Press "Enter" to skip to content

Letters (September 23, 2020)

* * *


Dear Editor,

In response to Catherine Lair's letter in the AVA Sept. 16 —

Perhaps Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC) used to go above and beyond, but not anymore. They are not safe - witness the recent fire at the pellet plant caused by their own equipment. 

They barely follow the law - building a polluting plant in a residential neighborhood with two schools, a health clinic and a hundred homes and apartments, without an environmental review (thanks to Supervisor John McCowan and his disdain for the environment as well as human health). This does not count as going above and beyond. And they are not limiting pollution. MRC flunked air pollution tests repeatedly in the three years they've been operating.

We are not talking about cigarettes, gambling or other personal habits that destroy one's own health. MRC is harming other people's health for their own financial gain. Thankfully this is exactly why we have laws about smoking in public places or putting other people's health at risk.

Nor are environmentalists targeting MRC while ignoring other threats to the health of our planet. Years ago the Willits Environmental Center was the first local entity to identify, prosecute and clean up pot grows that poisoned our forests and depleted our waterways. When overlogging threatened to overwhelm our forests and 90% of our redwoods were gone, activists developed sustainable forestry guidelines to protect and regenerate the woods. MRC followed those guidelines for years, for which they were lauded and applauded, but the times have changed. They now use tons of glyphosate and other known carcinogens annually to kill tens of thousands of oak trees with no regard for the fire danger posed by thousands of acres of dead standing trees. MRC deserves to be called out on their actions.

Have you seen MRC's log decks piled two stories high? Just look across the road from Thurston Auto. Those trees are too small for lumber — they should be left for carbon sequestration if we are to survive climate change. Some people will continue to use wood stoves and pellet stoves, but more and more we will have to learn to heat our homes with south facing windows, super insulation, cogeneration and more efficient building designs.

Biomass was approved for electricity at a time when burning garbage and agricultural waste was thought to be sustainable. Turns out it's not. Corn stalks and other agricultural residues should be turned back into the soil. Redwoods and fir trees, that replenish the oxygen we breathe, should not be ground up into “waste” sawdust to be burned as glued and pressed pellets, releasing even more toxins into the air.

You think MRC is “open and legally responsible”? Maybe when you worked there, but for three years now MRC has run a toxic plant with no environmental oversight and still refuses to release records of their air quality tests and violations to the public.

We need to work together to steward our resources responsibly and create a sustainable future… Starting now.


Robin Leler


ms notes: What are the odds that the Mendocino County Climate Action Advisory Committee — which recently praised itself for getting the Board of Supervisors to declare a “climate emergency” (after a year of meetings and preparation) — or any other self-alleged enviromental group in the area, will address any of this?

* * *



Shall we rip the pages out of Boonville schoolbooks or expand coverage of Chris Columbus, Robert E. Lee, Redskins and others where statutes, monuments have been torn down? 

Latinx means both male and female latinos and latinas. Political correctness says not to use Latinx.

Jim Hightower was the guest on Ralph Nader’s Radio program on Saturday, Sept. 19 at 5am (KZYX).

Ralph Bostrom


* * *



A letter in the Mendocino County Today column earlier this month insinuated that Mendocino County didn't need a cheerleader on the Board of Supervisors. I was a cheerleader for Ukiah High School in 1996. I was the Co-Captain and a “flyer”. One can be a champion for their community and a leader at the same time. I would say that Mendocino County needs a leader who is dedicated to the success of her community by moving policies and initiatives forward with passion and dedication. I would invite anyone reading this to visit my website and Facebook page to learn more about me and my vision for Mendocino County.

The Mo You Know

Maureen Mulheren

104 N School Street, Ukiah, CA 95482

707-391-3664 c

* * *



There is one scientific fact regarding the coronavirus that has remained consistent over the past six months with all the information and misinformation: seniors and those with underlying health conditions are the real people at risk, and they should be protected.

How can major league sports teams provide rapid testing for their players and staff with results in 15 minutes but senior care homes can’t get that same type of support for both their workers and patients? If sports teams want to really be proactive and supportive of their communities, they might want to rethink how they could be supportive of Gray Lives Matter.

Sonoma County’s health director was more interested in keeping the parks, malls, nail salons and restaurants closed than protecting those who are really in need. Why can’t senior facilities and hospitals, whose numbers are minimal, get real support, such as rapid testing?

Those in power can take time and money to shut down the county. Why can’t they provide something as simple as testing for these sites? Remember it was the experts who said testing, testing and testing.

Truth and transparency have never been part of this pandemic. I think we should ask ourselves why.

Donna Gomes

Santa Rosa

* * *



I will be receiving my vote by mail ballot for the November 3 election in one month. (I’m writing this on September 11.) For the last several years I've been voting by mail and I find myself filling out and mailing in my ballot at least three weeks before election day, essentially to “get it over with.” I know that for me this is a behavior I have when I am doing something I consider to be a tedious chore.

I used to look forward to the process of reading the election literature from the state and county to help decide who and what to vote for, but now it seems mostly a waste of time. I don't feel there is any tangible reward for voting anymore which is probably indicative of my overall feeling of alienation from the American population.

As an American man on a societal level I am expected to be an economic producer -- i.e., be employed -- a consumer and a citizen. Because I've been on disability and have hardly worked most of my adult life I am not a producer, therefore I have less ability to be a consumer other than for staple products like groceries, drugstore items, gasoline, etc.

By far the least prestigious of the three above roles for an American man on a collective level in this country is that of citizen. A typical American attitude toward me would be, “You vote regularly? So what? You don't work and you drive a Ford focus.”

I believe responsible voting is an activity for grown-ups. Those people more concerned with their economic status and prestige of the consumer goods they buy are probably at more of an adolescent or half adult mentality than I am, thus my feeling of alienation from the American population.

A good book that elaborates at this on this theme is Robert Bly's “Sibling Society” from 1996. I don't want to attempt to summarize his viewpoint about American society (which resonates with me) because it's rather esoteric. But anyone interested can look up this book online.

Keith Bramstedt

San Anselmo

* * *



When I emigrated from Germany to the United States in the late 1960s, I was often asked, “How did you let this happen, and how was it possible in the land of Beethoven, Schiller and Goethe?” I wasn’t born when evil came into power but always felt a sense of collective guilt.

We have serious problems to deal with in this country, but I believe with good leadership they can be solved, and changes to form a more just society are possible. But what do we do if we lose our democracy and our Constitution is no longer adhered to? What do you tell grandchildren when they ask, “How did you let this happen?”

What happened in Germany, could it happen here? I’m not so certain anymore. Are our institutions stronger than they were in Germany in the early ’30s? Democracies don’t die with a bang; they go out in a whimper.

Once delusional, lawless authoritarian leaders get established, abolish or weaken institutions and surround themselves with loyalists, they are difficult to restrain. My collective guilt is now being replaced by fear of what might happen here in November.

Vera Steinfels


* * *



Vote it in or out!

Democracy, where have you gone? Like all good things there will be an ending whether we like it or not. The Earth is a little closer to the sun every day/every year and one day will eliminate all life as we know it here on this planet.

Democracy, like the sun, every day, every year is losing its power. Democracy was given great consideration when it was brought to the fore. In these modern times this word, democracy, in practice is being misused and stretched far beyond its intent. That is, “it is my right not to—“ Burning the American flag on the courthouse steps, freedom of speech? Come on! And those sworn to keep the peace and uphold the laws stand by and do nothing. Even Nero did something. Look that one up in your history book, you ignaro, retard, beauties. You may learn something. Then again, I doubt it!

The race to build a better America is being elbowed out by flamers and skulking utopians shouting, Find a way to get in the way. Doesn't that blast of ignorance throw a cat in the chicken coop? You think!

It is evident to me and a few others there are those now seated in power seats who are on the other side or are about to retire and don’t want to take a chance losing a fat retirement payday.

Take your pick, doesn't matter! You lose!

Those wobbles don't want the masses to vote on name changes like Sir Francis Drake high school, Squaw Rock/Valley, Eskimo pies, Aunt Jemima syrup, Uncle Ben's rice and so on. What are we going to do with the Bible and dictionary loaded with words and terms and events that can be misconstrued as ethnic racisms? I know what you are thinking! It didn't work for Der Fuhrer.

The answer to all of the civil unrest in the so-called peaceful protests: starting with all city mayors: man/woman up and direct law enforcement to take aggressive action, use the laws on the books as allowed. If black or white is breaking the law go to jail. Those who throw bricks, fireballs, striking an officer after warnings, should be shot with real bullets! We need to get their attention with some awakenings to save a life that be their own. Caving in to these homegrown terrorists is not a meaningful solution. They want to get our attention. Well what's good for the goose is better for the gander!

After dispatching a few we could start them thinking, perhaps we should not be doing this.

Nah! Once a retard, always a retard. So the Green may be the answer. Soylent Green is/was a very old movie. Look it up. You may not like the ending!

Again my old Gran would say, My my, not nice. I'll bake some cookies for those poor misguided young uns. Again I say, hold it Gran, go out back and get some wood for the stove and grab an old rooster, I'll make the dumplings. Love you Gran.

Not to worry. If our God is too busy, Betsy and I will take care of those misguided!

God bless America, the Donald, Jerry Philbrick

Old and angry


* * *



Noisy, polluting tools—

We look back to dangerous practices we once accepted and wonder how could it have been allowed. In the future, we will do the same for gas-powered lawn equipment.

Carried on one’s back, a two-cycle, gas-powered leaf blower gives off in a short time the same pollution as a new car driven a few thousand miles.

Sixty-one California cities, including some in the North Bay, and 350 cities across the U.S. ban these devices, and so will the state of California, hopefully, in a few years. Until then, in Santa Rosa we face daily these extremely noisy, highly polluting, cancer-causing Civil War relic monstrosities.

And for what? For a few of nature’s leaves on a lawn or driveway? Is a perfectly manicured lawn more important than the harm we do to our environment and to our health? Electric equipment is so much quieter and so much less polluting. Better yet, a rake.

David Charp

Santa Rosa

* * *


To the Editor:

I’m pleased to see that Coastal Cleanup Day has expanded to a month of Saturdays in September, and that we are encouraged to pick up trash in our neighborhoods. I propose residents take five minutes each week, all year round to walk our property that abuts roads and dispose of the accumulated trash. That way it doesn’t build up and get so gross!

I regularly ride my bike around the valley and am amazed, appalled and disheartened by the amount of debris scattered on the sides of our community roads. Most prominent in the litter are (recyclable) 16oz. plastic water bottles. I pick up about 4 each week. Other common litter items are beer, soda and “energy drink” cans and bottles, fast food cups, utensils and wrappings, plastic and cardboard case containers, cardboard boxes, items of clothing (from underwear to sweatshirts), plastic packing material, lighters, candy wrappers, cigarette packs and empty plastic ice bags. I’ve also found three dead animals (2 dogs and a cat) wrapped in plastic bags. And there’s currently a hot water heater littering Eastside Road if anyone cares to pick it up.

Since Covid, there are now masks and latex gloves, more plastic bags and take-out containers, and hard alcohol bottles tossed on the side of the road.

Why do we do this to our community? Out of sight out of mind? Some of this garbage winds up in the creeks, rivers and ocean where it kills birds, fish and sea mammals. It accumulates in the “Great Pacific garbage patch,” roughly 600,000 square miles of non-biodegradable micro plastics that enter our bloodstream when we eat seafood.

I’d like to thank all the considerate drivers who share the road so generously with bicyclists. Now, can we just stop littering?

Robin Goldner


* * *


Warmest Spiritual Greetings,

Please know that my social sitaution on Oahu is hopeless. The stupidity of the politically elected shut down the tourist economy in response to the Covid-19 virus. This ended any possibility of my earning money, killed the AirBNB business which kept Plumeria Hostel Altnernative at full capacity (now at 60% occupancy), resiulting in my being $2,000 behind in rent. 

I am awaiting the next government stimulus check to pay a month’s back rent, get an airplane ticket and get the hell out of Hawaii. I am welcome to return to the Magic Ranch in Redwood Valley.

I need to get an airplane ticket soon. I need cooperation from the rest of the failed “American experiment in freedom and democracy.” I need social cooperation from others to get the hell out of Hawaii and return to the mainland where my ongoing commitment to “smash the demons” remains firm. For the record, I chilled out, I relaxed, I went on “island time,” I became a zen master, I’m self-realized, and I’m ready to leave AlohaLand! 

Thank you,

Craig Stehr

Honolulu, Hawaii


  1. Pat Kittle September 23, 2020

    Craig Stehr,

    No offense intended, but how can I be sure you’re a zen master?

    The last time I donated (and a tidy sum it was) to a zen master it turned out he wasn’t one at all.

  2. Mark Wilkinson Laszlo September 29, 2020

    “Boonville”, who made you “Patriarch of this grand nation”, the Invisble Empire? And what in this universe does the Donald have to do with democracy?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *