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Letters (April 8, 2020)

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Dear Supervisors. 

There is an unconfirmed rumor our county now has 8 positive COVID-19 cases. 

No credible news entity has confirmed this thus far. 

Here's the rub: You have a county website which purports to provide current COVID-19 news. 

And yet up to date news is not being provided. 

County COVID-19 website news needs to be updated DAILY. Providing news of: 

#of tests (Woefully low at last reading at merely 250). 

# of Positives 

# of negatives 

# of pending. 

Patients recovered. 

Other patients status. ETC. 

We have a county with a population of almost 90,000 souls. According to the latest County reporting, we've had but 250 +or- tests. 

In short, we have no idea from this extremely limited testing data what the current, real, infection rate for Mendocino County is. 

County government has to be at the forefront of disseminating accurate data, I.E. News and Information about this prospective plague. 

Therefore, the County's website needs to, and should, post the aforementioned updated data DAILY on its website. 

DAILY, folks/ What prevents this happening? 

Where are our tests? 

Where is our County Health Officer? 

We have been leading on shelter in place. Let's not fumble the testing ball now. 

Thanks for your time and consideration. 

Lee Edmundson


PS: Just get it done for the ease and presence of mind for your constituents 

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I very much appreciated Fred Gardner’s history of the Hallinans (“Remembering Kayo,” 3/25/20), particularly that of Vincent whose presidential candidacy I worked for back in 1952 when I was a few years short of voting age. Eighteen years later, he would offer to defend me for free should I ever happen to kill someone but he passed on before I had the urge to hold him to his promise. The occasion followed one of Terrence “Kayo” Hallinan’s finest moments when, in 1968, he was being tried for assault on a policeman during a protest at San Francisco State when, acting as a "legal observer," he grabbed the club of a Tac Squad officer as he was jamming it into the belly of a young woman protester, spinning him around. “Stop it officer!,” Hallinan shouted at the time, “She’s only a woman.” Stepping behind him, another Tac Squad officer, Michael Brady, quickly brought his club crashing down on Hallinan’s skull which would require 16 stitches to repair, at which point he was arrested. I was standing close by and photographed the encounter (my image of his bleeding head would later hang in his office when he became DA) and, as the lead witness in his defense, my testimony destroyed the then DA’s case. Celebrating afterward, Vincent said that if I was a woman, he’d kiss me, but under the circumstances, if I killed anyone he’d defend me for nothing. The case had been delayed because I was in Mexico, covering the Olympic Games for Ramparts magazine and my appearance in court that December, in a three piece Brooks Bros. suit, threw the prosecuting attorney off to the point where the only question relevant to the event he could ask me was, “Were you wearing a beard that night?” Another question he asked, and my answer, however, came close to having a dangerous aftermath. The exchange went more or less like this. “Do you know the defendant,” the prosecutor demanded. “In as much as his work as a lawyer and mine as a photographer have crossed paths, I know him.” It was evident that the DA’s office hadn’t taken the trouble to make much of an investigation ahead of time since I had known Kayo quite well for at least the previous five years. That night they made up for it. I received a call from the Tac Squad’s top sergeant who asked me, in a friendly voice, if I would come by the court the next day for further questioning. I agreed and then called Vincent who advised me to make myself scarce and if necessary, to come and stay at his home in Marin Co. or get myself checked into a hospital. By coincidence, I was just showing the signs of hepatitis that I had caught from something I had eaten in Mexico but my doctor was out of town and the one who had agreed to take his calls didn’t think hospitalization was required. At the time I was living In the Mission District so some friends nearby in the Castro agreed to put me up until the trial was over. After a week, wanting to sleep again in my own bed, I snuck back into my apartment, going up the back stairs to my neighbor’s below and from there up the remaining stairs to my door. Pinned to it was a short hand printed note, saying, “Jeff, please come to court tomorrow, Vince wants you.” Signed, “Thanks, T.H.” It was obvious that Kayo hadn’t written it. A few minutes later, without having turned on any lights, I was in bed when I heard two pairs of heavy boots bounding up the stairs, followed by pounding on my door. Clearly, it wasn’t Father Christmas. Apparently, the cops had learned of my acquaintance with Kayo and had been keeping watch on my apartment from Valencia St, where, across the tennis court, the stairs on my Linda St. apartment were visible by streetlight. There I sat in bed as they pounded again, wondering if they would bust my door down. Glad for all involved that didn’t happen and the next day I slipped out through my own back door which apparently they weren’t watching and returned to my friends in the Castro. Kayo later sued the city for the attack, and using my 1968 testimony, won a $10,000 judgment. The last time we had a conversation was at some sort of a reception after I had returned to the Bay Area from Lebanon in 1984 where I had been photographing the aftermath of Israel’s bloody 1982 invasion and, in Israel, had interviewed a number of Israeli reservists who chose to go to prison rather than participate in a war they believed was wrong. Much to my surprise, not to mention disappointment, Kayo exploded, fortunately, orally, not physically, with a defense of Israel that would have won him a standing ovation at AIPAC. We never spoke again. 

Jeffrey Blankfort


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The epidemic will not be contained until we test everyone and quarantine all who are positive. Test everyone and those who are negative can go back to work.

Dr. Roger Delgado


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Chris Calder in the AVA, yea!

Hey, Chris. It’s so good to read your reporting in the AVA. A big THANKS to you for writing and to Bruce for featuring your coverage now.

Greatly appreciated.

Tom Wodetzki


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I wrote a letter over a month ago about the discontent I feel for the local District Attorney and his lapdog Robert Smith and the public defender’s office. I must say at this point my flames are throughly fanned as my letter has not been published in one of the greatest newspapers ever, the AVA!

My family has been in residence in Mendocino for over 50 years. My father and uncle are Bob and Tom Spinardi who owned property in Philo and Boonville with Butch Defreitis. I’ve been reading the AVA since I was a child. I’m now 33 years old. I am resending my letter in this envelope as I am thorougly pissed off because the public defender continues to neglect to do his civic duty knowingly! And the judge and Robert Smith are both using intimidation and threats to force me to take a deal. That is injustice and as unAmerican as it gets! I would greatly appreciate it if you would include my letter in your next edition.

Thank you very muich


John Spinardi, A-98867, concerned citizen

951 Low Gap Road


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Sunday Update on John Spinardi and his criminal justice woes:

Defendant John Robert Spinardi, age 33, reported to be a transient in and around Ukiah at the time of his arrest by the Ukiah Police Department, entered pleas of no contest on January 22, 2020 to a January 7th attempted vehicle theft with a prior conviction for vehicle theft, a felony, as well as a separate petty theft, a misdemeanor.

He was eventually sentenced on March 20, 2020 to a Realignment County Prison (RCP) sentence of 18 months. That RCP sentence was split, between 9 months of incarceration (meaning 4 1/2 actual jail time) and 9 months on mandatory supervision, a New Age form of local parole.

District Attorney David Eyster

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To the Editor:

To the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors,

Please Check this out:

Those Big Scary Maps in the new media of Coronavirus Clusters are as scary as the boogey man until you zero in on the maps via magnification options.

My Thoughts are: Damn our California Government Leaders for shutting down all those businesses for a limited number coronavirus clusters in limited areas. “My humble opinion” that our government powers are doing overkill “just exploded” after looking at the magnified versions of that Microsoft based interactive Coronavirus Map showing the specific areas of the coronavirus are just in limited areas, and are not involved throughout the entire State of California.

Our CA economy is at serious risk of tanking downward big time by what I personally think is an overkill mistake made by the California leadership. Those recent decisions pose a worse risk to California as opposed to the actual risk of the coronavirus itself. Of course it is easier make armchair comments, and I do not envy the humongous challenge of those in charge of such huge responsibilities. I am speaking up to ask our leadership to seriously reconsider!

Yes to washing hands often, and slapping us into better social distancing habits including staying home when sick, and staying away from sick people.

I am critical: I see an extreme economic killer route coming from the top decision makers, with what I believe are paranoids surrounding them. I believe the statewide protocols aimed at prevention make sense to apply to, and surround the few coronavirus clusters areas of California that show up on the virus map when you magnify; NOT to the entire state of California (with talk of this route possibly being applied to the entire nation)! 

My two cents: I believe our California leadership is making a huge economic killing mistake.

I respect there will be a variety of beliefs and opinions on this.

Best Wishes to All of Us, and All Healthy Endeavors!

Here one web link to that Interactive Map on Fox News:

(with some picture following representing a huge shift when that map is magnified!

William Self

Redwood Valley

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Mr Self,

The number of confirmed cases, as displayed on the maps you referenced, bear little resemblance to the true number of cases present in any one area due to a lack of testing. In our county there hasn’t been significant testing of the population, just the higher risk individuals who meet certain criteria. Also we don’t have information on how many of the reported tests have been done on the same high risk individuals, such as ER personnel or first responders who may have been exposed multiple times I know of two families, 8 total people, who have been told by MCDH that they likely have to virus due to the symptoms they are reporting, but to avoid coming to the hospital unless they seriously fear they will die. They were not offered tests but told to stay home if possible. The number of tests that have been done to date, especially here in the hinterlands, is not enough to have a statistically significant sampling of the population on which to base decisions about where the virus is or is not. We need to make informed decisions which recognize the shortcomings of the information of our current dataset which is what I believe the Public Health folks are doing.

I had a thought the other day that few countries have a health system that is prepared for an epidemic until after an epidemic.

The human population growth we’ve experienced the last century and a half has always seemed unlikely to just reach some predetermined “carrying capacity” and then just taper off (approach an asymptote, if you’re into math). A more probable outcome, from this hill muffin’s view, is that the human population would reach an inflection point where numbers would drop; maybe precipitously, maybe just a little. Maybe the drop in population experienced depends on where you are on the globe?

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To: Mendocino County Supervisors, 

I always kept Property Tax and TOT Tax funds separately as reserves. This year, also like previous years, just before dispatch of these checks COVID19 happens. Now I am dealing with bookings cancellations and refunds of more than $110,000 and I am not even half way in refunds and I have used all my tax reserves. I used to get about $2500/day booking advance from my guests for future bookings and that has stopped too. 

I do not see any way of coming out of it unless County/State defers these taxes and comes with any plan to save us. Federal and SBA initiatives will take time. SBA website is choked and so far I have not been able to register even. 

Rakesh Taneja 

Owner | Elk Cove Inn & Spa |

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I recall a president responding to one of the great crises of our time with a broadcast that changed how we think of presidents. 

At a time when the nation was on edge, when millions became unemployed and the future looked grim, he started his comments thus: “I want to tell you what has been done in the last few days, why it has been done, and what the next steps are going to be.”

That simple, clear statement was a watershed moment. It gave people confidence because it was direct and allowed the populace to assess the progress for themselves, based upon reason and logic.

It was a measured and thoughtful response to the disaster of the times. It didn’t solve the nation’s troubles, but it made clear that what was being done was done so as to benefit the nation. It was not about making the president look good, or congratulating himself, or attacking his enemies, or belittling the legislators on the other side of the aisle. This is how to inspire confidence.

It is clear to me while considering Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first fireside chat why Donald Trump is failing to inspire confidence at this critical moment.

Paul Jolly

Santa Rosa

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We the American people have a common enemy. It is not drug addiction, it is not the coronavirus. It is the left wing anti-American Democratic party and the rotten filthy liberal media New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, and CBS. These people are rotten to the core and lie and spread lies to the American people without any rebuttal. They lie about President Trump and try to make serious problems with him and his job, even though he is the best president that we have ever had. 

I would also like to thank Dennis Winchester for his great letter. I am proud of him for having enough balls to speak his mind. I hope he continues to do so. Thank you Dennis. Thank you for a good job. 

I would also like to thank Sheriff Matt Kendall for keeping the county Clean of criminals and illegals. Thank you Matt.

God Bless Donald Trump.

Jerry Philbrick


PS. I would like to thank Jay Williamson for his article for telling me to get my ass in gear and fix the roads and cut the brush. I would do all you said Jay by fixing the roads and cutting the brush but I would get sued by every agency known to man.

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Trump had a rally on February 28 in a stadium packed full, just a little over a month ago, when most folks already knew that was a bad idea. Trump didn't.

"This is their new hoax… We have 15 people in this massive country…  and because we went in early we could've had a lot more… We're doing great! A virus starts in China, bleeds its way into various countries around the world, doesn't spread widely at all in the USA because of the early actions of myself and my administration… the press is in hysteria mode… but we're doing such a great job… when you have 15 people and in a couple days it's going to be down to 0."

Trump and his base are SO ignorant, that they had no friggin’ clue — and still don't.

Happy End Times!

Best Regards 

Rob Mahon 


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