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Letters (November 28, 2023)

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Office of the Attorney General

PO Box 944255

Sacramento, CA 94244-2550

RE: Mendocino County District Attorney; Mendocino County Board of Supervisors

November 13, 2023

Dear Attorney General,

I am running for 1st District Supervisor in Mendocino County. I am concerned about a chain of events that is currently happening in Mendocino County. Our District Attorney, David Eyster, has been mis-using asset forfeiture funds and restitution funds in our County. He has targeted three of our previous Auditor-Controllers over their inquiries and concerns about the use of these funds for office expenses, etc., as well as submitting reimbursement for office parties and calling them training sessions.

On October 13, 2023, DA Eyster filed a felony criminal complaint for mis-use of public funds charges against our current Auditor/Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector, Chamise Cubbison, an elected official, for an employment agreement with employee Payroll Manager Paula Kennedy for payroll services performed ($68,000.) in 2019-2020, during Covid. This was an agreement initiated by previous Auditor/Controller Lloyd Weer. Subsequently, Cubbison found the agreement was not approved correctly and employee Kennedy was placed on leave and ultimately fired.

Ms. Cubbison officially started her four-year elected, recently combined Auditor/Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector office in January 2023. She was previously the Acting Auditor/Controller for 16 months fulfilling the term of Mr. Weer, who retired early. Therefore, she initially had no control or authority over the contract that was entered into with Mr. Weer and Ms. Kennedy.

The DA, previous to Ms. Cubbison’s arrest for felony mis-use of funds, offered a deal of a misdemeanor charge if she resigned from her elected position. She refused.

Following the filing of these charges, the Board of Supervisors, without proper notice to Cubbison, has suspended her, without pay or benefits, from her office, before she has entered a plea. Ms. Cubbison, as of today, has still not been arraigned. The next arraignment date is set for November 29th, 2023, in Ukiah.

My concerns for contacting your office are:

DA Eyster mis-using forfeiture funds and having a vendetta against Auditors who question the legality of use and reimbursement.

DA Eyster not recusing himself from this case due to a conflict of interest.

DA Eyster not charging former Auditor/Controller Lloyd Weer who initially entered into the contract with Ms. Kennedy.

The Board of Supervisors suspending an elected official without due process and possibly not having the authority to remove an elected official from office without a felony conviction, which is defrauding the voters of an independent Auditor. The Board of Supervisors cited Government Code section 27120 when placing the current Acting Auditor/Controller/ Treasurer/Tax Collector, Sara Pierce into office, which applies to a Treasurer, not the combined Auditor/Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector structure that our County currently has.

I know this is a lot of background information to absorb and I've tried to simplify it as much as possible. I am very concerned about the mis-use of funds in the District Attorney’s office, as well as, the Board of Supervisors having received incorrect legal advice as to the suspension of an elected official.

I would truly appreciate your attention to this matter.


Carrie Shattuck

Concerned Candidate/Citizen



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PG&E has submitted its Initial Draft Surrender Application and Decommissioning Plan for the Potter Valley Project. The utility has accepted the proposal from Inland Water and Power Commission of Mendocino County (IWPC), Sonoma Water, and the Round Valley Indian Tribes to include two options to continue diverting water from the Eel River to the Russian River as alternatives to complete decommissioning. The alternatives propose to entirely remove Scott Dam, which creates Lake Pillsbury and much of Cape Horn Dam, which creates Van Arsdale Reservoir, then either construct a bladder dam to be used seasonally, to allow water to be diverted by gravity flow, or to install a pumping station. Both alternative options would only divert water seasonally during the winter/spring season when flows are high. 

PG&E has made the draft available to the public, and is accepting comments until December 22nd. In May of 2024, after considering public comment, PG&E will submit the draft proposal to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

If decommissioning of the dams moves forward, we need to prepare for the inevitable. We need to have projects and plans in place to adapt to the new situation. This will require a great deal of collaboration between stakeholders, and local, state and federal officials. This will also require a great deal of money which neither the County nor our community has. We risk losing out much like we did with the building of Coyote Dam if the water is allocated based on ability to pay. We need state and federal funding to secure for Mendocino County an equitable amount of the water that will continue to be diverted. We also need to raise Coyote Dam to increase our storage capacity.

The changes in water availability will greatly impact water rights going back over one hundred years, that have been issued by the state. These rights are based on water that will no longer be available. We need to build new storage capacity, big and small, to make up for the loss of storage capacity and to store winter water for use in summer. Potter Valley, especially, will need to make large investments in infrastructure to divert winter river flows to store water in reservoirs and to recharge groundwater. The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and the Department of Water Resources (DWR) need to develop a streamlined process so water right holders can modify their water rights to adapt to the new conditions. Summertime diversions will be curtailed more often as Russian River summer flows won’t be supported by diverted Eel River water. Diverting and storing winter flows will become much more critical. Our community needs financial support and regulatory relief to allow us to adapt by increasing storage capacity. 

Just as important as submitting a comment to PG&E, if not more so, is contacting our elected state and federal representatives. In response to PG&E’s draft plan, Jared Huffman had this to say on his website:

“PG&E’s draft surrender application is a major step forward to achieving the Two-Basin Solution I’ve advocated for years. The plan includes full and expedited removal of two dams that harm salmon on the Eel River while allowing for a modern fish-friendly diversion to provide water to Mendocino, Sonoma, and Marin counties. I’ll be working to ensure that both elements are completed in a way that best protects communities, tribes, and natural resources in the Eel and Russian river watersheds,” said Rep. Huffman.

Huffman has verbally committed to protecting communities, but hasn’t materially demonstrated that commitment by securing money for water storage. Our communities need support and assistance to adapt to the proposed changes which include new storage capacity to compensate for the losses of Scott and Cape Horn Dams . I strongly urge you to contact our representatives, especially Huffman, regarding the situation. Feel free to use my letter as a template.

This is my letter that is being sent to Jared Huffman, Mike Thompson, Mike McGuire, and Jim Wood. 

Dear (elected official),

My name is Adam Gaska, a Redwood Valley, Mendocino County farmer. I am involved in local and regional water policy by sitting on the board of Redwood Valley County Water District, representing Ag on the Ukiah Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency, and being a member of the Russian River Water Forum. I am greatly concerned for our future with the loss of Scott and Cape Horn Dam. I understand fisheries on the Eel and Russian Rivers are in peril, but I don’t think removing the dams is necessary for the rivers’ recovery, nor will their removal insure their recovery.  I am deeply disappointed that there hasn’t been State and Federal support to assume control of Scott and Cape Horn Dams to make the necessary modifications to improve fish passage and ensure the dams longevity resulting in wins for both the Eel and Russian River watersheds and the communities that depend on them. 

In light of the current situation with decommissioning being almost certain, I am reaching out on behalf of my community, requesting financial support and regulatory relief for Mendocino County. To adapt to a future without Scott and Cape Horn dams, we need support to build new storage capacity including the raising of Coyote Dam. How Russian River water rights are managed will need to change, as water availability will decrease. Regulatory agencies such as the SWRCB and DWR must develop a streamlined and flexible framework to allow for those changes to happen, allowing our communities to adapt to a future with less available water and an increased dependence on water storage. Water right holders need the ability to modify their water rights in order to store more diverted winter time flows. These changes need to be processed quickly and efficiently. 

Mendocino County, being an economically disadvantaged community, will struggle to adapt to a future without the dams. We need financial assistance to contribute to the new infrastructure of the Eel-Russian transfer facility, develop new storage capacity in order to receive and benefit from an equitable share of the water. Russian River water rights holders and users will increasingly rely on stored water, as summer diversions will be curtailed more frequently. Funding a cost-share program to increase on-farm water storage as was done in 2008 through the NRCS would be timely and helpful.  Funding to raise Coyote Dam to increase storage capacity of Lake Mendocino must become a priority. Potter Valley Irrigation District needs infrastructure improvements to its water delivery system to divert winter flows to storage in an as of yet unbuilt reservoir (or two), and to recharge groundwater.  

Without your help to secure funding and regulatory relief, your constituents in Mendocino County will suffer, as will others dependent on the Russian River.

I appreciate your attention to this matter,

Adam Gaska

Redwood Valley

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I recently learned that the Mendocino Coast Humane Society and the many animals it helps need our assistance. I’d assumed that MCHS, which does so much good, hard, and sometimes heartbreaking work, had city, county, and national financial support. But, no.

The City of Fort Bragg pays MCHS a monthly stipend of $2600. The County of Mendocino pays zero. Nothing. And keeps the fees from dog licenses sold in Fort Bragg. MCHS receives no money from the National Humane Society. In fact, the bulk of MCHS’s operating costs are paid by donations.

How can we help? Please send a brief email to our County Supervisors asking them to approve adequate monthly financial support for MCHS and to keep the license fees raised on the coast ON the coast, where they’re sorely needed.

In addition, I hope readers will consider making a monthly donation to MCHS, 19691 Summers Lane, Fort Bragg, 95437. Most of us aren’t wealthy. But when we all help a little, we can accomplish a lot.

Cynthia Grant


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There has been much negativity about the supposed psychological and other ill effects of a one-hour clock shift and diminishing daylight hours. Some people even get SAD (seasonal affective disorder.) Personally, I experience GLAD (glorious late autumn days) and WOW (wonders of winter): long shadows; golden sunsets reflected by hills and vineyards; endlessly changing cloud forms under intense blue skies; chilly, down comforter nights; and rain — fabulous tree-nourishing, creek-filling, fire-season-ending rain.

C’mon, folks, we don’t live in Siberia. Let’s embrace the changing seasons. It’s one of the few natural phenomena humans haven’t messed up … yet.

Dave Stein

Santa Rosa

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The Collins Dictionary has chosen “AI” — artificial intelligence — as its word of the year. AI may be important as a driver of search engines or devices, but in reality, it just denotes a black box that takes human input and automatically generates a result.

My choice for the word of the year is “weaponize” where it defines an interaction wherein one uses something as a means to attack another. In 2023, one has read that Democrats weaponized courts against Donald Trump, that Russia weaponized energy supplies against Europe and that the GOP weaponized Hunter Biden’s prior addiction against him and his father.

What convinced me to select weaponize is a usage I recently discovered, “weaponized incompetence.” This is a behavior where one party claims to be bad at a task to avoid a shared responsibility. Weaponized incompetence is associated with phrases such as “I’m no good at that” or “You know I’ll just screw it up.” Saying these puts the onus back on the requester.

I think AI has proven its importance as a tool; as a word, weaponize is a more useful choice for the word of the year.

Sherman Schapiro


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Dear Editor,

The US is not just “standing by Israel” as our Administration spokesmen from Pres. Biden through Sec. of State Antony Blinken and others say. Already the bombing and ground force intrusions of the Israeli military of Gaza have killed over eleven thousand Palestinian people, a third of whom are children. Hospitals, like Al Shifa, in Gaza City, are under siege. Many hundreds of patients are dying daily due to Israel’s brutality and war crimes.

While it is true that our president has asked the Israelis to stick to the “rules of war,” and that he is stuck in a hard place, his actions are not likely to lead to any lessening of tensions, much less to a cease fire. In fact, not only Palestinians and patients are being killed at Al Shifa Hospital, doctors and other medical staff are being targeted by Israeli snipers when they are trying to bury some of the dead. Obviously Israel is guilty of war crimes.

Attacking hospitals must stop. I join NY Times journalist Tom Friedman in calling on Israel to make it clear what is its long term aim for all of Gaza.

Frank H. Baumgardner, III 

Santa Rosa

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The article in the Nov. 5 Towns section headlined “A brief look at the history of the Coast Miwok” caught my eye, since so many of us know so little about the Indigenous people and culture of our area. Sadly, after a few generic paragraphs about building boats out of tule reeds and citing a couple of native words, the article launched into Gen. Mariano Vallejo’s arrival in 1834, with specifics about colonization and enslavement of native people. Exactly how did Vallejo “employ” native workers? And why was the word put in quotation marks in the article?

Having fast-forwarded to the arrival of European colonizers, could you now feature pre-colonization history with stories from the remaining Miwok people in our area? Surely local Indigenous people and those who chronicle native ways could speak eloquently about the thousands of years of culture and history of local Indigenous people, and of their situation and challenges today.

Ellen Skagerberg

Santa Rosa

ED NOTE: In fact, Vallejo was a benign figure by the standards of the times which, admittedly, weren't those of Westside Ukiah. One of his best friends was the intriguing, bilingual figure of 6'7" Chief Solano of Suisun. There's lots of books and studies of the early California interface (sic) of settlers and Native Americans, available from your local library

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Dear Editor,

Judges have ruled an insurrectionist can run for president (Michigan, Minnesota). A judge has ruled felons can possess guns (Chicago).

Biden has ruled that an economically failing Chinese dictator can come to San Francisco and get an investment bailout to help keep his Communist Party in power. Why? Because those business deals help Democrats stay in power too.

Republicans believe that serial lying by Congressperson George Santos is free speech or maybe an ethics violation, but not crime.

Not crazy enough? Biden supports Netanyahu’s judgment that Palestinian women, children, and elderly are not civilians protected under rules of war. Why? Because Muslims are not a chosen people like Jews are.

America becoming irrational? Nothing new. Remember, Covid vaccinations kill people. Democrats run deep-state, Satan-worshipping, pedophilia rings in government, business, and media.

Also, Draymond Green’s game-time chokehold on Rudy Gobert was justified because he’s on our Warriors basketball team and Rudy is not. (San Jose Mercury News).

Tribalism gaining a foothold in America? No, it already has a chokehold on America.

Kimball Shinkoskey

Woods Cross, Utah

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Hospitals in Gaza are wrecked. The U.S. military has several hospital ships that “support … humanitarian operations worldwide.” How about anchoring them off Gaza and accepting wounded civilians?

Patrick Campbell


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Letter to the Editor,

Visit #1

“Good morning, how can I help you?”

“I want to renew my license, but this time get a Real I.D.”

“O.K. Let’s see your paperwork.”

(presents birth certificate and 2 utility bills)

“O.K. these look good except this water bill doesn’t have your actual street address on it; it just has your name and East Armpit, CA. You need to bring the part that has your actual street address.”

“Darn! That’s the part that you have to send in with your payment.”

“Sorry, but you need to have that part.”


Visit #2

“Good afternoon; what can I do for you?”

“I was in last week trying to get a Real I.D. driver’s license, and you said you need your actual street address on the bill, not just the city; will these work?”

“Yes, these will work, but since you were married before your current name, you need the divorce certificate from your first husband.”

“What? You didn’t tell me that on my first visit.”

“Oh, sorry, but that’s the rule.”

“But that was in 1973! “

“I understand, but you need to apply to wherever you got that divorce and get the paperwork.”


Visit #3

“Good morning, didn’t I see you a few days ago?”

“Yes, I think we are going to be on a first-name basis, soon. I finally located my divorce papers from 1973.”

“Good. Llet’s take a look at those. O.K. This is great. I need to show this to my supervisor.”

(walks over to another desk and chats with person sitting there)

“O.K. My supervisor says that now you need to bring a certificate showing that you were married to your first husband.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me. Why didn’t you tell me that last time? And, why would I get a divorce from someone I wasn’t married to?”

Well, it’s the rule. And I don’t make the rules. You do need your marriage certificate if you ever changed your name, and you did change your name when you married to your first husband.”

“Right, but I kept that name!”

“True, but since you did change it, that’s why we need a record of it; we don’t need certificates for your second husband because you didn’t change your name in that marriage.”

(head spinning) “Lucky me!”

Visit #4

“Good, afternoon; it’s you again! Hope we have better luck today.”

“Me, too!”

(examines all the paperwork previously submitted plus the marriage certificate)

“There’s good news and bad news. The good news is you have all the materials you need for the Real I.D. The bad news is that your utility bill dates have timed out, so all you have to do is bring in two current bills, and you’re done.”

“I’m done now. I’ll take the train, and an un-real I.D.”

S. Powelson


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To the Editor:

In my opinion the Western Hill subdivision has become a financial burden that cannot be carried in the current economic and climatic conditions. Many residents are having difficulties with, if not impossible to pay, fire insurance rates. Or having cancelations. How can a subdivision be built in an isolated hill area, with no fire station nearby? And the obligations, in the deal when property was donated, means the donation came with financial obligation, from the taxpayers, to fund roads, utility infrastructure to a future isolated subdivision? The consultant survey is online for anyone to read.

Most developers build where infrastructure is in close proximity because of costs. And most cities ask the developers to bear the burden of that huge cost. There was a total denial of this area becoming drug grows in the beginning. But now, a default of drug activity grows if a subdivision does not go through. Is that being put out publicly? So the developer made access and now says grows may develop because the subdivision doesn’t go in? 

I please ask the pretense that trails are the reason for this plan. If it was just trails. Trails can exist without houses, in fact they usually do. It’s about a high end subdivision or now possible pot grow parcels. Using Western Hill wilderness water, resources. I guess this is supposed to be progress.

But if progress means populating the Western Hills with drug grows or high end uninsurable homes for only a few, I vote No. Best to use money to help struggling taxpayers and citizens, with fire abatement, and good roads (besides just downtown). 

In the current economic environment, why is the city council focused on a high end very small subdivision, instead of the entire city’s population and the government work force. These citizens are just trying to survive insurance costs of fire abatement, policies and inflation. Some are sinking into unsustainable circumstances and adjusting without any acknowledging from the city council about all the Ukiah valley’s taxpayers’ current issues. Government is supposed to exist for all the people. Dreams and progress are not a bad thing. But on the backs of all for just a few possible luxury homes, isn’t financially responsible, especially in the current economic climate, and dry forest environments, in my opinion.

Catherine Lair


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In my last two letters I may have been a bit off-putting to some readers. I want to apologize. That's not who I really am. I suffer from severe mental illness and yes, sometimes I let my emotions get the better of me. Does that make me a bad person? No! Does it mean that all I know how to do is treat people badly? No! I simply let my emotions get out of control. 

I have been through a lot of hard times in my life. For example, I come from an abusive family where my stepdad beat me and abused me mentally for years. Not to mention I was lost and confused as a child because my biological father left me home one day for his deployment and never came home. I found out years later when I was 17 that he died 16 months after he deployed and the military had lost his records. My mother died when I was 16. So she never was informed of such information.

Anyway, I may have said some hateful and hurtful things in my last letter and I realized that shortly after I mailed it in. Just because of that it doesn't mean I'm like that all the time. I just lost my temper with Mr. Dorner.

Not to mention that I'm not on my proper medication just yet. The doctors in this jail are still adjusting them accordingly. But as with everything in jail it takes time. We only get to see the psychological doctor once a month, and sometimes it takes two months. So far I have been waiting six weeks to get my medications adjusted. Not only am I trying to get my psychiatric meds adjusted, I've been trying since I got here to get my suboxone which is a medicine to get off opiates, specifically heroin or fentanyl, both of which I am addicted to. That needs to be adjusted just so I can quit going through the withdrawal symptoms I'm experiencing.

I apologize again for my outbursts. I hope all readers of this paper forgive me. As for Mr. Dorner, I would kindly ask for you to keep your comments to yourself this time. I'm trying to change my life. So please leave me alone and let me do so and I will do the same to you and your daughter.


Warren Beck

Mendocino County Jail


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To the Editor:

The other day I found myself lying on a hospital examination table in a spotless, perfectly illuminated room. A nurse and a med tech each asked me my name and date of birth, which hadn’t changed since admission half an hour previous. They asked me to initial an insurance form. They also asked me what music I’d like to hear. They expertly prepped me to the tune of Mozart’s “Voi che sapete.”

As I looked around the immaculate hospital room I thought “If we were in Gaza we’d all be dead by now.” Even the angry, vengeful God of Deuteronomy would by now be satisfied.

Stop the slaughter NOW.

Jonathan Middlebrook

Redwood Valley

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Humans have created between 4,000 and 4200 organized religions. Many of these have used violence to empower one belief over another. Some of the worst and most popular are the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Islam and Christianity). These three believe in a singular male God with a common male patriarch, Abraham.

Matthew White’s The Great Big Book of Horrible Things said religion caused eleven of the world’s deadliest atrocities. An estimated 1.7 million people were killed in the “holy” wars in Europe and Asia. These included the three Crusades between Islam and Christianity which lasted from 1095 until 1291. During the Spanish Inquisition (1478–1834), two thousand people were burned at the stake by officials who didn’t believe they were Christians. The Grand Inquisitor acted as the head of the Spanish Inquisition. The Inquisition killed 32,000 people. The Inquisitors expelled 300,000 people from Spain. The ecclesiastical jurisdiction that the Inquisition had received from the Vatican empowered it to name deputies and hear appeals.

Christian missionaries first arrived in Japan on Portuguese ships in the 1540s. Almost all Japanese at that time were Buddhist and every funeral was a Buddhist ceremony. Christianity briefly flourished, with over 100,000 converts.

Japanese support soon disappeared. In 1587 Imperial Regent Toyotomi Hideyoshi banned Jesuit missionaries. Christianity was repressed and called a threat to national unity. The Japanese executed thousands of Christians during the Tokugawa period. In 1638, approximately 37,000 people (mostly Christians), were massacred after the Christian-led Shimabara Rebellion. According to University College London (UCL), during the 100 years after the European arrival, the indigenous population of the Americas was devastated. It was reduced from from sixty million to only six million.

The European colonists brought warfare, torture, waves of epidemics and famine. The colonizers justified their abuse and killing of indigenous people by calling them godless heathens.

The 1838 Mormon War, also known as the Missouri Mormon War, was a conflict between Mormons and non-Mormons. It lasted from August to November 1838, the first of the three Mormon Wars.

The Mormons murdered 120 men, women and children in southern Utah in 1857. This was the Mountain Meadows massacre. Mormon militiamen planned and carried it out. They lured emigrants to Utah from their circled wagons with a false flag of truce and slaughtered them.

The Nazis killed more than six million Jews during WWII. In 1931, German Bishops excommunicated the nazi leadership and banned nazis from becoming members. The ban was modified in 1933 after a law was passed that all citizens had to be be members of the Nazi Party.

A church tax was introduced into Austria by the German government in 1939 after the 1938 German takeover of Austria. This was a bribe to silence religious public criticism and it worked.

Pope Pius XII never publicly criticized the nazis for the mass murder of European Jews. He knew from the very beginning that mass murder was taking place. Various clerics and others were pressing him to speak out and he didn’t.

Religious wars in Northern Ireland began in 1969 and lasted until 1998. More than 3,600 Protestants and Catholics were killed for their beliefs. Today we have the newest war caused by organized religion between Israel (Judaism) and Palestine (Islam) in the Middle East.

If we want to save Earth from the worst consequences of war and human separation, freedom from organized religion is necessary.

Ed Oberweiser

Fort Bragg

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Sorry, but even stretching it a bit, your response to the reader (Off the Record, Nov.15) who inquired why the media never publishes maps that illustrate the “ethnic cleansing” of 750,000 Palestinian Arabs from their homeland and destruction of 500 Palestinian villages by  European Jews who arrived there before World War One--already planning to "transfer" the Palestinians across the borders--does not past muster, in particular, as to why the US supports Israel and what Oslo was all about.

I really can't believe that you believe your assumption that anyone in the US government cares one whit whether Israel has a  democratic government there or a democracy anywhere else. Clearly, if Trump, his supporters and his Supreme Court appointments have demonstrated nothing else, it is that our "democracy" is a cruel hoax. Hell, there is nothing in our Constitution that even guarantees all Americans the right to vote.

There is one primary reason for US support for Israel, with nothing else remotely close. It was expressed back in 2011 by the New York Times columnist, Tom Friedman, no shrinking violet, whose Zionist credentials are impeccable, after watching a joint session of Congress give Israeli PM Netanyahu 29 standing ovations, three days after he had dressed down Obama as if he was an errant schoolboy. "The US Congress," wrote Friedman, "is bought and paid for by the Israel Lobby," what Rep. Ilhan Omar would later face fire for by referring to those payments as "the Benjamins." Other than their annual feeding of the weapons manufacturers, support for the billions for Israel each years is the one issue that finds a Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer walking arm and arm with, let's say Lindsay Graham, Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton.

You really blew it with your description of Oslo and Arafat. Although in his early years he earned a reputation as fierce freedom fighter, by 1973, he had made contacts with the CIA and Henry Kissinger and made no secret of his desire to sit in Washington's lap. The Oslo agreement came along at a time when Arafat's reputation had sunken lower than ever before and it was essential for Israel and Washington that he main his position, just like both countries have supported his successor, the collaborator Abbas, afraid what will happen if the PA falls apart.

As for the Oslo agreement itself, there as nothing in it that point to a two state "solution, nothing in it for the Palestinian people other than being ruled by a tin-horn Arab dictator who literally swooned when Shimon Peres referred to him as "Rais," or president. But what Arafat did was commit the worst betrayal by the leader of an oppressed people's struggle (that frequently comes after victory) when he legitimized Israel's presence in 60& of the West Bank (Area C), arguably a violation of international law and agreed that the new PA militia that would be trained by the CIA, would prevent any further resistance to Israel occupation. At the same time, Rabin made no commitment to curtail Israeli settlements and they kept on growing even after the applause for their Nobel Prize had long died out. Not one single Palestinian intellectual supported the agreement and none have since. On the day Oslo was announced, I was at a meeting in San Francisco with a number of Palestinians and the famed Egyptian poet, Nawal al-Sadawi, and she announced that "Arafat has just become Israel's sheriff." Everyone nodded.

Arafat, to be sure, did not come away empty handed. Every month, Israel deposited $8 million USD into his private bank account. It was not for his personal enrichment but to pay the salaries of the FOURTEEN separate "intelligence" agencies under his command that were functioning in the West Bank and Gaza. It so happened that Natan Shransky, a celebrated Russian immigrant who had written a book on democracy which had appealed to George W Bush, and was an Israeli cabinet minister, complained to his fellow cabinet ministers that Arafat was running an "undemocratic Palestinian Authority," and putting aside the irony of the allegation, no truer statement could have been made.

About that time an editorial appeared in Fatah's English Language weekly, Al-Fajr, which called for readers to report instances of PLO corruption, and Arafat promptly closed the paper (just after I renewed my subscription and it never reappeared.) When the great Palestinian historian and member of the Palestinian National Council, Edward Said, apologizing for not having spoken before, condemned Arafat and the PLO corruption, Arafat immediately banned all his books and writings from being sold in the West Bank and Gaza and he was allowed to get away with it, as most Palestinians in Palestine as well as the diaspora, I suspect, are ignorant of that any of what I have written here on Arafat.

Three last points: As ugly as was Hamas' attack on October 7, it was not nearly as deadly as the massacre of an estimated 2000 to 3000 defenseless Palestinians. mostly women and children in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila on the outskirts of Beirut in September 1982. Over a day and half, under the orders of Israel's Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, the Lebanese Falangist Forces turned the camps into a killing field while Israeli soldiers stood guard, preventing Palestinians from either leaving or entering the camps`, feeding the Lebanese killers, firing flares during the night so the killing could continue and providing bulldozers to bury the bodies. The reason those in the camps were defenseless was that under an agreement, negotiated by the US and UN with Sharon, all of the Palestinian fighters, led by Arafat, who had resisted Israel's vaunted military during a 76 day siege of Beirut, agreed to evacuate the city  by boat for Tunis.

News of the massacre drew 400,000 Israelis into the streets of Tel Aviv demanding the firing of Sharon. After a hearing by a commission set up to investigate the massacre, Sharon was forced to step down as Defense Minister. But the Israelis are a forgiving people, at least of their fellow Israelis. In 2001, 19 years later, he would be elected to two terms as Israel's Prime Minister whose actions would provoke the Second Intifada.

Finally, Israel has no right to exist. No state, in fact does. The idea that the PLO would have to recognize Israel's right to exist was the brainchild of Henry Kissinger which Washington used as a prerequisite for talking with the PLO. Rather, I would argue, the expulsion of the Palestinians and the establishment of Israel on their depopulated land, just two years after the liberation of Auschwitz, was the first war crime of the post war era. And that is the context that must not be ignored when discussing Gaza.

Jeff Blankfort


ED REPLY: Like most Americans, I know more about the NFL than I do the I`DF, so I'll defer to your vastly superior knowledge on this harrowing subject, and thank you for correcting my flawed understanding.

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To the Editor:

Bowtie Ted Williams is running for State Rep? Are you kidding?

What hubris!

Bowtie Ted's “leadership” has failed and failed miserably. Let me count the ways:

Mendocino County has a current structural deficit of $17 million and counting. Our financials are in such a chaotic state that we don't know how much red our budget is bleeding.

Mendocino County is being audited by the State of California. Until such time as our financials achieve are unqualified by state auditors, we can't apply for new federal and state grants. This will be disastrous, since most of the county budget is non-discretionary and comes from federal and state funding sources.

Our county budget process will have to be contracted out, yet again, because no one in-house can do the job.

The various anonymous 30-somethings in the Executive Office who are now running virtually every county department are too young, too experienced, and just too plain stupid for the level of responsibility foisted upon them.

Our Accessor's Office has fallen behind in collecting taxes, catching up, but still behind.

Our Auditor-Treasurer was made the target of malicious prosecution, and the BOS went along with the gag by suspending the Auditor-Treasurer without pay or due process, effectively, a wrongful termination. It will cost the county millions of dollars in legal fees, and millions more in settlements.

No monthly financial reports are being generated for any county department; hence the BOS is effectively flying blind.

Measure B monies, which are stipulated, are effectively being dumped into the General Fund and “disappeared,” just like PG&E wildfire settlement monies and federal COVID relief monies, and soon, very soon, Measure P monies. Any one of these illegal transfers can trigger a taxpayer lawsuit. (Jared Carter, Ross Liberty, Ken Fowler, John Mayfield, and Dick Selzer, are you listening?)

Our county's unfunded pension liability is pushing $260 million.

Given all the above, our county's credit rating is sinking like a stone.

Recently, Natalie Ramos, a lead analyst with Moody’s, filed a public records request for the fiscal 2022 audit or adequate draft financial documents that Mendocino County needed to respond to. Without those materials, she wrote, Moody’s would “consider placing the district’s rating under review for possible withdrawal due to lack of sufficient information.”

County CEO Darcie Antle is clueless. She conceded to the rating agencies that the county struggled with completing the fiscal year 2021-22 audit and the preparation of Annual Comprehensive Financial Review.

Moody’s is one of three credit rating agencies, along with Standard & Poor and Fitch Ratings, that score the county’s financial viability, a measurement that is essential to investors or lenders as they calculate their financial risk in their willingness to lend money to the county. A lot of lending is in revolving credit to finance payroll and other such short-term obligations.

The county's credit rating is also important in determining the interest rates on bonds, which many public institutions rely on to pay for specific projects.

Blow your credit rating and you're screwed.

Market dynamics are a cruel beast. Market dynamics are unsympathetic to public systems, like our own, that can't back up their expenses with a broader source of easily identified, easily audited, dedicated taxes.

Looking forward?

Mendocino County will have deteriorating financials and increased operating risks. The budget gap will widen. We will have major service cuts. We will lose residents, especially younger people. Development will slow. There will be water shortages. Maintenance will be deferred. Technology upgrades will lag. We will default on some debt. Statutory liens will be placed on county assets.

Good luck, Ted. You've done a wonderful job here in Mendocino County. Let me know if you need help writing your campaign literature. You'll pretty much find the highlights in the above.

One request: Take Mo Mulheren with you. She blew up daddy's insurance brokerage. Then, she helped you blow up Mendocino County. Maybe she can blow up Sacramento and get a federal bailout.

Remember, states can't declare bankruptcy. For that to happen, Congress would have to pass a law allowing it. The primary reason for the lack of state bankruptcy provisions is the U.S. Constitution. "Under the Constitution, states are ‘sovereign’ entities, and the federal government has limited power to act on them directly."

You and Mo will have a blast in Sacramento. It will be like having a blank check!

John Sakowicz 


* * *


In John Sakowicz’s letter complaining about Supervisor Williams and the County’s financial situation Mr. Sakowicz makes several dubious and exaggerated statements. Perhaps his intense disapproval of Supervisor Williams has clouded his memory.

Sako said the County’s structural deficit is $17 million. 

The most anyone has said is $10 million. It could be more, but there’s nothing to suggest that it’s $17 million.

Sako said Mendo is “unqualified” for state grants. That has been threatened, but no official statement to that effect has been made.

The CEO’s bloated staff is running too many departments, yes. But it’s nowhere near “virtually every county department.” There are competent people running a number of departments, especially the larger ones.

He called the Assessor’s office the “accessor’s” office. 

Sako said the Cubbison suspension “will cost the county millions of dollars in legal fees, and millions more in settlements.”

We doubt it will be in the millions. And whatever it is it will be mitigated by insurance. (But whatever the amount may be, it’ll be a big waste.)

Sako said, “No monthly financial reports are being generated for any county department.”

Not true. Most County departments have decent budgets and tracking. They’re just not being passed along to the Board or the public. The Board has never even asked for them.

Sako said, “Measure B monies, which are stipulated, are effectively being dumped into the General Fund and ‘disappeared’.”

Not exactly. The board has “borrowed” several million from Measure B and has not properly accounted for the funds. But the money has not been “dumped into the General Fund.”

Sako suggested that Jared Carter, Ross Liberty, Ken Fowler, John Mayfield, and Dick Selzer should consider a taxpayer lawsuit. 

Pure fantasy. Unfortunately, none of them have shown any serious interest in County affairs. If they had any such inklings they’d have done so long ago.

Sako said that the County’s unfunded pension liability is pushing $260 million.”


Sako said, “Our county's credit rating is sinking like a stone.”

Not yet it hasn’t.

Sako said, “Blow your credit rating and you're screwed.”

Simple hyperbole.

Sako concludes with a laundry list of bad stuff that could happen. 

Purely theoretical.

Much as we criticize County management, alarmism like Sako’s isn’t helping anything, including Sako’s credibility.

If Sako wants to be taken seriously he needs to keep his rhetoric within reason.

(Mark Scaramella)

One Comment

  1. Shannon November 28, 2023

    At first, I was thinking the letter confessing mental illness was penned by the former 5th district sore-Loser has-been candidate Chris Skyhawk…

    There’s Still hope that Maybe the giant Ego of Sad Sako, (a conspiracy theorists dream boy), could take a lesson here – I doubt it though

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