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Letters (January 13, 2021)

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Anderson Valley’s generous contributions of toys and dollars made this year’s AV Fire Department Toy Drive one of the best ever.  Each child went away with a toy and a book…over 200 in total.   A special thanks go out to the Anderson Valley Market, Lemons’ and Yorkville Post Office for the toy collection sites; Hedgehog Books for the special books and puzzles; the Anderson Valley Lions Club for dollars to buy sports balls; and finally Big 5 Sporting Goods for the nice discount.   We also want to thank the elves, Audrey and Briza (sp?) that helped us in interpreting and choosing the appropriate toys for the kids.

Sarah McCarter, Tina Walter, Judy Long   

Anderson Valley

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How can “Mo” find a “new location” for the whorehouse plaque other than where the whorehouse was? How about embedding it in the city’s sidewalk closest to where it was to begin with? Seems like that would eliminate future property ownership issues and it is a “public location.” 

Too simple, I guess.

Gary Miles


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I have been noticing “Save Our Democracy” stickers around town lately, and they raise a few questions to ponder.

Are we saving democracy from the creeping scourge of socialism or the threat of autocracy? Are we saving democracy from the deep state or populist minority rule? Are we saving democracy from elitist control or blue-collar logic? Are we saving democracy from election fraud or voter suppression?

Do all Americans even want to save democracy? Does your opinion on this subject depend on your region, religion, education and family background?

Can we agree to disagree peacefully, respectfully, without hatred and within the bounds of our Constitution? Just asking.

David M. Heaney


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It’s difficult during this stressful time to not criticize others whom we perceive aren’t following the rules. My experience in our county is that most people are compliant with mask wearing and social distancing.

I take issue with Larry Carlin, who complained about people not wearing masks while walking outdoors. The state’s orders say that one doesn’t need to be masked while “outdoors and maintaining at least 6 feet of social distance from others not in their household. You must have a face covering with you at all times and must put it on if you are within 6 feet of others who are not in your household.”

I don’t wear a mask when I’m walking in my neighborhood (it’s always with me) because I avoid getting near anyone outside my household. I stick to my neighborhood because it’s not crowded, there is very little traffic, and it’s easy to move out to the street if someone is approaching on the sidewalk. People are courteous and cheerful as we do our little dance to avoid each other.

I won’t be shamed by people who don’t seem to be clear on what the (science-based) rules are.

Holly Holbrook

Santa Rosa

ED NOTE: I've several times been chastised by San Anselmo Karens of both sexes on my early morning walks through otherwise deserted dawn neighborhoods. One of the Karens has jumped my bones three times now, screeching, “Mask!” I caw back at her raven-style. I couldn't hear the male Karen but his vibe was semi-hysterical, waving his arms like I was about to step into crocodiles. For him I yelled back, “Garuda!” which puzzled him and gratified me. The plague has brought out the milk monitor in lots of people. I've had some weird early morning encounters in Boonville but those were with free range crazy people. I've Karened some dog people at the nearby elementary school attended by my grandchildren as the entitled ones worked out their dogs on the posted No Dogs Allowed children's playground. These people are just lazy. They could walk with their dogs rather than congregate where they're not supposed to, but…

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MAGRPA 2024?


So many people wonder why Trump can’t concede and admit he lost the election. Well, the reason is he can’t or he would be unemployed. Trump is a con artist, scammer, and high level grifter who depends on prevarication and canards for much of his income. By protesting the election results he was able to scam his not to well educataed base out of at least $206 million which goes into a PAC (Political Action Committee) that he controls.

Trump reminds me of Joel Osteen, the televangelist who lives in a multimillion dollar estate compound and regularly fleeces his flock. He got $4 million of covid PPE money and bought a new personal jet. He pays no income tax.

Trump works in much the same way, but mostly in the political and shady business field. Remember Trump University?

So when the stolen election canard wears thin be prepared for the 2024 campaign fund drive to kick in.

Let’s Make American Great for Rich People Again.

Don Phillips


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With deaths from sneaker waves in the news, I would like to share a very scary experience which happened to me a year ago on Christmas day at the Oregon coast.

It was a beautiful day. The waves were gorgeous and although it was a high tide, the waves were not breaking close to shore. I was on a cliff trail above the beach with my Doberman, Zoe, and a friend who was walking her miniature pinscher.

We spotted a couple on the beach with their German Shepherd and we decided to go onto the beach to chat, never thinking the waves would reach us. WRONG.

All of us were hit by a sneaker wave, but I was the only one who was knocked off my feet and I ended up on my back. My boots filled with water and sand and my layers of clothing weighed me down which made it impossible to stand up. I held on tight to Zoe who paddled, keeping us afloat with each wave that carried us further out into the ocean.

Zoe and I owe our lives to the man we were talking to who ran out into the water and pulled me to my feet and dragged us to shore. A few weeks after my incident, farther north on the Oregon coast, a father was walking on the cliff trail above the ocean with his two young children when a sneaker wave hit them. The children did not survive.

I hope you will think about my experience when you consider spending a day at the beach. Check the tides, the winds and expected wave height before heading out. It might save your life. 

And of course, never turn your back to the ocean.

Denny Gold

The Sea Ranch/Gualala

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Again, Congress has voted stimulus checks for all Americans below a specified income level and, again, people are deciding what to do with them. If your question is whether you should pay the rent or buy food, this letter isn’t written to you.

But if you, like me, have suffered little or no financial hardship due to the pandemic, if you are wondering what luxury you should purchase, or how you should invest your check, may I make a suggestion?

A gift card to a neighbor who is out of work would be much appreciated. Your church may have a benevolent fund for those in need. The Redwood Empire Food Bank is feeding more hungry people than ever before. The Redwood Gospel Mission is housing and feeding desperate people, as is Catholic Charities. The list goes on and on.

If you really need that money, use it, and use it well. If not, please choose to pay it forward.

Jean Grant

Santa Rosa

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Let's begin with our pea brain governor way up there in that ivory tower in Sacto.

Slavery began in the late 1800s. Let's admit that it was wrong and horrific in many cases.

Moving forward I see a lot being done in a great number of areas, slower than we like but moving.

I see a great number of blacks driving better cars, wearing better shoes with lots and lots of bling that I cannot afford. No complaints, I'm getting on just fine.

I would not take anything away from those who work hard, take care of their kids and make them get an education. It has been said before but perhaps we should try just a little harder to instill the importance of an education. That would solve a lot of today's problems. This majority if not all young perps are not doing well or even going to school.

We all need to work hard to educate the youth of today. How about graduation allowing protests that burn our flag, burn and loot and tear down statues as our seated adults do not do their jobs and should be held accountable.

If you dig further into that pea brain but not too far because you'll come out the other side due to size. Mr. Big Shot Great Potentate, what are we doing about all (or some) of the American Indians who had their ancestral land stolen, who were lied to, beaten and shot on a daily basis by our government? Where is your investigation that could give credence to some kind of compensating favor to surviving Indians? I see and hear nothing! Why?

So far the only thing in the superficial cauldron of flash and promise is all hat and no cattle!

What about the ancestors of Chinese who were held in captivity back in the 1850s gold rush? Beaten and starved and worked to death in most cases with little or no pay.

Wait a minute. Backup the bus: what's on tap for the few ancestors of the American/Japanese they put out in the hot concentration camps in the Arizona desert? Their jobs and businesses were stolen with no replacement from you or your ilk after the war. Why?

And now you want to look at financially helping the ancestors of black slaves?

Why just the black persuasion? American Indians, Chinese, Japanese must also be considered if the black folks are getting something or anything. Give it some thought. It would appear on the surface our great grandiose flimflamer is attempting to stay afloat on a champagne diet with a beer income.

Gran says: Send them all here to our ranch house. We’ll give them an extra batch of peanut butter cookies. Yell out back, tell the twins, Frick & Frack, to get out of the irrigation ditch and put their clothes back on. There hasn’t been any water in the ditch for the last three months, not that they would know the difference. And tell Betty Sue her Pa is looking for her. Oh my! No water?

Love you, Gran.

God bless America, the Donald, Betty Sue, Jerry Philbrick

Mad -- You Think!


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After walking in the cold San Francisco rain this weekend, seeing the ever-growing dehumanized number of homeless people, I couldn’t help but feel an accomplice. Once access to shelter and sanitation are lost, physical, mental, and spiritual health quickly diminishes.

We are embodied beings, not technological devices, not a series of ones and zeros. This is the only self-evident truth with any real moral content. If current housing costs were reasonable, if current wages had any connection with the cost of living, if we currently lived under conditions of relative peace, equality and stability, then perhaps it could be argued the homeless are in their position due to personal choice.

I felt guilty returning to my warm apartment. I may be able to dictate my behavior, but not my thoughts and feelings. Witnessing fellow citizens forced to exist unhoused, in the rain, during a pandemic, is witnessing a crime. I cannot choose not to see this. It’s self-evident.

Mira Martin-Parker

San Francisco

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Editor: Recently I spoke to Jackson Demonstration State Forest about the Caspar 500 THP. There was a comment period in March and April 2020, no comments came in and the plan was accepted. There were no comments because the public did not know about the plan due to the COVID pandemic. During comment period, California had a Stay at Home Order. Travel in Mendocino County was canceled and tourists not allowed. Stores, restaurants, motels, schools, campgrounds, State Parks, boat launch ramps, beaches, and trails were closed. How could the public see the notice at the beginning of Road 500 in JDSF? People stayed home, except for essentials, and were preoccupied with their health, children and finances.

JDSF belongs to the people of California. The public has a right to be notified of THPs and allowed comment. This was impossible in March and April. Caspar 500 THP needs to be withdrawn.

There are numerous THPs proposed for 4 and one-half square miles in western JDSF. This will destroy the forest ecology, severely limit recreation and discourage tourism for many years. Our community needs to recover and not have its adjacent public forests destroyed.

Bette Goldfarb


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Trump has no intention of leaving office.  Congress needs to remain in emergency session so as to remove him from office and curtail his movements until after the inauguration. Then establish new administrative control. Compassionate peace incudes protecting the intended victim(s) and  protect the perpetrator from himself and from fomenting chaos and disorder on a much larger magnitude than what we have just witnessed. In this case it will preserve, hopefully strengthen our democratic resolve.    

I've been informed the next major uprisings will be on Sunday the 1 7th of January at various sites throughout the country including D.C. Ostensibly it will again be to promote the fiction of a rigged election for which citizens will protest being deprived of their electoral rights.  As was the case this past Wednesday and on many previous occasions no evidence will be offered. This is important as a strategy as it cannot be challenged on the basis of evidence. A bully is looking for a fight  says to his intended  victim "What did you call me?" The victim, surprised responds "I didn't say anything" The perp then says "Are you accusing me of hearing things?" We the people engaged fairly in this election and it was fairly administered.    

More importantly Georgia is offering us hope.  Both of their new senators are from people who have been enslaved; the Jews and the blacks. Decades ago I worked for HEW to desegregate schools in Early County GA. Our goal for federal funding was 3%.    


Gregory Sims


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We, the citizens of Mendocino County, are concerned about an ongoing pattern of nepotism, bias, and racism within The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. We are advocating that the Mendocino Board Of Supervisors deny the MCSO’s request for a $4 million budget increase. 

Looking back at the last ten years, there emerges a clear pattern of misconduct coupled with an inability on the part of the Sheriff to take responsibility or even recognize his own biased and inappropriate behavior.

The most recent incidents include: 

The drug overdose of a deputy in March 2020 resulting in his being placed on paid administrative leave and pointing to issues of addiction and erratic behavior within the department.

The employment and potential contract renewal of Liz Barney as MCSO Public Information Officer and the discovery of her racist and anti-mask mandate posts on the far-right social media platform Parler. It also does not reflect well that her husband, Shannon Barney, who continues to remain employed by the department, was one of the central figures in the Covelo Sexual misconduct and coercion lawsuit. The fact that they were not married at the time does little to dissipate what appears to be some serious nepotism within the department. 

The 68 and counting positive Covid cases at The Mendocino County Jail and the reports from concerned citizens with incarcerated loved ones who are reporting a lack of sanitary conditions and a denial for testing. This is in conjunction with the MCSO’s continued refusal to back the public health officer and the governor of California throughout the entirety of the pandemic has put the entire community at greater risk during and caused endless stress during an already trying time for our community. 

The request for an increase in MCSO funds for $4 million submitted with a photograph of a hog- tied black man with the caption "Imminent Threat - Appropriate Response" and the subsequent tone-deaf, non-apology issued by sheriff Matt Kendall.

This does not even touch on the earlier behaviors within the department that include: 

The embezzlement of public funds. 

The bullying by the department and disqualification of student basketball players wearing “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts, which goes directly against the Supreme Court ruling and exemplifies the dangers inherent in the group of “Constitutional Sheriffs” of which Tom Allman and Matt Kendall are both members.

 Racial Profiling of community members, mis-naming offenses, and failure to address concerns resulting in extreme damage to reputation.

The wrongful tasering death lawsuit/settlement for $5 million for the death Steven Neuroth a schizophrenic man in psychiatric crisis. 

Covelo sexual misconduct and coercion involving Shannon Barney which took place under the supervision of acting sheriff Tom Allman, who handpicked his successor Mr. Kendall, who continues to employ Mr. Barney now husband of Liz Barney mentioned above and which resulted in two suicides of Covelo deputies in less than a year and a settlement paid out in taxpayer dollars. 

At this time in the history of The United States Of America, when racial tensions are at an all time high, and there is a well needed focus on bias and the continued targeting of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) by Law Enforcement, it is imperative that the MCSO exhibit sensitivity, integrity, and awareness. Unfortunately, the department has done the opposite and continues to undermine public trust and worse, to be completely unaware of why there is a public outcry. Ignorance is not an excuse for poor behavior and it certainly wouldn’t prevent a citizen accused of breaking the law from facing criminal charges, and neither should the MCSO be excused from facing the consequences of their poor choices, nepotism, criminal behavior, and racism.

When the “Defund The Police” movement came to the forefront of the American political consciousness on the heels of the brutal killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Daniel Prude, Rayshard Brooks, and so many other Black Americans, the thought behind it was that funds that normally go toward the hiring of more law enforcement officers would instead be reallocated toward community outreach programs that have been statistically shown to actually reduce crime and strengthen communities. Funds would instead be funneled toward helping the de- homed, addiction and substance abuse counseling and treatment, domestic violence resources, youth outreach and suicide prevention, community aid, financial aid, child protective services, different-abled assistance programs, food assistance, social services, healthcare, and the clean- up and restoration of the environment.

Rather than increasing funding for additional officers, we recommend intensive anti-bias training, de-escalation training, funding for The Public Safety Advisory Board and more oversight of Law Enforcement conduct.

Thank You, 

Citizens Of Mendocino County —

(Signed by a virtual who’s who of 54 Mendocino Coast crackpots.)

ED NOTE: The above indictment is not only mostly false, it's aimed at present Sheriff Kendall who was a patrol deputy during the events the authors want him held responsible for. Specifically, the Sheriff's Department fired the deputy engaged in nearly fatal drug abuse; the Sheriff's Department had nothing to do with the I Can't Breathe demo; there is no evidence the Sheriff's Department engages in racial profiling, and the incident alleging it arise from the arrest years ago of one black drug dealer who was based in Elk at the time. The unhappy in-custody death of Steven Neuroth occurred because Neuroth arrived combative at the County Jail because he was tanked on a lethal load of methamphetamine. He died during a struggle with the deputies attempting to restrain him. Is it unfair to say that Neuroth was mostly responsible for his own exit? Liz Barney had successfully worked for years at the Sheriff's Department as Liz Evangelatos, and now works with the Department as Liz Barney because she married Shannon Barney of the Sheriff’s Department five years ago. She rightly enjoys a unanimous reputation as a highly competent, unfailingly pleasant employee. Her remarks on Parler were her own and only “racist” if you think describing the late Breonna Taylor's boyfriend as a “pos” is a racist remark simply because he's black. That descriptive is applied by millions of people to all criminals regardless of race. Finally, Sheriff Kendall issued a press release denouncing the “vigilantes” who tied up the black thug apprehended when that guy and others were caught raiding a marijuana garden deep in the hills northwest of Laytonville. The thief was lucky not to have been killed, but the Sheriff made it clear that robbery vics should call the law rather than take the law into their own hands.

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To the AVA:

Thank you for bringing to light the foreign aid packages we are paying for: $2.189 trillion! Does any of it go to hungry people? Very little. Most of it goes to the foreign aristocracy and of course our own fascisti in the form of kickbacks. Hunter Biden took his cut in the form of a phony job. Very sloppy. If Hillary had been elected no one would even know about this. Most of our own aristocratic politicians take their kickback money as “commissions” in the form of deposits to offshore numbered accounts or black pools. Of course it’s completely legal like Biden’s job. But please don’t talk about this or how rich our representatives get from our foreign aid programs.

Hearing about the violent protest in Washington DC, it sounded like something that was happening last summer in other US cities. Then I heard the republicans were being blamed for the violence. This is just not true. Republicans sit in lawn chairs and have a US flag in the front yard and watch Ronald Reagan host Death Valley Days on TV.

I don’t think Republicans would ever go to a protest rally, let along destroy stuff.

This violence has the Antifa and BLM signature. Think Nazi blackshirts posing as the right-wing. Will they investigate? Who will investigate? If they find anything fishy, will it be allowed on the media? I’m so glad I am dependent on my local unbiased always truthful never lockstep NPR radio, even though I prefer this paper.


Tom Madden


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