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Letters To The Editor



I was off a couple weekends back attending the Grangers State Convention at the Palermo Grange just outside of Oroville. Four days of Grangers catching up, talking resolutions, sharing music, jokes and electing officers. Many think of Grangers as those people who run the Grange and have the strange ceremonies. Well those strange ceremonies, and the way the Granges are constructed are deeply connected to a rich history. Grangers formed to help the much damaged Union recover after the civil war. They also dealt with the greedy railroad companies that attempted to lower crop prices and increase transportation costs (aka “being railroaded.”) Grangers as farmers used special handshakes, passwords, gate keepers and buildings with windows up high to keep the railroaders and their goons out. They lobbied hard in our capitol using those handshakes and passwords to insure they were talking to Grangers and it worked. Regulatory laws controlled the greedy railroads and farmers grew stronger. As a fraternal order of a time when ceremony was king, a lot of these crucial methods got incorporate into Grange ritual.

Grangers pass these ceremonies lovingly from generation to generation and now as some of the Granges memberships dwindled with older folks holding fast to their traditions, newcomers wondering about the sashes, staffs and passwords . The old Grangers feared losing tradition and in my opinion, fail to explain what the tradition was about or to adapt. Many Granges and the State Convention continue with the old ceremonies, but a few are updating or simply not doing them. The AV Grange is an experimental Grange and limits its ceremony.

I suppose I am sucker for ceremony having lived in a spiritual community (the Ojai Foundation) that examined the varied spiritual paths of everything from Zen Buddhists, Sufis, Native Americans and more. I can't actually describe Granger rituals as well. We are sort of a secret group. You got the password. Eh?” Yet I can say that these Grangers honor one another for their actions and center their process in the seasons, farming & animal husbandry and faith. The officers (some 25!~ positions) fill the entire needs of the Grangers from basic business, to speakers, musicians, gate keepers, seasons, and executive committee. I can understand how the ceremony supports Grange function and it takes knowledge of past and attention to the present to make ritualism work and yet I can see ways the traditions could change to be more receptive.

At one point in the convention, the Grange Women Auxiliary (all the woman basically) left the building to be honored for their volunteer efforts and were escorted by staff bearing stewards into the convention center. The pianist played “Whistle while you work” and many whistled along. A special hand clap rhythm emitted from each Granger following this honoring. It was very dramatic and the smiles moved both ways. A real feel good moment! That ceremony stuff. Warm feelings, I am sucker for it. Gosh!

The Grange's government-lobbying beginnings have stuck and this nonprofit organization continues to this day to impact the needs of its farming and expanded communities at City, County, State and National level. Legislators actually listen up when Granger leaders and lobbyist speak up. Why? Grangers have clout.

Granges often populate Ag communities heavily: 5-10 per county. Local farmers are generally Grangers and they are political about what impacts their profession. Granges are often central locations, places to meet, dance, celebrate and plan. They range from Pancake Granges, to 4H super Ag centers. Yet many like ours have evolved into community centers. A few eroded into derelict abandoned buildings but there is a bit more on that.

A couple years ago the State level struggling along with its local 'subordinate' Granges elected a new State leader or State Master (Grange speak}, in this case Robert McFarland. McFarland has been a godsend. A long time Granger, McFarland picked up the lead and created a Grange renaissance amidst a recession. In these past two years, he has stimulated ten communities with abandoned Granges to reopen and attract new members. He has rekindled 20 other Granges to increase their membership by 241 folks in 2010 and 925 in 2011 and Grange total membership for California passed 10,000. He has evoked this with novel ideas bringing us the Sacramento Vegetarian Grange, the Healdsburg Ballet Grange and the Southern California Certified Farmers Market Managers Grange. He is paying attention to the Local Food movement and has created and funded California Grange School of Agriculture and has one Grange developing a Farmers Bill of Rights. Is he doing it all? No! He inspires action. He travels from Grange to Grange, talking the talk, and obviously making a difference. He has taken the Grange out of the red and is growing it fiscal backing. He has tightened up Grange operations and no, you can't have him for President. With all this,McFarland is modest and knows who has made the difference, other Grangers working shoulder to shoulder. His drive is infectious.

The convention had its moments. Ranging from comical, or endearing to political nastiness, but Grangers look to their core and find ways to rise above it all and reconnect stronger. Long time conservative farmers and progressive back-to-landers can clash, but they find mutual goals and are working to make farming life better, to get regulators off the back of the little farmers and to make things less toxic and our environment cleaner.

One of the current resolution addressed the absurd over response of California's Food and regulation on small herd dairy operations and meat production. Sure they need some control. but not the same requirements as big dairies. Some of these small contract one cow operations simply milk a co-owned cow and yet they have been told to 'seize and desist.' Four county Granges wrote resolutions that got consolidated into one. Grangers are out to set California straight.

One of the new Granges in Scott's Valley, Lake County is calling itself the Permaculture Grange, with the plan to inspire and connect a struggling local economy with good quality food, using water saving tactics. Grangers are trying to help an ailing economy and leave a stronger fabric. It is part of their core mission commitments. It is why the Grange formed at the end of the civil war and it remains a strong focus.

Another development is that the Willits Little Lake Grange, a fast growing Grange along with the Fort Bragg Grange, announced their desire to hold the 2012 State Convention. They have big plans, and they hope to involve all of the local Granges in a big production. You can benefit even as a non-Granger by going to Fort Bragg or Willits and learn to produce, store and process food. Willits has two large Silos for locally grown grain. Willits and Fort Bragg have relatively new and large commercial kitchens and very active memberships. One would call them phoenix Granges, as these developments are relatively recent from organizations that were working, but small. In fact, Fort Bragg is the fastest growing Grange in the US!

This Granger came away excited with new ideas for the Anderson Valley Solar Grange. You don't have to join to gain from a Grange, but you could gain from being part of the change. April is free membership month but the cost of annual membership is dirt cheap. Pony up Bruce. See you there.

As the second in command, Overseer, I have to say there is lots to see out there in them thar hills through this great state. These are active people who care about their communities and want them to prosper, to have safe programs for their children and a center to work from. The Granges will provide everything from high quality local food, great theater, ballet and in some cases vegetarian meals. I am thinking hey why not the Accordion Grange? Meanwhile our State Grange Master McFarland is outside of the Grange Hall with a solar flash light plowing new ground.

Greg Krouse, Over Seer Anderson Valley First Solar Grange #669


PS. Unrelated note: Fukushima Daiichi is still irradiating big time even though the media has dropped the very hot potato clearly from pressure from the nuclear industry. The children and well everything is at risk there and just like the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl disasters are being described as non events when in fact they are very bad events that will continue to pollute. Thousands of impacted families sued in three Miles wake, Chernobyl killed thousands, sent a plume around the world and Fucishima's plume will send us polluted migratory fish, and dangerously pollutes Tokyo 140 miles south of the accident. The current industry defined safe zone from the power disaster is 12 miles! Russia's is twice that! The misrepresentation and purposely lowered impacts are hideous as it makes nuclear seem like a safe process allowing errors when in fact there is zero allowance for errors. Also 23 nuclear power plants of the same design as Fucishmia's 4 meltdowns. Are we safe? I say no.

Today on KZYX Debra Scott interviewed Kevin Camps from Beyond Nuclear organization. Beyond Nuclear's website is worth the look along with Japan's Concerned Japanese citizens are here asking Americans to lobby the UN to send a Human Rights inspection team to oversee the serious lack of protection that is going on there. We need to reexamine the safety of nuclear power. Most recently the Atomic energy regulators lowered the height of Tsunami walls. With the damage that the Tsunami caused in Japan, that is yet another irresponsible step by the regulators.



Warm Spiritual Greetings,

Please know that I am camping with the Occupy Wall Street group in a lower Manhattan park, two blocks from Wall Street — in the rain! America’s anti-corruption campaign is in full swing. This is what democracy looks like. I am fund-raising to get a small tent and necessaries My friend Ali is accepting mail for me. Otherwise, I hope that you are happy.

My love to all,

Craig Louis Stehr

c/o Ali Madigan

601 W. 113th St. #5A, NY NY 10025



Dear Governor Brown,

I hear you are looking to get rid of Prop. 13. I don¹t

know the particulars, and it is impossible to get through to your office on the phone to ask you, so I am writing. Please consider my viewpoint.

I moved to Oakland in 1969. By the early Œ70¹s I was aware of elderly neighbors who had lived in their homes for decades, losing their homes because they could not afford the property taxes on the new inflated values of those houses. ŠSteps in Jarvis/Gann, Prop. 13 with a plan to keep those property taxes low. A very excellent idea. My information is that in order to get it passed, a rider was put on at the last minute that gave corporations the right to the same low property taxes. THAT is what is wrong with Prop. 13, and that part should go!

We liked you when you were governor the first time. We loved your radio show. But something seemed to shift in you when you became mayor of Oakland. We voted for you this time, but we¹re not sure about you any more. Are you for The People? Or are you for the fat-cat corporations?

Please retain the portion of Prop. 13 that keeps the property taxes of individual home owners¹ low. If they have more than one home, then keep it low on the primary residence. Change the part about corporations. Make them pay their fair share.

Protect the People, not the corporations.


Nancy MacLeod




Dear McEwen,

While I always look forward to and enjoy your court reports, your refusal to name the players in some sort of logical fashion makes them often confusing and sometimes unintelligible. This week's “Crazy Cases” is aptly titled, as the dog fracas made no sense whatsoever. The names were so jumbled it was impossible to know who did what to whom. Does anyone read your stuff before it is published? Don't you have an editor?

Perhaps a little less pontificating and a little more proofing is in order. But don't stop.

Dick Whetstone

Fort Bragg

Ed note: Er, ah, I'm the editor. I, too, found the first draft confusing, but I thought we had it all cleared up by the time it was a go. Some time ago, a very rough draft of a story I wrote, complete with notes that should have totally mystified readers, found its way onto our front page. No one complained; in fact several people told me how much they liked it.



Dear Editor,

Rick Perry in his ill-fated debate may have been tripped up by the thought that, before Mitt Romney was before he was before, he was a little zygote swimming in his mother's womb that his mother was commanded by God's law not to abort.

Ken Ellis

New Bedford



Open Letter to the Mendocino Board of Supervisors:

Since there was little media coverage of public comment given at the Oct. 25th meeting, I want to clarify and expand on the common sense of Laura’s Law that I was trying to express. It may have been lost when my talk got more emotional than intended.

I was trying to point out that Laura’s Law is all about responsibility. Responsibility for the few in our community who have proven to be dangerous because of a mental illness they themselves don’t recognize they have. Currently in our County the only ones asked to take any responsibility for their care and treatment are the family and law enforcement. From my own experience, the family alone is ill equipped to handle the job on their own. Likewise law enforcement’s treatment is lacking in three ways, it’s too late (two lives), too expensive ($?), and the treatment is likely to be fatal to the patient. Laura’s Law only asks that we as a community take some of the responsibility for care and treatment of these few for our own safety and theirs.

Looking at that simple truth you have to ask why someone didn’t think of it before. In fact they have, nearly all the rest of the Nation has already enacted similar laws that have stood the test of time and study. These laws have proven to be effective in every way including saving money. Why in California has common sense gone out the window? Mostly because California gave the option to the counties to implement Laura’s Law, so nothing has happened. The excuses given by County governments are too long to list but if each is brought into light of intelligent review, they melt away. Please ask County staff to focus on how to bring this civil law to our County and not focus on excuses.

The biggest excuse, the one that scares County employees and tax payers alike is MONEY. But fear not, if staff would just do the paperwork, Nevada County provides the model our County can use. Their program is funded by MHSA (millionaire’s tax) money for full service partnerships, and MediCal. For every $1 of this money, Nevada County saves $1.81 in reduced hospitalizations and incarcerations.

If the public doesn’t have the time to research the studies of how Laura’s Law saves money, just remember it’s an old idea that dates from the Stone Age. If you want to save stones, try to kill two birds with just one stone. That’s what Laura’s Law does by using the same dollar to treat the severely mentally ill and also provide for the public safety.


Jim Bassler

Fort Bragg



To: Roanne Withers:

I have a sister who has schizophrenia, and I suspect, but cannot confirm, that you have little experience in the area in which you write. Please let me know if I'm wrong, and let me know what personal experience you've had that causes you to be passionate on this important topic. Clearly you feel strongly about this, and I wonder if anger at Big Pharma colors your research of the topic itself.

I have read Richard Whittaker's books and looked at the research behind his book, and I'd like to discuss that with you in hopes of helping you understand this complex subject, and the goals behind outpatient treatment laws.

About 50% of people who experience psychosis have NO IDEA that their thought process is screwy, and so they can't imagine taking medication for their condition. So, while psychotic, they operate from their perceptions, which may be simply delusional, or really dangerously paranoid. The current laws result in people who are in this state of mind essentially being hunted like animals and treated in ways that are terribly inhumane. In most cases, if a person responds to modern anti-psychotics, receiving these drugs is life-saving. About 30% of psychotic people can't find any medications that help them, because what we call mental illness is really a number of fairly poorly understood neurological conditions.

Catherine Mone

San Carlos

Roanne Withers replies: Instead, let me help you understand that it took all of one minute to ascertain that you are a San Francisco NAMI supporter and internet troll who counters web articles that question the use of psychotropic medications as chemical restraints. (Your deceptive stalking behavior is downright creepy.)

Psychopharmacology is not particularly complex for me, Ms. Mone. However, I don’t have to know one thing about neuroleptic medications to know for certain that taking away a person’s freedom to refuse such medication takes mental health treatment back to the dark and gruesome days of surgical lobotomies, ice baths and blood letting.

The Laura’s Law/forced treatment debate is primarily about legal rights and ethics. I am not angry. I am completely appalled though by the opportunist NAMI leaders in Mendocino County who used a very tragic local incident and manipulated a grief stricken father to advance their self-serving, antiquated cause.

I deeply fear that when offered up a Laura’s Law/forced chemical restraint solution to the horrible consequences of not adequately funding voluntary mental health care, that taxpayers and politicians will run roughshod over civil liberties. I am old enough to have experienced the days when a non-mentally ill but otherwise uncooperative wife, or a disobedient son or daughter could be locked away and forcefully sedated for years with just a wink and a nod.




Regarding Roanne Withers' comments (oct 19, 2011) regarding Laura's Law, I believe Ms. Withers misses a major point in working with mentally ill people. A doctor friend recently made an analogy of Alzheimer's patients who are medicated without their consent since they are not fully capable of making that decision; the same dynamic occurs with many mentally ill people, who are lost in the big world, attempting to live a life confused by erratic thinking and paranoia.

My son is mentally ill and homeless; can you, Roanne, imagine a loved one with no intervention until a crime has been committed? I'd gladly sign any papers to help Andrew out of his madness. My heart goes to other family members whose loved ones are ill and vulnerable. I belong to NAMI; through their information and support, I have been able to maintain hope for my son.

Please, Mendo County Supes and local law enforcement, incorporate Laura's Law to help citizens incapacitated by mental illness.

Elizabeth Ryan

Fort Bragg



Dear Editor,

Thank you for printing my letter in the October 5 issue: Power of Attorney Abuse.

My main reason for writing that was to expose the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality that Eugene Allen Lincoln Jr., aka “Bear Lincoln” (my brother) displays on practically a daily basis. It is a given that we all have our different moods, but Eugene Jr. takes this to an extreme.

For instance, with his Dr. Jekyll he gets to play the goody two-shoes role, the one where he is the innocent victim, a scapegoat as it were. He (i.e., Bear Lincoln) has and continues to rely on his Dr. Jekyll front whenever he feels it is necessary for those who are gullible enough to fall for his ploy.

On the other hand, my family (myself included) knows all too well about his Mr. Hyde persona, the one in which his display of bizarre and unpredictable behavior keeps us all along our toes. In my previous letter I revealed how he, Bear, had given my brother Carlos two black eyes! Especially when Carlos couldn't defend himself. Carlos is a diabetic amputee in a wheelchair! Also, pulling a knife on my nephew and his seven-year-old son, Joe. Verbally abusing my nephew's two daughters who are only 10 and 7 years old. The list goes on and on. Those are just a few of the problems we have to deal with concerning Eugene “Bear” Lincoln.

I am very concerned about the health and well-being of my mother and brother, Lucille and Carlos, because of the restraining orders that Bear has on us. I can't even go check on them! Is that a caring and concerned son's actions he's displaying? Hell no.

If I had the proper resources I would get Lucille and Carlos out of that house for their own safety. Bear always had his sights set on taking over my mother's house. Bear even started moving his belongings in. My mother told me herself that when Bear moved to the house it seemed like the house doesn't belong to her anymore! Power and control.

So I guess his plan is all coming into place. First he gets power of attorney over Lucille which is very questionable, then he gets a restraining order against us so we can't check out check on the condition of Lucille and Carlos. Power and control.

Bear already thinks he is the sole owner of Little Valley, the family property that our father Gene Sr. left for the whole family, not just for Junior — Bear Lincoln. From Junior's actions it shows that he always wanted to be an only child. And in his mind maybe he believes he really is. That's why he feels the need to keep us away from his mother since giving Carlos two black eyes over nothing. There is no telling what he would do to own my mother's house. Power and control.

This all seems like pages out of a suspense novel. But if I hadn't been there to witness everything first hand I would find it hard to believe. Nevertheless, it is all sad but true.

Ever since Bear came back, he has been a thorn in our side that must be removed in order for the healing process to begin and before he can cause any more damage to my family.

Hopefully when his weed crop comes in and he sells it, Bear will find another town and another family to manipulate and persecute. He wasn't even supposed to come back to Covelo in the first place! He has been labeled a threat to the community — obviously.

What is he really after? My mother's birthday is November 1, but we can't go over to celebrate!


Eric Lincoln





I know I write a lot of letters and that you don't agree with my libertarian views, but I am a former history teacher and have a father who once advised Jimmy Carter. So I must beg you to please print this letter.

The clear proof that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone is that of Sherlock Holmes noting that “The dog did not bark” (i.e., the killer was a friend of the dog). Oswald at the height of the Cold War somehow left the Marine Corps early, traveled to Russia, arrived speaking fluent Russian, renounced his US citizenship — later instantly obtaining a new passport — wrote to the US Embassy that he was giving military secrets to Russia, lived in Russia, then suddenly returned to the United States. Can anyone explain why the FBI records show they never questioned or followed him, without assuming the CIA told them to leave him alone? (The CIA admitted they “interviewed him” when he returned, but said “the notes were destroyed.") Does anyone remember the House Committee in the Carter era said there was a conspiracy but they were not prepared to say by whom or that President Carter chose JFK's closest living confidant, Ted Sorensen, to head the CIA and the Senate quickly voted to not confirm him? No one would publicly say why.

Michael Carson


PS. By writing “Oswald acted alone” (replying to Don Sanderson, October 5), I believe you obligated yourself to print the above unless someone else says it better. I do not think Bush or Cheney knew about 9/11 in advance or that FDR knew about Pearl Harbor, but some conspiracies are real. Johnson said on TV before his death that he did not believe the Warren Commission, and would only say that he suspected “a foreign power.” John Connolly said to his dying day that the first shot to hit Kennedy was not the same shot to hit in him, and the end of the film clearly showed the crowd all turn and look to the right. Not one hunter or combat veteran has ever thought the back of JFK's head was an entrance wound.

Ed reply: At the risk of rousing the conspiracy beast, even I know that Oswald did not speak fluent Russian when he arrived in the Soviet Union, and he still didn't speaka Russki much when he left. Back then, the middle to late 1950s, when Oswald was on his odd journeys, he was investigated by the FBI and the CIA because at the time Oswald was the only American in the world doing anything suspicious. Other than FBI and CIA personnel of course, as murderously incompetent then as they are now. But back then the FBI was hot on the trail of Peter, Paul and Mary while the CIA was making exploding cigars they hoped Castro would light up. They had nothing else to do but follow Oswald around and go to coffee klatches with a few residual commies. (An estimated third of the American Communist Party was comprised of FBI agents.) And, of course, there was and is literal armies of highly paid federal agents. (A handy local example of the FBI's work product is the Bari Bombing, pathetic if it was genuine; transparently corrupt if it wasn't. And we all remember the swell job the FBI did during the run-up to 911, ignoring reports that Saudi fanatics were learning to fly big airplanes without bothering to learn how to land them.) Incidentally, Norman Mailer's book on Oswald —Oswald's Tale, based largely on Russian archives released after the Wall came down — is, by far, the best account of ol' Lee's unique journey through his abbreviated life that there's likely to be. You ought to be able to get it through the prison library system.


  1. fnn February 3, 2013

    Straight from the Warren Commission:

    “Mr. LIEBELER – Would you tell us about your first contact with Lee Harvey Oswald?
    Mr. GREGORY – Yes, sir.
    It was in the middle of June 1962. On that particular morning, I was in the office, my telephone rang, and the voice on the other end told me that my name was given to him by the Fort Worth Public Library. He knew I was teaching Russian at the library, that he was looking for a job as a translator or interpreter in the Russian and English languages, and that he would like for me to give him a letter testifying to that effect.
    He spoke to me in English, so I suggested to him, not knowing who that was, that he might drop by my office and I would be glad to give him a test. He did. He came by the office, about 11 o’clock that morning, and I gave him a short test by simply opening a book at random and asking him to read a paragraph or two and then translate it.
    He did it very well. So I gave him a letter addressed to whom it may concern that in my opinion he was capable of being an interpreter or a translator. ”
    “Representative FORD – I have one more, Mr. Gregory.
    I believe Marina has testified when she first met Lee Harvey Oswald it was approximately 17 months after he had arrived in the Soviet Union. She testified, also, that she could not tell whether he was a native born resident of the Soviet Union or a foreigner by the way he spoke.
    Mr. GREGORY – Yes.
    Representative FORD – Is that unusual?
    Mr. GREGORY – Well, frankly, I don’t know. You see, Congressman, the city of Minsk is what we call, they call it, not we call, they call it in the White Russia Republic. You know they called this the Union of Republics, you know, in the White Russian Republic, and Minsk, I guess, is the capital of it.
    It is fairly close to Poland, and there are all sorts of people, Poles, Lithuanians, probably Latvians, that lived in that part of the country, and none of those people speak pure Russian.
    Now, whether she had reference, whether that had anything to do with her statement–
    Representative FORD – Her observations?
    Mr. GREGORY – Right; I don’t know.
    Now, I thought that Lee Oswald spoke with a Polish accent, that is why I asked him if he was of Polish descent.
    Representative FORD – But leaving–
    Mr. GREGORY – But, otherwise, I would say it would be rather unusual, rather unusual for a person who lived in the Soviet Union for 17 months that he would speak so well that a native Russian would not be sure whether he was born in that country or not.
    Representative FORD – That would be a very unusual kind of a person?
    Mr. GREGORY – It would be, yes.
    Representative FORD – Or a person who had unusual training?
    Mr. GREGORY – Right, or unusual ability or training, yes, that is right. ”

  2. fnn February 5, 2013

    On Oswald’s fluency in Russian, here’s the relevant section of the George de Mohrenschildt testimony before the Warren Commission:

    “Mr. De MOHRENSCHILDT. Well, he loved to speak Russian.
    Mr. JENNER. Did you introduce yourself? And explain why you were there?
    Mr. De MOHRENSCHILDT. Yes, I said, “I’m a friend of George Bouhe, I want to see how you are getting along.”
    Mr. JENNER. Did you speak in Russian or English?
    Mr. De MOHRENSCHILDT. In English at first, and then he switched to Russian.
    Mr. JENNER. What was your impression of his command of Russian?
    Mr. De MOHRENSCHILDT. Well, he spoke fluent Russian, but with a foreign accent, and made mistakes, grammatical mistakes, but had remarkable fluency in Russian.
    Mr. JENNER. It was remarkable?
    Mr. De MOHRENSCHILDT. Remarkable–for a fellow of his background and education, it is remarkable how fast he learned it. But he loved the language. He loved to speak it. He preferred to speak Russian than English any time. He always would switch from English to Russian. ”

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