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Letters (August 31, 2023)

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A Labor Day Celebration will take place on Monday, September 4 2023 at Todd Grove Park and Clubhouse, 600 Live Oak Ave, Ukiah from 11 - 3 pm. Speakers include: Congressman Jared Huffman, Assemblymember Jim Wood and California Democratic Party Chair Rusty Hicks and Local Labor Leaders. The event is presented by The Mendocino County Democratic Party and the Inland Mendocino Democratic Club. Music will be provided by Mendocino Gaggle of Raging Grannies. Food from Chef Denny. 

Labor Day celebrates the women and men who campaigned tirelessly for workers' rights in the labor movement of the late 20th century. Their hard-fought wins are the reason for many of the rights we enjoy and take for granted today, such as a 40-hour work week, safe work conditions, paid time off, and sick leave. Those workers saw that there could be no freedom and liberty in this country without economic freedom for the working class. The holiday honors the source of this nation's strength—American workers, unions, and labor leaders.

Val Muchowski


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Dear Editor,

This about is the lack of financial information that our County has. Here is a link to the Month to date accumulated totals through the Mendocino County's Budget Portal.

These totals were updated July 28, 2023. They show totals for budget year 2021-22, not even last year's budget of 2022-2023. And we are in budget year 2023-24.

Notice the link for the first word is transparency! What transparency, when these totals are over a year behind?

This coming Tuesday's Board of Supervisors (BOS) Agenda packet has 1,390 pages. 

These are some of the Agenda items: Short-term rental ordinance, Parks, Broadband, to name a few. There are 48 items on the Consent Calendar. If you are not aware of how the Consent Calendar works, it is voted through with a majority of yes votes by each Supervisor (I have never seen one not approved). All items are supposed to be non-controversial. A lot of items get “pushed through” on the Consent Calendar, including, recently, raises.

I encourage everyone to attend BOS meetings, have your voice heard in public comment and follow where your money is being spent and what is being planned for our future. 

Happy reading!

Carrie Shattuck

1st District Supervisor Candidate


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To the Editor,

Haven’t you already heard people refer to that place as Bragg? I think you know what place I’m talking about without me saying “Fort”. Why can’t they just drop a “g” and show that Braxton character he is disqualified? The name Brag would be doing an its own P. R.. That little city has a lot to brag about! They can brag about their botanical gardens, their Skunk Train, their Glass Beach, their art studios, their charming little harbor, the list goes on and on.

Changing the name of a city can be difficult and costly. Removing some letters from a sign and a little White-Out on the stationery would be a cheap way to move on.

Judy Basehore


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Re: PHF…. Thanks again to Jim Shields for the details.

And yet here we are…all these years later…

This brings up a question, back then when the PHF was a working operation, were people with Serious Mental Illness just driven to PHF and they were evaluated and held on a 5150? Did the police understand when running in to these people they needed a ride to the PHF to be evaluated and they just transported them from street to jail?

And this part…. Lol

Speaking to the dangers of housing mentally ill inmates in the PHF, William French, a member of the Mental Health Advisory Board, as well as a former PHF patient, advised the Supes that “You have to look at how to better protect staff and patients (in the PHF) because with inmates there it’s not safe.”

I love how the separation is made of the criminal and the Serious Mental Illness…. Like they exist separately ….. 

And herein lies the crux of all the problems we face, because it is all so freaking discombobulated! It is a fact that people suffering from episodes of psychosis due to Serious Mental Illness can be combative and lash out. You would assume a PHF would be able to manage such behaviors and train its staff in how to recognize, approach and handle those situations. I see Mr. French’s statement as ridiculous and may he RIP. Because well at least now a big portion of inmates are those with Serious Mental Illness and often street people with SMI.

I am sure Sheriff Kendall can shed some light on that, but I think he downplays it and I say that with all due respect. He and I have had quite a few convos on these issues. The issues with safety due to violence/crime from Serious Mental Illness, affect the family first, always the family first and then the community at large. Intervention and prevention are necessary! 

So if we had a PHF now and when we do in the near future how do you suppose that is going to address any of these issues? It’s not, it is a nice looking band aid that will fall off because there is no structure underneath it to support us! I am always in awe of how many meetings and committees and services and all the money floated about that touts how things are working and solutions happening! As they say the proof is in the pudding, but there is no pudding!

Jalahn Travis

And again last night walking my dog I saw young Jahlan Travis walking around ill, confused and sick. No intervention for him, do you think the mobile crisis unit would come to his aid if I called? The police?

Mazie Malone


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Of all my colleagues when I practiced in Ukiah, Doug Rosoff was the doctor I respected the most. While the other psychiatrists in town (Gardiner, Lacy et al) cherry-picked the paying patients, Doug saw virtually all the psychiatric emergencies in the ER and was the only one taking care of indigent or imprisoned patients. These were all patients with severe morbidities and Doug was the only one to step up. It must have been incredibly taxing, but he was always calm, friendly, and helpful. A very humble man. His tragic death in 2012 was stupid; he was cycling and run over by a truck carrying construction materials to the McDonald’s remodel. They still haven’t fixed that intersection at Orchard and Gobbi, or put up a plaque. His demise left a huge void in the community as evidenced by Ukiah’s present anarchic mental health crisis.

Dr. Michael Turner


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Contrary to what others might have you believe, the country is not failing. Check the jobs reports, check the spending reports, and check the savings reports. Inflation is not through the roof, as Republicans would have you believe. What recession? The current administration is not failing. As a matter of fact, it has passed over 200 (bipartisan) bills, most of which positively affect the whole country. The Inflation Reduction Act is working, folks. Jobs are being created for Americans. Did you notice how Republicans are taking credit in their districts for bills they voted against? They don’t want to give the administration any credit for anything positive.

But it may feel like the sky is falling in 2025 when the Trump administration tax breaks expire and your taxes go up (except for big business). This was planned — the tax breaks would expire during the next presidency (if Trump had been elected to a second term), so he would not be blamed for taxes going up.

The sky is not falling!

Clifford Ferrerll


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To the Editor,

Thanks for the paper paper. I know the end draws nigh, but I will continue my encouragement through this small donation. Keep pitching inside.

Jeff Hopkins, aka: A Collective of One.


PS. Mr. Scaramella, a Biloxi Blues book/memoir would be great — a contemporary Catch-22 that is better written.

PPS. Thank Jah for Tom (W)Hine! I wish Mr. (W)Hine would write a book so I would know what color the trim on my house should be. Kentucky bluegrass or Bermuda for my lawn? Laphroig or Johnny Walker Red? Grass-fed or good old-fashioned feedlot beef? Mr. (W)Hine could help me with Norman Rockwell versus Pollack, Bogart or Noiret, paper or plastic. Mr. (W)Hine may be able to solve the conundrum I face regarding the placement of my garden gnomes, or whether I should even have gnomes. Mr. (W)Hine could weigh in on biodynamic dry farming or shallow rooted varietal wines. Should I remain silent and be suspected ignorant, or speak and confirm the suspicion? Black tar or the Sackler Special? The Drifters or the Four Tops?

If Mr. (W)Hine wrote his helpful hints book I could quit thinking forever. How wonderful that would be! The world according to Mr. (W)Hine would be the panacea for all society ills. And I can't wait.

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I'll make you a deal Mr. A and friends. You keep printing ’em and I'll keep reading ’em. $125 enclosed for a year subscription renewal. Please apply the extra, if any, to your overhead, underfoot or any preposition-noun combination of your choosing.

Thanks for all you do.


Jay Faler

Downers Grove, Illinois

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To the Editor:

The City of Ukiah needs to erect a memorial plaque at the intersection at Orchard and Gobbi where Dr. Doug Rosoff was killed in a biking accident in 2012. He was killed at about this time of year, August 24.

I'll contribute $1000 towards the cost of that plaque, if I can be involved in its planning process.

Who was Dr. Rosoff?

In 2000-2004, when I was a deputy in the Mendocino County Jail, I was primarily assigned to the Administration Segregation (Ag-Seg) Unit in Building II, Wing 4.

Ad-Seg is where mentally ill inmates also known as 51-50s, were locked down 23 1/2 hours a day. It was a tough job, but the one saving grace was the jail’s forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Doug Rosoff.

Dr. Rosoff was smart, Stanford educated. He was experienced. He had worked in the federal prison system.

Dr. Rosoff was also funny. His sense of humor was dry and cynical. He reminded me of Woody Allen.

And Dr. Rosoff was kind, compassionate, and gentle. He had a Zen bedside manner. He never judged the inmates who were patients, nor spoke over them, nor interrupted them…not ever. He never felt “superior”.

Keep in mind, most of the inmates in Ad-Seg were seriously mentally ill, often homeless people, who were dually diagnosed as alcoholics or addicts.

Many were violent and a threat to staff. Many were suicidal and a threat to themselves. Many were heavily medicated on powerful drugs like Seroquel or Clonazepam.

But Dr. Rosoff’s guiding mantra always was, “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

Come on, Ukiah. It's time. It's been eleven years. Let's put up a plaque honoring Dr. Rosoff.

John Sakowicz 


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“Never Surrender.” Amazing how Trump can turn a negative into a positive. Did you see the interviews last night with Black males in Georgia? Now that he has a mug shot, they are calling him a brother. Apparently, just a two percentage point change in their voting in 2024 will make him the president again. I don't think that is what District Attorney Fani Willis had in mind.

Harvey Wise

Santa Rosa

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The closure of California’s salmon fishing season this year is a grim reminder that many salmon stocks are crashing. On the Eel River, where salmon and steelhead are facing extinction, the single most important thing we can do to help them is remove two old, unsafe dams.

As your recent editorial makes clear, all major stakeholders involved in the decommissioning of the Potter Valley Project agree with this objective (“Keep tap open for North Coast rivers,” Aug. 13). We and other conservation groups also agree it’s feasible to continue water diversions to the Russian River watershed after the dams are gone. But the new project would cost tens of millions of dollars, and it has never been clear who will pay for it. Meanwhile the clock is running out on native fish, and PG&E wants the dams taken out as soon as possible.

There is no looming “water war” here. Water interests have had years to figure out how to make a continued diversion work. Their recent proposal sheds no new light on that. Meanwhile, the Eel’s salmon and steelhead are barely hanging on. We need to remove the dams as soon as federal regulators give the green light. A continued diversion may yet be possible, but we cannot hogtie the future of Eel River fishes to resolving that issue.

Matt Clifford

California Director of Law and Policy, Trout Unlimited


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Evan Gerschkovich is a 32 year old newspaper reporter who has been declared a “wrongfully detained” person by Russia in a Moscow jail since March, 2023. His only “crime” was to write about Russian President Vladimir Putin. He’s now been a prisoner for over five months. His arrest on the baseless charge of “espionage” came while he was on a work trip to the Russian city of Yejaterinberg, about 1,200 miles east of Moscow. His main focus has always been on the Russian people-where and how they live, Not on politics.

His mother and father separately immigrated to the US from Russia in 1979. They met while at work in New York, but both have retained a love for their native country. They educated Evan to speak Russian. In June, they spoke to across a plexiglass to Evan in a Moscow court. The most recent development is that his detention was merely extended from Aug. 30 to November, 30.

Pres. Biden has tried, but has failed to get a prisoner exchange.

Frank H, Baumgardner, III 

Santa Rosa

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There’s a teacher shortage. Is that surprising? It shouldn’t be and could have been avoided if teachers earned a salary they could live on. I taught school for 34 years and barely made over $50,000. If I hadn’t had a husband who owned a business and was financially sound, I never would have owned a home or enjoyed the life I have. Until school districts wake up and pay teachers a decent salary the exodus will continue, and children in many cases will not receive a quality education because the teacher isn’t qualified or isn’t teaching the subject they are qualified to teach. Parents should be aware and need to step up and demand their district pay teachers a decent salary. The shortage of teachers will only get worse, and our education system will fail until teachers get the salary they deserve.

Linda Elliott


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To the Editor:

As a psychologist who was working at Mendocino State Hospital in Talmage (currently The City of 10,000 Buddhas) when it was shut down, I read with great interest Jim Shields’ analysis of our current homeless crisis titled, “Who closed mental health hospitals in California? Three guesses, it wasn’t Reagan.”

I found Mr. Shields’ analysis to be largely but not entirely correct, somewhat incomplete, and unnecessarily dramatic, employing emotionally-charged terms such as “epic”, “abysmal”, “dire”, “explosion”, “shambles’, “voracious”, etc.. 

For example, his description of an “abysmal failure of a [mental health] system that has never experienced any kind of success” is an overstatement, to say the least. Despite all of its faults and shortcomings, our understaffed and underfunded mental health system has had and continues to have many successes every day, not the least of which include prevention of untold numbers of suicides and homicides.

As presented in his article’s sarcastic title, one of the main objectives of Mr. Shields’ opinion piece is to wash Governor Reagan’s hands of any responsibility for the closure of the state hospitals. But who else signed the bill into law? Who else could have vetoed it? Who else could have sent it back to the legislature demanding that it include adequate funding for community mental health so that our county mental health departments wouldn’t be overwhelmed with the flood of seriously ill patients released to the streets? Who else took credit for the great cost savings from closing the hospitals? Isn’t it ironic how our leaders take credit for successes but not for failures like this? Whatever happened to Truman’s “the buck stops here”?

Mr. Shields instead points his finger at the “Democratically-controlled” legislature which passed the bill, although the LPS bill’s lead author was a Republican and the bill was supported at the time by almost every single Republican legislator.

Even more curious, Mr. Shields answers his own question about responsibility thusly: “So who closed the hospitals? The patients did. You could say mental health patients after the law was passed, voted with their feet: They left their rooms and walked out of the hospital’s front doors, never to return.” Sounds to me a bit like blaming the victim. A more apt description might be that the seriously mentally ill were evicted from their rooms into the streets, where we see them today.

More important than finger-pointing at mistakes of the past is addressing the question of what are we doing to remedy the problem, and here I find Mr. Shields’ analysis incomplete. He concludes that “nothing we’re presently doing is ever going to work. Isn’t that sort of the definition of insanity?” Well no, that’s the definition of pessimism. Here are a few present things that are working.

Recently established mental health and drug courts direct non-violent mentally ill and substance-abusing offenders into treatment rather than locked cages, since the traditional “correctional” philosophy of “the floggings will continue until morale improves” clearly was not reducing recidivism or improving mental health.

We can argue about the cost and efficiency of recent programs to provide housing to homeless people with serious mental illness, but it is inarguable that the cure for homelessness is a home, and we have indeed increased and are continuing to increase such housing for the homeless mentally ill.

Importantly, Mr. Shields’ analysis fails to note that the LPS Act also created mental health conservatorships, which provide that when a serious mental illness renders a person unable to voluntarily and safely provide for their shelter, food, or clothing and there is no responsible third-party willing to provide them, the court can order the Public Conservator to provide for the person’s basic needs, including appropriate housing and treatment. Mr. Shield contends that after passage of the LPS Act “involuntary commitment was no longer an option”, but while the LPS conservatorship mechanism is expensive and involves time-limited but renewable suspension of certain civil rights, it does indeed provide an involuntary commitment option for what Mr. Shields describes as “a mentally ill person who is incapable of making rational decisions concerning their health.”

And on the near horizon, next month California will begin rolling out Governor Newsom’s sweeping “CARE Court” program (“Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment”), which provides another mechanism for compelling homeless people with serious mental illness into shelter and treatment.

Yes, the plight of the mentally ill homeless has risen to crisis proportions, but in my opinion the situation is not as “abysmal,” “dire”, and hopeless as Mr. Shields suggests.

J. Holden, PhD, 


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To the Editor,

I am the living son of the devil, God saved.

Based on years past and what you all saw since my youth from Fort Bragg to Willits then back home again to Fort Bragg. I have homies in both towns. Everything I've endured since that day growing up watching cruel morbid bad things I was taunted and tricked by the devil of 666, the sons of disobedience, demons lurking, I remained faithful to God, County, traveling for Columbia Helicopters, falling timber in three different states. I never gave up.

Staying strong to my nation, my people of kind and most importantly Jehovah God, his son the Christ. I saw that his angels came forth in 2016. I was saved from Babylon the great Christendom. I stopped attending Calvary Chapel. God didn't want me involved there. False religion can involve demonism, sects, divisions, tarot, fortune telling. Things of the world of this nature can cause a deception and added grief. However, as I continued to remain loyal to Jehovah I saw that these things had come to pass. The past was the past and always remains something I no longer thought about. Until certain idiots forced me to document facts about my past on facebook, it didn't bother me any watching God destroying Nazi torture not just of our cities, towns, countries and states, but of the whole world. You all watched Satan and his demons. His rule over mankind was crumbled around wherever I walked right before your eyes. I showed you all that Jehovah God it was god of the living. In many of my actions as the devil and his demons left me in 2016. Just remaining humble and faithful and being appreciative that Jehovah God used me to give you all hope. It would be very wise of you, many of you, to let go of your past and of your negative feelings. 

This has been a simple warning sent by World Judge Hastings of the Republic!

Rex Hastings

Rex Hastings

Mendocino County Jail


PS. Goodnight my followers of sorts, from your chaplain of honors of Navy Department stock. Rest easy tonight.

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Dear AVA,

One economy is the one of business and trade and the other is government distribution and confiscation. How did we ever get along without big brother? 100 years ago we had gold and silver money and paper backed by a stable currency. Now we have inflation. Who benefits from inflation? Do you think you who own your house benefit? Because the value of your house keeps going up, also your assessment is going up. So you will be paying more taxes or rather rent to the government because you really never own your own house, you are a tenant. How can you overcome this treadmill situation where you seem to be paying more and more of this devalued currency that buys less things? Who benefits the most in this game? Are the political elite getting poorer? They hope to overcome this morass by becoming filthy rich. If you can get rich enough you will always stay ahead of inflation. For example, as they raise interest rates right now to 5%, if you have $1 billion, 5% of $1 billion is $50 million risk-free, tax-free in municipal bonds which would be a favored way of benefiting. Those who are the architects and stakeholders of this inflationary taxation distribution system.

So you are on the road to having that magic $1 billion and that free $50 million in interest compounded over time. The problem is by the time you get your magic $1 billion most other people will have also have $1 billion or $2 or $3 billion and there will be trillionaires by that time. Most of them will be government employees living in gated communities and large estates with bodyguards, etc. like they do now.

The big problem is the whole world suffers from inflation. One big Third World where currency is created from nothing to aid in food distribution for the masses and keep the economy going for the little people and the big guys.

Either you produce something and sell it or you are part of the cancer economy. People don't like talking about it, but the last time I read in the paper there were 77% of the people working for the government and 23% producing stuff and that number is shrinking. By government I mean federal, state, county, city, municipalities, etc. the growth of government is a real problem. Inflation is the junk food of runaway government. 

In 1972 the top 10 employers in Mendocino County were #1 Southern Pacific, #2 Masonite Corporation, #3 Louisiana Pacific, #4 Georgia-Pacific, then PG&E, AT&T, and county, state, city, federal. What do you suppose this list looks like today? That's right, government holds all the top positions along with lawyers and bail bondsmen. You don't believe me? Get a phone book from 1972 and look at the Yellow Pages then and now.

We are heading in a very depressing direction. Where did we go wrong? Was it the 30s? One day gold was money, the next day you are getting confiscated and going to jail. It's very strange. Who was president in the 30s? Oh yes, Franklin Roosevelt. You can't say anything bad about him. He is a big hero. Within the same year of 1933, Roosevelt, Hitler, Stalin, the Queen of England, all outlawed goal for their subjects. This paved the way for future inflation. Inflation is highly addictive especially for bureaucrats and Third World dictators. So whenever you are contemplating the doomsday machine in all its parts, don't forget inflation. Think Zimbabwe.

Tom Madden


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Dear AVA Editor,

It was earlier today 7:40 am, sitting in my car and a guy is talking to this other guy about how he got into trouble with a long distance romance. The upshot was that his expectations were not based in healthy relationship standards. His qualifications were in order for him to be happy his experience needed to be fulfilled regularly. To me today’s relationship market place has changed, not like the past where you didn’t need to worry. However in the remote world it’s very difficult to tell if this drop dead gorgeous lady is for real or the 300 pound grandson in his mom’s basement. Thanks again 

Sincerely yours 

Greg Crawford 

Fort Bragg

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