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Letters (October 23, 2023)

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Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane brought up the pathetic lack of clean and convenient restrooms in Sonoma County’s park system in the Press Democrat last week. She described a trip to Europe where the situation is just the opposite — an abundance of clean, safe toilet facilities.

I just returned from a seven-day road trip through southern Oregon, and everywhere we went there was an abundance of clean, safe restrooms, so it seems that some states are aware that this is a basic need. What agency in California is able to do something about this dearth of resources for people of all ages?

On the Mendocino Coast, where I live, I contacted state parks and Caltrans regarding placing restrooms at a popular parking area south of Westport at Kibesillah Key. Their response was to install a “helpful” sign informing the public who often use the parking lot for overnight camping that the nearest restroom is at MacKerricher State Park, 11 miles away.

We promote the beautiful California coast with endless glossy travel brochures encouraging visitors to come for the spectacular sights, stay in our campgrounds or hotels, eat at our fine dining restaurants. Shouldn’t we give equal consideration as to their need for clean, safe and convenient restrooms?

Tim McClure

Fort Bragg

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When former state Sen. Barry Keene tried to discredit the accuracy of my new book, “The Ghost Forest,” I found the whine of his lament, and the specious character of his letter, true to form. 

As I demonstrate in my book, Keene was a great friend of the redwood timber industry, a legislator who actively opposed redwood preservation. In the 1970s he stood with timber interests to prevent expansion of Redwood National Park. During U.S. Senate hearings on the proposed expansion, Keene said, “There is no overriding national interest in park expansion.”

Keene also actively opposed saving the ancient redwoods in Humboldt County owned by Pacific Lumber Co. and seized by Maxxam during the 1980s. On Sept. 5, 1986, I asked Keene if it would be possible to legislate a moratorium on logging old-growth redwood. He answered, “What for? What good are they then? The old growth has basically stopped growing, and if you don’t cut them, then they just stand there not doing anyone any good.”

I could cite a dozen additional examples of Keene backing the redwood timber industry. He was rarely a friend of the forest.

Greg King


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There has been much written about John Fetterman and the way he dresses when he goes to work in the U.S. Senate. There are those who support his attire and those who oppose. Given that most Congress persons receive some form of campaign funds from lobbyists, it would seem appropriate that they should dress like NASCAR drivers, with their sponsors’ logos on their clothing. Just saying.

Silas Boden


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To: Adam Gaska: 

I recall what you said to me. You don’t know til you know, right!

Great analogy, the hammer being the only tool and everything looks like a nail…

Except it is wrong and untrue..

Maybe even an excuse… hmmm

I may agree with everything looking like a nail to those whom only want to utilize the hammer.

But that just means they are blind and only focused on what suits them, not the community as a whole.

So I do not like it one bit!

And no it is not a tough call on who to send when someone is in a mental illness crisis! You send a crisis team who is trained and can act appropriately for the person in need! Period!!

As far as Fort Bragg’s Care Response Unit seeing someone that is a “transient” that might need services and directing and helping them get to those places is great however that is not the type of Crisis I refer to when speaking on these matters. The point being there is no need for a care response unit at this time because the dual

crisis response can also function in this manner and should!

The components are in place, we do not need more components we need to address the ones we have to work effectively for our families.

Starting with the narrative that Law Enforcement is a hammer with one tool that only sees a nail.

That is not true they just want to control the hammer if the burden of responding to mental illness crisis is an unwanted problem the only logical answer is to have a different response team that does not include police!!

You do not get to control how the job gets done then also say it is not your job!!

Just like the new courthouse, psych hospital and jail getting up to date with the times our thinking around these issues needs a massive restructuring!!

Thank you, you’re welcome !

Mazie Malone, Ukiah

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Sheriff Kendall:

“If law enforcement does not want to include themselves as mental health workers, then why are they running the mobile crisis unit?”

Simple answer: this was the only way we could keep the Mental Health workers safe while they meet the person in crisis, in the field where the crisis is occurring.

Law enforcement officers are trained in law enforcement, not mental health counseling. it’s not fair to the person in crisis or to the officer to be placed into a position they aren’t trained for, however we can keep the counselors safe while they complete the duties which they are trained to handle.

It’s had a great effect and we need more of it.

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Mazie Malone:

I understand that protecting Mental Health workers and that is not even in question. Also not one person or family or service provider is asking law enforcement to provide mental health counseling, no one is asking that of you! We are insisting however that your response is appropriate for persons in mental illness crisis! Dual crisis response is not 24/7 which means 1/2 the time Law Enforcement is responding to these calls with no mental health clinician for you to back up or your not responding leaving people in crisis. You can not have your cake and eat it too.


Sheriff Kendall:

And when we aren’t trained for Mental Health crisis how do we ensure a response is proper and measured? That is why many law enforcement agencies are stepping away from Mental Health responses.

People tend to forget if a man kills me because the man has severe mental health issues or because the man has robbed a bank, and is attempting to elude me, I am equally dead. My wife is equally a widow, and my children are equally orphaned.

That being said, lawsuits and peril for officers are much more frequent in response to Mental Health cases because the public expects Law Enforcement to respond differently to Mental Health than crime when often the dangers are equal.

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Mazie Malone:

If we go back to the original point, which is the narrative of law enforcement not being mental health workers. We all know you are not and are not asking you to be, however it is your duty as public servants to effectively and appropriately respond when someone is in need and their only option for help is police. Its about the mind set the and the continuance of saying things that are harmful and not helpful to those in need in a crisis, all that narrative does is create a bigger gap in assistance in these situations. The crisis response needs to remove that narrative from its “toolbox” There is always concern for all responding in these situations the officers too however that is where education and Crisis Intervention Training is very beneficial. Also to assume or make it sound like all the calls for intervention and help are dangerous because people are mentally ill adds unnecessary stigma to people in immediate need of help. Families are requesting Law Enforcement to have some knowledge and compassion and respond with dignity not an outdated ineffective mindset! I respect Law Enforcement, I think you know that, no family should be scared of what Law Enforcement’s response will be in a mental illness crisis!


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Sheriff Kendall:

Mazzie, we are in a conversation in which one does not have to be wrong in order for the other to be correct. I am often in conversations where everyone at the table is right.

Where you stand on a subject is often dictated by where you sit and the experiences that shape your values and beliefs. I can only speak from my experiences in law enforcement.

My question is and shall be for many years to come, how many failures in the system are blatantly seen before 911 is ever dialed?

Was there any thought of dealing with problems while they were still small?

What resources were put towards these issues? Or did we wait until the house was fully engulfed in flames and the fire had been ignored until it became an issue for the neighbors?

At that point we in law enforcement are expected to solve a problem that has been years in the making.

We have thousands of success stories. However one failure is all we see when the news reports on it.

I don’t see anyone dissecting the problem and creating a timeline listing the failures leading up to the fire. What I do see are the dangers and liabilities that seem to be placed at the feet of law enforcement every time. That must stop if we want to get a handle on these issues.

If firemen were sued and jailed for failures to extinguish, soon we would have a vacuum of firemen and the arsonists would be having a field day.

That is simply a fact.

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Mazie Malone:

Dear Sheriff Kendall,

I agree everyone has their side from their own experience thats reality. However it has nothing to do with wrong or right action or even false narratives. Besides no one expects Law Enforcement to be mental health workers, just the right response; it’s not hard. I honestly and wholeheartedly give same degree of failure of response on the other side of the coin, the whole entire system in fact. I mean we could definitely start with the crisis line failures and how the contract is set up through Behavioral Health and Redwood Community Services to not respond to someone in mental illness crisis in the field and the protocol is to refer you to police and then they refer you back to crisis. So there is absolutely no accountability and responsibility. All the way across the board. It is not a direct affront blaming Law Enforcement for the entire systemic failure. Also in issues of serious mental illness most often it hits around the age 20 and at that point there is no intervention on behalf of adults who have no fault brain illness’s no matter how sick and out of touch with reality they are. There is none! Again no one is asking you to solve the problems only that you intervene appropriately when necessary. You have thousands of success stories about responding to a mental illness crisis or in general law enforcement duties? Was it a dangerous liability to go search for 4 days for Riley Hsieh who was in a mental illness crisis? Law Enforcement Acted quite quickly to find him regardless of lack of knowledge and training in responding to these crisis situations. Oh and the liability that’s all you see… ?


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Sheriff Kendall:

Liability is far from the only concern on these issues, safety of the subject, the public, my deputies and general well being of the community have to come first.

That being said liability can’t be ignored. It would be foolish to pretend it doesn’t exist. … Darn it, we ran out of room to reply on this thread. I think everyone is missing the point. Mazie and I are putting our points out from our point of view, however we seem to agree on most things. This is one of those issues which everyone at the table is correct.

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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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To the Editor:

O, the oppression! What began Friday night is an uprising of the Palestinian people against the violent and brutally oppressive Israeli occupation. The Netanyahu government has sanctioned the constant theft of Palestinian lands by fascistic Israeli settlers, blockaded the Gaza Strip, targeted members of its ruling Hamas party for assassination and organized provocations against Muslims at Al-Aqsa Mosque. By imposing unbearable conditions on Gaza, it made armed resistance inevitable.

O, the hypocrisy! In its coverage of the Ukraine war, the media never fails to condemn what it habitually refers to as Russia’s “illegal annexation of Crimea.” The United States has repeatedly declared that it will support Ukraine’s war to regain Crimea “as long as it takes.” But it never condemns Israel’s illegal annexation of vast tracts of Palestinian land.

O, the heroism! The Palestinian population of Gaza and the Hamas government do not have powerful imperialist backers arming them to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. As the Palestinians take up arms against an occupation by the Israeli military, which receives billions of dollars in U.S. military aid each year, they know they face overwhelming odds. They are a courageous, heroic people.

John Sakowicz


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Yom Kippur commemorates an act of God, through Moses, presenting the Ten Commendments to the nation of Israel. It is one of the most sacred of Jewish holitdays. Saturday was the first day of Yom Kippur, also the 50th anniversary of the start of the so-called “Yom Kippur War’ in 1973; “Israel sees ‘difficult’ war ahead.”

Words cannot describe the terror felt by thousands of Israeli citizens, peacefully asleep in the wee hours of Oct. 6, as armed bands of Hamas fighters, burst through their streets, forcing open front doors and taking some hostages while shooting and killing others in cold blood.

As I write this, the latest Israeli government total dead stands at “700,” with “dozens abducted, taken to Gaza.” The decades-long conflict exploded.

Already Pres. Biden has spoken twice to P.M, Benjamin Netanyahu to assure him and Israel of US support. A US Nicavy missile-carrier attack group of many ships is on its way to Israel to supply whatever military and humanitarian aid is needed.

Our foreign policy of unlimited support for Israel needs to change. Einstein’s advice is more true than ever, “Nothing in more foolish than continuing on following a clearly hopeless path.”

Frank H, Baumgardner, III 

Santa Rosa

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