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Letters (November 6, 2019)

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Dear Valley Folks:

Once again you’ve stepped up in our time of need.  The fundraiser for an engine on Signal Ridge was magnificent.  We reached and exceeded our goal of $15,000.  A big “Thank you” to all who contributed.  There are a few special thanks to the following:  Anne Fashauer for the venue, Firefighters Association, Julie Hunter-Howell, and Van Williams for the tasty food, a lot of local wineries for delicious wines, the Brewery for fine beer, Julie Winchester for her majestic cakes, and W. Dan Houck for his live auction skills, just to name a few.  The helpers:  Fal Allan, Jen Peters, Angela DeWitt, Tony Pardini, Robin and Anne Marie Bird, Greenwood Aggregates, Jeff and Sally Anne Gindra, Patty Liddy, Shawn Mullens, Fred and Autumn Ehnow, Deanna Apfel, and the Grange.  If we’ve missed your name know that it was an oversight on our part and we apologize.

We couldn’t have accomplished this without you, again a big THANK YOU.

Olie Erickson, Indefatigable Firefighter

Kyle Clarke, President, AVVFFA  

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Re: Fred Gardner's Loma Prieta article and media coverage of the quake:

I was living in Davis at the time the Loma Prieta quake happened and the shaking there was strong but I saw no damage in town. In the hours and first few days after the quake I watched quite a bit of national TV network coverage, mostly ABC and CBS. In the first place the words the networks and a CBS radio in San Francisco used to describe the 50-75 foot section of the Bay Bridge collapsing made it seem at least to me as if a much worse structural failure had occurred. I don't remember if they used a blanket statement like "the Bay Bridge has collapsed," but when I first saw what had actually happened it was not nearly as bad as what I had imagined.

Also, the TV networks focused their coverage on all the most badly damaged areas in the Bay Area — the Cyprus overpass in Oakland, the Bay Bridge, and the Marina District in San Francisco — which might have led viewers across the country to assume that damage across the Bay Area was widespread.

In reality, other than bad damage in downtown Santa Cruz and Watsonville (which they avoided showing probably because the networks didn't want to send news trucks down there), the above-mentioned places were the only badly damaged areas in the Bay Area. About three days after the quake I spent a few days at my parents’ place in Marin County where I saw no damage. I came to the conclusion that this was an example of sensationalism, the media trying to make a disaster look worse than it really is to draw in more viewers.

Also, I was living in Marin in October of 1991 when the Oakland Hills firestorm destroyed about 3,000 residences and I believe had a higher financial cost then Loma Prieta, but Dan Rather and Peter Jennings did not come out here for that disaster.

I suppose for most of America a California earthquake is much more exciting than an urban fire.

Keith Bramstead

San Anselmo

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PG&E is claiming it may require 10 years to fix its system so the public safety power shutoffs can come to an end. It is more than inconvenient — more than just no TV or internet, no heat or air conditioning, no cooking in our house. We can’t easily plan to keep food cold, let alone frozen. An easy $200 loss. Standby power costs thousands. This is a huge incentive to leave California. Should one utility provider destroy quality of life in California for a decade?

Jim Maney

Santa Rosa

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Dear Editor: 

I share your addiction. I do two sets of a hundred. I also like bench presses, pull-ups, arm curls, quad sets and ab crunches in my garage gym. My daily motto is "When in doubt, work out". If I need impetus to maintain this compulsion I go to Wal-Mart and observe people 20 years younger than me (I"m 77) in wheelchairs on oxygen. If more people would take your advice to heart there'd be no pharm commercials on television and health care would not be a national emergency and a political firestorm. Not long ago I bought a preacher curl bench from Amazon. I received an email from Amazon this morning requesting an answer to a question a "fellow customer" had about the product. "Is it black or dark grey?", he asked. It seems mental health's a bitch too. 

Best Regards, 

Denis Rouse.

Sequim, Washington

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Cheers to Eva Chrysanthe for writing about the 1934 SF General Strike and Harry Bridges. We add the fact that fellow worker Bridges was a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) during the 1920s. This attempt at industrial unionism and working class solidarrity preceeded the CIO of the 30s. Bridges and many of the waterfront militants brought that spritit to the 1934 strikes.

The ILWU was a factor in the demonstrations for peace, racial justice and against the House Unamerican Activities Committee (HUAC) in the late 50s and 60s. Harry Bridges fell in and out of love with the communist party — however my old Wobbly mentor thought.. “He remained a union man.”

Another note: During the strike the California governor asked Roosevelt for federal troops to break the strike. He refused! The bosses never forgave him.

Alan ‘Captain Fathom’ Graham


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Dear Editor,

I’ve had some thoughts and concerns regarding the recent power outages and public perception of PG&E in general.

Beginning with the Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) that have been greatly criticized and questioned in some circles. I think some critics are failing to recognize some of the ugly realities that have to be dealt with in this situation. In my opinion, the PSPSs are really the only way to immediately mitigate this most recent threat from mega fires in Northern California. The option of undergrounding all powerlines would take an extremely long time, probably many decades to accomplish and would cost us, the rate payers, an unimaginable amount of money. In addition, I understand there may well be significant technical issues with undergrounding the main high voltage transmission lines which have sometimes been the ignition source for these fires. 

I think most people are unaware of the limited control PG&E has over their powerline right-of-ways. In most cases they are relatively narrow, between 10 and 20 feet from centerline. They have no authority to mitigate hazards such as dead, dying or just heavily leaning trees outside of that distance. In Northern California trees in forested areas routinely exceed 100 feet in height. It also routinely occurs that when one tree falls it falls into and knocks other trees down. Tree tops and limbs also routinely are blown out of standing trees and may travel from outside of the right-of-way into the lines causing a fire. While PG&E can and should be held accountable for how they maintain their equipment and trees in the right-of-way, I really don’t think it’s reasonable or fair to fault them for things they have no control over.

Our governor has unfavorably compared PG&E’s failure to invest in better infrastructure that permits faster, more narrowly targeted power shutdowns with one of their Southern California competitors who has done so to good effect. While this may well be a fair criticism, it should also be recognized that these late season mega-fires burning through major populated areas in Northern California have largely been a very recent phenomenon while Southern California has had a much longer experience with major fires resulting from the famous Santa Ana winds. 

In the 30 plus years that I have been involved with the fire service, the Oakland Hills fire in 1991 was the only comparable event and that was started by a small wildland fire that was controlled but not completely extinguished the preceding day. 

My point is that while PG&E may be fairly criticized for failure to upgrade, it should be done with the perspective that we are largely dealing with a new set of circumstances that have created a much greater threat to large populated areas than previously existed in Northern California. PG&E is struggling to rapidly put measures in place to provide reduced risk and, in my opinion, it is understandable that they are not getting it exactly right there first time out. I would expect that they will refine both the shut downs and the process of reenergizing to be faster and more efficient in the future. 

Regardless of one’s opinion of PG&E’s management decisions and action or inaction in the recent past, it is wholly unfair and counterproductive to hold PG&E field workers responsible for the problem in any way. I’m reasonably sure they played no part in the decision making process but they are doing everything they can to reduce the risk and inconvenience to us by working long hours sometimes in hazardous conditions. They are caught in the middle and we should appreciate their position. At a minimum they should not be verbally personally attacked and the reported physical attacks on them are absolutely counterproductive and unfair. For myself, I have made a point of telling the PG&E workers I’ve encountered that I appreciate their long hours and extraordinary efforts to keep us safe and minimize the inconvenience of power outages.

Colin Wilson


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Dear Editor,

I like your style. I have it on good authority that the City of Ukiah is penalizing workers who were displaced by the Kincade fire. Workers who could not come to their offices in Scroogetown because 101 was closed and they were under mandatory evacuation, must now expend their vacation time for days missed. They haven't suffered enough, apparently. Enter the City of Ukiah, which has found a way to fix these Crachits for living the high life on the floor of some evacuation center. Taking away their vacation days: now isn't that mean? 

Yours truly,

Richard Bucci,

Brooklyn New York

UKIAH MAYOR MAUREEN MULHEREN REPLIES: Thank you! I don't know who they could be talking about but I will follow up. We were able to keep operations running as normal but if an employee needed to use time because they couldn't be at work they should have been able to. Thanks again for sending it over. (Ed Note: We’re waiting.)

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These fires are not caused by PG&E. They are caused by Jerry Brown and people retaliating against the Democratic rotten illiberal regimes spreading across this country. It's not over yet. If the weather doesn't change the whole state will be on fire. 

Donald Trump is draining the swamp and doing what he said he would do, including getting rid of Bag Daddy in Isis. President Trump will never allow this to be a socialist country. If not him, then Donald Trump Jr. We cannot have another Democrat President or House. 

I know I'm right about everything but there are no conservatives backing me up. They are afraid of the liberals. Afraid to speak up. I'm disappointed. I'm disgusted. Makes me want to puke. They are even afraid to wear a Trump hat. It's sickening. 

God bless Donald Trump. 

Jerry Philbrick Comptche 

PS. I heard local law enforcement will not cooperate with ICE. Not all illegals should be deported; the good ones should be left alone. But the felons with records as criminals should be deported. One of the best Sheriffs we ever had here was Reno Bartolomei, tough but fair. He would not let illegal immigrants stay in this country if they were criminals. He would work with ICE. When Tom Allman's time is up I recommend Greg Stefani. I know he retired but he has a lot of good years left in him. He would make a great sheriff. 

PPS. American teachers are spending more time teaching little kids how to be anti-Americans than math or English or history. Mendocino High School is 100% liberal. Fort Bragg, 80% liberal. Ukiah 80% liberal. Willits 90% liberal. Point Arena, Anderson Valley — I don't know. 90% of our school system is controlled by liberals and they teach kids how to be rotten anti-Americans. If something is not done about this we are screwed. 

Ed note: Undocumented Mendo people arrested for felonies are reported to ICE, and it's up to ICE what to do with them.

One Comment

  1. Pat Kittle November 12, 2019

    “Undocumented” is one of those goofy euphemisms so beloved by the SJW’s who make them up.

    It’s perfectly OK to call illegal aliens what they are — illegal aliens. That’s not a slur, except to those who think they can make up their own definitions of standard English, and the rest of us have to submit to their BS.

    Not only is “undocumented” a pretentious clumsy clunker of a word — it’s also a lie. Rarely are illegals “undocumented” — they are almost always STOLEN documented and/or FORGED documented.

    And you know it, Bruce. So ban me if you can’t handle the truth.

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