Letters (Aug. 15, 2018)

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I’m glad Flynn Washburne is out of jail so I can read him again. The opening of CostCo is put into proper perspective while reclining in the special massage chair.

Ashley Jones


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During the years I spent as a medical responder I would for each medical call tense a bit even if I was not on duty and wonder and worry about family and friends that could possibly be involved. A couple of days ago I was driving toward Boonville from Philo when I saw flashing reds coming my way. I pulled over and gave Chief Andres Avila a thumbs up as he flew past. Back on the road I saw another set of reds coming and again pulled over but found myself a bit confused by a certain sense of relief that it was an ambulance and therefore a medical emergency and not a fire. It would seem that this be evidence that the effects of climate change impose on our psyches in subtle ways.

David Severn


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I am writing regarding Sunday’s Press Democrat article about Assembly Bill 33, which would authorize PG&E to sell state-authorized bonds to finance the utility’s liability for the October fires (“Bill seeks to repay PG&E’s losses”). This would be paid by us through our utility bills.

I was particularly struck by the PG&E representative’s statement that, to paraphrase, the laws that were built for yesterday aren’t sufficient for the risks we face today. That reads to me as the laws today don’t adequately insure us against our own malfeasance.

While PG&E reasonably argues that weather conditions exacerbated the destruction caused by the fires, which is likely true, this is a specious argument tantamount to saying yes, we know we lit the match, but we didn’t know it would be so bad. In fact, Cal Fire has determined that PG&E equipment caused 16 fires (not one match but 16) in October.

AB 33 would let PG&E off the hook and, even worse, charge not just all of us but the very people who were most tragically affected. Please urge your representatives to vote no on AB 33. Let’s not be forced to pay for PG&E’s egregious mistakes.

Steve Layton

Santa Rosa

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Did Mexican drug cartels start the fires?

I wonder if I am alone in suspecting that the Mexican drug cartels played a role in starting this year's deadly fires. The massive fires have widely been described as unprecedented in both size and destruction, and certainly, global warming trends have been a major contributing cause.


Local and federal law enforcement authorities – including some senior Department of Homeland Security officials with whom I spoke off the record – along with some big players in the legal marijuana business, have all noticed that the areas hit hardest by the fires are the very same places that California’s marijuana industry now legally grows recreational cannabis.

Mexican drug cartels – not just psychopathic criminals but also ruthless businessmen – don't want the competition from legal growers. Burning the legal marijuana crops would definitely drive up prices...prices that have been in a freefall since legalization started last year.

And its not just this year's crops that burned. No. No. No. Infrastructure burned, too, and it will take years to rebuild infrastructure.

Think about it.

All commercial grow operations need grow sites that are prepped.

Outdoor growing facilities need drip irrigation, high fences, and semi-permeable roofing.

Indoor facilities need greenhouses, HPS or LED grow lights, drip irrigation, recycled water, collected rainwater, , humidity control., and pest control.

All commercial grow operations need clone operations. And they need harvesting and processing operations.

But the 2018 fires destroyed everything…an investment in infrastructure in the many millions of dollars. It will take  years to recoup our losses. And it will take years to reboot the industry.

So ask yourself: Who has something to gain from the fires? Only the Mexican Mafia.

Only them.

Their grow operations are doing just fine back in Mexico.

John Sakowicz


ED REPLY: There's no word yet from CalFire on the causes of either the River Fire or the larger Ranch Fire. The popular suspicion is that because they started within an hour of each other and not that far apart an arsonist is responsible. I understand informally that the cause of the Ranch Fire is known and not suspicious while the River Fire remains under investigation. As for cartel grows, no evidence has ever been produced that Mexican organized crime on the scale implied by the term “cartel” exists.

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To the Editor:

I have known Fred Pere since the early 90s. Fred was the best ocean dive boat tender I have worked with during my licensed commercial sea urchin diving days (1990 — 2010). I can confidently say Fred is not a kidnapper (UDJ July 27 police report), nor deranged. This story is sad because underneath a gruff exterior, I know Fred to be a kind hearted people person and a real unique character. He tips above the norm at restaurants to help the workers, even when he is broke. He is a handicapped guy who should have had a hip replacement 20 plus years ago, and could use two hip replacements today. Fred needs a cane to walk. Fred has told me he did NOT touch that gal, and I fully believe him. While Fred does have some forward French ways of communicating sometimes that can get misinterpreted, he is now facing a nightmare, and out for his portion of a $50,000 bail with lawyer costs coming ... because of what some young unnamed 15 year old said to the police.

When I first heard Fred Pere’s story from him in person, after his getting out of jail, Fred was praying there was a video of the interaction. Fred’s handicap situation has evolved to such a degree, a young school aged kid could knock him over. The accusing 15 year old’s kidnapping attempt story simply does not hold water!

Since this news story came out, many folks have assumed it true. Fred heard that one guy in Fort Bragg he just kind of knows has said he wants to kill Fred (Fort Bragg gruff talk). Some folks on the MendocinoSportsPlus facebook page are saying, ...get the scum off the street and check his van for the DNA of other victims. There are similar comments in other this internet forums.

Fred won at least one of the early Salmon Fishing Tournaments in Fort Bragg. That tournament win picture of Fred and his big salmon circulated widely in the news media. Since then, more retired guys with money to spend on nice big well outfitted boats showed up in Fort Bragg to go Salmon Fishing. ... My take is that Fred has actually helped in some small way, to pump our local tourist economy!

Fred is functioning at an amazing level given his challenging and very obvious physical handicap. All Fred wants around here is to be able to live in peace and go out fishing! I hope this kidnapping attempt story changes, and gets cleared up soon.

William Self

Redwood Valley

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From The Fort Bragg Police Department:

“On Wednesday, July 25, at approximately 7:00 pm, the 15-year-old victim was standing outside the back entrance of the Mendocino Cookie Company, located at 303 N. Main Street.

The suspect (Frederic Pere, age 56 of Fort Bragg) contacted the victim while she was on the phone. He placed his hand on her shoulder and asked her if she wanted a ride. The victim told him no and turned away from him. Pere then grabbed the victim by the arm and started to pull the victim towards a white panel van that was parked nearby.

The victim was able to pull away from Pere and struck him in the process. Pere then entered the white van, a 1998 Ford E350 panel van CA Lic# 5T76883, and left the area south bound on N. Main Street.

The victim was transported to the Police Department where she filed a report. A description of the vehicle and Pere were given to other Fort Bragg Police Officers who began to immediately check the area.

A van matching the description was located parked in the parking lot of the A Frame Coffee House. Officers contacted the lone occupant in the vehicle who was Pere. Pere was detained by Officers while the victim was transported to the location and was able to conduct an infield show up. The victim positively identified Pere as the suspect. Pere was taken into custody, booked and then transported to the Mendocino County Jail.


The Fort Bragg Police Department is requesting anyone who has had any similar contact with Pere to contact the Fort Bragg Police Department immediately.

Questions regarding this press release may be directed to the Fort Bragg Police Department at (707) 961-2800 or the crime tip hotline at (707) 961-3049.”

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Today I received a letter and a survey from the Democratic National Committee, even though I have not been a registered Democrat in 20 years. I write on the survey (which I did not complete) that I haven’t been a Democrat in 20 years and asked them to remove my name from their database.

It strikes me as quite presumptuous that the DNC would send me a survey and identify me as a Democrat, also incompetent since they could look up my party registration through the Marin County Registrar’s office. 

About a year before the 2000 election I changed my party registration in Marin County from Democrat to No Party Preference (or whatever moniker it had back then), and it took three times for the Registrar to comply.

The first time I filled out a voter registration form on which I checked the box for No Party Preference and soon afterward I received a card from the Registrar still listing me a Democrat. So then I called the Registrar’s office to make my request and again received a card listing me as a Democrat. So the third time I wrote a letter to the Registrar’s office saying something like, “I hope I do not have to involved my lawyer (I didn’t have one) to have No Party Preference.” 

Finally, I got a card with the correct designation of No Party Preference and a phone call from the Registrar herself apologizing for the errors.

I have always wondered if the Registrar’s office of Democrat-dominated Marin County was deliberately trying to discourage me from leaving the Democratic Party to switch to Independent.

Keith Bramstedt

San Anselmo

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I'm sorry if I hurt the feelings or insulted the gentlemen I talked about last week. But whenever I hear somebody talk about anti-Americanism, insulting our president, that has to be people like draft-dodgers or just anti-American liberals and I have to say something about it.

San Francisco is the filthiest city in the world. The two people who are responsible for it are Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom. They have done nothing to help. Neither have the other politicians in San Francisco -- Pelosi, Feinstein, Maxine Waters -- they are just as dirty as the city. They are a perfect match for the city.

Those liberals who want to fight, antifa, are the most chicken cowards on earth. You liberals who want to fight? You are going to get it really good in the end! Because Mr. Trump is the best president we have ever had. It's too bad we have so many rotten liberal judges and schoolteachers and the political correctness which is rotten to the core and it's also anti-American.

Where are our county and state taxes going? The roads are being annihilated and all the other infrastructure is completely outdated and ready to go. It's hard for me to talk about how sorry it is. And then you have these gentlemen talking bad about the United States and the government and our law enforcement doing the best they can to keep the freedom that we have. They are enjoying all the social things that are available to them but yet they talk bad about the country and the law enforcement they hate which keeps them safe. Unbelievable!

The CIA and the FBI? They are saturated with Obama leftovers. They are trying to screw President Trump anyway they can. He has to get rid of all the Obama leftovers in the CIA and the FBI.

So the anti-American liberals like Pelosi and Maxine Waters and Dianne Feinstein and all the rest of them who are in charge of San Francisco are supposed to be our leading Democrat liberal opponents? They want to lead this country. But look what they've done. They have let a city like San Francisco turn into a mass and they stand by and do nothing about it. It makes me sick.

God bless Donald Trump.

Jerry Philbrick


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To the Editor:

Our local fires have raised many questions, including who ultimately pays for the damages caused and how are those damages measured. So far the debates I’ve read have pinpointed the potential payers or losers as PG&E ratepayers, taxpayers, utility shareholders, or the damaged property owners, if they are not fully insured. An important point in the equation is that when facilities owned by a utility (such as PG&E) are implicated in causing the damage, the utility is liable whether or not any fault on its part is involved.

In Ukiah, and its surrounding area, electrical distribution facilities are owned, or controlled, by governmental entities not PG&E. I don’t know, but assume, these public entities are subject to the same rules determining liability and measure of damages as apply to PG&E.

As I look at the forested and populated hills surrounding our (Ukiah) valley- and breathe a sigh of relief that so far we’ve not experienced first hand the devastation being caused elsewhere by recent fires- I wonder if any thought is being given to the question of how homeowners, and other property owners, in our area, will be compensated if a fire is caused by a publicly owned utility other than PG&E. 

The answer can have great significance, not only for damaged property owners, but also for all of those who rely on future payments (such as pensions) from the public agencies, i.e., the City of Ukiah, that own electrical facilities that may cause fires.

Jared G. Carter


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Dear Editor:

My love, respect and support to my friends and brothers Benny Keator, Joey Ryden, and Trevor Jackson. You guys are all in my heart and in my prayers. To Benny I love you, bro, you're my best friend. We’ll be out soon. Keep your head up and always keep smiling. 

Abla, Jackson, Keator, Ryden

To Joey: I love you too, bro. I hope you get this message. You've got more heart than most ten dudes. Be cool and we’ll get you that space ship. And to Trevor: I read what you wrote to the editor a few months ago. It was pretty deep. I get out in a few months and I will write to you when I do. Stay solid homeboy. I'll talk to you soon. And last but not least a big thanks to the AVA for carrying this little message of light into some pretty dark places.

Thank you and sincerely,

Ben Abla BC9199

P.O. Box 8103

San Luis Obispo, CA 93409

5 Responses to "Letters (Aug. 15, 2018)"

  1. Joe Hansem   August 15, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    More on developing Public Defender story. Rumors flying Assistant PD Chris Hipps fired “on the spot” on Monday. Shannon Cox in as caretaker while permanent replacement sought. What might have happened to the jury trial Hipps had slated to start this week is anybody’s guess.

  2. Joe Hansem   August 15, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    Plot thickens, former Asst PD Adams was previously a state assemblyman from SoCal:


  3. Pat Kittle   August 16, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    EDITOR, you insist:
    “…no evidence has ever been produced that Mexican organized crime on the scale implied by the term ‘cartel’ exists.”

    Evidence that has never been produced:

    “Mexican cartels”:
    — [ https://www.google.com/search?q=%22Mexican+cartels%22&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b ]

  4. John Sakowicz   August 20, 2018 at 11:10 am



  5. SN   August 30, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    Hipps is a Dumpster Fire with some kind of personality disorder. Imagining her flipping out and grabbing anyone who disagreed with her is easy. Wouldn’t be the first time.


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