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Letters (January 29, 2020)

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To the Editor:

We are three women of color who have lived in Mendocino County for a long time. We have a strong sense of belonging and a deep connection to this place we call home.

Last  fall we presented and participated in a "Speak Up!" workshop in Round Valley, to learn how to take a stand against everyday bigotry. The group of 13 women and men shared stories of recent encounters in Mendocino County, and attempted to re-write these stories using simple, direct, and non-violent responses. The workbook, "Six Steps to Speaking Up Against Everyday Bigotry," published by the Southern Poverty Law Center,  guided our discussion. We learned that all parties concerned are hurt by bigotry: the targets, the perpetrators,  and the witnesses. We learned to look at our own biases.

Here are some of the stories that were shared:

"A" went grocery shopping during a peak time when the store was very crowded. People needed to form a line to check out, and at the same time leave a space for other shoppers to pass through. A's turn was next, but as she stepped forward, another person appeared, looked directly at A, and then quickly placed herself in front of A.

"B's" 14-year old daughter and a some schoolmates plus one adult went shopping at a big discount store. A senior-aged couple passed by the group and said softly yet clearly  enough for all of them to hear, "F___ing foreigners!"

"C" went to a restaurant-lounge to hear a musical performance. One of the musicians used a derogatory term to describe an ethnic group while introducing his song.

In all of the above stories, the perpetrators were white people and the targets were people of color. The stories range from being questionably bigoted to undeniably anti-"foreigner,"  which is the reason we are writing. We want to raise awareness to the general public, that the above types of stories are everyday occurrences, and are on the rise. None of the stories include bigotry directed at people because of their gender identification, sexual orientation, size, ability, line of work, religion, or political party membership, but these stories exist, too.

We know it's difficult to speak up, and still we ask you to do so--in public, in the workplace, in schools, and with your friends, families, and neighbors. Here's how: be ready, identify the behavior, appeal to principles, set limits, find an ally, and be vigilant. It takes lots of practice, and you may fumble around for the right words, but to remain silent is to be complaisant. 


Jessica Harness, Leslie Hines, Sandra Wake


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Dear NPR,

Truly a driveway moment just now; Mary Louise Kelly's interview with Mike Pompeo started out as what seemed like a softball slow pitch free propaganda opportunity for this transparently Kool-Aid guzzling tool of the out-of-control Middle East war industry. My ire rose with each of the unrefuted canards that he trotted out in support of pointless and endless conflict with Iran.

Fortunately, having parked the car, Ms. Kelly adroitly came to my rescue and that of all of her fair-minded listeners when she drilled down on the endless falsehoods being promulgated by the Secretary of State, finally insisting that, his stated position notwithstanding, what is one to make of the testimony of people like Amb. Jovanovich, whose sworn statements contradict utterly the nonsense that he had just propounded? God bless her for finally standing up for known fact and not permitting the corpulent Christianist from flyover country to continue to crank out his lies without challenge.

It was a sweet bonus for her to report to her listeners that, after one of Pompeo's underlings suddenly terminated the interview, she was summoned into his offices for an X-rated-language scolding. I love it! These people are simply not thinkers; those of us who have actually studied and thought about such abstract considerations as morality and rationality and the continued viability of human species, cannot help but recognize people like Mike Pompeo as the Philistine; someone interested in, and only in, the most crass and simplistic values of power, money, influence etc. They don’t even understand such things as moral, ethical behavior!

As the great Jimmy Cliff sings, "the harder they come, the harder they fall". May their fall be hard!

John Arteaga


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I was ecstatic to read that Santa Rosa Junior College is developing a comprehensive building trades training center. Regardless of whether you supported Sen. Marco Rubio during the last election, his comment that we need to bring back trade schools, that we didn’t need any more philosophers, we needed more electricians, plumbers and carpenters, was so right on.

A generation or two of young people interested only in keyboards, and politicians typecasting blue-collar workers as some sort of lower class, has left not only Sonoma County but the country with a severe lack of people who can build or fix things. People working in the trades make good money.

While we concentrate on how to create lower-cost housing, how about creating higher-paying jobs?

SRJC’s program provides an avenue to gain skills and begin working in high-paying jobs in a relatively short period of time. Maybe the next step is a program to train them in the skills needed to become licensed contractors and begin their own businesses. This involves more than just passing the state contractor’s exam, but learning accounting, economics and project and people management skills so they will be successful entrepreneurs.

Kudos to those that worked hard to secure the federal grant and local matching funds.

Rick Duste


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Dear Editor:

My name is Nantsy Pelosy and I just delivered my impeachment papers to Congress. There are 10 articles to go through so here they are:

1. He was elected by an unbalanced majority of implorables. 

2. He’s not one of us. 

3. He destroyed Biden's chance to rule.

4. He is a big fat white man.

5. I said we would impeach him the day he was elected.

6. He is not politically correct.

7. Oh, I just love being up here behind the podium.

8. My nephew or my son-in-law would make a much nicer president.

9. He won over the Clintons who are personal friends of mine.

10. He has no idea what it means to be in politics, living off the little people.

Well, that's the ten articles. Wish me luck! Thanks. 

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This one goes out to the Pelosi posse.

via Tom Madden


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Our wonderful governor Newsom’s at it again, begging the federal government to give him federal land to put homeless people on. He just paid $20 million for a 51,000 acre ranch; now he wants federal land for homeless people. What a jerk!

The great poobah Al Gore says climate change is worse than the 9/11 attacks. What a jerk! He made millions and trillions off global warming and now he's jumping on climate change. 

I watched a group of officials sitting at a table with their mouths open like baby swallows being fed listening to a nine-year-old girl talk about climate change. That's the kind of people we have. Idiots. Climate change doesn't even exist! Maybe Mother Nature change, but not climate change. Anyone who believes in climate change and all that crap needs to stick their heads in the sand. It's stupid to think that way.

God bless Donald Trump.

Jerry Philbrick


PS. Newsom just turned a convicted killer loose down in Alameda who killed two girls and now is getting off the hook and going into a sanctuary state. A convicted killer. We have a dictator running our country letting killers go. People who support him should be ashamed. We have an idiot for governor.

PPS. Hey Kim Jong Un: See if you can get one of your nuclear rockets to hit the Capitol building in Sacramento. Get the Air Resources Board too. We would all be better off. Thank you.

PPPS. The Bay Area news refers to San Francisco as part of Northern California. That's horsepucky. Norther California starts in Sonoma County and runs up to the Oregon border and over across Sacramento into the Sierras. Not San Francisco. We don't want anything to do with San Francisco or Sacramento. All they want is our water and to come up here and dump their trash.

PPPPS. The Liberal Democrats are dancing in the streets over the beautiful performance by the slithering snake Adam Schiff and the rest of the Democrat idiots. You have only heard one side. After the Republicans reply I will be back again next week.

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I often get the feeling that Jerry Philbrick is writing his letters to the AVA so that he can practice his swearing like we used to do in the eighth grade. No shit.

Ashley Jones



  1. Donkey slayer January 30, 2020

    I’m pretty sure I just saw Jerry philbrook at the rest stop between Willits and laytonville holding a sign that said I #$#* Trump but he was getting in the passenger side door of a big rig? Doesn’t he have rediculous rants he should be wasting our time with?

  2. Professor Cosmos February 4, 2020

    Shout out: my attempts to log in are failing…..was ok esrlier today.

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