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Letters (November 20, 2019)

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(Originally posted on November 2. Now again with Reply #2)

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 Reply #1 (two weeks ago): 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.)

Reply #2 (Friday): Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. We did identify the employee and the team was going to work through it with that individual. Thanks again for bringing it to my attention. 

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Dear Editor,

I’m confused. Should I vote or not? I’m old enough now to see that it seems not to matter. Obama kills a bunch of people and bails out the banks and “progressives” don’t say anything. But if Bush did it they would scream at the top of their lungs. Is it just kind of like a boxing match where you want your guy to win? Everybody seems to do the same thing, which is not represent me. So why bother? You’re a funny guy and I’m sure you can give an hilarious response, but I’m asking for an honest answer in that BOLD type of yours. If space is an issue in not getting a response, could you just take a couple of paragraphs away from Jerry Philbrick where he says people not like him are stupid, which would be every paragraph?

Your friend,

Ralph Coon


ED REPLY: Ralph old boy, to vote or not to vote is kinda like the old zen question: If a tree falls in the forest and nobody of the two-footed type hears or sees it happen, did it fall? Something like that. Like, who cares one way or the other, right? At the risk of laying a lot of old guy pessimism on you, I always vote myself, but beyond the Mendo-Boonville arena, the choice is typically confined to Bad and Worse, and even here in Lilliput the choice is pretty much between lib and lab, probably because the process militates against self-respecting people stepping forward as candidates. Way back I used to run for stuff myself. One day I was promoting my rad-lib program, such as it was, in front of the Mendocino Post Office in the preciously suffocating little town thereof. This guys walks up and sneers right in my face, "You're all a buncha crooks." Wait a minute there, bub, I replied, you've jumped the gun. All I want is a chance to be a crook! Here in Pwogwessive County about ten percent of the vote goes to the good and the true, but already the libs are saying, "Anybody but Trump." Not me. I'm voting for Bernie. Period. Well, maybe Liz, not that I'm especially enthusiastic about her. But neither one of them has a chance in hell because The Money is against them, and the Democrats haven't been the party of the little guy since, I dunno, McGovern, and here in Mendo McGovern lost to Nixon (!) by a huge margin, something like 80-20. (My house was McGovern headquarters in '72. The abuse I suffered when I called around to get out the vote for our guy!) Philosophically, and even deeper, in my bones, I think it's obvious that we're seriously on the irreversible skids, that the rolling catastrophes likely to finish us off as a species are not only not being addressed, we seem to have crossed the line where they no longer *can* be addressed. Post-Trump — and I think given the Democrats he's good for another four years — we're probably looking at some kind of more or less benign stewardship presided over by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Anyway, apologies for lapsing into old coot mode at such length, but I'd recommend continuing to vote as a sort of existential gesture — democratic nostalgia — rather than objective hope that something good might get done.

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Yes, the fires are a disaster, the cost of living in Northern California is a disaster, the homeless situation is a disaster, and last but certainly not least, the amount of trash on our roadsides and hills is an embarrassment.

I exited the highway recently in Geyserville to return to my home and was greeted by the vision of several young men/boys smashing an old house trailer under the overpass. It is starting to feel and look like some sort of dystopian “Road Warrior” wasteland around here. Is there no pride in this community anymore?

I fear it is time to move on.

John Langlois


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I have been confined in the California State Prison System, currently at the California Institute for Men, for almost a quarter of a century, convicted for the crime of "touching" two underage girls. In point of fact, the accusations were in several particulars highly suspect — and to the degree that even now higher courts are reviewing both the outcome and the process.

I have recently received notification that on February 14, 2020, I will again appear before the Board of Prison Hearings (the so-called "Parole Board") for consideration of my "suitability for release to parole." This will be my fifth appearance. In point of fact, despite the conviction, I state again that I am factually innocent and have offered forensic proof of this by the introduction of evidence of altered phone recordings. But the purpose of this letter is in no way intended to reopen the old "he said/she said" debate and argument.

What I would like to be known is that the Mendocino County District Attorney, Mr. David Eyster, has stated that my parole will not be opposed if I will comply with the condition of not returning to Mendocino County. I have agreed to this condition.

I would be extremely grateful for any letters of support on my behalf that can be sent to my attorney, Adanna Ukah, at P.O. Box 1425, Lake Forest, CA 92609. Or letters of support can be filed directly to the Board of Parole Hearings at P.O. Box 4036, Sacramento, CA 95812 — Attn: Board Hearings.

The general public does not seem to be aware that simply to house the average prisoner of my age exceeds $100,000 annually. Far too many men and women are being confined, essentially for crimes such as "touching." I would welcome so very much the opportunity to finally rejoin society, living quietly as a productive citizen. I hope that you will assist me in that endeavor.

Mark W. Sprinkle, K-24619

California Institute for Men A2-186

P.O. Box 368

Chino, CA 91708 0368

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Dear Editor:

Thanks for the historical photo, in your Nov 7th issue, of John Ottoson and Hap Hitchcock hauling ties for John Philbrick from McElroy Gulch. The proper spelling for McElroy, is actually McIlree. The photo was taken in Comptche. My wife Cindy and myself are the current owners of most of McIlree Gulch including the tie camp where the pictured load of ties came from.

McIlree Gulch is named after Alexander McIlree who, for a time, was a logging foreman in the Mendocino Lumber Company woods. His name can be found in Francis Jackson’s book, Big River Was Dammed, pages 38, and 42. Alex McIlree can also be found in the Mendocino 1880 census.

When I was young, I knew John Ottoson and split firewood for him. I was also acquainted with John Philbrick. John Ottoson told my mother he hauled ties out of McIlree Gulch for John Philbrick using a tie wagon. The photo and caption confirm this. The ties were hauled from McIlree Gulch to an Albion Lumber Company rail landing near where Surprise Valley Ranch Road takes off from Comptche Ukiah Road today. It looks to me like the photo must have been taken on the county road next to what is now the Grimes Ranch. I could be wrong on this.

Thanks again.

George Hollister


PS/Attached: Way BackWhen

John Philbrick’s team hauling ties out of McElroy Gulch, circa 1916. The driver is Hap Hitchcock and seated next to him is John Ottoson. Notice bells on the lead horses to let others know they were coming. The photograph was used on a Velox Postcard. From “The Mendocino Coast – A Pictorial History,” published by the Mendocino Beacon newspaper.

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To the Editor:

In my 35 years of working at MacNabs I’ve heard silly, dumb, and stupid ideas. Silly was the time when they wanted to take the block across from the courthouse and create a second story passway across State Street to the courthouse. Dumb is when they want to shrink State Street to slow traffic. Why not just take the street lights out on State Street and replace them with stop signs. Starting on Perkins south you have a three-way on Perkins, a three-way on Church, a four-way on Clay, a four-way on Mill, a four-way on Gobbi, a three-way on Frietis Cherry, and a three-way on Talmage. Now going north a three-way on Stanley, Smith, Henry, Scott, Norton, Clara, and Ford a four-way at Low Gap, a three-way at Magnolia Street next Big O, and then a three-way on Garret, and lastly a four-way on Ford.

With the extra stop signs the traffic will definitely slow down. People might not like it, and wind up on the freeway (but that is what an ex mayor told me that was what the city wanted). Stupid. Downtown has always complained about the lack of parking, so someone comes up with the idea of taking six parking spots away, three in front of the courthouse, and three in front of MacNabs, Rainforest Fantasy, and Ukiah Trophies. Just to put in a MTA bus stop so thousands of riders a day, week, or maybe a year have a place to get on board. Whoever came up with this idea needs to quit sneaking over to McGarvey Park to light up a bong, lay on the grass and look at the clouds for ideas without calling us to join in, might be the best thing we get from the city.

Robert MacDougall


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I have lived in Fairfax for 55 years on top of the hill, which is not an ideal place for the less young — 93 year old in my case.

During the recent power outage my neighbors gave me their time and concern. I have seen my neighbors growing from babyhood to adulthood and they are now busy with their own lives, but that didn’t stop them. We may not see or speak to each other during the weeks or months, but I am grateful we got to know each other and appreciate the value of a good neighborhood.

Thank you, dear neighbors.

Yvonne Beller


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The Democrats are going to wait until about three months before the election and then pool their resources behind one candidate and try to buy the election. The impeachment is so sick and so hypocritical that even a 90-year-old can figure out what's going on. The Democrats are hateful and jealous that President Trump beat Hillary and he's draining the swamp and showing how much corruption there is and was in the Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations — 24 years of corruption.

Buckle up, people. We will see what happens. I know I'm right about this.

God bless Donald Trump and all the military and law enforcement people who keep this country safe.

Jerry Philbrick


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