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Letters (October 6, 2023)

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Dear Friends. Neighbors and Newcomers to the Valley.

Our “Village” chapter was founded five vears ago to help seniors and retired or semi-retired community residents to connect with others here in Anderson Valley. We have recruited an impressive list of some 48 kind volunteers to assist seniors in their daily lives and our website hosts contacts to local service providers for things like driving. shopping. garden and household help, caregiving, etc. Popular are our monthly social gatherings which usually include talks on a wide variety of subjects combined with a social hour and great refreshments. These occasions bring people together who may have briefly met each other sometime in the past or not. At any rate, they enable us to meet; meet again and deepen conversations and relationships. These gatherings are held from 4-5:30pm on the third Sunday of every month at the Boonville Senior Center. Come check us out!

As more and more seniors are living longer and remaining in their homes, the “Village” idea arose to support us in times when we need it. This is a nationwide trend as people like us realize that by nurturing relationships among ourselves and our neighbors, we are making meaningful contributions to our community at large. The village links together with the Senior Center, the AV Health Center and several other Valley groups to counter isolation and foster resilience, interests and goodwill among our older population. Many of us don't need these services now. But may in the coming year(s). We're paying it forward!

With one wonderful, part-time. paid coordinator (Anica Williams), we are an all volunteer board that meets monthly and which plans events and outings in separate committees.

Each person contributes as they are inclined and is welcome. Monthly dues are $25 for singles and $40 for couples or if you pay annually, you get a month free, making it $275 a year for singles and $440 for couples. Exceptions can be made if necessary and of course, donations are always welcome.

If you are not already a member of the AVV, we invite you to become one and join us in planning and enjoying our events and each other. Get to know those familiar and unfamiliar faces and the personalities behind them! For more information please go to our website: or contact Anica at (707) 684-9829.

Our email is

We hope to see you soon!

Warm regards,

The Anderson Valley Village Board


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Gov. Gavin Newsom recently proposed restructuring corrections programs, and people are up in arms, imagining going soft on felons and outraged about the money this alignment will cost.

Some years ago, the Department of Corrections officially added Rehabilitation to its title, something that was supposedly a goal all along. It was only under pressure from outside sources that rehab was paid any mind. Other countries have had this model for years, with great success, but the lust for vengeance is strong and isn’t going to abate anytime soon. People aren’t sent to prison for punishment, prison itself is the punishment. But neither the public nor the Parole Board have recognized this idea.

Having spent 10 years working with the Vietnam Veterans Group Of San Quentin, a program renowned throughout California, I can state unequivocally that San Quentin isn’t Club Med. People are crowded into cells designed for single occupancy, they’re at the mercy of guards, some of whom abuse their position with no real fear of consequences, and arbitrarily put on lockdown, because it’s easy.

People aren’t the sum of their crimes. They’re still human beings and deserve to be treated humanely. To quote a well-known historical figure, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

Rev. Terry L. Wolfe


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People just don’t get it. The homeless population is growing every day. So many of us are wondering how long we will be able to hold on to our homes before we are taxed and regulated out of them? It’s an act of Brutal and Barbaric Violence Against Us, who are our Ancestor’s Posterity.

Our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents had horses. So what we are going though today is genuinely tantamount to someone violently torching down the homes of the descendants of our ancesters.

Contrary to what our political leaders think, we don’t live on massive estates with orchards of money trees in our backyards where we can enndlessly pick $100 bills at will.

Roger Jones


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Has anyone ever noticed that when the Republicans control the presidency, there is never any talk in Congress about balancing the budget or cutting spending? Funny, how the topic only seems to come up when there is a Democrat in office, and it is always Republicans who then talk about cutting spending and/or shutting down the government.

Does anyone remember Sen. Ted Cruz shutting down the government when Barack Obama was in power? The event turned into a mess for the Republicans and caused all sorts of harm to hardworking Americans, with no other result except to assist in downgrading the credit rating of the U.S.

Here’s what we should be asking Congress: “Isn’t it your job to pay the bills and keep the government going?” I suggest we pass an amendment that stops the people in Congress from ever being paid for days lost during a government shutdown. This might make everyone in Congress think twice before pulling such shenanigans. After all, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Carl Merner

Holualoa, Hawaii

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Good grief! California has always been a climate disaster zone. Look up the Great Flood of 1862. The whole Central Valley was several feet deep in water. It didn’t quit raining all winter. The capital had to be moved from Sacramento to San Francisco. So many farmers and ranchers lost crops and livestock the state couldn’t and didn’t try to collect taxes that year. Then there are earthquakes, wildfires and other floods. Isn’t that why the leadership in Sacramento in the 1960s built the dams?

California is Crazy Town. If you want to live somewhere safe, move to Nebraska. That is where I’m from. It is safe, but you may find it boring. Little Bill in “Unforgiven”: “Thought I was dead once. Come to find out, I was in Nebraska.”

If you don’t like the risks of living in California, move. Many have.

Tim McGraw


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The highlight of Fort Bragg’s Labor Day parade is the Lumberjack marching band. Unfortunately, this year, their performance was marred by the disrespectful yahoos circling them with motorcycles and a siren. The “Fort Bragg Forever” crowd did not represent themselves well. What to do about the significant element of our population who consider disrespect to be a strong point?

David Welter

Fort Bragg

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The community officially now has what can be considered a pattern of behavior. Services that previously existed are now being denied/withdrawn from us on a consistent and regular basis. It started with College of the Redwoods leaving Fort Bragg, resulting in another community college promising to provide the level of service provided by CR. When I started CR in 1990 it was a vibrant institution of higher learning. Sadly, it has the air of a ghost town.

Next, was the withdrawal of emergency veterinary care after hours on the Coast. And, it gets better! Today, hundreds of Coast residents have to travel to Willits, Santa Rosa, Petaluma to get urgently needed veterinary care, not only after hours, but during vet hours, as well. And, if you dont have the ability to travel over the hill…you get to watch your pet suffer and/or die.

Then, and even more importantly, a new hospital medical provider took over the Mendocino Coast District Hospital which, as of this writing, has proven that they are failing to provide adequate medical care to this community. They’ve eliminated the opportunity for women to give birth here on the Coast. They are unable to provide primary care providers, as well as, any specialists to meet our medical needs. They opened an immediate care center that was supposed to treat illness’ that needed prompt attention. Now, you need to make an appointment! And, have you ever tried calling the office to make one?

Rosemary Mangino

Fort Bragg

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Letter to the Editor:

Moving to Reno in January 1967, I was fortunate to make the acquaintance of some of the local guys who showed me one of the great unique experiences of the area. The Gerlach hot springs consisted of three pools the first of which was literally lethally hot and humanly unusable. The second had a diving board and an adjacent trio of wooden saunas situated over natural steaming fissures in the ground with a buoyant water temperature of a hot tub. The third was more of a warm wading pool of mineral water. This was a place where one could stay all night and never see another person or vehicle while enjoying this invigorating oasis. It was pristine. Now this area is fenced off to the public because of abuse and liability. the location is just a few miles south on the Black Rock Desert site of the bacchanal that is known as "The Burning Man". I wonder if it is justifiable to give up a piece of paradise just so many others could tromp there. 

Don Fosse


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AVA's resident Archie Bunker, Tommy Wayne Kramer, finds no shortage of things to criticize about today's America, from Ukiah, his special focus and admittedly worthy of attention, to all points East, West, North and South. And he seems to pine for the day when white dominance of American society was unquestioned and its darker hued inhabitants were restricted to ghettos and barrios and knew better than to challenge it or expect faces like their own to appear in ads in the country's premier publications and on television as they do today.

There is, no doubt, on the latter, an exaggerated emphasis on “mixed race” couples which, until 1951, was against the law in California, and restricting “housing covenants” based on race, were the norm. Those, I have gathered, were for TWK, like for Donald Trump, “the good old days,” and even though quite literate himself, he is even for the defunding of libraries, such as Ukiah's which he considers to be past their shelf life.

I was really struck the other day, actually a couple of weeks ago, when he had something to say that I found mind-boggling, coming from someone who would have us believe in the wisdom he has picked up in his years as a newspaperman observing the planet and its less than perfect inhabitants. Not once, but twice, in a single column, he wrote that he is “proud of American history.”

Now, it's understandable to love one's country but to be proud of a history that has included the deliberate genocide of its original inhabitants and the theft of their lands, while honoring in every way imaginable those responsible, and subjecting to four centuries of slavery African slaves and their descendants followed by decades of Jim Crow, should raise serious questions about the character of any American or any person who is proud of such an inheritance.

Moreover, according to the Congressional Research Service, the US has launched 251 military interventions since 1991, and 469 since 1798 -- the list of countries targeted by our military includes the vast majority of the nations on Earth, including almost every single county in Latin America and the Caribbean and most of the African continent. And if you look at the countries that are the sources of the migrants trying to cross our borders, you will find that the origin of the problems that have made them desperate enough to leave their homes has been American interventions. That the only possible relief from their fears and their needs is the United States is one of the great ironies and tragedies of history and nothing to be proud of.

Instead of advocating for the defunding of our libraries, I would advise TWK to spend some time in one, beginning with the History section.

Jeff Blankfort


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Dear Editor,

Not to belabor the point, but this, from ‘The Destruction of California Indians,’ edited from newspaper accounts and letters, by Robert F. Heizer, Peregrine Smith, Inc., 1974, another book worth reading, if you haven’t already.

All best,

Donald Guravich

Fort Bragg

ED REPLY: The glory of America is that we emerged from murderous beginnings to become the fine, fat population we are today. Not to resort to invidious comparisons (that's all I have left), but we all know, or should know, that all of the Latin American countries were worse, and most stayed worse for much of their histories. Hell, even Denmark slaughtered the Inuits. No nation is clean. As the sage said, history is a race between education and catastrophe, with catastrophe seeming to be winning, and what else is new? Violence over who gets what and how much comes with the human animal. Throw a million dollar grant into a meeting of purple people and watch the blood flow. The battle at the moment is between Maga-brains who don't want the truth of our bloody beginnings taught at all, and the wokesters who want curricula emphasizing atrocities removed because they think America was poisoned in the well. We all should know, that Mendocino County was the scene of great crimes, but so far as I'm aware, local history isn't taught in the schools, and probably half our students couldn't find America on a global map. I'm glad you're pointing us all in the direction of historical truth. 

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Greg Afinogenov recently wrote a fanciful tale concerning Lenin's treatment of Kropotkin between 1918 and 1921. Lenin, he writes, “admired Kropotkin” and ensured that he “could live out his declining years in comfort in his dacha outside Moscow. When Kropotkin died in February of 1921, dozens of anarchists were released from Moscow's prisons to attend the lavish funeral.” 

Kropotkin's daughter, Alexandra, painted a different picture in a talk — of which there is a summation — she gave on May 9, 1961 at a memorial marking the 40th anniversary of her father’s death:

“The Bolsheviks wanted to make political capital out of Kropotkin’s popularity. In public they seemed to do everything possible to make him comfortable. Behind this hypocritical facade they filled his last days with harassments and bitterness. They held back the foreign papers that were sent to him and censored his mail. To obtain the slightest thing, Alexandra had to wade through miles of red tape and fill out reams of forms and questionnaires.

“Alexandra and her mother did not want a government funeral and insisted Kropotkin be buried in the family plot. The Bolsheviks wanted to inter the body under the Kremlin wall, but Alexandra told them her father’s bones would never be mixed with the remains of scoundrels who were drowning the revolution in the blood of the Russian people.

“Alexandra promised her dying father that she would try to free the imprisoned anarchists and other revolutionaries. She threatened to expose the phonies [Bolsheviks] to the delegation of foreign newsmen who attended the funeral. She told the leaders of the Bolsheviks that if they tried to monopolize the funeral, she would throw all the government wreaths into the mud. Her efforts, along with those of many others, forced the commissars to relent. They released a few anarchists, who attended the funeral and who were later put back in prison.

“Thousands of people marched in the funeral procession. As the cortége passed the Butyrskaya prison, the prisoners waved (the prison cells had barred windows facing the streets] while singing the Anarchist Funeral March.”

Kropotkin died in a small village called Dmitrov, where his family was driven after their apartments in Moscow were “requisitioned.” In March 1920, when Emma Goldman visited, she found the 77-year-old living in one barely heated room with his entire family. Provisions depended on what they could grow in their garden (a cow provided milk), plus donations sent by anarchist comrades.

As for the “lavish funeral,” which Afinogenov implies was Lenin’s doing, it was organized by a committee of anarchist syndicalists and anarchist-communists, who arranged for Kropotkin’s body to lie in state for public viewing in the Hall ot Columns of the House of Unions in Moscow. Their only request to the government was that all anarchists held in prison be freed to attend the funeral. This was met with evasion right up to the last moment, when the Cheka brought a few dozen prisoners to the Hall of Columns and selected seven for release (only after a group of students volunteered to take their place should the prisoners fail to return). Tens of thousands of mourners accompanied Kropotkin to his final resting place, and the coffin was carried part of the way by the emaciated anarchists who were “on leave.”

Allan Antliff

Victoria, British Columbia

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I’m a believer in the Constitution together with its amendments. It is also important to speak out at times like these when there is a definite threat to the existence of that Constitution. And when a politician, namely ex-president D. J,. Trump, is making violent verbal threats against individuals in public office. Specifically, I am referring to members of Congress, special prosecutors, and judges.

Trump also singled out for slander the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley. Specifically Trump called him a “traitor” on his personal website for an incident when the general telephoned the Chinese Government after the election of 2020 to warn that government that the US was not considering military action against its forces in the South China Sea.

The inflamatory rhetoric by the former president for whatever reason must stop. His rabid followers, of which there are an estimated 15 million persons, constitute an armed threat to individuals like Special Counsel Smith, former president Obama and Judge Chutkin as well as the families of many Congresspersons. His attacks must stop as they have nothing to do with a legitimate run for the Presidency of this Republic.

Frank H. Baumgardner, III

Santa Rosa

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