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Letters To The Editor



We are reeling from the murder of Fort Bragg city councilman and former mayor, Jere Melo. I offer my sympathy to his family. I'm too well acquainted with such shocks.

In my long time here, Jere and I never met, so I have no personal story to add the general conversation. I only knew him by his deeds as a highly visible representative of the timber industry.

It's hard for me to believe it's now twenty-one years and counting since Redwood Summer here and the time when the timber industry ruled Mendocino County. It was a quarrelsome time, to put it nicely.

As an employee of Georgia-Pacific, Jere Melo was an implacable, fearless and effective opponent of the people who demanded that the industry cut down the forests no faster than they can grow back and cut them in ways that minimize collateral damage. Such policies are in force in other counties, other states and other nations, and healthy, growing forests are the result.

We failed here, and the loss of the timber industry, the mills, the jobs and the countless public benefits from all of that is the catastrophic . Our timberlands are growing back, as they do, but much land is ravaged. Streams and rivers are ruined for spawning, and our fisheries are all but dead. Bad logging and the damage it causes was the biggest single culprit in all this. Jere Melo, a University of California-trained forester was foremost among the industry's defenders.

And he was on the winning side. Georgia-Pacific “monetized” the timber resource here as fast as it could, lots of people made lots of money, and the industry shrank to its present little presence, as did its fellow industry, fishing. We are mainly tourism and marijuana now, both enterprises with nearly invisible environmental footprints, compared to timber's.

So while the media are full of comment about the Melo murder, and much is said about his contributions as a citizen, it might be useful for the young, and for the less-young who have short memories, to know that Mr. Melo was a full partner in the decimation of California's forests, the prosperity they once provided, the resources they produced, the thriving communities they supported the wildlife they harbored and the spectacular wilderness they created.

My friends and neighbors are lining up to praise Mr. Melo, and I'm learning that there were praiseworthy parts of him I never knew or inquired about. This is as it should be, but there is a public record, in its way as shocking as Mr. Melo's death, that should not be expunged from our common heritage as a community.

It's part of my identity, as one who failed to avert Big Timber's predations here, as much as it is Jere Melo's, who vigorously promoted them.

Mitch Clogg





Get in touch with Mali, Buenos Aires


Mali Charlaff

Buenos Aires




I would support Obama (for whom my loathing is well known) if Romney were nominated. Romney is the scum of the earth. Alexander Cockburn has lost his mind if his support for Romney is not a sick joke. Jeffrey St. Clair's attack on Obama -- thank you for putting it on page 1! — was well said and 100% accurate, though the paragraph on page 5 ranting against the “tea party” was a bit off. We do not hate black people -- a disgusting lie -- obviously we do not hate science teachers. Nor do we hate immigrants. We hate the hypocrisy of neither throwing out illegal immigrants or openly changing our laws to allow in everyone. As to homosexuals, those of us who are religious find their current “in our face” stance annoying, but try to remember to pray for them.

I noticed Mr. St. Clair said “tea party” folk are not nice libertarians like good, old Barry Goldwater. I'm old enough to remember when the left thought Barry was the devil. The left from Karl Marx on has clearly seen all that is wrong with the establishment right (Romney, Reagan, Bush I & II, Nixon), but their idea of the cure is like shooting strychnine to cure diarrhea. The modern state defends all crimes of the ruling class and continues to do so under the slimy pseudo-left such as Obama. The cure is not a monster socialist state, but rather to weaken the state, if possible destroy it as Jefferson said would be required at regular intervals.


Michael Bear Carson

Mule Creek State Prison

Ione, California

Ed Note: Cockburn is not supporting Romney. I read that as Romney being at least more or less reality based in a field of lunatics. Already, of course, the Obama people are planning a campaign based on Obama not being any of them. No, he's worse. Name the issue and he's been a disaster. It still irritates me that so many people voted for him when it was clearer than clear that he represented Bush squared. Certainly his appointment of that long-time corporate bagman, Biden, should have alerted even the libs that it was going to be hard times for US, bigger breaks for THEM. I'm not as pessimistic as a lot of lefties. I think Americans can turn on a dime, especially when they wake up to know they are not represented by anyone at most levels of government. Wisconsin was a preview of more to come on a larger scale, and it'll happen when Obama messes with MediCare and Social Security. Keep your pitchforks and torches handy.




Schism in Catholicism again?

It isn't the first time the Catholic Church in Ireland showed the Catholic Church in Rome how to behave.

When the Roman Empire went belly up (ca 400 AD) it was the Irish who established monasteries throughout Europe to keep the “word” alive until Gutenberg printed the book.

Now it seems Rome needs another wake-up call. The Vatican has recalled its envoy in Ireland in response to the Irish bishops' call for child molesters to be charged under civil law whether they happened to be clerics or not. No hiding behind the collar in Ireland.

Bring it on, Benedict.

Don O'Malley

Irish Catholic in Humboldt




Map E2 is a redistricting hoax.

In light of the 2010 U.S. Census tallies, Mendocino County has to reapportion population between its Supervisorial districts to comply with Federal and State laws.

The 1st (Brown), 2nd (McCowen) and 3rd (Pinches) districts are overpopulated, while the 4th (Smith) and 5th (Hamburg) are below the law’s requirement for population parity.

Consequently, the overpopulated districts have to surrender precincts to the underpopulated in numbers sufficient to balance them all within a legally defensible deviation of 3% from average.

The Board of Supervisors currently has before it four maps purporting to achieve reapportionment goals: maps B2, E2, Staff map A and Staff map A modified. Map A was an initial Staff generated map jettisoned by the CAC and brought forward by Supervisor Hamburg, Map A- Modified has been brought forward by Supervisor Smith, Map B2 derives from Staff Map B as modified by the CAC and Map E2 is a late modification of Map C, both of which were generated by the CAC.

Maps A, A-Modified and B2 are initial Staff maps and their derivations, while Map E2 is solely a product of the CAC, via maps C and E.

Arguments supporting the Board of Supervisors adopting Map E2 are based on several transparent fallacies.

FALLACY # 1: Map E2 purports to combine “Communities of Interest” by conjoining the City of Fort Bragg with the Town of Mendocino within the same Supervisorial district.

Not so fast. The term “Communities of Interest” has a very specific meaning as defined in the Training Packet the Redistricting CAC was provided by County Counsel, and is to be applied in order to keep specific contiguous populations, such as Urban, Rural, Industrial and/or Agricultural within the same district whenever possible.

To assert that Fort Bragg and the Town of Mendocino represent a “Community of Interest” sufficient to place in the same district simply because each serves visiting tourists is to miss the point of the Guideline and ignore the fact that the same argument could be made for Little River, Elk, Point Arena, not to mention Willits, Ukiah and Hopland, which also enjoy a strong visitor-serving element within their respective economies.

This argument falls flat down when viewed in light of another of the Guidelines enumerated in the CAC Training Packet: that of “Integrity”, which stipulates, “Cities, Communities and Neighborhoods should not be divided into separate districts when avoidable”; which Map E2 certainly does by dividing the community of Mendocino on the north bank of Big River from its community on the south .

The argument that putting together “Communities of Interest” like Mendocino and Fort Bragg in the same district outweighs preserving the Mendocino community’s “Integrity” is, therefore, specious.

FALLACY #2: Map E2 creates three coastal districts.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. Map E2 creates a single coastal district, the 4th, while making Districts 3 and 5 inland districts with a coastline.

Currently, the 5th District population is distributed geographically as: coastal = 45%, Comptche/Anderson Valley corridor = 20.7%, and the Hopland/101 corridor = 34.5%. In short, a plurality of the 5th’s population resides in the coastal area.

Map E2 redistributes this balance to 37% coastal, 20.7% Comptche/Anderson Valley, and 42-43% Hopland/101 corridor. This realignment transposes a plurality of 5th District population from the coast to the Hopland/101 corridor

The 3rd District currently has no coastal area. Map E2 would transform that, but only very slightly: Map E2 would add only 137 people to the 3rd District, equaling only .76% of its population, but would add 196 sq/miles to the district.

In short, the 3rd District would become a ‘coastal’ district in name only -- an inland district with a coastline.

At the July 13 Redistricting CAC meeting I attended, 3rd District Supervisor John Pinches informed the CAC that he already represented a district, “Larger than some states” and that he felt becoming “physically responsible” for representing a larger area would be “daunting”. Later in that meeting, the CAC voted to eliminate Map C, a map that would have adjusted the boundary of the 3rd district to the coast to which Supervisor Pinches was referring in his remarks, much in the way Map E2 currently would.

I should note here that the Map E2 under consideration at the July 13th CAC meeting did not adjust the 3rd District boundary to the coast, but simply moved it westward across Highway 101 to take in Piercy and Leggett. The current Map E2 didn’t appear until two days later, a sort of Map C lite, which enlarges a district its Supervisor expressly didn’t wish enlarged.

The notion that Map E2 creates three coastal districts is a canard. It in fact creates only a single coastal district (the 4th) and two inland districts (the 3rd and 5th) which happen to have a coastline.

FALLACY #3: The Redistricting CAC process has not been political. Bunk.

At the July 13th CAC meeting, chair Jim Mayfield stated that the group wasn’t supposed to be thinking politically but he was certain it was in the back of every member’s mind.

CAC member Mark Scaramella put it more succinctly when he wrote that putting both Fort Bragg and the Town of Mendocino in the 4th is a, “…move that would concentrate Mendolib in one voting district.”

The BOS heard from several members of the public saying they want the Town of Mendocino out of the 5th District altogether. These sentiments are purely political in genesis and nature. Therefore Map E2 is nothing more than a redistricting means to a political end.

The Board of Supervisors has three other maps before it, each of which accomplishes what should be a rather straightforward reapportionment of population to conform with legal requirements for district population balance.

Map E2 is a highly charged, politically motivated option that should be eliminated from the Board’s consideration at the earliest possible opportunity.


Lee Edmundson





In the dawn's early light of September 2, J. Biro laid his prayer rug on the ground, facing south towards home plate at Phoneco Park in San Francisco. He rent his raiment, donned a cloak of burlap, poured stove ashes over his head, and with weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, grovelled piteously before Jeebus, who IS Lord.

"O Mighty Jeebus, I beseech Thee, hear my prayer! Verily, Thou knowest, the Giants sucketh Big Ones. With the lowest run total in the majors, and the lowest pitcher support, it is only Thy Grace that preventeth their plunge to the cellar. They lose series after series, and score their few runs only in their lone victories; verily, this maketh it not, O Lord! O Jeebus we cry out to Thee, that the Giants could not hit a basketball rolled up to the plate; have we failed in our worship of Thee? Has our joy and pride in Thy Victory of 2010 offended thee? Dearest Jeebus we pray aloud, our tears flood over the field. What can we do to regain Thy Favor? Thou has bestirred the management, the most barren have been cut. Thy Will Be Done! Firm thou the heart of Bochy to schedule double BP before each remaining Holy Contest! May it please Thee, cause the batting coach, Bam Bam Muelens, who cruiseth on the laurels of last year, to fall on his bat and resign in Sacrifice to Thee! As a personal request, if it be not too importunate to Thee, return Thou Jon Miller, the bubbly babbler, back to Baltimore. O Lord, Thou knowest our miserable desolation! Lift our eyes in hope to Thee again!"

"O Mighty Jeebus, the crucial series approacheth tonight, wherein the Snakes from the desert, that very race that perverteth Thy Creation in Thy Garden, seek to establish their satanic reign impregnable into postseason! Mighty Jeebus we beg Thee to return them chastened to their torrid holes under their haboobs of hell! Thou knowest, O Lord, how this time last year the Giants trailed the Pederasts by 5 games, and all was despair amongst Thy weak creatures here below, but for Thee Alone and Thy Miracle of Labor Day that turnethed the tide! As Thou hath punished the Peds, we pray, scorn Thou the Snakes! Mighty Jeebus in Thy Name we pray unceasingly that the Giants bats explode in apocalyptic fury to Thy Glory! That they bury the evil foemen in avalanches of runs! May it be Thy Will, O Mighty Jeebus, that the Giants return again to victory and another World Series in Thy Holy Name! Praise Jeebus"

And now, O Readers, Pray! Pray Unceasingly! Pray Hard!


J. Biro

Santa Rosa



Dear Editor Anderson,

The Fortunate Son, serialized in the AVA over recent months, was a story well worth telling. And Jake Rohrer did a first rate job in the telling. Have you considered republishing it in a consolidated form of one kind or another (as you did The Redleg Boogie Blues by Jeff Costello all those years ago)? I would be good for a couple of copies.

And I can’t help wondering how you and Jake Rohrer connected in the first place.


Stewart Bowen

Suisun Valley

PS. Perhaps those recent full page AT&T ads will help subsidize such an undertaking.



Letter to the Editor,

Open Letter to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors:

When I look at what could be done that might have prevented the tragic death of Jere Melo, I think that Mendocino County should implement Laura’s Law as soon as possible. If that had been in place six months ago when the Bassler family tried to get a psychiatric evaluation and treatment for Aaron from the jail medical staff, and from the Public Defender’s Office and the Superior Court Judge, Aaron could have received medical treatment that might have stabilized him and cleared up his delusional and paranoid thinking.

Under Laura’s Law, the judge could have ordered Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) in the community for Aaron. Aaron would have qualified under California’s treatment standard based primarily on a person’s likelihood of being dangerous. Some other states have a more progressive “need for treatment” standard. MHSA (the Mental Health Services Act, which taxes millionaires 1% more for Mental Health services) funds can pay for AOT.

Studies on New York’s AOT law show that among individuals under AOT, there is 74% less homelessness; 77% fewer hospitalizations; 83% fewer arrests and 87% fewer incarcerations. AOT keeps the public safer, saves money in reduced hospitalizations and incarcerations and will save lives.

Sonya Nesch

Author, Advocating for Someone with a Mental Illness





I’m writing to invite you to attend an unusual gathering of Native American Indian tribes from throughout Northern California focused on returning the Eel River — and the fisheries it supports — to a healthy, sustainable state. On September 10th, starting at 2pm, the Wiyot Tribe will gather with members of the Bear River, Cahto, Sherwood Rancheria, Round Valley, Pomo, Hoopa, Yurok, and Karuk Tribes to share a public prayer ceremony with tribal dances at the mouth of the Eel River in Loleta, California.

Reporters and photographers are welcome to join the event for dinner and to camp with the group overnight if that is of interest.

The event will be jointly hosted by the Wiyot Tribe and the Friends of the Eel River. Although three similar ceremonies have been held in different parts of the Eel River Watershed during the past year, this gathering will be unusual in the number and diversity of tribes represented. Momentum around these events is growing as there are encouraging signs that the salmon fishery on the Eel River is beginning to recover, thanks to increased flows after the river had been water-starved for more than a century.

See below for more information about the history of water flows and salmon on the Eel River. Please feel free to contact me for more information about attending the Wiyot Day and Eel River Prayer Ceremony.


Severn ‘Sev’ Williams, Principal

Public Good PR for Friends of the Eel River

510-336-9566 c 415-336-9623

PS. The Eel River is California’s third largest watershed, third largest salmon producing river, and second largest steelhead producing river. This fishery was the first to fail on the north coast, before the Klamath and before the Sacramento. The Eel’s headwaters are dammed and more than half of its natural flows are diverted to the Russian River through an inefficient tunnel and dam system in Potter Valley. Its dams are now a century old, block spawning and rearing habitat so necessary to this once vital fishery and hold back much needed gravels for a fully operative river system.

In 2004, dam owner PG&E increased flows on the Eel River from 5 cubic feet/second to 20-25 cubic feet/second under the orders of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Although these flows are still paltry compared to the river’s natural state, Chinook salmon native to the river have begun to spawn in much greater numbers. This past winter, more than 10,000 salmon successfully returned to their spawning grounds, up from only hundreds in earlier years. If the Eel River salmon and steelhead runs are ever to return to a sustainable state, diversions to the Russian River must be eliminated.

For more information see  or call 510-336-9566.




The South Coast branch of VOTE YES ON LIBRARIES Committee invites everyone to a PARTY FOR THE LIBRARY on Saturday, September 10, 2011 from 11am to 3pm at Bower Park on the Ridge in Gualala. Enjoy a delicious Free Lunch, drinks and desserts, excellent music by DJ Sister Yasmin, and special guest speaker 5th District Supervisor Dan Hamburg. Learn about how our Yes votes can save our libraries.

Mendocino County is budgeting zero for the library district this year and the State is reducing its support of libraries by 80%. The result will be the death of libraries as we know them. We can't let this happen.

Join us on Saturday, September 10 at Bower Park to learn what you can do to help save our libraries!

For more information call Pearl Watts at 707-884-3057 and .

Yasmin Solomon





Our only hope is long-term hope, and our only real power in dealing with peak oil, climate change, and financial chaos is locally within our communities.

Having said that: I'm a registered Independent because I cannot stand either major political party. I can't stand the Republican Party leadership for their stupid, greedy, corrupt, libertarian selfishness who don't give a hoot about their constituents and spend all their time and energy trying to defeat their opponents and kill democratic governance. I can't stand many of the Democratic Party rank-and-file for their stupid, mumbling, head-shaking, back-stabbing disloyalty to the President they worked for and elected.

President Obama plays by the rules with the hand he was dealt. As one of my favorite bloggers wrote: "He’s not Moses, he’s the President. He presides. He doesn’t rule. We gave him an awful job, and he’s doing it with dignity, sobriety, intelligence, and a variety of other personal and administrative virtues that were absent or compromised in the prior two administrations... while running a country that risks devolving into misery and chaos... in a system rigged against him."

What is wrong with you people? Obama hurt your feelings? Poor babies. If nothing else, don't you understand what will happen if the dark side rides again and appoints a couple more corporate Supreme Court judges who, illegally and unconstitutionally, rule us as Kings? We will be a lost nation for generations to come.

Get real, Democrats! Even though he's not the second coming of Jesus Christ, I'll be supporting and voting for Obama in the next election, and if you sit this one out you will have betrayed us all.

Dave Smith





Democratic congressional candidate Norman Solomon, whose strong voice for a Green New Deal and against big money's takeover of government, is coming to Mendocino County. He will be at the Caspar Community Center in downtown Caspar on Thursday, September 8th, at 7 pm, and on Friday, September 9th, at 4:30 pm at the Ukiah Brewing Company & Restaurant, 102 S. State Street, Ukiah. From his stinging critiques of the corporate media to his strong anti-war stance, Norman Solomon is ready to engage the people of Mendocino County in a discussion about our future.

More info on the Solomon for Congress campaign here where (among many other things) you’ll read that: Sean Penn to Campaign for Solomon in Congressional Race.

Former North Bay resident Sean Penn will return to the area next week for joint appearances with progressive Democratic candidate Norman Solomon, who is running for Congress in the new coastal district that stretches from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border.

The Oscar-winning actor and director has been immersed in humanitarian aid work in Haiti since a devastating earthquake struck that country in January 2010.

In December 2002, three months before the US invasion of Iraq, Penn and Solomon went to Baghdad together in an effort to encourage alternatives to war. Speaking alongside Solomon at a news conference in the Iraqi capital, Penn told journalists: “I sit with you here today in the hopes that any of us present may contribute in any way to a peaceful resolution to the conflict at hand.”

Solomon — a policy researcher, author and political activist — is an outspoken critic of Washington’s failure to create jobs, protect the environment and give priority to education, healthcare and retirement security. He is running as an independent progressive Democrat for an open seat in the new congressional district that includes Marin County and western Sonoma County as well as the North Coast counties of Mendocino, Humboldt, Del Norte and Trinity.

Now in his third consecutive term as a member of the California Democratic Party’s state central committee, Solomon is national co-chair of Healthcare Not Warfare. He was elected as an Obama delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Details about Penn’s upcoming appearances with Solomon on the campaign trail will be posted on the campaign website, .

Tom Wodetzki




Dear Beverly Dutra,

Want to make time for another real mail friend? We don't have too much in common I expect, except I too was born in 1937, May 31, and I am a lifelong reader pretty much everything like you said except it turns out actually different: novels, poetry, astrology, and the AVA!

I've been a fine arts painter since I was age 3. I married poet Clive Matson early and divorced early, no children.

My dearest friend, a biker, died four years ago (not from the bike). He was 12 years my junior and it seemed so unfair that he would die before me.

But the pain of that lessens every day though I don't plan to repeat the love experience: ironic now that for the first time in my life even with the wars there are more men than women.

My middle name is Abigail. Bob called me that and I now prefer it. I was born in San Francisco, raised in Sonoma and Carmel and came here in 1973 from Wisconsin where I studied Tibetan Buddhism for three years.


Erin Matson

Margaretville, New York



Dear AVA:

My name is Dan Shealor and I'm writing to inform the general public of a grievous miscarriage of justice being perpetrated on me.

I was released from prison and parole last December having discharged my number as a two-striker. I was and am actually aware of the necessity of keeping my nose clean, particularly in the area of violence.

I began dating and ultimately moving in with a woman named Gina several months ago. Now, several months into our relationship, a certain weasel named Garret Matson began insinuating himself into our affairs and Gina's affections. Your readers may remember Matson's name in connection with a recent suspicious death -- Justice for Katlyn! — and the ensuing murder investigation.

Long story short -- said weasel is running a Svengali trip on Gina using illicit chemicals and mind control techniques. He shot a hole into Gina's car and convinced her to tell the cops it was me. Now here I sit awaiting trial for attempted murder which would mean life in prison for me if convicted. I would ask anyone who has any knowledge of shenanigans committed by Matson to contact my attorney, Bart Kronfeld, 964-6111.

Thank you,

Daniel Shealor

951 Low Gap Road

Ukiah, CA 95482



Dear Editor,

Well, the Giants continue to struggle. Let's hope they get hot down the stretch!

AB 109 is all the talk creating wild rumors. I think the California Department of Corrections knows they will fail to meet reduction numbers. This all is all a smokescreen. I do hope to push the issue and find some way to qualify and go back to County jail. I plan to write Sheriff Allman and District Attorney Eyster.

I am still hoping to contest part of my case but will most likely have to wait until I'm released. I just don't have the money for a lawyer and I'm doing as much research as I can. My mom and stepdad support my boys and had them for the month of July. My main focus is them and rebuilding my future.

Hope you are well. The AVA makes me want to be involved in politics like the Jennifer Puser days. I can definitely say I am now a libertarian.

Take care,

Christopher Fetzer




Dear Editor:

So now it would appear that, after all their bullying, PG&E is trying a new tactic — playing victim.

I'll explain.

Have you ever raised your voice to a SmartMeter installer who you discovered on your property without permission?

Do you escort them back to their truck when you catch them on your property?

Do you advise them that there is currently a manhunt underway for an armed and dangerous murder suspect, and therefore it is probably a bad idea to try to install a SmartMeter without notice or permission, lest those very same SmartMeter installers be mistaken for the fugitive (or a burglar) by a homeowner attempting to defend their family and property?

Well, don't. Don't do any of these things.


Because the head of PG&E security in Santa Rosa will instantly complain at the drop of a hat to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office. His name is Ed Kinney. And he will claim you are making “terrorist threats.” Clearly, Mr. Kinney is manipulating the system.

My advice?

Beat PG&E at their own game. Sheriff Allman has a link on the MSCO site about SmartMeters. Constant phone harassment by PG&E and/or trespassing on your property in attempts to install a SmartMeter, are both crimes. So, file a complaint.

If we all do this, PG&E may get the idea: Leave us alone! And respect home rule. Respect the moratorium on Smart Meter installation that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed.

Incidentally, I have Mr. Kinney's work phone number. In Santa Rosa. It is (707) 577-7086. I looked it up. When I called, his voicemail directed me to call his cell phone at (415) 515-8403.

When I called Mr. Kinney's cell phone all he could blurt out was, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” He kept shouting thank you, as I tried to speak. Then, he hung up.

But you may have better luck.

Call Mr. Kinney after you file your complaint with MCSO. You may want to advise Mr. Kinney of your action. Since PG&E now appears to be so hyper-sensitive about our resistance, and now also seems to be changing tactics, we may want to keep PG&E advised about how we have also adapted in protecting our right to privacy and property rights here in Mendocino County.

PG&E can play victim. We won't!


John Sakowicz


One Comment

  1. Harvey Reading September 8, 2011

    re: editor note concerning Obama. You hit the nail on the head with your comments about Obama. It was clear before the campaign even began that he was nothing but a right-winger, a Chicago Machine product. Only the brain-dead pesudolibs fell for his bullshit. I “threw away” my vote by writing in McKinney/Clemente.

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