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Letters (February 26, 2020)

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We are writing to express our deep gratitude to the family and friends of Khadijah Britton, who recently hosted the event, "Say Her Name--Khadijah!" at the Covelo Recreation Center.  

Khadijah is a young Native American woman who has been missing from the Round Valley Reservation for more than two years. The story is heart-breaking yet the event was heart-lifting. The Round Valley Feather Dancers shared powerful and healing dances. All Voices Choral Project sang with sheer, utter joy. Bear Singer-Drummers raised their voices and pounded the rhythm of everyone's heart beating as one.  

Mike Duncan of Fatherhood is Sacred spoke of being tired of abuse, violence, and hate; how all Native Americans are affected by historical trauma, and how you can't give what you don't have yourself. He said the songs and dances work to heal. He urged men to learn to be gentle, to walk in goodness, and to focus on prayer for strength.  

Other speakers informed the community of local services and programs grounded in Native American traditions:  American Indian Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program; Red Road for putting away addiction to alcohol and other drugs; Motherhood and Fatherhood Are Sacred for safe and happy families; youth services, including sobriety and academic tutoring.  

We learned a shocking fact: the U.S. Department of Justice finds that American Indian women face murder rates more than 10 times the national average. We learned about California Assembly Bill 1854, which would create the Missing or Murdered Native American Women Task Force, and develop a database for locating missing Native American persons. This important bill is about to go to the Public  Safety Committee and needs our support. The Committee asks that letters be sent electronically to: 

Once it passes policy committee, it will go to Assembly Appropriations, and  letters of support can be sent to: 

Newly-appointed Sheriff Matt Kendall expressed the importance of using encouragement, rather than pressure, on anyone who may have information leading to Khadijah. The anonymous tip line is (707) 234-2100. 

Again, a tremendous thank you to the family and friends of Khadijah, for an afternoon that transformed collective pain to community unity. In closing, we offer a poem by Jessica:  

Say Her Name-Khadijah

I was there to listen and support

I heard the stories, and felt them

I heard the pain, and felt it

I heard inspiration, and felt it

I heard love, and felt it

And still feeling it


Jessica Harness, Leslie Hines, Sandra Wake,


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I hope this note might give you a moment of cheer:

The February 19 issue is really outstanding in its diverse content and quality writing.

Should give all your readers hope that AVA is America's last newspaper because with the United States currently home to more than 7,000 non- daily newspapers with more than 150 million readers there's a lot of years ahead for weeklies.

Wasburne shows he can write engagingly with knowledge about issues other than crime and drugs. Informative.

The dystopian "The Destruction of California" well-written and I hope overly pessimistic. 

Malcolm Macdonald always surprises, this time with a cow on center stage.

Bill Grimes


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There has never been a more straightforward choice than on Measure C. Either we have a hospital or we don’t. I hope everyone understands that and votes Yes.

It is enlightening to understand how this came about. Forty years ago the local hospital was staffed by a great group of doctors, the area was financially much better off with thriving fishing and lumber industries and a growing tourism business. The practice of medicine still valued the general practitioner and the health business was not yet dominated by big pharm, specialists, huge insurance companies and a convoluted federal Medicare and Medicaid system. Although the advances in the ability to diagnose and cure the ill have advanced tremendously in those forty years, those benefits haven’t flowed to rural medical community. As a result health care in communities such as ours has declined.

Although the Mendocino Coast Hospital District was founded in those more halcyon days in 1971, that business model has been inadequate in many ways. 1) The concept of a community hospital that has a board of directors elected by the district citizens with the only qualifications to serve being twenty-one years old, living in the district, and having enough name recognition to be elected is hardly the way to oversee a $50 million plus business. There are perhaps a dozen people in the district that have the knowledge and skills to fill this critical role. But it is a rare thing for one of those people to run. What we usually get are usually well meaning citizens who have limited if any experience running large businesses and it shows. 2) In addition, board members are saddled with the Brown Act that in the interest of transparency and the fear of skulduggery, prevents more than two board members talking with each other in private. Creativity and free flow of ideas does not happen when the only time you can work together is with cameras rolling and activists watching. There could be much better ways to insure honesty without throttling the ability to work together. 3) Trying to attract top-notch board members to oversee a multi-million dollar business with administrators making hundreds of thousands of salary dollars gratis, putting them under the Brown Act, and expecting them to want to work with board members who are not really qualified for the task and do it gratis is a fool’s errand.

In addition, a hospital board and staff that feel it needs to respond to the whims of an electorate rather than use their professional judgment on what can realistically be provided within the restraints of the market and the legal requirements can lead to devastating decisions. In MCDH’s case, after the bankruptcy in 2014 there was a huge opportunity to restructure the MCDH business. A knowledgeable business leadership team would have reworked the union contract to significantly reduce costs and eliminate the OB department. If that had been done, over $10,000,000 would have been saved over the past six years and the hospital would not have been on the edge of bankruptcy again.

Another major problem is that MCDH has significant difficulties attracting specialists to such a small patient market and our area’s paucity of available housing. MCDH is hobbled by having to use traveling specialist and nursing staff at a huge premium. Our hospital also has a difficult time attracting first rate permanent CEOs. Since I have lived here, every CEO has left with less than a glowing report card on how well they ran MCDH. Is this the way to provide critical services? As one very knowledgeable person in the medical community told me, “We do not have the expertise on the coast to run a hospital.”

I have been informed that the only critical access hospitals surviving in California are: 1) two in ski areas where they have developed renowned orthopedic departments whose cash flow fund the other health services shortfalls or 2) those that are affiliated.

Our community is indeed fortunate that Adventist is not only willing, be apparently enthusiastic to affiliate with MCDH. This opportunity will give access to a much broader range of services and skilled practitioners, competent leadership, and financial stability.

Welcome them in with an overwhelming Yes vote on Measure C on March 3.

Larry R Wagner

Fort Bragg

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Regarding the "hat-backwards boys" mentioned by the editor in the Feb. 19 Off the Record section, those who he believes would enjoy the "Bronze Age Mindset" book he was mentioning:

I once saw a George Carlin stand up routine on TV in which he explained the origin of the hats-backwards males. He said certain males wore their baseball hats backwards so the bill of the hat would not block the view in front of them when they got into a fight. 

I wonder how many hats-backwards males in 2020 are aware of this history? (less than 1%?). 

Keith Bramstedt

San Anselmo

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Dear Editor:

As President of the MEC, I’m obliged to make a few corrections to the misconceptions expressed by First District candidate, John Sakowiz and Mary Massey in a recent AVA. 

First, I did not resign from the MEC Board when Alicia left to become KZYX Program Director, I stayed on the Board, as John Sakowicz and Mary Massey know, since they were each present at subsequent Board meetings while I was on the Board, when they were asked to resign.

During the transition after Alicia’s departure, we did change the Board’s regular meeting day and forgot to publish the new day in the MEC Notes. This may have led some folks, like Mary, to conclude the Board was defunct and the MEC was dead. However, rumors of our demise are greatly exaggerated.  

Second, there was nothing curious about my call-in to KZYX during John Sakowitcz interview. I asked him the same question I asked other candidates regarding his position on Measure V enforcement. I prefaced my remarks by quoting the answers he gave in writing to Mendocino Climate Action’s Q&A, where he seemed to contradict himself, first advocating enforcement, then praising Mendocino Forest Company, the main V violator, and hectoring activists for “demonizing” the Company. What was curious was Sakowicz shying away from a lawsuit, a subject he knows a lot about, but I suppose it depends on which end of it he’s on.

Finally, publicly disclosing information purportedly taken from a confidential, good faith mediation to smear someone, is stunningly unethical, even in this Age of Trump.

The MEC is proud of our role as incubator for the Mendocino Climate Action Advisory Committee and supports the development of the MCAAC. In my personal opinion, no amount of well placed funding is too much to try to salvage Life as we know it and our future existence on the Planet. A few nuclear weapons would go a long way.

I’m pleased to report the MEC and KMEC are alive and breathing and beginning to thrive. We welcome all the dedicated, sincere, hard working activists in our County and beyond, so sorely needed by the Earth, and hope we can be of assistance.


Naomi Wagner, MEC President


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The November election will be the most lopsided victory in favor of Donald Trump in the history of the United States. If you don't agree go hide under your bed or commit suicide. We would not miss you. After those four years there will be another Republican, maybe Trump's son or Mike Pence. If another Liberal Democrat gets in there as president young people will be up shit creek without a paddle. 

President Trump: Keep on keeping on, drain the swamp, cut off federal funding to liberal college students, make them respect the flag and the Constitution. Stick it to Gavin Newsom so deep he will squeal for months, make him fix California's infrastructure and homelessness. Make him stop wasting our tax money for crap we don't need, Bolster law enforcement, there's more lawlessness now and more coming in the future. 

Conservative Republicans need to be proud of America, the flag, the Constitution, our forefathers who made this a free country, not what the Democrats believe in but what President Trump believes in like the rest of us who think the way Americans should believe. It is sickening to see colleges disrespect the flag, the Constitution and the pledge. People in the Midwest and the South have more respect for the country now that we’re taking it back from the Liberals and we will win. 

We need to get rid of or control these multi-billion billionaire scumbags trying to dictate what goes on in the United States like George Soros, Tom Steyer, Mike Bloomberg, and Jeff Bezos. They’re so rich that they fart $1000 bills and use their money to influence lots of programs to take down the United States. Something has to be done about them. Maybe the CIA or some civilians need to handle them roughly. We don't need rich people causing as much trouble as they do. And getting away with it. It's sad and makes me really mad. 

Remember the Alamo? About a month after that General Houston tracked Santa Ana down on the San Jacinto River and wiped him out. Revenge is sweet. Liberals better take note for all the crap and corruption and misery you have caused in the last 24 years. There will be revenge and you people will pay big time! Remember the Alamo! 

God bless Donald Trump

Jerry Philbrick


One Comment

  1. Joe Hansem March 3, 2020

    I hope they find Khadijah and bring the perpetrators of the crimes committed against her to justice. This young woman has a most noble name that befits her, that of Mohammed’s first wife, an older affluent widow he met as a young man who sponsored him and helped facilitate his rise to prominence.

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