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Letters (August 3, 2023)

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Stepping into the weekend I wanted to take a few minutes to bring everyone in Mendocino County up to speed on things to be aware of. 

We are seeing thefts on the rise again across our county. Mail thefts, package thefts and thefts from retail establishments are keeping us very busy. Burglaries are rising slightly as we often see when weather warms up and people leave on vacation.

If you have a rural mail box, please help us to help you by collecting your mail daily. If you are going to be gone for an extended time frame, contact the USPS and ask your mail to be held until you return. Remember to lock your vehicles at night and park in a well lit area if possible.

Temperatures are rising and we are seeing recreation at the lakes and in our rivers. We are also seeing many people heading for our coast. The above average rain and snow fall is keeping our rivers running well. This is a blessing however it can also be dangerous. Remember drinking and boating don’t mix. We have had a few tragedies with drowning already this year. Use caution while in and near our waterways.

We normally begin to become concerned with fires around August. We are seeing more fires and fire weather with hot windy afternoons, and low relative humidity. Use caution while camping or even working around your place. Mowers, weed trimmers and other gas engines can easily become an ignition source. If you can, keep an extinguisher or water hose handy while running power equipment.

Most importantly, stay connected to, and look out for your neighbors. One of the greatest assets we have in our rural communities, is the sense of community, where we look out for each other. If we all remain aware of these situations and work together as we continue into the summer, strong relationships and good habits will help us remain safe.

Thank you for your constant support of the men and women serving us at the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Matt Kendall



I am hopeful everyone is using our citizen connect feature on the Sheriff’s Office website. (Go to Empowerment through education will help keep our communities safe.

We have been very busy over the past couple of weeks. Calls for service are increasing during the warm weather.

As property crimes continue to rise I ask our residents to be extremely aware and to secure their homes and vehicles.

One of the things we constantly struggle with is identifying stolen property when it is located. Many folks don’t write down the serial numbers of items such as chain saws, and other tools and electronics.

Please document these numbers, it’s as simple as snapping a photograph of the serial numbers. Also owner applied identifying markings are very helpful. Often thieves will remove serial numbers however can’t remove owner applied markings. Photographs are very helpful to identify items even when the serial numbers are removed.

Please use Citizen Connect to remain aware of what’s happening in your community. Let’s all work together to have a safe and happy summer. 

Thank you

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To the Editor: 

The reason the Board of Supervisors (BOS) is giving for this proposed Department of Finance is to get their reports, but it is also that they do not want this position “elected,” although that is exactly what they did last year. 

Chamise Cubbison, Auditor/Controller/ Treasurer/Tax Collector (ACTTC), is 7 months into her 4- year elected position and still learning about the Treasurer/Tax Collector (TTC) office. The BOS did this merging of offices without a plan or consulting the Treasurer-Tax Collector. 

The decades of knowledge that existed in that office all left with the consolidation. One of the main issues with getting reports is the computer program. The information did not cross over correctly from our antiquated system that we had, therefore compounding the problems, which the TTC told the BOS was a major issue, even before the consolidation. 

Now they want to “Blow up” the department they consolidated before the dust has even settled from the last merging. 

We have a knowledge crisis in our County. Consolidating more power under the CEO office is not going to fix this. The CEO office is already filling in for more departments than they can handle, Human Resources Director is one example. Where are we going to get people to run this Department of Finance? We cannot even hire people to run other departments including Human Resources. 

If the BOS really wants to get reports then they should be helping to support the ACTTC that they rushed into this elected position and to actively recruit employees with knowledge of the tax system. Getting reports is not as important as getting the work done. If the work is not getting done then there is nothing to report. Y ou cannot merge your way out of this. 


Carrie Shattuck, Ukiah

Candidate for First District Supervisor


PS. If Chamise takes a leave of absence the County will be in a serious crisis and by putting something like this on the agenda, 7 months in, just might do it. 


This Board of Supervisors (BOS) never ceases to amaze me. They complain about not getting reports and figures, yet, at the recent Tuesday meeting they limited Department Heads/Elected Officials from giving them updates and cut them off. Supervisor Mulheren stated that the "public" was limited to 3 minutes, as usual, yet she applied it to Department Heads/Elected Officials as well.

Why is there not an ongoing agenda item for the Department Heads/Elected Officials to give important Department updates? Some Departments/Officials give sporadic updates in the Public Comment portion of the Agenda, which in my opinion, is very unprofessional and reflects poorly on the BOS.

Supervisor Williams continually complains about not having current figures yet there is no set time to receive these updates, in the public forum, on a regular basis. This shows the severe lack of communication and transparency of the BOS.

Do they REALLY want to hear from EVERY department? Are they ready to hear the amount of dysfunction of all the departments? Shouldn't departments that have no department head, but are being filled in by the CEO's office or others, be front and center at every BOS meeting so that extra attention could be focused and a plan made for how to proceed with filling the positions and the status of how well it is functioning?

I had someone I know, that previously worked for the County Human Resources (HR) Department, as well as in Sonoma County, look at the 2022-2023 Grand Jury Report, Accountability at the County, and give me feedback. They stated the County has "major culture problems", "unethical ways of candidate selection-they value ease/quickness of training over quality". "The attitudes and ways employees disrespect their bosses is crazy (especially compared to stricter/more polished counties like Sonoma/Napa). Bad and lazy work gets "rewarded" — they make good employees do the hardest/most work to get quality work and avoid dealing with problem employees". 

Regarding the HR Director: "Managers in HR were always saying they would never take the job because it's too stressful/too much pressure. They'd step up if they were 2 or less years from retirement because of the retirement bump (pay) by not too much time under the stress. I think it plays into the culture problem countywide- meaning, the job is too stressful because there are too many problems and it's a lot of confrontation with other department heads and the BOS, etc". 

Regarding employee surveys: "That is a very odd way to do employee evaluations for sure. I've never heard of one where you only write comments for the best and worst ratings. Very ineffective. As if they don't really care about the eval or the employee performance, but more of just a task the managers have to complete and put behind them".

Currently, Cherie Johnson, Asst. Deputy CEO, is covering the HR Director position, along with Union negotiations and her numerous job descriptions in the CEO’s office.

I had a meeting with County Counsel and Risk management recently about how much the County spends on outside lawyers for wrongful terminations/employee litigation. The County uses its General Liability policy for these suits/litigation, which has a deductable of $150,000 per occurance. The cost of this insurance policy for this budget year is $3,169,900.00. Increasing significantly from previous years, this cost is spread out among all Departments, whether they had a claim or not.

2022-23 Estimate $2,521,700.00

2021-22 Actual $1,899,757.59

2020-21 Actual $1,448,682.37

These totals are just the policy premium/cost itself, not including deductables. This year's estimated deductible is $320,000. (This line item Judgement/Damages does include Road Claims, such as damaged vehicles, etc.). 

In the 2020-21 Actuals of Judgement/Damages the amount was $612,801.83. These claims are costing the County excessive amounts of money that could be used elsewhere. Not having a consistent Director of HR that could address issues as they arise is definitely contributing to these high claims and costs.

There needs to be some accountability on the BOS part for the continued lack of oversight, direction and communication with ALL County departments.

They should implement the inclusion of all departments, at least monthly, in the BOS meetings. If the BOS is always "left holding the bag" then why not hear and get feedback from the very departments that they continually blame? Implement some changes, think outside the "crushed box" that is our County Government.

There is a recent report that was conducted with direction from the BOS by Neural Profit Engines to examine the factors underlying Mendocino County's subpar economic growth over the past decade. The Google Capstone Project:

Mendocino County Poverty-The Result of Government Spending? 

It highlights that Mendocino County is one of the poorest Counties in the United States and states "government spending plays a much larger role in Mendocino's economy than in the State as a whole and across the United States. Please look it over.

I would love to hear feedback from the community about what services and industry they would like to see in our County. What does the future look like for you and your family in our County? Are you planning on leaving the County, if so why?

What type of legacy is the current BOS leaving for our County?

I encourage the People of our County to speak up at the BOS meetings. Have your voice heard. It takes all of us to make our County a better place to live, work and leave a better future for the next generation.


Recently I posted that Ms. Cline was a registered Lobbyist with the State. Her response was that she is not currently and the State/Cal Access inofrmation was behind. But in her current 2023-2024 Form 604 filed December 29, 2022 with the state. Ms. Cline writes about transparency at the County yet is not being transparent herself. 

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Re your brief history of local environment centers, I’d like to correct and add a bit to it.

I believe I actually started the first environment center, in a water tower behind The MacCallum House in Mendocino next door to Corners of the Mouth organic for store, around 1978. Correct me if those other ones you wrote about started earlier, but I don’t believe they did. 

I called it the Mendocino Environment Center and stocked it with news and research about the then over-harvesting of our forests, declining salmon populations, threat of off-shore oil development, and the need for recycling, more public coastal access, establishing wilderness areas (Sinkyone and Yolla Bolly) and protections from commercial over-development. Those of us writing and testifying about these issues, or just people dropping in and interested in them, used the resource library at this MEC as well as held meetings there. 

The Mac House owner Susan Norris donated the space, volunteers staffed it and no-one was paid. Out of it came numerous articles by Ron Gunther, Gail Lucas, Eleanor Sverko and others, and possibly the nation’s first “Environment Radio Show,” also started around 1978. I felt our local environment was under attack and believed if more folks knew about it they would get involved in protecting our surroundings and communities. It was an hour-long show on Fort Bragg’s KMFB radio station each Saturday noon where co-hosts Susan Miller and I would interview experts on a broad range of topics impacting our region.

The Mendocino Environment Center and the Environment Radio Show ended in 1981 when I went to work for two years in the then newly-democratic nation of Zimbabwe. Obviously, people have started many such centers and radio shows locally and around the world since then, and we all and the planet are much better off because of such popular education efforts. 

Educate, agitate and organize!

Tom Wodetzki


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We are dependent on outside food; our best food insurance is active mini-farms.

We ran Bountiful Gardens in this county for over 30 years and I have talked with countless young’uns in the same dilemma: “I don’t mind working for nothing to learn how to farm properly, but I need land.”

There have always been two choices: buy some large lot which is not enough, or mortgage your future to buy 20-plus acres of rural land, 18 acres which you don’t need. Finding country land in Mendocino County is difficult and relatively expensive.

In the last 10 years books and articles have been written describing commercially successful examples of small one- to two-acre farms (mini- farms).

Most farmers in Mendocino County have adopted some form of Ecology Action’s biointensive method. A biointensive farmer would be hard pressed to cultivate an acre biointensively.

What all our aspiring farmers need are small farms that are neither too big or too small, that are like Goldilocks’ ideal, “just the right size” for them to have success. 

We want to work within our zoning laws. Ten years ago Bob Whitney spear-headed an initiative to acquire 20 acres of land trust, then lease sub-plots of this land for commercial mini-farms. Bob’s untimely demise (RIP) ended that initiative back then, but we need it even more now.

We need 20 acres divided into 10 two-acre plots for aspiring mini-farmers to produce food. Possibly grant money could cover startup costs, and then this landowner collects 10 rents a year thereafter.

Distribution has doomed many farmers, but now we have Food Web that will connect you online, help plan and get orders and deliver your produce throughout our county.

Young farmers with a reasonable lease can get practical experience, no great investment, and can successfully farm.

Bill Bruneau 


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I have been a docent at Jack London State Historic Park since 2009 and have volunteered for Transcendence Theatre since 2011. What the California State Park Rangers Association has done by suing the state is contrary to supporting the park and Transcendence. The case has been trapped in an elongated environmental study under the California Environmental Quality Act since 2022.

Jack London loved people and, as one of his ancestors told me in viewing the crowd at a performance, if he were alive, he would be proud and happy people enjoying his land.

In 2011, when state parks faced a $22 million deficit, Jack London park faced closure, but it is now self-supporting with a foundation. Without the money received from Transcendence, the park is facing financial hardship, and so is Transcendence.

I am disgusted with the rangers association and the state park system. I agree with Gov. Gov. Gavin Newsom that change is needed for environmental review. He recently said one case took up to nine years to resolve. This is not good government at work. Saving the park from closure and preserving the heritage and history of Jack London in Sonoma County is.

Robert Reuther


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Republicans love to blame illegal immigrants for almost everything. The truth is if all undocumented immigrants disappeared tomorrow, it would lead to economic chaos in our country. Think of the industries that would be severely impacted if we didn’t have these folks. Hospitality, agriculture and construction are just a few that would be affected. Legislators know this, and that is why they don’t seriously go after the companies that hire undocumented immigrants.

Paul Schumacher

Santa Rosa

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Dear AVA Editor,

I find it odd that our state of things has led us down an unused or defunct rabbit hole. I figured why go to the main EPA? Be smart go to California’s 600 Wilshire Blvd (region 9) suite 940 Los Angles CA 90017. It came back with a yellow sticker return to sender attempted-not known unable to forward (nixle). Well the postal service must not know about the Environmental Protection Agency, especially here in California. Another head shaker. 

Greg Crawford

Fort Bragg

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At Four-Eyed Frog and county bookstores and museums.

Mendocino Refuge: Lake Leonard & Reeves Canyon, a new book about a remarkable North Coast watershed and its inhabitants, is now available at Four-Eyed Frog, and bookstores and many museum shops throughout Mendocino County.

Kirkus Reviews calls it “A captivating homage to a wilderness sanctuary marked, but not spoiled, by human presence … [Dot] Brovarney deftly mixes regional history, ecology, and character studies of people who shaped and were shaped by the land, writing in lucid … prose dotted with flights of vivid lyricism.”

In full color with 200 images, Mendocino Refuge tells the story of Mendocino County’s largest natural lake, and the canyon and Upper Russian River creek that it feeds. Longtime regional historian Dot Brovarney takes the reader along on a fascinating journey through nearby history, from geologic time through today, as the U.S. Geological Society conducts climate change research at “near to pristine” Lake Leonard.

Besides a USGS paleoecologist, you’ll meet Pomo peoples, pioneer settlers, loggers and hunters, and others, including two intrepid women who made the canyon home for decades.

For more, including how to order on-line, go to

Dot Brovarney



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Dear Editor,

While I am watching the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday AM, I have deep concerns that the new meeting format creates rushed or cut-off communication between not only Board members and a forced quick roll call vote, direction of not allowing back and forth debate and respectful exchange, rapid speech directing the meeting and direction to email the board or work with the CEO when full concerns cannot be expressed is harmful to the working climate the board has worked so hard for to be transparent. Maybe 3 min is not enough. Dr. Andy Coren was cut off abruptly, Board member Haschak was not allowed to discuss or debate his concerns. Now, the public and employees will need to go to private conversations to continue resolving situations or speak about county challenges or ideas for improvement. I understand each chairperson has their own style of running the meeting, however, I am very concerned.

I follow your coverage of county issues, I am asking you to assess if this really is a problem and my reaction is overreacting to a change, change is hard, or if there is anything that is needed to assure transparency in conversations, allowance for true discussions here where members of the public have historically been able to see Board of Directors and CEO Antle, as well as other public leaders and community members, truly have made headway in becoming a transparent, working team. I know there are knots and areas that need improvement, that is the way of government.

Sheri Brown


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To the Editor:

If Board Vice Chair Supervisor Mulheren can begin a Board meeting by inviting 1st District Supervisor Candidate Trevor Mockel — unanimously, prematurely and suspiciously endorsed by all five Supervisors for no reason at all — to the podium to lead the Board in the Pledge of Allegiance, as Mulheren did yesterday, Tuesday, July 25, then fair play should dictate that the Board should also invite all other 1st District candidates to the podium to similarly lead the Board in the Pledge of Allegiance.

I wrote to the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) this morning complaining that Mulheren's action represented an implied political endorsement during a Board meeting.

The other three 1st District candidates should also be submitting their own complaints to the FPPC.

At the very least, the FPPC should sanction Mulheren, and, as a corrective action, the FPPC should order the three other 1st District candidates be invited to lead the Board in the Pledge of Allegiance in three other future meetings at their convenience.

Carrie Shattuck are you listening?

Adam Gaska are you listening?

Madeline Cline are you listening?


John Sakowicz 


MS NOTES: Mr. Sakowicz omitted the fifth apparent candidate for the First District seat, David Goodman. (Granted, he’s kept a pretty low profile so far.)

PS. Mr. Sakowicz sent his complaint to Supervisor Mulheren who replied: “Hi John, When I was on the City Council we regularly invited members of the public to recite the pledge. I will continue to do that at any meeting I Chair. I will rotate the request to members in the audience. That would include the other candidates for 1st District if they are in attendance. As you know though I was only filling in and my Chair seat doesn’t start until next year. Enjoy your vacation.”

SAKOWICZ REPLIED: “Thank you for your response.

I hate to be a stickler for the rules, but in having one candidate lead the Pledge of Allegiance, you are obligated to invite the three other candidates. Appearances are as important as the letter of the law, and what you did was an implied endorsement, especially in the light of the fact that you have already publicly endorsed Trevor Mockel along with the other members of the Board.

That's why I asked the FPPC for corrective action.

I'm copying Glenn on this email. As Board Chair, I hope he extends those invitations to the other candidates. I'll also copy County Counsel, since we are in the middle of campaign season and his opinion on this matter would be useful.

I remember when I was running for 1st District Supervisor, Katrina Bartolomie, acting as Commissioner of Elections, didn't even allow me to speak during public comment at Board meetings. Once, she stormed into a Board meeting and took the microphone away. She said that I was “campaigning on county property.”

You can ask Katrina. She is a stickler. Again, appearances are everything.

Thank you.”

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Did you know…

…that the city of San Francisco requires a building permit to remove or relocate a sign? And it may require, as Twitter is finding out, a building permit to change the lettering of their building signs from “Twitter” to “X.” Of course, you will pay $1,000 or more for the privilege.

Closer to home, Mendocino County requires a building permit to re-roof your home. This is absurd on the surface especially since an inspection is required regardless. But it also costs money and delays the project for however long it takes to get a permit --- months? 

Here's an idea. Have a special portal at the County's website for licensed roofers. The roofer fills out a simple form including their license number, an attestation that there are no complaints or pending lawsuits against them, the address, a declaration that they will properly dispose of the old roof, and a timeline. Or something like this that assumes the roofer is trustworthy.

The County would then have three working days to approve or not approve after which it would be deemed approved.

It's a start, right?

John Redding


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“Our nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met” — inscribed on the Korean War Memorial in Washington. Thursday is the 70th anniversary of the signing of the truce that ended the fighting but left the country in a state of war. A ceremony will be held at the memorial on Thursday, which I will be attending. Give a thought if you will to the Korean families torn apart, first by the split up of the country thanks to the Russians, then by the invasion of South Korea by North Korea in 1950.

John Henson


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 [1] Hello Phil and Bruce, I have been asked to moderate the debate between you two and it is my pleasure to do so. I would like to introduce myself to you, Bruce. I have lived on the coast for 18 years and have been a volunteer in many organizations including the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, the Ft. Bragg Friends of the Library, and the League of Women Voters.

The attachment outlines the format you two have already agreed upon. I have added several statements to clarify the civility and respect that you two have also agreed to show each other.

Please return this email with a statement that you have reviewed the ground rules and agree to abide by them. I look forward to the debate!

Regards, Jane Person

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[2] Civility Ground Rules for the Debate 1. Adhere to the format agreed upon regarding time constraints and order of speaking:

a. Proponent (Phil), 10 minutes

b. Opponent (Bruce) 10 minutes

c. Phil, 5 minute rebuttal

d. Bruce, 5 minute rebuttal

e. Questions from audience, 30 minutes, with 3 minutes to answer each question. Each debater can respond to any question directed to the the other debater.

f. Bruce, 5 minutes to sum up

g. Phil, 5 minutes to sum up 2. No interruptions, name calling 3. No personal attacks or demeaning comments I _____(Bruce Anderson/Philip Zwerling) agree to treat my debate opponent with civility and respect and to observe the ground rules outlined above.

As moderator, Jane will introduce the speakers, review the format and mention numbers 2 and 3. Jane will ask the audience to be respectful to the speakers and to the opinions they express. She will also ask them to hold their applause and comments until the Q and A period. 

ED REPLY: Goodness, Ms. Person, quite a series of implied insults aimed at the owner of Boonville's beloved weekly. As if! As if I'm going to cloud up and storm all over the little professor! I agree to all the crackpot's preemptive excuses to call the thing off, as he has already done by nixing Lindy Peters as moderator by falsely accusing Lindy of anti-semitism. If you need me to notarize my agreement with the rules, please let me know. Will I be arrested if I deviate from the prof's ground rules?

One more thing: I don't like this first name stuff from people I don't know, and in Zwerling's case, don't want to know.

PS. When and where is this epic event? (As we go to press no date or place.)


  1. Suzy August 4, 2023

    The misogynist belches…
    hey Sad Sako – you are factually incorrect about your ‘fairness doctrine’
    And nobody cares about your idiot opinion anyway – except for maybe your girlfriend Mary, or your poor wife Shannon.
    And weren’t you the one who worked at the jail, was fired, and then sued the county for sexual discrimination?
    STFU Johnny boy

  2. Eric Sunswheat August 5, 2023

    When I attended a County Supervisor candidate forum at the Ukiah City Council Chambers, the most animated non verbal communication I noted in the audience, was directly between candidate Mo Mulheren on stage, with interaction by prompts from Camille Schraeder seated in an aisle seat, near the rear of the meeting hall.

    RE: Board Vice Chair Supervisor Mulheren can begin a Board meeting by inviting 1st District Supervisor Candidate Trevor Mockel… implied political endorsement.
    — John Sakowicz

    —> August 5, 2023
    THE SUPERVISOR was referring to Redwood Community Services, aka Redwood Quality Management Company, aka Anchor Health, an ever-expanding social services network presided over by Camille Schraeder, who distributes an annual $27 million tax dollars filtered through Mendocino County to a variety of services allegedly of help to dependent children and adults.
    Ms. Schraeder has threatened her critics to return her entire apparatus to the County if the County is unhappy with her management. — ED NOTES

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