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Letters to the Editor


Dear Sir —

Although it is late in coming, this is a response to the article in your paper printed on June 12, 2009. It was an interview with John Hanes in which there were several key omissions as well as some important misinformation. I would like to clear this up for your readers.

I am a great granddaughter of Isaac (also known as Ike) Crispin whom Mr. Hanes mentioned in the interview. I knew my great aunt Hazel and her husband, Leo Batt, who were both present on the day of the tragic shooting. Two families lost a beloved member that day. The account of the shooting has been handed down through the Crispin family with newspapers from the time of the shooting as well as the eyewitness accounts of the survi­vors.

These articles mentioned the important fact that Ike Crispin drove to Ukiah the day before to consult with the law about the “difficult neighbor” (Mr. Hanes).

Ike Crispin used a county owned road surrounded by Hanes property to haul his hay. The vehicle was a horse-drawn wagon, typical of the day.

Hanes put up a long gate with overly heavy logs. It was purely to make life hard for Ike whom Hanes had a vendetta against. This meant the driver had to tie his horses, remove the heavy logs, then untie his horses, drive-through, retie the horses, replace the logs, and finally get on the wagon and be on his way. The officers of the court told Ike to put up a swinging gate and then the law could make Mr. Hanes leave it there.

That is what the Crispins were doing when Mr. Hanes rode up with the harness straps streaming behind his horse — so hurriedly did he come that he had not properly changed the tack from pulling gear to riding gear. Although most everyone carried a pistol, Mr. Hanes pulled out a rifle as soon as he got near enough.

Hazel admonished her father not to take his pistol out so Ike grabbed a picket and advanced to intercept Hanes but it became obvious Mr. Hanes had deadly intent. When Hazel realized this, she ran ahead to grapple with Hanes who had his rifle pointed at Ike. But Hanes shook her off and shot Ike with a fatal shot.

Leo Batt, seeing his tiny wife at risk, and his father-in-law dying, then shot Hanes. The county corner was not a relative of the Crispin family. There was an inves­tigation and Leo was not charged because he had acted in defense of himself and Hazel. Later Hazel said, “He (Hanes) would have killed us all.”

The fact that Linda Crispin Hulbert and her husband John cared for Alice Hanes in her declining years is evi­dence the feud is over. Incidentally, there is a huge ranch on Mountain View Road that is owned by Jean Crispin Piper. So I guess we are not all gone after all.

Sheryl Brawn




Dear Sir,

A cousin of mine recently e-mailed an interview with John Hanes from the June 12, 2009 AVA. I read it with much interest. In the interview he talks about the dispute his grandfather had with the neighboring rancher Isaac “Ike” Crispen on Mountain View Road in the early 1900s. His perspective on the troubles that ended in the shooting deaths of his grandfather and my great-grand­father Ike Crispin in August of 1922 is different from my perspective.

Every story has another side to it and I am presenting my side to Mr. Hanes' story.

To quote the Hanes AVA interview:

“In 1903 the family moved further south to Mendo­cino and began to homestead on Mountain View Road where John's father Ward was born. In those days there were no easements or right of ways issued — it was all done by a gentleman's agreement. As a result those set­tlers further back in the woods away from the roads had to ask permission to cross others' land. The Hanes family gave permission to the Crispin family to cut across their land provided they closed the gates — the Crispins never did. This led to several very heated arguments over many years and fistfights had often broke out with the Hanes family invariably coming out on top. Then one day, in August of 1922, it came to a head. Yet another alterca­tion broke out at a gate. Guns were drawn and shots rang out. John's grandfather had confronted several of the Crispin clan and was shot four times. Ike Crispin received one gunshot wound. Both died. The coroner, a relative of the Crispins, was not called and neither body was examined. The two main protagonists had died and the police decided there was no need for an investigation. From that day forward John's father swore, ‘There will be Hanes on this property long after the Crispins have gone!’ He was right — the Hanes Ranch is still there where John and three Hanes families have property. There are no Crispins left up there.”

* * *

I enclose a Ukiah newspaper article dated August 23, 1922, which was written a few days after the shooting occurred. This article is an unbiased account of the trou­bles leading up to the double homicide. I also have writ­ten accounts from Hazel Crispin who witnessed his father's shooting.

Isaac Bonsell Crispin moved to Mendocino County as a young man about 1870 and he ranched at various times in Manchester, Sherwood Valley, and on two ranches on Mountain View Road. I have heard stories of the shooting from my father, my father's aunts, cousins, and other family members since I was a child.

As I understand it, the problems between the two ranchers began shortly after Hanes moved on to the adjoining ranch. For a while Ike ran a post office out of his ranch on Mountain View Road which he called “Comfort.” John Hanes got the job delivering US Mail from Boonville to the Comfort ranch. Instead of handing the mail to Ike, Mr. Hanes would throw the mailbag into the room when he delivered it from Boonville to the Comfort post office. When it was discovered that Hanes was a Canadian citizen and not a United States citizen, Hanes lost the postal job and the delivery job went to Ike's son Henry Crispin. There were other disputes over missing crops, missing tools, and poisoned animals.

As for the Crispin's ranch, the ranch adjacent to the Hanes Ranch is no longer in the Crispin family, but Ike and Harriet Crispin's nine children produced many off­spring and several are still living in the Manches­ter/Boonville area. Jean Crispin Piper lives on the Piper ranch with her family on Mountain View Road. Jean was a little girl at the time of the shooting and recalls seeing the two gunshot victims shortly after the shooting occurred. This summer we had a family reunion in Anderson Valley which was attended by close to 100 guests, about 30 of whom are descended from Ike and Harriet Crispin.

Wood Frampton


Attached: Text of the Ukiah Republican Press article on the front page, August 23, 1922: Double killing termi­nates old feud; In a rifle-revolver duel two ranchers are slain — The end of a near-feud of long-standing came Saturday afternoon near Mountain View when Isaac B. Crispin and John H. Hanes met death in a three cornered pistol-revolver duel.

Enemies For Years — For years back there had been bad blood existing between the two men and those who understand the situation state that on various occa­sions both Mr. Crispin and Mr. Hanes have appeared before grand juries seeking on one charge or another to have official action taken against their enemy. The Board of Supervisors room also has been the scene of the stag­ing of their various contentions and the neighborhood long ago satisfied itself that the bitterness prevailing between the two men would one day terminate in a kill­ing. Seemingly there was to be but one end of the con­troversy, they were to shoot it out.

Boy Quit Home — A son of Mr. Crispin's is said to have left the home place because he felt there would be trouble between the family and Hanes. Road troubles and other differences appeared to constantly spring up to aggravate the men and the double slaying Saturday after­noon was the direct cause of a gate contention.

Consulted A Lawyer — It appears there was a dis­puted road over which the Crispin family had to travel to reach their place and cross this road. Mr. Hanes had con­structed a gate using such heavy timbers as bars that it was impossible for one to handle them. Mr. Crispin, upon seeing what Mr. Hanes had done, came to Ukiah and consulted an attorney as to what his rights in the matter were and was advised to go home and put up the ordinary gate and to in all manners obey the ordinary customs which should prevail among the neighbors.

Returning to his home Mr. Crispin, his son-in-law Leo Batt and Mr. Crispin's daughter Mrs. Hazel Batt went to the place where the gate was to be erected and work on the gate was in progress when Mr. Hanes who had heard what was taking place rode up on horseback. Mr. Hanes carried a rifle in his hands and had the weapon on the saddle in front of him. One story is that following a war of words between Mr. Crispin and Mr. Hanes the latter tried to ride down his aged enemy and Mrs. Batt to save her father, grabbed the bridle of the horse in an effort to stop the animal. Quickly Mr. Hanes dismounted and almost instantly Mrs. Batt caught hold of the rifle Mr. Hanes was carrying. This placed Mrs. Batt in front of Mr. Hanes and while Mr. Hanes was not able to shoot neither could Mr. Crispin nor Mr. Batt use their weapons for the Mrs. Batt was in the line of fire. A struggle between Mrs. Batt to hold the rifle and Mr. Hanes to try and get the gun away from her so he could use it fol­lowed. Those who visited the scene of the shooting say that in the struggle Mr. Hanes dodged backed probably 30 feet and at about this distance either through inatten­tion or by accident in trying to wrest the rifle away from Mrs. Batt the barrel of the rival struck Mrs. Batt on the head and knocked her down. Seemingly at the instant Mrs. Batt's body was out of the danger line of fire shooting began and it cannot be stated definitely who shot first. But the theory of the officers is that each of the three men knowing it was a case of life or death began shooting the instant they thought it possible to do so without hitting Mrs. Batt.

First Shot Fatal — One shot from the rifle of Mr. Hanes struck Mr. Crispin exactly in the center of his watchpocket and, hitting his watch, sent the timepiece into the flesh of the victim, the bullet glancing upward. Despite this fatal wound Mr. Crispin began shooting and apparently just at this point Mr. Batt got his rifle in action and fired one shot at Mr. Hanes, the bullet enter­ing on the right side and, going almost straight through the body, struck the heart. At the time Mr. Hanes was falling or had fallen. Mr. Crispin managed to approach close to him and fired two shots into his body, neither of these, however, would likely have caused death. The wound that killed Mr. Hanes was that which came from the rifle of Mr. Batt. An effort was made to bring in Mr. Crispin to Ukiah for medical aid but he died at Boonville Saturday night.

Knew Trouble Was Coming — That the men expected trouble was evidenced by the fact all were armed and by the further fact that even while the gate was being built the rifle of Mr. Batt was not more than 4 feet from where the men were working. Mr. Crispin was about 70 years of age and stories are he had suffered physical mistreatment at the hands of his enemy on a former occasion. Mr. Hanes, it is claimed by friends of the Crispin family, was of a quarrelsome nature, power­ful of build and possessed of a fearless disposition. Those who have been in Ukiah since the affair say Mr. Hanes had often boasted that he could stand 20 feet away from an antagonist and that he could be upon him before he could draw his rifle.

Both Stories The Same — Coroner Cleveland went to the scene of the incident as soon as news of the shooting reached the city and Sheriff R.R. Burns who was on the Coast rushed to the scene as quickly after­wards as possible, arriving within a short time after the double killing. Sheriff Burns questioned both Mrs. Batt and her husband, interrogating them soon after the kill­ing happened and before they could possibly have had time to get together and make up a story and found that except in slight details the two related the same circum­stances. Sentiment of the people of the district in which the men lived is with both Mr. and Mrs. Batt. It being claimed that in the enraged condition Mr. Hanes was in he probably would have killed all three had not the bullet from the rifle of Mr. Batt cut short the life of Mr. Hanes.

Mr. Batt Not Arrested — Sheriff Burns, after his investigation, could not find any cause for arresting Mr. Batt and while the shooting may be called to the atten­tion of the grand jury, it is not believed that a case can be made out against Mr. Batt which would bring about a conviction.




The supply-side economics of conservatives over the last 30 years is an utter failure, doing nothing but making the rich and super-rich richer and devastating the middle-class, working-class, and poor. Rather than “trickle down,” it is top-down class warfare pure and simple. It has been well documented by Larry Beinhart, Thom Hartmann, Al Engler and others that this is the third repetition of the same boom-and-bust tax-cut policies that each time has led to a disastrous Republican eco­nomic bust.

The brute facts are: 
(Republican Hoover) During World War One the top marginal tax rate went up to 73%. In 1922, a series of rate cuts began. Down to 56%, 46%, and finally, in 1925, it went down to 25%. The stock market took off. There was a boom. But the boom was a bubble. It was followed by the Great Crash of 1929, bank failures, Depression.

(Republican Reagan) From Franklin Roosevelt’s sec­ond term all the way through to Jimmy Carter — from 1936 until 1982 — the top rate was in the 70-92% range. Then along came Reagan in 1981. In 1982 he cut that down to 50%. The economy went into the worst reces­sion since the Great Depression. In 1987, there was another round of tax cuts. They took the top rate down to 38.5%. There was a boom. But it was a bubble. Then, in October, 1987, there was a crash. The worst since ’29. It was called Black Monday. Suddenly there were bank failures. More than during the Great Depression! There was a Savings & Loans crisis. There had to be a bailout.

(Republican Bush II) George Bush came into office with the healthiest, most powerful economy in American history. He immediately cut taxes. The top marginal rate went down from 39% to 35%. He also cut capital gains taxes and inheritance taxes. A recession immediately ensued. But he persisted. The financial sector — and only that sector — grew. It was a bubble. There was a crash. Bank failures. A bailout.

The three worst economic disasters in American his­tory follow the exact, same pattern. Republican tax cuts, boom, bubble, crash. Thanks for the memories, guys.

Steeply graduated income taxes forcing the wealthy to pay their fair share could quickly make public debt manageable and bring back financial sanity. Pushing the consequences of these disasters onto the elderly and the poor, who had nothing to do with them, by cutting their well-earned benefits or instituting a regressive sales tax, is criminal and will not be tolerated by the citizenry.

Dave Smith





Given the formulae for probability distribution, I can safely say that upwards of a third of the population will align themselves with the radical extremes of their politi­cal beliefs at either end of the spectrum. An examination of recent polls will confirm my view, since the middle third are unsure and cannot be easily measured. Thus the pollsters can charge large fees for delivering results that please their sponsors, and the media can spend endless hours discussing the interpretation of the latest figures on everything from marriage to presidential politics and the dancing talents of semi celebrities. It’s all in the num­bers.

To understand the polls you need to go to original mo­tive, which in this case lies with the media. In case you missed it, most media, newspapers in particular, are laying off their reporting staff as fast as they can find syndicated stories to fill the gaping maw of 24 hour news. In place of local and regional stories we now receive extended debates between carefully selected representatives of both sides on any issue, and guest appearances by pollsters, the professionals on whose judgement and metrics the topic is measured. Sometimes they even book several of these worthies to explain the diverging results of their recent eavesdropping on the vox populi. This leaves the average reader or viewer with little or nothing in the way of facts, but buried in opin­ions of varying believability. There goes the myth of an informed and involved electorate.

I am thoroughly sick of polls and the industry of sur­vey taking at large. Tens of thousands of people are employed by hundreds of polling firms to conduct their research, including semanticists who spend endless hour studying the semantic value of words and phrases to be used in formulating the questions asked of the voluntary victims of opinion pimps. Whether by phone at dinner or by mail from political parties, the whole process is a shuck and a jive.

To begin with you were not selected as a representa­tive of your community, despite the salutations of the inquisitors. You were actually selected by a computer from the phone listings in the target township or city neighborhood. To believe otherwise is to indulge your ego by concluding that your answers will, somehow, translate into a true picture of the views of whatever group you represent. If you answer their questions you graduate to a higher category in the data base, as a likely respondent, and you will get further survey calls in the future. Compliance is its own reward.

There is a cure for this cancerous social malaise. Lying is the answer.

Respond to any and all inquiries. Form your opinion on each topic and then answer the furthest opposite of that allowed in the multi choice offered. Lie, Lie, and lie again. With enough of us lying the poll results will be skewed if not screwed, ,and when the smoke clears they will have failed to accurately predict the outcome, and never work again in public affairs.

A worthy goal if ever there was one.

Travis T. Hip

Nevada City




I voted for Obama, but I'm starting to think he's actu­ally worse than Bush. Here is why.

• Spending. Obama's deficits on the budget that he per­sonally signed off on are three times larger than Bush's.

• Wars. Obama was supposed to end the Iraq war and fix the Afghan war when the reality is that he's increased funding to both and is escalating the Afghanistan war.

• Privacy. Obama was supposed to rollback and fix these things and the reality is that he's been expanding these programs and using even worse court arguments.

• Environment. He's been putting GM and Energy lob­byists in charge of the various EPA and DoJ envi­ronment enforcement departments just like Bush.

• Internet. Obama is supposed to be protecting the In­ternet, passing network neutrality laws and he's gotten none of this done and is actually creating orders that award himself the power to shutdown the Internet.

• Healthcare. Obama isn't meeting with single payer advocates and is instead cutting closed-door deals with pharmaceutical companies and HMOs which is going to actually yield a healthcare bill that makes the system even worse than it already is.

• Taxes. HuffPost reported that Obama is considering raising middle-class income taxes to pay for his wars and the kickbacks.

• Civil Rights. Obama is actually validating and expanding torture programs, “enemy combatant” pro­grams, he hasn't shutdown Gitmo, he hasn't undone any of the totally corrupt laws Bush passed, in fact, Obama is actually expanding these, he's actually expanding the governments capacity to seize your laptop and phone and copy the contents of it without probable cause or even suspicion.

• Constitutional Law. Scholars have stated that actions Bush took violated more than 700 federal and constitutional laws and bills. Obama promised to “clean this up” but he hasn't fixed even a single one of these, instead, he's expanding these and making it worse.

• Bailouts. Bush was America's all time worst scum­bag when it comes to stealing $5 Trillion in taxpayer money to bail out the worst of the worst and Obama is actually taking twice as much money from taxpayers per year now to give to these corrupt flacks while people are losing their healthcare left and right.

I voted for the guy. But on all the key issues that I voted for him he's basically turning out to be worse than Bush on the merit of the policies. At the same time he's basically doing the opposite of all his campaign claims, and worse, he's billing us three as much money as Bush was for doing all this corrupt crap in the first place.

This isn’t change we can believe in. This is change for the worse.

What do you think? Is Obama worse than Bush?

Matt Morthison





I seldom receive the AVA on Friday, it usually comes on Saturday and just as often on Monday. Last week it came on Tuesday. Today, Friday, I read that you complained to the Post Office last week about the Peta­luma sabotage that keeps happening to the AVA. Maybe it did some good. Maybe I'll get the AVA on Fridays from now on like I should..

I've started dropping my AVA's off at the local pot store four blocks away after I read them. November 10 was of special interest to the manager with the “Bumper Crop in Mendo” article above the fold. But his eyes were drawn to Bruce McEwen's court coverage. He's going to like this week's AVA with Bruce's coverage of the Tony Serra trial. The writing was hilarious and reading the short transcript of Tony Serra working was a lesson in law. The pot manager will no doubt be interested to see that pot is going for as low as $700/pound in Mendocino as you reported in Valley People. I wonder how long it will take him to figure out the publisher of the AVA dis­approves of smoking pot.

Best Regards,

John Wester

San Diego

PS. I don't like to gloat but 20 years ago you published a letter I sent to “The Toy Department of Life” — the sports page you had back then. Norm Clow wrote much of it, I think. The soccer reports for the Panthers were less than stellar. I'd just come back from living in Mex­ico City and wrote you that the AV Panthers ought to get some Mexican kids on the team because the kids in Mexico are kicking a ball around as soon as they learn how to walk. Congratulations to the AV Panthers Soccer Champs.

PPS. Just read Off the Record 11/17 and your amusing review of “Gold.” I used to live next door to Jack Elliot, one of the naked bodies pictured above Mooney’s letter: My wife and son and I lived in a cabin in on a cul de sac off of Little Lake Road in Mendocino across from Jack and his wife Martha. One night Martha came over to visit us. She'd never done that before. Five minutes later Jack comes out of their house and starts up his Land Rover, turns it around and points his headlights into our cabin and sat there idling. A couple minutes later he drove off. We didn't have to ask Martha what was going on. Jack was drunk again. Jack was a jealous man but he was gone a lot — rambling. A few months after that happened I was hitchhiking on the 101/128 junction to Mendocino and Jack drove right past me in his Land Rover. But later karma thundered and a friend of mine visiting me from San Diego ran off with Martha.




This morning I wrote a check to pay my property taxes. In a burst of patriotic enthusiasm I included an additional five dollars with a note requesting that this money be applied to the $3,087 debt that Supervisor Kendall Smith owes for her misunderstanding of the travel claim guidelines several years ago.

As five grand juries have requested this payment and as yet it has not been forthcoming, I can only assume it hasn’t been repaid for one of two reasons. Either her $68,000 salary is insufficient to make restitution or she has been too busy supervising the county to find time to write a check. Either way, I felt it my duty to help out.

After mailing the check I was struck by the ineffec­tiveness of my effort. I could have done more. In this respect I am encouraging other citizens of our county to do likewise. We could initiate a groundswell of support for Supervisor Smith. If another 617 of us included an additional five dollars with our taxes, we could put this nagging aggravation behind her.

Here me out, citizens. Many of you are paying taxes in the many thousands of dollars. An additional five dollars won’t be missed. Skip a latte tomorrow morning. Brown bag a lunch. Sit through a movie without buying snacks. If we all make small sacrifices we can put this problem to rest and allow Supervisor Smith to govern the county unfettered by this constant annoyance.

When you write that tax check I am counting on you to do the right thing.

Roy Mason





While listening to Pat Thurston and Laura Flanders discuss the “Tea Party” on a recent KGO broadcast, I had an epiphany. Just as the Democrats were divided by the blue dog caucus, the Republicans now stand to be diluted by their white elephant faction.

This to me is the proper characterization of the “Tea Party” and describes perfectly its true political utility, i.e., white elephant, Americanism — any object no longer desired by its owner but of possible value to others. The parallels to reality are too delicious to be enumerated.

I share this in the hopes it can be the ruin of the “Tea Party” and given my limited access to the wider world I figured you as a springboard in my caffeine-driven fantasy. No attribution wanted. For instance, if you can't use it, pass it onto Alex Cockburn.

I am truly bummed out about the government run as a business.


Gary Durheim

Seaside, Oregon

PS. I had a great year salmon-wise fishing in my 14 foot skiff The Bobber Anne. I captured and kept seven fish, eight if you count the illegal wild coho they (big gummint) caught me with. $344 fine and fish confiscated. They swallered the evidence but now I can plainly see a coho for what it is. A fish is not a fish!The coho had its adipose fin but was taken from a river where keeping wild Chinook was okay. The upshot was I was promptly forgiven when I paid the fine.



Dear Colonel:

Another gap filled. I refer to the long-overdue profile of Mark Scaramella by Steve Sparks in the November 10 edition.

What a guy! Been everywhere, done everything. Little wonder he never found anyone to settle down with. His doubt about the existence of God won my heart.


Don MacQueen

Eugene, Oregon

PS. Puzzled by the photo of Bud Selig accompanying Sparks peace?

ms notes: The paste-up person inadvertently mistook Bud Selig for himself. We apologize for the error.




When Dr. Edward Teller, a creator of the hydrogen bomb, met Dr. AntiTeller, “their right hands clasped and the rest was gamma rays.” If a hydrogen atom were the size of a tennis ball its electrons would be two miles away. 2000 years ago Seneca said, “Man does not die, he kills himself.” When matter and antimatter meet they annihilate each other in a burst of radiation. The American home primitive accelerator, the television picture tube. What word has four Ss? Possessions has five. Ravens hang by their feet and fly upside down. The Avenue of the Giants celebrates its 32 mile road as the largest stand of old growth on the mainland. 300 foot tall trees grew in the redwood rainforest before the rise and fall of Rome. Grass is the largest irrigated crop in the United States. Arlington National Cemetery is the USA's most sacred space. Some nights in Louisiana are “as dark as the inside of a cow.”


Diana Vance


PS. Bush is a fop and a disappointment our country's so easily bought.

PPS. Widdle Lee Widdle Lee Jurkey, that is the name of my turkey. Waggle-tail-loose is the name of my goose. And the name of my hen is Backagain. Squawk — Onions Celery and Bread



Dear Bruce,

Obama will win in 2012. I’m not sure whether that’s good news or bad. Now that the Regressives have gained control of the House it will be up to them to come forth with some ideas about fixing the nation’s problems. Since they have not had even one good idea since the 1980s it will be hard for them to come up with anything resembling a pathway to the solutions of the problems.

It’s not their fault. When you base your existence on myths it is not likely that you will come up with solutions for reality. Their program of a return to the ideas that created the problems we face is not going to enthuse the independent voters. Their political strategy of lies, denial, distortion and cheating is not new, but it is also not a solution to the problems.

The above all rests upon the assumption that the great unwashed American voting populace is smart enough (doesn’t look like it), informed enough (doesn’t look like it), and interested enough (doesn’t look like it) to see through the lies, denial, distortion and cheating to return Obama to the White House. It further assumes that the Democrats don’t also lie, deny, cheat and distort, which to any awake citizen is also a problematic assumption.

So the wars go on, the next wars are being planned, the welfare state is being dismantled, the environment degraded, and the population soars out of control. Reader: please add two or three of your own issues here).

In the late 60s and early 70s Timothy Leary said, “Tune in, turn on, and drop out.” Today the alternative reality he urged youth to turn on to has been swallowed by the marketing mentality reality; the turn on is opposed by the pleasure police as always, and by half of the population over 30; to drop out and go back to the land is not economically viable, since the speculators inflated the market prices for land out of sight.

The question is, is it possible to be in despair without being depressed?

Lee Simon

Far ‘n Away Farm, Virginia




Eighteen dollars can buy a bucket of stale, greasy popcorn, a jug of high-fructose corn syrup and admission to 90 minutes of bad acting at the movies. It could have bought every Californian who registers a vehicle admission to the 278 state parks throughout our state if we had passed Prop. 21.

Too many could not make the sacrifice. Eighteen dollars was too much to pay for unlimited visits to our hypnotizing state beaches, shady redwood forests, scorching deserts and magnificent mountains or to indulge in some of the state's history.

It's sad we do not value the precious natural landscapes as much as those who had the foresight to preserve them for us. Many of these places could have been privatized, paved over and developed, never to be seen again. In a state that rapidly grew from gold mountains, somehow the 278 gems of recreation managed to be preserved. Now our parks are potentially destined to be litter-filled wastelands full of stray dogs, transients, bonfires, weaponry and pot. I might as well go see a movie now.

Sean Peck




Dear Mr. Anderson,

I want to thank you for the very best newspaper reading I've had the pleasure to read in, like, forever.

My father wrote for first the old Mercury News in San Jose and then retired from the San Francisco Chronicle where he covered the federal court beat. I love newspapers and newspaper people.

I stand a not too far-off possibility of meeting you as I parole to San Francisco in a month or so. And I do get around. I first came across your paper in San Rafael at a newsstand and was pissed off when I missed it. That was back in 1992 I think.

Anyhow. There are a number of us here at Soledad South who read this paper, the “Pass It Around News.”

I will right now do a trust account withdrawal and send you $10 — my full month's pay. Screw it. You are more than worth it and I will get a subscription when I can.

Thank you,

Pat Cooney


PS. All of us are reading from the paper sent to Lance Scott. Please keep them coming. Find it in your heart to make our week. Oh please oh please oh please.

PPS. Dan O'Neill — oh yes!



To the Editor:

How much Penta (pentaerythritol tetranitrate) can be stored up one's anus? Why won't the Transporation Security Agency tell us how big an ass we need to take down a 747? We demand the TSA inspectors look up everyone's butts. I mean we need to be safe. Meanwhile, Israeli officials have rejected those scanner machines in Tel Aviv Airport because they claim you can still sneak enough Penta on board to blow up a jumbo. It's time for the TSA to come clean and stop having fun looking at us.

Our fears have been aroused by those mongers in Homeland Security and amplified by the slavish TV channels. Now we sheeples are scared and running in sheer panic toward the edge of the earth. Sheeples stay home! Hunker down!

Jim Houle

Redwood Valley



Letter to the Editor

Let us not miss the point; let us see the real vision.

Americans do not want a hand out or hand downs, we want a hand up!

We want an Uncle Sam that will look out for his fam­ily!

We have seen enough of dropping bombs or rice on the third world countries.

Pouring millions of dollars on countries that have been flattened by the act of god or our own hand of destruction. At an exuberant cost with less than standard achievements. It is now the time we look out for our own.

It is now the time we take the dollar back from China and put the name “Made in the USA” on our shelves!

Big business corporations are an entity not an iden­tity!

I am for the man who drives the hammer, the man who moves the stone.

For the sake of our children which is our future, we need to give a hand up for our people. “Our country ’tis of thee”

Trent Foster




Dear Editor,

In reading about the whining of China, Germany and the GOP about the Quantitative Easing program one has to conclude that Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke must be doing something right.  The program which shifts the FRB from buying short term low yield Treasury obligations to longer term higher yield obliga­tions will have positive affects on lowering the high unemployment rate. It also will weaken the dollar which will increase our exports and make imports more expen­sive. Hence the outcries from Germany and China who have large trade surpluses. China with their currency manipulations has a lot of nerve to complain about the actions of the FRB.  As for the GOP with their unwill­ingness to extend benefits for the long-term unemployed, they clearly don't give a damn about the unemployed. Further Representative Pence and Senator Coker have asked the FRB to stop trying to achieve full employment and instead worry about price stability They and their Republican cohorts are quite content to throw the unem­ployed folks and dependents under the bus. They seem to think whatever the cost don't cooperate in improving the economy because it might be of benefit Obama. I would advise any unemployed person who voted Republican at this last election to go apply to Social Security for per­manent disability as being mentally disabled.

In peace,

James Updegraff




To the AVA,

Yowser, Yowser. Bagdad-by-the Bay. That old slow rollin’ Sunny Sunday in the City.

Enclosed is a picture of me in search of the finest din­ing hospital in San Francisco, one where you can actually “eat your heart (or any other organ) out” or, as in this case, “foie gras truffe.” (Liver)

75 staples and nine days later I am on the mend of this gastronomical-surgical adventure.

One of the strangest things I have found on this hia­tus to our own Sodom and Gomorrah is that I was deli­cately attended to by a such a multicultural array of staff at Cal-Pacific Medical Center. Angela from Guam, Christmas from the Philippines, Karin from South Africa. Or Megan Grange, my liver team transplant cooridinator, from Anderson Valley! This patient staff and others, guided by several skilled doctors and the sur­gical team led this shell of a body in and out of the paths of “Medicine and Beyond.” (Ten hours of non-stop sur­gical team skill to replace my failing Liver.)

Joelle and I held High Court from our sixth floor, win­dowed , recovery room. Transplant News Central shot itself, via internet up to Mendocino County, over to Europe, slithered back through Washington State, back to the Minitropolis of Upper Lake, to settle in the calm waters of Les Jardins du Bateau. The care, the support and communication from family and friends will and does fill the void that was my pain and the angst that was my surgery. We have now moved Transplant News Central to our apartment on Sacramento Street, just a quick hobble from the Emergency Room in case I need it. My six to eight block promenade is my new daily regime from the San Francisco Cobbler to the Goodwill or Molly Stone's health food store, and back.

Small world isn't it? I can hardly wait to get back to the world of dirty fingernails and pruning shears on the edge Lake County, Mendocino County, and The Uni­verse.

Troll Brandon

San Francisco/Upper Lake




If anyone has watched a football game lately, one of the things all of the people do at some games is to make loud noises when the visiting team has the ball so that the visiting team can’t hear the quarterback call signals. To me that’s cheating. But everyone, the officials, the coaches, and all the fans seem to think this is OK. Even the hometown players will wave to the crowd to yell louder. This is called herd mentality. To cheer is part of the game, but to purposely drown out the opposing quarterback is cheating. One of the problems is that when the team plays at the other team’s park they will do the same thing and then what’s the next step? Is it to give some kind of small gift or money to the umpire because they do a good job?

You can well understand where that will lead to as it has with campaign contributions. The herd mentality here is that it started out with small necessary earmarks (the different grants given to a politician’s voters). Now these earmarks are in the billions of dollars. As with the yelling football fans, now it’s OK to give all kind of earmarks and actually for one reason: to get re-elected instead of governing for the whole country.

The herd mentality is that the public takes all kinds of excuses our government people give us for big goofs as the SMART railroad project that is now $350 million short when a few months ago it was $260 million short plus taking years longer to maybe complete the line in their optimistic view which is invariably wrong. The fact is they should have been fired long ago and any money or benefits taken back as would have happened if this was a private venture.

We will continue to have these goofs as long as peo­ple are not held accountable for their actions. That same herd mentality goes with the California higher education system which has become an inefficient, bloated and dishonest enterprise which is there not for the students but only for themselves. When Sonoma State College has 1500 employees for some 8,000 students that’s six to eight students per teacher. And the whole university system does nothing about it. It means they have lots of this kind of crap in the system and when no one says or does anything about it, that’s herd mentality.

Emil Rossi


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