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Letters (May 6, 2015)

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THANK YOU

To the Anderson Valley Community:

There are no words to adequately express the gratitude we feel for the outpouring of love and support we’ve received since the passing of Marianne. We feel truly blessed to live in such a wonderful place filled with so many special people. You are far too many to name individually, but our heartfelt thanks go out to each and every one of you. Without you we couldn’t have gotten through this difficult time. Again, we wish we could adequately express how truly grateful we are. But as mentioned before, there are no words. In light of that all we can say thank you, thank you, thank you.

Sincerely,

The Pardini family: Donald, Ernie, Tony, Julie

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OPEN LETTER TO MENDOCINO COUNTY SUPERVISORS: SELF-NON-REGULATION

Regarding:

http://www.hrcllc.com/news/letter-to-the-mendocino-county-board-of-supervisors/

In this letter, Mr. Jani (President of Mendocino Redwood Company) essentially proposes that Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC) manage and control a “working group” to study how best to deal with MRC. I hope that sounds as silly to you as it does to me.

MRC has enjoyed 17 years of “self regulation,” and the result of that policy became abundantly clear during public expression at the last board meeting. County citizens are deeply opposed to the way this company "treats" our environment, leaving millions of newly poisoned trees and brush standing dead in the forest each and every year — in essence, gambling with our health and safety to maximize profits.

It comes as no surprise that MRC now wants to do a little public relations damage control — which is what the above-referenced letter represents — but that is their concern, not ours. We need not contribute to that effort.

It is time for some entity wholly outside and independent of MRC (and not CalFire, who is complicit) to provide some real guidance and regulation on this important issue of fire danger and public safety. The stakes are too high to go on hoping that MRC might eventually do something about MRC.

Thanks for reading,

Mike Kalantarian

Navarro

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BETRAYED

Editor,

Today is Earth Day and I'm still in a state of shock after attending the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors meeting yesterday concerning the use of the herbicide imazapyr to destroy the noncommercial tanoak, madrones and shrubs by the Mendocino Redwood Company.

These trees are the first response team to the previous era's clearcutting of our Mendocino County forests. Nature using natural succession to repair the land and restore balance to the forest in its natural state.

Imazapyr was created by a company in Switzerland. It was immediately banned because of its toxic effects on kidney, liver, eyes, endocrine system, brain, thyroid, etc. etc. The European Union also banned imazapyr. Google reports these effects on its European website but not on the US side saying it was FDA approved.

The Mendocino Redwood Company has hack-'n-sprayed, "so far" 6800 acres and sprayed 1022 gallons on these valuable trees (according to one of the presenters at the Supervisors meeting as reported in the Ukiah Daily Journal, 2/22/15; "valuable" because of acorns, hardwood and firewood) — an activist told me they have hack-n-sprayed 24000 acres and five million trees, the Journal didn't mention the number of trees — because it is the cheapest way to deal with them. Perhaps for them, but what about the cost to the people who must pay for healthcare, sickness, and possible death due to this vicious herbicide? What about the cost of cleaning up the toxins in the soil, in the streams and rivers of our county? What about all plants, animals, fish and birds whose lives and environment are contaminated by this cost saving device?

When do the lives of ordinary people matter more than costly, cost-saving devices of greedy corporations?

Despite hours of solid testimony by representatives of Mendocino County fire departments and firefighters, Native Americans, Mexicans who suffer most from direct contact with these chemicals, not to mention the forest workers and the majority of other interested people, it seemed inevitable that the Board of Supervisors would pass this nonbinding resolution to request a six-month moratorium on hack-n-spray based on the long hours of presentations before the board.

So at the end when the board was called to vote, it was 3-2 against this nonbinding, pretty-please, meek, toothless resolution.

The people vocalized their long restrained voices and emotions, arose, turned their backs on the supervisors and walked out causing "the Chair" to complain about the bad behavior of the audience and solidifying her no-vote in reaction.

This same chairperson would become very upset if presenters would turn slightly away from her to include the audience.

She was very upset with Beth Bosk for using more than her three minute time limit when she was representing three people including herself and two others. Beth Bosk was threatened with forcible removal and some other supervisor joined in telling her to stop talking. Beth Bosk stalwartly stood her ground and when others said they would protect her the threat of forced removal was abandoned.

The audience, I felt, was very respectful, not clapping after presentations, but once again the ire of the chairperson was aroused when people clapped spontaneously to:

A young woman who spoke to the fate of her generation and the world we were leaving to them.

A deaf beekeeper who talked of the effects of herbicides on the declining and essential pollinators.

A passionate Mexican woman-lawyer whose ethnic group has been especially hard hit from suffering the closest contact with these toxins in their working environment. She spoke of children born with two fingers or just three toes or cleft palates.

The Native American elder woman who spoke on behalf of mother Earth.

All of the testimony, all of the People's hearts, could not ignite a flicker of humanity in the hearts of the majority of the supervisors.

I felt utterly betrayed once again, this time by our own local government, according corporations to rule over the wishes and welfare of the people. To vote to continue hacking-n-spraying to contaminate our air, soil, water, wildlife, and lastly to raise the risk of toxic apocalyptic forest fires fueled by the massive amounts of dead wood. Nature matters, and that includes us!

Please contact your supervisor.

Most sincerely,

Susan Wertheimer

Ukiah

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A CAUTIONARY TALE

Dear Readers,

Let the following be a cautionary tale for those who consider a walk on the wild side.

My name is Alan 'Sunny' Crow and I currently sit in County Jail where I recently beat a 29 year sentence.

After 19 years of marriage, my wife died about five years ago. My attempts to manage my grief by drinking impaired my sense of judgment and as a result I made the mistake of trying meth for the first time on September 16, 2011. The effect of which caused a decline in my life that can only be described as profound, and I have been exposed to a demographic that has never ceased to amaze me, surprise me, or disgust me.

On February 4, 2015 I found myself homeless and sitting at my Connections house when in walks Mr. Noah Luranhatt. He was introduced to me and throughout the course of our conversation it became evident that he was not totally in control of his mental faculties. But he had propositioned me with an offer to rent a room from his mother. I quickly considered the fact that I had no better prospects on my horizon and accompanied Mr. Luranhatt to his mother's trailer.

Upon arrival at the trailer we entered and I was introduced to Luranhatt's mother, Miss Julie Luranhatt. The first thing I noticed was that her face was literally covered with scabs. She was what tweakers referred to as a "picker," someone who gets high on meth and obsessively picks at their face. The second thing I noticed was the overwhelming smell of urine. I quickly decided this was not going to be a potential home for me and politely declined the offer to rent the room. I then asked Mr. Luranhatt for a ride to the house where he met me.

Crow, Luranhatt
Crow, Luranhatt

We left his mother's trailer. He was driving and I was in the passenger seat. Approximately one mile later he pulled over and asked me to drive due to his paranoia. So I obliged Mr. Luranhatt and took control of the vehicle with him now in the passenger seat. Approximately one more mile down the road he asked me to pull over. So I did, thinking that his meth induced paranoia was getting the best of him. I pulled into Twin Pines trailer park and shut off the vehicle. Mr. Luranhatt sat for a moment in silence then looked at me and said, "Alan, I heard you were gay. I want you to know I mess around with men too." I thought to myself, "Wow, is this dude for real?" I explained to Luranhatt that I was not gay nor was I bisexual — no offense to those who are. I hold no bias against them. It's just that personally I've never been even remotely attracted to another man's testicles. I politely explained this to Luranhatt and he persisted with asking me if he could perform oral sex on me for the exchange of $100. Again I declined. At that point Mr. Luranhatt exited the vehicle and began walking down the street. I could only assume he was spun on meth and too embarrassed to continue being in my presence. I waited in the car approximately 30 minutes thinking he would return but he never did. I was now the proud new owner of a Volkswagen Passat, so I proceeded to do what any good tweaker would do: I drove it as if it were mine!

But as fate would have it I was pulled over a week later and after a short high-speed chase was taken into custody.

On arrival at the county jail I was informed of my charges, one of which was carjacking with a firearm. Of course I was confused and horrified. Carjacking? A gun? I didn't do either.

My family, terrified of the prospect of me facing life in prison for something I did not do, hired a lawyer and private investigator. I was facing 29 years. Contact with my attorney was made immediately and obtained the police report which I had difficulty digesting. Mr. Luranhatt's mother Julie had fabricated a story about me taking Noah's car at gunpoint. I was stunned. This was nowhere close to the way it went down. Obviously, Luranhatt wanted revenge for me taking his car. So much so that he, with the help of his mother, were willing to put me in prison for the rest of my life for something I did not do. So off to work my investigator went. He was quickly able to establish through traffic video and several witnesses that the report made by Luranhatt and his mother was blatantly fabricated. So after a brief meeting between the district attorney and my investigator, the charge of carjacking and the special allegation of using a firearm "in the commission of" were dismissed. My attorney informs me the reports made by Luranhatt were so blatantly fabricated that the District Attorney is filing charges against both him and his mother for filing a false police report. Please note that this action by the District Attorney is completely out of my hands. I do not wish incarceration upon anyone. I have no ill feelings toward Luranhatt or his mother. I understand they both are mentally deficient. I actually thank them for this experience due to it scaring me straight and causing me to take a deep-seated look at my addiction and the harm it has caused me, not to mention the "potential" harm it caused me. I almost went to prison for the rest of my life for stealing a f-ing Volkswagen from a retarded meth addicted tweaker. As for the Volkswagen, it was destroyed in the police pursuit.

So I guess the only parting advice I have for Noah Luranhatt is, you should have bought GEICO.

Alan Crow

Ukiah

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HUMBUG

Editor,

I can't help but notice the contrast between Supervisor Hamburg on the Hack and Squirt issue (front and center) and the frost fan issue (invisible). Except for off-the-cuff comments at one Board of Supervisors meeting where he praised the work of the Agricultural Commissioner and the grape growers, he has done nothing on this issue. Which means he has done nothing. By contrast, he has invested a lot of time working on the hack and squirt issue but not too effectively, as he could not even get two of his colleagues to support his weak resolution. But at least he tried. Why hack and squirt and not frost fans? Is it because Hamburg has family ties to some of the people pushing the hack and squirt issue or because many of them are fellow marijuana growers? Or is Hamburg silent on frost fans because the main person pushing the issue works for a paper that criticizes him in print? Is Hamburg that thin-skinned and vindictive? Or just disinterested and ineffective?

Sleepless in Anderson Valley

Ed note: Thin-skinned and vindictive, for sure; ineffective and disinterested too. Probably a little heavy on the bazooka, which makes him pretty much incoherent a lot of the time. Half of Anderson Valley, however, holds the guy in cult-like, uncritical regard, natch.

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NATIONALIZING TUNAFISH

Letter to the Editor:

Playing the horses — predicting winners of races is very helpful in learning how to predict events and outcomes generally.

Since no one likes to read boasting elitists, I will refrain from relating how I have been correctly predicting the Supreme Court decisions upholding the Affordable Care Act, striking down the Defense of Marriage Act etc.. I will not mention that I was able to predict that diplomatic relations with Cuba would be renewed a month before the announcement was made, or one year ago I predicted that Wal-Mart would expand the grocery department to include most commonly sold groceries selling at prices, although not good, lower than can be found anywhere in the state — in spite of opponent Jeff Blankfort, sin embargo.

I hasten to add that I have not always been correct. I said that the Republican Party would never select a presidential candidate who had no chance of winning (Goldwater), but that shows how dumb they are.

I predicted that Cuba would take Clarence Thomas off our hands in exchange for Fidel. But it turned out that Cuba didn't want anything to do with Clarence Thomas and wanted to keep Fidel for a pet. I said that by this time Condoleezza, Colin P., Rummy and Richard Cheney would be convicted of war crimes and sentenced to life in prison, but hopefully it could still happen.

Now let us pretend that it is a few years in the future and look back and see what happened and if my predictions were accurate.

The editor of this pinko sheet, Comrade Anderson, was invited to join the South Ukiah Rotary Club. Within two years the name had been changed to the "South Ukiah Soapbox Club." (From 1922 to around 1950 most major universities and many colleges had soapbox clubs.) Comrade "A" had converted 20 Rotarians to socialism. In a short duration due to his influence, assisted by David Colfax.

On Perkins Street in Ukiah near the railroad tracks a five-story building was erected. The top four floors were devoted to the county nuthouse. The first floor housed a visitor center, a large snack bar and the remaining space was used by the Superior courtrooms. Sorry, but there was not enough room for judges chambers, but they are welcome to use the snack bar.

When Miss Pixie (and dog) took over as manager of KZY&Z several policy changes were made. The f-word and the n-word are permitted to be spoken over the airwaves. And a weekly program devoted to marijuana, crime and letters from convicts will be presented, originating from a Boonville aerie.

At the Press Democrat the name was changed to "The Glorious Grape Gazette." The sports section is available on toilet paper for those who like to read in the bathroom. The editorial and news departments are supervised and managed by the Wall Street Journal and Fox to give the paper a more patriotic flavor.

Gram-maw Clinton must have a running mate. The most popular selections were Amy Goodman, Gennifer Flowers and Paula Jones. Coming in a distant fourth was the eventual selection, Peter DeFazio.

We pause here for the customary legacy trivia question:

What are Mr. Obama's two greatest accomplishments? Answer: He made one hell of a lot of people very happy; and the defeat of John McCain and Sarah Palin. Can you imagine? No, don't even try.

Congress voted to end the boycott of France and all things French for not supporting the war in Iraq. You may now call them french fries again.

When it was announced that the Willits bypass was completed and ready to open after years of delays due to general stupidity, slipping and sliding, there was dancing in the streets which closed highway 101 in both directions for 24 hours. Within 20 minutes of the opening an Earth First member angry at Caltrans detonated an explosive device which brought down a section of viaduct which will take one year to repair and the bypass will become unusable.

In retaliation for small-town businessmen voting for Republicans, a system of free bus rides to Wal-Mart and return was initiated. Each Tuesday morning at 10am buses will start the trip to Wal-Mart from Willits, returning at 2pm. Buses will depart Anderson Valley for Wal-Mart each Wednesday morning and from Mendocino-Fort Bragg Thursday. A free lunch will be served on all routes including one glass of beer. Ladies and gentlemen only. No hippies. Residents of Rockport, Hale's Grove or Leggett will be taken to the Eureka Wal-Mart store as well as those from Dos Rios, Covelo and Laytonville. This may show merchants who voted for Republicans that they don't deserve business from the proletariat.

The following were privatized: Caltrans, DMV. The following products were seized from their producers and nationalized: macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, ketchup, tunafish, cornflakes, Campbell's soup and Budweiser.

Ralph Bostrom

Willits

PS. I read a biography of John Huston (there are several) a while back. Work on the film "Beat the Devil" was begun while Huston was renting a house in the next county from Cockburn. A lot of detail about several people working on the script. No mention of Claud Cockburn having anything to do with it. Humphrey Bogart financed the film, Truman Capote came to Italy when filming started and did the screenplay along with Huston as they went along. Must have been a lot of fun making this movie.

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PUT UP YOUR HOUSE

Editor,

Now all homeowners got their fire prevention fee. My question is this: Why do we pay property taxes, sales taxes, gasoline taxes, income taxes, and taxes, fees and licenses on everything and it's never enough?

Remember in the 1990s we passed a benefit assessment tax because the board said that the state had taken away some funds. Some 20 years later with all the new vineyards, the property taxes in Anderson Valley have skyrocketed but I never hear a word from anyone to now take it off.

Then when they come with a water and sewer idea they will want to pass a bond issue. Some of the things that make this a harebrained idea: the first thing is that there is not enough concentration of homes. The cost to each home would be astronomical. Sometime back 20 or 30 years ago, I can't remember exactly, someone came up with an idea and there was a meeting with some supposed experts who came up with the idea of a dam on Bradford Ranch with water pumped there during the winter from Anderson Creek and then pumped back to a pipeline in the summer at a cost of $6 million. At a meeting I asked if these experts would guarantee that price. They said, We can't do that, and I said, Why do you make such statements without backing them up? As I recall these were some kind of government experts. If someone recalls this better, put it in this paper.

My point is this: every major project turns into a farce with the taxpayer taking it in the chops. The Bay Bridge approach took three times as much money and three times as long to build. There is a Smart railroad on a right of way that was already there from Santa Rosa to San Rafael. I was a young man when they first came up with this idea and it was from Willits to San Francisco. They keep the facts and figures well hidden. Then the Willits bypass started out with a ridiculous figure of $200 million for some six miles of road. They are up to $250 million now and going. Then we have our own CDF fire station. I have not yet been able to find a cost but I have heard figures of $5 million. The fact is that there was nothing wrong with the structure that was there and paid for. If some small addition was necessary as an accommodation for women firefighters that was good, but a few hundred thousand would be all that was necessary. That's probably 20-50 times more than this should have cost. I realize that firefighters and police should have good facilities, but we also need grocery stores, filling stations, mechanics, carpenters, plumbers and how about electric? How about a newspaper?

Government is supposed to give the most service for the least money. I have a better idea for these people with their big ideas. In Silicon Valley there are people with all kinds of money who are looking for a reasonable project. These people could get money to start a business. Of course they would have to put up a large backing which people ask for when they put up money just in case the experts are wrong, like a bond or their house, and since these local people who want this should be willing to back up their idea if they are such good businesspeople.

Emil Rossi

Boonville

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THE TURKS DID IT

Dear Editor:

One needs to remember on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide there were also genocides of other Christians in the Ottoman Empire. In 1913 the Young Turks of Ataturk had established a military dictatorship with a policy of Turkey for Turks. This policy was directed toward the Armenian, Assyrian and Pontic and Anatolian Greek Christians. These Genocides begin in 1913 and continued until 1923.

The Turks were assisted in the massacres by other Muslims including Kurds, Chechens and Circassians. There were also massacres of Assyrian Christians in northern Persia. Christians included smaller groups of Chaldeans, Jacobites, and Greek Catholics and Orthodox. Estimates of the total number killed vary but it probably was more than 3.5 million Christians.

It is not a surprise that today’s Turkish government denies there was a genocide of Christians. No one likes to think their ancestors could engage in such a horrific action. But then there is the same type of denial that the early settlers of Mendocino County engaged in genocide of the Native American population. I would suggest that the deniers read Bruce Anderson's book about the killing of Native Americans as if they were vermin.

In peace and love,

Jim Updegraff

Sacramento

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VIETNAM, AFTER 40 YRS

Editor,

As I write this missive, Saigon fell 40 years ago today on April 30, 1975. The Vietnam War ended when I was 9 months old but it certainly defined my life. I even felt like the time I did in jail when I was 19 was my penitence for Vietnam, for all of the Vietnamese and Southeast Asia and for the US soldiers who died and were injured and harmed.

I have been talking to older people I know today about where they were on this day 40 years ago. The subject really animates some people. My friend John told me that he and his best friend were set to enlist in the USMC under the "buddy program," something about sign up with a friend, but he was saved by an accident. He kicked out a plate glass window which nearly severed his leg, sending him to college instead of the jungles of Vietnam. Well, John said he soon learned that the War was completely wrong and his friend survived the war but was never the same again.

People said they remembered when Spiro Agnew sent the National Guard to Baltimore upon the death of MLK in 1968. Kind of crazy that the Panthers and other radical black nationalist groups were formed as a response to Police brutalization and murder of black people and the exact same shit is happening today, except now everyone has a camera ready.

Who will be radicalized next? It is kind of odd for me to see young black kids even in the ghetto, dressed like black block. Black kids emulating white youth culture, strange indeed. Barriers go up in some settings, barriers are breaking down in others. This society may seem pretty sedentary at times, but indications are that shit is gearing up as we speak.

What happened to the public discourse on substantive issues is the real shame in this dumbed down screen time dominated society. Have we all forgotten that President Johnson formed the Kerner Commission in 1967, nearly 50 years ago as a response to widespread unrest and rioting in the black communities of major US cities. The Kerner Commission stated among other things… "Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white — separate and unequal." And "Its finding was that the riots resulted from black frustration at lack of economic opportunity.”

It seems like we're under the same patterns, separate societies, rich/poor, black/white, lack of opportunity, and a whole Generation of black frustration (I can hear Malcolm X in my head warning people about the dangers of ignoring black frustrations in this country). People say that if we still had a military draft these new wars would not be lasting longer than World War I and II, and I tend to agree.

I saw Obama on TV the other day and he acted like he had amnesia and he was saying how rioters are not protesters and he was all tsking and incredulous at the rioters, and carrying on with all this other Uncle Tom shit. What a dick!!!!! His wife should dump his ass like Tiger Woods. He was once a community organizer in the city of Chicago for Christ's sake.

For the US Federal Government to pretend some sort of historical amnesia as an institution at this time. For the US Government as an institution of such great power, "respect" and means. For such an institution to forget itself can only take place under the reverse alchemy of neoliberalism where our "Great" leaders are transformed into clowns at the altar of Big Capital.

Legacy? Barnum & Bailey...

Nate Collins, Under the Sun,

Berkeley

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FIREFIGHTERS IN DANGER

To the Editor:

Throughout the history of wildland firefighting, one of the significant causes of fatalities has been snags or dead standing trees. The definition of a snag for firefighting purposes is simply “a dead standing tree that may be hazardous.”

Without going into a lengthy discussion of how a snag is dealt with and the training involved for the personnel assigned to deal with these hazards, it can be simply stated, that in wildland firefighting, each snag or hazard tree is treated as a separate incident. A specially trained and equipped team is assigned to the tree and no other firefighters are allowed into the danger zone of that tree until the tree has been rendered safe by falling and stabilizing. An example of the care taken is the exclusion zone for all personnel except the faller, and sometimes the swamper, is 2 to 2-1/2 tree lengths from the base of the tree.

Not only do these trees pose a hazard to persons from falling, but it is common for a burning snag or parts of a snag, to roll downhill after falling down and starting fires along its way down the hill, possibly starting fires below firefighters and putting them in the extremely dangerous and sometimes fatal position of being trapped at the head of the fire. We know that much of the terrain that is encountered in Mendocino County is very rough, steep, and just right for this kind of incident to occur.

This practice and method of killing trees and leaving them standing to rot, virtually guarantees that each and every one of these killed trees will turn into a hazard tree. These trees will remain as hazards for ten years at a minimum and often much longer than that. As the dead tree starts to break down, the branches fall off and make a pile around the base of the tree. Woody debris that piles up against the base of a tree like this does not break down quickly and leaves a pile of kindling around the base of the tree that lasts many years. These piles of branches around each tree, will, during a fire, almost ensure that they burn in such a way that, each and every one of them becomes a burning hazard tree that must be dealt with or avoided by a great distance. Also the hacking of the bark at the base of the tree increases the likelihood, that the rotting interior near the base will be exposed to any fire and increases the hazard.

Having this many hazard trees in close proximity to each other would make these areas unsafe to enter during a fire.

It is well understood that snag trees have major benefits for wildlife and general forest health but having a majority of the trees dead standing is not generally accepted as beneficial to the forest ecology.

When a forest has been subjected to this treatment to remove the oak and other unwanted species, then replanted with redwood trees, this process may have to be repeated for a period of 50 years or more, as planted redwood trees grow very slowly and are almost always outgrown by various other species.

Not only are these trees a danger to firefighters, but if the firefighters are unable to a fight a fire because of this hazard, the surrounding communities and forest land is at a much elevated risk.

It is important to remember that in times of high fire activity or other disaster, that because of our low population in Mendocino and surrounding counties we are low on the priority list for state and other firefighting resources. At these times we may only have local, ground based firefighting personal available, and as such not be able to attack fires in these areas, possibly causing much greater damage from these fires, and much larger spread of fires.

This lack of resources is a regular occurrence in our area and one we have to be aware of at all times.

Armed with this knowledge of the problem, it would be unwise for any responsible person or entity, from fire chiefs, Cal Fire personnel, legislators such county supervisors, fire district directors, state legislators or any other involved people, including the foresters who prepare the THPs, to accept the liability that this type of forest management brings to those who approve it, or those who can prevent it and fail to do so.

This liability would also apply to those who have this knowledge and would send their personnel into harm’s way.

It would be easy to conclude that the intentional killing of trees that we are seeing is creating a situation that, should a fire occur in these areas, we may not be able to fight it.

I also must include, that for a very long time, it has been recognized that a forest with as many dead standing trees or snags of the amount and size that we are seeing in the areas of intentionally killed trees, is an increased fire hazard for that forest and surrounding areas, as well as being an increased insurance liability.

If any of this is not readily understandable, please research “wildfire fatalities” and “wildfire snags” or check with your agency’s guidelines regarding wildfire snags or hazard trees.

Josh Latkin, Retired Fire Fighter/Fire Chief,

Albion

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NO ON NAYSAYERS

Editor,

I once worked with a guy named "Veto" because he was "against everything." He died young. His cynical attitude didn't help. Jeff Costello also knew him. We hope it's not contagious because if Jeff isn't against one thing, he's against another. In "Frat Party" (AVA, 4/8/15) he's against fraternities.

His opinions are based on observation made when his band played at frat parties in New England in the 60s. Full disclosure: I was then a member of a fraternity at one of the colleges where he played (may even have heard him), but he didn't see the same fraternities that I saw.

Exhibit A: "I learned at frat parties that the 'brothers' regarded musicians, like everybody else that did things, as servants. Well, that was okay. These guys apparently never thought about where their food and other necessities came from. Same with entertainment. We provided a service and got paid for it."

He saw only spoiled rich kids and for sure there were some rocking it up on the dance floor with everybody else, but they were far outnumbered (at least in my fraternity) by kids like me who were on scholarships, worked their asses off all summer and waited on tables and washed dishes when school was in session to pay for their room and board. And how he comes up with the loony tunes notion that musicians were regarded as "servants" is beyond me. Maybe he had a bad run-in with a social chairman too busy to roll out the red carpet for him or something, but I can't remember a brother who didn't look up to and admire anybody who could play rock 'n roll, and musicians were more likely to be treated as royalty.

Exhibit B: "The point of these parties was to get drunk and get laid."

He puts it so delicately, apparently, to emphasize the horror and disgust he affects that he should have to observe such behavior as if it only occurred only at frat parties. This no doubt explains why he and his band, after diving into the punch bowl at one of his gigs, puked out the windows of their '56 Pontiac on their way home.

Exhibit C: "We played at enough fraternity parties to see that these future pillars of the community were not what they were reputed to be — they were essentially the same everywhere: crude, rude and socially maladjusted. Entitled to all and any pleasures without fear of consequence."

No matter how many frat parties he played at, these are not conclusions that one can come to by observation. His vision is warped by pre-existing class prejudice and social profiling. To repeat my response to a previous letter of his in which he vented his class resentment against prep school boys, as our mutual friend "Tall Rick" would say when he was insulted, "I represent those remarks." He made many of the same ill-informed sweeping generalizations about preppies as he makes about fraternity men. I happened to have earned a scholarship and worked summers to get through two years of prep school too. It's hard not to take his tirades personally.

I do want to thank him, however for providing the answer to a question that has kept me awake at night for 50 years: Are there "dirty words" in the song "Louie, Louie"? It was impossible to tell without seeing the lyrics in print because, as he says, the popular recorded version by the Kingsmen was "undecipherable" (sic), and now I know it isn't so. But the reason he thinks it was one of the favorites at frat parties is revealing. Able to see into the hearts and minds of fraternity boys, he says that they thought it had dirty words and was "therefore the favorite." But he's got it backwards. Rather, like everybody else, they liked the song and wanted to know the lyrics. For somebody who's already decided what he will see, corrective glasses won't help.

Aloha, Bill Brundage,

Kurtistown, Hawaii

PS. And now my life will be complete if only somebody can tell me the lyrics to another song of long ago, "Run-around Sue." Did she "go out with other guys," or did she "go down" with them?

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AWARD WINNING PICS

Editor,

The Unity Club is proud to announce the winners of three $50 youth development awards to outstanding photography students from Nat Corey-Moran’s class at AV High School. The awards were in conjunction with the annual Wildflower Show held at the Fairgrounds April 25-26. The three winning students were Jose Gomez, Yamile Magana, and Melissa Mendoza.

There is a wonderful historical relationship between Anderson Valley schools and the Wildflower Show. Blanche Brown, teacher of the one-room Peachland School, began the show as a project with her students in 1926. The Unity Club took on the responsibility of the show in the late 1950s. We have encouraged student participation for many years. Informative posters, beautiful paintings, and outstanding photographs have joined hundreds of flower species on display in June Hall. Each year Unity members judge student work and award cash prizes. On the Monday after the show students from AV Elementary School come with their teachers to enjoy the specimens and work on class assignments related to botany.

Most of the funds raised by the Unity Club are given to graduating students as scholarships. The Garden Section specifically chooses a student(s) who has an interest in gardening or other aspects of the natural environment.

Congratulations to Jose, Yamile and Melissa.

Sincerely,

Alice Bonner, Unity Club Member

Boonville

* * *

OUTSOURCE LOSAK

Letter To Editor,

As late as my AVA issues arrive, I couldn’t resist writing to say how much I appreciated reading Dave Smith’s interview with Lee Howard (4/22/15). Mendocino County and all of rural America used to be full of such old-timers: folks who knew the difference between book learning and practical sense, talking and doing. Everything under the sun is easy once you know how to do it but can be difficult when you don’t. Kidnap a stout young Ivy League honor student, remove his blindfold once you’ve got him inside a milking stall, introduce him to a milking cow, hand him a stool and a bucket and order him to empty that udder and you can bet that cow’s gonna have some say over that. But fetch the girl who usually does the milking and, if that cow so much as lifts her face out of her feed bag, it’ll be to grin.

Even more refreshing was reading of Mr. Howard’s powerful appreciation for America’s seemingly forgotten yet simple-as-shit democratic precepts. Like the notion that public records are public records. Hearing Mendocino County Counsel, a Mr. Losak, tell citizen Howard how, as a matter of jurisprudence, he has to personally eyeball every requested public record before he can lawfully release them to the public made me wonder why this guy hasn’t been fired. I can think of a number of reasons for firing him, not least for defrauding the taxpayers. I’d like to out-source Mr. Losak (and the whole herd of his kind) to Russia or Saudi Arabia or, better yet, to North Korea. Arm Losak with a holster full of black Magic Markers and just imagine how many public documents he could “redact” for that fat little boy dictator with the soup bowl haircut. It’d be a marriage made in heaven.

Bruce Patterson

Prineville, Oregon

2 Comments

  1. Jeff Costello May 6, 2015

    Mr. Brundage and I carried on the same basic disagreement for more than twenty years, “frat” and related academic matters were a part of it. Eventually I gave it up. I’m certain he still retains his views as I do mine.

  2. Jeff Costello May 6, 2015

    P.S. Runaround Sue “goes OUT with other guys.”

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