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Letters (October 1, 2023)

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Recently while motoring up the Albion Ridge about mile post 2.5, returning from our beloved Village Hardware Store, downtown Albion, I passed a CHP cruiser going down, West. A bit unusual but no biggie I thought.

I was going well within the speed limit, in my own lane etc. The next moment or so he's on my bumper. I'm going slow past the dump as the road is bad and my old pickup empty, rides rough. He's right there and finally lights me up at the “donut shop", after following me about 2 miles. I stop and ask right away, "just why are you pulling me over"?

He says, “I thought your brake lights were not working". Of course I had no reason to brake going mainly up hill until I did coming to a stop. Not that he could see my brake lights going in the opposite direction his reported reason for the traffic stop.

He then says, “your brake light on the rear of your cab is not working.”  I calmly stated, “that is not a brake light, it's a cargo light". It is operated by the switch on the dashboard.

So that was strike two for him. He then wants to know just why was I "driving so slow". I have to explain to him that the road is in very bad shape etc., etc.

I guess he was out of lies for the moment and then states, “I get it now". Well what I get is that this traffic stop was built on one lie after the other and when he could not think of another one he got back in his car and left. No apology or stating his name, just bad behavior and disrespect on his part.

So I ask just why did he pull a u-turn and go out of his way to come after me in the first place?

Was it my faded ‘Bernie’ sticker that he saw stuck to the left side of my front bumper when he passed me before the stop? A good chance it was.

If I had been a black person or brown skinned I would likely found my face in the dirt or worse.

This is “not" public service by any stretch and is entirely wrong, bad behavior and unacceptable on Albion Ridge or anywhere. This was about the 1st of September. He did not state his name so I do not know who he is but on the loose not tethered by right and wrong so look out neighbors this is a bad cop on patrol now.

And for the record I am not “anti police". I just expect much better.

Thank you,

Gary Moraga


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As a 76-year-old who occasionally enters his garage and wonders why, can’t find the car after shopping sometimes or remember names, I ponder why America reelects politicians in their 70s. If the minimum age to be president is 35, why are vacuous geezers wandering the halls of Congress in their 80s? How about a maximum age?

Nineteen members of Congress are over 80, and nearly 25% are over 70. Kira Marie Peter-Hansen was recently elected to Parliament in Denmark at age 21, and most EU politicians are under 66 and less experienced, but their parliaments function. With America’s government unable to pass social needs legislation and balance the budget, it is time to vote in younger talent who will be tasked in surviving these mismanaged affairs and more. They are our future.

Dave Heventhal


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Thank you, Mazie Malone, for your letter in last week’s AVA entitled “Estrangement.”

This has happened to us by one of our kids. First for a year, then we reconciled, and now again, for who knows how long.

Your letter was very informative and educational for us.

Thanks again.

John & Debbie Rensen

Potter Valley

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Dear Editor,

Fort Bragg Name change—

I’ve enjoyed reading your paper for many years. A friend passes them along to me after reading. There are times when I certainly have taken issue with some of your stances, but it’s differences of opinion that makes horse races, eh?

However, I do take issue, not so much with your opposition to the name change for Fort Bragg, rather with your portrayal of the small garrison of soldiers there as keepers of the peace, or some such. The sheer weight of evidence, collected from first hand accounts, of the complicity of the U.S. military in the genocide of the native peoples is incontrovertible. From General Grant, on down the line. What has to be differentiated, is the propaganda of the time, from the reality.

I suggest you read the second of a trilogy, published in 1973, “The Destruction of the People”, by Coyote Man, brother william press, and in particular, Chapter 4, “The Drive to Round Valley,” to give you an idea of how “protective” those troops really were. Their “mission” came with a wink and a nod.

From a Fan of the AVA,

Donald Guravich

Fort Bragg

ED REPLY: I agree that the Army was implicitly involved in terrible atrocities, but their mission throughout was to protect Indians, not murder them, hence the Army's role in driving Indians from the Coast to the rez at Round Valley where, in theory, the Indians could be better protected. But throughout this awful period — 1850-1880 — it was white criminals and the State of California that did the killing. PS. Thank you for the book ref. I'll find a copy.

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To the Editor:

Jackson State Forest is at it again. After withdrawing several defective timber plans last year, they had a public meeting last week in Fort Bragg to announce their new “Camp 1” timber project that will include cutting down 32”- 42” diameter trees right next to the South Fork of Noyo River.

The proposed timber harvesting and loading yards will drain sediments into the river, which is already classified as an “impaired waterway” from sediments still streaming off from past activities on the Jackson since they acquired the land in 1947. Coho salmon that used to be plentiful in our area are now classified as an endangered species.

This new 509-acre project, including commercial timber sales, came as a surprise to the audience because our State Senator Mike Mcguire arranged a 10-million-dollar grant to support Jackson operations, which temporarily removed any pressure for commercial sales to pay their bills until a Revised Management Plan could be put into place. 

Unfortunately, Jackson recently decided not to wait, and with millions of our tax money in their pockets, they now also plan additional profits from this new project without the protections of a new Management Plan. So, the struggle to protect our water and forest continues. Please call Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblymember Jim Wood, and please ask them to contact Jackson to stop new timber projects until the Revised Management Plan is completed.

Richard Ettelson


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Losing my hearing, losing my eyesight, losing my physical strength and losing my mind are all inconvenient but the loss I experience most of all is losing my Power.

Where has that life adventurer, that reckless, flamboyant fearless man gone? He flickers into being on a racetrack for moments or here in a memoir.

But now it all feels like scenes from another's life watched by a timid old man. Pick the year and location, add mood and characters. Watch an action-packed adventure, all vivid color and romance. Starring Me.

And then you find the tea getting cold.

One anxiety replaces another: running late to catch a 747 departing for Hong Kong or waiting for the X-ray to get read. The building inspector and red tags or the dermatologist and skin tags. No money vs. no time. Having to recall and chronicle the months of depression, the years of wandering aimlessly, the opportunities wasted, so many failures and the endless regrets never to be remedied.

As far as I can determine this ride is only about experience and it sure has been a bunch of that. Which does worry me some — experience not being choosy about pleasure and pain.

There is much sweetness and beauty in this last part. The splendid/tragic/amusing engaging stories of us children, brothers and sisters wending through our many lives these decades until here we all are knowing each other so well now and still in love.

Michael Nolan


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(Mendo DA Eyster, a lawn guy, remains committed to his lawn)


While organic agriculture has grown widely popular over the past decades, organic landscaping has lagged behind, negatively impacting waterways, biodiversity and health. Fortunately, the tide may be turning. The Novato Union School District has launched an innovative two-year project led by a national organic field expert, Chip Osborne, to transition three school playing fields to organic.

The project aims to demonstrate how utilizing a systems-based approach will yield durable, drought-tolerant fields that capture carbon, cool the environment and be safer and healthier for children. Plus, it’s less expensive than chemical management of grass or toxic, heat-trapping plastic turf.

On Sept. 27, Osborne will give a presentation on the elements of organic field care in Novato. On Sept. 28 in Petaluma, there will be an expert-led all-day technical training on organic field care, including a presentation by a UC specialist on gopher management. More information about both events is available at

Piper Primrose


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In January 1838 when Abraham Lincoln was an Illinois state representative and just 29 years old, he delivered a speech to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, titled “The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions.” He warned that mobs of people who disrespected U.S. laws and courts would destroy the United States. In that speech he said, “If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time or die by suicide.”

A very prescient statement made almost 200 years ago by a 29-year-old politician with less than a year of formal education graphically describing what is presently happening to our country. I fear that we are, indeed, dying by suicide. The present Republican Party is the antithesis of the Party of Lincoln.

Bob G. Field

Santa Rosa

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