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Letters (January 22, 2024)

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It's a bumpy ride into Potter Valley. Luckily the ride out Wednesday night was smooth.

We rolled into the gym around 5:30 for my daughter's jr high basketball game. Nice gym, I thought. Very spacious. But it was cold.

The game was going well for us (Mendocino). We had some ups and downs, but at half time we were up by ten, so, no problem. Then came a hard foul by two Potter Valley girls as one of our girls drove the lane for a lay up. It looked pretty ugly, but our player got up and shook it off and headed to the line. 

I noticed that the Potter Vally crowd was laughing as she walked to the line. It irked me that they blew it off so quickly. Then, as she went to shoot, one of the parents (not kids) yelled, “Sweep the leg!” Watch The Karate Kid movie if you don't know the reference. I'm not sure if any of our players heard the statement. They may not even get it if they did. 

But I got it.

Nonetheless, our girls must have picked up on my anger since they ran away with it after that point. I think we ended up beating them by 16. Game over.

I gathered up my crew of girls and jumped in the car, heater on full blast. The road was smoother on the way out and I chuckled as I sped past the “Save Lake Pillsbury” signs.

Kirk Vodopals


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Dear Editor,

I am writing to express my profound disappointment and anger over the recent actions of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors regarding the relocation of the Veterans Service Office (VSO). Despite impassioned pleas from numerous veterans and community members, the Board has persisted in a decision that not only disrespects our veterans but also demonstrates a troubling lack of transparency and consideration.

The CEO and GSA Facilities Department Head Jannelle Rau decided to move the VSO into an inadequate space within the Public Health Department building, and the Board of Supervisors voted to approve without proper communication or consultation with the veterans or veteran groups. This hastily and poorly executed move of the VSO betrays a startling indifference to the needs and dignity of those who have served our country.

What is particularly galling is the sneaky manner in which County executive leadership went about this. The veterans, the very people this decision affects the most, were the last to know and given almost no time to mount an effective opposition. It's as if the Board hoped this move would go unnoticed until it was too late. This behavior by our leadership happens often and is not just poor governance; it’s a blatant disregard for the democratic process and public accountability.

The assurances the Board and Dr. Jenine Miller provided about making the new location “welcoming” with a private reception area and a possible additional office come off as hollow, reactive measures rather than well-thought-out plans. These promises of improvement seem more like band-aids applied to a situation that requires surgery. The fact that the Veterans’ Service Office will now be in a controlled access building, hindering easy walk-in access, shows a need for more understanding of the very nature of the services provided to our veterans.

Moreover, the burden placed on Michelle Smith, the sole Veterans Service Representative, is unacceptable. Expecting her to manage the workload meant for two while navigating these new and ill-conceived changes is unreasonable and unsustainable.

This entire situation reflects poorly on the current leadership of Mendocino County. It paints a picture of a Board of Supervisors that needs to be in touch, lacking in foresight, and seemingly indifferent to the voices of the people they are supposed to serve and represent. As a concerned citizen, I am appalled. As someone who cares deeply about the welfare of our veterans, I am outraged.

I vow to keep a close watch on this situation, holding the Board accountable for their actions and ensuring our veterans receive the respect and services they rightly deserve. Whether as a private citizen or a potential future member of this Board, I will not let this issue rest. Our veterans deserve better, and it’s high time they received it.


Jacob S. Brown, VETERAN

Candidate, 2nd District Supervisor

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Letter to the Editor

As the upcoming election nears, I would like to share my thoughts. I retired nearly two years ago after serving 15 years as Mendocino County Treasurer-Tax Collector, so my views come from inside and outside public service.

As I stated two years ago, I believe most of the current members of the Board of Supervisors were ill-equipped to comprehend the financial and budgetary complexities inherent with the operation of the county, I believe that is still the case today. When the Board moved forward with their reckless non-plan to consolidate the offices of the Auditor-Controller and the Treasurer-Tax Collector, they managed to destabilize the entire financial engine of the county. Regardless of comments from various supervisors, this has set the county on a negative path going forward.

We deserve a Board that concentrates on the difficult problems at hand and does not create new ones that do not exist. For example, a quality-of-life issue on which this Board needs to concentrate is the homeless situation that is deteriorating in our community, particularly our downtowns. Millions of dollars are spent annually, and the problem is only getting worse. Our downtowns will never economically thrive in the current environment.

The Supervisor in the district where I reside, Maureen Mulheren, was recently quoted as saying the homeless situation has improved. 


Drive through the streets of her district alone and it is evident. The Board of Supervisors and the City Councils throughout this county need to work together to minimize the homeless impact on our citizens. Ms. Mulheren has had the opportunity now for years as she served on both the Ukiah City Council and the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors.

IT IS TIME FOR CHANGE, as members of the public we DESERVE better leadership than what we are currently receiving. We need bold and competent leaders that are not afraid to deal with the difficult issues at hand. At this time, we have three seats on the Board of Supervisors that are up for re-election. 

On a positive note, we will definitely have two new supervisors in the First and Fourth Districts. It is imperative we also have a new supervisor in the Second District. Please join me in voting for JACOB BROWN for SecondDistrict Supervisor.He is the positive change we need now!

Shari Schapmire 


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Dear Editor,

According to my public records request, submitted a month ago, the County cannot use the report they've used in previous years to give me a current report of the number of employees and a breakdown of salaries in the Executive Office and Clerk of the Board. Seriously, the Executive Office cannot run a report of their own staff? The amount of technology we, the taxpayers, pay for and the County cannot run this simple report? 

It appears to me that this is yet another tactic of delaying the release of information to the public, which I have gladly passed along to the readers of the AVA. 

In the past, I've waited FOUR MONTHS for one of my Public Record Requests to be fulfilled. I had weekly conversations (2021) with Asst. County Counsel Kiedrowski about this particular request, informing me that the date of release was being pushed back yet again. It became no surprise when I would receive his calls, what he was going to say.

This is a perfect example of why I am running for Supervisor. There are so many serious issues affecting our County and are we REALLY hearing about them or getting the full story? I doubt it. We're usually in crisis mode before the public knows about it or the Board of Supervisors is addressing it. The fact that they don't control their own agenda is of great concern. 

I have been complaining to the Board about the lack of professionalism by having Elected Officials/Department Heads speak and give updates during the public comment portion of the meeting (sometimes even being counted down their 3 minutes like the public) because when an item is not agendized, no extensive discussion can take place, therefore limiting the exchange of information. 

Recently though, on the December 19th agenda, there was an item “Discussion and Possible Action including Acceptance of an Informational Update from the Assessor/Clerk-Recorder; and Direction to Staff as Necessary,” where Ms. Bartolome gave an update and the Supervisors were able to ask questions and have an actual discussion with the Assessor/Clerk Recorder. At the break time of this meeting, Supervisor Haschak told me that this item was because of me. I then asked if it was going to be an ongoing agenda item so the updates would be continual and he stated it would. Wow! The Board actually took my advice and wants updates from the Assessor! I guess the famous saying of squeaky wheel gets the grease is applicable here. 

It seems that elected officials get complacent in their official capacities. As if the way it's been done is the way it should continue. We need to think outside the box. We're going to have to be creative to solve our budget crisis. Top priority should be getting the Assessor's computer system fully functioning and the department adequately staffed. Has the current Board made this a priority? The Assessor has been struggling with the new computer program for YEARS and it is still not functioning in its full capacity, therefore the potential revenue is not being assessed, invoiced or collected. 

This has gone on far too long. Change is hard and can be painful but is necessary to continue moving forward in positive directions.

Vote for Change!

Carrie Shattuck



Not only does our County have a budget crisis but it also has a communication crisis. Departments don't communicate with each other, Supervisors don't communicate with departments, the CEO doesn't communicate with departments or the Supervisors.

Tuesday's Board meeting public comment was filled with veterans and others speaking out against the County's decision to move the Veterans Service Office (VSO) from their house on Observatory into the Public Health building next door, as they plan to move Air Quality into this VSO house for “storage.”

I toured their current house location today with Second District Supervisor Candidate Jacob Brown, also a veteran. The house setting offers veterans a comfortable “homey” space to receive services in a non-clinical environment which is inviting and spacious. This setting helps veterans feel comfortable to seek services and not have the stigmatism of going to a hospital or clinic setting. 

I tried to see the new location that they will be moved to on Monday, but it was locked and I had to leave my name and number for Dr. Miller, the interim Public Health Director, to call me back. This “hospital” setting at the Public Health building on Dora St., is a concern for our veterans as it is sterile and uninviting as well as a huge decrease in space from the house they currently have. They will have two 10x10 rooms in the Public Health building. These spaces will not accommodate the L shaped desk that Michelle, the Veteran Service Representative currently has, or a smaller desk and a veteran in a wheelchair, at the same time. They currently have shelves of essentials for our homeless vets, such as boots, blankets and toiletries. The new location will have no room for these supplies, therefore less services for our veterans, especially the homeless ones.

How is this OK? Who made this decision? Why can't Air Quality use the Public Health location? Several Board members toured these locations on Thursday yet weren't concerned enough to keep this move from happening.

The County receives money for our veteran services. The more veterans they provide services to, the more money the County receives. Yet our County decided to take their home and give it to Air Quality whose employees work remotely.

I spoke with Supervisor Haschak later in the afternoon and he related that there will be an agenda item coming up to address the situation since the VSO was not consulted about the move. Even more insulting, is that the VSO office was being packed up while the representative, Michelle, was out of the office. She returned to stacks of boxes and everything in disarray. 

I encouraged Haschak to stop the move until it comes back to the Board. 

This lack of communication has happened before when General Services decided that the County should get rid of a house used for child services without consulting child services. 

This disrespect of our veterans is truly appalling. The needs of our citizens should be a top priority but the County shows again and again that we are not. 



Is the plan for their Department of Finance really stalled? They put Sara Pierce from the CEOs office in the position as interim. Appears to me its aligning exactly the way they wanted. There’s three years left in Cubbison’s term before they have to let the voters decide if we should have a “hire and fire” Department of Finance. That’s three years without our independently elected Auditor. The Board’s plan is already in place, for now.

It does make one wonder: How many of the Board’s reimbursement claims have been denied?

Mark Scaramella Comments: The Assessor being on the agenda is a (small) step forward. But six months ago the Board directed that the CEO report contain a monthly (written) report from the Assessor. Being unwritten, the Assessor’s oral reports are informal, disorganized, inconsistent and there’s no easy way to track progress from month to month. The Assessor does not address the assessment backlog, only the supplemental assessments that have been sent to taxpayers for review. Further, there’s nothing from the Tax Collector’s office on the follow-up of the supplemental bills. Have they been accepted and acted on? How much are they worth to the General Fund? Who are the top ten delinquent taxpayers and what’s their status? What is the status of actual collections? How many are past due? How many are about to go past four years without collection, thus becoming uncollectable? What is the staffing in the Tax Collector’s office? Etc. Etc. Much as we’d like to applaud the Assessor’s agenda item, it’s very weak tea and falls far short of what the Board asked for, much less what the Board and the public need to know.

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I get the impression that all the other towns think that Mendo is full of urbanite, affluent snobs… or something similar. I think that stereotype might hold true in some cases, but, in general, knowing these kids and families (including mine), we’re all just hard-working folks making a go of it on the coast.

Regardless of impressions, the behavior of the adults at some of these sporting events is downright despicable. And I should know, I grew up in Ferndale.

It’s lame and pathetic cuz the kids reflect that behavior on the courts and fields.

I’m obviously biased, but I think the teams I help coach tend to be less trash-talking.

And it’s pretty rewarding to beat those teams and towns who seem to have the worst behavior.

Kirk Vodopals


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To the Editor: 

I am ashamed of the way this county treats its veterans. It’s a disgrace! 

I am not only referring to this current decision to move the Ukiah Veterans Service Office, but I am also referring to other snubs by this current administration. 

For example, forcing the Fort Bragg Veterans Service Office to close in order to allow for other County or City events to take place in the building. 

When I was employed with the county- Myself, several veterans, and two of the BOS were part of an AdHoc committee that created a new Policy and Procedure for the Veterans Buildings. Part of this policy entailed NOT allowing any use of the building that would disrupt business in our office or any other veteran meetings or events. On several occurrences this Policy was disregarded, and the Fort Bragg office was forced to close, creating a disruption of services for our veterans. Why create a Policy and Procedure if you are not going to adhere to it? 

As far as this latest decision regarding the move, decisions were made at higher levels without any regards to our veterans. 

In fact I would bet that they were not considered at all. 

I cannot help but think that this administration has no regard or respect for its veterans. 

If the main reason for this move is for the storage, as I was told by Supervisor Mulheren…then why not just have Air Quality Control use the garage, and put a conex next to the building in the open field. In doing this, you could still allow the veterans service staff to continue the use of the building. 

The Veterans Service Office has two full time Veteran Service Representatives, currently only one is filled, and one full time Veterans Service Officer, they also have a handful of work studies who work in the office daily. Clearly there is not enough space in the proposed 2 offices at Mental Health to accommodate all of these people. I was told Air Quality Control has 9-10 employees who work remotely most of the time. This being the case it would make more sense to have Air Quality Control move into the proposed offices at Mental Health. 

Also, Why are you continuing to keep the Ukiah office understaffed, only allowing for one full time representative to try to handle it all? This is way too much for one person. I would hate to see the Ukiah office lose this Veterans Service Representative due to stress. 

I realize that there is a budget crunch and a hiring freeze, but I am also aware that there are exceptions. This would be an exception! 

Maybe you are unaware that this office saw 1835 veterans in person and received over 3000 phone calls for FY 22/23. The VSO office brought in over $3 million into Mendocino County Veterans pockets…which they spent locally. The office also brought in over $100,000 dollars to the county which goes into the General Fund. This money should go to a special fund to help keep the office fully staffed. This money is another Veterans Service Representative position. Other counties are hiring additional Veteran Service Representatives, while our county continues to let our office struggle. 

This action to me strongly suggests that Mendocino County is not a veteran friendly county anymore. 

Alice Loehr Stenberg


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There have been a lot of emotions regarding the move of the Veterans Service Office from a small house to within the Public Health Building. We, Supervisors Haschak and McGourty, recognize that the move was conducted without appropriate communication between the County and the veterans and staff affected. In no way was disrespect intended. All involved have the utmost respect for our veterans and the service and sacrifice that they have given to our country.

The primary purpose of the Veterans’ Services Office is to help sign our local veterans up for benefits and programs that they qualify for, find service records and any help that may be required to assist both veterans and family members. This is a county program with match funding by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs. 

The move was precipitated by the Board’s directive to staff to downsize the number of county buildings and reduce costs. The Veterans Services house on Observatory Ave. in Ukiah had a homey feel. Veterans and staff felt comfortable in that setting. Yet there were some issues such as parking, public safety and space. 

Recently, the rent being paid for Air Quality’s present building increased dramatically. The decision by staff was to get out from under the high rents. There existed unutilized space in the Public Health building which was sufficient for the Veterans Services staff but not enough for Air Quality. On that basis, the decision was made to move Air Quality and its employees to the Observatory Ave. space and move Veterans’ Services to a wing of the Public Health building.

Supervisors learned about this from constituent outrage. Concerns have been raised about the move and we are trying to address these concerns as best we can. Some will say that we should just move the Veterans’ Services Office back to the house on Observatory. With the domino effect of the moves and considering that the new facility has some advantages, our perspective is that let’s make this new space the best it can be and that it be a space welcoming to veterans while fulfilling the needs of staff and veterans alike.

Supervisors and staff have been in communication since. Supervisor Haschak led a tour of veterans and staff of the new facilities. Veterans did not like the sterile feel of the reception area and office space. They had suggestions for “owning” the area.

Working with staff, we have come up with accommodations to make a more comfortable and welcoming Veterans’ space. The entry will have a Veterans sign to replace the Public Health sign. Dedicated Purple Heart and Veterans only parking spaces will be assigned. The doorway will have an automatic entry feature for wheelchairs. The glass enclosure for the receptionist desk will be removed. A couch and coffee machine will be installed in and a mural and/or artwork will adorn the waiting area. Doorways and privacy screens are being installed in the hallway. We will be asking veterans about what they want in the outdoor quad area to make it a social environment. The planter boxes that were at Observatory will be moved to the quad.

Again, we express our apologies for how this move was communicated to veterans but also feel that working together, we can make this a better place for our veterans and staff. Thank you for your understanding and patience.


Supervisors John Haschak & Glenn McGourty

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There's a big discussion about veterinary care and availability. There is a national shortage, and we as pet owners are suffering the consequences. My husband and I bought the Detrich Clinic on South Franklin, Fort Bragg. Maybe we can get creative and get a rotating team of veterinarians to come in and provide vet care. I've advertised on Facebook, UC Davis, local flyers. I'd also be open to host educational, adoption or other activities. Maybe Mendocino College and the Humane Society would run a Vet tech program. I heard that there's a shortage of them as well. It's a nice career path. If any of you are visiting out of area vet clinics, please spread the word that we need another Vet in Fort Bragg. 

Here are the details for the clinic: 

Vet Hospital for lease in scenic coastal Fort Bragg. Former Veterinarian/Owner retired recently. Great corner location with plenty of parking, features approx. 2200 square feet of space: Front Lobby, waiting/retail room, three exam rooms, surgery and x-ray room, large storage/lunch area, high quality large and small kennels, large central treatment area, Veterinarian's personal office, laundry area and several bathrooms. Some Kennels are big enough to accommodate small livestock. Back-alley access might be suitable for livestock treatments by appointment. Vet hospital is adjacent to busy dog grooming business and bank. 

We have an extreme shortage of available veterinarians, even a satellite office would be appreciated. Coast pet owners face long waiting lists, no emergency services and owners are being turned away by local Veterinarians. This is a great place to live with cool summers, unspoiled beaches and miles of trail in the Redwoods. 

Jeanette Jacobi 

Little Valley 

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Mendocino County Voters: 

If you’re in the 4th District, consider voting for Bernie Norvell like me. 

I will vote for Bernie because he might not agree with me on everything, but he will listen and talk it through and make adjustments as needed. Bernie is using his experience with the city to build systems that will help our community. Supporting mental health and making sense off the Supes budget is so important for all of us.

If you’re in the 1st District, consider voting for Adam Gaska 1st District Supervisor. I recommended Adam because he’s accessible and willing to listen and learn. He is not working for anyone but us to help support the Board of Supes make positive and important changes.

Jessica Katherine

Fort Bragg

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The discussions on how to save Social Security drive me crazy. The answer is simple. Just remove the annual cap on how much income is taxed for Social Security. Why should a person who makes $168,600 pay the same amount as a person who makes $500,000 or $1 million?

Stevie Lazo

Santa Rosa

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On Friday, an anniversary was noted in the paper: the beginning of construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. The fact that the bridge was completed four years later got me wondering what kind of society we’ve become. We’re content with building a “bullet train” that is in its 15th year of construction and nowhere near completion. Is this a reflection of how lazy or stupid our society is? We don’t seem to hold politicians or bureaucrats, whether Democrat or Republican, accountable. We keep voting in the same people who accomplish nothing. Look at who we’ll be choosing between for president, Joe Biden and Donald Trump. They both need to be put out to pasture. This is America, we deserve better, but we’re the only ones who can make that happen. Get involved and vote. Thank God we’re not building that beautiful bridge today. It’d take 50 years to complete and the overruns would be in the billions.

Jim Hickey

Santa Rosa

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It was over twenty years ago that I tool a plane ride over the upper Noyo River. The entire watershed had been “moon-scaped.” Georgia-Pacific had made the decision to “cut-and-run.” I took a friend up there a couple of years later and when he waded into the river the silt was so deep he got bogged down in it and I had to find a long limb to help pull him out. This guy is 6′ 5″ tall and at that time was 240 pounds of muscle. He played basketball all four years of college. When the fish eggs get smothered in silt for three years the salmon are gone. I quit fishing the river in the hope a few would survive.
It didn’t have to be done this way. The forest can be selectively logged in a way that maintains a thriving forest that is thinned, allowing for the remaining trees to grow faster. More higher quality timber can be produced through selective logging in an ongoing manner than by clear cutting every 40 years, and the forest and rivers stay healthy. 

GP wanted the big bucks now and then they moved the mill to Mexico and abandoned the town and workers of Fort Bragg. Of course, the California Department of Forestry signed off on all of those Timber Harvest Plans. It is an old story in the USA. The pride of our country back in the 50s was that we had the largest middle class of any country in the world. Since our manufacturing jobs have been moved offshore we now have an economy with one of the smallest middle classes among industrialized nations. For the details on how Reagan did it read a book entitled “America, What Went Wrong.”

Donald Cruser

Little River

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Reading Bob Dempel’s article is a little like reading a story about the Civil War without actually letting the reader know that this is the 21st-century and not 1860. The historical aspects are interesting and true. As a kosher wine maker, here in Northern California, I have worked successfully with many of the individuals mentioned in this article. And I made my Napa Valley Cabernet at the Herzog winery in Oxnard from 2003 to 2007. Indeed, the challenges of transporting grapes, long distances can be difficult. That said, Dempel’s description of kosher wine making is ridiculous. His descriptions of kosher sanitary conditions, and other misnomers are laughable. And his impression that it’s impossible to make kosher wine in Northern California is just plain stupid. He should come visit our kosher Covenant winery in Berkeley, where we make wine just like any other winery, kosher or not. The myth of some Kusher conundrum in the production of kosher wine is just that—a myth. And it is promulgated by ignorance, such as that disseminated by clueless writers and grape growers like Bob Dempel. If you are going to write about the past, you better learn something about the present as well.

Jeff Morgan


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A recent letter writer offered two perspectives on how to “fix” Social Security. Both are creations of establishmentarians who can’t or won’t think out their institutional boxes.

The facts: The Social Security Trust Fund has taken in more revenue each year than it distributes. The undistributed revenue is invested in U.S. Treasury bonds, i.e., to the general fund. The government currently owes $2.76 trillion to the trust fund.

The way the system works now is that working people help keep federal taxes as low as possible for high-income individuals and corporations. When people talk about cutting Social Security benefits, I see “I’m going to steal from you, and you’re going to like it.”

Rep. Tim Walberg of Michigan introduced the Social Security and Medicare Lock-Box Act. It seeks to ensure that Congress stops stealing from the rest of us. We don’t need to cut Social Security benefits for anyone. This is not a left/right issue. It is our issue. We need to claim what is ours and insist that Congress come up with a plan to protect what we pay into the trust fund and pay back the money borrowed from it.

Jeffrey J. Olson

Clearlake Oaks

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Dear Editor and Readers,

Yet another saga of who gets paid to sit on their hands? I know it’s tough times. Everybody’s hurting. Bills, taxes, and those who were raised with such (higher) hopes and dreams are told sit on that, squelch that dream, wait. We had to. Sound familiar? Lol. 

Yet when a senior gets an allowance debit card guess who screams foul? So many secrets in these places meant to be grateful, meant to be forgiving and allow others to find their own path/way. I bet as a prognosis this coming election will be to desire poor conduct (sit on hands) and expect to be paid for it. Take care of yourselves.

Sincerely yours,

Gregory ‘Vigilant’ Crawford

Fort Bragg

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U guys,

‘Listen Liberal’ by Thomas Frank… 

Ever read this one? If allowed I would chain faux libs into chairs while slow reading it to them and KEEP them there until they sincerely repented.

Chris Skyhawk

Fort Bragg

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There is a proposed "settlement" with PG&E being considered by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). They are planning to give PG&E $40 million to upgrade it digital records system and California residents and cities and towns damaged by the fires caused by PG&E's unsafe pursuit of profit. 

The CPUC is still considering this idea. You can send an email to them about this BS at:

I have sent the following letter:

Martha Perez

Employment Program Representative


Ms. Perez,

This proposed “settlement” is nothing more than a giveaway to PG&E of $40 million. The people who suffered from PG&E’s lack of ensuring the safety of California residents suffered far more than $5 million. They lost their homes and more.

The towns of Paradise and Concow were almost completely destroyed. They lost 95 % of their structures. Greenville was mostly burned. The camp fire and the dixie fire were caused by PG&E’s using most of their profits for enriching their investors and board of directors and CEO instead of ensuring the safety of California residents

PG&E should be penalized for this not given more millions to upgrade It’s digital records system which it should have done with its massive profits ($18 billion gross profits for 2023.

This settlement is an insult to California citizens who pay PG&E’s outrageous bills.

Edward M. Oberweiser

Fort Bragg

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Dear [Voter], 

Before we head into the weekend, I wanted to let you know that we are on last call for tickets to our Wild West Fundraiser at Barra of Mendocino Winery and Event Center! 

I am so grateful and excited that we have sold over 100 tickets and only have a few tables and spots left.

The fundraiser will be next weekend on Saturday, January 20th, and feature live music, a silent auction and more. Tickets are $125 per person, $200 per couple, or $750 for a table of 8. Each ticket includes dinner and two drink tickets, with additional drink tickets available for purchase.

All the proceeds from the event will support my campaign for Supervisor and help me reach voters with solutions to the key issues facing our county. With just a few weeks before voters start casting ballots, this fundraiser is the last opportunity to help us reach our fundraising goals and be able to communicate with voters!

See you soon!


Madeline Cline, Candidate 

Redwood Valley

ED NOTE: $125 is a lot to ask. But I have to admit: this gal is organized. 

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Trump’s accomplicesGive credit where credit is due. Donald Trump discovered and tapped into the deep underbelly of American life. It’s a place where hatred, grievance, deceit and paranoia are considered virtues. It is not surprising that people like Trump exist. History is littered with them. What is surprising is that millions of Americans have yet again become such willing accomplices to his cause.

David Bonta

Santa Rosa

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To the Editor:

For four days, Defense Secretary Llyod Austin was AWOL. Four friggin' days! North Korea could have launched a nuke. Or Russia could have nuked Ukraine. Or Israel could have attacked Iran. Or China could have attacked Taiwan.

Any other member of the military would have been charged with desertion. Or dereliction of duty. But not the guy at the top. Not Defense Secretary Austin.

Why not?

Identity Politics. In other words, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). 

Valuing diversity, equity and inclusion without regard to the immutable characteristics of merit is wrong. It's unethical. And it should be illegal. DEI seeks to increase the representation of some groups through discrimination against members of other groups. And discrimination is illegal. 

Besides, the actual efficacy of many DEI interventions is lower than many practitioners make it out to be, and, in fact, it can be disastrous.

What's next?

The Pentagon inspector general announced in a statement it will review "the roles, processes, and actions" related to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's hospitalization, which was kept hidden even from the White House for four days.

The review will examine whether the Defense Department's policies and procedures for notifying when the defense secretary has transferred authorities are appropriate and timely. 

In the past week, Austin and senior leaders at the Pentagon have faced criticism for not disclosing his hospitalization for four days — even to the deputy secretary of defense who took over Austin's duties — including the period of time Austin was anesthetized and unconscious in surgery and semi-conscious while in post-op in the intensive care unit. 

I said it once and I'll say it again: If your boss doesn't notice you were missing for four days during wartime, you might be a Diversity Hire. 

John Sakowicz 


ED REPLY: It's unfair, and worse, to tag Austin as an affirmative action hire simply because he's black. He seems smarter and is certainly more articulate than the other beribboned warriors the Pentagon trots out to urge war recommendations to the general public. As it happens I've just read an excellent account of the Cuban Missile Crisis by the Brit historian, Max Hastings, coming away with even more admiration for JFK than I had, with reservations and criticisms, of course. (Nobody gets a pass from me. Hear that? Nobody!) JFK backed down Kruschev while all Kennedy's generals, which included that straight-up lunatic, Curtis LeMay, pumped for an aerial attack and follow-up U.S. invasion of Cuba. Castro was for war, too, which would have been nuclear from the outset as our air force took out the nukes Russia had placed in Cuba. Without going into the details, the human species would have been over in '62 if Kennedy had listened to his generals, the point being, as generals go, Austin is just one more general, his race having nothing to do with his position. LeMay, btw, was famous for saying stuff like, “There are no innocent civilians, so it doesn't bother me so much to be killing innocent bystanders.” Is it too much of a generalization to say they're all versions of LeMay?

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Many critics of socialism claim that our nature as humans is too flawed and selfish for socialism to work. They’re getting things exactly backward. We need socialism to protect against human cruelty and encourage human kindness.

The exact degree to which human nature is inherently selfish or selfless, and how much that depends on our circumstances, is a complicated empirical question that touches on fields ranging from sociology to evolutionary psychology. It can’t be answered from the armchair.

But whatever our degree of selfishness, it’s not a reason to throw up our hands and accept capitalism as the best humanity can do. Instead, it’s a reason to oppose capitalism and strive for collective and democratic institutions that can limit the damage that cruel people are in a position to do to one another.

The core of socialism is *economic democracy*. Whether we’re talking about decision-making in an individual workplace or bigger decisions with a broad impact on the course of society, socialists think that everyone who’s impacted should have a say.

One of the reasons that’s so important is precisely that giving anyone too much power over their fellow human beings creates the danger that their power will be abused. No system is perfect, of course, but the best recipe for minimizing the possibility of abuse as much as possible is to spread around power — political and economic — as much as possible.

That’s part of why democratic socialists reject the idea that an authoritarian one-party state can be trusted to act on* behalf* of the people. And it’s an excellent reason to reject capitalism — a system where there’s no pretense that economic power is in the hands of the people rather than whoever happens to have enough money to buy up the means of production.

If humans were all selfless angels, we wouldn’t need to worry about them treating each other the way Jeff Bezos treats the workers at his warehouses or the way Harvey Weinstein treated aspiring actresses. We wouldn’t need to worry about what will become of families who fall into poverty, because we’d trust that people who have more will always act individually to offer a helping hand. We wouldn’t need to worry about the wealthy abusing their political influence, because we’d trust them to take everyone’s interests into account.

If we were angels, in other words, replacing capitalist institutions with socialist ones would be unnecessary. But we’re deeply flawed human beings — capable of moral greatness, to be sure, but also capable of all kinds of cruelty. And that’s exactly why we need socialism.

Carol Mattessich

Fort Bragg

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