Letters (June 17, 2020)

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MUZZLING KRAMER

Dear Editor,

While I have found his writing occasionally touching and heartfelt when he has eulogized a departed friend or lovingly described a favorite pet, too often, the columns of Tommy Wayne Kramer are at best vacuous and at their worst, insensitive, offensive or marred with mistruths. A few times over the long years of his appearance in your paper, like many others, I have written to ask you to take a higher road regarding what ideas your newspaper chooses to promote. More recently, after regretting wasting the ten minutes I spend reading the “Assignment: Ukiah” column, I generally grumble and move on to more respectful, thought-provoking and intellectually honest columns like that of Mr. Kramer’s Sunday neighbor, Crispin Hollinshead. But after the Kramer column of June 7, I feel I must speak out because as the inspiring protesters of the past few weeks have taught us, “silence is compliance.” 

Playing armchair epidemiologist, Mr. Kramer has criticized public health experts and assuming he knows better, has complained about our local stay at home orders in place during the pandemic. While I find his pseudo infectious disease expertise to be arrogant and reckless, it was his recent analysis of the Black Lives Matter protests that prompts me to write you.

While praising peaceful participants at our local protest regarding the Minneapolis police murder of George Floyd, Kramer makes the fallacious comparison to large scale protests in bigger cities that were in his view, dominated by “leftists” looters who were burning down neighborhoods. The investigations into the identities of the looters who infiltrated otherwise peaceful protests are ongoing, but have thus far revealed that some of the violence was incited by non-black participants, in particular, the far-right group known as the Boogaloo Bois, who dress in Hawaiian shirts and advocate civil war. Sure, unable to contain their rage, many of the participants who rioted and looted during the early days of the protests took the opportunity to get free stuff from stores behind broken windows. But as copious video footage showed us, the overwhelming majority of protesters across the racial spectrum in numerous cities around the world were absolutely peaceful and contrary to Mr. Kramer’s unhinged assertion, were clearly not “faking concern for Mr. Floyd’s plight.”

In his June 7 column, Mr. Kramer goes on to make the ludicrous statement that “a white cop killing a black man is rare.” What universe is he living in? Likely one that plays Fox News on his television for hours a day denying the reality of an epidemic of police murders of unarmed black men and women. 

Relying on the racist trope that many more black people are killed by other black people than by the police, Kramer attempts to shift the focus away from the culpability of out of control police in order to demonize the protesters crying out for justice for the victims of police violence. Yes, black on black crime does exist but so does white on white crime. And that is because many people live in neighborhoods with those of their same race. But in most instances when black people kill or assault other black people, the actors are prosecuted and convicted. Contrast that with the police officers who commit crimes against black people and are seldom convicted, let alone investigated or charged and often remain in their jobs. 

If Mr. Kramer is so concerned about crime against black people, perhaps he could focus his columns on injustices such as high unemployment, disproportionate access to health care (as we have painfully seen during the pandemic), poverty, addiction, redlining, predatory mortgages, voter suppression and mass incarceration.

During these desperate times in which we now find ourselves, with a president who lies incessantly and incites violence against those who oppose him and a group of sycophantic Republican elected officials not daring to question his overt corruption, we need newspaper columnists who analyze issues honestly in a fact-based manner. Perhaps you can offer a fact checking service for each of Mr. Kramer’s columns. Short of that, Ms. Editor, please consider how your providing a platform for Mr. Kramer contributes to the dissemination of a racist ideology steeped in misinformation. Your readers and this community deserve better.

Susan Sher

Ukiah 

ED NOTE: Susan Sher is one more illiberal local liberal calling for Tommy Wayne's head. She cites the narcoleptic opinions of Crispy Hollinshead as more acceptably correct, although to this reader Hollinshead is more like the prose equivalent of Advil PM — one sentence and it's nighty-night. Received opinion is boring opinion and, with the Mendo exception of the brilliant Mr. K, liberal opinion, as expressed in this county via, for handy instance, KZYX, is tiresome unto torture. The neo-insistence on uniform views is taking the whole Americano show in a dangerous direction, and the libs are as guilty of lock-step righteousness as the maga hats, but while claiming the high ground. Used to be that liberals were dependable voices against censorship. No more, and I speak as a forty-year target of lib ire as the publisher of Boonville's beloved weekly. One more thing: Sher's citation of black-on-black murder is not, as she claims, "a racist trope" unless, of course, she cites it only because the paleface Tommy Wayne has cited it. In fact, every black mayor in the country has lamented black-on-black mayhem, whose end is unlikely until there's economic justice, which we haven't seen an attempt at since Franklin Roosevelt and, later, the much maligned LBJ.

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A START

Editor,

Sunday, June 7, saw a huge demonstration in Mendocino. I'm proud to be had been among the more than 400 peaceful marchers honoring the memory and suffering of George Floyd. Everyone was masked, even the children. We assembled at Gallery Books and walked to Friendship Park chanting what by now is indelible in our consciousness: Black Lives Matter.

We stood around the perimeter of the park in some places three and four bodies deep. The two women who organized this powerful and meaningful event used a bullhorn to implore the crowd to speak up and address social injustice, make this activism an integral part of our lives, now and forever. Their emotional rhetoric ended with all of us kneeling for eight minutes and 46 seconds. That's a long time to be kneeling. I thought about George and the cop who, with his hands in his pockets, nonchalantly used his knee for eight minutes and 46 seconds to cut off the blood flow to Floyd's brain. It was a reflective moment for me.

So few words on all the signs said so much. A sampling: Silence is Violence, Black Love Trumps Orange Hate, All mothers were summoned when he cried out "Mama," and Dump Trump, vote him out.

Racism is endemic in this country and Mendocino County is no exception. A man stood outside the park fence, his small child on his shoulders. His cardboard sign read, "This is Pomo Land — understand?" I did. I got it.

When will white supremacy end? I own a geography textbook dated 1876. It instructs that there are five races of people in the world -- brown, red, yellow, black and white, reducing humans to the choices in a crayola box. It continues, "What is known of the white race?" Answer, "The white race is superior to the others and is found in Europe and America." There it is. Taught in the schools 150 years ago. How do we overcome that prejudice?

Sunday was a start.

Louise Mariana

Mendocino

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OK, ONE

Editor --

You know at least one person under the age of 60 who reads paper papers: me, I'm 55.

I normally read the AVA, the Marin Independent Journal, the Press Democrat and the San Francisco Chronicle, and the New York Times every once in a while.

If paper papers are ever discontinued, I suppose I would spend a minimal amount of time looking at them online at the library because I don't plan ever owning a computer again.

Reading off of a computer screen for me is uncomfortable to the point of being painful. I've come to the conclusion based on research I've done (reading Dr. Peter Breggin and Dr. Joanna Moncrieff) that this might be at least partly due to damage done to the frontal lobes of my brain from 20 years of using psychiatric medications.

Keith Bramstedt

San Anselmo

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I AM GEORGE FLOYD

Editor,

I'm healthy, we all are helping here, an island of locked down health.

Our fascist president has fixed it for me to remain in jail until May of next year. Trump's appointee, the fascist Attorney General Barr, saw looting! All I saw were people resourcefully appropriating necessary supplies. That over advertised $1200 went right over them as they were not the intended recipients.

Yes, race relations are good the way you mean them in that most people these days recognize and interact with each other amicably and that is why many white people are going along with the current uprising. Like the Wall Street protests of yesteryear, these protests are against the greedy system which is also systematically racist. The further up the social ladder one goes, the more elite specialism the people think they enjoy, but they are adaptable enough to accept (co-opt) a Vernon Jordan or Obama when they promise not to upset the status quo. That ladder is missing many rungs between the poor, the almost middle-class, and the well to do.

The police departments should be eliminated and replaced with unarmed social organizations knowledgeable and schooled about domestic and social problem-solving. A good start would be to defund police departments for all drug enforcement activity (take everything to do with drugs away from them) and make a rule to never send armed police to a nonviolent situation.

Anybody who thinks for half a day can come up with better social institutions than the police forces of the United States.

The police were originally created to protect the haves from the have-nots and it has not changed. The police men and women themselves think they are doing the right thing, at the beginning of their careers anyway. By now society should have advanced enough so there are no complete have-nots, everyone should have a home, an income, health care, access to education and to feel as if they belong to and in society.

Good government controls the extremes not protect and promote them as they currently do, instead using the people's money to support a super grotesque military which in turn protects the corporate giants.

I am George Floyd, but keep my old name on my sub, please.

Freedom, 

Paul Jorgensen

Atwater

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TENSIONS RISING

Dear Editor,

As always I wish you and yours will during these trying times. When we all thought things were bad due to the virus, this racial crap raises its ugly head when our country can least deal with it. Things here in prison are just magnified compared to an already fragile tension between the races -- all bad! The virus is sure to spread with demonstrations, rioters and looters gathering with little to no respect for social distancing. Businesses on the brink of losing everything are being looted before they can even open. The horrible irresponsible officers back east have once again shown the ugly abuse of power a small amount of law enforcement officers selfishly displayed. 

The same racial tension exists behind the walls of prison, however due to the lack of cell phones it doesn't get out. Of late, the promised releases the governor promised haven't occurred. Rather than keeping each prisoner isolated from each other and cutting back on overpopulated prisons, here at San Quentin we just received over 200 more prisoners from other prisons. 125 this week from Chino where the virus has forced men to live in tents in their yard. Some inmates have come in with signs of the virus. Prior to this group San Quentin had been fortunate to not have any positive tests. Who knows now? San Quentin’s cells are presently at more than 190% of design occupancy. Single cells are 9' x 4' and forced to hold two men. No possible way to social distance at six feet. Still nothing is being done.

We are locked in our cells pretty much 24/7 except a few yard hours every other day along with a shower also every other day. Fortunately I work five days a week six to 1 pm. All education and self-help classes are gone along with any visits and most jobs. Phone calls to family are 15 minutes every five days. 900 men and only six phones. Lots of fights over phone calls is not good.

God has a plan and I'm continuing to make the best of things. I have most surely seen the faults in the so-called justice system. Do your best to continue to report the truth as always. Stay safe and healthy. I surely miss home.

God bless,

Kenny Rogers

San Quentin

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KEEP NORCAL GREAT

AVA,

My name is William Kidd. I am currently in San Quentin state prison for three years. I've only got a few more months to go. About six months. I grew up in Ukiah. I have read some of your papers before. I know how informative you are or can be.

I'm really scared about this whole covid issue that has had the whole system on lockdown. I'm currently housed in Badger section of the prison. We have been locked down for three months. We were supposed to be moved out by May 31. But about half of the 500 guys were moved. 250 men are still waiting to be transferred out. The prison system moved about 200 or so new inmates from Chino who were infected putting our lives at risk. I am at a loss of words but scared and a bit confused. How can the prison put our lives more risk by mixing us all together? Now after more than a week of mixing a few of us have become infected.

I feel like I'm exiled from the United States of America. I've been told we have no rights. I know you are the last great paper and you have always done amazing things to say and good info.

Your friend,

William Kidd BL 1772

San Quentin State Prison, Cell 2-B-16

San Quentin, CA 94974

PS. Keep Norcal great. PPS. Don't drink and drive.

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MARTIAL LAW OR JER’S OUT

Editor,

President Trump better do something pretty quick or this whole country will go up in smoke. He needs to call martial law in the blue states and get rid of the blue governors and blue mayors in the blue cities because they are absolute tyrannical, no good anti-American socialist psychotic human beings, and they need to be replaced soon or it will be over. If he keeps screwing around it will be too late. 

This police reform thing is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. What are you supposed to do when you catch a felon doing a crime? Hello sir, how are you sir? Is there anything I can do for you sir? I know you are black but can I help you in any way? Are we supposed to kneel down to the black people and give up everything we've earned in the last 250 years after we set them free? What's going on? What are all these white people kneeling for? Because they are gutless, that's why. They think if they bow down to the black people it will make them heroes. It makes me sick to my stomach. 

What's it going to be, President Trump? Will you let these filthy scumbag liberal rotten pieces of scum get away with murder? Will you run the white people off the face of the earth? You are the president of the United States, man! You better do something! If you do not, you are not my president anymore, that's for damn sure! This is the most horrible thing I ever saw. These cheesy ass rotten scumbags are getting their way, all the little demonstrators and looters are tearing down our monuments. You've got to be kidding me! You better not let this go too long President Trump or you will be run out of town yourself. If you let the Police Department's defunding thing go through it will defund all the police departments. You wait and see, mister. There will be more people killed in the next two years than you have ever dreamt about because I know some civilians who are going to shoot and I mean they are going to shoot a lot, so put that in your pipe and smoke it. I'm almost sorry I've been rooting for you for the last few years President Trump. Do something now! 

The social media and the mainline media is one of our worst enemies we have in the world. They stink, they are rotten, more rotten than rotten eggs, they are liars, they are anti-American, they tell their stories about President Trump even though sometimes maybe he needs a little bit until he shows me he's got some balls. I'm not very excited about President Trump anymore. 

Donald Trump better do something pretty soon.

Jerry Philbrick

Comptche

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PHILBRICK’S FOLLY

Editor, 

Usually, I do not read Mr. Philbrick's letters since he, like Donald Trump, inherited his business and his wealth. My experience is that people speaking from a position of privilege often speak from ignorance. This seems apparent as Mr. Philbrick confuses democracy and fascism in his promulgation of martial law to "Get rid of the liberals and kick them out on their asses.” 

Mr. Philbrick says that we should "Respect the flag, the Constitution, other people's rights, law enforcement, the military, the Bill of Rights and everything else we got from our forefathers… God bless Donald Trump." 

Leaving to one side that our "forefathers" considered slaves (brownish) people to be 3/5's of white and that women didn't count at all, Mr. Philbrick fails to recognize that Donald Trump has totally disrespected the Constitution which includes the Bill of Rights, the recent use of Federal Officers and force to prevent the exercise of 1st Amendment rights. 

By this same action, and so many others, Donald Trump has disrespected other people's rights. By his interference in police matters, as if he has spent his life as they have, in law enforcement, Trump has disrespected them. He has totally disrespected the military, not only by over-ruling their decisions as to court martial, but by using them for purely political purposes. Donald Trump sidestepped the Constitution's emoluments clause in so many ways, so many times, it boggles the mind; think Mar-A-Lago. 

Peter Lit 

Caspar

PS. It is perhaps worthy of mention that his mentioning the poor people trying to stay in business ignores the real endemic poverty in this country; this is a common trait of persons born into capitalistic privilege. 

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NOYO HARBOR

Editor,

I just read General Petraeus’s article in the Atlantic on June 9 disparaging Braxton Bragg, the cashiered loser of the Battle of Chattanooga fighting for slavery, and a local Indian killer. I have heard that there is a move afoot to finally change Fort Bragg’s name to either Noyo, California or Noyo Harbor California. We are very lucky to have already such a beautiful historical American Indian name as Noyo. I personally would add to that the romantic glory of the sea and our local family-owned fishing culture by adding Harbor to the name. I personally like Noyo Harbor, California. Noyo California would be great but Noyo Harbor California might be even better. What's your preference? Stay tuned.

A friend of mine was chuckling when he joined me for a walk yesterday on the headlands. He found it hilarious that the self-styled "libertarians" parading with their guns like last week in the legislative chambers in Minnesota proudly displaying their MAGA hats and Confederate flags have come face-to-face with the fact that psychopath Donnie (not John Galt) Trump is the one who wants to sic the federal government, the military no less, on the citizens of the Republic, including them, if only he could. That's liberty by golly, just you wait. Generally speaking mindnumb cultists are too dumb to know they are numb. Sad.

Name withheld

Cleone

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MENDO FOLLIES

Dear Editor,

Thank you for your coverage of Mendocino Follies every week. Some of my favorite articles have been “How the Government Steals Your Car,” “Mendocino County Gouges Fire Victims,” “Fort Bragg Mummy Case Goes To Trial,” etc. Jerry Philbrick is great. I even enjoy Mendo’s menopausal leftists who like paying more taxes to support all the follies, like the nut-house that won’t exist and the $20 mil that goes to the special friends outside the County. Keep it up.

Tom Madden

Comptche/Ukiah

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WOULD HAVE BEEN REMOVED

Editor: 

I served in the military some years ago, and every commander’s greatest fear was to have an undisciplined killer in his (it was always “his” in those days) command. The military is diligent in identifying and removing the unstable, the depraved and the dangerous before tragedy occurs. I am certain that any soldier who had Officer Derek Chauvin’s record would not have remained in the military for 19 years. The warning signs were there.

It is too obvious that police commanders and their civilian masters lack the will to timely identify and remove officers such as Chauvin. Police commanders not only tolerate such individuals but come to their defense. Too often the “good cops” stand by and condone outrageous conduct by their code of silence. Three officers who could have saved George Floyd’s life did nothing.

Civilian bosses are usually politicians who covet police support and aren’t inclined to exercise serious oversight. Sonoma County’s Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach is a weak organization despite its name.

Incidents such as the Floyd killing will continue until police commanders and civilian authorities begin to seek, find and discharge officers such as Chauvin.

Patrick Coyle

Santa Rosa

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CHANGE IT

Dear Editor, 

The most significant thing to be done about deeply embedded racism in my community is to abandon the name “Fort Bragg” for our city. 

The use of this name insults us in 2 ways; one is the glorification of a confederate civil war soldier, and not a great one at that, who fought to deny freedom to African Americans, and the other is in honoring the existence of the Fort which resulted in slavery, child abduction and slaughter for many indigenous people of our coast. Documentation of the latter is found at the Kelley Museum and at the Guest House in the materials held by the Historical Society.

The process to rename a town is for the City Council to either put the question on a ballot or to, with a super majority, vote approval. Before either of course there would be public comment and much discussion.

What could the new name be? How about one that reflects Pomo and the timber history  and also shows proximity to the coast, such as Noyo Landing? 

Congress, the military and the state of North Carolina are poised to change the name of the military fort of Fort Bragg. Let’s do the same. It would help the image of the entire county.

Molly Warner

near Fort Bragg

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BURLAPPED

Editor:

First off: let it be understood that there is no, repeat, NO intent of racist feeling in the following!

To those who missed the five o'clock evening Channel 7 news on or about June 8, 2020:

May I paraphrase or comment on those profound revelations presented?

The mayor of San Francisco, London Breed, stated the following:

“One, I am black. Two, I am the mayor of San Francisco. Three, but first I am black and second I am the mayor. Four, I am going to initiate a large budget cut within the San Francisco Police Department. The monies obtained from this cut will be dispersed within the black community."

The writer is not sure in the real world exactly what or where we are going with this declaration. Perhaps a hint of allegorization? Not sure!

The writer must take off his hat for a woman who is in possession of great insight, vision and prognostication of the highest level. She, Ms. London Breed, must possess Nostradamus qualities known only to her! To the common layperson reducing the SF police budget would seem counterproductive to keeping the peace in San Francisco. Ya think!

The Winter of Discontent is a two-edged sword!

These massive peaceful — yeah, right — protest marches are in fact a "liberal mask" covering or hiding the seeds of socialism. Don't kid yourself, open your eyes!

Wake up America. We are about to be "snowballed" into --? 

We will wake up one morning and look out our window and ask ourselves, "How in the hell did we allow this to happen?"

Answer: Good old American, you've been burlapped!

Name Withheld

Boonville

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END MENDO’S WILDLIFE SERVICES DEAL

Editor,

Most residents and visitors to Mendocino County have a deep love and respect for nature and for wildlife. Yet, each year our county renews its contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Wildlife Services to kill hundreds of bears, bobcats, coyotes, foxes and many other wild animals, as well as unintended victims, such as endangered species and our beloved pets. 

The USDA’s Wildlife Services is a multimillion-dollar federal program that sets snares and traps, which grab the body of any animal that happens upon a trap. When trapped, the animal is left to suffer for hours or even days before it dies. Some chew off an entrapped limb in order to survive. Injured animals are vulnerable and have little chance of survival in the wild.

In 2018 Wildlife Services reported killing nearly 1.5 million native animals nationwide. That year, in California, the program reported killing 26,441 native animals, including 3,826 coyotes, 859 beavers, 170 foxes, 83 mountain lions and 105 black bears. The 5,675 birds killed in 2018 in California included blackbirds, ducks, egrets, hawks, owls and doves. - USDA WS statistics

There is absolutely no moral reason to continue the horrific, archaic practice of implementing torture traps for wildlife management when there are non-lethal methods proven to be more effective and humane. 

 “Wildlife Services’ indiscriminate killing of millions of animals annually has many damaging impacts on the environment. Peer-reviewed research shows that such reckless slaughter of animals — particularly predators — results in broad ecological destruction and loss of biodiversity. The program’s controversial and indiscriminate killing methods are employed largely at the behest of ranchers to protect livestock and have come under increased scrutiny from scientists, the public and government officials. In addition the agency has been responsible for the countless deaths of threatened and endangered species, as well as family pets.” - Camilla Fox, founder and executive director of Marin-based Project Coyote.

Counties throughout the country, including neighboring Marin and Sonoma, have ended their contracts with Wildlife Services. They have brought in non-lethal wildlife management services to educate the public regarding deterrent and exclusion programs to protect property and livestock. Such non-lethal wildlife exclusion programs have proven far more effective than senseless killing by Wildlife Services. 

A bare majority of Mendocino County Supervisors want to continue our lethal contract with Wildlife Services, and use a non-lethal wildlife service as a supplement. This means the county would continue to subsidize WS to kill wildlife, while community members who did not want wildlife to be killed would pay a fee for non-lethal wildlife services.

We, of the Mendocino Non-lethal Wildlife Alliance (MNWA), believe that killing wildlife should be a last resort and only used to protect human safety, euthanize a rabid animal, or, when all other appropriate non-lethal methods of wildlife exclusion have been exhausted.

Ranchers have a legal right to kill a predator that threatens their livestock, so terminating the contract with Wildlife Services would not infringe upon their rights.

We are a progressive county that values and respects our majestic wildlife. We certainly would not be the first county in the US to end an agreement with USDA’s Wildlife Services; let us not be among the last!

Please sign our petition to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors to end the senseless killing now at: thepetitionsite.com/842/567/041/stop-the-killing-now

Mendocino Non-lethal Wildlife Alliance Steering Committee

Rosebud Ireland

Carol Lillis

Carol Misseldine

Don Lipmanson

Jon Spitz

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