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Letters To The Editor




“The PG&E and Wellington Energy employees were a no-show this morning at the Wellington Energy Installation Yard, while 26 trucks sat there ready to (illegally) install in Santa Cruz County. About 40-50 people showed up to demand that PG&E respect local laws and get their “smart” meter program out of the County. “June 27,2011:

Some people are demonstrating to stop the smart meters.

You are missing the point if you think that smart meters will save energy. Smart meters do not save electricity. They are a reason to cut jobs. To think they are some kind of gentle green good is nonsense.

Will the meters save electricity?

No. Smart meters merely track electric usage, just like their older, just as smart predecessors. Consumers who purchase additional devices can receive detailed information on the energy costs of individual appliances. They would also have to install a “Home Area Network,” including a wireless router which sends a powerful signal 24/7. All connected appliances will be sending information to the smart meter, to be bounced from there via all the surrounding meters to the utility’s data collector device and eventually to the regional office.

Will additional expenditures will be required on the consumer end?

In order to get the purported benefits of smart meters, consumers will purchase their own communications devices, computers, high speed internet, special thermostats, appliance chips and other automated equipment. The cost of retrofitting or replacing existing appliances alone will be astronomical. Without the expenditures, consumers will not see any difference from the new meters except higher electric bills.

The main issues to opt out are:

1. Security of data and private information. Billions [of dollars] are on the table, so they are moving forward with metering projects and they're spending money as fast as they can,” said Jonathan Pollet, founder of Red Tiger Security which tests security features in SCADA systems. “The security isn't where it should be, but the vendors aren't going to turn down orders.”

So there is little security built into the “smart” meters, making them susceptible to hackers. Someone could turn on or off your power, change the amount of power which the meter shows you have used, or even be able to tell if you were home. Your energy use patterns and data are a gold mine to marketers. Who owns this data? PG&E. They can make money from this information. You think they care about your privacy?

2. Questionable accuracy and greatly increased bills. “The meters have been plagued with problems since the beginning, starting with widespread reports of inflated bills

3. Loss of jobs and trained people in the field monitoring the infrastructure. Our country’s big problem — no jobs — and PG&E wants us to pay to make less jobs.

4. the San Jose Mercury News says it’s collected dozens of complaints on its Action Line from readers who claim that the wireless smart meters interfere with their household electronics — cordless phones, crib monitors, patio speakers, wireless headsets and microphones, home security systems, motion detectors and remote-controlled garage doors — as the meters transmit their power data.

5. Private property rights and your ability to choose for yourself in your own home.

The standard very reliable mechanical meters are being replaced across America in a massive campaign to grab stimulus money and decrease labor costs. Do you really trust this huge corporation to do the right thing?

What to do:

Contact PG&E and the CPUC: PG&E’s dedicated smart meter line is 1-866-743-0263

If PG&E threatens to shut off your power, file a complaint with the CPUC. Download a No Smart meter sign to place on your meter at the TURN website.

More info:

Michael Laybourn





We would like to thank everyone involved in making Doug Roycroft's Evening last Saturday such a success. We'd also like you to know that, although Doug has been recuperating nicely from his December car accident, he now faces hip replacement surgery. (You'd think breaking a pelvis, a femur and 7 ribs would have been enough.)

So we will be keeping the Doug Roycroft Benefit Account open at the Savings Bank of Mendocino in case you missed the dance and would still like to contribute. Any branch can accept donations.

Without the kindness and generosity of oh so many folks, there would have been no dance last week.

We can't name everyone but please, know that each one of you is most appreciated. Whether you prepared and served food and drink, attended to the raffle and door, made the posters, put them up,advertised, played music, set up for the evening, cleaned up, or came to dance and visit with Doug, we thank you.

We especially thank Bob Ayres and the Boonville Big Band for their great music. And thanks to the Point Arena Odd Fellows Lodge for manning, and womanning, the bar.

Doug Roycroft, Linda Leitner, and Lynn Kiesewetter





Two weeks in a row the AVA has been delivered on Friday. If the AVA was mailed yesterday and it arrives at noon today I find that remarkable.

I've attached a picture of a bush tit family, ma and pa and five fledglings in their home, a Eugenia myrtifolia in my backyard. I've attached this picture because I wish to prove “One picture is worth a thousand words” wrong. Here is Ralph Hoffmann's description of bush tits in his Birds of the Pacific States, the best bird-book ever written. The description can be found on page 233 of the 1927 edition. Lots of little birds look like lots of other little birds in various light conditions. But no other little bird does what bush tits do and Mr. Hoffmann has it nailed.

Harold Ericsson

Harbor City



Mr. Anderson:

Your comments about KPFA in Off the Record in the June 22 edition of the AVA could be applied to WBAI, New York City's Pacifica station.

The station, and the Pacifica network to which WBAI belongs, no longer fulfills Pacifica's own mission statement. The station has become corrupt, lacks transparency and accountability, and has betrayed the public interest it claims to serve.

As a listener since 1967, I am disappointed and feel betrayed.

Section D of the Pacifica mission statement states: “In radio broadcasting operations to engage in any activity that shall contribute to a lasting understanding between nations and between individuals of all nations, races, creeds and colors; to gather and disseminate information on the causes of conflict between any and all such groups; and through any and all means compatible with the purposes of this corporation to promote the study of political and economic problems and of the causes of religious, philosophical and racial antagonisms.”

However, in the last 15 years — perhaps longer, WBAI's program directors have all been black. These program directors have spent their time and energy warring with and hatching coups against one another. There have been about half a dozen general managers, almost all of whom have been black, whose behavior has ranged from criminal (Don Rojas, Robert Scott Adams) to ineffectual (Anthony Riddle). The current general manager is black, bland and inept. I wonder if any non-blacks were even interviewed.

A black female member of the LSB (Local Station Board), Janice Bryant, declared that there would be a white program director “over my dead body.” This seems to be the philosophy of the people who now control WBAI and Pacifica.

Almost the entire paid staff is black. Almost everyone in management is black. Almost every announcer is black. I became a supporter of WBAI because when I began listening in 1967 it provided a voice against racism and apartheid. Now the station seemed to embody both.

WBAI needs to run five or six fundraising marathons every year so it can pay its expenses. “Fundraising” now translates to peddling books, CDs and DVDs. Most of the premiums start at $100. The people who run the station can no longer attract pledges from listeners to send the station money because they value the programming.

Someone should look into the station's vending of these overpriced CDs, DVDs and books to raise funds. It appears to me that this violates the station's status as a nonprofit organization.

According to one member of the Local Station Board, about $1,100,000 of all monies raised goes to pay salaries. That would mean that 11,000 listeners must contribute $100 each just to pay salaries. Or more accurately, that the station must sell over $1 million worth of books, CDs and DVDs about homeopathic cures for cancer, the Jewish control of the money supply, sky trails, white privilege, the psychology of white men, or Gary Null's theories on vaccination and on Vitamin C as a panacea for everything.

The salaries go to people whose importance to the station and its survival is dubious. Kathy Davis, a producer and “public affairs director,” earns about $40,000 a year. The “chief announcer” gets paid about the same amount. Producer/engineer Errol Maitland is still listed among the paid employees although it was believed he had been fired for his on-air racist remarks (“you can't trust a white man with a microphone.”).

There are now two tiers of producers, some paid — like the woman from Ghana who hosts the morning show or the gentleman from Guyana who hosts the afternoon show. Most are unpaid. Few of the producers who are not black are paid although among these are many people who have worked at the station for more than ten years and who often started as interns and “gophers,” and who later became engineers, announcers and producers.

Recently the inept program director, Tony Bates, dismissed or relocated four popular unpaid producers — including the excellent Doug Henwood whose programs were on from 5 to 6pm in order to create a full-time paid position for Robert Knight, a black producer.

Income statements, balance sheets and cost-benefit analyses, salaries of WBAI and Pacifica employees are not available. There is no transparency nor accountability.

The word “community” has become a code word for the black community. This is the primary, perhaps the only, community the current management of WBAI intends to serve. Last weekend, regular programming was canceled all day on Saturday for a hip-hop takeover. Hip-hop is to music what doggerel is to poetry.

An ex-director of Pacifica, Nicole Sawaya, sums up the situation: “Sadly, it (Pacifica) is no longer focused on service to the listeners but absorbed with itself and the inhabitants therein. I call it Planet Pacifica, a term I coined during my hiring process. There is an underlying culture of grievance coupled with entitlement and its governance structure is dysfunctional. The bylaws of the organization have opened it up to tremendous abuse, creating the opportunity for cronyism, factionalism and faux democracy, with the result of challenging all yet helping nothing. Pacifica has been made so flat, that it is concave — no leadership is possible without an enormous struggle through the inertia that committees and collectives and STVs (no, not sexually transmitted viruses, but Single Transferable Votes) can engender.

“Pacifica calls itself a movement, yet currently it behaves like a jobs program, a cult, or a social service agency. And oftentimes the loudest and most obstreperous have the privilege of the microphone. There are endless meetings of committees and “task forces” — mostly on the phone — where people just like to hear themselves talk. Sometimes they get lucrative contracts from their grandstanding. It's been grueling for someone in my position, someone like me who is not a process person, much less a political gamer. I keep asking: What's the endgame? Paralysis has set in, coupled with organizational drift.”

I have stopped sending money to WBAI and Pacifica. I urge others to consider WBAI's and Pacifica's racism, their failure to live up to the Pacifica “Mission,” the lack of transparency, and the lack of accountability when they consider whether or not to continue supporting station.

I opposed apartheid in South Africa; I oppose it at WBAI. I resent lack of transparency and lack of accountability in local and federal government; I resent it at WBAI.

I don't know whether a return to 100% volunteer staff is the solution, but a two-tiered staff in which some people are paid and others are not is insupportable. And diversity is an admirable goal when it doesn't mean exclusion of certain categories of people because they are seen as part of the ruling elite because of the color of their skin.

“Dwarf fascists” and “low-down, sneaky little PC bastards” are neither hyperbolic terms nor ad hominem attacks. Unfortunately, they are accurate descriptions of the mediocrities now in charge of WBAI, KPFA and Pacifica.

Siempre adelante,

Louis S. Bedrock

Roselle, New Jersey




It's Summer Solstice 2011 and Bummer Summer has arrived with a vengeance — 100-degree temperatures and the droning farts of wailing weedwacker's from dawn 'til dusk.

The weedwackers remind me of the old West saddle tramps featured in a 1952 movie, “The Bushwhackers” in which a shellshocked Confederate Army veteran is forced to protect his family from violent roving bullies.

It started me thinking about how a modern-day Altman style version of “The Bushwhackers” could be filmed.

The film would open with a long panoramic view to the horizon across a vast, pristine natural meadow with lush grasses, blooming wildflowers, fluttering butterflies, floating dragonflies, buzzing bees and tweaking songbirds.

Then, in the distance at the horizon, a low rumbling fart is heard as a thin black line emerges, slowly moving forward across the meadow accompanied by the foreboding dirge, “This Is The End,” by the Doors.

As the line methodically advances and grows the noise and music get louder and eventually the line is revealed as a band of marching warriors armed with gas powered weedwackers swinging to and fro, togged in road warrior grunge with Darth Vader goggles, masks, helmets and head-stomper hobnailed boots.

Like the mass wave attacks of the Korean War and earlier European slaughters, the weedwackers trudge forward as the ominous sounds increase to painful levels.

In the foreground, small animals and birds flee in terror while recently hatched unfledged quail and turkey chicks are gobbled up and spit out as feathers, guts and dust.

The conquering weedwackers ultimately complete their mission with a high five victory salute and a mass triumphal scream.

Then, from above, lightning flashes, thunder cracks and rolls as a huge lightning bolt emitting an ear-splitting crack strikes the top of a massive redwood snag spiraling down its trunk igniting its base causing the ancient sentinel to topple and crash to earth in a muffled thump squashing the weedwackers like bugs on a rug.

Total silence as the camera pans the buzzcut moonscape beyond the smoldering snag.

Eventually, signs of life gradually appear in the debris as tiny grasshoppers, beetles, spiders, and moths shake the dust off and prepare to re-occupy and rebuild. Small blades of grass, bent but not broken, slowly rise to salute the setting sun.

A choir of invisible songbirds in a steady melody of trills and twitters serenades the survivors.

As the sun sets, a large golden full moon rises silhouettting a howling coyote. Nature prevails.

I know. I know. Weedwacking provides much-needed jobs for young people in these times of economic turmoil and I support that, particularly since I did similar work as a youth in the last century using more primitive, hand-operated equipment — mowers, clippers, weed whips, and hand pulling in tight spots.

Clearly, though, The weedwacker and the leaf blower are two of the world's worst inventions.

Weedwacking for fire safety, done too early, destroys native wildflowers and grasses before they mature and go to seed. The non-native exotic plants tend to mature earlier and readily resprout when cut. We are depleting our native plant seed bank. And what about the native tree and shrub seedlings that get whacked?

It's against the law in California to pick native wildflowers, but mandatory to cut them down. What gives?

Why not wait until the native plants have matured and gone to seed before cutting is allowed?

Where's the California Native Plant Society on this issue? Where are the enviros? Are they avidly viewing individual posies through hand lenses and too preoccupied to see the devastation all around them?


Don Morris


PS. Could “The Weedwacker's” be a sequel to “Pig Hunt”?




I have always had hummingbird feeders in my garden but this year there aren't any hummingbirds. When you look around at the thousands of acres of vines in this area without a tree or bush in sight, you can suspect what is happening. When I walk down the aisles in Home Depot and see thousands of plastic containers of Roundup, now in extended, forever-release poison, I know where my hummingbirds have gone.

In Europe the large growers are forced to have hedgerows, trees, etc. somewhere for the birds and insects to live and breed. Here we just sit back and say, “It's better than houses.” But truly it's not. Some of those houses have gardens and flowers. We so desperately need to change the way we live and allow nature to get back on course.

Come on America, we can do this too!

Joy Wakefield

Santa Rosa




“The Worldly Philosophers” by Robert Heilbroner, sixth edition, 1992. Chapter 6. “The inexorable system of Karl Marx.” Page 149.

“And yet it was a deeply devoted union. In his dealing with outsiders Marx was unkind, jealous, suspicious and wrathful; but he was a joyous father and a loving husband. At one period when his wife was ill, Marx turned to Lenchen, the Westphalian family maid who stayed with them, unpaid, all their days, but even that infidelity — from which an unacknowledged child was born, could not undo a relationship of great passion.”

So, there, too.

R. Jouncewell





PG&E Seeks Monster Rate Increase —

Around Christmas time in the year 2000 a man named Tim Belden set out to really screw California. He was employed by a group of thieves in Texas who called themselves Enron. By shutting down power plants and sending electricity out of the state at critical times, Tim and his employers created artificial shortages that sent the price of electricity soaring. While PG&E, the California Public Utilities Commission, the governor, and federal regulators sat on their hands, California ratepayers were taken for almost $30 billion. This caused serious hardship for businesses, households and the state's economy. Now, 10 years later, another tsunami of greed is heading our way, this time under the guise of smartmeters.

Here is the plan. Because of widespread public concern about the safety of smartmeters, the California Public Utilities Commission has directed PG&E to respond with an opt-out option. On March 21, 2011, PG&E submitted an innocent sounding proposal that — get this — does not allow you to opt out of having a smartmeter and worse yet, raises electric rates by almost 30% for everyone. If you select to “opt out” and use a minimal amount of electricity you will see your monthly bill go up by 28.5% (five year average). If you are a low income person on the CARE program your increase will be 29.7%. PG&E claims that these charges are justified because this is what it will cost to service those who reject transmitter enabled smartmeters. If this is true, it follows that the utility is saving about 29% for each customer that accepts a smartmeter. PG&E has not offered to return the savings to ratepayers. So whether you accept or reject a smartmeter almost one-third of your monthly payment will magically vanish into someone else's pocket. Where is all this money going? Is it going to PG&E shareholders or is it being stealthily siphoned away by some smartmeter mafia?

The smartgrid program is a good idea gone bad and now spinning out of control. The Electric Power Research Institute reports that costs have risen 247% since 2004. Today, PG&E has had to replace more than 1500 smartmeters that were overcharging customers. The Swiss manufacturer of these meters, Landis+Gyr has gone on the block and been sold to Toshiba. Recent events involving gas pipeline explosions, missing safety equipment and the hasty roll out of faulty smartmeters without any meaningful customer involvement are all cause for alarm.

If California is going to be competitive in the world economy we have to have utilities that are safe, reliable and efficient. To this end we need utility executives and regulators who can rise above the old boy networks, the slush funds, and Enron style games of the past.

Robert Schmidt





Let me say right up front that I am sorry I do not feel comfortable signing my name. But I am a county employee and if Dan Hamburg did not like Deputy Craig Walker's letter, I am sure he will not like mine. Hamburg thinks Deputy Walker owes him a personal phone call before Walker can write a letter voicing his opinion? After Walker got an impersonal e-mail saying he was laid off based on Hamburg's vote? Why didn't Hamburg call Deputy Walker before voting for the layoffs? At least to explain why he thought the layoffs were necessary.

Hamburg comes across as a whiny little rich kid with a thin-skinn and a huge sense of entitlement. He has launched several attacks against the Sheriff and law enforcement but takes “extreme umbrage” when they push back. I have followed this issue closely and every single time deputy jobs have been on the line he has voted to cut them. Like Deputy Walker says, it is not in Dan's DNA to support law enforcement. It just isn't. So no one should be surprised at how he votes. But Dan should also understand that he is accountable to the public and we have a right to express our opinions. But this is the same guy who said the CEO's contract was none of the public's business.

I guess Hamburg never heard of Harry Truman's old saying: “If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

Name Withheld




Dear Editor:

Among the safety net programs that were part of the slash and burn cuts in the passed and signed state budget was a massive cut in in CalWORKS, the State's “welfare to work” program. The grants have been reduced to the their lowest levels in 20 years and is less than 30% of the amount the federal government has determined is necessary to meet basic needs. The cut will reduce grants to families to 1987 levels. Is there any doubt that this reduction will result in a marked increase in children going to bed hungry?

At a news conference Assembly Republican leader Connie Conway said lawmakers want to offer a “safety net” to people who need help. “We just don't want it turning into a hammock with cute little drinks with umbrellas.” With that comment she demonstrated to all the core values she lives by. A person who is a cruel and heartless individual totally lacking in compassion for the marginalized citizens of our society. One does wonder how she sleeps at night with her full stomach while poor children go to bed hungry.

I would suggest the Legislature and their staff also reduce their salaries and benefits to 1987 levels.

In sorrow for the poor of our state,

James G. Updegraff




Dear Supervisor Hamburg,

I am putting this in the AVA because although you may not answer my email, I realize that you do read this great paper. In spite of your stating that you are “very easy to reach” and although this may be correct, you really don't get back to your constituents once they reach you — at least you have never ever gotten back to me regarding misappropriation of school bond funds even though you clearly stated to me you would find out who would investigate my concerns.

It is people like Deputy Walker and I who are called “extremists” because we believe in truth, justice and honor. Few qualities that are found in most of the leaders within our County. I thank you, Deputy Walker, for standing up just as I stood up for the Sheriff's Office when I first heard of these unbelievable cuts. It is not an easy thing to stand tall for your convictions and for the truth.

Oh, the sentences I really, really like best from you, Mr Hamburg: “…in order to defend the fiscal integrity of this County, I do not do that lightly.” “I do that with every bit of my being and my care for this County.”

Blah, Blah, Blah! You are a man of many words but few actions for the good of the taxpayers within our county and within your own district!


Suzanne L. Rush

Manchester, 5th District




Right now, the mentality is to take longer to do the job, overspend and the bureaucracy grows. There has to be absolute power to hire and fire. Once in a while there is a case of wrongful firing, but 98% of the time money talks. Believe it or not it makes a job more interesting and enjoyable. Next government unions have to go. We have laws that make any business or business-related organization that have no competition illegal because they are a monopoly which only brings higher prices and poorer service to all. Below is a history of California sales taxes that shows years ago was 2.5%. We have to go back to that 2.5% and to all the other size of taxes of say 1950. Practically all taxes rise and fall according to population and inflation. Then all governments have to live within their revenues. To insure they do, make a law saying the only way to raise any taxes is that it must pass by 80%. That way it will be known that it would be practically impossible to raise taxes. That’s the competition. All personnel will have to work harder and more efficient to get a bigger share of the pie like happens in the private sector of our country.

Let’s face it, nobody but nobody, including yours truly, wants to take less of anything once they have earned or acquired it. It could be wages, pensions, dividends, perks, income of all kinds. If they can do anything to keep from losing it, they will.

In the private world of commerce one gets compensated on how well the enterprise does and how efficient they are to that enterprise. Unfortunately, in government we don’t have that great equalizer, so it’s only natural that governments get less and less efficient until we are in our present financial mess.

To stay in power politicians are reluctant to do the necessary steps to correct this. The only way to correct this is for everyone (no exceptions) in each division of government to take a certain percent cut in compensation to balance the budget with the higher-ranking people taking larger cuts. That’s leadership. Why no exceptions? Because everybody can justify their job is absolutely, positively, emphatically the most essential job that has to be maintained at the present level. The above is a repeat of a previous letter, but more appropriate than ever. We have to put competition in government.

Emil Rossi


Sales tax history: 1933: 2.5%; 1935: 3.0%; 1943: 2.5%; 1949: 3%; 1962: 4%; 1967: 5%; 1972: 5%; July 1973: 6%; October 1973: 5%; 1974: 6%; 1989: 6.25%; January 1991: 6%; July 1991: 7.25%; 2001: 7%; 2002: 7.25%; 2009: 8.25%; 2011: 7.25%.




Independence Day — “The landscape belongs to the person who looks at it.” One third of our nation — 700 million acres — is public land owned by the citizens of the United States. We will be known forever by the tracks we leave. All good things are wild and free. We do not inherit the land from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” Let's safeguard America's wildlife and wild habitats from an unprecedented convergence of threats in a warming world. Let's confront the climate crisis as we reconnect with nature and spend time outdoors. Hooray for the landscape; now, however, sea-level rise due to global warming creates great obstacles. After the early snow melts, wildfires ravaged the countryside, decimate the forests, cause coastal erosion, and the growth of new trees in a landscape that was tundra. As “one touch of nature makes the whole world kin,” Alaska is on the front lines of global warming. In the past 60 years the average temperature in Alaska has increased 7 degrees. When does one feel more freedom than when walking through the trees? Farina shall walk through Walden to celebrate the Fourth of July. The wilderness is the preservation of the world. Farina bangs her dish, “Have you got your certified wildlife habitat yet?” Thousands of wildlife enthusiats across the US have created a wildlife haven on their land. A squirrel, golden poppies and a redwood tree stand up for liberty.

Diana Vance

Deadtree, Mendocino.

PS. Listed below are five amendments to my “Who stole my pants?” letter in the June 22 edition.

Line 8: An open foe may prove a curse, but they pretended friend is worse.

Line 11: Exquisite folly is made of wisdom spun to fine.

Line 16: With these truths, I walk toward the Redwoods.

Line 44: No god please, let me find my jeans.

Line 50: Wouldn't that make life more effectual than hiking to Safeway for a Rockstar?

Diana Vance's amendments for letter in the 6/22/11 AVA:

line 8: Foe for flow.

12: too for to

Line 16: truth for truisms.

Line 44: God for god.

Line 50: Rockstar for rockstar.

PPS. When my roommate at University of Maryland became Miss Maryland she would call each week and invite me to share Penthouse O at 10 West 14th Street which I did when I received my BA — that's when I walked down to Wall Street and rather than an upright structure of wood, stone, or brick it looked and sounded like a crowded carnival. Go to the wall, Wall Street. I thought Ocean City was in New Jersey. But it reminded me of the one time I visited a Reno casino and was amazed that people could invest so much celebration in giving their money away. And as the state of California just reduced my medical disability SSI income by $15 a month, I've got the water hose poised for guzzling and maybe the snake oil will give me a good tan. And our president Barack Obama does wear a white sheriff's hat, it's just that it's gotten all sooty and covered with a dust and dirt from his trips downtown. I want to see “Inside Job” because these days bankers work outside too. Bend over deep to Wall Street? Yes, to clean my shoes. John Arteaga from Ukiah has pointed out, thank you John, their dirt. Farina bangs her dish against her Corruption In America sign.




The plutocrats who run this country operate on the premise that value is political value and monetary value, and nothing else. To them there is nothing else.

They do not recognize aesthetic value or natural value, or human value. They only value, and thus only see, the monetary and the political value. Therein lies the great delusion that is at the bottom of our morass.

The common people do not see that the value choices other than political and financing choices have been co-opted. They have disappeared from the social landscape. They are not thought about because they no longer exist as viable values.

The delusion is that a society can diminish to near nothingness the aesthetic, natural, and human values and stay sane. This is another aspect of the mass psychosis we are experiencing. The truism rises to consciousness that those in the insane asylum do not know that they are insane. They don’t. The reality of the implications of this boggle the mind and weaken the knees.

Reality is closing in much faster than anyone anticipated. Scared people cling to the present and absolutely oppose change. Inside the psychosis we function, surrounded by the delusion that the political and monetary values can get us back to sanity. Not even remotely possible, since they are the root cause of the morass in the first place.

If and when the political value is power/prestige, and it is; and when the monetary value is that there is never enough/more is never less, and it is, then the present morass is but a mirror reflection of those values .

As Socrates would have put it, “Know thy delusions.”

Lee Simon

Far ‘n Away Farm, Virginia



Dear Editor,

I read with interest your note in the Advertiser on June 15, 2011 about public access to the Navarro River. You stated on page 4…[he]…“surely knows that federal law says all navigable American streams belong to all of us, and all of us have a right to them.” This sentiment is a common misconception. There is confusion between federal law related to protection of water quality and the laws dealing with public access to lands under and adjacent to water bodies. You are right that the Federal Clean Water Act, specifically under Sections 401 and 404, addresses all navigable waterways, but this applies only to the federal government’s ability to protect water quality and factors that affect water quality. Under federal law, water quality protection applies to “navigable waters,” which, under this law, is very broadly defined to include almost anything that can float a napkin.

However, federal law does not address or apply to public access to the bed and banks of rivers or streams. In California, public access to waterways is determined by the State Lands Commission. Also, under the State Constitution, the water itself belongs to the people of California. The diversion and use of water is regulated under California water law by the State Water Resources Control Board. However, issues dealing with public access to the land within or adjacent to rivers, streams or lakes in California is the jurisdiction of the State Lands Commission under State law, not the federal law.

I have spent my professional career (over 38 years) dealing with water issues in California and have personally discussed the issue of public access to streams and rivers with the chief legal staff of the State Lands Commission and the Attorney General’s Office. The term “navigable waters” as it applies to public access to streams or rivers hinges on whether the water body was “commercially navigable” in 1850, when California became a State. Water bodies like Lake Tahoe, Mono Lake, Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers and tidal water like the coastal waters and estuaries are public lands and “all of us have a right to them.” However, the non-estuary parts of the Navarro River are not now, nor ever have been, “commercially navigable” and certainly were not “commercially navigable” in 1850. Since the town of Philo (near where the main stem of the Navarro River begins) was founded and named by my in‐laws’ ancestor, Cornelius Prather, after the late 1860s, commercial navigability under the State Lands Commission jurisdiction will never apply. Therefore, the property underlying the non‐estuary parts of the Navarro River and its tributaries are private property except specific areas obtained by local or state governments like Hendy Woods and Dimmick Park. These State‐owned lands provide for public enjoyment of the Navarro River through regulated public access. The bed and banks of the Navarro River and its tributaries that are privately held are not open to public access as your June 15 Editorial note implies.

On this July 4th when we celebrate the beginnings of this great nation, we should reflect of the fact that the protection of private property rights is a hallmark of our rights as Americans as I have set forth above. If you doubt the veracity of my analysis, I suggest you contact the State Lands Commission yourself and I would be willing to discuss this matter with you. Please advise your readers that property owners along the Navarro River pay taxes and have a right to their privacy, unencumbered by the general public as provided in State law.

In our specific case, as property owners along the Navarro River, we have had increasing incidents of trespassers disrupting our long‐standing family business, founded here in Philo in the 1930s. Trespassers’ activities have recently included: binge drinking using funnels, illegal drug activity, terrorizing ourselves and guests, littering, occupying space reserved for our guests, and most recently having one of our guests bitten by a trespasser’s dog (a pit bull). I find it interesting that the “bright lighters” (aka city folk) who visit our valley and help support our economy are generally respectful of private property rights, observe our signs and promptly leave when asked. In our experience, the most egregious trespassers have been a few locals who are misinformed on the law. Your June 15 article fosters this misconception. Our guests have been coming to this magnificent valley to enjoy its majestic scenery in the privacy our property provides for about 80 years and trespassers adversely affect that experience.

Your readers should be advised that we are now forced to protect our guests and their enjoyment of our property from trespassers, regardless of their intent, with the full force of penal code section 602 and civil trespass laws. We have no intention to impede the few intrepid souls who kayak and stay in the water at the rare, high enough winter flows. However, during the spring, summer and fall and most all other times, no craft can float the Navarro and we will now prosecute trespassers. We should all be respectful of the rights of others and the property rights of all landowners.


Gerald E. Johns




An open letter to the pot growers:

Is it too much to ask for you to speak a little truth to your power? Met a fine gentleman during this past weekend of liberation celebration who had claimed to have not eaten any protein he had not procured himself for 15 years. He was a monster among a weekend of Godzilla's, Mothras and other freaks of nature. Most of us contented ourselves with drinking fine and unique beers into the wee hours and then repeating the process the next day. He, on the other claw, felt the need to rise with the sun at “oh my gawd o-clock in the morning” to match wits with the gill breathers in the high range creeks of the Sierra Nevada lower West slope range. We were grateful beneficiaries of his acumen with a pole and power bait. We fed fat on his trout and his foraging knowledge for wild mushrooms. But he stopped me short with his claim, as he placed the mason jars of trimmed bud on the counter for the eager smokers claiming, “it's indoor organic!”

Unlike the frying pan, I have no skin in this game as marijuana, medical or otherwise, has no pull with me; I favor John Barleycorn’s fruits over the smoking of the weed: it just ain’t my thang. Yet I'm also no snob, some of my best friends laid waste to a regiment of glaucoma patients' share of the finest pot on earth this weekend.

I am, however a bit of a stickler for grammar and claims of territory. Hence my bristling concerning the confluence of the use of the words: “indoor” and “organic.” How can any set up that fakes the biggest ingredient in the photosynthetic operation claim to be organic? Especially when it is such a power suck on the grid so many of you claim to be so concerned about? As my buddy Jake the snake says, “growing indoor is like driving an SUV to the store a block away for smokes, every day all summer long.”

My buddy the trout killer had no answer for me but was man enough to admit his failings. The rare stoner with balls and principals, he has vowed to break his habit. Just like he won't bring trout to the surface with dynamite and call it fishing, he is not going to bring buds up with fake sun and call it organic. I wonder who else has such fortitude?

W.Dan Houck


One Comment

  1. Nathaniel Branden, Jr. July 8, 2011

    Great, great, great letter from Louis S. Bedrock of New Jersey.
    A letter like that can cancel out ten years of crackpot letters.
    When I went to buy my hardcopy of the AVA today I also picked up the 6/22
    issue with Bruce Anderson’s great, totally true comments on KPFA and both will
    be passed around.
    My only small caveat, Bruce, is that Bensky is part of the CL faction which wants to preserve the longtime Maldaris, Mericles, Welches, ad nauseum, who should have been fired 20 years ago.
    Both LSB factions are fascist PC twerps who shouldn’t be allowed near a broadcast facility.
    Thanks for living up to the AVA’s last bastion of free speech title and reality.

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