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Letters (October 14, 2023)

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Dear Friends of The Quiz,

After much deliberation, and even angst, I have decided to take a break from producing and presenting 'The General Knowledge and Trivia Quiz' here in Boonville at Lauren’s at The Buckhorn. I am not sure for how long at the point, but certainly a few months, although I may do an occasional ‘Pop-Up Quiz’ in the meantime.

I have been presenting The Quiz here in Anderson Valley for 17 years, since starting in 2006 at The Highpockety Ox through periods of time at The Boonville Lodge, the original Lauren’s, and The Buckhorn. It has been a labor of love and I shall certainly miss the fun and banter of those many nights, but I need a break from the demands of creating such a “show” on such a consistent basis.

I greatly appreciate the support for those evenings by many Valley folks and hopefully such times can be enjoyed once again one day.

“You know it makes sense.”

Cheers, Steve Sparks, The Quizmaster.

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Mendocino County Jail has a captivating garden that is protected by a barbed wire fence. This garden serves as a valuable lesson for the inmates, teaching them the importance of reaping the results of their efforts. The jail administration provides work opportunities for the inmates, which they can pursue by meeting specific requirements, such as exhibiting good behavior. The Garden Manager has implemented educational programs for the inmates, which encompass a range of subjects including college-level courses on agriculture, work skills, and safety training. These programs also cover topics such as landscaping maintenance, fruit tree pruning, weed management, interpersonal and communication skills, livestock care, coop maintenance (chickens and bees), and overall farming and gardening techniques for personal and professional production.

This space has fostered a sense of community, garnering interest and involvement from kitchen staff, Correction’s Deputy’s, and nurses. The prisoners have taken full responsibility for maintaining the garden. They typically work 6-hour days, with intermittent breaks throughout the day. Every morning, the inmates proudly display their abundant harvest. These programs, such as the garden initiative, adopt a comprehensive approach to law enforcement. Their objective is to decrease recidivism, which refers to the probability of individuals committing future offenses, by providing incarcerated individuals with valuable skills and knowledge.

The garden has received more than $6,000 worth of supplies, both through donations and funding from Mendocino College Rising Scholars grant. This has greatly contributed to the garden’s current condition.

In early 2023, the Garden Manager collaborated with college administrators to offer a college course on vegetable production during the spring semester of 2023. The course was a success, with a 100% pass rate. Between August 2022 and June 2023, the garden yielded a total of 2,593 pounds of various vegetables, including zucchini, garlic, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, green beans, salad, winter squash, cucumbers, summer squash, honeydew, watermelon, onions, mixed herbs, and tomatillos. Additionally, there were 46 heads of butterhead lettuce and 37 bushels of kale. The presence of chickens in the garden also had a special significance, as they produced over 384 eggs. All the harvested produce and eggs are utilized in the kitchen to prepare meals for individuals in incarceration.

We would like to express our gratitude to Cold Creek Compost, Gardens Project, Rising Scholars, New Agrarian Collective, Golden Rule Gardens, and Emerissa Gardens for their generous donations of compost, seeds, plant starts, miscellaneous supplies, and farm tools.

Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall


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In the 50’s through 70’s the pride of the US was that we had the largest middle class of industrial nations in the world. Then along came Reagan and we now have one of the smallest, For more details on how this happened read the book “America, What Went Wrong”. The Germans, who with 80 million people are the 2nd largest exporter of products in the world, have avoided this problem with one simple law: Half of the board of directors of large corporations must be line workers from the company. They don’t vote to send their jobs overseas and the CEOs make about 40 times what a line worker makes. In this country the ceos occupy seats on each other's boards and give themselves raises and salaries that are beyond comprehension.

I don’t encounter homeless people when I am in Germany and education and healthcare are human rights covered by taxes. Public transportation is cheap and efficient. Quality of life is emphasized: Public transportation is free on the weekends for families traveling together. The forests are selectively cut without changing the character. Many beautiful and maintained parks. Waking the streets at any time feels safe. The many water parks are the best with their hot tubs, saunas, pools, and solar rooms. One has hot mineral salt water with a railing around the edge so you can hook your heels on it, lay back and float weightless, while classical music is played under water. Big solar arrays and windmills everywhere. More than 59% of the energy comes from clean sources. Rather civilized don’t you think? I have heard Scandinavians refer to Americans in a derogatory way as “cowboys”. Reagan was our classic cowboy and he destroyed the lives of ordinary working people. They can’t afford to buy a home any more.

Donald Cruser

Little River

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Joyce Pfaffle:

I just took the DMV written test from hell! In fact, even the staff there said many are complaining and even lawsuits have happened. We're told lawyers revised the test given them by DMV for approval!

The electronic version is filled with number of feet, and amount of fines and number of seconds and other memorization detail to recall along with other tricky questions—some not in the manual and one absolutely not accurate!

I failed it twice—never happened before for me on their tests! So I studied some more and created what I call is a “cheat sheet” of data from the 100 page manual that includes all those numbers they seem to think we should memorize. Then I retook the test — this time the paper version. Much easier! I passed.

If anyone wants the cheatsheet email me. I'll be happy to share it.

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Katherine Finnegan:

I agree, the test is ridiculous and has nothing to do with testing your fitness to drive.

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Dobie Dolphin: 

I agree that the DMV test is ridiculous. I'm embarrassed to say how many times I failed after never failing a test in 55 years of driving.

Definitely take the paper test. At first I did it on the computer and sometimes didn't read the question carefully enough. As soon as I clicked on an answer I knew it wasn't right, but couldn't change it. On paper it's easier to take time to think and you can go back and change your answer (they give pencils with erasers!). Some of the questions made no sense. Makes one wonder who comes up with these tests. Good luck to all!

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Mazie Malone:

You probably will not believe this but once in 2010 I was aiding an elderly gentleman named Bob Smith to get his Drivers License, renewed. He was 80 had just had a heart attack and had moderate Dementia he had to do the driving portion of the test and I will tell you I was scared to death for the lady giving him the test. She took off with him in his little toyota truck, was gone 15 minutes. I kid you not he had approximately 20 errors in 15 minutes, 20! And they still renewed his Driver’s License without any modifications! Just let him be free to run stop signs and pull out in front of people!! Of course we then had to take his keys away! I still have the test somewhere I took it because I was in shock! 20 errors!

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Dear Somebody, Anybody,

I am an 11 year old boy and I’m worried about my mom and grandma. That article that was printed last week concerning that idiot newscaster in Fort Bragg has really set off my grandma. She cut out the article and taped it to our fridge. She looks at it every single morning while getting milk out for her coffee, unless she's on a bender.

I’m worried because my mom hates that guy’s guts almost as bad as grandma does. I’m really afraid that they are going to do what they say they're gonna do: to Kidnap and Torture Joe Legerski. 

It sounds too stupid to believe except all the details they are ironing out. 

For instance, The kidnapping part will happen with four carefully planned out steps, I hear. First, grandma will be posing as a bum pushing a shopping cart full of heavy junk. When Joe Legerski, who granma calls just another “stupid pollock,” whatever that is, My mom will be in another vehicle, in the passenger seat. When grandma sees Joe’s car she will pretend to stumble and push her heavy shopping cart towards his front wheels. She then will advance towards her target. They figure Joe will of course, stop. But my mom's driver will park behind him thus “boxing him in.” Mom will open Joe’s driver’s door, even if it’s locked and if she has to break his window with her hammer. She will then administer his first of many tasings with granma in the back seat where my mom will tell Mr. Legerski to get out. Grandma will handcuff his hands and feet. Gag and blindfold him too, I heard them say. 

My Grandma has my grandpa’s pair of nice, shiny English handcuffs. My Grandpa was a Fort Bragg policeman for 12 years before he died. 

I’m listening to all this planning hiding up our stairs right before bedtime. They think it will all go without a hitch because it will be dark still, 5;30 to 6;30 and there be little to no traffic. No witnesses, they hope. 

My granma hates this guy’s guts because every day he reports on Caltrans duties in order to avoid all the police reports. She says that Joe Legerski hates all policemen and women, and that really gets her “dander up.” Whatever that means. Sumpthin’ about a 25-year old misdemeanor charge of some type of indecent exposure.

I keep listening to all this from my hiding place. My grandma has a couple of bad habits. She smokes two packs of Marlboro every day, and she drinks like a fish. I’ll see her drunk one or two times a week before 9 a.m. 

They will definitely get him to our house. My mom is strong. She is 5 foot 10 and weighs 205. An ex-correctional officer. I went to bed at this point because I was too tired.

I listened the next night too. They’re going to start torturing him then. Out of sight in our spare bedroom. I heard them say granma will open her half-inch thick Dow Jones reports and her NASDAQ reports. 

After taking out his gag and removing his blindfold, she will force him to read hundreds of stock exchange numbers, since he idolizes numbers. Legerski loves his “bizness section” the best. This will continue for a whole hour before she replaces his gag, and lights up another cigarette blowing every puff in his face and yelling at him for another whole hour. She can get pretty loud. All the while she will be stubbing out her cigarettes on his arms, neck and back. I am very serious about all this. It all might seem unreal to you, but then, you don’t know my mom and granma like I do. 

That’s Day One, all day.

On Day Two, Grandma will next switch to what she calls “Stage 2.” She will remove his blindfold and gag and show him the map she has listing every mile marker on all our roads and 101. She will make him read out loud all of them. She says if he stutters or does his “dumb chuckle thing” not only will he get tased again but he’ll have to start all over from Gualala to Leggett. There are over 100 of them, since he idolizes numbers so much. She’ll let him rest for an hour while she either fixes a breakfast for herself or takes another slug of her Cutty Sark, No knives, no guns, peaceful like.

By this time Mr. Legerski will have around five or six cigarette burns on him. He will get two slices of Wonderbread and a glass of water two times a day. She will not leave the room. The TV will be set on a loop of re-runs of The Jerry Springer show at full volume. All day non-stop for a whole week. Then they’ll free him.

I couldn’t really believe my ears. I didn’t think they would really do it until heard granma tell my mom last night that she has incurable cancer and has only three more months to live. She says she wants to go out “in style” any day before Christmas. 

Well, that really scared me. So the very next day after school I went to the Fort Bragg police department. I went in and talked to a uniformed Police officer and told him all about this. He said nothing at all to me. He just smiled, winked at me and went into the backroom. I left.

So I’m sending this letter to you in hopes of getting it printed. My mom has a subscription to the “Mighty AVA,” and hopefully she’ll see it and stop this whole thing. But I bet granma will probably steal the newspaper. Whatever. But I’m still very, very worried. 

Signed, ‘Timmy’ 

Fort Bragg

PS. My mom and granma are proud members of the J. L. Hate Club, Northern Branch which includes Leggett, Piercy, Laytonville, Fort Bragg and Caspar. We all want to know where to get those buttons and t-shirts.

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California offering fire insurance is a great idea if the local building inspector certifies that there is a nonburnable barrier around the structure, the roof is fireproof (you could build a fire on it), all vents are blocked with mesh that prevents embers, the exterior walls are per fireproofing recommendations, and the windows have whatever treatment is required to survive the heat of a fire. And how about roof and internal fire sprinklers?

Offer cheap California earthquake insurance if you build homes according to the same standards as hospitals and schools. Offer cheap California flood insurance if houses are above flood levels. Otherwise move them or raze them.

Let’s cause California housing to become survivable.

Kee Nethery


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The passing of Sen. Dianne Feinstein is the end of an era. While she was a dedicated Democrat, she was not highly partisan, unlike so many politicians today, both on the left and right.

As for non-partisanship, why does Gov. Gavin Newsom believe being a Black woman implies the most qualified person for completing Feinstein’s term? It feels like affirmative action, which has been disallowed in California university admissions by California voters and upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States.

So why does Newsom feel privileged to use race as the No. 1 qualification for appointing a new senator to finish Feinstein’s term? He could have done that when Kamala Harris became vice president. Instead, he chose his friend and ally Alex Padilla. Under political pressure?

Newsom preordained that only a Black woman would be eligible for consideration for Feinstein’s seat. Can you imagine if he had said only a white woman would be considered?

Gordon Farrow


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It is true that California needs to substantially increase its clean electricity capacity to meet the demands of beneficial electrification, which includes the rising numbers of electric vehicles in the state (“Meeting power demands,” Letters, Sept. 25). And yes, we need an equitable plan for expanding access to EVs for lower income drivers.

One important thing to note is that EVs can also be an electric reliability resource for the grid. EVs are power supplies on wheels. If EVs have the ability to send their stored power to the grid in times of peak demand, something known as bidirectionality, when aggregated they become a grid asset.

Each EV owner could be compensated for this service, which would only draw a pre-agreed amount of power that does not impair the use of the vehicle for transportation. Many EVs, including the Nissan Leaf, already have bidirectional capability. They all should.

Woody Hastings


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What lies ahead for the US: for our invaded ally, Ukraine, and for Congress when all of us face a myriad of issues? An unending flow of immigrants from the South, a mile-long list of bills sorely needed by the American people, and Republcan members of the House of Representatives split between “arsonists” and responsible moderates.

Yestereday, by a vote of 206-200, Speaker McCarthy was ousted from the speakership post. Eight Republicans joined all the Democrats in removing Rep. McCarthy-despite his action to avert an imminent government shutdown. There were several reasons: he “sold out” to get himself his job which took 15 votes, changing his tune on the Jan. 6th Capitol riot, and lying to President Biden on the debt-ceiling deal they made last March.

Now the nation is really in trouble from this vacuum of leadership and direction in its lower chamber. Lack of funding for Ukraine, poor ethics in the Republican party: Matt Gaetz, D.J. Trump, Jim Jordan, and Marjorie Taylor Greene. Yesterday’s House vote was truly historic, the first in modern times (since 1910) and it was the first successful Speaker ouster ever.

Frank H. Baumgardner, III

Santa Rosa

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To the Editor:

Most of what people can do to live longer — and especially healthier — lives is not within the control of doctors, nurses or governments, but rather in the hands of each of us.

The American Heart Association recommends eight ways to keep healthy. Research shows that only a small percentage of Americans follow these recommendations, which include frequent exercise, a healthy diet, not smoking, and, yes, maintaining a healthy body weight.

But governments have a role, too. The “nanny state” actually works at keeping people healthy, as shown by the dramatic decrease in smoking rates following government actions since the first surgeon general’s report on smoking in 1964.

And policy failures can make people unhealthier: It’s hard for someone afraid of getting shot while walking to get sufficient daily exercise; it’s hard for someone living in a food desert to eat a healthy diet. And without exercise or a healthy diet, it’s hard to maintain a healthy weight.

Research shows that people live longer and healthier lives in countries with less income inequality, and that those countries spend far less than the United States on health care for their citizens.

Perhaps even conservatives will be persuaded to help the country take action, since it’s shown that government efforts not only reduce mortality, but actually save health care costs and increase productivity, too.

Daniel Fink (Retired Internist)

Beverly Hills

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I am 37 years old. I live in Ukiah and am currently homeless, unemployed and incarcerated at the Mendocino County Jail for vandalism. I am only in jail because I missed my court date, mainly because the courts are so overworked and understaffed that when the police ticket people and set the court dates they schedule the dates out 90 days from the date of the incident. 

I'm not saying I'm completely without fault. I could have taken steps to ensure that I made it to court. But I thought I could do it on my own. I was wrong.

My lifestyle: I'm homeless and unemployed and because of this situation I have made several bad choices. But I'm now ready to rectify those choices. I am ready to turn my life around and make a change for the better. I am already well on my way towards sobriety and would prefer not to get back into my old habits. If anyone would be willing to help someone who truly wants a better life, I would appreciate it. I do not know exactly how long I'm looking at, but that's no matter to me. What matters is what I have to look forward to when I get out of here.

Warren Beck

I hope someone who reads this will feel in their heart to possibly help me out with a job. I can do a lot of different things. My main interests are cooking, manual labor and auto mechanics. I also grow plants very well. I can grow all kinds of houseplants or I can grow weed. I'm hoping to find work and a place for myself my daughter and dog to stay. If I can get that then I can definitely change my life. If anyone would be interested in helping someone change himself please write to me personally at Warren Beck A#74145, Mendocino County Jail. P.O. Box 247, Phoenix, MD 21131 (a maildrop).

Thank you for your time. I hope to hear from someone soon. 

Thanks again, God bless.

Warren Beck


Mazie Malone Replies: I think the jail should hire Warren Beck to work in the kitchen and the garden; the last thing he needs to grow is weed.

George Dorner Replies: You may wish to reconsider your recommendation, Ms Malone. I took pity on Warren and sheltered him for a while. I cannot testify to his mechanical, cooking, or horticultural abilities, as he never did any work while he lived with me. He did brutalize my daughter and my cat. That he is a vandal is no surprise; that he’s only being held for vandalism is. Also, haven’t you wondered why his mail is being forwarded through a Maryland prison?

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In my many years as an elementary school teacher I saw plenty of two-parent families with difficult children as well as the well-behaved and competent ones from single-parent homes.

Many children are better off without two adults who are constantly fighting and making a household filled with strife. Look around at the many famous individuals from the arts to politics who have come from one-parent homes and thrived.

What needs to be done is not condemn those who are unable or unwilling to be part of a two-parent family and instead spend money to fix the root of this: poverty, along with lack of education, parenting skills training, job training, affordable health care and child care. Improve these things and children might grow up to be better people as well as betterparents.

Daina Schuman

Stamford, Connecticut

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The real elephant in the room is Jack Ruby. Why would a minor Jewish hoodlum, who managed a syndicate owned nightclub frequented by gangsters and Dallas police higher ups, care about Oswald or Kennedy?

Perhaps he was caught with his hand in the till, and carried out the hit to save his family from from retribution.

Karl Schoen

Little River

ED REPLY: Ruby is certainly one more mystery man in the Kennedy Assassination, which is probably one more reason why quite a volume of documents regarding the event have not been released. Biden, btw, promised to make the rest public, but…

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To the Editor:

The latest Israeli-Palestinian violence is a tragic but inevitable outcome of decades of American indulgence of illegal and immoral Israeli policies that have hardened attitudes and relegated Palestinians to a stateless people living under apartheid conditions.

Ironically, while our country rushes to sanction and isolate Russia for its illegal invasion of Ukraine, we help finance Israel’s illegal occupation while blocking United Nations sanctions that would hold Israel accountable for violating Palestinian human rights and international law.

Ken Galal

San Francisco

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A woman asked where I am from. I replied: “I came from Mexico in the 1960s, when it was easy to obtain a visa.” “I didn’t think anyone came to the United States with a visa any longer,” she said arrogantly.

With a physical exam and a background check (I was a minor, so my school report card was enough), one could obtain a passport. Next was an application for permanent residency in an American embassy. A notarized letter from a prospective employer and a letter from a sponsor were required. Thanks to Hallberg & Best in Sebastopol, my parents had jobs, and they were my sponsors. In four months, my application was approved.

Some approvals take up to 20 years. No wonder those in extreme poverty don’t ask about processes. They walk through jungles and deserts, hoping to reach the U.S.

Leaders in Latin America should look for solutions that will prevent their citizens from migrating out of desperation, as is presently the case. Those of us here should be thankful for having our basic needs met. Also, we should treat with respect those who are not as fortunate.

Yolanda Vera Martinez

Santa Rosa

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I have a few reactions to the above Al Jazeera story on the Hamas incursion into Israel…..

“Hamas spokesperson Khaled Qadomi has told Al Jazeera that the group’s military operation is in response to all the atrocities the Palestinians have faced over the decades.”

Comment: This is absolutely juvenile thinking. Justice cannot be delivered through random acts of violence carried out in an organized manner. There is no connection between the atrocities faced by Palestinians and acts of violence directed at people because they are Jewish or Israeli except in the mind of a complete sociopath.

“We want the international community to stop atrocities in Gaza, against Palestinian people, our holy sites like Al-Aqsa. All these things are the reason behind starting this battle,” he said.

Comment: The acts you have committed will only serve to strongly alienate the international community, bring further destruction and suffering to Gaza and Palestine, and quite possibly even PROVOKE the Israeli destruction of the holy site the Al-Aqsa mosque. If your concerted actions provoke them to destroy the Al Aqsa mosque you should NEVER be forgiven in my opinion.

“This is the day of the greatest battle to end the last occupation on Earth,” Mohammed Deif, the Hamas military commander said, adding that 5,000 rockets were launched.

Comment: Your bullshit rockets do not constitute any greatest battle and this is not the worlds last occupation by any regard. Again the use of ridiculously infantile logic. Absolute powerlessness corrupts as easily as absolute power does, and we know this especially from this conflict.

Everyone who has a gun should take it out. The time has come,” Deif said, according to reports.

To the contrary everyone with a gun should put it away and avoid conflict. The Prophet Mohammad exhorted people to avoid the sin of traveling to a war zone or contributing weapons to an active conflict. He also forbade the killing of civilians, women, children, and even the harming of animals and trees.

“Hamas called on “the resistance fighters in the West Bank” as well as “our Arab and Islamic nations” to join the battle, in a statement posted on Telegram.”

Comment: No, the Islamic nations should stand in attempting to bring resolution and rationality to a volatile and dangerously cataclysmic Miscalculation on the part of the Islamic militants. The crying mothers and bloody bodies spattered across youtube and the news don’t make me any more upset with Israel. I am already upset with their conduct. It gives me resolve that the Islamic Jihadi groups and Hamas DO NOT IN ANY WAY represent the needs, desires nor well being of the Palestinians and Arabs of the region. Their efforts are as empty and bankrupt as the bellowing we are hearing on youtube of “Allahu Akbar,” not the cry of freedom fighters but the chorus of swine.

Nate Duffy


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As an American Jew I am horrified by this weekend’s events in Israel. But as a Jew who only wants Israel to thrive, I have for decades been distraught over Israeli government policies that both diverge from Jewish ethics and also create the misery and despair that inevitably produce Palestinian violence.

The Israeli government, quite reasonably frightened by Arab rhetoric and actions, has enforced conditions in Gaza as bad as any ghetto our people endured. This new horror is the entirely predictable result, and surely demonstrates that “security” that is enforced by an iron fist is not security.

It takes two to tango. Can both Israeli and Palestinian leaders now finally listen to those of their two peoples who even now seek peace and reconciliation, and get past their mutually well-founded fear and anger to reach for something better? However hard that is to imagine, it is the only way forward out of this dire swamp.

Louise R. Quigley

Braintree, Massachusetts.

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