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Letters (November 13, 2023)

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If you were run off Highway 1 on Monday October 30th, driving north bound around 10:30 am by a small 4 door bronze colored car (Toyota possibly) around the top of Caspar grade. And would like info about that driver email me. It was an incredibly dangerous scene.

Nancy Gardner


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Building Bridges Shelter

I had the pleasure of going inside Building Bridges today. I have been there before, never inside. My impressions for a Tuesday afternoon at the shelter: disorganized, depressing, busy. Many people loitering about with nothing to do, a few doing laundry, one individual severely wreaked of urine; he was luckily outdoors. I see why people take refuge across the street and our friend Craig Stehr takes pleasure in his daily adventures away from there. Some organized activities would do wonders for the shelter guests, some classes, reading, writing, job skills, budgeting, checkers!

Mazie Malone


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Two weeks ago Chamise Cubbison, Mendocino County's Auditor-Controller Treasurer-Tax Collector, was suspended from her elected office without salary or benefits.

I am very upset. I voted for Chamise Cubbison for Auditor-Controller/Treasurer-Tax Collector in 2022. Chamise Cubbison was elected. She earned 15,286 votes. (More than the District Attorney)

Now the Mendocino Board of Supervisors is taking away our right to have an independent auditor. We voted for Chamise Cubbison and now she is replaced by a person appointed by the Board. Who will do the independent audits of The Board, the CEO’S office and District Attorney’s Offices as well as many school districts. Who is watching the money?

Chamise Cubbison was elected by the citizens of Mendocino County in June 2022. We have a right to be represented by an elected auditor and not someone selected by the Board.

Val Muchowski


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Remember when Supervisor Woodhouse left his post? Since he was an elected official, the Governor had to appoint a new supervisor to take his place. The Board was not able to appoint an interim supervisor. The county was without a third district supervisor for months. I think the same process would have needed to be used for Ms. Cubbison while she was place on administrative leave( paid leave). The Board has made a huge mistake, which is going to cost the county tax payers. They took it upon themselves to be judge, jury and executioner.

When I was working at the county , Ms. Cubbison worked at DOT, I found. her to be direct and no nonsense kind of employee.

The New York Times had an article about the power of the DA and how just an accusation from the DA can destroy a person. I feel the DA Eyster has used his power to discredit Ms. Cubbison. Even if she is exonerated through the courts, this incident will leave a huge scare on Ms. Cubbison and her career. Thank you John Haschak for questioning the Board’s decision.


Diane Curry

Former Mendocino County Ag Commissioner 


P.S. Chamise take care of yourself. Now is the time to take support from family and friends. Good luck to you! Looking forward to having you back as Auditor/Controller and Treasurer Tax Collector.

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Stephen Rosenthal replied:

Haschak doesn’t deserve a thank you. He went along with the coup against Cubbison and voted to suspend her without pay or due process. He’s a coward and cut out of the same cloth as the other members of this corrupt BOS.

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‘Lazarus’ of Willits:

No matter how the Cubbison fiasco ends, Ms. Cubbison is damaged goods. This type of accusation will be attached to her for the foreseeable future. The Brass at Low Gap will drag this out as long as possible and make Ms. Cubbison the target of even the most ridiculous innuendos of implied guilt, as the Sups/CEOs appointed Shill did yesterday.

When the Frisco lawyer would not answer Supervisor Haschak’s question about the suspension without pay, I knew they were circling the wagons.

I hope Ms. Cubbison’s lawyer is as good as he seemed yesterday because she will need a good one. This has all the signs of getting really ugly…

Good luck out there. We’re all going to need it.

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The Institute for Conservation, Advocacy, Research, and Education would like to express its sincere thanks to Terra Fuller of California State Parks, Anna Halligan of Trout Unlimited, and local geologist Elias Steinbuck for sharing not only their day off, but their collective expertise and experience at the Big River Outreach Event and Restoration Field Tour held on October 28th. Those who had preregistered for the event seemed genuinely grateful and enthusiastic prior to it and were even more so following: always a good sign. We continue to receive accolades on Terra, Anna, and Elias’ behalf.

We’d also like to extend gratitude to the Mendocino Land Trust for the use of their 2015 video, “Nelson Gulch Fish Passage Project”, the Mendocino Presbyterian Church for their cooperation in housing the morning program, and the Advocate/Beacon, KZYX, and AVA for publicizing and covering the event.

With more restoration projects planned for the Big River watershed to further its recovery, health, and protection, we’ll know we’ve been successful when Big River and its sensitive gulches, streams, and tributaries are one day removed from the Clean Water Act’s Section 303(d) listing of impaired waters for exceeded levels of sedimentation/siltation, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and bacteria, and migrating salmon and steelhead have returned in large numbers again. This is a worthwhile and noble goal not only for a river system believed to have held more logging dams than on any other stream on California’s extraordinary Redwood Coast, but one which many and various state agencies agree, due to the potential for land development and increases in demand for water from its basin, whose longterm viability remains an issue of concern today.

Christina Aranguren, President, ICARE


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To the Editor:

We have been dismayed by some recent decisions by the Board of Supervisors and County staff regarding residents’ rights to safety and security. Here in Redwood Valley, over 500 local residents were denied the right, currently written in County law, to prevent large hoop house marijuana grows directly adjacent to houses. This month, a similar petition in Willits was also denied. Vague excuses were offered from several Board members for denying the residents’ requests, but the real reason is the undue influence of powerful lobbyists and moneyed interests promoting the cannabis industry.

The Board and County staffers demonstrate that they aren’t reading the tea leaves about the public’s views toward poor cannabis regulations. Up and down California, residents who in 2016 voted in favor of legalizing marijuana now see that unforeseen consequences include increased crime, firearms, environmental disasters, and rampant expansion in the size of these grow sites. Here in Redwood Valley, beautiful and peaceful views are now marred by high fencing, dogs, security cameras, and giant hoop houses emitting stench year round. From wild dog packs in Riverside County abandoned by pot growers, to the replacement of diversified farming operations with cannabis hoop houses in Santa Barbara County, to encroachment on private property in Humboldt County, Californians are loudly protesting the problems caused by the cannabis industry, both legal and illegal (or “who knows if it’s legal at this moment”).

According to a paid lobbyist for cannabis, Michael Katz, Mendocino County voters support cannabis growing; after all, we voted for it in 2016. Of course, such a simplistic comment ignores real issues. We all know that pot growing sites, whether legal or not, bring the criminal element close behind. Cash, weapons, and product are a huge lure to criminals, as the Sheriff will validate with lots of data. Noise, dust, chemical pesticides, roads torn up by water trucks, abandoned plastic hoop houses, etc., all add to County costs and residents’ frustration. It was nice to think that de-criminalizing pot would ease many problems, but absent Federal legalization, a workable regulatory infrastructure, and strong (and expensive) enforcement, these problems won’t go away.

And the real cause of these problems is the usual one: greed. Big Canna has become just like all the other industries that have lots of money, like oil, railroads, trucking, and banking. Big money leads to undue influence, and to individuals’ loss of our rights to peace, quiet, and self-determination. It’s time to rein it in. The Board needs to re-consider the two Cannabis Opt Out requests. Then, re-think the zoning code to add a buffer zone between residential properties and cannabis grows; eliminate hoop-house grows; and stop claiming that taxing cannabis will pay for enforcement, when the reality is that as much as 80 percent of the pot sold now is illegally grown. Let’s get real.

Christine Boyd and Tom Schoeneman

Redwood Valley

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Let me check in with what’s wrong with SMART: Lack of connectivity. By this, I mean it’s not connected to other transit systems.

First, at the Larkspur end, there is a 15-minute walk to get to the Golden Gate Ferry. This discourages people from using it to get to San Francisco. The track should go to the ferry terminal so it’s an easy two-minute walk to the ferry.

Second, the Santa Rosa bus transit mall is a 15-minute walk to the train station. The transit mall should be moved to the old rail yard west of the station, resulting in a two-minute walk to the train, and CityBus schedules should be adjusted to connect with the trains.

Third, a passenger should be able to buy one ticket for the entire journey.

Last, more parking is needed at the stations.

If these changes were made, SMART would be much more utilized.

David Stare

Santa Rosa

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Hello, from a surviving spouse!

I am a local widow of a man who served in the US Coast Guard. I am fortunate to still have health insurance through Tricare West. Unfortunately, over the last few years, my coverage with Adventist health services has not been good. I am told by Tricare West representatives that I should go to another facility because the billing department is not providing the proper NPI numbers, therefore Tricare will not pay the bills. This was never an issue in the past. Between my Tricare and my Tricare supplement my bills were always covered almost 100%. Unfortunately, now I have over four thousands dollars of potential cost because of errors by the Adventist health billing department. 

I am curious if anyone else is going through this. If you are interested in more information on this, I will gladly provide you whatever it takes to try to find answers. I did receive a call from the administrator of Adventist health Mendocino Coast telling me that everything was billed properly, and I am responsible for payment . But when I contacted Tricare, they told me that is not true. Sincerely. The widow Brenda Ross

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In nearly every Sunday crossword puzzle I have ever seen, the definition “leave gobsmacked” is answered with the word “awe.”

We’ve seen the waning of the briefly commonplace use of the word “awesome” in response to insignificant questions such as one’s address or account numbers during requests to commercial vendors such as phone and utility “providers.” Tech support newbies at the major software companies quickly dropped the absurdity, but the annoyance is still occasionally encountered in online comments, I see.

What’s truly awesome is the very existence of the Anderson Valley Advertiser, and its astute inclusion of everything from pancake breakfast and hoedown events to the world class critics of American policy, with meaty reports on local governance buffoonery.

Other than that, I don’t see much to be gobsmacked by, these days, except for the outrageous prices charged by my local grocery stores.

Yours truly,

Betsy Cawn

Upper Lake.

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I read with interest a recent letter in the Press Democrat by Richard C. Brand regarding the SMART train and freight. A week rarely goes by that I don’t hear of an accident between a big rig and a car on a freeway. The trucks are too large, and there is a shortage of skilled drivers. It would benefit us all if freight were diverted from trucks to rails. It would mean fewer snarls on freeways, lower prices for shippers and fewer expensive repairs to highways. Yes, let’s see SMART commuter and freight service to Ukiah, along with the Great Redwood Trail.

Rick Coates


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To the Editor:

Recently, on a crisp Saturday, in the early afternoon, I stopped with my kids at a local restaurant in Ukiah on State St. to buy some soup to take home. Within five steps of my car, a disheveled man in his 20s or maybe early 30s came towards me. His pants zipper was down, with his hand in his pants. His other hand was holding a bottle of liquor. I immediately got back in my car with my kids, locked the door, as he asked for money.

He lingered right outside my car for a bit until I dialed up the local police and then he walked away.

When I felt safe, I went into the restaurant and let them know what happened and the lady said they have been dealing with people bothering customers outside.

This is NOT ok. Saturday, midday, with my kids, trying to buy a meal. Ukiah can not tolerate this behavior. Indecent exposure, public drinking, loitering outside a business, and harassing a family.

Casey Johnston


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Can anyone explain why Social Security benefits are taxed? I am confused. I already paid taxes, including Social Security and Medicare taxes, on my income for 50 years. The income amount they are using now to tax my Social Security has not been updated or indexed for inflation.

I can’t imagine that anyone believes that having up to $34,000 in income annually (before taxes) is considered “substantial,” as listed on the Social Security website. The amount that you have to post on your taxes as income includes the gross Social Security payment and does not take into consideration the amount that is deducted every month for Medicare premiums.

I don’t want any cost of living increases to my Social Security payment because then I have to pay even more federal income taxes. These taxes go into the general fund and do not go back into funding Social Security. Please, can anyone out there explain this? Because it seems punitive to me.

D.S. Cassidy


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