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Letters To The Editor


Dear Editor:

I am often questioned as to why I am so involved in the school district since I have no children or grandchildren in it. I can only say that I am passionate regarding education because these students are our future and deserve to get the best education afforded to them.

I continue to be involved by attending the majority of school board meetings for the past four years, along with the elementary and high school site council meetings. I am fully aware of the happenings within our school district. I will give you the simplified version on the ABC's of Susan Rush.

Accountability: I want to become an accountable member of a collaborative team which focuses on the educational needs of all our students. Accountability to the parents and community is not only vital in building an open and trusting relationship but, as a member of the school board, we are mandated by California State Educational Code to be accountable.

Budget: My past bookkeeping experience will help during these difficult economic times to assure that funds are being put into areas that will most benefit our students.. It is imperative to provide a clear concise budget reports that any community member can comprehend.

Children: I believe our children come first. Our students’ academic and professional careers are in our hands. If they fail, then we have failed them. I want to be sure that teachers, parents and students are involved in all major decisions made by the school board. I want to state that I have a proven record of independence and will not be rubberstamping items just because it is a popular thing to do. It must benefit the student, parents and community.

I thank all of you for your support and your continued involvement in education.

Suzanne “Susan” Rush





What the heck is up with the information system and Aaron Bassler?

Things seem to keep changing.

They always said keeping Jere Melo's companion's identity secret was to protect him and his family. If he knew Bassler, then almost certainly Bassler knew him.

Now, without official info, we may be up to three possibilities.

And where did the fact that someone defecated on Matthew Coleman's body disappear to?

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”

Darn, I hope you are still on the mend.

Jim Armstrong

Potter Valley



To the Editor:

I would like to try and clear up what I believe is misinformation about Laura’s Law and how it might have affected my son Aaron’s life.

County employees have now done exactly what I predicted. They are trying to protect themselves and don’t want to do anything meaningful to protect the public or help people in crisis. They decided to insert their own plan to divert attention and confuse what was intended to be a serious look at Laura’s Law. The fact that Laura’s Law, as implemented in Nevada County and similar laws enacted across the nation, have proven to be effective in every measure including saving money, should be important to the Board of Supervisors. As should the fact that so many respected organizations support LL, such as the National Sheriff’s Association, California Sheriff’s Association, and California Police Chiefs Association.

The thought that county employees could come up with a better plan on their own is improbable. Protecting the public and people’s civil rights by having more of a community focus may be complex, but that complexity is what makes Laura’s Law so successful. Nevada County has provided a model to follow; and why is it assumed this county is incapable?

To give up on public safety because some see it as too complex seems like bad policy, when there are so many intelligent people in the community. One more thing on Aaron’s mental state in February when I wrote that letter to the county psychiatrist and the court; I believe it was dismissed, thinking I was a dumb fisherman, and I very well may be, but I do possess some common sense.

I have enough sense to know when a ship is sinking. I sent out a May Day on the appropriate channels; when no pumps or help came, my family and I abandoned ship. The fact that there is no one listening to the emergency channel and there is no procedure for anyone else to get off the ship, resulted tragically in Matt Coleman and Jere Melo going down with Aaron’s ship. The tragedy is that there is no common sense to the current system, but the real tragedy is that there is so much county government opposition to common sense.

Jim Bassler

Fort Bragg




Thank you Alexander Cockburn and Bruce Anderson for being voices of sanity and reason in wackazoidian Mendo County. It is both scary and pathetic how many people buy into these crackpot conspiracy theories.

Add them to the tin foil hat brigade and the anti-vaccination crowd and it seems we're surrounded by idiots.


Lisa Walters





After months of zero inspiration, like millions of other Americans, I finally “got it.”

The American Fall:

We are the tired / Hungry and poor / Living outside of / Foreclosure's door

We live in a box / Underneath a bridge / The cold and the rain / Our toxic fridge

We go to the bank / But don't get money / Yet still say thanks / For old bread and honey

The new occupation / Has finally begun / Out of patience / By the thousands we come

Let us fill the streets / May our voices be loud / We're here to defeat / The corrupt corporate crowd

As we meet / With cardboard sign / Politicians tweet / The party line

No new taxes / No none at all / They sit on their asses / As America falls.

Chris Pizzitola

Fort Bragg




Ever Wondered...

Why you don't ever see the headline: “Psychic Wins Lottery”?

Why “abbreviated” is such a long word?

Why Doctors call what they do “practice”?

Why you have to click on “Start” to stop Windows 98?

Why lemon juice is made with artificial flavor, while dishwashing liquid is made with real lemons?

Why the man who invests all your money is called a “Broker”?

Why there isn't mouse flavored cat food?

Who tastes dog food when it has a “new & improved” flavor?

Why Noah didn't swat those two mosquitoes?

Why they don't make the whole airplane out of the material used for the indestructable black box?

Why they call the airport “the terminal” if flying is so safe?

Why they are called apartments when they are all stuck together?

If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?

(Considering what is happening in the economic and political spectrum I'll end it with that.)

Dennis Jones

Cottage Grove, Minnesota



Editor —

Alexander Cockburn said the US has an oil surplus. He said this surplus is the result of production from fields in North Dakota.

I disagreed with his analysis.

He backed off. He now says the US would be suffering a surplus — a “glut” — if it weren't for oil exports.

According to the Central Intelligence Agency's World Fact Book the US uses 19.15 barrels per day.

According to the Central Intelligence Agency's World Fact Book the US produces 9.688 barrels per day.

According to the Central Intelligence Agency's World Fact Book the US imports 10.27 barrels per day.

According to the Central Intelligence Agency's World Fact Book the US exports 1.92 barrels per day.

As I said in my response to Mr. Cockburn, if the US is suffering a glut, the problem is easy to fix.

Mr. Cockburn writes persuasively. His opinions would be even more persuasive if supported by evidence.

Best regards,

Bart Boyer

San Diego

Alexander Cockburn replies: The guy can't read.



Letter to the Editor,

I am writing this letter to express my opinion about Mule Creek State Prison-SNY, the most unclassy state prison in the United States of America. I came here in December of 2010 from California State Prison, Corcoran, Level 4-SNY due to a hardship transfer to visit my elderly parents who are in poor health.

Since my arrival here it's nothing but problems! So let me explain.

There are no jobs here — period. They put you on a job waiting list that changes daily. You may be #50 on Monday for a job, but on Friday you may be #75. They start from #1. So good luck. If you transfer on A1A status than your A1A. But the first RVR-115 and you're put on A2B! And that's a joke. A2Bs only get program during the week. No weekend program.

Any correctional officer on staff can access your C-file to check you out! No big deal for me. But I think that's a violation of your family's address, etc. So for the next of kin, I put down the President. I had everything in my C-file regarding my family removed.

There are a lot of weirdos, sickos, chomos, rapos — scumbags! You don't know who is who! When certain so-called cool people learned I had access to the internet I was asked by a few people not to access the Megan's Law website on anyone here. Okay, yeah — sure I won't! Shit, don't tell me that. So I did it anyway. God what a trip. Damn, you learn your so-called tattooed homeboy is a chomo. I can't eat chow with his sick ass anymore.

I've already caught a 'battery' on my prior cellie. There were three hits! Two on his hard head and one when he hit the cell floor. That's when he buzzed me. Oh well. That's Mule Creek State Prison.

Oh, the food. Visiting is cool. But other than that, it's a drama-filled SNY prison. So anybody thinking of coming to this fake-ass SNY prison, think twice about it! Oh yes, I'm on A2B. status. Oh well, I won't be here long. My family already told me to transfer out of here.

To my friends at Corcoran Level 4, this is not the place, okay? What's up CM. JP, MM, JW, CS, DE, DH and the others including SB?


Kenny 'Irish' Callihan




Letter to the Editor

Thank You for Your Support.

I would like to thank the community for all the calls and cards of sympathy my family has received, many from people we don’t even know. It was very comforting and reassuring to know the depth of heart in our community, that people would still have room for sympathy after giving up so much of that to the other families.

Many people offered their help and told me, all I needed to do was ask. I do need some help now! I need help with The Board of Supervisors. I think we learned from these events so we can build a better and safer future. Laura’s Law is the clearest, easiest path to that future. They are your Supervisors and your government. Talk to them, send a letter or go to the BOS meeting on Oct. 25th when Laura’s Law will be on the Agenda.

Jim Bassler

Fort Bragg



To the Editor

Alas, it never ends. Bruce Anderson is back from the dead to the joy of his readers including this one. More mean talk about local politicians and bureaucrats; more reports of bus rides and walks among San Francisco's zombie jamboree; more trips to the Giants games. Good, good stuff. But when will you start editing and blue pencil the shit out of the interminable pieces that glut the “last real newspaper” in America? Start by cutting at least a third from all articles except perhaps Cockburn. Please.

Here's the “alas” part: You've returned to Dealey Plaza and have metaphorically and facetiously placed your wheelchair bound Mother on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository to show how easy it could be for Oswald to fulfill his role as master assassin instead of destiny's chump. So let's imagine Mom working the bolt of the Mannlicher Carcano carbine, her eye taking a fix through the optical sight which happens to be quite a bit off true and loose, but this makes no difference because the first shot is a miracle: right through a tree in full bloom blocking JFK. This bullet makes a total of seven wounds shared between JFK and John Connolly and is found later on a hospital stretcher in pristine condition. Mom's second shot is a miss, a wild miss. The third shot is right on the money. A head shot — but this time instead of the bullet leaving the body as pure as when it went in — it disintegrates in JFK's brain while his body is thrown back towards the direction of Mom's final shot. (Warren Commission cultists don't need no stinking physics).

As Jack Ruby said to Earl Warren when he visited Ruby in the Dallas Jail: “Am I boring you?” Of course, I am.

Capitalism is a conspiracy? Absolutely. JFK's assassination was part of the conspiracy. Sometimes the club has to get rid of a member who's going rogue.


Jock Penn

Shawano, Wisconsin

Ed note: We do go on, don't we? But 12 pages of 9-point type, and a lot of readers undeterred by leisurely journeys of 5,000 words…




This is a reply to Ken Good’s “SHOOT ON SIGHT” letter published in Oct 12, 2011 AVA Letters to the Editor.

Mr. Good,

Your claims that the Sacramento deputies involved in the shooting of Mr. Bassler were acting as executioners and were violating the due process rights of the constitution are neither accurate nor informative.

The US Supreme Court has established long ago that a law enforcement officer can use lethal force on a fleeing suspect to prevent escape if the officer has probable cause to believe the suspect could seriously injure or kill someone. Examine the facts regarding Mr. Bassler. He had already killed two unarmed people in unprovoked encounters. He had escaped from law enforcement officers and a police dog. He was photographed breaking into a cabin while armed. He had recently fired upon law enforcement officers. He had ignored repeated attempts to persuade him to surrender. He was armed with a rapid-fire assault type rifle, locked and loaded in the ready to engage position. He had been fleeing from law enforcement for some 39 days. I submit the officers had no other choice but to do exactly what they did, and by doing so they not only protected their own lives but the lives of any innocent person Mr. Bassler may have encountered in the future. Mr. Bassler had demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that he was not going to surrender. If the officers had “identified themselves or offered him the option of surrender” it is reasonable to believe he would have immediately fired upon the officers. There is no requirement that law enforcement officers have to “take the first bullet” in a life or death encounter as clear-cut as this one.

Use of force policies of major California police departments are even more restrictive than State or Federal law. Use of Deadly Force, Los Angeles Police Department Manual 1/556.10: An officer is authorized the use of deadly force to: To protect himself or others from an immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury; or, to prevent a crime where the suspect’s actions place persons in jeopardy of death or serious bodily injury; or, to apprehend a fleeing felon for a crime involving serious bodily injury or the use of deadly force where there is a substantial risk that the person whose arrest is sought will cause death or serious bodily injury to others if apprehension is delayed. Mr. Bassler’s actions, without any doubt, surpassed even these requirements.

Instead of maligning the brave officers who protected our community you should be thanking them for leaving their families and coming to our county to risk their lives to protect us. Please, by all means, contact the FBI. But also, be sure to publish in this paper the response you receive. I have no doubt you will be told the actions of the officers involved were legal and justified.

Kirk Wilder





Schools Boards throughout Mendocino County have endorsed a Yes vote on Measure A. The Ukiah Board joined the Fort Bragg, Anderson Valley, Point Arena, Mendocino, Manchester and Willits School boards who had already expressed their support for the ballot measure’s passage. The importance of libraries for children doing their homework and school projects is well recognized by teachers and all educators.

The importance of libraries to county children was also noted in the resolution passed by First5 Mendocino. It reads in part, “…Mendocino County children and families must have access to public libraries so that young children have the opportunity to develop and continue a lifelong interest in books...”

Vote yes on libraries has also been endorsed by the following political bodies and community organizations: Willits, Ukiah, Point Area, and Fort Bragg City Councils, Mendocino County Board of Education, Associated Students of Mendocino College, American Association of University Women (Ukiah Branch), Comptche Community Services District, Anderson Valley Community Action Coalition, Little Lake Grange No. 670, Mendocino Study Club, Willits Chamber of Commerce, and Mendo-Lake College District Board of Trustees.

Sheriff Tom Allman urges a Yes vote, saying we need Measure A’s passage “…to maintain our Mendocino County quality of life.” Supervisor John Pinches was quoted as saying, “This is something the people of Mendocino County need to put in place for the future of everybody, not just our kids, everybody.”

The revenue raised by Measure A can be used only for library purposes under state law and the ordinance itself. The one-eighth cent increase in the sales tax equals 13 cents for every hundred dollars spent on taxable items, which do not include food or prescription medicines. The average household would pay less than $20 per year.

Complete information about the Measure including answers to “Frequently Asked Questions” and information on voting can be found on the website

The Vote Yes on Libraries (Measure A) campaign has active groups in Willits and the north county, Fort Bragg and Mendocino, Ukiah and Gualala. Anyone interested in joining the “Vote Yes on Libraries” campaign may contact the organization by calling or emailing Steve Antler at 707-937-5925, . “This is an effort by our whole community. The small amount that each of us will contribute adds up to a large investment for our children’s and community’s future. Please vote Yes now. Every yes vote is important.” Antler said.

Steve Antler




Dear AVA,

Thanks for printing Eisenhower's spooky warning farewell address. Most 50-year-olds have never seen it! It should be printed once a month in every paper, but I only see it in the AVA. Keep that cinder burnin'.

For those without access to the web, rent Oliver Stone's JFK. Eisenhower's, all but ignored, brave, bold warning to the American public and the world, serves as the opening scene of JFK, the movie. (He a war general, voiced the first warning against the Military Industrial Complex.) It was huge at the time, and lost essentially to generations of Americans since Kennedy's assassination.

As well as choosing peace over the military industrial complex, Kennedy also attempted progress in taking the US banks back from Britain.

Heads up, Sheeple! the snake is nearly biting its own tail!

Debra Keipp

Point Arena

Ed note: Not only has the Old Golfer's prescient warning been ignored, I've never met a Boomer who knew that FDR's New Deal enjoyed bi-partisan support. Of course, the Boonville newspaper always provides a learning experience, as Paul Tichinin might put it.




It is easy for those of us on the Left to project our own compassion onto the super-rich corporate plutocrats. We can easily think that they have some remorse, some guilt or shame about what they are doing.

No, they don’t. They are insatiable in their greed and moral logic is not any part of their psyches. They are a cult; a group of true-believers who are absolutely convinced of the rectitude of their actions.

While most cults have a leader, a charismatic person who becomes the center of all attention, both direct and indirect, their cult does not. There is, this time, no single person leader of their cult. They are ideologues, but not religionists. Most cults have a religious fervor, and theirs does too.

They really get off on having so much more than they physically need that they never have to ask the price of anything. But they do not have the feeling that they have more than they need. They have that thought as something in their minds. Their feelings are starved for more, and more, and more; and there is never enough , which is why they are insatiable in their greed.

They are drunk on money. The cultish aspect of it gives them a feeling of great security. Yet, and this is paradox, in general they live with a giant fear that they will lose it all.

That is not a rational fear, but the insatiable need is not rational either. It is the other side of the coin.

They, the super-rich oligarchy, cannot be talked out of their need for more and more. It is totally emotionally driven, and the only way to drive out that need is to replace it with a stronger, competing need. Well, given the worship of money extant in the American psyche, it would take a personal visit by God, in person, to scare them out of the cult. Don’t hold your breath.

Lee Simon

Far‘n Away Farm in Virginia



Dear Editor,

AV Miracles!

Again the power and magic of Anderson Valley has been demonstrated this weekend at the AV elementary school! A small group of people organized by Linda MacElwee brought the AV Elementary School Nature Trail back to life. Patty Madigan and Linda from the Navarro Watershed Group received a grant from the Community Foundation of Mendocino County to develop the Creek Trail and Nature Classroom located at the west end of the elementary school. Linda invited Patty Madigan and husband Tom Brown, David, Mitzi and Zach Wagner, Bill Taylor, Arturo Bucio, Julie Rumble and two high school students, Ernesto Contreras and David Eligio, to a work day last Saturday; and here is where the miracle happened!

There are now two sets of elegant stairs leading down to the outdoor classroom (to be redesigned this year by Zach Wagner as an Eagle Scout project) and then down to the creek trail, along with the creek trail being opened and cleared of invasive non-native plants. The beauty of this area is striking, and observing the changes in Con Creek and Anderson Creek over a year is a lesson in the power of nature and our watershed.

It is with gratitude and appreciation for all of these wonderful community members who were willing to put in hard work and time to make a wonderful difference and provide an opportunity for our children to learn about the watershed and natural environment.


Donna Pierson-Pugh





This past Saturday we had an AVES Creek Trail work-day to build out a new and improved version of the existing trail that was built years ago by Rob Goodell with student helpers. The old trail was getting pretty tired and dangerous with rebar sticking up and boards rotting. This time around we are working with the added help and bonus of funding through a grant of $3000.00 from the Community Foundation being administered through the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District (MCRCD) and the Navarro River Resource Center. Friedman Bros. generously gave us a non-profit discount on our materials and Beth Swehla allowed us to borrow tools from her Ag program, which made all the difference.

Twelve volunteers showed up ready to do the heavy lifting of putting in thirty-four new steps and clearing back the Himalayan blackberries that were swallowing the lower end of the trail. Robert Pinoli’s shop class had already prepared the materials by cutting the pressure treated boards into the proper lengths, drilling holes in the ends to place the rebar, and cutting the ½” rebar into measured lengths. A few good students also helped haul the materials from the High School over to the Elementary School.

Charlie Paget-Seekins was called in at the last minute to pull down a dangling oak limb that was hanging on by a thread right over the trail, just waiting to become a widow maker. Eagle Scout Zach Wagner has been dreaming of making improvements to the AVES Creek Trail for years, so he pulled in with his Dad, David and took on rebuilding the lower staircase. Zach’s Mom Mitzi Wagner, confessed that she isn’t a “shovel and dig” kind of person, so she volunteered to make us a delicious and fortifying lunch to keep us going. Donna Pierson-Pugh, the AVES principal, was there at 9:00 a.m. ready to go to work on the Himalayan blackberry with Patty Madigan and 3rd grade teacher Julie Rumble. 10th grader, Ernesto Contreras, who had previous experience from helping out on the AV Jr./Sr. High School Creek trail came over to help with his friend David Eligio, 7th grader, both whose labors were essential and hugely helpful. Tommy Brown from Comptche, came out and led the charge on the main staircase, with Bill Taylor and Arturo Bucio pulling in to help finish the 24 step, serpentine staircase. It in itself is a fabulous example of artful landscape installation. A large tractor tire was also hauled out of Con Creek and rolled all the way up and out of the Riparian Zone, no small feat given that it is easily a thirty foot incline.

As has been the case with each and every one of these trail building workdays that have taken place over the last few years, it is as if a miracle is taking place in front of our very eyes. Everyone comes together, given the tools and materials are on hand to do the job, and Voila! An incredibly beautiful and utilitarian trail is made. We couldn’t have asked for a nicer day, with nicer people to work with, to accomplish what we set out to do together. It fills me with hope for our kids and their future and deep satisfaction for living in such an amazing place. Thank you!


Linda MacElwee, Navarro Watershed Coordinator

Mendocino County Resource Conservation District


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