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Letters (December 11, 2023)

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A Reader Writes: “I have never understood why police chase someone just because they run after a traffic stop.”

Well, I am certainly glad you don’t understand this. It clearly indicates to me you are likely a good person whom I highly doubt has spent much time in evading capture.

I will try to make this reply brief. In my experience people run from the police not because of the infractions peace officers see in front of them. Often folks are wanted for many different things including murder.

I have made many stops for infractions committed by a driver which turned into a “foot bail” and upon capture the rest of the story unfolds. Often these subjects were wanted on very serious crimes including homicide.

Also, peace officers are in the business of reporting the facts to the judge who then instills accountability. If we simply allowed everyone a pass if they decided to run, everyone would run.

So if the question is who is wrong, the subject who runs from the police, or the police for chasing? I think the answer is clear. Personal responsibility has to come back into style and I think we are currently living in that direction.

Sheriff Matt Kendall


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Dear Editor,

I recently did a Public Records Request for several items I am scrutinizing in last year's budget, to see where OUR tax money is being spent.

I requested:

Please provide the number of employees and a breakdown of salaries by position for budget year 2022-23 for Fund 1100 861011, Executive Office and Clerk of the Board.

I received fifteen pages of names and payroll details in response.

No number of employees, no totals or breakdown of salaries by position. If you add up all of CEO Antle's pay, it totals only $92,846.12 for the year, which is not accurate, she makes far more than that. (If it’s for the first quarter of the fiscal year, that works out to $371,384.48 for the fiscal year, just for the CEO.)

I also asked:

Please provide a detailed breakdown for Information Services Fund 1100 862189 Prof/Spec Services for budget year 2022-23. This fund was budgeted at $448,267 for 2022-23. 

I received a list of Information Services budget check numbers and running totals, nothing else.

Really tells you what you want to know, huh? No vendor names, no descriptions of services, just check numbers and amounts.

Also requested:

Please provide a detailed list of expenditures for budget year 2022-23 for Fleet Management Fund 1100 862239. This fund was budgeted at $422,189. for the year.

I received 108 pages of detailed expenditures. Upon review though, among other things, it appears the County rents a lot of cars from Enterprise. $65,816.92 worth of cars in 2022-23; 221 invoices and some car rental invoices are for a month, one totaling $1,069.81. Don't we have an entire fleet of County vehicles? I've heard numerous Board discussions about downsizing the fleet, yet we're renting vehicles as well? As I write this, Supervisor Haschak and I had a conversation about Enterprise. The County is trying to save money by leasing cars from Enterprise but at the same time we still have a shop and employees. I related that we're not saving money if we're doing both (obviously we never fully implemented the plan). 

Also requested:

Please provide a list of all Cannabis Revenues for budget year 2022-23 as well as as up to date revenue totals for Fund 1100 825490, 1100 826205, 1100 826390, 1100 827802 and any other revenues not listed for this department.

I received only last year’s revenue and no year-to-date. 

I called and again and requested a list for the CEO Office/Clerk of the Board salaries and positions, A detailed breakdown for Information Services, as check numbers did me no good. These are forthcoming, I was told. Also, I re-requested the year to date for the Cannabis Revenues that was overlooked. This was sent within a day. 

This is the continued frustration I have with the County and their lack of transparency. Even when you request it and spell out exactly what you are looking for, you do not get it. It takes days and sometimes weeks, along with follow-up phone calls, to get the information. The public should not have to do Public Record Requests for this information. The 2022-23 Budget has not been finalized, still, and they're not sure when it will. Yet the closing of the last fiscal year was being blamed on the (suspended) Auditor/Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector, Ms. Cubbison. She has been removed from her office for 42 days now and the CEO's Office still doesn't have a date for the 2022-23 Budget being finalized. 

We are being deprived of our elected Auditor who independently oversees the distribution and tracking of our County's money, revenue and expense, and there's a lot of it, $356,395,945.00 for 2022-23 and $416,641,244.00 for 2023-24. 

I was happy to hear, at Ms. Cubbison's arraignment hearing on Wednesday, that her Attorney, Mr. Andrian, has requested the State Attorney General's Office get involved with her case. She still has not been arraigned/entered a plea. Charges have been filed against the District Attorney. The next court hearing, including the Attorney General, is scheduled for December 19th at 9am.

I have serious concerns about our budget and the County's future. I will continue to be the watchdog (a person or organization that makes sure that companies, governments, etc., are not doing anything illegal or wrong) for our County.

Carrie Shattuck

Candidate for 1st District Supervisor

Redwood Valley


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The Seafarer playing right now at the Mendocino Theater Co. It is simply an amazing play. Five very difficult roles which the actors pull off superbly. Each of the five actors — Steve Worthen, Byron Greene, Bob Cohen, John Craven and Dan Kozloff — are absolutely perfect in their roles. But John Craven is even more, he is simply spell-binding in his performance. This is not an experience you should let slide by. 

Every Thurs, Fri and Saturday nights and Sunday Matinees through Dec. 17.

David Alden


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After reading the Economist’s recent assessment on what a Donald Trump victory in 2024 would mean for the rest of the world, it becomes obvious that difficult times require difficult/unusual solutions. I firmly believe that a Joe Biden-Hillary Clinton ticket is the answer and would lead to a runaway victory. It’s never been done before? Well, we’ve never had an obvious would-be dictator running for president before. We must take whatever drastic measures we can to ensure that this man does not become president. I only pray that Clinton will be willing to take on this assignment.

Pearl Seymore


ED REPLY: Pearl, this is the most terrifying letter to the editor I've seen in my forty years in the newspaper business.

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I hope you haven't slammed the door on late entries to your favorite books sweepstakes.

Let me take advantage of your liberality and offer this short review of The Wandering Jew.

About 15 years ago my wife and I cleaned out the lonely little Brooklyn apartment of her late uncle. Charlie was a nice guy, smart, a little eccentric, who had had a career in the lower ends of the typewriter repair and jewelry and tchotchke trades.

Among his books was a nice old Modern Library hardcover of ‘The Wandering Jew’ (1844) by Eugene Sue (1804-1857). I started reading this monster, 1357 small print pages, last spring — and have just finished. It bowled me over! A wild tale, centered in Paris, but with stops far and wide, including in Java, India, Siberia, Eastern Europe, and even in America's Rocky Mountains. The wandering Jew himself was a humble cobbler who told Christ, carrying the cross and asking to rest for a moment on the bench outside his shop, “Move on.” 

A mistake! 

Not a bad guy, the cobbler, probably just having a bad day. Because of this inhospitable remark, he was condemned to wander the globe indefinitely and was still wandering in 1832, when the story comes to a climax. The wandering Jew is more a presiding spirit than a major player in the plot. Before he was a writer, Eugene Sue had been a physician in the French navy and he has an old salt's common sense, humanity, humor, eye for detail, and flair for story telling. 

He sets forth a nice socialist vision and tosses in a great love story and kick-ass action at every turn. The chapters are short and quite manageable. I recommend writing down names and places on the back of an envelope as you go along. The story will grab you!

My edition, oddly, didn't name the translator from the French, but some research and a couple of tells suggest that it was James Fenimore Cooper, of all people. 

It's a colorful and skilled translation for sure! Fun fact: Eugene V. Debs, most appropriately, was named after our left comrade Eugene Sue. And the V. in Debs' name is for Victor Hugo, another old left comrade.

Steve Elliott

Bridgewater, Massachusetts

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So, PG&E will be bestowing upon us a 12.8% increase on our monthly bill. They say it’s to underground lines, among other things. My neighborhood has underground lines. Why do we have to pay for that? Last winter we all paid four times our usual winter rates. I cannot imagine what we’ll be paying this year. Why are consumers paying for PG&E’s lack of attention and wildfire preparedness? I’ve asked for heavy, warm blankets for Christmas since I won’t be turning on the heat.

Deb McGauley

Santa Rosa

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I understand that most organizations need donations to survive. I have my favorite charities, and while I don’t have much disposable income, I give from time to time. But this whole Giving Tuesday has gotten out of hand. It started last week with “Remember Giving Tuesday is coming.” Many organizations told me that every day for a week.

I spent almost an hour one day cleaning out my emails, deleting more than 200 requests — and the day wasn’t over. And I had to do it all over the next day. As I am overwhelmed by them, I delete all of them.

I tried to send a quick note telling senders why I was doing this, but that would have taken me all day. Then add all the messages for Cyber Monday, and it’s enough to drive a person crazy. I will not contribute to any of them. There has to be a better way.

Bob Miller

Santa Rosa

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Genocide Joe. How well those two words go together – the alliteration and the actuality.

A Commander-in-Chief must make difficult decisions to defend his country. He must be able to declare war when necessary and condemn thousands, even millions to injury and death. In the case of Israel and Palestine, the slaughter of the Palestinians does not make America safe. Actually, it is the reverse. Since 1948, Israel has adopted the behavior of its former persecutors by engaging in the systematic brutality, incarceration and genocide of the Palestinians, which we Americans see in our homes every day. The US Administration staunchly supports Israel’s behavior for its own hegemonic interests..

Gaza is destroyed, Israel is not necessary for America’s defense. We have a dozen bases in the area. Why not turn our aid and efforts to an effective two state solution. It just might end the conflict.

By the way, the Ukraine war is lost. It is Vietnam redux. Let’s cut their losses and ours.

Joan V.

San Francisco

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In “The Stir of Liberation, 1860-1865,” the third installment of his magisterial 5-volume biography of Russian writer Feodor Dostoevsky, Joseph Frank relates an episode from Dostoevsky’s 1863 tour of Italy with Apollinaria Suslova (the account is from Suslova’s diary). In Turin, “As we were having dinner, he said, looking at a little girl who was doing her lessons: ‘Well, imagine, there you have a little girl like her with an old man, and suddenly some Napoleon says, “I want this city destroyed.” It has always been that way in this world’.”

Doug Loranger 

Walnut Creek

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Happy holidays and hoping this finds you well. 

I'm throwing this out to you in the hope of getting it included in the paper somwhere in response to a piece by Marshall Newman in the 11/8 edition.

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Marshall Newman writes that the people of Gaza, “having given Hamas free rein to govern since 2006, bear significant responsibility for their situation.” 

We won't talk about Israel's role in the creation and off-and-on financing of Hamas to enforce the split between it and the pathetic, bought-off leadership of the Palestinian Authority. As if the League of Women Voters has approved the political processes for the last 20 years in the Israeli-created prison of Gaza!

He says that because of October 7 — incidentally today's Times has the story of Israel having had the detailed blueprint of October 7 for over a year; Israel fucked up — Hamas “lost all rights to dictate the terms of the consequent battle.” Hamas never had the rights to dictate the terms in the first place. Newman's "consequent battle" is a one-sided slaughter

What should concern us as U.S. citizens is that Biden and Blinken (fresh off another boot-licking trip to Israel) and the U.S. government are participating in the massive war crime and genocide in Gaza, supporting Israel's resumption of the bombing and shelling of civilians, most of whom probably, and rightfully, hate both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

Note that between March 2018 and December 2019 there were regular, peaceful, Friday marches to the Gaza fence with Palestinians demanding the right to return. Israel's response? To kill some 223 protesters by sniper fire and to wound and cripple thousands by shooting them in the legs. Maybe that altogether typical behavior is what Newman is thinking about with his lofty description of Israel as "an implacable foe in war".

Steven Elliott

Bridgewater, Massachusetts

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Marshall Newman replies:

In responding to my recent comments, Steve Elliot brought up matters not germane to them. In addition, he provided information both in inexact and/or incomplete.

One of those comments, in which he quoted me inaccurately and incompletely, read “Having picked this fight, Hamas and the Gazan people have lost the right to dictate the the terms of the consequent battle.” Gazans are suffering the fate Hamas hoped for in attacking Israel (destroyed infrastructure and civilian deaths – all to garner international headlines and sympathy), but likely to an extent Hamas never imagined. If Hamas wants to end this, it can begin by releasing every Israeli hostage at the Rafah Crossing. In truth, Hamas does not care; it is content to hide behind Gazan civilians and sacrifice them.

As Mr. Elliot says, between March 2018 and December 2019, Gazans staged weekly Friday marches to the Gaza border. What he does not say is that the “right of return” was not the only reason for these protests; they were in part staged to protest Israel’s tight restrictions on the movement of trade across the border. What caused those restrictions? Sustained Hamas missile attacks against Israel in 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2021 and the consequent Hamas/Israeli battles caused by at least two of these periods of missile attacks. And make no mistake, these protests were not peaceful; they frequently included Gazans breaching the border fence, making incursions into Israel and burning tires to obscure their actions, all of which provoked Israel to take the action it took against the protesters.

Last, but by no means least, based on all available evidence, Israel had NO role in creating Hamas. Whether Israel ever financed Hamas is doubtful, though there was a period where it allowed the transfer of funds to Hamas to provide basic services like electricity and water. It was a pragmatic act on Israel’s part; Hamas was the only authority in Gaza and thus the only one that could keep those basic services functioning.

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Dear Editor,

Ever since Covid in my opinion things are weird cause some things that were have surfaced. To me it’s as though those who are deprived became desperate and others declare themselves isolated or invisible. As those recluse to apposing extremes yet not one mention of avenues blocked or being impossible to find a way out. 

Perhaps it’s different in Anderson Valley. But here in Willits or Fort Bragg it’s either territorial ignorance to score a bride or people just give up.

Sincerely yours, 

Greg Crawford 

Fort Bragg

 PS. Have you had the time to notice a odd air of difference at night not like before? Maybe it’s me of being awakened so many times through the night with (bizzy) mindless chatter of little inspiration mind numbing threads cannot shut off. 

Well, happy holidays Editor. My only respite is a walk to clear my conscience weighing me down. 

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