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Letters (July 15, 2020)

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Dear Editor: 

This morning was the last straw for me. I have never felt so assaulted in my life. Just when I think that it can't get much worse, it does. The US government's pandemic relief efforts, tax-payer money, received by the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church! The church that has more money than God himself. Taxpayer money should NEVER be used for religious entities. How dare they even apply for relief when their congregates are suffering. And Kanye West, who not so long ago was bragging about his net worth. Give me a break. How much more corruption can the American people take. We watch our Senators do nothing while continuing to get their paychecks and health benefits. The relief funds were supposed to help the small businesses who are trying to stay afloat and keep their employees. Distribution should have started at the bottom and worked its way up, not the other way around. We have all lived through the failed experiment of the trickle down theory. And a Treasury Department that won't release who got how much. These taxpayer funds need to be accounted for and those non-small business recipients should be made to repay the funds. My rant is over. VOTE IN NOVEMBER or we can kiss America as we have known it goodbye. 

Selima Shapiro


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Thanks very much for publishing Larry Bensky whom I have enjoyed from about the time he became KPFA GM in the mid-1970s and KFCF in Fresno went on air carrying KPFA most of the time. In my opinion he could have been making a six figure salary in network radio/TV if he had chosen to do so. By luck, I was able to hear nearly all his coverage of the Iran-Contra hearings for which he was given a well-deserved Peabody. In retirement he had returned to KPFA to moderate his own one hour show a few years ago. All at once he disappeared after saying he would be off for minor surgery. I thought maybe the show had been cancelled, but the GM said he was welcome to return. If there was any announcement of his accident, I missed it. So I was pleasantly surprised to see him in your paper verifying he is still alive and kicking even if it is more a shuffle right now. I am five years younger at 78, but can only walk with two canes myself now. Old age is an often painful world unto itself it seems almost no matter what one has done to be healthy. Good genes, luck and money seem to mean more. Larry’s column has covered the hard problems of old age in cringe worthy detail. I hope his column continues and that he is able to recover enough from his accident to walk unassisted again.

Lloyd Dennis


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Everyone, and I mean everyone, I ask why wear a mask responds, “It is to protect others.” I would like to see all stores post the following: No Shirt, No Shoes, No Mask, No service. This statement is just common sense. Let’s remember the 3Cs — courtesy, common sense, and cover up with a mask.

Jim Duport

Santa Rosa

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Honorable Board of Supervisors and Ms. Dukett: 

Previously I expressed my dismay that last week's update from Dr. Doohan was only available on Facebook, and that the notice of the changed time was also only available on Facebook. I understand that the day was changed because no one is working on July 3, ahead of a holiday that is celebrated by activities that are completely illegal in Mendocino County right now. 

Aside from the fact that the public does not consist solely of people who have agreed to allow an unethical company to monetize their personal information, I would have thought the county would be especially concerned with reminding people to stay safe over the weekend. Instead, we have entrusted what should be a democratic, informational briefing to a company that has actively undermined democracy all over the world by sowing misinformation. 

Recently, I went to a public meeting that was actually open to the public, included hours of public comment, both in person and remotely, and where just about everyone observed safety protocols very closely. The June 22 Fort Bragg City Council meeting, where everyone weighed in on whether or not to put a name change on the ballot, was a model of a safe, successful democratic process. 

Almost everyone, inside and outside the Town Hall building, was masked. People who wanted to comment lined up outside the door to the courtyard, around the corner, and all the way onto Laurel street, standing on X's that were taped onto the sidewalk at six-foot intervals. They went in the courtyard door and stood at the podium behind plexiglass, under the microphone and at a distance from the Council members, who were also behind plexiglass and wearing masks. When they were done, they went out another door, onto Main Street. There were big electronic speakers on Laurel Street and in the courtyard, so people outside could hear what was going on. A few elderly people and a local reporter sat inside, at the back of the room and at a distance from one another. When the people who were physically present finished commenting, the Council took comments from the public remotely, which always has some glitches, but for the most part, people who didn't feel safe about coming to the meeting in person got to participate, too. 

The meeting was very responsibly handled, by the city staff, the elected representatives, and the members of the public, who were not treated like their opinions and their right to know what was going on only mattered if they were customers of a private company. The entire event was geared toward responsible, adult citizens of a democratic society, who are well aware of how to meet their health and civic obligations safely. 

We are becoming dependent on Facebook and an overall lack of transparency and participation. This fear-based reflex is completely inappropriate in what is supposed to be an advanced democracy where we have learned about how to protect ourselves from this virus. It will be a difficult habit to break, it will take courage and resolve, and I suggest strongly that we do it now. Thank you. 

Sarah Reith 


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Dear Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, 

I am writing to you because it has come to my attention that you are considering a citizen’s oversight committee for the sheriff’s department. I was perplexed to hear this, because I was unaware that our sheriff’s department has issues with police violence. Which from my understanding is why such committees have been put into place in other departments in our state, and country. Do you believe that our sheriff’s department has issues with police violence? 

I was also under the impression that the County already has policies in place to deal with this type of conduct. Having a redundant system in place for this non-issue, seems like a waste of tax dollars from a department that already has enough trouble with funding. In my 42 years as a resident of Mendocino County, I have yet to hear of a story of someone who was a victim of police brutality from our sheriff’s department. 

A quick Google search for “Police Civilian Oversight Committees” and about an hour of reading. Leads me to believe that on average they are expensive, and not very effective at dealing with the matters they are designed for. Article by Natalie Delgadillo May 25, 2017 quotes Tim Lynch, who has surveyed such bodies as part of his work as director of the Cato Institute’s project on criminal justice. “I tend to be skeptical of the track record of civilian review boards. I think they have several weaknesses – they’re very vulnerable to local political manipulations.” Frontline’s article by Priyanka Boghani July 13, 2016, states San Francisco’s Office of Citizen Complaints (OCC) which was formed by a ballot initiative in 1982 in response to a series of allegations of police brutality. This vote made San Francisco an early adopter of civilian oversight, but the offices 33-year history has been checkered by ineffectiveness. I would suggest doing ones due diligence on this subject, before applying efforts and resources to something that is quite possibly ineffective. 

When you spoke to the Sheriff about this, what was his opinion? If this committee is implemented, what will the cost be and how many deputies will we lose from the department? My town of Covelo, is in need of more law enforcement personnel, not less. Please don’t let elected officials, public opinion, or policy makers from different states or cities, that do not reflect the views, circumstances, and issues in Mendocino County, affect your decisions on this. 


Bill Williamson 


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To the Editor:

This is a quote from the summer issue of AWI, the newsmagazine of the Animal Welfare Institute:

"In just the past 40 years, the worst pandemics and epidemics -- including SARS, Ebola, HIV/AIDS, the H5N1, avian flu, the H1N1 swine flu, and Covid-19 — have all happened against a backdrop of increasing trade and destruction of wild habitat and an increasing number of farm animals warehoused in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). So while the origins are sometimes shrouded in mystery and subject to scientific sleuthing, the answer as to which species is responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as other disease outbreaks, is clear: It's us."

I'm no ethnobiologist, but I would bet that there's been no time in our history that so many deadly viruses have emerged in a 40 year time period.

International travel, everyone and everything being interconnected, wildlife trade and consumption and eating factory farmed animals all allow viruses to spread like wildfire. Our lifestyles, food habits and exploitative relationship with animals will only further pathogen transmission.

It won't be a nuclear bomb that kills us off, it will be a virus and our resistance to changing our ways.

Louise Marianna


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My Dear Valley friends and left-wing wobblers:

This will not take up much of your time. Yeah! Right! Documented: your morosis governor G. "Nuisance" has sent letters to the California court system requesting judges show leniency when sentences are given to those perps, 25 years and younger.

Some way! Somehow! Nuisance and his brain trust have determined that the human brain at 25 and younger is not fully developed therefore they, the perps, are not responsible for their crimes. What? Wait! Perhaps their parents should have pulled out. My my! Not very nice! But factual! Get over it!

Allow me to finish with a loud insult to injury.

I surely misunderstood a news report. I think they said our legislators are considering lowering the voting age down to 18. What? What a stroke of genius.

Don't we have our hands full with mentally challenged now attempting to run this country? Oh hell! Pile it on!

Wake up America, open your eyes wider. This country’s towns and cities are on a fast track to total traitorous anarchy, an implosion caused by those pushing the overkill on correctness. And what are we/they doing to correct the obvious? Reduce the police departments? Well now, isn't that another stroke of temerity! Just how many of these strokes can we live with? We are shooting ourselves in the foot and looking for someone else to blame! That be us!

God bless America, the Donald, and Jerry Philbrick,

Still old and very very angry!


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About a month ago I made a list of all the grocery stores in Marin and Sonoma counties I had visited since the shelter in place began in mid-March. I had been to about 23 stores. Normally I go to coffee houses and hang out but since they have not been available I've been going to markets to check them out or buy a few items or use the restroom since gas stations won't let us use theirs.

I've noticed that the smaller markets tend to be much more uptight about face masks. Sometimes my mask isn't covering my nostrils and the "greeter" at the door will ask me to pull it up over my nose. That has never happened at one of the big box Safeway or Lucky stores.

At a Walgreen’s down the street from me last night that is smaller than most drugstores, after the two clerks behind the checkout counter gave me three orders ("Stand over there on the dot," etc.) within 10 seconds, I angrily shot back, "Do you have any more orders to give me?" I went there to buy a few items, not join the military.

My guess is that the smaller markets and drugstores are more paranoid about Covid-19 because people are closer together than in a huge market or else they are paranoid about getting sued because they are a smaller financial corporations whereas a huge corporation likes Safeway can much more easily absorb lawsuits.

Keith Bramstedt

San Anselmo

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To the Editor:

What is it with the Cancel Culture? Why is there this consuming drive to silence voices whose ideas run counter to yours? We have been watching this unfold for at least thirty years on college campuses as speakers are shouted down, professors deemed sufficiently “unwoke” are attacked by students, as scheduled commencement speakers deemed insufficiently liberal see their invitations withdrawn. Teaching positions suddenly hinge on an errant word or sentence on Twitter and all but a few bold conservatives are hesitant to share views in classrooms. These extreme leftist sensitivities have gone into overdrive whenever there were alleged incidents of rape, sexual harassment or symbolic acts of racism.

In the service of these sensibilities, due processes were regularly denied students accused of sexual offenses. College administrators, almost universally picked from the progressive tree, backed these charges with little or no evidence to support them. Though accused students usually paid the short-term penalties, the longer-term damage was usually inflicted by these same students who took the universities to court for clear, even egregious violations of due process. They won most of those cases and continue to win them. Racial offenses, ostensibly committed in secrecy, were seldom brought to these forums, but reports of alleged abuse brought waves of rage which could last for days, even weeks. Amazingly often, they were discovered to be misinterpretations at best or, at worst, hoaxes perpetrated by the aggrieved victims themselves. Jessie Smollet and the recent false charge of the NASCAR driver come to mind. Look these race hoaxes up on Google. The number is mind blowing.

The mistake conservatives made (and it was a doozy!) was that this cancelling would be confined to the college campus. We could call these sensitive students “snowflakes” because they couldn’t abide opposing ideas which hurt their sensibilities. We assumed such folks would surely be brought up short by the tough-minded corporations which would not abide their whining. To the contrary, corporations like Nike and sports franchises have fired employees for observations on Twitter so inconsequential that it would make an angry college coed blush with pride. Want to keep your job? Hunker down and keep your mouth shut. Oh, and kneel!

So the snowflakes have grown spikes and have blown everywhere, even to the hamlet of Ukiah. Tommy Wayne Kramer stands accused of expressing ideas in his columns which are apparently not in lock-step with the dozen or so columnists who appear in the Journal. Good for him! When did such conformity of thought ensnare this community? When has one’s decision to simply forego reading a column proven so impossible? When I first “came out” as a conservative years ago, I wrote a letter congratulating Governor Kristie Noem of South Dakota among others for their victories. Susan Sher’s letter of outrage in the Journal was expressed in personal terms. Nice to see that linear history has its little circles as well.

Mark Rohloff

Redwood Valley

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Have you ever heard anything so sick and crazy and outright stupid as defunding the police? If you do that there will be so much anarchy in this country that you will be able to stuff it down your throat. Your wife won't be able to go shopping alone without an armed guard because she might be raped or killed. 90% of the American people do not believe in defunding the police. Where are those 90%? Stand up for your rights! Stand up for not defunding the police instead of sitting behind your desk or your couch! Let the police have their money and do their job! If we don't have them we don't have nuthin’, you stupid bastards.

Black lives matter is a joke! They only matter when a black man breaking the law is shot by a white officer. If they mattered they wouldn't have what's going on in Chicago and Indianapolis and Detroit and New Orleans and other major cities where black people are killed every day on the sidewalk. It's an effing joke. It's a political thing to try to get even with President Trump or get him out of office. These people marching in the streets are dumb SOBs only doing it to suit themselves and no one else.

God bless Donald Trump.

Jerry Philbrick


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Is the world becoming deranged or am I succumbing to dementia? ...J.K. Rowling was accused of transphobia about two years ago for “liking” a tweet that referred to transgender women as “men in dresses.” 

Ms. Rowling took aim at an article that referred to “people who menstruate,” suggesting that it was wrong to not use “women” in a misguided attempt to include trans people. ... 

“I refuse to bow down to a movement that I believe is doing demonstrable harm in seeking to erode ‘woman’ as a political and biological class and offering cover to predators.”

This is insanity. One cannot even question the absurd claim that transsexuals, essentially homosexuals in dresses, some of whom have undergone cosmetic surgery, are women. 

This link leads to one of the few reasonable articles still permitted on-line by our gatekeepers. Although I worry about Ms. Allen's career. 

I find the whole discussion absurd. To use a cliche, glueing a cotton tail on your ass and hopping around does not make you a rabbit. Wearing a dress does not make you a woman. 

Louis S. Bedrock

Roselle, New Jersey

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To: Mendocino County Board of Supervisors 

I strongly urge you to terminate Mendocino County’s relationship with the USDA's Wildlife Services. Their methods are barbaric and they are not effective at eliminating wild life predation on livestock. Also these “services” are mostly employed at the behest of ranchers who ought to foot the bill themselves if this is the only way they are willing to deal with the situation. There are proven non-lethal alternatives to their methods that many members of the public have attempted to educate the BOS about. Our beleaguered wildlife does not deserve public support for their brutal unscientific methods. 


Kirk Lumpkin 



  1. George Dorner July 18, 2020

    It’s interesting that the anonymous fan of Jerry Philbrick doesn’t realize that the voting age was lowered to 18 back in 1971. It was the 26th Amendment to the Constitution–the very Constitution Philbrick, et al are found of citing without apparently ever reading it. But then a Conservative who’s 50 years out of date, and ignorant to boot, is pretty typical.

  2. Louis Bedrock July 17, 2020

    This is the article I allude to in my comment:

    “…those who think that it is true that transwomen are women do not have a coherent, unequivocal definition of ‘woman’, and thus whatever they do understand by the term should not form the basis of legislation. In brief, if we say that being a woman has nothing to do with having female biology, as is required by accepting that transwomen are women, then there are three unattractive options: (1) being a woman is essentially tied to traditional social stereotypes of what being a woman involves; (2) there is no difference between women or men, or a large number of people are both or neither; or, (3) it is impossible to tell whether someone is a woman or not.”

  3. Mark Laszlo July 17, 2020

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