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Letters (Sep. 25, 2019)

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Mighty AVA,

On June 7, 2016, Mendocino County voters approved Measure V, declaring intentionally-killed and left-standing trees a public nuisance. At issue was the local timber industry practice of poisoning millions of trees and then leaving them to die in our forests. The Measure's intent was to address the additional fire (and firefighter) hazard that results from this practice. It did not prohibit the practice of poisoning trees (aka hack-and-squirt) but merely asked practitioners to clean up the mess and not leave an ever-expanding fire hazard in their wake. Measure V passed by overwhelming majority, the will and desire of the people was clear.

One month later (July 6, 2016), Dennis Thibeault (Mendocino Redwood Company VP) sent a letter to Carmel Angelo (Mendocino County CEO) claiming that timber operators were "exempt from a public nuisance determination" and the county lacked "authority to adopt any ordinance restricting its practice." This little bit of corporate saber-rattling was all it took to frighten the County into inaction on the newly passed Measure.

Nine months later (March 2017), after residents continued to complain to county officials about their inaction on V, Mendocino County Counsel Katherine Elliot came up with the buck-passing tactic of soliciting the state Attorney General's office for an opinion on the matter, asking: "Does state law preempt the enforcement of a county ordinance that declares 'intentionally killed and left standing trees' to be a public nuisance?"

Two-and-a-half years went by before the AG's office finally responded: "With regret, we must cancel your request for an opinion on the following question: ‘A county ordinance declares certain intentionally killed trees that are left standing to be a public nuisance. Is such an ordinance preempted by state forestry law governing the conduct of timber operations — specifically the Z'berg-Nejedly Fprest Practic [sic] Act of 1973 or the California Timberland Productivity Act of 1982?’ Unfortunately, we discovered late in our internal vetting process that we should withdraw from the matter in order to avoid a risk of a conflict of interest arising. We are sorry that we are not able to produce an official opinion on your question. Thank you for your interest and understanding."

More than three years have passed since voters declared this practice a public nuisance. The timber industry says they can ignore our law, and continue to leave dead trees in their wake. During the two full years (2017, 2018) since Measure V became law, the timber industry distributed 1,984 gallons of imazapyr (the herbicide used for hack-and-squirt) over 14,082 acres in Mendocino County. That's enough poison to kill 2,503,146 nine-inch diameter trees. Meanwhile, Mendocino County officials continue to cower and do nothing.

This is a complete failure of democracy. These entities, business and government, have no respect for the will of the people. We're going to have to insist.

Mike Kalantarian


PS/Legal note: Countering MRC’s claim of exemption is this passage from CA Government Code, Sec. 51115.5: "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, timber operations conducted within a timber production zone pursuant to the provisions of the Zberg-Nejedly Forest Practice Act of 1973 (Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 4511) of Division 4 of the Public Resources Code) shall not constitute a nuisance, private or public." 

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Mariposa was a place

the teachers called a school,

but all the people who went there

were different kinds of fools.

The parents were because they paid

to get their children learned,

but later they and kids found out

that really they got burned.

Some students got to play the fool

when they were made to say

the favorite PC storyline

the teachers preached that day.

Other students got to have  

a different kind of fate

when fooling teachers led them off

to lose the game of rape.

The people living in the town

are taught the place was cool,

but once they read this poem,

they will know that they’ve been fooled.

But the biggest prize of all

for being stupid fools

goes to Mariposa teachers

who think they ran a real school!

Mary Innes


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PG&E’s website says it plans to clear vegetation, inspect power lines and install sensors and cameras to reduce fire danger in at-risk areas. They should consider how fully they have carried out these plans when deciding whether to follow through on other announced plans to cut power to huge swaths of Northern California for days at a time. PG&E’s own level of preparation should be added to the factors of high temperature, high winds and low humidity in its decision-making algorithm.

If PG&E lines in an area have been properly inspected and cleared, it seems that the power should be maintained on red flag days in order to monitor conditions away from power lines, facilitate any needed emergency communications and maintain safe traffic conditions for any evacuations.

It is possible that PG&E will not have been able to reach the desired level of preparation and prevention in a given area, and the draconian shut-off plan will need to be implemented in acknowledgment of that. But such a major disruption should be put into action only after careful consideration of all relevant factors, including PG&E’s fulfillment of its responsibilities to the public.

Ellen Silge


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The bankruptcy judge should order PG&E to forgo any profits until it has updated its technology, hardened all power lines in fire-prone areas and caught up with all the maintenance it has neglected over the past 30 years. We would not be in this fix if PG&E had been honest and fair with its ratepayers.

Ron Parker


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I often read of the desperate need for housing, which I certainly understand after the fires. What I can’t fathom is the proliferation of Airbnbs allowed when such a need exists.

There is a neighborhood nearby that appears to have as many vacation rentals as permanent homes, which is really affecting the quality of that neighborhood. The cost of becoming an exclusion zone in unincorporated areas (no new vacation rentals) is prohibitive. It seems as long as the Board of Supervisors allows the rampant use of homes as vacation rentals the need for housing will worsen.

Beth Leibbrandt


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Hey you CARB and climate control lovers, how come with all these raging fires we’ve had in the last few years, where did the smoke go? Did it stay here? No! It went into the atmosphere, gone forever! You people don't realize what you are saying! You liberal Democrats are leading the American people on for yourself, money, and screwing everybody else at the same time. Al Gore started it. He made billions and everybody he touched made billions and the conservative people stood there looking amazed. The Democrats robbed the citizens of California and the United States. The atmosphere will swallow anything that we can stir up. Mother Nature will take care of whatever it needs to take care of with a big storm or a big wind. So quit putting people on the hook for climate change! 

Bill Clinton was in office for eight years and gave the Liberals everything they wanted. Eight years of George Bush was almost as bad. Then we got Barack Obama who gave the liberals everything they wanted including climate change and global warming. So that's why we had the big rally around the world on climate change. They had 24 years to build on this. 24 years! It's the biggest hoax in the world ever! When the Republicans get 24 years to come back on them it's going to be a different story, believe me. You people out there who are rallying for climate change are so brainwashed and so undernourished that it's impossible to describe it. Mother Nature will take care of anything we have going on in the United States. Or maybe Mother Nature will make it go wrong. But human beings won’t. No. No! It's all a liberal hoax on the American people. I can just see Mother Nature floating around out there in space looking down on these crowds assembling to demonstrate against or for climate control for the Democrats and for the Democrats only. Mother Nature is saying, “You stupid sons of bitches. You will find out.” 

Gavin Newsom and his administration is being rejected by the American people of California. He will be out of office within the next year. Petitions are going around all over the state to get him impeached. Donald Trump came to San Francisco for a couple days. He puked when he looked at San Francisco and LA. He said it was unacceptable. He is going to sic the EPA on everybody in California. The state of California was begging for federal money, he said no, no, no, no. No! He rejected or took away the CARB initiative emission controls that Barack Obama put on and now there will be federally ruled emission controls which will make it possible to drive cars and make it easier to drive cars and you won't smell that stink anymore when you get behind one. Oh boy. 

You Democrats have screwed up everything you have touched when it comes to running the country. Why do we have to put up with liberal Democrats who hate the standard and way of law enforcement? They allow criminals to flow into our country and settle down in California and make themselves at home. Why do we have to have liberal Democrats who make laws where you have to do background checks to buy ammunition? Stupid laws like the Gavin Newsom administration makes. I would like to see every sheriff in every county get together and then go to the Capitol building in Sacramento and say, Hey enough is enough, and then I would like to see the government go out into the country and say no more anti-Americans. This is it. Enough is enough. I don't care what you believe in but if you’re an anti-American you're done. 

God bless Donald Trump for four more years.

Jerry Philbrick



  1. Pat Kittle September 25, 2019

    As a wise soul once observed, we don’t have a “housing shortage,” we have a people longage.

    Americans have stopped over-breeding.

    We have no obligation to open our borders to every over-breeder on Earth, just because obscenely powerful Israel lobby traitors (HIAS, SPLC, ADL, ACLU, etc., ad nauseum) demand for us what they oppose for their precious little Terrorist Theocracy of Israel.

    That’s right, call me “anti-Semitic” for stating FACTS.

    Then show me anything I stated that isn’t true, and (assuming you fail to get the editor to ban me) I will either…
    a) back up what I say, or…
    b) thank you for correcting me if you show me where I’m wrong.

    I seriously doubt if anyone will dare take me up on this.

    — [ ]

  2. izzy September 26, 2019

    Considering the context, one is reminded of the perennial question:

    “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

  3. lana November 27, 2019

    We have no obligation to open our borders to every over-breeder on Earth, just because obscenely powerful Israel lobby traitors (HIAS, SPLC, ADL, ACLU, etc., ad nauseum) demand for us what they oppose for their precious little Terrorist Theocracy of Israel.

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