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Letters (July 24, 2019)

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To the Editor:

In response to the editorial in the Ukiah Daily Journal on Sunday, July, 14, titled, "BOS Needs Changes", I couldn't agree more.

I have a good perspective on how county government works...or doesn't work, as it the case. I've lived in Mendocino County for 20 years, worked for the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, served on three different county grand juries, and served for five years on the Retirement Board overseeing $600 million in pension assets. I served on the board of the successor agency for the county's redevelopment authority. And I've hosted radio shows at KZYX and KMEC, where I've also served on their respective boards of directors.

I've also helped found one of the county's first legal cannabis dispensaries with another former member of the Sheriff's Office.

I love Mendocino County. But sadly our county has become a case study for waste, fraud, and corruption. Why? Because the Board of Supervisors (BOS) has surrendered all authority to a County CEO who runs Mendocino County like a Mafia boss.

Any county employee who challenges the boss is "disappeared" -- their reputation ruined, their career ended. Just look at what happened to Barbara Howe, Director of Public Health. She wasn't only fired, but the county falsified an argument for a temporary restraining order, which was not upheld by the courts.

Barbara Howe was disappeared.

The boss also has a knack for making money disappear. Millions have disappeared in the privatization of county services to friends of the boss, for example, all mental health services. Is the county really getting its money's worth for the many millions of dollars we give Redwood Quality Management Company (RQMC)?

Also, the boss covers her tracks. There is little financial reporting by department. There are no performance reviews by department. There are no required best business practices by department. And audits are weak.

Meanwhile, Mendocino County will be in a deficit mode in 2020. County executives and managers are too numerous, and they are grossly overpaid. County rank and file workers are too few in number, and they are underpaid, overworked, burned out, and long overdue their pay raises. Also, the county's retirement system is underfunded by hundreds of millions of dollars. Underfunded by more than $200 million.

And our county's cannabis farmers have had every obstacle thrown in their path toward legalization, including high, upfront permit fees, even as other counties, like Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz -- and their big commercial growers -- take a leadership position that Mendocino County has historically enjoyed in this multi-billion dollar industry.

Our cannabis farmers -- mostly small family farmers -- pull their hair out in frustration.

So what's the first step?

The BOS needs to fire the CEO, and replace the CEO model of governance with a Chief Administrative Officer or CAO.

And Supervisor John McCowen needs to be voted out in 2020. McCowen is a big part of the problem. He is devious. McCowen slips little-noticed agenda items on to the consent calendar that don't require discussion or a vote by other members of the BOS. He lobbies hard behind the scenes for his own hidden agenda. He is a bully, and appears to work closely with the County CEO.

Supervisor Carre Brown retires in 2020, so she will hopefully also be replaced by a new supervisor who truly wants to govern and not kick the can down the road in the direction of an all-powerful CEO.

Mendocino County! It's time to save yourself!

John Sakowicz


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In the July 12, 2019 issue you printed a paragraph about the death of my cousin Gordon Cameron Hettrick. He did not die of natural causes, he was murdered, shot in the head by either the Plowrights or one of their thieving associates. Why is so obvious. He was curious about the abandoned U-Haul van in the ditch. He went missing shortly after that and his remains were found on our property. We live next door to the Plowrights.

To this day I still say as loudly as I can that if Gordon was a pretty little white girl the Sheriff’s department would have spared no expense to find out who put a bullet in her head. They claim that all cases are treated with equal respect. Prove it and reopen this case and ask the Plowright who is currently incarcerated some real questions.

In closing I want everyone to know that Gordon was one of the kindest, most thoughtful and considerate persons I ever knew and he deserves justice. The world was a better place when he was here and he is missed by all who knew him.

Can you imagine what it feels like to know that in this beautiful valley a murderer may still be walking free and Gordon is not?

Tisha McLeran

Kramer Lane, Philo

ED NOTE: Gordon Hettrick was 57 when he was last seen on the Upper Holmes Ranch late in the afternoon of March 10th, 2007, a Saturday. Ten months later his remains were found off Little Mill Creek, between the Holmes Ranch and Nash Mill. A human skull, some bones and bits of clothing were discovered early Friday afternoon by the owner of the property, Tish McLeran and her husband. Mrs. McLeran said at the time that Hettrick was her cousin, adding, “I’m waiting for the findings of the police before I say anything else because it would be wrong to speculate right now.” Mrs. McLeran emphatically stated her home is not a care home as some neighbors speculated. The Sheriff’s Department, at the time, attributed Hettrick’s death to natural causes via exposure. 

PS: I'm not wed to the official version of Mr. Hettrick's demise, and it's certainly true that the Plowrights, a multi-faceted criminal enterprise, are capable of pretty much anything. But the police found nothing indicating foul play, and here we are.

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I'm writing about this current fad of women, usually younger women but not always, wearing what are called yoga pants or leggings, skintight workout pants accentuating their butts and thighs.

Certainly this clothing is provocative, and obviously more provocative to straight men as opposed to gay men or straight women. At times though I feel that maybe provocative is too tame a word, that these yoga pants come off as slutty.

I was a boy in the 70s and a young man in the 80s during the rise of feminism and I heard some female voices imploring men do not "treat us as objects." I can sympathize with that request just like as a man I do not want to be valued by women solely for my economic status (typically what men are most valued for in my opinion).

So I'm a bit puzzled now that after over 50 years of feminism we have women who go around wearing yoga pants that basically objectify themselves and this is out in general public, not just women going to the gym.

I don't have children, but are most fathers, let's say fathers of college girls, OK with their daughters going out in public with these provocative clothes? I wouldn't be if I were a father.

I'm not married either, but aren't men whose wives wear yoga pants bothered by their wives advertising their "goods" to other men?

I know if I had a girlfriend or wife wearing yoga pants regularly I would be kind of terrified at the type of men (i.e., potential competitors) that she might be attracting — the more primitive, aggressive types of men.

I suppose some people would accuse me of being a prude, but I have never enjoyed being unnecessarily titillated. I believe I am actually less likely to engage with these women who wear yoga pants even if I found them attractive.

Keith Bramstedt

San Anselmo

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I haven't seen much of a display of courage around here lately. We used to witness an act of courage once in awhile. When no one under the Capitol dome wanted to take one take on Big Ag Governor Brown joined Cesar Chavez on his march down Highway 99. The nomination of Rose Bird to Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court. Morse and Gruening voting no on Tonkin Gulf. After 25 years Justice William O. Douglas stating that he had been a damn fool for supporting Japanese relocation. 

In a two-page spread in the Chronicle on the AVA a while back, A Boonville businessman (perhaps recalling AJ Liebling's comment in the New Yorker) was quoted as saying, "It's Anderson's newspaper and he can write anything he wants." It's apparent that during the last couple of years Bruce Anderson has had very little to write nicely about the Democratic Party, individual Democrats and many lefties. It seems like he has decided to get even with them due to the constant criticism during the past 50 years. They put cornflakes in his car’s gas tank which caused constipation in the engine.

I want to help him in his quest for revenge.

We are going to test the courage of all Democratic elected officials in the state. We will place an initiative on the November 2020 ballot prohibiting the possession of semi automatic assault weapons which are primarily used to kill people. This will terrify all elected officials by forcing them to take a stand pro or con. Also included are the 58 County Sheriffs, boards of supervisors, city councils, etc. It is the last thing any of them want. They are all scared shiftless. There is no place to hide and Bruce Anderson will have his revenge and every person in the state will know how these dudes and stand on gun control.

(Written while 90% blind.)

Ralph Bostrom

Northbrook Nursing Home, Willits

PS. Humboldt County Tales: Alexander von Humboldt was going south having a lovely time visiting Redway and Garberville. He'd heard that wild marijuana was growing near Laytonville and wanted to see it. The Laytonville Indians who were a homophobic tribe would not permit Humboldt to visit as he was fruity as cat shit.

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The Democratic Party is the biggest danger to the United States that there is and no foreign country even comes close. They want to take over the United States and change it to their liberal ways. They've had 24 years from Clinton to the weak George W. Bush and then of course the lame duck Obama. That's 24 years to get their foot in the door. 

The liberal teachers union is programming and brainwashing our little kids to be like them. If Hillary Clinton had won we were doomed. But President Trump is doing everything he can to get us back on the right track. In four more years he will probably succeed. Then after him it will be Mike Pence or Donald Trump Jr. and then maybe we will get 24 years to get our country all the way back. 

You rotten liberals and you socialist bastards are not going to win. Why isn't there any resistance in California? Why doesn't anybody stand up to these rotten scumbags? 20 years ago almost all the male boys were castrated at birth. That's why there's no reaction to some of the bad stuff going on. That's why the Liberals have the upper hand in everything. The conservative boys don't have any balls. That's it right there. If we don't stand up it will be socialism and they’ll screw America up so bad that it will never be able to be fixed. Look at those four people they call the squad raving around. They must be on drugs to say the things they do and act like they do. 

Donald Trump is doing his best to make America great again and these people, especially the liberal media who chopped up the fact that he was honoring the 50th year of the moon landing, because President Trump gave it some recognition, they start mouthing off. 

God Bless Donald Trump

Jerry Philbrick


PS. God bless the first responders, the people who give their entire lives trying to help other people. It's amazing how good some people can be. 

PPS. In my little article last week I had something to say about that man in Elk, I don't know his name, Ross Medley or Meldy or something. He wrote some very anti-American stuff in your paper. It was missed I guess. That man should get out of America and not be here using the freedom and all the stuff he can do here. He should go to another country like Siberia, that's where he belongs. 

PPPS. How long do you liberal Democrats out there wish to live in California or the United States? The rest of your life? If you're in your 40s or 50s or 60s? If you do, you better change your ways because we are not going to give up the United States. We are not going to give up the constitution, or our second amendment rights or the First Amendment rights. We won't put up with socialism or communism and if you keep trying people are going to die! This is my prediction. Something has to change because we are not going to give up. Get that through your socialist heads! 

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One of my great weekly pleasures is reading the kick-ass AVA, renown for real content, deep skepticism and incomparable readability. It suits my temperament and need for real stories of thinking people of all persuasions. 

Yesterday I was jazzed by the Off the Record recounting of Jerry Lee Lewis, '60s rock 'n roll icon, not quite up there with the giants — Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Little Richard — but in a class by himself, fueled by non-stop never-say-die energy of 'Great Balls of Fire' & 'Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On — a stark contrast with the staid energy of the prettified grey flannel suit, aprons in the kitchen era of the '50s I came out of.

It took me back to the world-beating era of rock 'n roll with its infinite surprises and quirks like Little Richard, the first out queen, singing about his Ding-A-Ling with unapologetic gusto to the wholesome accompaniment of his audience, shifting verses between girls and boys about 'playing with their own ding-a-lings', assuring them, 'no one's gonna bother you'… And all that. They lifted a generation out of the drab cocoon of Ozzie and Harriet and Frank Sinatra who were doing it their way, not our way.

Well on my way into reverie, I'm jolted to the reality I am holding, which is falling apart with every page I turn with strips of excess paper hanging on the edges, breaking up the momentum of sheer reading enjoyment while I tend to unraveling loose ends. WTF!

No self-respecting publication should allow this sloppy interruption of the AVA experience the readers get from the gift they are holding in their hands. Ask your readers, is this a problem for them or just a child of the '60s making a mountain out of a molehill: 'She must be stoned so pay no attention. Readers know what they're getting for a dollar. This includes the distraction of torn pages flying in the breeze.' 

I appeal to you, upgrade the physical quality to match the intellectual quality of the paper, raise the price accordingly and give us back the undistracted event of pleasure and knowledge we've come to expect from the smashing AVA.

Pebbles Trippet


MS NOTES: For some reason — I will assert old age — I mistakenly didn’t pick up the above letter for last week’s collection, so we are printing it this week, along with the Ms. Trippet’s follow-up complaint alleging censorship and poor paper quality. I apologize for the oversight.

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It is very disappointing that you, as editor, remain self-satisfied censor of sexual expression, especially since it is merely a little risque ditty of one of the great rock n roll singers of the times. Who are you to censor him? Little Richard sang it with the hearty affirmation of his audience who presumably had people who masturbated from time to time amongst them. 

Let it never be said you don't censor, and all to save face for the 'family paper'. If I were in your position, there's nothing you could say that I would ever censor merely because it made me squirm, yet that is what you have done to me. Silence instead of ridicule. Prudes by their nature have a chickenshit streak that is playing out here.

You didn't even have the courtesy to quote from the complaint in my letter regarding the poor quality of the paper you choose for the AVA. Are you afraid to ask your readers, for fear they would agree? Why not simply print my suggestion about the paper? You could say, you're right, we fixed it...or you're wrong, it's a petty complaint or we'd have to raise the price from $1 to be able to afford it.

ED NOTE #2: Do you really think that we would censor your letter because of the phrase “my dingaling”? Jeez, Pebs!


  1. Alyssa July 24, 2019

    Yoga pants are the sensible thing to wear health wise.levi jeans used to be considered sexy like yoga pants back in the pants have good stretch to them ,won’t smash your lymphatic system vessels, so sensibly it’s okay for women to wear them….too bad some people get offended.i will be wearing yoga pants for my health .

  2. John Boehner July 25, 2019

    Re: Yoga pants
    “I believe I am less inclined to interact with these women, no matter how attractive”

    GOOD. Never speak to women again if you can’t keep yourself from popping a boner. Maybe women don’t dress with the consequences of your boner in mind.

    Re: Doesn’t Work

    I’m just saying, restraining orders are public record. Also super gross to use “disappeared” in this case.

  3. Volt Voort July 28, 2019

    Ms. Trippet, the dingaling song was performed by Chuck Berry, not Little Richard. It was released long after the emergence of rock-and-roll. Some sort of confabulation may be at work on your part. Withal, Little Richard deserves acclaim for his courage and outrageousness. Long ago I asked my parents how it was that Liberace and Little Richard were embraced in such a conservative era without aspersions being cast about their sexual penchants, and I was told that as far as most people were concerned, it was all just ‘show biz.’

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