporate domination of cannabis medicines through regulatory frameworks —cannacraft v. cannacorp.

Cannacraft highlights skilled artisans and innovative products. The old school concept of “small is beautiful” opens up opportunities. Intentional action, group cooperation, network collaboration are all compatible with the elevated spirit of small is beautiful where more things are possible from and among us. AVA support matters.

Pebbles Trippet


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Taxpayers should not be buying homes or apartments for homeless people. They should be provided with a clean bed and a clean room that they should be required to keep clean. They should be screened for physical and mental health problems and given treatment. They should live in an alcohol, drug and smoke free environment. They should be provided good food and they should be required to work and given job training skills.

Elected officials have played whack-a-mole with homelessness for years and have yet to provide a plan for solving even the encampment problem. How much have they wasted? We don’t know. They haven’t told us the cleanup cost, the housing costs, the fire and damage costs, the pollution costs, etc. Solve the problem, don’t perpetuate it.

Corporations are making a lot of money off homelessness, taxpayers are wasting a lot of money that should be going to improve our community, streets, schools, bike lanes, parks, sewage systems and trash systems.

P.W. Hughes

Santa Rosa

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I was very happy that President Joe Biden finally agreed to send some M1 Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine. In that way Germany will soon send some of its Leopard 2 tanks, which are badly needed. I was saddened to note, however, that the initial reason for not sending M1 Abrams tanks was that they were not reliable, required maintenance vehicles to be nearby and were so complicated to operate that extensive training would be required for them to be of any use whatsoever. 

Way to go, U.S. Army.

Mike Tuhtan


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Dear AVA Readers,

Re: Alan 'Sonny' Crow's letter, "Beckoning," on page 2 of the January 25 edition, I would title that letter "The Audacity of Some People's Children." In a heated retort, Sonny says, "I take offense to those who attempt to hustle the fine folks of my county with letters to the AVA written under the guise of being in a desperate situation that requires the generous compassion and financial donations of the greater Mendocino community. Not only is this predatory but it reflects poorly on all of us serving time."

The audacity that Sonny Crow, of all human bottom feeders, that he would be quoted saying this. Considering that he is in prison for carjacking a lady at gunpoint at Hopland casino, stealing an elderly lady's car from Fort Bragg and getting seven years for that while still facing two charges of elder abuse.

In Lake County I know the 10th cause because I filled out your court paperwork that I read from your public defender Jeffrey Aaron. I believe it was not more than 4 or 5 months prior that you wrote to the Advertiser with your predatory attempts at hustling the community you speak of yourself.

Remember the letter where you stated that you had stage 4 cancer that is terminal and you only have so much time to live and you need the gracious people of Mendocino to find it in their hearts to send you $200 through your J-Pay account in reception knowing damn well coming from myself, the Christmas Light Bandit, who is not only locked up currently, but has served 11 years behind bars, I can tell you TVs are not sold in reception centers and you don't have cancer, you have hepatitis C from shooting that meth you so easily criticize others for.

Sonny Crow is not a member of Mendocino County's elite class. Sonny Crow is a dropout skinhead from Washington state. When he isn't driving stolen elderly people's cars between his mother's house in Fife, Washington and his daughter's house in Napa, he attacks and steals anything not bolted down. I met Alan Crow in Lake County where he had been in protective custody as he is now in Vacaville which is a level 2 protective custody yard for gay people with AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Maybe he should go walk his fat lying ass back to his mother's trailer in Tacoma where he's from and hustle her for her SSI check like he did before he went to prison. Remember she sent you $400 for a television already and you and your celly Oklahoma put that money on the tablet so you could watch movies in your cell. Remember you broke the tablet because you threw a fit. The jail charged you $300 for breaking the tablet which then some people lost their ability to talk and visit with their family because you were mad at your celly.

This is Fester (Patrick Redmill). You are full of it. I can't believe you of all people actually believe your own narcissistic head full of deceit and lies. You put down others to further your ill-founded bullshit. Do yourself a favor and eat your own lies and advice, you fake-ass piece of crap.

Check the facts and look Sonny Alan or Alan Sonny Crow up on Google or call local Lake or Mendocino County public information system or contact victims rights awareness of Tacoma, Washington or Lake and Mendocino counties where Alan Crow is still warranted for multiple counts of elder abuse and stealing Social Security checks. 

Coming to you with the real, you know what they say: Some people have stories to tell, some are real, some are not. Get off your high horse and find a new outlet to spread your narcissistic bullshit. You ain't from here. Take your skinhead bullshit back to the Emerald Queen in Fife and rid the local communities here of one of the worst nuisances which is you yourself.

Signing off, the Christmas Light Bandit.

Patrick Ray Redmill, #95751

Mendocino County Jail, Isolation Max 3, Cell 2

951 Low Gap Road Ukiah, CA 95482

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Last November I checked out a book at our local library and as usual was told it should be returned within three weeks. I started the book, but then along came the holidays and end-of-the-year stuff and, well, I forgot I had the book. Sometime later the library notified me it was overdue. I found the book and returned it.

Now, the library only sent a polite notice; no one came knocking on my door for a book. But — and this is my point — they knew I had it, and they knew it had been in my possession for too long. So how is it that our government agencies can’t keep track of classified documents, presumably some containing world-shaking information, at least as well as our little library?

Wouldn’t you think there had to be a pretty serious checking-out procedure, and then some follow up after a certain time? But no, we now see that no one seems to have known what docs were out, who had them or where.

Jerry Guffey


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It’s debt ceiling time again. In case you missed this story the last 70 times, don’t worry. The plot and outcome are almost always the same. Congress passes and the president signs a number of spending bills during the year. The money has already been spent or contracted for. Unfortunately, spending will soon exceed the debt ceiling.

This scenario unleashes a torrent of commentary predicting financial cataclysm. It also unleashes those in Congress who want to refight spending battles that have already been won and lost. The drama will intensify for weeks, perhaps months. At the last moment, just as the country is about to default, some sort of agreement is reached. Some spending adjustments may be made, but not enough to affect the deficit or the debt. Promises to curtail future spending will be made, to be broken sometime in the future. And the debt ceiling is extended.

The warriors recede to their camps, preparing to fight the debt ceiling battle when it next erupts. No one seems to ask: “Where did this debt ceiling idea come from?” Many think the Constitution requires a debt ceiling. Not so. The Constitution doesn’t even mention a debt ceiling. It’s Congress that creates this boogeyman and then does battle with it year after year.

Douglas H. Bosco

Santa Rosa

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I want to thank journalists Marisa Endicott and Andrew Graham for their human story about the possession and impounding of a van from a young couple who now need $3,000 they don't have to get it back ("Homes towed away," Jan. 22). As Stalin was supposed to have said, a million deaths are a statistic; one death is a tragedy.

We live in a place where single-family zoning remains unchallenged and ends up in a building policy that satisfies the needs of the top 20% of the income market; where 3,000 unhoused people get rained on for 24 days; where a young teacher will apparently never be able to buy a home here; where satisfied NIMBYs shout down any proposal to build low-income housing because of fears "the wrong element" will threaten the resale value of their homes; where the police are used to forcefully remove the unhoused from encampments, or have their single means of safety (vans) hijacked to satisfy some kind of legal, but clearly immoral goal.

It's more than sad; it's about a broken housing policy and lack of leadership — supervisors, the business community, NIMBYs, our religious institutions remain silent. We've seen a recent president who displays no shame. Leave Florida, Donald, come visit Sonoma Count and Santa Rosa.

Terry Rowan

Santa Rosa

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Thomas Bach and the International Olympic Committee seem to be inclined to allow Russian athletes to compete in the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics “in the interest of international sports.” No doubt, their overriding interest is cash flow. If Russians compete under any loophole, the resulting glory to Russia and propaganda for Vladimir Putin will ultimately cause death and suffering to many.

American athletes can influence the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, which provides support to them. They who have devoted their lives to winning in the Olympics should be thinking about the outcomes from sharing the world stage with Russians. Expressing their distaste to the American powers-that-be can have an effect. The objective to blockade those who would allow Russia to have his way.

If Russia is not blocked, the Americans who resist competing have their life’s work to lose. For those who compete, I am not worthy to shame them.

Reflecting on my decision to serve in Vietnam from 1969 to 1975, the desire to stop what I believed to be aggression led me to risk my life. Can a nation, without cause, invade and massacre the population of another and not be stopped? It almost happened in 1939.

Ed McAtee


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In the wake of the record wave of mass shootings, 37 in 23 days, potentially making 2023 the deadliest year in American history. There are no quick, easy solutions. A large majority of Americans, including gun owners who belong to the NRA, favor red flag laws and strict background checks, even a national ban on the sale of assault guns or raising the age to buy guns from 18 to 21. 

The above legal changes of federal law are such “hot button” controversial issues few state or congressional leaders, with the exception of a few politicians like Senator Diane Feinstein D, CA and Rep. Mike Thompson D, CA, from blue states with the constituent support to call out for such changes. 

While technological advances in firing speed and capacity have produced modern assault weapons and gun manufacturers cashing in on the federal loopholes with the financial backing of lobbyists (especially the NRA) there is a massive national pro-gun culture: boys and young men are brought up to believe that they cannot be “real men” (or even “masculine” enough.) unless they possess and shoot a gun. 

Frank H. Baumgardner

Santa Rosa

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