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Letters To The Editor


Letter to Editor,

Why People Support Laura’s Law

The reason law enforcement officers across the country support  Laura’s Law is because they know the people who are candidates to  receive Laura’s Law treatment, since they often have to arrest them  or take them to hospitals in psychiatric crisis. With Laura’s Law in  place, officers can refer many of the people to the Laura’s Law Team  for Assisted Outpatient Treatment before a crisis occurs. With less  of their time spent on people with severe mental illness, they have  more time for the rest of us, and to do the work they were trained to  do and we want them to do.

The reason hospitals, clinics and other medical providers across the  country support Laura’s Law is the same as for law enforcement. They  also know the people and know that with treatment, they are more  likely to get well and stay well.

The reason family members are for Laura’s Law is that the suffering  of our loved ones with severe mental illness is unbearable when they  become suicidal, and or consumed with fear in their paranoia, and  have no way to stop the constant voices in their head from  commanding horrendous things, and preventing them from connecting  with another human being.

The reason most clients are for Laura’s Law is they know first-hand  the support they and people they know need, when in a psychiatric  crisis. They want the support to be there in our communities, instead  of forcing the sick to become sicker and sicker until jail or  hospital is the only option.

The reason most of us feel stabbed in the heart when we see someone  who is homeless, or talking to him or herself, is that we know “There  but for fortune go you or I”; and in some way it seems our personal  failure that there is no help for this person, and we do not know  what to do about it. Signing the Laura’s Law petition is a first step  toward telling our supervisor’s, WE CARE ABOUT THESE PEOPLE AND WANT  YOU TO IMPLEMENT LAURA’S LAW.

Sonya Nesch, author of

Advocating for Someone

with a Mental Illness




Dear Editor,

Albion Headlands Decision Upheld

The highly-contested development of the Albion Headlands took another turn last month in the decision of the Superior Court to uphold the denial of a Boundary Line Adjustment (BLA) to reconfigure the headlands parcels. The owners/applicants had sued the County for denying the application, but the Superior Court denied their petition to overthrow the Board decision.

Several determinations were made, some of which affect land use planning in the County and in the coastal zone. The State of California regulates subdivision of land. Certain types of lot-line adjustments (BLA in Mendocino County) are exempted from the Subdivision Map Act and the agency review is limited to whether or not the adjustment is incompliance with the General Plan, Specific Plans, Local Coastal Plan, or local zoning and building codes. The eligible number of parcels is limited to four or fewer, and they are required to be “adjoining.”*

Opponents of the BLA proposal, including the Sierra Club Mendocino Group, argued that the proposal would establish parcels that did not touch the original parcels, in effect moving three small parcels away from a county road out onto the open bluffs overlooking the ocean. The court instead focused on the original parcels being “adjoining.” The court was unable to find any precedent defining the word “adjoining” as it is used in this GC Section 66412(d). The legislative history to the amendment in 2001 suggests that adjoining should be interpreted as “physically continuous.” While the opposition argued that while the parcels may be enlarged or diminished, the parcels must remain in basically the same geographic relation to one another. The court disagreed, stating that the only likely restriction is that they remain physically contiguous. Therefore “same geographic relationship” was not used as a determining factor in reviewing the case.

However, the Exemption is not mandatory determination, and may not qualify if it does not conform to the local general plan, specific plan, coastal and any zoning and building ordinances. In this case the Board of Supervisors determined that the application did not conform to the Coastal Act or the local Coastal Plan.

The Board also made a finding that the BLA as presented is not consistent with the purpose and intent of the applicable zoning district and does not conform to the county code. While in the county original non-conforming lots do not have to meet minimum parcel sizes, the Coastal Plan states that any new parcel does have to meet the minimum size requirement, in this case 40 acres.

“Highly scenic” protection afforded by the Local Coastal Plan was discussed by both parties, with each defending their plan is the least impactful. While arguments were deemed reasonable on both sides, the decision of the Board to disallow the proposal did not rise to the level of an “abuse of discretion. To grant or deny an application for a boundary line adjustment is discretionary by the Board.

The environmental review by the Coastal Administrator was determined to have used an inappropriate baseline in review of the environmental impacts. County used the probable development of all five (3 existing, 2 potential) parcels as though those were already permitted, instead of the physical conditions that existed at the time of application. Granting a Negative Declaration of insignificant impact was therefore invalid, and the Board did not abuse its discretion in disallowing the application.

To comply with the Coastal Act and Local Coastal Plan, the County must evaluate the impact in coastal developments by the lot line adjustment. “Buildability” of the current parcels is compared with the potential development of the adjusted parcels.

The current buildability of the smaller parcels was contested by the opponents of the project on the grounds that the parcels were not large enough for septic systems and off-site septic system proposals had not met the requirements. While the applicants argued that the office of Environmental Health had approved “permits,” the court found that no actual permits were issued, just potential approval for permits. Therefore the Board could find that the application had not met the requirements for conformity with the zoning.

The conclusions reached by the Court seem to uphold the opinion of the Sierra Club Mendocino Group that the presence of parcels recognized by Certificates of Compliance cannot be used to break the requirements of the General Plan, Local Coastal Plan or zoning requirements.

Rixanne Wehren,

Coastal Committee Chair

Sierra Club, Mendocino Group

PS. *Specifically, it defines the exemption as: [a] a lot line adjustment between four or fewer existing adjoining parcels, where the land taken from one parcel is added to an adjoining parcel, and where a greater number of parcels is not created, if the lot line adjustment is approved by the local agency, or advisory agency. A local agency or advisory agency shall limit its review and approval to a determination of whether or not the parcels resulting from the lot line adjustment will conform to the local general plan, any applicable specific plan, any applicable coastal plan, and zoning and building ordinances. An advisory agency or local agency shall not impose conditions or exactions on its approval of a lot line adjustment except to conform to the local general plan, any applicable specific plan, and applicable coastal plan, and zoning and building ordinances… (Gov’t Code 66412(d).)



Dear Editor:

Lockdown again and again. Why? I'd have to guess with you.

My record keeping lately is bad. Did I commiserate with you on your misadventure with the hospital? I do. I was in Springfield and had a TURP myself. The “doctor” left and forgot to leave orders to pull the tube out. Perhaps we're lucky. I've read that 30,000 a year die from hospital infections.

I'm reading “Stillwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-1945,” Barbara Tuchman, in reprints. Good.

Just finished “Down by the River,” Charles Bowden, 2002-2004 which took seven years to write. Mexican “drug wars.” It's a “failed state.” JFK official version number 9/11? Other than that we agree! Did I send you “The Truth”? Or “Events”?

Stay well.

Ronald Del Raine

Florence, Colorado




The Mendocino College paramedic program is in jeopardy. The college has put hundreds of paramedics on the street since the program began in 1998. Between now and April 1, 2012 however, the college administrators will be making decisions that will determine whether or not the program will allowed to continue. I have been a part of the program since before it began — initially as program director and lead instructor. I have continued to be the lead instructor for every class. Although I have given notice that I will not be returning as lead instructor, I still very much want the program to continue. I do not claim objectivity but my experience gives me a unique perspective regarding the program’s history, present state and future.

In my opinion there are two primary factors involved in the college’s decision-making process. The first revolves around national accreditation; the second is staffing.

In 2004 Mendocino College became one of the first paramedic training institutions in the state to become nationally accredited and has maintained that accreditation ever since. Three years ago, due to documentation and administrative issues, the program was placed on probationary status by the accreditation agency. Since that time the program director, Jen Banks, has done a fantastic job of negotiating a path through the challenging process of the return to full accreditation. The final program progress report from the college to the accrediting agency will be submitted on December 1, 2011. I have every confidence that once this report is submitted we will continue to be fully accredited. The administration made the decision to suspend enrollment in the program so that efforts could be focused on meeting the accreditation requirements. There are still paramedic students doing their field internships but no new students were admitted in the fall of 201l. The college administration takes the position that the decision as to whether or not to re-open enrollments in the fall of 2012 depends, in large part, on the result of the accreditation review. As I said, I am confident that the program will continue to be fully accredited.

The second factor is more problematic. Since the beginning, the program has been taught and run by part-time employees. All of us involved have been field paramedics actively employed by fire departments, ground ambulance and air ambulance services. We have viewed our involvement in the program as an extension of our commitment to community service. Most of the program instructors and skills assistants are graduates of the Mendocino College program who have come back to mentor the next generation. This is a very strong and effective interplay between field medics and students. Still, there are no full-time employees connected with the program. Everybody agrees that running this program with part-timers can no longer work. The complexities and size of the program make full-time staffing necessary. Programs of a similar size have between 2 and 5 full-time staff. At the very minimum the program needs a full-time director and full-time lead instructor.

As concerns staffing decisions, the paramedic program finds itself at a disadvantage. Requests for new positions are reviewed by committee and then submitted to the administration for approval. As part-time employees no one from the paramedic program is eligible to serve on these committees. For at least 14 years we have requested full-time support for the paramedic program. Annually we are told that our request is reasonable. Annually the request is turned down. Virtually all the other programs at the college have tenured faculty and full-time directors who attend these meetings, make their staffing requests known and make the case for their particular request. As part-timers we are out of the loop — the orphan program waiting outside the closed door for the results, which are always the same, “Maybe next year.”

At this point, if the program is to continue, the college needs to demonstrate commitment to the program with full-time administrative and instructor positions. If the college has the will to keep this important program, the time has come to demonstrate it by authorizing appropriate staff to support the program. Failure to do so is a statement that this commitment does not exist.

I am extremely proud of the hundreds of paramedics our program has placed with fire departments and ambulance companies both locally and statewide. The reputation enjoyed by the program draws students from all parts of California and, in fact, from all over the country.

If you, or anyone you care about, have ever had the need to call on our local EMS responders you know what it means to have the responding paramedics be professional and committed to your well-being. That is the quality of the medics we have turned out year after year. I would put our graduates up against the best in the field.

Having a local paramedic program at the core of the local EMS system keeps the system vital, progressive and self-sustaining. A vital educational component is integral to the local EMS system. Allowing this program to fade away will have long-term detrimental effects on your local system of emergency medical response. Our local emergency responders will have no local opportunity to become paramedics and the interplay between field providers and the educational component will be lost.

If the paramedic program is important to you I urge you to make this known to the college. As part-timers we have no real voice in the decision making process. As a community, you do. It is, after all, Mendocino Community College.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Bill Webster, On Behalf of the Mendocino College Paramedic Program Citizens Advisory Committee




Esteemed AVA editors,

In response to Louis Bedrock’s letter in response to my letter in response to Lee Simon’s letter in response to my article in which I shared my theory, not a crackpot belief (I didn’t mean to suggest I believed my own theory, only that it was a theory I had) of a possible reincarnation scenario, I want to thank Louis for writing. I love a good discussion, and I think this may turn out to be a good one, though I share with Lee a suspicion of the word may.

Louis wrote, “Mr. Walton writes that ‘crackpot beliefs are only crackpot to those who don’t agree with those beliefs.’ Bullshit.” I’ll bet if I rephrase my quoted statement to read, “He who believes something is true does not think his belief is crackpot,” that Louis will not think the statement bullshit.

I was trying to say that much of what we think we know, whether we are western-minded scientists or astrology-believing yurt dwellers, might be true, but it very well might not be true. And just because Masimmo Pigliucci (what a great name!) says something is definitely nonsense or definitely non-nonsense doesn’t make it so. It is historical fact that most of the greatest scientific theories that have turned out to probably be true were initially thought by most members of the scientific establishment to be crackpot beliefs. The very recent story of the British scientist who discovered the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica is a prime example of someone called a crackpot turning out not to be a crackpot. Virtually the entire scientific community of the world scoffed at his discovery, which wasn’t a theory, but a fact. He was ridiculed, lost his job, and it took years and years of teams of scientists proving over and over again that his discovery was real before the scientific community finally accepted his discovery as fact.

Another amazing bunch of examples of the scientific community calling people crackpots who then turn out to be world-changing geniuses can be found in the excellent book The Body Is The Hero by Dr. Ronald Glasser in which the human immune system is investigated and explained through Glasser’s recounting of the lives of those men and women whose theories and discoveries advanced our knowledge of physiology, biology, bacteria, viruses, etc. With shockingly few exceptions, these heroic pioneers were literally and figuratively murdered by the scientific and medical communities whose fundamental beliefs, which had reigned as facts for centuries, they dared challenge.

I’m grateful to Louis and Lee for taking the time to respond to my writing. With my moon and sun in Libra, I salute them both.

Todd Walton

Nearby in Mendocino




November in Low Gap, 2011

At 72 we're still in love with a colorful clown and libertarian revolution.

The 99% force of liberation is awake and active. My brothers, my sisters — our marching song has come again.

Chained and in poor but better health due to Tom Allman's poor man's health spa, we ready ourselves in body and mind.

For Mendocino and Albion a man must be willing to live.

I can see a better world a'comin'; fools and dreamers never give up.

With stamps and lies and club and gun, they tried to make the system run. They said, “Now hippies don't be sore, soon will have another war.”

Alan 'Captain Fathom' Graham


PS. I'd love a short sub to the AVA. We just might be in for the winter. We'll keep you posted.




I would like to sincerely congratulate the three newly elected school board trustees, Ben Anderson, Marti Bradford and Dick Browning.

I would also like to respectfully issue the newly elected board a challenge. I would like to challenge you to base each and every decision you make during the upcoming term solely on what best serves our students and nothing else. I challenge you to put in the time to regularly attend classes and to perform walk-through inspections of the school grounds and buildings to ensure they are properly maintained. To look behind locked doors and into storage areas to see what unneeded supplies, outdated texts, etc. can be purged so that these areas can be used for what they were originally designed. To see first-hand what's going on at the schools rather than accepting verbatim what you're told by faculty and administrators at your once-a-month meetings. I challenge you to promote an atmosphere of transparency where school business is concerned and encourage public involvement. I challenge you to attend sporting events and extracurricular activities whenever possible.

Having said this, in the words of our illustrious and most recent ex-governor: I'll be back!

Respectfully yours,

Ernie Pardini





Sporadic attendance of the Occupy Oakland and San Francisco protests has elicited a mixed response from myself.

I think that on a very primal level the sense that I got was that we as a species do come from a past of radical egalitarianism and communal living. And to continue our evolution, or perhaps reflect the devolution from what we once knew, the Catholic institutional conception of God dictated that every soul was sacred and worth saving. Both of these pasts are superior to the current protestant ethic of radical individualism, hoarding of resources and wars among the tribes. The religion of technology says that we are constantly evolving, whereas the religion of the ancients says that we are moving further and further from the enlightened reality we once had full perception of. If anything the contradiction between third world conditions in the midst of major American cities creates a semi-apocalyptic spectacle, not to mention the specter of storm-troopers launching tear-gas, flash and concussion grenades at random into a crowd of thousands.

From my own thinking and meditation the only message that I could come up with was one framed within the context of the history of our civilization. A message straight to the one percent within perhaps symbolic language but nonetheless language that most of the poor and oppressed can understand and relate. Bear with me, Jesus was the man who catered to the poor, the sick, the oppressed, and the unfortunate. He gave them worth, he gave them value. It is what overwhelmed me with tears when I went to the spot where the young black man was shot down in cold blood by his young black brothers for some unfortunate offense, probably not exceeding a thousand dollars. The realization that everyone counts, every poor and unfortunate soul from those sleeping beneath benches in Jefferson Park to those convicts residing in cement grave boxes, a purgatory between this life and the next, the segregated housing unit of the California State Prison System. Every soul counts and cannot be beaten underfoot by the march of the machine in the everyday rat race. But that is exactly what occurs. One more day of war, one more day of bombing, one more day of business as usual is unacceptable.

Ya Basta! Enough Is Enough!

Christ, as the father of the poor, has one message. Ya basta, enough is enough! The wealthiest have committed great sin in the amassing of their wealth. They must beg the Almighty for forgiveness, give alms from the considerable wealth they have hoarded, and care for the poor, wandering and unfortunate people, as much as our poor and exploited mother earth. The proliferation and creation of bombs and weapons and tools of war must end. This is a blatant misuse of the tools of life that our Creator has endowed us with upon this earth.

These are very basic concepts that we can all understand, not some difficult theory or foreign idea.

What makes most sense to me is that each one can bring and contribute their own part, and what I know, is a relatively safe, moderately middle class upbringing. Safety, manners, conscientiousness, etc. Sadly these are middle class values more easily achieved as life becomes easier, but these are things that all communities need to function in a healthy way.

Perhaps what self congratulatory white progressives have not realized is that the Oakland Police Department routinely shoots black Scott Olsen’s who reside in Oakland, but they shoot black people with live ammunition and they routinely shoot them in the back and almost no one gives a damn. The uproar over this shooting is a callous indication of the scope of institutional racism even in the minds of white progressives.

Jefferson Park is one block away from the Federal Building which is a much better target for demands in my mind. If people have demands of the City Government they are easily contacted. I for one want some recognition from my Federal Government. In 2008, I worked for months calling people in the swing state of New Mexico to ensure their support of Barack Obama. The excitement was palpable even to people who seemed to be convinced by my own exuberance for a few minutes on skype. We elected Barack Obama, of that I am certain, so I believe we have a stake in these things and deserve to be heard. It is Federal policies that need to be challenged, OCCUPY CONGRESS FOR CHRIST’S SAKE!

Jefferson Park is not surrounded on four sides by tall buildings; in fact it gets great sunlight on all sides and there are public restrooms and it is literally one square block not interfering with other activities other than the AC transit stops on 11th street.

And who's gonna make sure them boys don't come through and shoot the next person? These white progressives sure aren’t. So what they need to be doing is using their whiteness in the most classic way that white folks do with blacks: the white folks talk to the police. If these kids are too stupid to realize that, well, they have lost their function and purpose within this setting.

Much of what I see down there at Occupy Oakland is feeding of the poor, needy and infirm. If the progressives in charge of this had any heart they would set up to do this on a permanent basis and not just on a temporary basis as long as they, along with the homeless population, are allowed to “occupy.” In the current context, when the ‘occupation’ ends all the services provided will end too. Catholic Worker in Berkeley feeds poor people everyday. Food Not Bombs feeds poor people all of the time all over the Bay Area. Let us empower and expand these excellent existing services.

If people came renewed and refreshed for a People’s Assembly in the Public Commons in a highly visible space every Friday or every other Friday at say 5pm this would be a huge advance in our society. If we set up permanent places for community services, especially real and readily available clinical health care, that were operated by volunteers and not career poverty workers this would be a huge achievement. All of this within the context of mass participation and high visibility with recognition of the greater society that these things are not okay and this suffering must be eliminated from our midst, we would truly be making strides towards a better future, and not just wallowing in the muck.

Nate Collins





An Insulted Balloon Guy (now eerily close to middle-aged man) wants to inform you, that he takes offense at you calling his hand-made and carefully planned balloon design—“patchwork.”

Also hoping you'll give me the opportunity to get the record straight on a few things misrepresented in the “Valley People” Section on November 9:

1. Balloons are required to maintain minimum altitudes “except when necessary for take off or landing.” Although it may seem that I am just flying along without a care in the world, if you see me at “treetop level,” it is because I am using a ground wind to try slipping into or out of a nearby parcel. The rest of the time, you will see me well over 500 feet.

2. I do not fly heedlessly over sheep. I pay very close attention to how they respond to the noise and overhead menace and try to maintain ascents over them so that the noise and fear will be minimal. I have erred in this as I do not have every holding of sheep in the valley accounted for. Once I have encountered an angry rancher or a scared flock I make sincere and successful attempts to avoid future proximity.

3. I don't have an assistant, but happily allow anyone who is competent and willing to drive my old pickup truck on balloon chases. I should know better than to let a guy with dreadlocks drive my truck, but I thought the people of the valley could handle it. He claims he is not a rasta — too demanding of a religious observance for the faint of heart (or lungs).

4. I haven't taken off on Gschwend road ever. Though now, thanks to the article last week I may have an invitation to.

5. The only things written on my truck are “F250,” “Louisiana,” and “www.Pro-Creation.US .” The writing, “The Sky Isn't the Limit” was on a trailer that I have pulled with me in previous years.

6. At the Mendo-A-Go-Go festival, people clustered around to donate $5-10 to go up in the air for 2-4 minutes.

7. And finally to the angry rancher(s): Shooting at an aircraft is a federal crime, and more importantly its really rude and unsportsmanlike to shoot at unarmed people in a giant colorful object. All you have to do is yell unpleasantries and I'll avoid you in the future. Please don't try killing me or going to prison over a running sheep.

Thanks for giving me a chance to correct some of your inaccuracies.


Kevin Herschman, Balloon Guy

Louisiana/Anderson Valley



Letter to the Editor,

Regarding the race between the two top candidates to become our next Representative in Congress — Norman Solomon vs. Jared Huffman — I think the people's choice is clear: Norman Solomon knows Congress is thoroughly corrupted by corporate campaign cash and therefore refuses to take any corporate PAC money, while Jared Huffman, as a state assemblyman, has received funding from Gallo, Chevron, Wal-Mart, PG&E and others, and, in this current Congressional race, is already taking in corporate PAC money. Norman Solomon refuses to accept corporate PAC money, and has a long history of working to free Congress from corporate domination.

If you, too, would like to help get money out of our political system and get a Congress that serves the 99% instead of the 1% it now serves, actively support Norman Solomon. Check out his campaign's website.

Tom Wodetzki




Dear Editor,

I think that the classical music lovers in Anderson Valley will be pleased to learn that the Deep Valley Chamber Music Series will present the acclaimed Michigan-based Merling Piano Trio on Saturday, November 19, for the first concert of the Chamber Series’ fourth season. The performance will feature Las Cuatro Estaciones Portenas (The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires), a major work by classical music’s great tango composer Astor Piazzolla, as well as works by Haydn and Beethoven. The concert will be presented at the First Presbyterian Church of Ukiah, at Church and Dora Streets, beginning at 7:30 pm.

Tickets to the concert are $25 for adults and $10 for students ages 8 to 18 and are available at the Mendocino Book Company, on-line at and at the door. Season tickets with preferred seating are also available by calling 467-1341.


Linda Malone

Deep Valley Chamber Music Board Member



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