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Puppeteer, n. A person who manipulates.

Puppet, n. 1. A person not capable of forming his or her own ideas. Often, the person will adopt a set of ideals and protect them vehemently by ridiculing other peoples' values. 2. A person being manipulated, whether he realizes it or not.

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So, why is it the “Puppeteers” of Fort Bragg seem to send out their “Puppets” every time something comes up they can’t or won’t deal with? What makes it even worse is the fear factor they are using. This is what is happening in Fort Bragg right now. Let's remember these people against Measure U are masters of deception. They are making other Social Service groups fearful. You can make people do anything if you make them afraid. You make them afraid by creating an Aura of endless threat. It’s very sad that the “Puppet People” would use the very people they are claiming to protect in order to please the “Puppeteer”.

Where were the “Puppet People” when I was at the Hospitality House trying to get a plate of food at dinner time for a young homeless girl who happens to be pregnant and was hungry? Where were the “Puppet People when I was told the young girl couldn’t have any food? Where were the “Puppet People” when I went to store and purchased enough food to last the young girl a couple of days? They were out instilling fear in those who they know they can manipulate. And the City of Fort Bragg sits back and allows it. I believe they cheer them on and sit back as though they know nothing about it.

Perhaps the “Puppet People” should remove their blinders long enough to take a look around. Perhaps the “Puppet People” should talk with the homeless and listen to their stories. Perhaps they should speak with the homeless Dad who is working part time and trying to earn enough money to rent a place so he can have a home to share with his young son. This Dad will tell you the Hospitality House/Hospitality Center did nothing in the way of helping him get part time work. He will tell you there is no training for work being offered. So he lives on the street saving what he earns until he can find a place for himself and his son.

Perhaps the “Puppet People” should talk with the former computer programmer who got kicked out of the Hospitality House because he didn’t tuck in the blankets on his bed just right.

Perhaps the “Puppet People” can answer the homeless people’s questions about where the $187,000.00 dollars are that was supposed to be for a garden but instead turned into 4 wooden boxes to call the Giving Garden. Perhaps the “Puppet People” are not capable of functioning without the strings that are attached to their beloved “Puppeteers”.

Let’s not forget what happened this winter when I suggested declaring a Shelter Crisis to get the homeless out of the weather. Councilman Peters said he wanted the next Public Safety Committee meeting to focus on the issue of a Shelter Crisis. What happened instead? A number of things happened:

1. The meeting was held at the Old Coast Hotel instead of the usual place at the Police Department.

2. The City Manager gave a speech and said, “technically the City is not responsible for the homeless.”

3. The City Manager announced the City has received tens of millions of dollars in grants. (This may have been the meeting where she said the City was a “grant writing machine.”)

4. The grand tour was given of the Old Coast Hotel.

At any time during the meeting did Councilman Peters speak up and say the meeting was supposed to focus on declaring a Shelter Crisis? No he did not. Wonder what flavor kool aid he got.

If Measure U should happen not to pass we can count on more buildings being purchased by the “grant writing machine” of Fort Bragg and more office space with very little help available for those in need. And all done in the name of love and caring when the real purpose behind it is the almighty dollar.

The “Puppeteers” have sent their “Puppet People” on a mission that has had the opposite affect they were hoping for. More people are seeing the truth behind what is happening and are angry over the half truths being told by those knocking on their doors.

People in need don’t wear the same rose colored glasses as the door knocking “Puppet People” and they see things for the way they really are. The silent majority are watching and when all is said and done hopefully a:


One thing is for sure. Either way, the people of Fort Bragg will at long last get to have their say.

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Q&A On Measure U

by Judy Valadao

I received a message from a young Fort Bragg student asking for information about Transitional Housing and why the YES ON MEASURE U didn't want transitional housing. His class is debating this issue. His questions were:

“I am a student at Fort Bragg High School. My team and I are currently researching Measure U and were hoping you could answer a few questions for us. 1. Why are you against having the transitional housing building in our business district? 2. Have you heard local people complaining about the growing population of homeless in their town? 3. Where would you want the transitional housing to move if it was voted out?”

My answer to him:

Thank you for having the insight to ask questions. First of all Transitional Housing is not an issue with Measure U, except that many feel $1.2 million could have been better spent to house many more with more rooms than the five that will be available at the Old Coast Hotel. A motel could have been purchased for $1.2 million that would have housed many more who need a roof over their heads before they can even think of getting on the road to recovery. No one that I know of is trying to move Transitional Housing.The problem was using $1.2 million for basically office space while people with mental illness and other problems are living on the streets. No one is against Transitional Housing.

Are people complaining about the growing homeless population here in Fort Bragg? Yes, they are. Keep in mind: no one is against helping those who need a "hand up" and are willing to help themselves. The problem is those who want a "hand out" with no intention of helping themselves. Sadly, that is the majority of the homeless population. These for the most part are not locals but instead are coming from as far away as New York. If you have a scanner you would hear the real truth in listening to the Police dispatch. I was the coordinator for our local Neighborhood Watch groups (I have resigned that position) and was told at a meeting that at least 75% of all calls for service are directly related to the homeless and mentally ill who are living on the streets.

That means the few officers we have on the streets are being used as Social Workers instead of doing the job of fighting crime and keeping neighborhoods safe as they have dedicated their lives and education to do. There are times when our officers are sitting at the hospital for hours at a time after declaring someone 5150 (a danger to themselves or others) If an officer doesn't sit with the 5150 a Doctor or Nurse has to sit with them. It would have been very informational if you could have attended the Mental Health Board meeting and heard our Physician in charge of the Hospital Emergency Room speak. A local man, Dennis Boardman was murdered in his own home. He had just returned home from the hospital in the Bay Area after having surgery for throat cancer and couldn't even cry out for help as he was being brutally beat and his throat slit. A homeless man from Santa Barbara has been arrested and charged with the murder. This was in the City limits.

A young woman who lives two miles north of town was in her upstairs bedroom when a person entered her home. When he went upstairs into her bedroom. He was armed with a knife in each hand. She was stabbed multiple times while fighting him off and escaped to a neighbor’s house. A homeless man on the run from the law in Montana was arrested for the attack.

A young (under 18 years of age) mentally challenged girl was brutally raped by a homeless man who was arrested for the assault and served four months in jail. He is now back out on the streets. By the way four other rapes were reported during this time frame.

A 90 year old woman (who lives in the City limits) was confronted by a homeless woman and felt bad for her because the Hospitality House wouldn't let her spend the night. The 90 year old woman offered to let the homeless woman stay the night on her property. When the homeless woman was asked to leave the following day she refused to go and instead abused the 90 year old woman until neighbors became concerned and called law enforcement. The woman is in jail awaiting trial.A young woman's body was found by the haul road behind Beachcomber Motel. Her death was ruled "suspicious." No arrest made to this date.

A homeless man from Eureka went into several businesses in Fort Bragg and threatened to kill clerks, other employees and customers. Many calls were made on this guy. He wasn't arrested until he stole a car. He was in jail two days then came right back to Fort Bragg. A few days later he was arrested again. Making threats and refusing to leave a business. By the way my reason for resigning my position as Neighborhood Watch Coordinator is because this guy threatened me with a hammer as I was going into Purity Market. Law Enforcement was called and he was simply told to "move along."

When I speak to Neighborhood Watch groups the biggest most important thing I tell them is not to take matters into their own hands but call law enforcement. Always make that call. Well, I made that call because of being threatened and nothing was done. The Officers did say he was a "full blown nut" and told me I should have kicked his ass. How's that for help? The man returned to Purity the following day and threatened to kill one of clerks. Purity has given up and for the most part don't even call or make reports any longer.

A group of six homeless were harassing a woman trying to return a video at the video store across the street from the Post Office. When the Officers arrived and ran them through the system: one was from Pennsylvania, one from Massachusetts, one from Delaware and they didn't report the resident state of the others. They were told to move along. By the way, one had a warrant from another state but the other state wouldn't extradite. This kind of thing is a daily occurrence, it is not an isolated incident. So in answer to your question: Yes, people are complaining.

Where would you want the Transitional Housing to move if it was voted out? It isn't being voted on; Transitional Housing isn't the issue. It has to do with zoning change and the Central Business District which takes in four blocks of the Downtown. In fact the YES ON MEASURE U people wanted and still want housing for those willing to help themselves with a "hand up." NO Social Service organization in place before January 2015 would be affected. The No on Measure U people are using scare tactics on the very people we are trying to protect. Art Explorers and Parents and Friends seem to be their target. That is my opinion. Any of the Social Service organizations can move or expand any place in 95% of the town. It is only 4 blocks affected by the new zoning if passed. I think the big question that you didn't ask is: why is this City divided over this issue? I would suggest that you go to the City's web page and read the minutes starting with January 2015. You will see that 1600 signatures were given to the City asking not to use the Old Coast Hotel for a homeless day shelter, mental health facility, but instead locate where there would be privacy for those most vulnerable. They would not listen.

What is sad about this is: It's not about the City or Hospitality Center helping anyone. It's about money in the form of grants of which the City gets 7.5%. Had the City and three council members who voted in favor of the deal listened to 1600 members of this community we wouldn't be where we are today and perhaps we wouldn't have homeless living on the street.

It's strange that you see the very same handful of people who are opposed to Measure U on the street picketing and yelling because the School Board and Superintendent didn't/won't listen to them, but they think it's fine that the City and Council didn't listen to 1600 people. I hope this helps and I hope you take the time to check out the council minutes on this subject. I appreciate you taking the time to educate yourself and not let yourself be educated by either side of an issue such as this. The No on Measure U advocates say they are educating people. I certainly hope that isn't true. We are all capable of educating ourselves on issues that are important to us.

Have a bright future,

Yes On Measure U


  1. BB Grace May 11, 2016

    My brain translated “Puppet” for “Muppet”, because even though I really don’t agree or appreciate the tactics anti-Measure U uses, they are lovable as individuals, and humor helps me cope with all you said above.

  2. Jim Updegraff May 11, 2016

    Nothing unusual about measure U – You see the same mentality around the country – we don’t want homeless, parolees or the mentally ill in our nice neighborhood. – let them go somewhere else.

    • BB Grace May 11, 2016

      It’s really not the case Jim Updegraff.

      Fort Bragg wants the homeless to be cared for. Many of us actively make efforts that wind up costing us because social services discriminate and ultimately don’t serve.

      Measure U is saying put the Hospitality Center where it works for the homeless, businesses and tourists, (which many think is the newer, bigger, Social Services building across from police department, court, social services by the state, the clinic, hotels, fast food and grocery stores.

      Central Business District has many closed stores and so it’s become a spooky place, espcially with homeless using Social Services scattered around the Central Business District.

      To be clear Mr. Updegraff, Measure U is NOT about getting the homeless out of Fort Bragg. The social services building is IN Fort Bragg and a very good location. Measure U is asking for the small businesses in the Central Business District be given a chance of getting a paying customer.

    • LouisBedrock May 12, 2016

      I know nothing about homeless people in the Mendo area, but see an increasing number around Manhattan and Brooklyn.

      I usually carry some singles so I can give a dollar or so to a few of them. Many are victims of downsizing, soaring rents, loss of their pensions, or the inadequacy of social security. There but for fortune…

      Almost all of them are grateful and respond to my small gift with “May God bless you”, or “Thank you and have a blessed day”. I suppress my impulse to respond, “God doesn’t exist” and thank them for their kind wishes.

      Not too long ago, I stopped to give a buck or two to a gentle young man in dreadlocks and found that I had no small bills. I stuttered an apology and he responded, “ It’s okay my brother. Thank you for the thought.” Amazingly, I ran into him a week or so later, asked if he remembered me. He said he did. I gave him a five-dollar bill.

  3. Jim Updegraff May 11, 2016

    so you say, my observation is not yours. The business folks do not want them in their neighborhood.

  4. BB Grace May 11, 2016

    The business folks wish they could do more to help the homeless. It’s customers like me who do not live in Fort Bragg Central District. I’m the NIMBY. I’m the problem. I feel that I should be able to enjoy Fort Bragg Central Business District without worrying if today is the day someone didn’t take their meds, or took too many, or is raging, or masterbating, or puking, or crying, or screaming, or hitting each other, or making me feel crushed, defeated, and worthless because there’s nothing I can do to help the Hospitality people across the street from my credit union. I don’t feel safe. I have a right to feel safe.

    The business owners and residents are VERY generous, very tolerant. Those who weren’t, got out or are getting out, relocating to where they feel safe.

  5. Judy Valadao May 12, 2016

    The YES ON MEASURE U people are the ones who asked for the purchase of a 31 room motel where up to 62 people could have had a roof over their heads. Instead 1.2 million was spent for 5 rooms. These people need a roof over their heads to even begin to start a recovery program. How can you possibly claim to help someone during the day and kick them out on the street at 5:00 to find a bush or tree to sleep behind? The best way to find the truth is to talk to those most involved…the street people. Go out and talk with Doug an older gentleman who was once a computer programmer and is now living on the streets in Fort Bragg. Talk with the young man who watches out for those who can’t care for themselves and is homeless just like the one’s he is trying to help. And then there is the young girl living on the street who is expecting a baby and can’t even get a plate of food at dinner time. These people don’t want to be in the business district they just want some real help and a bed to sleep in. These people are not stupid they know the score and they don’t hesitate to tell you. You are correct Mr. Undergraff, you do see the same mentality around the country: People lining their pockets off the misery of others. YES ON MEASURE U.

  6. Judy Valadao May 12, 2016

    And what is wrong with being a so called NIMBY? The homeless prefer to say NIYBY (not in your backyard) they would rather have a yard of their own.

  7. Alice Chouteau May 12, 2016

    Regarding the Nimby question….what I was taught in grade school civics still applies, to my knowledge–the MAJORITY still rules in a the democracy we live under today. The elected officials and police are public servants, supported with tax dollars. This gives residents, real residents, not transients, the majority, and their health, safety and quality of life should be top priority. Our city gov apparently does not agree. Big big mistake.
    Our mayor refuses to study what other cities are doing now to deal with being overwhelmed by transients at the expense of residents. In San Rafael, for example, the city council voted recently to consider a “permanent ban on certain homeless services in the downtown.” Which could lead to “a permanent ban”. Their mayor said “the starus is going to change….” While he wants to help the needy homeless, he also has to take into consideration the quality of,life of residents.”
    San Rafael has had enough. We should learn from this and take action here before we face a hugely expense process to rein it in. Voting for Measure U will help make the changes needed.

  8. Alice Chouteau May 12, 2016

    BTW, Jim
    The Chief of Eureka PD, Andy Mills, stated on the record, that 87% of the transients there are “documented” as criminals, which seems to indicate their police do routine background checks. By criminals I assume they have a record and/or outstanding warrant. The 13% who want and can benefit from help will be taken care of by social services. Many, even most, of the criminal majority will likely remain unsheltered in encampments, and since their PD is actively shutting down encampments, a good number of undesirables could be arriving here soon.
    I live outside city limits, so cannot vote on Measure U, but I can tell you this area, and the surrounding areas all around town proper are being negatively impacted. Last winter, a single young woman was attacked by a stranger who stabbed her butcher knives while she slept. She was fit enough to fight him off, and though badly wounded in the upper torso, she was able to run through a storming night to a neighbors. The neighbor was able to scare off the pursuing madman, who was a Most Wanted fugitive out of Montana. And yes, we are angry and frightened at what has happened to the town, but that doesnt make us nimbies.

  9. Jim Updegraff May 12, 2016

    In our area which has a lot of homeless I see third broad types – homeless who have lost their job and have mental conditions that be controlled – frequently need addition job training. They can be helped. The zombies who fried their brains on booze or drugs – need to be permanently confined housed in secure location. Then there are the criminal types – if they do not change then a trip to stony lonesome. Also in this category are the bums who generally get boozed up on a regular basis. Bring back the work farms – say three months working in the fields, 3 squares a day and a bed to sleep in will give their livers a rest. If they repeat its six months.

    All of the above is called tough love.

  10. Alice Chouteau May 15, 2016

    Good idea, work farms. With incentives and consequences.

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