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Letters 7/2/24


Thank You!

My wife, Laura, & I want to thank the AVFD Ambulance for their speedy, professional and caring response to my medical emergency by dispatching me to “Reach Team—Williams/helicopter at Boonville International for 7 minute first class dash to Ukiah Adventist Hospital. After days of tests — no stroke! Good news — I’m home and wobbling along on my walker! We are so fortunate to have such volunteer professionals in our Valley to intervene on our worst days! Again, Thank You (apologies for not knowing your names)

Don Shanley




As the fight over the re-imagining of prop 47 continues in Sacramento I wanted to shed some light on what seems to be occurring. First I want to be very clear, I couldn’t care less about who has a “D” or who has an “R” behind their name. I do care about public safety and the security of our residents in Mendocino County.

The ballot initiative which I have been speaking of has the signatures to be brought forward to the voters. This seems like a good thing as I believe our voices should be heard. The legislators have put together 14 bills which are being touted as a fix for the problems we are facing with theft and narcotics. These legislative bills in my opinion, appear extremely anemic.

I want to remind people our legislators have crafted several bills to deal with these issues over the past several years. From what I can see most legislative efforts which would place public safety over criminals have been shot down in the public safety committees. Only now that there is a viable ballot initiative are we seeing legislators coming up with solutions in the form of new laws. This seems to be a matter of too little and too late on the part of our legislators.

Several media outlets and reporters have touched on portions of the politics which are behind this dust up. I would invite everyone to educate themselves on this.

Sadly it looks like this is all about the marching orders of our political parties and not about the well being of the public. This is wrong on several levels. People are elected to serve our residents not the political parties and it must stop.

If you can find the time, please educate yourself on this important issue.

Thank you.

Sheriff Matt Kendall


The plot has thickened just a little more (regarding reforming the Proposition 47 relaxation of penalties for “minor” crimes). Emails regarding the negotiations between the governor’s office and the coalition moving the (reform) ballot initiative forward were leaked to the press. In these emails the Governor’s office advised they will support a ballot initiative, but not until 2026. Basically they will agree to let the voters speak at the end of the Governor’s term.

PS. Mental Health is a portion of the problem. But the thefts we are seeing are becoming completely out of control with no ability to have any meaningful consequences.

The pathway to recovery and programs that truly worked used to be through our magistrates (ie) drug court. I don’t know if I have ever seen better outcomes for everyone involved than drug court.

I know a lot of people who are living good lives today because they were given the options and had consequences if they continued in crime.

We need to have meaningful consequences if we don’t we will see people taking these issues into their own hands.

Look up the shooting in Oakland last week where an elder shot and killed a burglar in his home. As of last night the home owner was still in custody in the Alameda county jail.

This is what we see when the laws are based on politics and not people.



Regarding “My father-in-law is fighting for his life with cancer. He shouldn’t have to fight insurance companies, too” I had an identical experience, on behalf of one of my dental patients with a different health insurance company that I spent 3½ years wrestling with.

Fortunately, my case only involved payment, not treatment, because dentistry does not require “authorization” like medicine does.

An attorney who investigated my case said the firm “just lost that is identical to yours — the nonresponsiveness, the delays, the lies, etc., in which the court awarded the patient $14 million, half of which was for punitive damages.”

Punitive damages are hard to come by — the malfeasance must be intentional. At one point, the attorney said, “$14 million might sound like a lot — it isn’t!”

Now I see why he said that: $14 million is barely two-thirds of the Anthem CEO’s annual compensation and a tiny fraction of Anthem’s $6 billion annual profit.

Insurance companies have an effective business model as long as all they care about is making money, with absolutely no regard for the welfare of patients.

Richard E. Leeds

San Francisco


To the Editor:

Dear Customers, I regret to say that due to recent incidents, WillitsOnline is no longer able to continue as a service provider business in Mendocino County. No further payments are expected or required, all services are canceled effective immediately.

A competitor, with whom we previously had good faith negotiations with concerning a potential merger, illegally secured access to our confidential trade secrets and customer contact data, and used this information to transmit false and misleading messages directly to our subscribers, claiming we are going out of business and that everyone should switch to this competitor before it was too late. It is unfortunate that despite the message being wholly untrue, has manifested the desired effect and has caused a crisis of confidence in our subscribers, leading directly to a cascade of customer losses which has now made the business unable to continue, while this competitor benefits financially from its dishonest and unethical actions.

As a public statement of fact, I, as the owner of the company, have been medically and mentally incapacitated at various levels and seeking to make business changes for the benefit of my health and the future stability of the service, and have kept the true details from everyone, including my formerly trusted staff. I have invested 22 years of my life in fostering this business and have tolerated all manner of embezzlement, theft, sabotage, dishonesty, pettiness and more.

The issues now, however, with the catastrophic loss of subscribers, is simply more than I and the business of WillitsOnline are able to effectively address and recover from, and for this I am truly sorry.

To be clear, there will be a process to investigate and address the incident and ensure that all due justice is metered out to the responsible parties, and that any customer injury is duly addressed. Beyond that statement however, it is premature and inappropriate to provide further details or speculate about pending or planned future actions.

I wish to thank you for enabling me to have done something for the past 22 years that has truly been enjoyable, challenging, rewarding and the fulfillment of my teenage dreams. For those who have been there to see my evolution and to know the back story, and who supported me, thank you too.

Mike Ireton

Owner Founder, President Tiedye Networks, Willits Online, Your Town Online: May 5, 2002 – June 16, 2024




Lyndon Baines Johnson was born in Texas in 1908. When he was vice president, Kennedy staffers called him “uncle corn pone,” and referred to Lady Bird as “his little pork chop.” According to New York Times best-selling author Eleanor Herman, his sex organ was _ inches long:

A. 10.5 inches; B. 12.75 inches; C. 8.5 inches. D. 4.5 inches; E. 3.67 inches.

Name Withheld

Santa Cruz

(Ans: C.)



This is in regard to Press Democrat columnist Robin Abcarian scratching her head about a lifeguard who objects to being forced to work under the rainbow flag at his place of work. He is filing a suit. What would she think about working at a public place where there was a requirement to fly a Christian cross flag, a Star of David flag, or a MAGA flag? There are such things. My neighbors have the right to fly the rainbow flag on their property, but does a public place of work have the same right? To this I scratch my head.

Christine Crawford




Is Donald Trump just another pandering politician? I say this as someone who will vote for him if his opponent is Joe Biden. Trump announced he will exempt tips from tax; it’s unclear whether this exemption would apply to Social Security and Medicare taxes presently paid by employees and employers on “calculated” tip income.

The minimum wage for wait personnel is much lower, to take into account that tips make up the lion’s share of their compensation. Further, as it is, tax is only applied to 8% of the total of the checks they generate. This compares to the 15%-25% many consumers apply to the check amount, including taxes. So they are already getting a 50% exemption.

I would like to exclude the 85% of Social Security benefits from my taxable income (especially since 50% of these benefits came from my income that had already been taxed) which, incidentally, became taxable in the 1986 tax revision that also made calculated tips taxable.

When is politician largesse to get elected going to end? Apparently not under the Trump administration. If Biden weren’t even worse for the country, I wouldn’t even bother to vote.

Jim Haberkorn

Santa Rosa



Recently the US Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, who is the father of two young children, speaking on PBS NewsHour said that he has decided to not allow them to have cells until after they finish junior high school.

Children learn to use cell phones soon enough, and can become productive adults if we trust our schools to help parents make their own rules for cell phone usage. Schools are places for growing up, social interaction, learning to become good team members, as well as learning English, math and science. I taught before cell phones were invented; yet I remember that good classroom learning requires creative, dedicated teachers as well as attentive students. I applaud schools who ask students to be “cell phone free.” They must leave them in a locker or office; they get them back as they leave the campus.

Frank, Baumgardner, III

Santa Rosa


To the Editor:

To: Mendocino County Board of Supervisors: Supervisor Chair Mulheren, Supervisor Gjerde, Supervisor Haschak, Supervisor McGourty, Supervisor Williams, and various local news outlets:

We, Redwood Valley citizens, are alarmed and dismayed by concerns brought forward recently by members of the Willits Environmental Center regarding statements made during a recent General Government Committee meeting. It appears that the Mendocino County Cannabis Department staff may be allowing and implementing expansion of Cannabis grow areas in Mendocino County without due process, i.e., public input and ratification by you, the Board of Supervisors.

In recent months, the County CEO’s office has been reporting that one of its goals is to provide greater transparency. Yet, here we go again. A statement made at the General Government Committee meeting made by staff was that they are reinterpreting the Cannabis Ordinance. The inference made by the Willits Environmental Center is that this will lead to expansion and could have significant impacts on neighbors and neighborhoods. Why did staff feel there was a need for a reinterpretation of the Cannabis Ordinance in the first place and on who’s authority was it approved, we ask? Supervisors Haschak and McGourty, who were present at the meeting, seemed to be out of the loop regarding this issue as well.

Many of us among the public now feel we have to be constant watchdogs over County proceedings as we cannot trust that our government officials are following current laws on the books. We, Redwood Valley citizens, stand united with the Willits Environmental Center and believe this issue needs to be addressed with immediate attention. Then, followed up with transparency and proper public outreach and involvement.

Concerned Redwood Valley Citizens (CRVC),

Frances Owen, Cindi Barra Woskow, Mike Woskow, Star Gilley, Cynthia Grant, Rick Sagan and more…


From: Willits Environmental Center

630 Sound Main Street

Willits, CA 95490

To: Mendocino County Board of Supervisors

501 Low Gap Rd

Ukiah, CA 95482

Re: Recent Staff Re-interpretation of 10A.17 Pertaining to Cultivation Size Limits

Dear Chair Mulheren and Members of the Board;

At the April 24, 2024 General Government Committee meeting staff informed the Committee members that staff would be implementing a new interpretation of 10A.17 that would allow in some instances doubling the allowable size of cannabis cultivation areas. For example, instead of limiting a large outdoor grow to 10,000 sq ft per parcel, by applying this re-interpretation, a person could increase, even double, the size of the area of cultivation on a single parcel.

Staff based this re-interpretation on what we believe to be a mis-reading of Section 10A.17.070(D), which is the section of the cannabis ordinance that addresses cannabis cultivation business license (CCBL) density, i.e. the number of licenses allowed per parcel - NOT cultivation area size, except to clarify that if license Type 4 (Nursery with a maximum size of 22,000 sq ft) is one of two license types being sought, the nursery footprint must be reduced such that the total square footage of both types does not exceed 22,000 sq ft, AND the cultivation area of the non-nursery license does not exceed the 10,000 sq ft maximum. (Limits to cultivation area size per license type and zoning district are clearly defined in Section 10A.17.060 and in Tables 1 and 2 of Section 20.242 of the County Code.)

This “re-interpretation” turns seven years of understanding on its head and dramatically alters a fundamental tenant of the ordinance and the underlying justifications of its Mitigated Negative Declaration - and all without any public process. Less than two years ago, citizens of Mendocino County mounted a referendum against adopting a new cannabis ordinance that would have allowed just the kind of expansion that this re-interpretation would now make possible. In thirty days (in the midst of COVID) one hundred citizens volunteers gathered over 6,000 signatures from County voters who said loud and clear that they didn’t want expanded grow sites. The Board responded appropriately, respecting the wishes of the public.

Please see the attached legal analysis that details why we believe that staff’s re-interpretation is not supported by the language of the ordinance itself or its intent as laid out in the legislative history, and why such a fundamental change in the interpretation of the ordinance requires environmental analysis and public participation.

We respectfully request that the Board immediately reject this re-interpretation and inform the Mendocino Cannabis Department to immediately withdraw any public notice referring to the re-interpretation. Furthermore, if any person(s) has applied for multiple CCBL’s under this re-interpretation, the Board should direct staff to notify the person(s) that the application will not be processed, and any fees paid to the Department will be returned.

Thank you for acting swiftly so as to avoid renewed confusion and delays, especially when the Mendocino Cannabis Department is making progress on issuing County permits, and the State has just issued its DEIR in preparation to issue annual licenses to hundreds of Mendocino County provisional license holders.


Kirk Lumpkin, Secretary, Willits Environmental Center Board of Directors




It’s amazing the amount of money raised, by both parties, to support the process of running for president. All the posturing appears to be nothing more than subterfuge to me. So, a candidate amasses more votes than his opponent, sometimes by a wide margin, and then loses the election, trumped (no pun intended) by the Electoral College. I was under the impression we lived in a democracy, but friends tell me it’s a republic. I should have paid more attention in my civics class.

Richard Cardiff


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