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Letters (March 3, 2021)

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To The Mendocino Public

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office is preparing for the upcoming marijuana season. Clearly, we will be facing several issues. This will be a great year if we choose to stand together. I have always believed every problem is also an opportunity and now is the time for us to shine in a way only Mendocino County can.

Following my public comment with the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, February 23, 2021, regarding grant proposals [ed note: see below], I received several calls and had several discussions regarding concerns for this year. These concerns ranged from climate change, and the impending drought to fire safety to drug violence. All of these folks realize we are facing a very concerning year to come. Concerns regarding policies Mendocino County is currently working with are extremely concerning as well.

I constantly hear arguments that marijuana is the only crop in Mendocino County. That marijuana is the only thing keeping this county afloat. If that is what we believe, then that will be our reality. I don’t believe this to be true. Although there will be some legal market in Mendocino County, we can’t support that market if the black market is allowed to continue. Policies which provide cover to persons continuing to feed the black market are flawed. I have been questioned by many people regarding the cost of enforcement. I would invite these folks to please drive through our county and look at the cost of a lack of enforcement. We are paying a heavy price right now.

With the impending drought, I realize the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office will be contacted to address issues of water. Water diversions, water theft, fire suppression water will be at a premium this year. Continued violence from drug trafficking organizations must be stopped. During the previous fire seasons, we assisted the fire service by completing evacuations, alerts and warnings, providing security for fire personnel while they battled fires. We faced several challenges in the more rural areas of the county, many of these challenges were directly due to the lawless nature of the illegal marijuana grows in our forests, rangelands and in neighborhoods.

I continue to receive calls and emails from people who are concerned regarding the amount of trash, fertilizer and waste in the mountains, and throughout our communities which has become almost epidemic. Many fear as I do, when the market collapses, our lands will be poisoned, the bill will come due to be paid by the remaining residents of the county.

I received a call from a person who was concerned about the water being siphoned away from watersheds which are so critical. Would we allow this in any other industry? Absolutely not.

Based on these factors, I understand we will see a deeper demand for law enforcement. I will be moving more personnel into our marijuana enforcement team. Currently, we have been working with numbers that simply can’t support our mission. When we have over one million marijuana plants just in Round Valley, we have to make changes in personnel to meet these needs.

With the new issues we are seeing, including well-armed and dangerous crews running these illegal grow sites, we simply have to place greater efforts into the safety of our personnel. The only way to accomplish this will be to move forward with adequate staffing and equipment. This will come at a price.

We can’t continue to allow dangerous living conditions, environmental damage, and a constant concern for our youth. The main issue driving all of these problems is greed. The people coming to our county and causing many of these issues are simply drug dealers. Drug dealers who are hoping to profit from a system that is broken. And clearly, they have been profiting. Our recent increases in methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl and other illicit drugs are largely due to a drug pipeline which has been established through our county.

I have been contacted by friends, neighbors and complete strangers who have advised me they are ready to abandon Mendocino County. Many have bluntly told me, the beauty of this place simply isn’t worth the dangers they are living in. We have Native Americans who are choosing to leave their ancestral homes due to this invasion of drug dealers. That simply isn’t acceptable.

Therefore, we will be continuing with a proactive approach to enforcement throughout the year. There will be deputies and partnering agencies throughout the county to deal with these issues. I would like to make it extremely clear to all who are committing these crimes and to those who would come to Mendocino County intending to commit these violations: it won’t be tolerated. We will be aggressively enforcing all illicit drug laws as well as continuing to investigate the terrible crimes associated with the illicit drug trade. We will use any tool at our disposal to combat this issue. Clearly now is the time for all of us to say, No more. Enough is enough, and we will work together to take the county back.

Thank you

Sheriff Matt Kendall

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To the Editor:

I was encouraged for a brief moment when I saw the February 18 headline, “Plastic Reduction Measures Urged”. But I was somewhat underwhelmed after reading that the State of California Ocean Protection Council is targeting the reduction of plastic foodware, cigarette filters, and plastic commer-cial fishing gear. Of course these polluting sources need to be reduced, but why do we never hear about eliminating plastic single use drinking water bottles, or about enforcing the plastic bag ban that the county passed some years ago? Some very powerful ad campaigns have succeeded in convincing so many Americans that drinking tap water is dangerous. If tap water worries you, there are lots of great filters that can be located right under the kitchen sink.

Please go to the Ukiah Transfer Station (the dump). What you will see woven in and out of the pile of refuse is hundreds and hundreds of black trash bags. For several decades, America disposed of its trash without the use of 35 gallon and 55 gallon trash bags. They are not necessary. We are choking the oceans and killing the sea life that mistakes miniscule particles of plastic for the food they seek to eat. CalTranş is required to cover any huge pile of soil that they move with acres and acres of black plastic to keep soils from entering the waterways and creating siltation problems. Aren’t we forgetting that while we are saving the rivers and streams from silt, we are filling the ocean with plastic? Maybe we’re smart enough to figure out a better way.

Every year – 9 billion tons of plastic are added to the oceans. Every year. 9 BILLION tons. What are we thinking?

Wendy S. Jackson


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To The Editor,

Who will tell the Supervisors what to do?

So CEO Angelo, after milking Mendocino County for herself and friends is finally going to retire? She's known for fits of anger and being petty and vindictive which earned her the nickname Evil Queen all the way back to her days running HHSA. She's your best friend until she isn't, then watch out. She also likes to be in charge. After ten years she's drawn all power to herself. As Clerk of the Board she controls the Supervisors and their agenda, feeding them information she chooses to get the results she wants. She got them to buy the rundown nursing home on Whitmore Lane with no questions asked. Same for the motel on Orchard Street to be used for homeless housing. She is also asking them to buy the Seltzer Realty building in front of the Orchard Street motel. No public discussion ever of why we need these buildings or what the use will be until after the fact. Maybe not even then.

Interesting speculation about McCowen’s laptop, More likely it implicates Angelo, not McCowen. He could scrub his laptop but not the cloud so your self-described credible source may be lacking. But McCowen went from Angelo's confidant to zero. Can't wait for the real story to come out, but don't be surprised if it goes back to McCowen challenging CEO Angelo's authority. 

My profession puts me in contact with some very well-connected County people. One of them reminded me that McCowen challenged CEO Angelo for diversion of a half $1 million of County money without Board authorization. Angelo herself might be the target of a criminal investigation.

Name Withheld


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Recently an editorial comment was submitted by George Hollister; a forester who is a member of the Jackson Advisory Group. He stated, “The interested public’s input on how to make management better is always welcome.” The question is, how much is this “welcomed” input actually considered or heeded?

Last spring, on the final deadline day of open public commentary, a concerned group of trail users was given last-minute (eight hours) notice via an email listserve to submit comments regarding the Caspar and other Timber Harvest Plans. In a bit of a mad scramble, more than 40 people submitted commentaries protesting the proposed THPs to the local Cal Fire/JDSF office as directed. We were assured that all the emails would be read by The Cal Fire Powers That Be. We learned much later that we’d been misinformed as all the emails needed to be copied to Cal Fire headquarters in Santa Rosa as well. Therefore, at the end of the day, only one commentary was noted as being submitted and the 40-plus protest commentaries were not, making it appear that there was little public input. I believe those in our local Cal Fire office could have easily forwarded the emails to Santa Rosa, but did not. The result was the approval of the Caspar THP which will greatly disturb many trails and neighbors in the area east of the town of Caspar. Sad!

Mary Kay Murche & Roo Harris

Little River

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If you are a fan of “The Mandalorian,” you have seen Gina Carano. She plays a tough warrior who sometimes helps Mando. In her personal life she has demonstrated right-wing views, such as the belief that the election was stolen, and she has been accused of racism and anti-Semitism, though the evidence for those claims is thin. Now she has been fired for social media statements reflecting her views.

There are many other examples of this sort of thing. Some people call it cancel culture. Remember the Hollywood blacklist of the 1950s? Writers, directors and actors, including Dana Andrews and Dalton Trumbo, were denied a livelihood because of their views and associations. Does anyone else think this is a colossal and un-American mistake?

I don’t want to live in a society where everyone believes the same things or has reason to fear saying otherwise. I prefer a society in which ideas, including unpopular ones, are openly discussed and debated by people who show respect for each other. A good interpretation of the First Amendment is, “You have a right to be wrong.”

Lawrence Hudson

Santa Rosa

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It's a mystery to me since the advent of Native American casinos that there was a sect or cult called Pomo at one time that ruled all of Northern California. After living 70 years mostly on the Mendocino Coast with my Crow and Yuki native ancestry stretching a few more centuries back it is very odd I've never heard of a Pomo war chief or any famous Pomo chief from the Mendocino Coast. I never read in recorded California history about any battles or wars between the US Cavalry versus Pomo nation. My documented genealogy dates back at least 200 years from both the Kibahsellah-Shelter Cove areas of the Northern Mendocino Coast south to the Cuffy’s Cove-Gualala area. Nowhere in written or verbal family history (handed down by elders) has my family or other tribal members heard of these Pomos being indigenous to the Mendocino Coast.

Maybe many people are so starved today that they would sell their own dignity claiming to be a basket weaving Pomo to collect a free casino check. Most of these people have never worked a day in their lives. I was raised in a free Crow Yuki working man's world and get by half the year since retirement residing and gambling in Nevada. One of my daughters was born in Nevada and at age 18 was given a little grocery market of her own by our rich cowboy uncle who helped raise her. He had discovered gold in a creek on his small ranch in the Sierras and being a sharp gambler (and tightlipped) he parlayed that into millions. My daughter is now 28 and has bought and opened two nightclubs in the thriving Nevada area. She probably is a millionairess already and being over half native (mostly Crow) she doesn't allow gambling in her “joints” like her wannabe Pomo mom. She doesn't sing the California Casino blues. Three more of my girls live in Montana. One is partners with Clint Eastwood in a restaurant (yes, Clint is a restauranteur freak), the other is chauffeur- bodyguard to a Supreme Court of Montana Justice (my niece) and one is a lawyer in Great Falls.

Me and mine don't need to pretend to be anything to get by. All my kids were born in Nevada or own the Mendocino Coast and our native blood is Crow-Yuki. I would just hope in the future that people quit saying Pomo discovered Northern California. It's just not true. For you Pomo casino managers, you can say what you want in lost dignity but please leave the real Mendocino coast natives out of your charade.


David Giusti, Youngcault clan of River Crow

Mendocino County Jail, Ukiah

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To the Editor:

I noticed recently that the Democratic Party made the statement that they were not trying to steal the 2020 election, but that they were trying to fortify the 2020 election.

Now to me, fortify seems to be a rather odd choice of words because, if you happen to have a copy of Roget’s Thesaurus handy, look up fortify and it will refer you to category 796, group 12 which states that the meaning of fortify is adulterate, corrupt, contaminate, debase, denaturalize, pollute, denature, bastardize and tamper with, among other definitions, all of which accurately describe what the Democrats tried to do to the election.

If the Democrats are as smart as they think they are, you’d think they’d make better word choices to describe their actions.

David Anderson


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TO: Robert Gitlin, Medical Director, Redwood Valley Health Clinic:

Dear Dr. Gitlin,

I read your letter about your AT&T service issue in the February 3 Anderson Valley Advertiser. I had a problem last summer with AT&T as a residential customer and although not nearly as serious as yours, I figured I would share it with you.

I have been a residential customer with AT&T since 1993. I had landline and Internet service with them.

My Internet and phone connection started going out regularly in July and then completely went out within five days. I could see a red light flashing on my modem when there was a problem.

I called AT&T and spoke to a female agent. I told her the problem. She put me on hold for three or four minutes and came back on and told me basically, “I'm making a note of it (my problem).” Then she tried to sell me some “bundle” package that I had no interest in. So basically she blew me off.

A few days later I saw an AT&T service truck on a side street next to my apartment complex and I approached the service worker and told him of my service issue. I told him that I had called AT&T and spoken to an agent. He asked if she had offered to send a worker to my apartment. I said no and he replied, “She should have.”

I decided to drop by AT&T service. I now have a cell phone with a different provider which I use instead of the landline. I had the Internet connection went AT&T so I could watch Youtube on my TV through my BlueRay player, but I was getting tired of Youtube so that was not hard to give up. I have not had a computer since 2017 as I feel having one is bad for my peace of mind.

My guess is that when the agent put me on hold she spoke to a supervisor during which time the agent gave him or her a quick customer profile of me and then the supervisor told the agent to blow me off and try to force me to sign up for the “bundle” crap which would have greatly increased my monthly bill.

Good luck with your service issue. I guess AT&T has no concern about your patients.

Keith Bramstedt

San Anselmo

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One thing was true in 1956 when I scrabbled together money for a back-alley abortion, and true in 2013 when I listened to dozens of wrenching stories while researching a book on abortion: If you have money, you can access abortion care and other reproductive health needs. If you’re poor, in much of the United States, you can’t.

The stories women told me about being forced to bear a sixth or seventh unplanned and unaffordable child, or about dangerous and desperate efforts to self-abort, would break your heart.

Add to these the suffering of women and men alike denied other services provided by Planned Parenthood — birth control, critically needed medicines, treatment for sexually transmitted disease and cancer screenings — and the cruelty of Republican policies becomes clear.

How much suffering and death will it take for Dr. Dickman’s final sentence to be heard? “In these difficult times, we need to make medical care more available, not less.”

Fran Moreland Johns

San Francisco

Ed Note: The writer is the author of Perilous Times: An Inside Look at Abortion Before — and After — Roe v. Wade.


  1. izzy March 3, 2021

    To Fortify or Not

    Though it has now passed into history and the Dead Letter Department, in December of 2019 a formal Congressional letter was sent to three voting software companies – Election Systems & Software, Dominion Voting Systems, and Hart InterCivic – asking about known problems with our electoral system, and requesting information and clarification. It was signed by none other than Senators Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Ron Wyden, and Congressman Mark Pocan. All Democrats. So a year before the election, even the Democrats had concerns about election integrity. When Trump and his allies started to complain, it was suddenly all good and no problem. I don’t presume to know exactly what happened, but something still doesn’t smell right.

    Article and text of the letters can be found at the link below.

  2. Mark Laszlo March 4, 2021

    Sheriff Matt Kendal,
    i think there would be fewer true criminals growing marijuana if there were no laws and ordinances making it unaffordable for ethical small landholders with less money to invest to obey all the laws and ordinances. I think when law discriminates against little guys it creates conditions bad guys thrive in. Ethical, small scale growers who can’t afford to comply don’t inform on the crooks for fear of getting busted themselves. So you lack enough information to bust all the unethical ones. Laws and ordinances that don’t give respect and a chance to ethical small landholders with little capital to improve themselves, create lawlessness. Don’t enforce corrupt laws and ordinances. Don’t confiscate for technicalities. Leave the little guys who don’t cause problems alone.

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