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Letters (August 10, 2023)

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My name is Kamelle Leggette and as a Black female I have experienced overt racism with the Ukiah Police Department in Mendocino County. 

I was wrongfully arrested for domestic violence by Ukiah Police officer, Officer Christopher Mann, on July 25, 2023 for an incident that occured on July 22, 2023. The incident involved my daughter's father; we had a disagreement over the phone, and when the father entered my home; I asked him to leave and I took the video footage on my camera. 

That Saturday, several officers and the Ukiah Police Lieutenant Parker and Officer Rodello arrived and informed me that I would not be arrested, as the father had entered my home and stayed after I asked him several times to leave. No domestic violence happened at my home. Recorded video footage on my phone showed proof of what occurred during the incident in my home. 

Three days after the incident, Officer Christopher Mann informed me, on July 25, 2023, that I was being arrested for domestic violence, and while in the police car explained that he was arresting me to have time to investigate domestic violence.

I was distraught as he handcuffed me and I was sent to jail. 

The next day I was informed that the DA dropped the charges against me and the judge ordered my immediate release. My arrest was turned into a detention.

I informed the Sheriff's Department upon my release to not disclose my booking photo as I am innocent and a Black-female business owner and my reputation is a part of my business. I was informed by the booking release administration department clerk that it would not be released. The following day, I received several phone calls from community members and business contractors that they had seen my booking photo posted. 

I immediately reached out to the Lieutenant at the jail and asked him to remove my booking photo. He informed me that he did and that it should no longer be posted on the booking logs. I asked him why he would post it if it is not in compliance with AB1475 and he said, “We post all booking photos even those who were arrested and turned into a detainment.” 

A week later, I lost several business contracts because of the negative image that my arrest would cause their organizations. On August 1, 2023 I spoke to, and recorded the Lieutenant at the jail. He informed me that he took the booking log photo down, and although he is aware the jail works with several agencies and accounts that report information, he refused to contact those agencies to inform them to take my name and booking information off their sites. 

This has not been my first issue with the Sheriff's Department as I was wrongfully arrested on August 22, 2022 for violating a restraining order that did not exist at the time of the arrest. Again they changed the arrest into a detainment and took down my booking photo. Lieutenant Elmore informed me that they saw it in the CLETS system, but upon verifying there was nothing in the CLETS system it means I was falsely arrested. 

The racism that is involved in the Sheriff's abusing the law must be addressed as their job is to adhere to the law and not abuse their power, especially with people of color who are often targeted.

I am filing a lawsuit against the Ukiah Police Department for failing to comply with the law, being AB1475 and the harm it has caused to my reputation, my business, and to me as a person both financially and emotionally. The Sheriff's clear negligence not only affects me but so many other individuals who they have done this to and could potentially constitute a class action lawsuit against them for failure to adhere to laws that are meant to protect citizens they are supposed to serve. 

Furthermore, as a Black female in a predominantly white community, the issue of covert racism is the issue that makes the Sheriff's Department feel the need to abuse their power. If I were a white female business owner, I am sure they would have been more compliant. 

Kamelle Leggette 

CEO, WeThrive Consulting Services LLC. 


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I see that Mendocino Coast Resident and former Ted Williams campaign manager Lee Edmundson managed to crawl out from under his rock and respond to my financial criticism of Supervisor Ted Williams. 

To review, I had stated that in the 2018 campaign when Ted was vying for the Fifth District seat along with myself and three others, the Supes had just voted themselves a hefty pay raise, bringing many County residents to a state of outrage, and putting a lot of pressure on us as candidates to declare a position. Williams arrogantly declared “I don't need the money.” So now. as the County melts down with SEIU employees on the verge of a strike, it begs the question of why Williams isn’t willing to share the pain? In Lee’s toady defense he extolled Ted as a self-made man, referring to the usual “bootstraps” and “self made man” tripe, etc. But this never was about how Ted got his money; the point remains that Ted glammed his voter base, but now, in the position of power, is unwilling to share any of the pain. 

Outside of being Ted’s campaign manager, Edmundson hasn’t contributed anything to our coastal community on a political or social level for decades now. His stepping forward to work with Ted can certainly be viewed as an attempt to escape complete irrelevance by becoming a Williams toady and enabler.

Edmundson closes his letter with “As for Chris Skyhawk, he should never forget, and forever remind himself of, the fact that he scuttled his own campaign for Supervisor in 2018 by his own actions; he knows what they were; so do others.” 

Clearly a reference that I had taken MDMA (aka Ecstasy) on the day of my stroke; indeed ‘tis true; I have occasionally dabbled in the use of hallucinogens for self-reflection and emotional and spiritual insights even before it became trendy like it is now. Well, the day of June 26, 2018 I took the ecstacy, Ted and I were locked into a November run off. I had been severely shocked by Ted's campaign tactics against me since we had been been allies in the Albion Little River Fire Protection District. I had expected a friendly, respectful campaign. 

I could not have been more mistaken. I was certainly prepared for political shenanigans,, I’d been a part of numerous local campaigns over the years, and had engaged in numerous acts of civil disobedience, so I considered my self rough and tough. I was not prepared for the Machiavellian tactics of a man who had been an ally, and he has continued in this behavior since securing the office.

So, when I advised “beware this man,” I speak with some unique personal experience. 

As for Edmundson, this is a man who is unable to curb the nicotine addiction that is literally killing him. For a man who succumbs on a daily basis to his death wish, to cast moral aspersion on myself or anyone else is the height of arrogance. I will not accept it, nor should anyone else in our County, as this just further highlights the scumbaggery that Williams and his allies are willing to subject us all to. 

We can, and must, do better. Our County and our world need a polity that is honest and transparent. Williams and his ilk are neither. Since Williams is not up for re-election and easily dispatched his most recent challenger by avoiding any discussion of his own record, it is my hope that a credible challenger will arise the next time around, and until then that other districts elect Supervisors with competence and moral integrity to offset Ted.

Chris Skyhawk 

Fort Bragg


It is certainly not my wish to continually rehash the ugly events that occurred during my 2018 bid for Mendocino County 5th District Supervisor seat, except where those events are instructive to  the County’s current dysfunction. Thus I find  this Lee Edmundson a  fascinating character. To briefly  review; I had attacked Williams who is independently wealthy, having bragged during his 2018 campaign that he did not need a Supervisor’s salary. He is now keeping every dollar and benefit of the position while the County stands on the brink of an SEIU strike. And Edmundson jumped to Ted’s defense closing his screed with this tasty morsel:  “As for Chris Skyhawk, he should never forget, and forever remind himself of the fact that he scuttled his own campaign  for Supervisor in 2018 by his own actions, he knows what they were; so do others,” referring to the fact that I had taken Ecstacy (for therapeutic purposes) on  the day of my stroke.

I think unpacking Lee’s  disgusting comment is instructive about Williams and his uncaring attitude toward the county he ostensibly is supposed to be serving. The moral depravity and emotional callousness of Lee’s comments are, I think, transparently obvious. Further:  I think the comment is revealing of a man who is in possession of a very sick psyche and a very diseased soul. I believe this analysis needs no further explication. And they track closely with Ted’s recent remark to Mendocino Voice reporter Dave Brooksher that the public probably wouldn’t notice a strike!

The massive insensitivity of such a remark is difficult to get my brain-damaged mind to wrap itself around! And it begs the question, If Ted sees county services as irrelevant to the public, what the actual F! is he doing in this job?    

As for Edmundson, as the County faces what will be upcoming turbulence I hope his voice will not be seriously considered by those actually seeking to solve our problems since, outside of being Ted’s campaign manager and ongoing apologist, he has not been politically relevant for years. And though  he feels comfortable dispensing thinly veiled moral  advice to me and the county, while aggravating his COPD with daily cigarettes, unable to control his personal addiction, I would not recommend we accept advice from a man with a death wish.

I have stated about Ted: “beware this man.” I’ve had a front row seat to much of Ted’s career first as an ally on our Fire District in Albion where we accomplished many things together. Later as opponents for the same seat. I have learned there is something quite wrong with Ted. He is very cunning and skilled at showing different faces to different people at different times. He hides behind the various faces he constructs and then trusts that no-one will track him over time, that they will just stay satisfied with the face he just showed them, and not track his contradictions, outright lies, or his record of abysmal failure, or his acts of  callousness.

Politics should not be a blood sport. It is apparent to see how moral midgets like Ted and Lee deserve each other but Mendocino County deserves neither!

PPS. I want everyone to know that although I struggle with physical limitations, and while I accept people’s good hearted concerns, no one need feel sorry for me. My life is filled with love and beauty. I might write more at another time, but my stroke has been an extraordinary and illuminating experience that is still unfolding. Thank you.

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It's pretty bad when you buy and own your home and pay a ridiculous amount of property tax, then the county thinks they have the right to search your property especially if their satellite image shows you have a greenhouse on your property. It doesn't matter if you have vegetables or weed in it, you’re a target. 

I had a couple of code enforcement officers show up at my door and the first question was do you have a greenhouse?, we are inspecting properties for cannabis. I told them I did have a small greenhouse but recently took it down and hauled it to the dump. 

They wanted to search my property and I welcomed them to do so. They said they were going to every resident to perform a cannabis inspection. This is where I found out that you couldn't have a $200,000 greenhouse on your property without a permit (bigger than 120 square feet), which I find is totally ridiculous. A permit would probably cost you more than you paid for the greenhouse. 

I asked these enforcement officers a couple of questions and was surprised with their answers. I asked, Isn't it legal in California to grow six plants? They replied no. I asked if it was legal to grow a few plants if you had a doctor's prescription? Again they said no. I believe they said, not in Mendocino County. If you don’t have a permit from the county to grow, you can't grow anything even with a doctor's prescription. 

This all started when the Board of Supervisors Permitted Commercial Grows close to residential areas, and the residents are complaining about the smell, and I don't blame them. So now they have come up with the brilliant idea that it's not the Commercial grows, it's all the mom and pops, or medical grows that are causing all the problems. This is why they have taken satellite pictures and are now searching your property for Cannabis. 

I would think that would be an invasion of privacy, but that's just me. I did let them search my property, and now I'm not sure I should have let them.

Mike Tubbs

Redwood Valley

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What's with this town??

Yesterday I took my car to the car wash by Safeway. I drove up to have my 1999 Buick Century washed by the attendant. They couldn't wash it, they said. It was too dirty! Seriously! We hadn't used the car for about three months while my husband was in treatment for a quadruple bypass and it got leaves on it while it sat. They told me that the leaves and debris would dirty up their car wash and I should take it home and hose it down.

I kid you not! And, 11 months ago I attempted to have my Dodge Ram 2500 detailed at the Classic Car place, to include cleaning the seats and carpet. I made an appointment, showed up on time. I was told that the person who does that work, was not in and that when he returned, they would call me. That was 11 months ago. Seriously, what's with this town? Inadequate medical care! Ghost town for a Junior College! Absolutely NO after hours/emergency veterinary care…

Not to mention limited access to vets during work hours as well!

Now car wash services denied to dirty cars?!

I would like to extend my thanks for these and more to our Fort Bragg City Council for taking the needs of the electorate they represent so seriously.

After all, we do have a pool!

What next?!

Rosemary Mangino

Fort Bragg

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I had just started carelessly administering this week’s time-delayed dose of the AVA (… it only takes 6-8 days of completely exhausted horses & slightly underpaid, part-time pony express riders working up a full time sweat to get these bundled dispatches of out-dated, west coast news & views all the way to Olde Detroit which is fine with me because it makes the same ol’ unremarkable, regular stuff glacially going on HERE as usual, seem VERY exciting by comparison… just because everything here happens on the SAME day I find out about it!) when I realized Miles Davis’ very cool trumpetless musings , Bruce Anderson’s dry account of his tawdry Vegas sojourn , and Malcolm X’s tragically prescient take on what really sucked around here even way BEFORE Biden or Trump had successfully pulled off their respective lab escapes… ALL these were featured and I wasn’t even a quarter of the way deep-skimming thru the 12 crinkly paper pages!

I laughed out loud at Davis’s great portraits of Charlie Parker and his un-pulled jabs at Ornette Coleman & the hip dorks (me, too) who hastily styled themselves as fans.

Unbelievable. I’ve read every biography of Charlie Parker & I never pictured him blowing in that borrowed suit with his ankles showing!

Thank you & suerté, 

John JJ Joslin 

Detroit, life’s sold-out Toy Dept. near Canada…

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Dear Editor. 

I see Republicans use the S-word— Socialism— when opposing health care for all, minimum wages and aid for poor people, but they don’t call bailouts to Wall Street and ag giants socialism. And they don’t call huge subsidies to gas & oil corporations and war industries socialism. Hmmm. Yes, the GOP can be relied upon to give taxpayer money to the already wealthy & giant corporations and oppose helping the middle and working classes. They believe it’s best to give to the rich and take from the rest of us.

Tom Wodetzki


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Please stop printing letters and commentary describing in detail our imminent doom! Even with the AVA at the bargain price of $1.09, they’re making me sick!

Longtime Reader in 

The City

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Wow. Sex trafficking, fatherless families manipulated by the welfare system, a border invasion, Black-on-Black crime, failing education and lack of opportunities, all overseen by demonic Democrats running our biggest cities. 

Yes, Abraham Lincoln would be appalled. Appalled at Republicans voting against programs to feed hungry children, fully fund education, reform immigration, etc. As far as sex trafficking goes, the biggest offender of late was billionaire Jeffery Epstein, friend of Donald Trump and other Republican notables, as well as British royalty. Top military nominations have been put on hold by one Republican senator, Tommy Tuberville.

The largest Republican controlled “big city” is Fort Worth, Texas, population under 1 million, where 13.6% live at or below poverty level, compared to the national average of 12.8%. Oklahoma City, poverty rate 15%. Single-mother families (fatherless) — Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas and Alabama lead the country. Republican controlled, by the way. Also with high poverty rates, high rates of drug overdose deaths, etc.

These problems are so complex and ingrown, there’s plenty of blame to go around and few viable solutions.

Jack Burger


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The Anchor/Redwood Community Services mental health contracts are an interesting story for sure. If a Supervisor or Supervisors have an issue or concerns with the contracts, by all means, let’s get them right. Who doesn’t support that?

Here is my rub. These contracts are renewed every year. So why the rush job? We have all year every year to deep dive into the language. Most, if not all of them don’t contain much new information. The 90 day extension proves the county feels they need only 90 of the 365 days the contracts allow. It is without doubt at this point that all of Anchor/RCS employees are on a 90 contract. That must be good for morale but I guess they at least have a contract. This is more that the union has. This also means the crisis respite facility that the City of Fort Bragg wrangled for two years to get opened is on a 90 day contract. What happens to our respite if RCS doesn’t like the new language and. worst case, they walk? Unlikely, but not impossible. Putting out an RFP could be fruitful, but if you were an outside the area provider, how long or how deep would you have to look into county business over the last few years to decide, no thank you? 81 days and counting!

Bernie Norvell, Mayor

Fort Bragg

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As many readers know, Robert Pinoli, Skunk Train CEO, lost in court recently after attempting to claim eminent domain over property belonging to Mendocino County resident John Meyer. That’s good news. 

Unfortunately, Mr. Pinoli is appealing the verdict, thus delaying his payment of approximately $250,000 to Mr. Meyer for reimbursement of Mr. Meyer’s attorney fees and court costs. This has left the Meyer Family in a deep financial hole. 

I don’t know John Meyers. But I know what Mr. Pinoli did, and continues to do, is wrong. I hope readers will consider making a small donation or even a big one— to the “Help John Meyer’s Family Survive Being Railroaded” GoFundMe site. When we all help a little, we can accomplish a lot.

Cynthia Grant


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To the Editor:

Transparency and accountability are core values of government that our elected officials must work vigorously to uphold. In Mendocino County, we are faced with a test of that value, as critical public reports outlining county finances are months behind schedule.

Annual Comprehensive Financial Reports (ACRFs) are essential documents that show members of the public and elected leaders the current state of an agency’s finances. State law requires counties, cities, and school districts to release these reports in the six months following the close of the fiscal year in June.

The last ACFR released for Mendocino County covered the fiscal year running from July 2020 to June 2021, which means we have no audited reporting of county finances covering the last two years of operations. This delay in reporting not only makes accountability and governance incredibly difficult, it is also likely illegal.

Up the coast, our neighbors in Humboldt County faced a similar financial reporting delinquency issue just last year. Their former Auditor-Controller, Karen Paz Dominguez, failed to file different financial reports, resulting in the California Attorney General sending a demand letter threatening litigation and financial penalties. Paz Dominguez took an adversarial position, shifting blame onto other elected officials and county staff.

The difference between the situation in Humboldt and our situation here in Mendocino is that Paz Dominguez faced a Board of Supervisors committed to ensuring accountability and demanding a resolution to the issue. The Board passed votes of no-confidence, approved third-party investigations, and eventually approved a settlement deal to get the Auditor-Controller out of office and bring someone in who could actually do the job. Here in Mendocino County, there has been a lackadaisical attitude from the Board, enabling these serious issues to go unanswered and fly under the radar.

Adding to this issue is action by the Board in 2021 to merge the Auditor-Controller and Treasurer-Tax Collector positions, creating a chaotic situation in which the duties of both offices have suffered as the attention is divided amongst competing obligations.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors must make fiscal transparency, accountability, and responsibility a core value of county government. They have a responsibility to constituents to demand accurate, independent financial reporting from our Auditor-Controller. Mendocino County residents deserve no less.

Madeline Cline

Redwood Valley

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Dear AVA Editor, 

I just finished letters to two Senators and our governor in essence the governing entities, the same with those who administer them hold to the status quo. A couple I met whose only income source was Food Stamps. Then a SARS program that failed today. I am living in my car as well. I didn’t want them to starve so I gave them water, Gatorade, bread and some gas money. I can’t do this. I’ve lowered my own needs to two small meals a day. 

Here’s my rub. I sent to our elected officials a signed approval in essence saying I get food stamps because I cannot pay rent and not eat. However why I’m writing you is, he said if I’m quoting this correctly Measure B was for mental health, right ? He said it went to the jails system which I know is strained anyway but it leaves nothing else. This man also said he got a fixit ticket and I mentioned this to all the elected officials there is (no) fix without a job/income?

I find vigilantism to be destructive. This to me is what government wants: rebels so they can keep their Stanford Madison’s and not concern themselves that a (pandemic) has eroded our system of democracy. Human nature and their ability to place their lives before those and ignore their (Oath) they swore to hold dear. 

Sincerely yours 

Greg Crawford 

Fort Bragg

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To the editor:

The culturally moronic Tommy Wayne Kramer has once again revealed his prejudice/ignorance/downright meanness in his uneducated and sloppy criticism of the “Something’s Happening Here” display currently at the Grace Hudson Museum in Ukiah.

Mr. Kramer often slams the counter culture movement of the late 60’s and early 70’s and is occasionally justified, but here his hatred of all-things-different highlights his lack of understanding of Art, societal shifts, and geez, just about everything else.

He tries to make the case that those who migrated to Mendocino County in those years contributed little or nothing to the artistic, governmental, and food-producing in our fair county.

In his poorly thought out article he asks the reader if they do not agree with him to “tell me I’m wrong.” Well, Tommy, you are wrong!

Richey Wasserman

Point Arena

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Dear Editor,

This post is directed to the Fort Bragg City Council (Bernie Norvell), Fort Bragg City Manager Peggy Ducey, and to our Chief of Police (Neil Cervenka)

To the City of Fort Bragg, I’m very frustrated and pissed off because I’m tired of city leaders continuing to hide in the background while pushing other agendas past important ones that need immediate attention.

In 2019 we proposed two soccer courts for Bainbridge Park, in which we had a majority vote in favor of the two courts. We have the funds to create both fields and 4 years later they’re still not created.

The pickleball players (primarily adults) made a fair argument why they needed their own courts, after a lot of back and forth the city found a perfect solution to which you guys have created new pickleball courts for such group. I support the pickleball courts that were created but not before taking care of our youth…

Fort Bragg clearly has a drug issue. In the most recent months, our local Fort Bragg police department has had huge drug busts and overdoses. It’s not hard to find that our local youth is leaning towards these heavy & dangerous drugs because they don’t have enough positive outlets. With a bit of research, you will also find out that the drug dealers in our community are actually young locally base individuals. These drugs have taken lives in our local community & it needs to STOP! We need to continue to work together to create more positive outlets for our youth to keep our community safe and also less crime for our law enforcement agencies.

I’m not saying that two soccer courts will clear up all the drugs and crime in the community but I’m willing to bet that those courts will create another positive outlet for individuals to engage in a positive way and just maybe we have fewer kids trying to join gangs, use drugs or be a dealer…

So let’s stop the bullshit and pointing the finger that it’s individuals' fault why we have gangs and drugs in our community… how about we start pointing the finger at ourselves and we work together to get positive out let’s to our youth…

I have a high respect level for you Mayor Norvell as you are a man with high integrity and I support the culture change Chief Cervanka has brought to our department. So I’m calling you both out respectfully let’s get this job done NOW and start prioritizing positive change that will ultimately lead to a safer City of Fort Bragg.

Ricardo Garcia

Fort Bragg

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As the Ukraine War continues, with increased military and civilian casualties among the Ukarinian population, there is a new war zone, the streets of Moscow itself. Within the last week several drone attacks have been made on buildings in Russia’s capital city, right under President Putin’s nose and his Kremlin cronies.

These attacks are not the official work of the Ukranian military. As long as the mystery persists, it bodes well in many observers’ opinions because it leads to at least two, among many, conclusions.

1. Maybe Russian or Russo-born actors who are unafillialed with the CIA or the official Ukrianian government who want to end the conflict.

2. Possibly former Wagner Group soldiers who simply wish to ha the pointless bloodshed.

It could be they might start to bring about the kind of domestic popular uprising in Moscow and possibly across Russia that might bring about the kind of government change which precipitated the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990-1991. Even the end of the autocratic rule of Putin which broungt about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Frank H. Baumgardner, III, MA 

Santa Rosa

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