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Letters (Aug 24, 2016)

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To the Editor:

Regarding Justine Frederiksen's August 19 article in the Ukiah Daily Journal about former KZYX General Manager, Lorraine Dechter, leaving not just the station, but also leaving Mendocino County, and leaving pronto — it would seem as if Ms. Dechter can't get far enough away fast enough.

Can you blame Ms. Dechter? KZYX is a toxic work environment. I've been saying so for years. It's a rat hole for toxic personalities. A rat hole!

One would have thought that the forced resignations of former General Manager, John Coate, and former Program Director, Mary Aigner, late last year would have helped reverse the station's long downward slide. One would have thought.

Nope. Think again.

There are so many entrenched, toxic personalities at KZYX, i.e. Stuart "Stewie" Campbell, who tried (unsuccessfully) to steal Ms. Dechter's job from her back in December when I was still on the KZYX Board of Directors. I strongly believe the station must fail, if it is ever to re-emerge as a healthy place. I wouldn't be surprised if someday the FCC reassigns KZYX's two licenses to another station in the area. KMUD would be a good choice. They're great.

When KZYX lost Lorraine Dechter and Raoul van Hall this year — two highly regarded public radio professionals, with great resumes and tons of credibility, who quit in disgust — the people of Mendocino County lost all hope of a functional, financially solvent, public radio station that is committed to full disclosure and community participation— a public radio station we could truly call our own.

The alternative? KMEC Radio 105.1 FM in Ukiah.

Support KMEC Radio 105.1 FM by becoming a member or underwriter. We are all-volunteer. Our $20,000 budget is only 4% of KZYX's bloated $550,000 budget. Moreover, KZYX's budget resists full disclosure on high staff salaries to a few lucky insiders and Korean War-era broadcast equipment that never gets replaced, resulting in lots of dead air, fuzz outs, and irritating signals.

KMEC does public affairs shows every Monday at 1 pm with national guests speaking on today's most important issues. And KMEC has lots of other great programming, including kids doing hip-hop live on the air.

KMEC Radio at the Mendocino Environmental Center. Your public radio station. Your community radio station.

Thank you.

John Sakowicz

KZYX Board of Directors (2013-2016),

Board Treasurer (2014)

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Dear Editor:

John Sakowicz’s most recent fanciful rendering of staffing changes at KZYX (Aug. 19, UDJ, Letter to the Editor) has, like so many of his attacks on the station, nothing to do with the facts.

Former General Manager John Coate and Program Manager Mary Aigner were not forced out of their jobs, as Mr. Sakowicz incorrectly states. The board accepted their resignations with profound regret as both chose, after many years of service to the station, to move on to other work and responsibilities.

As for KZYX General Manager Lorraine Dechter’s resignation this month, we remind Mr. Sakowicz and your readers that KZYX and Ms. Dechter parted company by mutual consent and on good terms, as reported in the Ukiah Daily Journal on Aug. 12.

We had hoped to offer Lorraine a job that would use her creative energy and enthusiasm in news and events production, but, sadly, we did not have the money to create a new position.

As with all personnel matters, we keep specifics confidential, respecting the privacy of the people involved.


Meg Courtney, President,

Mendocino County Public Broadcasting/KZYX

Ed note: It's up to the person being fired, eased out, shuffled off to determine privacy. It that person says he or she wants the reason for their termination made public, it's public. However Coate and Aigner departed, it's been good for Mendocino County Public Radio. It's too bad Ms. Dechter has left but the pleasant and capable Diane Hering will keep things limping along.

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Much thanks to Tom Hine for his fond remembrance of Ukiah Valley’s Chuck Savage.

It brought back a flood of memories from the good old days — Buffalo Bob Britton’s “Dusty Record Show,” KMFB Radio’s oldies format before the poodle music purge, wild times at the Hopland Brewery…

Chuck was a genuine good guy. He will be Missed.

Bottoms Up!

Joe Don Mooney


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Dear Editor,

What I've learned:

I feel good perpetuating the positive and uplifting things I put to paper.

Sharing the "imagine" photo as Mike and I refer to it may help generate income locally so that it can be used for my (our) residential rehab costs.

More appealing, anything can be attracted by something sweet.

I can change my mind for the better.

Cow was right (Cow and chicken): "Everyone is beautiful if you squint a bit" (metaphorically speaking).

How did I achieve this current phase of enlightenment? Through God's word and those of my father who art in heaven, aka, Bob Marshall.

"The noblest of prizes belongs to those who do things to enhance the quality of the human predicament. Foremost is the development of language that eradicates self-contradiction."

But wait, there's more. "The understanding of number/geometry leads to ideal syntax which makes possible authentic dialogue."

I love you all,

Eros Marshall Nelson #156

951 Low Gap Road, Ukiah, CA 95482

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A letter in response to the newest Animal Shelter public expression presentations at the August 16 Mendocino County Board Meeting;

The current complaint against the shelter and county about the progress (or lack thereof, I guess) being made at the Mendocino County Animal Care Services Ukiah Shelter, is that the county has and is concentrating only on cosmetic upgrades; this being referred to as cosmetic-centric. (To this end, these folks have created what they call an animal-centric matrix, and for those of you out there who don't know, matrix is the new way to say list.) BUT, I heard complaints for the past year about the building in which the shelter is housed, the kennels for the dogs and cats, the lack of a private and quiet space for intake of animals, and etc etc.--upgrades and changes which are in process or have been completed. Now that these particular complaints are no longer valid, I guess the next step is to disparage that labor.

The county CEO, and the entire Executive Office has become the newest scapegoat for shelter problems. At the board meeting, Ms. Angelo was labeled numerous times as soley responsible for the temporary revoking of several volunteers' privileges, and the termination of one volunteer.

I was at the shelter throughout the entire episode, and that scenario, to the best of my memory and knowledge, is not true. Also not true is the idea that volunteers were restricted--i.e. had their first amendment rights tampered with--because they wrote about problems at the shelter. What a farce (and how easy it is to scream about first amendment violations.) In fact there was and continues to be, daily criticism of the shelter and it's staff plus any volunteers not in agreement, in colorful and negative ways on very public venues. And the claim that other volunteers, besides the frequent fliers at the Board meetings, are too scared to voice their opinions at the podium is beyond ludicrous, for two reasons: first, because after all the slamming and negative pr the county and shelter have faced over the past year, I doubt any volunteer would be put on restriction for actions lesser than a serious crime. And two, why on earth would any volunteer be 'SCARED" of the repercussions if they spoke to the board, when week after week other volunteers have done just that for over one year. That line of thinking lacks rational thought. The volunteer who had her privileges revoked was told the reason at a board meeting earlier this year, a video of which is available online linked through the county website. Perhaps instead of crying foul some soul searching should ensue.

I would like to remind the people who dismiss any and all positive efforts being made at the shelter of the old adage: Rome was not built in a day. Whether Facebook folks can deal with that reality, we shall have to WAIT and see. It's really easy to sit back and take umbrage with everything; that time could actually be spent walking a dog or scratching a cat.

K. Shearn


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Dear Editor -

Currently, Mendocino County does not have facilities for inpatient treatment of psychiatric and substance use disorders. People who need these services either don’t get them, or wind up in jail, or must be sent to hospitals several hours away - an ineffective system that is enormously costly to Mendocino County. In an effort to revive mental health services, over 4000 citizens, led by Sheriff Allman, petitioned to put an initiative, Measure AG, on the ballot this Nov. 8. The proposition will:

Temporarily raise sales tax 1/2 cent for five years to raise $20 million for new facilities that will provide crisis residential and psychiatric inpatient treatment, alcohol and drug treatment, and training for first responders and mental health professionals

Create a special fund for the money raised, and a commission of citizens and public officials to oversee its use

Develop facilities that serve all of Mendocino County with the services we need locally, creating jobs

I will be hosting a live call-in forum with Sheriff Allman, Sonya Nesch and more on August 31 at 6pm on

The live broadcast will be at:

and call-in phone is 964-0101.

Afterwards the show will be archived and comments can continue online. Please join the conversation with your questions and comments.

For Naturally Mendocino,

Skip Taube, Mendocino.

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Dear Editor:

These comments follow my previous letter of August 13th regarding “World Key Climate Target May be Missed.” The Guardian writer, John Vidal, discussed the findings of Peter Wadhams, former director of the Scott Polar Research Institute and professor of ocean physics at Cambridge who has spent 30 years researching the ice world. In a new book published in July of the year he concludes that the Arctic is approaching a death spiral which may see the entire remaining summer ice cover collapse in the near future. He says we will shortly have ice-free arctic Septembers, expanding to four or five months without ice which will result in the release of large amounts of greenhouse gas methane, accelerating warming even further, a catastrophe for mankind. He writes, "We are taking away the beautiful world of Arctic Ocean sea ice which once protected us from the impacts of climate extremes. We have created an ocean where there was an ice sheet. It's man's first major achievement in reshaping the face of the planet." Mr. Vidal closes by writing "Climate change has been caused by ignorance and stupidity and can not be solved by endorsing more of the same with geo-engineering. The only answer is reducing greenhouse emissions." He speaks my mind. Not mentioned are a couple of other concerns — the accelerating melting of permafrost in the Arctic areas which will result in the release of huge amounts of methane into the atmosphere. I would also suggest reading the New York Times article "As Peat Bogs Burn, a Climate Threat Rises". About 3% of the earth's land surfaces is in peat bogs which dries out as temperatures. rise resulting in fires that release large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.

In peace and Love,

Jim Updegraff


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This is from Paul Craig Roberts:

Why does the left trust the government precisely on those matters that the government uses to justify war and a police state? The answer is that those who challenge the official story deprive the left of the emotional satisfaction that comes from the belief that oppressed peoples are capable of striking back and do strike back. Alexander Cockburn once explained this to me himself. He said that when I report the challenges of experts to the official 9/11 story, I am taking away the dignity of oppressed peoples by assuming that they do not strike back against their oppressors. Alex could not accept the truth, because it meant that the oppressed acquiesced in their oppression.

To me, it's an oddly convoluted explanation, even if AC did offer it.

Gordon Black


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Dear Editor,

On a recent hot Sunday afternoon here in Covelo my sister and I chose to fill up my two water jugs at the Covelo tribal cop shop. The water jugs are five gallons each. One is for drinking and cooking and the other is for washing dishes and bathing, etc.

Anyway, when I finished filling up my containers we were going down the road in downtown Covelo and who of all people was following us with his cop lights blazing? It was Vincent Cordova, the "tribal cop extraordinaire."

He pulled my sister and I over at the parking lot of the grade school. And, get this damn bullshit: Mr. Cordova charged us both with water theft!

Vincent Cordova's adrenaline rush must have been kicking in when he got out his citation book.

I mean —- give me a fucking break! How lame could this motherfucker be? It's me, a tribal member, getting drinking water and bathing water at a tribal cop building and getting charged with water theft!

I definitely have nothing against white people. But Vincent Cordova is an Okie Indian — you know, red on the outside and white on the inside.

If he is so concerned about water theft, Vincent should join Sheriff Tom Allman with his daily radio crusades about water thieves.

I mean, fuck! It's not like I was getting 500 gallons for weed plants or something. Just 10 gallons for my daily needs.

If this "Apple" can't understand this simple fact of life, I would like to know where he gets his water from if he was without?

I hope his well runs out — soon.


Eric Lincoln


PS. Water theft -- that is a fucking first for me.

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Dear Editor,

The blessed AVA and the ad revenue thing.

We're so pleased here to see you've provided ad space for the 'presumed nominee' of the RNC, proffered by the Grand Old Party with some trepidation as a 'candidate' for election to Our Nation's Highest Office. Do we detect some foto-shopping of the hand, do you suppose? Will this Throwback with The Hair actually gain the Throne? I hope the poor, over-privileged boy paid you enough to justify the column-inches. Your policy should be as rewarding as it is equitable, I think. [Sigh. The most important 'election' event of the last 10,000 years or so, and the GOP goes all nervous and No Legs while coughing up this...this... my god... Trump is America's HairBall! Stand back, world! Or get ready to get 'Great, again' all over ya! Pride just oozing. Dignity, too, just overflowing...the bands, the buntings, the decorations, the little checks for showing up to make the hall look full in the maw of the TV Bite. The 40 or 50 battle flags all ironed flat and arranged precisely so, close behind Your Next (Left or Right flavored) 'President''s downright heartwarming, reminiscent of 1930's Germany, or somewhere... Have we ever been so swept up in such a fair, honest, and clearly defined contest as Election 2016? I'm askin' ya. This is not a rhetorical question. W.T.F., y'all?]

We are grateful, as ever, to your fine paper for the diversity of it's published voices, and the depth, richness, and consistent ACCURACY of the actual information content therein. Thank you, again, and once more, congratulations.

Rick Weddle

Brookings, Oregon

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Context Is Everything

Use the word “cuernos” in a Barcelona coffee bar at 6 in the morning, and you’ll probably get a couple of croissants. Use the word in a Barcelona absinthe bar at 11 at night, and you may get knocked off your bar stool.

S. Bowen (with a nod to Louis Bedrock)

Suisun City

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I have volunteered for almost one year.

Every time I am at the shelter, the shelter is in crisis mode. Working in crisis mode as normal every day procedure, erodes compassion and exposes staff, volunteers and most importantly the animals to toxic levels of stress. A mostly dedicated staff tries to respond to the endless onslaught of often abused, neglected, lost or stray animals that are brought to the shelter every day. Fecal odor is often overwhelming and the noise of 50-70 dogs barking, howling and crying is deafening. Dogs spend most of their time in a small kennel and at best get a 15 minute walk from one of the dedicated volunteers. The rest of the time they are confined in a bare cement floor kennel. No toys, no chews, no bedding, besides a canvas cot. Because the shelter management has been unable to schedule daily play groups for the dogs, they sit in their kennels all day, all night, surrounded by their feces and urine for many hours. There are not enough kennel attendants to keep on top of the poop, so to speak. Now during the summer months all that fecal matter attracts large numbers of flies that sit on every surface. The volunteer force has shrunk to a few die hearts who try their very best to get every dog out every day, but it is often not possible. The cats don't have it much better, most of them confined for weeks and months in cages no bigger than a microwave oven and just about as cozy.

I object to you and others trying to make it personal. It isn't. I am not criticizing or blaming the staff. They mostly do what they can. Supervisor McCowen had asked for job descriptions for shelter staff, a request I have voiced as well in the past. Job descriptions were never updated after animal control and shelter services were separated. How long ago was that? This is more evidence that the shelter has no comprehensive management plan.

My two dogs and my foster dog are family members and are treated as such. Each one of my dogs has a distinct personality. They are sentient beings capable of feeling emotions like fear, pain, joy and yes, happiness.

Your reference to vicious pit bulls and other vicious dogs is uninformed. You can google pages of pages on county laws regarding vicious dogs, what the definition of a vicious dog is and how the public is kept save from such animals.. And by the way, statistically speaking, more German shepards bite people every year then pit bulls. They just don't get that hyper media coverage pit bulls get.

Here is what I believe the shelter needs to be as good as it can be: The shelter needs a manager who is well versed in up to date shelter management, can bring "set in their ways staff members" to buy into changing how the animals are treated and to adapt to a more professionally operated shelter.

The shelter needs

A full time veterinarian

A full time dedicated volunteer coordinator.

Who exclusively promote the shelter and reaches out to the community to recruit new volunteers and maintains and communicates with current volunteers.

A full time foster care coordinator. Who makes every effort to recruit more foster families on an ongoing basis.

A full time dedicated adoption coordinator.

Who continuously markets and promotes the animals to the community, connects with veterinarians, local business. Facilitates regular public adoption fairs, approaches affinity groups and in general increases the awareness of our homeless pets.

A dedicated play group leader

Daily play groups are essential to the well being of dogs. It provides the opportunity for them to spend some of their energy and to socialize in a supervised environment with other dogs. Observing dogs in a social environment provides important information about the animals character and disposition and will be very helpful to find the right foster or forever home. It makes cleaning kennels easier and more efficient when an entire row of dogs are out and kennel attendants can quickly and thoroughly clean each kennel. Therefore helping to prevent disease spread among the animals. There are so many more wonderful and positive reasons to have daily play groups, to many to mention here.

The executive office needs to frequently and regularity monitor the shelter activities, supervise shelter management and help management and staff to set realistic goals and establish firm objectives and time lines in which to accomplish the goals.

I am saddened that you and others continuously try to make this personal. Cranky, never happy volunteers besmearing shelter management and staff. This is absolutely not the case. Our shelter needs to be and can be better. The majority of animals, especially animals who are at the shelter for long periods of time are not receiving the physical, medical and emotional care they need and deserve.

Speaking for myself only, because I have spoken out on behalf of the animals, I have been treated by some staff members with hostile glares, avoidance of eye contact, greetings ignored and direct questions related to animal issues reluctantly answered.

In the long term we need to educate the citizens of Mendocino county on the benefits of neutering and spaying their pets. To license their dogs, to make sure their dogs have a collar with contact information in case they get lost. Discourage people from accepting or purchasing dogs from unlicensed backyard breeders and to report such people to Animal Control.

Look around your neighbors, I am pretty sure that most of us know of at least one dog that is always tied or otherwise confined outside, often with no shelter from rain or heat. We need to change the laws that make pets property, for owners to do with as they please. Animal control is very limited by current laws and can only remove animals who show visible physical abuse, being beaten or starved. *Animal neglect is animal abuse*.

Last but not least I suggest to you Bruce that next time you are in Ukiah, you treat yourself to an unannounced visit to the Ukiah Animal shelter and take a walk around the kennels and visit with the animals. Who knows? You might be compelled to join us as a volunteer, we sure could use the help.


Monika Fuchs


PS. Attached is a picture of the dog Achilles that I, as you put It, anthropomorphize at the most recent BOS meeting. This poor senior dog has been at the shelter since April in the environment described above. He is a difficult dog to find a home for, he is old, he is fat and he doesn't get along with most other dogs. Achilles loves people and is looking for a loving home where he can rest his weary head and soul. Any and all leads are greatly appreciated to find this guy a proper home.


ED REPLY: by gumbo, Monika, I'm going to have a look at the Shelter my own self very soon, but for now, and I certainly did not mean to insult you, I think that the 25-year-old veterinary student who got up and smugly teed off on management, was waaaaayyyyyyy outtaline. (The gossip I hear is that her wealthy family, the Montounas family, wants to privatize the Shelter and install Little Miss Smuggums as boss.

I'd like to see the whole show returned to the Sheriff, and am pleased that the Supes, badly burned by privatization of mental health, are no longer considering giving the operation to the Petaluma people. Not to repeat myself, but I think the Shelter does the best it can in an impossible situation, that the interim director is obviously a very capable person, that she and County CEO Angelo are not hiding anything from anyone. How could they with whomever walking on in on the Shelter any old time?

Of course the Shelter is crowded and loud and smelly. It's a no kill facility that takes in dogs and cats from everywhere in the County. I was startled at the presumably accurate statistical rate at which the animals are moved through there with only a few being long-term residents. The Shelter staff deserves high praise for doing as well as they do.

You can't have dogs dressed up like human-type people on your Facebook pages then complain when a non-anthromorph like me comes along and points out the extreme romanticization of animals. I know women say a man is like having a big, smelly dog in the house but my dog, the late Cough, could not answer the phone or drive my wife to the store. He was otherwise my equal in all-round ability, a fact I have no problem conceding.

And you can't force people to adopt animals. Responsible people know that a dog or a cat is a little like having a kid around. They need constant attention. Responsible people are not going to take on an animal unless they are confident they can provide proper care. What more can the Shelter do to get animals outta there?

Obviously, as Tuesday's meeting demonstrated, no one's being silenced. It seems from here the critics have made legitimate concerns more about themselves than the animals. It also is obvious that the Petaluma people are fueling a lot of this so they can take over the operation for Number One Daughter. II hope the Shelter continues to be run by the County, and I'm confident that with a new Shelter in or near Fort Bragg the overcrowding at the Ukiah Shelter will subside significantly.

Finally, the Shelter is not the Boonville Hotel, just as the County Jail is not Club Med. Form follows function, Monika. And if were you dissidents, I wouldn't have a coddled rich kid of a 25-year-old walking point for you. I know kids grow up now with No One ever telling them to sit down and shut up, but I thought that kid was about as far outta line as any self-interested person I've seen at a Supervisor's meeting.

PS. You're right. Don't know anything about Pits beyond what I read and my own direct experience with the beasts. My dog Cough was half-Pit. He was supposedly well-trained but in real life unpredictable as hell. He'd sneak up on me occasionally and give me a nip at no provocation. And he was only half, and I had to watch him very carefully when strangers were around, turning him loose only when, ah, undesirables were visiting. No one dared come through the gate at night, I can tell you. Cough would hurl himself at the gate separating him from late night visitors. Best deterrent we ever had.

As it happens, my new nabes in central Boonville have two pure pit bulls, two of which regularly get loose, one of which is aggressive. With kids walking around the area, this dog presents a clear and present danger to the neighborhood. Why is it, by the way, that Pits are the dog most preferred by the above mentioned undesirables?

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