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Letters (July 3, 2019)

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On the coast, we are completely powered by the grid - on very long tethers through forested country. The closest power generation plant to Mendocino County (besides solar), is the Geysers. Distribution lines tend to affect local circuits. A PSPS (Public Safety Power Shutdown) in the Ukiah valley, may not affect the coast as we are fed by circuits from the north and south.

A 60 KV Transmission line feeds Fort Bragg from the North. And a 60 KV feeds Elk; and there’s a 60 KV that feeds Gualala/Sea Ranch. If 2 of these transmission lines are shutdown, the coast is black - roughly 15,000 customers.

Prepare to be shutdown. Make plans for medicines that need cold storage, your medical needs that are dependent on electricity. Keep your car gassed up and emergency food and water stashes. Keep your devices charged. And be aware that many cell towers do not have extended battery backups so cell communications may fail.

If it doesn’t happen, GREAT!

If it does happen, BE PREPARED.

Kathy Wylie


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Dear Supervisor Gjerde:

(The following open letter was originally directed to Fourth District Supervisor Dan Gjerde with copies to the remaining supervisors.)

I am directing this open letter to you because you appeared to be the swing vote when the Board of Supervisors agreed at its meeting of June 18, 2019, to retain original jurisdiction of land use matters pertaining to the Harris Quarry on Ridgewood Grade just off U. S. 101. (I also am sending copies to all the other board members and local news media.)

As discussed in detail below, I believe the board took that action after receiving erroneous and unrebutted information from the applicant owners of Harris Quarry. When I stood up at the June 18 meeting and attempted to tell the board that it was being deceived, the chair of the board refused to recognize me. 

Accordingly, I now ask that the board reconsider this matter in light of the truth regarding the very significant and complex issues regarding the application to expand Harris Quarry and to build an asphalt production plant onsite.

As you know, the authority for the board to retain such original jurisdiction on land use matters rather than routing them through the planning commission is provided by Sec. 2.54.010 of the Mendocino County Code, which states in pertinent part:

“… the Board of Supervisors hereby deems it appropriate and necessary to reserve to itself the functions of the planning agency when time is of the essence with respect to any permit or approval, based on the project's special contribution to the County's general welfare and economic or environmental well-being, including, but not limited to, projects that provide substantial employment opportunities, support necessary government services, and involve County-wide infrastructure improvements....”

Please note that the first condition to be met before the board has legal authority to take such action is that “time is of the essence,” i.e., that there is some compelling time-related reason to speed up the land-use planning process. To satisfy this essential and primary condition, both the attorney for Harris Quarry and the quarry manager testified that the quarry would be required to shut down, probably in July, when it reached the 75,000 cubic yard annual production limit imposed by its original conditional use permit.

This claim that the quarry’s closure is imminent is patently false; by order of the Mendocino County Superior Court, that 75,000 cubic yard production limit may not be imposed.

As you know, Judge Richard Henderson signed a Peremptory Writ of Mandate on December 21, 2015, concluding a years-long legal battle between the owners of Harris Quarry and a group called Keep the Code. (A copy of the writ is attached to the original of this letter for your convenience.)

The first two paragraphs of the writ are immaterial to the matters now at issue, but Paragraph 3 of the proposed writ presented to Judge Henderson would have required that the county “Prohibit quarrying activities at Harris Quarry in excess of the rate of 75,000 cubic yards per year allowed under Harris Quarry’s previous conditional use permit (#UR 19-83/95).”

However, Judge Henderson struck out this provision before signing the writ, and his actions subsequently were affirmed by the Court of Appeal. By this action, it appears that the quarry is not now being operated pursuant to the previous conditional use permit, at least in terms of the production limit it imposed, but under the terms of the judge’s order, which set no production limit at all.

Accordingly, there is no threat that the quarry will have to be shut down in July or at any other time, and the requirement set out in Sec. 2.54.010 that “time is of the essence” has not been met. Thus the board has no legal justification to bypass normal planning procedures and the considerable expertise of the planning commission.

I ask that you therefore take whatever actions are necessary to place this matter back on the board’s agenda for reconsideration in order to avoid the necessity of my seeking injunctive relief from the courts to rectify this error.


Joe Knight


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The library staff took real offense at last week's column and took real action, banning me for 30 days or "until County provides an official response per Karen Horner. Who and what is Karen Horner?

They claimed I was not only sexually harassing them but inciting others to behave likewise. Apparently I "fetishised" the stereotype of the deceptively sexy librarian. My mistake was naming Ukiah library specifically, but dang it, it's SOP for small-town papers to name-check the citizenry as often as possible. 

I also presumed (not sure why) that not only would everyone understand my tone, intent, and character, but that any wobblers in the area of sexism and PC would fall my way by dint of my reputation. I guess I just thought of my space as being safe, in the way of the tumblings of adolescents and puppies-there'll be some roughhousing, but no one really gets hurt.

I feel literally sick that someone felt threatened by me and thinks of me as some kind of drooling raincoated lecher haunting schoolyards and public pools. I would rather be thought of as a...anything, really, than a perv. I always make a conscious effort when interacting with women to make absolutely sure that any thoughts regarding their physical being do not betray themselves with untoward leers, ogles, or even glances. I look into their eyes, I keep a respectful distance and my hands to myself, and I don't offer unsolicited compliments. I am, in short, a gentleman.

The 30-day ban may as well be life, because I'm not going back in there until there's been a complete staff turnover — no way could I walk in there under their accusatory eyes, and if you know me at all, you know that's pretty much the worst thing that could happen to me short of major amputation. I have written three different pieces about libraries and how much I love them. It's like Starbucks to young professionals, Walmart to Juggalos and Nascar fans, the Forest Club to Bruce McEwen. Where there hell will I go now to bide a wee, the courthouse?

If anyone has an opinion about this after reading the piece, I'd appreciate hearing it.

Oh yeah, Bruce and Mark-aren't you supposed to be protecting me from myself? What else is an editor for, anyhow? I am of course kidding. If murder threats on the letters page are permissible, you're not going to let a little sexual harassment interfere with the first amendment. If the paper has also been subject to any rebuke or censure, I am very sorry.

Flynn Washburne


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Dear Editor,

RE your comment questioning the inclusion of the sex scene in your nephew's film: In a recent issue of The Atlantic, in a very long and detailed article on the sex lives of Millenials ("What's Causing the Sex Recession? Sex On the Decline: Why are Young People Having Less Sex?" by Caroline Kitchener, 11/14/18) it stated that many of them confess to learning "how to have sex" from porn films on-line... most of which depict sex as an aggressive and fairly violent act on the part of the male. YUCK!! 

The sex scene in Robert Mailer Anderson's new film "Windows On The World" shows how sex can be a tender, caring and sensual act, and in that respect, as a teaching aid for young people, I applaud its inclusion in the film! 

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, by the way, and hope to see it again. It's really an important story to tell, and I hope it gets wide circulation. 

Nancy MacLeod


Ed Reply: The reason I complained is that they exhibit a lack of imagination on the director's part and, to the rest of us — excluding committed voyeurs — a visual cliche since few contempo movies are without them. Two handsome young people meet early in the film, and when the inevitable occurs a half hour later you groan to yourself as the actors feign carnality while you wait for the narrative to resume. Given the innocent peasant-comes-to-the-debauched-city theme of ‘Windows on the World,’ I would have begun the obligatory boff like every other sex scene begins then, suddenly, the girl would say, "Time out. I've got to carb-load before I work out. Wait here. I'll be right back."

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Dear Editor

Once again the BS is arriving in the mail, this time in the form of "Protect the Proposition 13 tax cuts which have saved elderly home owners." In this self-congratulatory plea for funds, there is no mention made that the primary beneficiaries of these "save the homeowner" tax cuts are multi-national and other corporations, owners of apartment buildings and LANDLORDS. If the Proposition had been written to protect homeowners, it would have excluded non-owner occupied homes, but it does not. 

I bought a house in San Francisco in 1968, but moved to Mendocino County in 1969. Years later my taxes on that house were, if I remember correctly, about $400/year. Not only did the more recent buyers of duplicate Victorians on either side of me, owner occupied, pay over $3000/year, but the rent on my house (35% BELOW market) had increased 10-fold. It is true that when I sold the property, I paid taxes, but that was at a capital gains rate. As a landlord, I reaped the benefit of this so called "help the poor homeowner's measure.” Imagine someone who owns multiple properties or an apartment building/complex! 

But the major beneficiaries are the corporations. When they sell themselves or are bought out (think Pacific Bell becoming AT&T or the corporation that owns the Mendocino Hotel), Prop 13 allows them NOT to be re-appraised because the real estate is not changing hands, the assets of the corporation are changing hands. 

Sweet deal, hey? 

So the California government at every level has lost tax revenue which has led to our crumbling infrastructure and the proliferation of parcel taxes, an end run around Prop 13, where the burden falls on the individual parcel owner equally whether the parcel is a vacant, unbuildable (perhaps) lot or the Transamerica Pyramid or a Hilton Hotel. 

Oh, I forgot to mention the diminished services, like roads, fire protection, libraries, health care — thank you Mr. Jarvis for your help. (This is sarcasm). 

Taxpayer relief indeed! And these f***ers want us to send them money. 

Peter Lit


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Converting the Northwestern Pacific Railroad line through the Eel River canyon into the Great Redwood Trail will be some feat. According to the books written about the NWP, that hundred mile stretch of track was, per mile, the most expensive railroad line in the entire country to maintain. Every year slides buried the tracks, and washouts left tracks hanging in mid-air. 

Since the last train ran 15 or 20 years ago, the right of way has suffered immense damage. Between Willits, the proposed start of the trail, and Longvale on the Covelo Road, there is a collapsed tunnel. Between Longvale and Dos Rios, there is a massive quarter-mile-long slide where the mountain came down into the Eel River, burying the tracks and destroying the right of way. You can see it from the Covelo Road. A mile north of Dos Rios is another large slide, and a mile north of that is a collapsed tunnel, with no way around it. That’s as far as I hiked, with another 80 miles to go. 

Between Dos Rios near the start of the trail, and Alderpoint, about half way to the end, 56 miles, there are no public roads to access the trail. In the middle of that 56 mile wilderness, the trail will go through the Island Mountain tunnel, a mile long! If someone is hurt or in trouble, I doubt there is much cell service out there. The biggest threat is that some careless hiker will make a campfire or light a match and set the entire canyon ablaze. 

This is a foolish project. The good news, I guess, is that it never will get built. 

LC Lewis


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Here are 10 reasons for barbecuing veggie burgers and hot dogs this Independence Day:

Focusing on traffic and fireworks safety, rather than food safety.

Giving your eyes a break from reading government food warning labels.

Not sweating nasty E. coli and salmonella bugs, if temperature is too low.

Not sweating cancer-causing compounds, if barbecue temperature is too high.

Not wondering about what’s really in that burger or hot dog you’re chewing.

Giving your body a holiday from saturated fat, cholesterol and hormones.

Not sweating the animal cruelty and environmental devastation guilt trips.

Not having to explain to your kids why we feed Rex and eat Babe.

Distinguishing your Independence Day menu from your friends’ and neighbors’.

Celebrating a day of independence from the meat industry.

Larry Rogawitz

Santa Rosa

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PG&E’s announced plan for shutting off the electricity is the most spectacularly stupid idea I have ever heard.  The amount of deaths that will occur among seniors and infants will dwarf the 85 deaths that happened in last year’s Butte County fire.  The monetary loss from food spoilage will be in the multi millions of dollars.  How do you stay cool, not everyone has transportation?  My guess is that it would happen only one time because the public outrage and attendant lawsuits would be overwhelming.  I can’t believe that the governor and the rest of our politicians are dumb enough to let PG&E go through with idiotic plan, but you never know.

Fred Alexander


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Wednesday June 19 at the Ukiah City Council meeting the audience, including the council and staff, were treated to a dire alert by two PG&E representatives. When certain environmental risk factors reach red flag conditions PG&E will unilaterally shut down electrical service to wide geographical areas. These blackouts will last for indeterminate periods as long as five days or even more repeated as factors dictate. 

The implied message to everybody is “prepare for it, get used to it, and get over it.”

The stark collective facial expression of city officials was sad resignation. The City of Ukiah staff guaranteed that they will do everything they can to ensure the safety of their public; and be assured there will be additional community heroes doing all they can, as usual. One official attempted to sugar-coat this potential unilaterally imposed catastrophe by lecturing the public to treat this as practice for the real thing. Condescending and insensitive as this comment was, it slaps us all in the face that there are no other choices while at the same time begging many questions.

Five-day blackouts will rain down misery, medical risks, and possible business mortalities on communities served by this flawed monolithic utility.  What additional liability is PG&E bringing upon itself?

In the life-span of this company our country has witnessed incredible advancements in technology. An American has golfed on the moon, self-driving cars are a reality, Siri is in our living rooms, and AI driven technology surrounds us. It’s the 21st Century. Is it too much to ask that our power grids move beyond being fire hazards?  How far in the future are power grid infrastructures made of new stronger space age materials with instantaneous safety shut-offs?

Maybe the most important question should be:  is PG&E’s business model of prioritizing executive bonuses and happy stockholders over investment in safety research and development fatally flawed, risking public safety?  Is reality finally knocking on their door?

Don Crawford


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I can't believe what's happening to Tai A. I won't spend a lot of time taking space up ranting and raving about the unfair tactics in the District Attorney's office. Some guys deserve life in prison. I can admit today that I am one of them. The counties of Sonoma, Mendo, Humboldt, Lake, Napa, Solano are better off with me in here. I admit that I took a minute, but I am a bad guy through and through. It's in my blood. But Tai? Let him go. A lot of guys fake the groups and the self-help and manipulate staff and the system. I' see it every day. In the five years I've been gone: three assaults, two batteries with great bodily injury and conspiracy to introduce drugs and distribute.

They finally kicked me out of High Desert and that's a place for “bad guys.” Tai doesn't fit in. He helps people. He is always trying to pass on a positive piece of advice. I should have listened. I don't think he's ever been in a fight or said a cross word. What planet did he come from. This is prison. Where is the justice in keeping him in here? I just don't get it.

My "brother" Chris Skaggs is out on the streets. He promised he would take care of me when he got out. Ha ha. I will be holding my breath — not. Someone will give him a hot shot before he ever does anything for me. And that's fine. I don't need anything from him.

My family loves me and visits me but even they are probably somewhat relieved that I am in here. They don't have to worry about some cop killing me or some tweaker blowing my brains out. It's crazy how I can adjust, adapt and overcome.

Anyway, to my brother Tai: I will see you again. I am level 4 again and don't plan on dropping my points. Just know I got love for you and an undying hate for your oppressors. You will be free some day even though you are already free inside. My advice to you is something you already know: you are a good man, stay that way, you deserve good things, freedom, love, family, happiness. Don't let them take that from you, brother. You are really someone who doesn't belong here, so they just have to let you go. Keep the faith.

Your friend,

Walter Miller AE 5304


Box 4610, Lancaster, CA 93539

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God bless the Oregon people who stood up for their rights and squashed the bill the Democrats are pushing up there to have a CARB situation like the California Air Resources Board. It has ruined Northern California basically as far as truckers go. It's okay to have pollution control in cities and congested areas but not all of Northern California. If you go from Petaluma across the state to the Nevada border above Sacramento then down the east side of the valley all the way to the Mexican border including the good people in the Sierra Nevadas there is no pollution. Never will be. It’s is a smog free area. 

The rotten California Democrats and Mary Nichols exclusively have shut all the trucks down except the ones she thinks should stay. The new trucks with the newfangled bullshit on them are running down underpasses on Highway 5 and killing all the animals on the edge of the road. Nothing left. Sickening. God bless the Oregon people. Maybe somebody in California will wake up and do something about it like Oregon did, but I doubt it.

California citizens are weak compared to other countries and other states. California could have pushed back like Oregon did on the second amendment and the screwed up Democrats gun laws that destroyed the lives of lots of people. In other countries if something is wrong they do something about it. In California they just lay down and lick their chops. Oh, I will get welfare and I will get this and that and free medical for illegals and free this and free that and free heroin shots for dope addicts.  Oregon showed what people can do if they rise up. Not make threats about setting the whole state on fire or doing something like but to retaliate and use ourselves and push back against these sorry bastards.

If I was 30 or 40 years old again, I would be willing to risk my life to push back against the rotten Democrats who are trying to do away with the Second Amendment and attacking the Constitution and our God-given rights. They sit up there looking at the bent over Californians who continue to work and pay the taxes that are outrageous and do the things that these rotten Democrats have control over. A couple thousand could rush the capitol and demand they change some things that would be good things. Yeah. Huh? I'm sure some of you think I'm crazy but I'm not. I'm just sticking up for my rights and I wish other people would stick up for theirs.

That rotten school in San Francisco wants to erase a mural of George Washington from the wall. They had 100% vote on and it passed including Gavin Loosen Gruesome Newsom. And Nancy Pelosi okayed it and all the Democrats okayed it. Isn't that something? The father of his country taken off the wall. That's sad. Anti-Americanism to the most.

The Republican Party of California is a joke. They have about $350,000 in their account. The Democrats have $11 million. Sad. There must be at least 1 million Republicans in California.If they would put $10 toward the Republican Party that would be $10 million. But the Republicans are so out of touch with reality that it's no wonder that the liberal Democrats have the upper hand. I'm not sorry to be an American. But I'm sorry to be a Republican.

God bless Donald Trump. 

Jerry Philbrick 


PS. Open borders. Illegal aliens.  Sanctuary state. Driver’s licenses for illegals. Medical care for illegals. Liberal Democrats want illegals flocking over here by the thousands. Open borders. Every illegal alien that can get in the United States. For the votes. They don't care that some of those people want to kill us. They come in by the thousands from all different countries. Some of them want to kill us. It’s a matter of time. Not if, but when. A suicide bomber straps on a suicide belt or two or three and they get in a busy street in New York or San Francisco. Maybe the Capitol building in Sacramento. That would be worth considering. It's going to happen. The Democrats will be responsible. I want to see what the American people do when about 400-500 people get killed in some bomb blast. Huh? Think about that. Liberal Democrats will be responsible. From now on. They believe in that kind of stuff. Illegal borders sanctuary aliens and everything that will go wrong for America. What's stopping someone who wants to kill infidels which they say we are from going into a Safeway in Fort Bragg, Willits, Ukiah, no security, with their belts on on a busy day when people are crowded in there. Hundreds of people. Boom! Huh?  How bout that? I always look around when I go in there but I can't see everywhere. Someone can come in and set a backpack down and walk out and dial a number. There wouldn't be a 2x4 left. That's what lots of these border crossers want to do to us infidels, kill us. Thanks to the Democrats they might succeed.

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