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Letters (December 25, 2019)

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Kudos to Thom Elkjer

Just read Thom Elkjer’s article about the fire in downtown Boonville. Very good job. Thorough and comprehensive. Well written too. Actually I was not an English teacher so I should not comment on the quality of his writing. I was a professional firefighter/captain for 35 years. So I feel qualified to comment on the content of Thom’s article. Well done.

Kirk Van Patten

Retired CALFIRE Air Attack Captain


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Letter to Editor,

The burning of the multiplex in downtown Boonville has led many to discuss their own experiences dealing with the landlord who owned the buildings of: Pic N Pay, The Cantina/Bar, Lizbby’s and the homes and rentals which were too numerous to mention located behind those businesses. All have been put out of their homes, even those in trailers at the rear of the property that didn’t burn — for lack of utilities since the fire.

Renters, previous to the fire, and those renting at the time of the fire, repeat one common statement heard redundantly about the landlord’s favorite expression, “I’m not fixing it.”

One woman who used to live in a trailer rental behind Pic-N-Pay and was familiar with her old landlord, spoke with him after he appeared a day or two after the fire to review the scene. He flat out lied to her, saying that he was there the day of the fire, and even described to her how the fire was ablaze when he threw the door open to the apartment in flames. How curious and Trump-like of him. And, if he was there at the time of the fire, how peculiarly incriminating is THAT!? Everyone else who saw the landlord, says it took him a couple of days to arrive on the scene, since he is an absentee landlord living in Sonoma, who performs NO maintenance.

His first words when he saw the burned out rubble? You guessed it: “I’m not fixing it!”.

Currently his former renters are consulting lawyers. I hope everyone who’s ever rented from this negligent landlord sues him in class action, before he’s paid out by his insurance company, so that he has to pay his renters a huge award for his continually deliberate, egregious, life-threatening violations. Past renters can also be on such a class action law suit if they experienced also and can document, NO MAINTENANCE over the years while renters. As well, did this landlord ever offer renters free rent for sex? Yes, sleazy too.

Here’s to hoping you renters find a good lawyer outside the County of Mendocino – maybe S/Rosa or SF, who has a firm big enough to handle a large class action suit full of previous business folks who had rented the bar in all of its many incarnations, Pic N Pay, Lizby’s, etc., and those who lived there in particular.

I am told by the family who lived in the unit with the gas leak, that they’d been cooking food at Lizbby’s and bringing it home to their apt, as it was too dangerous to turn on the already leaking gas in their unit – it had been leaking for so long, without repairs by the landlord.

Another example is the cheapskate landlord’s refusal to repair the refrigeration for the last decade, at the local bar, known by many names over the years, from “The Bucket of Blood” to “The Cantina.” Until recently, beers were served out of a cooler full of ice. The landlord encouraging the business owners to buy ice at Pic N Pay to keep the beverages cool. All of these business owners and renters should be included in a class action against this awful unlawful life-threatening landlord.

NOW, after THREE fires last week, will this community want to enter into serious discussion regarding a water system that’ll at least put out a decent sized blaze? And take care of their sewer in the water table problem, as well? Boonville is at the point of not being able to ignore any more. 

Name Withheld.


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Mendocino County Approves Lethal Wildlife Services Program.

On Tuesday, December 17th , the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors gave the go ahead to renew the County’s contract with USDA Wildlife Services to implement its lethal Integrated Wildlife Damage Management (IWDM) Program.

The Board took this action despite hearing expert testimony on how the lethal IWDM Program is ineffective (if it were effective, the kill numbers would go down instead of remaining consistent year after year), it is extremely cruel and kills hundreds of non-target animals, and there are existing models of humane and effective non-lethal programs in Marin and Sonoma Counties to protect peoples’ property.

The only public support for the Wildlife Services program comes from a sector of the ranching industry, which receives a direct financial subsidy from County taxpayers to advance their private business interests.

These ranchers argue that without a public subsidy from County taxpayers to kill wildlife, they will lose their ability to use lethal methods to protect their livestock from predators, but this is simply untrue. The fact is, any rancher who wants to kill a mountain lion or bear that threatens their livestock can get a depredation permit from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife to kill that animal. And coyotes can be shot on sight even without a depredation permit.

Proponents of the Wildlife Services lethal program also insinuate falsely that a non-lethal wildlife management program in the County would preclude using lethal controls on rabid animals, feral dogs and feral pigs, none of which is true. Rabid animals and feral dogs come under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s Department, not Wildlife Services, and in the 30 years the County has contracted with Wildlife Services to kill feral pigs, the problem has only gotten worse. Dealing with feral pigs is a national problem that is not going to be solved by Mendocino County’s wildlife policy.

 If Mendocino County follows through on signing a contract with Wildlife Services, thousands more wild animals will needlessly suffer and die. Clearly, the right thing to do is for the County to move away from this barbaric system of slaughtering wildlife to a system that respects wild animals’ inherent right to life, while at the same time protecting peoples’ property. The time is now for the County to adopt a non-lethal wildlife program — the public demands it!

Mendocino Non-lethal Wildlife Alliance Steering Committee: Rose Ireland, Don Lipmanson, Jon Spitz

Mendocino County

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My husband and I went to see some Christmas lights. What an embarrassment downtown Santa Rosa was. Not only was there not much in the decorations department, but Fourth Street has many closed and empty storefronts, which made it uninviting and, truth be told, scary.

Upon leaving, we headed out on College Avenue and saw three tents being set up under the overpass, along with carts of garbage. It was only 6:30 p.m., and quite a bit of traffic was still out. Looks as though Joe Rodota Trail is expanding to downtown.

And, while I’m at it, something needs to be done with that concrete monstrosity that’s being called a town square. An empty parking lot has more personality.

Deborah Colyer

Santa Rosa

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Our nation is in the middle of an historic event, a crisis if you will: the impeachment of Donald Trump, our president. Democrats are trying to follow the Constitution. Republicans are holding fast to their man. It makes me wonder.

I was a teacher for 34 years. During those years, I learned that teachers were held to a high moral standard. Occasionally I would swear in class only to be admonished by my students. They would tell me, “You can’t say that; you’re a teacher.” I believe this cloak of morality holds true for all teachers.

Now the question is, why should we as a nation hold our president to a lower standard? If anything, we should hold him to a higher standard. He represents our nation. The world is watching. Yet he continues to lie, cheat and disgrace his office. The man has no shame.

If I, as a teacher, had been accused of just one of the crimes leveled at him, I would have lost my teaching credential and been banned from teaching for life. When I became a teacher, I swore to uphold this moral code of conduct. Too bad we can’t, or won’t, hold Trump to the same code of conduct and moral standards.

Charles Garcia

Fort Bragg

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Does anyone realize the hypocrisy, stupidity and iron-headed craziness of the Democrats, the liberals, the House who got the impeachment going against President Trump? They have nothing, zero. All they have is numbers; they could vote anything they wanted to. But it won't stick. Now they are afraid to turn it over to the Senate who will laugh at it. They will become the biggest horses asses in the United States. It's a joke, a miserable, mindbending, money spending taxpayer… It's just awful! The Mueller thing, the Kavanaugh thing, and now this? Millions of taxpayer dollars for nothing. They get nothing done. All they’ve done is chew on President Trump for the last three years and it won't work. He will get four more years which will flatten them right to the ground. The Democrats are done and over with. Stupid. 

God bless Donald Trump, four more years.

Jerry Philbrick


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With the disclosure that SMART refused requests for daily ridership statistics, it is apparent that SMART is failing to meet its predictions (“SMART not disclosing weekly, daily rider data,” Thursday). We have been told by many that SMART collects a negligible 3% to 5% of operating costs out of the farebox. This compares with anywhere from 25% to 50% for other public transit systems.

The extension to the Larkspur ferry terminal is most likely going to be a much-hyped but little used service. Especially for Sonoma County residents who will not spend two to three hours commuting to San Francisco with three transfers. Not to mention a quarter-mile walk downhill (and uphill returning) to get to the ferry terminal.

Since SMART has never disclosed its true cost to taxpayers, we just guess that the subsidy per passenger, for every trip, is between $25 and $50, depending on length. A SMART disclosure on these actual figures would be helpful.

Withholding the facts would seem to constitute a coverup of some nature. We cannot vote to give SMART any more money until it proves itself to be a transparent and successful venture. Until that time, vote no on the sales tax extension.

Wayne Diggs


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