Press "Enter" to skip to content

Letters To The Editor

CHRIS DIAZ UPDATE

Texas marijuana defendant, Chris Diaz, age 22, in poor health from advanced asthma most of his young life, is a legitimate medical patient in California, but a felony-level heinous criminal in Brownwood Texas.

Facing 5-99 years prison for 14 grams of hash he uses as asthma medicine, Diaz took a three-year intent to sell plea to end months of misery — extradited from California, isolated in solitary confinement most of the time, shut off from all outside contact, no visitors, no mail, no phone calls, no lawyer contact, emaciated from barely eating due to food allergies, vulnerable to breathing problems from lifelong asthma but deprived of an inhaler in jail, feeling lost without guidance and phone calls from close family. His Mother's daily letters were being withheld by sheriff's deputies, increasing his desperation and feelings of abandonment.

Public defender Rudy Taylor never contacted Chris' California doctor, William Courtney, for trial testimony nor inform his mother there would be no trial.

Instead he made the obligatory trip to see Chris in solitary on the eve of his April 2 trial, having filed zero motions to defend him, and coerced a felony plea from a sick man who feared conviction at trial and a long Texas-style sentence.

A coerced plea is strictly illegal, so Chris had to promise in court that his plea was voluntary and knowing, even though he reported to his mother that he felt “terrorized” and begged her, "Please get me out of here." His family was not informed of the plea hearing, so Chris was in court alone, confused as to why no one was there supporting him. It would have been the last time Nona Martin would see her son in shackles before being sent off to prison, but the information was withheld from her, just as her letters were withheld from Chris.

The internet-based Free Chris Diaz Committee had lined up 40 people who pledged to be at the trial, but that was forfeited, without family notice and without public notice.

As violations and betrayals began to mount and form a pattern, from the sheriff to the DA to the PD, my concern turned to alarm. I filed a grievance with the Texas Bar Association on March 28, the day before the plea hearing March 29. I asked for an investigation, predicted the coerced plea as the next step and said that signs pointed to a mistrial. I had no knowledge of the meeting between the PD & Chris but I knew the best time to coerce a plea from a confused defendant is on the eve of trial after weeks in the dark without communication. Compared to life in prison for medicine, any plea is tempting.

Had there been effective legal counsel, there would have been motions for a mistrial, for challenging the illegal stop and seizure of medicine, and for a medical necessity defense to prove Chris' innocence. But no defense was ever forthcoming. Rudy Taylor claimed he'd filed multiple motions on Chris' behalf, but on checking with the clerk of the court, there was no truth to any of it. Lawyers lie. Rudy set it up so there is no record on appeal, no motions, only the “plea agreement.”

With the plea, the Texas marijuana laws won the day...local law enforcement avoided expose, all the dirty laundry swept away. The most important grievances they can now ignore came from Rhonda Martin, Chris' mother, whose side of the story shows how all parts of the system worked in concert to subject Chris to harsh Bradley Manning type treatment — break him down, coerce his plea when he's lost all contact and confidence in the outside world.

Even one day in jail is too much for an innocent medical patient, let alone two years of systematic humiliation, intimidation, isolation. Chris Diaz, a gentle soft-spoken soul, experienced the injustice from Mendocino County to Brownwood Texas. (See Beth Bosk's excellent video interviewing Chris in Mendo County jail before extradition to Texas.)

Chris reported a Mendo County jail incident to his family where another prisoner handed him the phone smeared with come from having masturbated on it. Sheriff's deputies laughed and called it, “Phone sex.”

Every Texas lawyer in private practice had their reason for refusing to take the Diaz case. The fix was in and everyone knew it.

One said, “I don't want to represent a martyr.”

Another, a NORML lawyer, said he wouldn't consider it because of the “bail jumping” charge.

What happened there was that Chris' original Public Defender died and Chris bailed out on his family's property bond. There was no condition in it that he couldn't leave the state, so he went to California, where he lives, seeking legal help.

Chris called his new PD numerous times to check on his court dates but the calls were never returned. So Chris was unaware of his Texas court date and inadvertently missed it. That added a couple of failure to appear felonies to his case and enhanced punitive treatment every step of the way.

Texas prosecutes cannabis celebrities like Willie Nelson & Snoop Dogg for small amounts with light punishments (time served and stealing their stash). But Chris Diaz is a scapegoat for organized wrath, he with his long hair and organic lifestyle. He is a clear liability to the corporate state, which is “at war” with the independent cannabis culture and economy, making felons of millions of innocent youth for non-violent so-called “crimes.”

A dragnet of marijuana prohibition laws are used effectively against those who dare to assert their beliefs.

Black activist Lee Otis Johnson got 30 years in Texas for standing at a rally between two narcs who passed the joint from one to the other.

Hispanic Chris Diaz is the new Lee Otis, a political prisoner based on his beliefs, i.e., ending prohibition of legal organic cannabis medicines.

Have we learned nothing in 75 years of the "Marijuana Wars"? When will we ever learn?

Attached: OPEN LETTER TO TEXAS BAR

Texas Bar Association

Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel

PO Box 13287, Austin TX 78711

Dear Members of the Texas Bar Association

This is to call your attention to the situation of Chris Diaz, Texas marijuana defendant.

Public defender violations are so numerous, they point to a mistrial.

With trial scheduled for Monday April 2, 2012, in Brownwood, Texas, Chris faces up to 99 years in prison for 14 grams of cannabis hash for his own personal medical use. He is a qualified medical marijuana patient, but his California doctor, William Courtney MD, has not been contacted to testify on Chris' behalf on the eve of trial. No motion has been filed. Chris has essentially been abandoned and betrayed in Brownwood.

Chris' lawyer, a public defender, has not visited Chris to prep him on what to expect, has filed no motions on Chris' behalf, and the bail has doubled in the last month with no explanation as to why. An illegal coerced plea from a prisoner locked up in solitary confinement is likely to be their next move.

Chris has not been granted the right to use the medical necessity defense or any other defense.

There has been no challenge to the illegal stop, search and seizure of medicine, based on profiling due to California plates. There is a police tape of the stop that documents the illegalities.

Chris is sitting in solitary confinement but Texas NORML chapters are not lending a hand due to the “bail jumping” charge on top of intent to sell.

When Chris' previous lawyer died during the Brownwood proceedings in 2010-11, Chris remained in Texas for a month unable to find legal help.

Only then did he return to California, since his family and friends live there, to search for advice on how to save his own life. There was nothing in the bail motion stipulating that he not leave the state.

Despite multiple phone calls, the public defender would not return Chris' calls to inform him of his court date. So he inadvertently missed it, thus engenderng two additional felonies.

Chris' frail condition based on lifelong asthma attacks is a factor in why I fear for his life. Dying in a Texas prison is a liklihood, as his California Doctor William Courtney has publicly stated. On one previous occasion, both of Chris' lungs collapsed after a severe asthma attack. This is well documented.

Chris is being deprived of his legal medicine in the midst of a vindictive prosecution with ineffective assistance of counsel. The legal system is targeting Chris Diaz rather than protecting him.

There are so many constitutional violations going on here, my concern has turned to outrage! I am filing this letter as a preliminary grievance against Public Defender Rudy Taylor and request that you investigate. I will follow up tomorrow with the same grievance on the official State Bar of Texas Grievance Form, as required.

Chris' mother intends to file her own grievance on behalf of her son with detailed text messages to back up her claims.

Thank you for considering these issues.

--Pebbles Trippet (of People v Trippet)
California member of the Free Chris Diaz Committee

___________________________________________

BANK ROBBERS?

Open Letter to Reverend Dan Fowler, President, Fort Bragg Food Bank

Dear Reverend Fowler,

My name is not important but my messages is as far as fairness is concerned.

I help my senior neighbor from time to time when I can. Her car was in the shop and she called to see if I could give her a ride to the Fort Bragg food bank. I asked to see what time she wanted me to pick her up. I was surprised when she told me she needed to be there before 9am and preferably by 8:30. She said the earlier she got there the longer the wait to get food. But it was necessary if she wanted to get any decent produce. She went on to explain the volunteers would have taken whatever they wanted first before the seniors even had access.

I thought she was exaggerating so I waited with her as I could not believe the seniors would be treated in this way. But sure enough about 10 volunteers started going through the line as well as the woman employee pictured in the fall edition of the Food Bag. Although seniors are limited to one bag, she had two and was certainly taking her time to pick through the produce. A couple of volunteers even had boxes which obviously hold more than one bag! She told me that they ran out of turkey at Thanksgiving and now I wonder how many of those were taken by the volunteers? I have volunteered in our church and with other organizations but this was a first for me.

I mentioned this to a woman who used to volunteer there and she said it was the custom when she was there for the volunteers to make their selections after the seniors had been taken care of. She also said that hot meals were provided for the volunteers which I feel is more than fair. But to give them priority over seniors when produce prices are so high doesn't seem to be very Christian or ethical.

I don't know if this is approved of by the board or if you can do anything about it, but I wanted to bring it to your personal attention as well as the generous local market providers who might like to drop by around 10 o'clock to see for themselves.

I also feel they should be brought to the attention of the general public but I don't expect the Fort Bragg Advocate will be covering this hot potato soon.

Sincerely,

A Concerned Citizen

Fort Bragg

___________________________________________

ROCKABILLY ROUNDUP

Editor,

Listen up, Weird Music fans, the Queen of Rockabilly, Wanda Jackson, will perform in San Francisco at the Regency Ballroom on April 17, followed by a trip into World Music territory for a show at the Humboldt State University “Depot” in Arcata on April 18. Tickets available in Frisco at axs.com and in Arcata from the usual suspects.

Wanda's last appearance on the Northcoast was her legendary high octane performance at the Fifth Annual Rockabilly in the Redwoods festival at Scotia in 2010. (See AVA, August 4, 2010: “Weird Music Festival.")

After Wanda's last performance in the Bay Area in 2009, San Francisco Chronicle staff writer Jonathan Curiel wrote: “Fifty years after Elvis Presley persuaded her to play rock 'n roll, Wanda Jackson is still performing with her pink guitar, still singing about heartbreak and salvation, still rousing audiences with her charm and throaty voice. Only now, Jackson's fan base includes children and teens who say her music is “cool,” octogenarians who remember Jackson in her prime and elite performers like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen who cite Jackson as a musical inspiration. Springsteen called Jackson “a doll who has inspiration in her voice.” Dylan said she was “an atomic bomb in lipstick.”

According to a liner note bio by Capitol Records Rick Kiensle (Wanda Jackson Vintage Collection), Wanda Jackson's father, Tom, was a musician who moved to Oklahoma and met Nellie Whitaker. They married in 1936 and settled in tiny Maud, Oklahoma, 50 miles southeast of Oklahoma City where Wanda was born on October 20, 1937. The Jacksons spent 1941 through 1949 in California where Wanda got her first guitar. By the time they moved to Oklahoma City where Tom sold cars, Wanda was a good enough singer to win a local talent contest. In 1953, still in high school, she landed her own show on KLPR Radio. Capitol recording artist Hank Thompson, by then a major star, had moved from Dallas to Oklahoma City where he heard Wanda's show and invited her to sing on weekends with his Brazos Valley Boys at their local home, the Trianon Ballroom. Thompson landed Decca recording contracts for both Wanda and his band leader, Billy Gray. Their vocal duet, “You Can't Have My Love,” backed by the Brazos Valley Boys reached number eight on the country charts in 1954.

Wanda graduated from high school in 1955 and started touring with Thompson. She created her own image of onstage glamour, designing a dazzling outfit light-years from the cowgirl garb favored by female singers. One of her form fitting dresses boasted rhinestone spaghetti straps that bared her shoulders. The dress caused problems when her hit with Gray lead to a guest shot on the Grand Ol' Opry. Before Patsy Cline joined the show, conservative, hidebound Opry artists and management considered such outfits too sexy. Ernest Tubbs insisted that Wanda cover her shoulders before going on stage. Boiling mad, she slipped on her old fringe jacket, sang her song for the crowd and left, never to return.

She became a regular on Springfield, Missouri's Ozark Jubilee Barn Dance with its own national ABC-TV broadcasts hosted by Red Foley. Later in 1955 she met Elvis, touring with him on package shows, and in 1956 when her Decca contract ended, she signed with Capitol Records. In her first season at the Capitol Tower in Hollywood, her studio and bands featured several high-octane pickers, including the dazzling Joel Maphis on lead guitar and Buck Owens, and an obscure singer and studio musician on rhythm guitar. Legendary Ralph Mooney (one of my clan) played pedal steel.

She recorded “I Gotta Know,” a play on the new rock craze that moved between a mournful country ballad and rock. It made the country Top 20 that fall. To attract both teen record buyers and country fans, Capitol paired a rocker with a country song on Wanda's singles. In September of 1956, 18 years before Linda Ronstadt's hit version, Wanda recorded “Silver Thread and Golden Needles” and at the same session with Maphis, Owens and Mooney backing her, she cut “Hot Dog That Made Him Mad,” a growling, rocking version of the 1954 Betty Hutton recording.

In 1957 Wanda recorded “Cool Love,” co-written with high school friend Vicki Countryman with Buck Owens on lead guitar and boogie artist Merrill Moore on piano. In the fall of 1957 she recorded an explosive R&B version of “Fujiyama Mama,” again backed by Owens and Moore. Perhaps her greatest rock tune of all — it was ignored in the states, but was a smash hit in Japan leading to a triumphant 1958 tour there.

By 1958 Wanda recruited a rock band, Bobby Powell and the Poe Cats, to back her onstage featuring lead guitarist Vernon Sandusky and pianist Big Al Downing who also backed her on her first Capitol recording of the country ballad “Make Believe.” That day she also recorded a vicious version of “Let's Have A Party” later followed by “Mean, Mean Man” and the hard-driving “Rock Your Baby.”

By 1961 Wanda resumed recording but focused on country with sessions in Nashville and performances in Las Vegas. But rock wasn't totally eliminated during this period with her lively versions of “Kansas City,” “Hardheaded Woman,” “It Doesn't Matter Anymore,” and a ferocious, growling version of “Riot in Cellblock #9.”

With her renewed commitment to country in 1961, wonder recorded several popular tunes — “Why I'm Walkin',” “The Window Up Above,” and “I May Never Get To Heaven.” That summer her recording of “Right or Wrong” reached #9 on the country charts. The following single, “In the Middle of a Heartache,” became her biggest hit, peaking at number six. In the fall of 1961 she produced excellent versions of “This Should Go On Forever” and her own “Kickin' Our Hearts Around,” which she'd specifically written for Buck Owens, once her session guitarist who was then a rising country star. His version made the top 10 in 1962.

Wanda Jackson's career was far from over in the mid-60s, though her singles sold only modestly and she never really found a satisfactory style on records. By the early 70s she and her husband Wendell Goodman embraced born-again Christianity. When Capitol records refused to honor her request to record a gospel LP, Wanda signed with gospel oriented Myrrh records which allowed her to record secular and gospel but after a change of ownership she became frustrated when Myrrh insisted on gospel only. Though she alternated secular performances with church appearances, Wanda easily reconciled country and rockabilly with her sacred music, explaining, “All the early country things stemmed from gospel.”

Still proud of her Capitol sides, Wanda continued touring Europe, performing rock, gospel and country. In 1995 she made a guest appearance on a Rosie Flores rockabilly album with another pioneer rocker, Janis Martin. Thanks to a renewed interest in rockabilly, Wanda Jackson is extensively touring America again, rockin', whoopin' and rollin' — keeping the music alive.

In 2008, the Smithsonian channel screened a documentary on Jackson, “the sweet lady with the nasty voice.” A year later she was inducted into the rock 'n roll Hall of Fame along with Metallica whose ear splitting performance drove her off the stage.

Bay Area and North Coast rockabilly fans should give rock pioneer Wanda Jackson a warm, hearty welcome as the “atomic bomb in lipstick” struts back on stage and detonates.

“Let's have a party!” If we keep the rally going we'll defeat time.

Bottoms up!

Joe Don Mooney

Hopland

PS. For those who don't know Wanda Jackson, I highly recommend her comprehensive Vintage Collections CD produced by Ken Nelson of Capitol Records in 1996

___________________________________________

DEFENDING ONE SIDE

Editor,

After reading Helen Richmond's dour appraisal of NPR ("NPR: The Voices & Views Of One Side,” AVA, 3/7/12), followed by fan mail from Nate “Faruq Redshank” Collins ("Intolerable,” AVA, 3/14/12), it makes me wonder if the real reason people don't like NPR is that they don't get enough sex. Maybe if the two of them got together they would hear the same NPR that I hear.

Seriously, I think they're both mean-spirited, low minded and just plain wrong.

Aloha,

Bill Brundage

Kurtistown, Hawaii

PS. If I hadn't been listening to NPR's 3/27/12 “Morning Edition,” I would have missed a story about the adverse effects on the economies of cities like Boise, Idaho with midsized airports, of a reduction in air traffic due to the cost-cutting measures of commercial airlines. Similar forces are at play in the shrinking of services and the shutting down of rural post offices.

The report included interviews with officials who bemoan the loss of jobs and a slowing down of the economy in general, as well as an interview with a man who could no longer take a direct, daily flight from Boise to San Jose to commute to his job in Silicon Valley. It's bad for him, and bad for those whose livelihoods depend on a lots of air traffic, and I can sympathize with them over their hardships. But I wish the news report had included one more interview with than eco-nut like me who would have shouted, “Hooray! It's good for the planet!”

Why is it that whenever I say that in order for frequent flyers to pay their fair share of the high environmental cost of air pollution, they ought to pay more for a ticket, not less, people look at me like I'm out of my mind? Airline companies take note: here's a way to maximize profits and do the right thing at the same time!

___________________________________________

RATS

Editor:

Seattle has a vibrant downtown, with a small Chinatown.

A tourist walked into an antique shop. Dusty. He wandered around and found an 8 inch bronze rat. He was not excited about the subject, but the sculptural execution was superb.

He asked the price. There were two prices:

Twenty-five bucks for the rat alone. One hundred and seventy-five bucks for the rat — and the story that goes with it.

He bought the rat.

As he was leaving he noticed, out of the corner of his eye, a rat rushing out from a nearby alley. He made his way toward the harbor. Two more rats came out of a storm drain. Another eleven (no, twenty) came from under a car.

More rats appeared. LOTS more rats. A block away from the harbor there was a seething mass in his wake.

By the time he arrived at the harbor, rats were crawling over one another to get near him. He was a veritable Pied Piper for rats.

He figured it had something to do with the bronze rat. He threw it into the harbor. The rats followed — and died in horrifying numbers.

He retreated and watched. They were still jumping into the water an hour later. Uncounted millions drowned.

Shaken, he made his way back to the antique shop.

As he entered, the proprietor smiled, “So, you came back for the story?”

The man shuck his head, “No, but do you have a bronze Republican?”

Best regards,

Bart Boyer

San Diego

___________________________________________

YOU’RE NEXT, GRAMPS

Editor,

The Social Security program was created in 1935 to provide old age, survivors and disability insurance benefits to workers and their families. This was one of the great achievements of the Roosevelt administration. The “conservatives” fought it tooth and nail, calling it “communism.” Now they all line up to collect the benefits.

The fight is now over what is called “Obamacare” in the Supreme Court hearing. The right wing is doing its best to have it declared unconstitutional. Will the next step be to go after Social Security? All senior citizens better watch closely what the far right is up to. If you suffer in silence, you will die in silence. The fight is on. You had better join in.

M.H. Page

South San Francisco

___________________________________________

MAKE WINE OUT OF VINEGAR

Editor,

The following letter was sent to Señor Xavier Pages, Director General Señor Luis Sierra-Rey, Marketing Director, Barcelona, Catalonia, España.

Almost a year ago, Friends of the Gualala River and more than 20 prominent national US and California State environmental organizations wrote to you with a respectful request to withdraw the controversial Artesa proposal to destroy redwood forestlands for construction of a new vineyard in Sonoma County, California.

Many circumstances in the last year have changed, some very recently. We believe these changes seriously impair the feasibility of this proposal and substantially increase the liability of this controversial project to the esteemed Codorniu and Artesa names, as we anticipated.

Please carefully review the well-documented facts in context and revisit the strategic value or liability of this Artesa Sonoma project to Codorniu.

First, the local Sonoma County government has recently (January 20, 2012) approved a moratorium on conversion of forest to vineyards. This has occurred in part because of the high political controversy and public disapproval of large forest to vineyard conversion projects like Artesa's.

The local county government's Agricultural Commissioner is scheduled to propose permanent legislation that includes restrictions on tree removal for vineyards later this spring. The county has asserted that these restrictions will apply to the Artesa Project. The underlying political strength of the motivation for these new legislative actions, and its publicity, should not be underestimated.

Second, three federally recognized California Indian tribes (Kashia and Point Arena Pomo and Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria) have officially approved strongly worded resolutions firmly opposing the Artesa Sonoma vineyard conversion project which they assert “threatens our watershed, forests, sacred sites, archaeological sites and tribal cultural resources that are of cultural and religious importance to the tribe.”

Public awareness of these resolutions has only recently begun and we anticipate that our national media will again give increased attention in coming months to Artesa and Codorniu proposals in the context of tribal culture, tribal religious values, and unacceptable threats to them.

Third, as you know, a national online petition initiated by an independent California citizen generated more than 92,000 signatures. This petition reflects extraordinary national US public disapproval of this notorious project in association with Codorniu and Artesa. A related local online petition generated more than 1800 signatures for the limited purpose of demanding that public comments be accepted by the lead California permit agency for the project.

Fourth, the final environmental impact report required for the permit approval of the Artesa project is deeply flawed in many important technical respects, and is ripe for challenge on many environmental and cultural resource issues with support from recognized experts.

For example, the tribal resolution complaints against Artesa and Codorniu are strongly supported by the scientific expertise of an authoritative professor of Archaeology and Anthropology. These disputes will inevitably contribute to protracted controversy and adverse publicity.

Finally, we hope you are by now fully aware of the intense national and California media attention generated jointly by the Artesa project and the Preservation Ranch vineyard conversion proposals. A series of very prominent front page and feature articles on this pair of Sonoma vineyard conversion projects has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and in hundreds of leading newspapers carrying an Associated Press syndicated article, critical coverage in financial journals and in Northern California wine country magazines and newspapers.

We fully expect media coverage to surge again to greater levels during inevitable objections or challenges to the final permits for the Artesa Project.

Is this outdated proposal from the speculative Pinot Noir frenzy of 2001 still sufficiently valuable and feasible four Codorniu to risk the effects of intense media based negative publicity this notorious project poses to the Codorniu name and Artesa brand?

Given that the project has not advanced in approval after over 10 years since its inception and given that it faces further significant delay and adverse publicity due to opposition and challenge, is this single project still a sufficiently reasonable investment and marketing strategy for you to pursue?

Please consider this question in the context of the availability of alternative sites due to many vineyards for sale during a period of industry consolidation in Northern California.

We hope you share our sincere wish to avoid needless costly conflict and controversy over this project. We offer an alternative, cooperative course of action. We would be willing to endorse and facilitate Codorniu's effort to sell the parcel to a consortium of conservancy and land trust organizations who are dedicated to conserving the important natural and cultural resources of the project site.

We would publicly support praiseworthy actions by Codorniu to benefit the fish and wildlife resources of the Gualala River's forested watershed and for the protection of California Indian tribal uses and cultural heritage. This would turn the controversy into a marketing benefit for Artesa and enable them to reinvest in productive winegrape land located in established, proven agricultural areas with no impacts of forest conversion.

We would be pleased to work with you in finding interested conservation buyers at fair market value of the land.

Again, we offer to promote widespread endorsement of Codorniu's environmental stewardship and positive publicity for Artesa if you pursue this alternative in collaboration with us and our allied conservation organizations.

Chris Poehlmann

Friends of the Gualala River

Gualala

___________________________________________

 

COROPORATE SPONSORSHIPS, A COKE, & A SMILE

Editor,

I realize the massive amount of articles these days are on the merits of Privatizing Parks but none have any real consistent data, and most information comes directly from Park Privatization.com, Recreation Resource Management, ReserveAmerica (all one company, many aliases). Most editorials and web based articles have a related links section where half the links go to information by category that is directly linked to one of the above sites pages. This is a massive web advertising campaign by ReserveAmerica, AmericanDreams, and the Active Network supporting privatization of public recreation resources, in this case State Parks. Articles as recent as March 8th, 2012 continue the mantra. State Parks: The Virtual State Of American Dreams Inc. Trans-national corporations located in Southern CA, Arizona, and Ohio: 1) San Diego, CA, 2) Phoenix, AZ, 3) Logan, Ohio are building a virtual network empire on Mary and Joe Citizen's vacation tickets and some management of concessions, and local branding.

The Solution Is In The Problem

Camping Reservation Fees (not the campsite fees but online and call center credit card banking fees – $9 for reservation and $10 for cancellation through ReserveAmerica — 2012) are my main focus, even Local District offices seem to be heading in the wrong direction. Having read the latest talked about report, from the California Legislative Analyst's Office I feel another viewpoint would be enriching.

The report lacks data or quantifiable criteria in key areas regarding:

1. attendance revenues, separated from camping reservations, length of stay, etc.

2. attendance revenues related to camping reservations, and length of stay

3. the amount of hours of volunteers – by what criteria were volunteer efforts cataloged, Was it just the daylight hours per program funding requirements and Park hours? What local group efforts, such as the many Coastal Ocean Groups that for decades have logged hours in cause-promotions, and celebration that brought people together to clean beaches, were included?

4. The cost to taxpayers due to Corporate Citizen clauses, Corporate Sponsor tax deductible contributions i.e., brand philanthropy and cause marketing promotions.

5. What amount of time in hours is spent by State Parks Employees and other State Officials researching Privatization data (mostly put together by Privatization Firms) — translating the privatization mantras — symposiums and luncheons, meetings, emails and phone calls, All contracts state that the responsibility for promotion and monitoring of public perception of the 'benefits of privatization' fall on the DPR or NPS.

6. What amount of taxpayer subsidies are going toward the programs that set up the transfer of Parks to (Privatization)? Critical accountability in the Legislative Analyst's Office report for all is needed.

The level of volunteer work is estimated to be worth over $20 million a year. (estimate assumes a labor cost of $21 per volunteer hour, based on an average of production and non- supervisory labor costs in the private sector) The DPR currently invests about 90,000 staff hours annually ($7 million) to train and operate its volunteer program. How much to train and operate the Corporate Privileges Program?

It is not proven that anything is more efficient, and there are no “lower fees.” Quite the opposite in fact. Privatized Concession Run Parks “pay a penny on the dollar” for credit card processing and bank fees — November 2, 2011, Warren Meyer – ReserveAmerica

Under the State Corporate Sponsorship agreements, all corporate involvement is tax deductible, thrice over. 1) General Fund Tax dollars for development of the “Parks for Perks” business model 2) Tax dollars pay to make up for the corporate citizen's allowable deductions, and 3) tax dollars will pay for the promotion, public acceptance and market monitoring, and protection of the business management of concession agreements. On the National level, it will be the corporate-only financed National Park Foundation, presumably with it's billion dollar fund by 2016 that foots the promotions bill. But the National 'Parks For Perks' program is so rewarding it's worth it!

Frankly, they ought to be showing the classic film “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” in National Theaters. The parallels are perfect.

Reservation and cancelation fees are a Sustainable Green Fund For Parks Non-Profits!

Amazing that the State hasn't figured out how to take the tickets without handing over the operation to Private Companies!

Commercial Free Zones or Corporate Citizens Parks Privileges — the term “Corporate Citizenship” is used as a requirement of the California State Parks Corporate Sponsorships Proud Partner Agreements.

Tomas DiFiore

30 years on the North Coast

Albion

___________________________________________

SAVE THE STREET FAIR

Dear OMers,

The Street Fair Committee (Rick, Mark, and Syd) want to let you know that they urgently need help.

One of the key parts of the May 12 block party will be the “non-profit” tabling – all our local non-profits agencies setting up tables on Laurel Street sharing their work and activities with the public.

A “miscommunication” has occurred in which the non-profit part of the Street Fair has no person in charge. Although a proposed letter to each of our 30 local non-profits has been written, there is no one currently willing to be the designated contact person – for the non-profits to respond to and work with over the next 6 weeks making it all happen.

This work won’t be that time-consuming – but we do need someone with good organizing, communication, and follow-up skills to take on this important work….staying in touch with them, answering questions, communicating with them things like what to bring (tables/chairs, etc.), how to set up on May 12, etc.

This is a critical part of the Street Fair. If you’re willing to do this for OM, please contact Rick (964-1722) or Mark (964-2986) immediately. If this doesn’t happen, we may need to take another look at the Street Fair's future.

Rick, Mark, and Syd

Fort Bragg

PS. There will be other important jobs coming up in the next month that we’ll be needing help with….please be aware of this and open to offering your time and services – specific work needs will be announced in Saturday's General Assemblies.

___________________________________________

GOOD FOOD FOR KIDS

Dear Editor:

The role of the School Board is to model reasonable and fair resolution of conflicts — no bullying, fighting, corporal punishment; to advise employees of goals and acceptable and effective achievement of same.

If the goal is to establish the power of those charged with the safety of the students and achieve cooperation, how do we accomplish this?

• Show public respect for all parties — school employees, food service workers, students, administrators

• Model mutually respectful resolution of conflict (how to show cooperation with power without loss of dignity).

• Present to our students ways of cooperation which benefit the group, allowing civic participation without threats or denigration.

• Avoid arousing opposition and defiance by settling discipline issues publicly as the Board did with parent employees and offending student at the March Board meeting.

• Separate corporal punishment (i.e., closed campus) for individual transgressions which have already been resolved.

If the goal is to promote healthy choices and eating habits in young adults, how do we accomplish this? Here are a few suggestions:

% • Schedule town privileges by rotation three grades/day,

% • Every one eats on campus before leaving;

% • Obtain vendor cooperation via reduced size, cost and content of food choices at a student rate;

% • Consult food service workers, gardeners, parents and students re: palatable healthy choices on campus.

All interested parties are urged to attend the scheduled public Board meeting to witness the fair resolution of these issues Monday, April 9, Family Resource Center, 6pm at the Jr./Sr. High campus.

Patricia A. Beverley

Boonville

___________________________________________

WHY NOT JUST WATER?

Dear AVA,

I am pleased to see the local efforts beginning to take place to improve our children's diets. It seems that a grass-roots effort is needed to change our culture's perception of acceptable foods. There is pressure from advertisers and from children's peers to supply unhealthy snacks and drinks for kid's lunches, snacks and sports teams. Simply cutting out sweet beverages makes a huge difference in our children's (and adults') health. The greatest amount of empty calories comes from sugar-laden beverages such as soda, juice and syrupy coffees. The Network for a Healthy California will soon launch a statewide campaign called Rethink Your Drink that aims to educate the public about the dangers of sweet beverages and the benefits of increased water consumption. I love the idea of going back to water as our primary beverage and look forward to the day when we have more water fountains and fewer vending machines.

Donna Pierson-Pugh, Principal

Anderson Valley Elementary School

Boonville

___________________________________________

THREE QUESTIONS

Editor,

I live in Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley. My county, I’m told, has more churches per- capita than any county in America. Our local newspaper is so full of churchy news, events, columns, etc. that you’d think that the Lord has taken up residence here. And, it’s a liberal paper.

Those articles/columns/letters to the Editor are so full of delusions, confusions, and illusions that it boggles the mind of any reasonable reader. Virginia votes regressive every time, and the Legislature is a throw-back to the Dark Ages.

Given that, it is not surprising that Rick Santorum is a major candidate for the Republican nomination for President. Nor is it surprising that he receives tens of thousands of votes in state primaries, and gets lots of pledged delegates.

It is pretty certain that he will run again in 2016. What he is doing now is laying the groundwork, building an organization, and setting it all up. So here are some interesting questions for AVA readers: 1. Given that the lying, distorting, and vilifying has been so pronounced in 2009-2012, will it get so bad that the American public will see it for what it is and reject Santorum? 2. Will social and wedge issues dominate the 2016 campaign to the point that voters will be so sick of it that they will reject the religionist take-over of the political dialogue? 3. Will the Democrats have the guts to call-out the religionists for what the power-crazed greed-bags that they are?

Score yourselves. The right answer to all three questions is NO. If you answered with one yes, you are simply a bit confused. If you answered with two yes answers, you are trapped in illusions. If you answered with three yes answers, you are as deluded as they are, but for different reasons. If you answered with three NO’s you are already selecting where you will emigrate to.

Lee Simon

Far ‘n Away Farm in Virginia

___________________________________________

REMEMBERING ‘NANA’

Dear Editor,

I would like to thank all the friends and family of Arline “Nana” Day-Chambers for all the heartfelt thoughts, kind words and for joining us at Nana’s recent service. She will be in our hearts forever and dearly missed. Thank you all.

Sincerely,

Christina L. Kramer

Philo

2 Comments

  1. Rudy Taylor February 26, 2017

    This is the lawyer that Pebbles spoke of in today’s editorial. Virtually everything she said was either exaggerated untruth or outright fabrication. She does write with grace and passion but having those attributes doesn’t excuse lying. I realize you have gotten most of your information from the two people that caused the DA in Brownwood to refuse an offer of probation.They made a mockery of the courtroom for their own edification. They did not have Chris’ best interest first or they would have kept their mouths shut. You don’t get to roll into a small town in rural Texas and bully the Judge, the Sheriff, and DA. That’s just stupid. This is the link to a picture of Chris’s phone. I have it posted on my Facebook business page. On the screen of the phone it shows a text from Chris which says precicely: “Chris from Cali. Do you know anyone looking for some smoke I got a few gs of hash 40 a g.” That was the reason for the plea bargain and you guys dont have a clue if you don’t understand it.
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1389655817752922&set=a.1388826641169173.1073741834.100001255524631&type=3&theater

  2. Clif Deuvall April 5, 2012

    To all,

    I was to be one of the 40 in attendance at the Chris Diaz trial. I’ve been rudely dismissed by the Brown County Officials, the Brownwood bulliten, and numerous lawyers, which lied to Chris, his mother, and myself.

    Sad, I started NORML of Waco Inc. to help, but felt helpless. I’ve spoken to legal councils, and NORML lawyers, which told me they’d help. I’m sorry I was told one thing, but the individuals did not follow thru _ I feel I’ve failed Chris, his family, and Texas, but, hopefully, not alone. Those which said they’d help, as Texas lawyers, will not lose sleep, but I’m sure Chris, his family, and those which tried to do the “right” thing, as well as myself, will count the hours nightly.

    One reason I’m running for a seat, district 56, in the Texas House of Representatives. Someone has to try to stop this crap, no matter the location.

    Those of you, which I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with, I thank you for your invaluable insight and friendship.

    My Best,
    Clif Deuvall
    Independent Candidate, dist 56
    Texas House of Representatives
    clifdeuvall2012@gmail.com
    Founder / NORML of Waco Inc.
    clif107@yahoo.com

Leave a Reply

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

-