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Letters (May 8, 2019)

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Letter to the Editor,

Place ready-to-go modular units for Crisis Residential Treatment Centers on: Orchard Street, rented coast MCDH land and on south coast.

Staff them with compassionate teams composed of a nurse with access to telemedicine, counselors, recovered clients, family members, and a teacher who can teach introductory classes on many Healthy Living topics. 

Provide a 3-hour Healing Center Day Program to provide the support and education people need to manage their symptoms, and transition to a healthier lifestyle. Redwood Community Services is already doing this on the coast and has lesson plans, video tapes, audio tapes, and handouts for many classes such as: Managing Stress, Breathing Techniques, Forgiveness, Art Therapy (non-verbal therapy), Nutrition for Excellent Health and Wellbeing, Writing Your Story, How to Stop Relapses, Meditation to Healing Music, and topics such as Change your Brain, Change your Life by Daniel Amen MD, Evolve your Brain Joe Dispenza DC, Dealing with Depression Andrew Weil MD, Overcoming Addictions (sugar, and others), and many topics by Deepak Chopra MD, Eckhart Tolle, Michael Singer, and more. 

Beds can be available for people who need to stay for a few nights. Some may just come to the Day Program. Self-Help Support Groups are important and can be ongoing.

Helping people early, before they want to kill self or others means that very few people will reach advanced stage crisis where they need a PHF. The PHF needs to be at one of the inland hospitals, perhaps in another modular ready-to-go unit. 

This kind of early stage crisis help is enough to support most people who will not advance to needing the ER, jail or law enforcement assistance. Most people want to learn how to manage their own health and wellbeing. Let us support them NOW in doing that.

Sonya Nesch, Teacher


PS. If Adventist Health would create a PHF (Ukiah or Willits) and staff it with their compassionate medical teams, then Measure B money would not have to build a PHF. Measure B money could build the first of three Crisis Residential Treatment Centers (CRTC) on Orchard Street with program and staff. The CRTC could begin earlier in any appropriate available space and later move into their building when completed.

As more Measure B money becomes available, a second CRTC could be built on land in Fort Bragg (maybe Coast Hospital land). This CRTC could also operate elsewhere until construction was completed. Then with more Measure B money available, a third CRTC could be built on South Coast, also starting earlier elsewhere. 

If there is enough money, an Addiction Recovery Center could begin on the same land as one of the CRTCs. 

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Letter to the Editor,

Re: Sonya Nesch’s proposal to place ready-to-go modular units for Crisis Residential Treatment Centers on Orchard Street, rented coast MCDH land and on south coast.

That’s a great idea, it would be a test run to see exactly what the county needs. It would be much cheaper than putting 20 mil into ole Howard.

Unfortunately, it will never happen, it makes to much sense…

As always,



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Why does a county with a population of fewer than 90,000 need 3 different Crisis Residential Treatment Centers instead of a single center? This is a rural area and in order to survive we have to be willing to travel a bit throughout the county for our needs. The tax revenue won’t support 3 facilities and then there will be clambering to obtain more funds from residents to rescue us from yet another bad decision. How can Health and Human Services staff and maintain 3 facilities when they can’t get proper care to those who need it to avoid a crisis situation? We are spending millions of dollars per year on a small number of people, yet mental health services are ineffectual and nonexistent. If the decision was put up to the voters, I’d vote for a PHF, CRTC and an Addiction Recovery Center all on the same, clearly divided, property.

This “spending because it’s there” reminds me of the Hospitality Center in Fort Bragg buying the huge, old hotel with grant money for homeless services but unable to afford proper maintenance of the building while providing substandard services. Or the City of Fort Bragg creating the trail along the bluffs without maintenance costs determined; they are now using part of the TOT (Transient Occupancy Tax) increase to pay for maintenance after they realized that there was not enough staff or money to maintain the completed trail. Taxpayers to the rescue, yet again.

Mr. Wendel

Fort Bragg

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Letter to the Editor,

Re: peace, quiet, contemplation

You mention the "peace, quiet and contemplation offered by books" in an item about a library sale in the April 24 Valley People.

I guess that these three states are not popular in modern urban America. I gave up cable TV three years ago because I felt it was bad for my peace of mind and then in the fall of 2017 when my computer stopped working I didn't get it fixed and I decided to discard it and instead use the computers at the local library for the same reason: Peace of mind.

I have found that it's very rare simply to encounter the term "peace of mind" or the word serenity" anywhere in this society.

The only subcultures I've been part of that regularly acknowledged "serenity" or "peace of mind" were the Al-Anon and ACA 12 step programs with their Serenity Prayer and program literature referring to those topics.

I never really encountered the term "serenity" at the several churches I've tried as an adult. And while "peace" is referred to at churches in a generalized sense, the term "peace of mind" is not used.

And speaking of books, I'm sorry to read of the unfortunate passing of the former owner of a used bookstore in Fort Bragg. Certainly used bookstores are invaluable to serious book readers.

Keith Branstedt

San Anselmo

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The trap-neuter release people have it all wrong. They should be practicing trap neuter-enclose. Cats are first and foremost predators. They are efficient. They don't discriminate. Birds, insects, amphibians, rabbits and rodents all succumb to their wily, instinctive predation.

The TNR people think they are performing a great service by neutering and vaccinating the feral cats they trap and release. But vaccinations require a second and third dose and cats need repeated worming and flea control treatments. Do volunteers have the time and energy to round up hundreds of feral cats a second and third time?

Any number of reports will tell you that almost every species of bird is on a precipitous decline. Free roaming cats are one of the main reasons we are losing songbirds at an alarming rate. TNR unwittingly perpetuates this war on wildlife, the only war we seem to be winning.

In order to save feral cats’ lives and protect other species as well, I propose the following:

After neutering and vaccinating, take the cats directly to a large, enclosed area — call it a cat sanctuary. An acre or two would be ideal. There the cats can be monitored by volunteers but still feel "free." This plan has worked well in places as divergent as Hawaii and Long Island.

Do I hate cats? Hardly! I think they are the most beautiful animal on the planet — except for the ones that man has manipulated and mutilated — those cats with pushed in, distorted faces and ears. I've shared my entire life with cats until two years ago when my last "Sweetie" died. They were indoor-outdoor cats. I always felt a sharp pang of guilt when I would find a dead junco or baby rabbit in the yard. I knew my cats were responsible and myself by extension. Were I to acquire another cat, it would surely be an indoors-only feline and I would provide an enclosed area outside.

My consciousness has been raised. I hope the TNR groups will be too.

Louise Marianna


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I want to commend Janet Greene for sharing her own experience with measles. She had a serious complication back in 1963 that she, fortunately, recovered from.

I recall from my own childhood standing in line at my elementary school to receive the first polio vaccine, a liquid that was put in a sugar cube. I also remember the relief my parents felt that something so miraculous had been developed, something that could save so many children from painful suffering, even death.

It can be difficult for parents today to fully grasp the history of such diseases, as we have done such a good job of eradicating them. Sadly, it may take experiencing real negative consequences once again (as we are beginning to see around the country) for this generation of young parents to fully appreciate the impact of vaccines and to realize why scientists worked so hard to develop them for our benefit in the first place.

Dawn Larue


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To the Editor:

Too many crashes: time to improve 101 in the Hopland area

On average I drive down 101 to points south of the Mendocino/Sonoma line about three times a month. My dog has gotten annoyed with me from her place in the back many a time as we round the bend just south of the Hopland CDF Station. She doesn’t like the sound made by the tires rolling over the ridges under the road edge’s white line.

I try not to do that but it still happens. I have never forgotten being stuck in traffic on one of those south bound trips, over 10 years ago I think, maybe even 15. There had been a head on crash right on that bend. I guess I like to imagine, as perhaps you do, that if I saw someone coming at me over the double yellow line I could dodge them, and I get a little over enthusiastic with my preparations. No harm done.

But there is harm done by the state of 101 between just north of McNab Ranch Road and just south of the Hopland Bridge where the terrible accident took place recently. Given the traffic increase on 101 in recent years, and I have certainly seen it since 2001 when my current circulation pattern began, this stretch of Highway 101 cries out for improvement. In particular from the end of the passing lane just north of the the Hopland CDF Station and on south through Hopland until it widens to four lanes just beyond the bridge. I’ve seen myself and read in the UDJ about more terrible accidents than the one described above in this stretch, with its blind bends and dangerous intersections, particularly the one at La Franchi Road that combines with the blind hilltop and bend combo just north of the Russian River bridge.

It is time to start working on a fix. When I first moved up here there was still some talk about a Hopland bypass. As a 60 year old life long resident of this part of the state I’ve seen Novato bypassed, as well as Geyserville and Cloverdale. I’ve seen 101 realigned across the Russian River north of Cloverdale. I have a very vague early childhood memory of State Street in Ukiah that suggests to me that it may have been before the freeway here was open. Generally speaking I’d say every one of those projects was for the better. And in the long run I’d say we need to do the same for Hopland. Besides the increase in safety and efficiency of transport I think it would give a real boost to the first Mendocino town that many visitors see and that has the potential to be a much nicer place for residents and visitors alike if it didn’t have the steady flow of traffic it does now.

But a bypass is not going to be happening anytime soon. At 60 you’d like to see something done that you might get some benefit from for a good number of years. With that in mind, I do believe that significant improvements to this stretch of highway can happen. Here are my thoughts on that.

I’ll start from the south, though that end is probably the hardest nut to crack. That means you’d have to completely rebuild what I’d guess is about a one mile stretch from just south of the junction with Eastside Road and 101 until you get aways past the bottom of the hill just north of La Franchi Road. This would require building a new bridge to get a 4 lane width and then doing something to lessen the blind spot and bend at the hilltop. Any improvements should allow for the possibility of an eventual integration into a future bypass of Hopland unless you say that is just never going to be done.

Besides being wider a new bridge should be much higher and have a long shallow grade on the south side. After the railroad over crossing to the north of the bridge moving the highway just a tad to the east of its current route at the top of the hill could ease the bend there. Unfortunately the railroad tracks prevent doing much realignment but even a little bit could help. The higher bridge would get us half way to getting rid of the blind hilltop and unless a future bypass included a totally different location for the bridge and highway north east of its current location it could be integrated into future improvements. My thinking on this is inspired by the realignment, bridge and highway raising that is underway on 101 at the Marin/Sonoma county line area. The new bridge and changed road way there eliminates the sporadic flooding, makes the curves less acute and greatly increases the visibility as the highway descends to the new bridge and then goes over the hilltop to its north.

Getting rid of the hilltop blind spot we need to have fixed on its north side would require a much longer and more gentle rise rather than the abrupt change from flat to slope to brief and bending flat we see now. I haven’t mentioned it to this point but unless the railroad right of way was abandoned, and I don’t think it should be, that hilltop is not going to be losing any elevation. because of the need for the over-crossing. Therefore the road bed would have to be raised with fill to create that better approach from the north. The intersection with La Franchi Road would need to be redone. Getting rid of the left turn possibility for north bound 101 traffic onto La Franchi and for vehicles coming out of La Franchi heading north would make this a much safer intersection at a small cost in inconvenience. An alternative would be to provide a center turn lane through this stretch, which could also serve the Milone Winery.

If the the new bridge I described was built, it should be wide enough to accommodate an eventual four lane highway, including a center divider but the highway would remain two lanes, with perhaps a center turn lane, south of Hopland for the foreseeable future, meaning until the construction of a bypass. The current location where the highway widens to four lanes south of the junction with Eastside Road is a good one because it is in a straight section. Raising the road bed would require a complete redo of the intersection with Eastside Road. That redo could be done in with an underpass, assuming the bridge approach is raised, to get cars across as required and allow for a much better system of merges and exits compared to what we have now.

Next, what about north of Hopland? My suggestion would be widening to allow for the current turn lane in the center to continue to just past Hewlitt Sturtevant Road and then transitioning north of there to four lanes until it joined with the existing four lane stretch near the CDF fire house. But I would like to suggest lowering the speed limit in the southbound direction beginning at around the fire house to 50 and then 40 and then 30 through Hopland. This would help get people’s speed down for a transition from 4 lanes to two closer to Hopland and the 30 mph through town would make Hopland a nicer place. If I recall correctly from long ago the speed limit in pre-bypass Cloverdale was just 25 in the center of town, so it can be done. As to the north bound direction that would need to be 30 in that same stretch but otherwise it could transition to fifty five as soon as the highway widened to four lanes north of town. An alternative would be to continue the turn lane all the way through to the firehouse. This would allow for safer entrances and exits to the Jeriko and Saracina wineries while adding a buffer zone between oncoming lanes of traffic. Should a bypass be built then it could got to the full four lanes.

I would like to see the widening to four lanes happen in the next two stretches as you head on towards Ukiah. The increasing traffic justifies it. But these two stretches of 101 to the south and north of Hopland are the ones that I believe should be improved first. Doing so will improve the safety on our most heavily traveled road in the county in one of its busiest and most dangerous stretches. If carefully planned they could set the stage for an eventual bypass of Hopland. Until a bypass happens, even slight a lowering of the speed limit through the town that first welcomes many of our visitors would be a plus. There may be better ideas out there than mine, but this section of 101 begs for some basic improvement and upgrading. Leaders and Caltrans, let’s make it happen!

Michael Toivonen


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Mr. Scaramella's report/article on the recent Board of Supervisors' meeting in the 1 May Anderson Valley Advertiser seemed excellent. It was, I believe, fair to both sides of the marijuana permitting problem that has arisen in Mendocino Country. 

I agree with Mr. Williams's belief that the program should (at a minimum) cover the county's costs and, that the problem is, we are doing too much. 

I also agree with Mr Scaramella's conclusion which I interpreted to mean that the county should not be doing the state's job. 

Perhaps what happened is that with the advent of legalization and specific state policy, the county bureaucracy did what bureaucracies do. With some exceptions, it is not local, county, government’s job to enforce federal and state regulations and laws. 

We do not set up road blocks at the county line to insure that no unpermitted produce has been imported from out of state or that no raw butter from France or unprocessed sausage from the Ukraine is entering the county. 

We do not check citizenship status when an application for a library card or a building permit or a business license is made. 

Nor do we seek to verify the accuracy of previously filed tax returns, state or federal, when there is an interaction with the county. 

It seems to me the pot permitting process should be simple. Someone applies for a permit which includes the responsible human, not corporate, party's name, plus the location and size of the intended garden. 

The permit fees could be based on the size of the garden, the volume, by weight, of the product or any similar metric to distinguish between a personal grow (ex-sheriff Tony Craver's 100 sq.ft comes to mind) and the various sized larger, possibly commercial, grows. 

The metric should relate to area, not plant number(s) since some growers brag of 5-10 pound plants. (Even with a 6 plant "line," 60 pounds is beyond personal use). 

Some inspections might need to occur to insure honesty in permit applications, but leave state requirements to the state. Violations could be misdemeanors, resulting in confiscation of the entire crop plus fines. 

Monthly lists of permits issued might be sent to CalFire and Water Quality and Fish and Game, but, should NOT be within the purview of the county inspections. 

Peter Lit


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To the Editor:

I was unable to attend last week’s BOS meeting, but viewed it online. Regarding the Climate Action Advisory Committee (CAAC), a few points stand out:

By its very name, the group is advisory. This means that while the structure is designed for CAAC members to ADVISE the BOS, there is no specific mechanism to effect change nor to measure CAAC’s performance and outcomes.

The CAAC’s organizers are, by admission, activists. This principally includes Alicia Bales (Littletree is her former CB radio handle.)

Ms. Bales is the self-aggrandizing president of the Mendocino Environmental Center (MEC) which, for the most part, stages demonstrations, i.e., banging pots and pans on the courthouse steps or playing an out-of-tune guitar at Alex Thompson Plaza. The MEC, which has existed for decades, has not organized itself nor raised funds to halt climate change. And yet. It’s exists to protect the environment.

Other CAAC organizers are Pauline Girvin, a former attorney; Naomi Wagner and Ellen Faulkner, current board members of the Mendocino Environment Center (MEC). The MEC was a start up of the late Judi Bari and other hardcore anarchists. These four women (during public comment) unanimously opposed the idea that CAAC operate under the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District (MCRCD) and its staff.

In her formal presentation to the BOS this week, Ms. Bales stated she is “more familiar with throwing herself in front of a bulldozer than having an understanding of how government agencies work.” (See BOS video.)

Supervisor John McCowen is the MEC’s landlord, located at 106 Standley Street, Ukiah. He is also the sponsor of the CAAC initiative and has proposed that it fall under the purview of Mendocino County Resource Conservation District (MCRCD).

Take a look at his proposed budget for the CAAC as a start up:

Under item 6b on the BOS agenda items (April 16, 2019), the first year of operation for CAAC will cost the county $110,512. Of that total, $94,812 is for one person, with $10,000 earmarked for MCRCD Staff Collaboration.

A resolution to accept the CAAC going forward will be on the May 7 BOS meeting agenda. Please, contact your supervisor directly to voice your opposition to this flagrant waste of $110,512 for work currently being done, at least in part, by the MCRCD.

As a footnote, several state agencies work specifically in the area of controlling carbon emissions and fighting global warming through area businesses and schools serving as resources to our counties.

Mary Massey


ED NOTE: Nothing about the MEC has ever been what it was purported to be, but Supervisor McCowen isn't likely to ever divulge its federal origins, which is my opinion as to its origins. Nor is McCowen likely to reveal his personal associations, plural, with Miss Tree as he uses his position to land her a lushly compensated public position. But, and as we often insist, Mendocino County has no memory, so history starts all over again here every day, and you are whatever you say you are, no questions asked.

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To save people from fire, CalFire and Governor Gruesome Newsom plan to go house to house and tell everyone to do certain things and if they don't comply then they will lose their insurance. That's fine. But what about the state and county highways? Grass is growing to the edge of the so-called pavement up to the windows of your car, and brush on county roads is so bad it will scrape your car antenna off. Are they above the law? What about their insurance? That's the biggest fire hazard in the state. A spark could become a raging inferno.

These requirements are trying to blame the public for fires and take pressure off themselves like they blame PG&E, those poor bastards. Moonbeam Brown vetoed the proposal to require them to clear their lines.

All fires should be bombed with big planeloads of retardant right away no matter how small the fires are.

This state is also taking away our perfectly good old trucks and letting death row prisoners out. Corruption. Scams. On and on. People better wake up.

There are lots of children who need medical care and can't get it. Thank God we have St. Jude's supported by donations including from myself.

This crap has to change.

God bless Donald Trump.

Jerry Philbrick


PS. Local law enforcement does a great job keeping us safe, putting in long, gruesome hours. I know some of them personally, I know what they go through. Respect them. Support them. Thanks to local law enforcement.

PPS. When I drive to the office and go past Pudding Greek I see the sign for Ricky Del Fiorentino who was a good friend of mine. He went to Montana to see my daughter get married. A good guy and a terrible loss. Let's keep our chins up and move forward and hope for the best. God bless Ricky Del Fiorentino too.

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The Fix We Are In—

The GOP puts out blizzards of lies, while the Dems can't seem to find the courage to do much about it, causing me to throw up my hands in despair and remind me of what was impressed on me years ago: Ordinary people will not be able to come together to force positive change until we get a lot closer to the abolition of human labor. Robots are going to have to take away so many more jobs that when people cry out to the government for help, the GOP will respond with their usual "Don't complain to us. You know what it says in the Bible, "He who does not work shall not eat." So go out and find yourself a good job." When that is no longer a good enough answer for ordinary people and they organize to implement more substantive solutions, then positive change will arrive, but not until then. 

Ken Ellis

New Bedford, Massachusetts

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To Whom It May Concern:

I feel it is necessary to inform people living in our county that I am no longer connected to Steven D. Aikin, and am not responsible for any of his actions. I don’t want any misunderstandings now or in the future. 

Best Wishes,

Alise Thomas


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