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Letters (June 16, 2021)

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I find it ironic that 1,400 irrigators in the upper Klamath Basin who use Klamath River water to irrigate their potato and alfalfa fields are ready to incite violence to protect their federally created water rights. They seem willing to wrest control of and open the head gates of irrigation canals administered by the feds. 

These irrigators have a myopic vision, limited by an understandable self-interest. However, their welfare is one part of a huge ecology revolving around Klamath River water, a small part. Should Klamath Basin grown potatoes and alfalfa disappear there would be no impact on America’s food supply. None. 

As a proactive response to climate change, the feds should help these 1,400 families develop new skills, perhaps to move on to new homes. It’ll take a generation to do so. Today’s drought is a harbinger of things to come. Water is a precious resource. Potatoes and alfalfa supported by man-made irrigation are not. The families growing these crops are. 

Jeffrey J. Olson

Santa Rosa

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When the squabbling over Eel River/Potter Valley and Lake Mendocino water is discussed I get a chuckle out of how often it is that there is no mention of the fact that the watershed and reservoir where almost all of that water comes from is in Lake County, who only gets some property tax revenue from PG&E’s infrastructure at Lake Pillsbury and the homeowners there — Lake County gets nothing for the water itself, not even a “Thank you!” To make matters worse Lake County doesn’t own Clear Lake, as through an unusually convoluted and shady series of mistakes/sellouts/chicanery those water rights went to Yolo County.

The same thing goes with Indian Valley reservoir, which is entirely in Lake County but was built by the Yolo Flood & Water Conservation District (translation: irrigation water district) and of course Lake County gets nothing from them except a small amount of property tax revenue. I don’t think any county in California gets so thoroughly screwed on water rights as Lake County does, as it has two middle-sized reservoirs and one giant one but doesn’t own any of that water which mostly goes to out-of-county users.

So when I hear that lawns are dying in Santa Rosa or vineyard owners are worried about not getting their share of irrigation water in Hopland, I’m not sure whether to laugh or scream. As far as I’m concerned the primary problem here is a pervasive lack of responsible water use by all users downstream and the magical thinking that never seems to acknowledge that this resource is FINITE and likely to become scarcer in the foreseeable future. Instead we keep hearing about the need for endless “growth,” another thing nobody wants to admit has finite limits based on nature’s ability to support it.


Phil Murphy

Grants Pass, Oregon

(Formerly of Clearlake)

PS: been enjoying the Major’s reporting on the subject-keep up the good work!

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I found a “Recall Jill Ravitch” flyer stuffed in my mailbox today. As political hit pieces go, it’s pretty weak, especially since District Attorney Ravitch will retire soon.

Why do the flyer’s featured community members want Ravitch recalled? Well, she's a “constant impediment” to “people… who seek to do good,” she allegedly doesn’t take criminal reports seriously, and they don’t think she’s much of a leader. Such nonspecific opinions hardly seem worthy of a $400,000 special recall vote. Isn’t that what general elections are for?

At the bottom of the flyer is the name of a single major funder: William Gallaher. This isn’t surprising, because the recall effort is really a thinly disguised personal vendetta. Gallaher’s company was successfully sued by Ravitch’s office for abandoning 100 frail seniors at the Villa Capri and Varenna Senior Living facilities during the Tubbs fire. (They escaped, barely, thanks to the heroic actions of family members and police.)

Gallaher has spent nearly a million dollars in his quest to humiliate Ravitch. Hopefully he’ll learn an expensive lesson on election day. A taxpayer-funded recall vote is no way to settle a rich man’s grudge against a District Attorney who did her job.

Mark Sloan

Santa Rosa

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Here comes a tip on the stock market. Women and girls look much better in dresses and skirts than they do in pants. Once they realize that I am right, stocks on the manufacture of women's clothing are going to go crazy. The trend could start anywhere. Hales Grove or Duprovnic. 

A go-to federal judge wants to fool around with a California's assault weapons law. We are ready with some new regulation. An electric sign in front of each post office will list the owner of each assault weapon, his address, and the present location of each weapon in his house. This will be obtained because each weapon will be fitted with an electronic wolf tracking device. Girls may prefer a mountain lion tracking device. A display at the state Capitol will show where every weapon in the state is located and this information will be available free to the public.

It won't be necessary for the president to lower the cost of his proposed of the infrastructure bill. A state whose two senators approve of the president's plan will divide up the money with the other states whose two senators also approve. States whose two senators do not support the president's plan get nothing. Hales Grove has a list of projects which will provide 3,000 jobs and require 3,000 homes to be built. Tip: Get the Budweiser franchise. 

Junker & rickety-rack airplanes flying out of the out of small city airports are causing too much pollution. Santa Rosa will be limited to two round trips to Washington DC each month and a daily round trip to Las Vegas or Los Angeles.

Mendocino County needs a Latino or Latina Supervisor. Looking around. It looks like the Third District is a good place to find a candidate. Hat-check, the incumbent, has spent most of his time making nice with those in the marijuana trade who he thinks will help him get re-elected. None of the many problems facing the county have been solved. An Hispanic Supervisor should kick some ass in the barrios. 

Too many irresponsible people. Too much take and not enough give. Over half of high school graduates in the county are Latino. We need to see more of them involved in public service, taking part in civic activities and integrating with the gringos.

Communities in the county without water and sewer hookups need to be persuaded to take the necessary steps to achieve this by law. The same as incorporated towns. Boonville: no sewer, no speed bumps.

Jeffrey St. Clair's one state solution is an interesting idea. Start with Gaza, West Bank and Israel. Type of government: Nebraska. Rotating president, Arab and Jew. Type of economy: socialist cooperative. United Nations has power to veto any law not in the interest of the residents. Constitution not written until peaceful progress has been observed for five years. Jordan may want to join. Lebanon may want to join. Women may not wear pants.

Keep the aspidistra flying.

Ralph Bostrom


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Dear Jackson State Demonstration Forest Trail Stewards,

I just finished reading Cal Fire’s rebuttal to public comments submitted in the JAG meeting. Did anyone else find this piece to be pure BS or was it just me? In the response it is very clear who Tori Norville believes she/he is working for and spoiler alert; it’s not us! As you wade through all the unsubstantiated assertions in this purely defensive paper it becomes clear that the only reason a “Forest” is allowed to exist at all is for the board feet it is capable of producing for the big timber conglomerates who obviously own Cal Fire’s ruling elites. I sent another Email to Senator McGuire’s office yesterday asking for him to declare his position on the issue of the fate of JDSF. I read the Press Democrat daily and have yet to see any article regarding this situation in the forest. I know both McGuire and Assemblyman Woods have a lot on their plates but obviously they need to hear from a lot more of their constituents. Next I will move onto the Newsom Executive Order N-82-20 30x30 angle, perhaps a phone call might be most effective! 


Tim McClure

Fort Bragg

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I was seven years old. My father was a doctor. One day in 1954 he came home and gave me a “shot” — the polio vaccine. He had finagled one of the earliest vials of the vaccine developed in 1953 and there was not one second of hesitation about giving the vaccine.

I understand that it is popular to judge all past events through today’s opinion and mores, but you are off base if you think the '50s were like today (anti-vaccine). Americans embraced science and medical cures — they were terrified by polio — and they did not hesitate to take the polio vaccine.

The recent PD article — “Doctor, now 93, helped lead polio vaccine drive", June 6 — is the proof. By the PD’s figures, Sonoma County had 51,000 vaccinated in 1957. That was already over 70% (herd immunity) and more than the 27,000 who lived in Santa Rosa. In 1957-1958 almost 90% of Sonoma County was vaccinated.

No, it was not, like today, difficult to get people vaccinated in the 50s. People were tripping over each other to get their kids vaccinated.

Roger Delgado

Santa Rosa

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Would you buy a home without having it inspected? No. So why are four of the five Mendocino County Board of Supervisors willing to approve a new cannabis ordinance allowing for the expansion of cannabis onto Agriculture and Rangeland without doing an Environmental Impact Report? Why are they ignoring letters from residents saying they do not want Cannabis grows expanded? Why are they ignoring 3rd district Supervisor Haschack, who represents an area that is majorly impacted and who doesn’t support the new ordinance?

The County has not done a good job with the current ordinance. There are 100s of permittees waiting to have their permits completed but thousands of illegal grows need to be shut down. Meanwhile, more grows are being put in and water trucks are hauling precious water to them. The water board in Covelo has asked the BOS to excuse Round Valley from the proposed expansion as every resident is on a well. Covelo residents are at risk for having their only source of water not only drained but also poisoned from the contaminants used by the illegal grows.

The new ordinance allowing for expansion must not pass until an EIR is completed and enforcement is in place and removing the illegal grows. If the BOS will not listen then citizens must take charge and pass a referendum to put the passage of the new ordinance on a ballot. Frankly, it would be cheaper to do an EIR than a special election.

Marilyn Magoffin


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By urging my public officials to prioritize suicide prevention, mental health, and crisis care, I am hoping to influence collective change to support #MentalHealth4All.

Right now, individuals in crisis are able to call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress and those that care for them. Soon, it will be much easier to remember how to reach the Lifeline as the number will be changing to “988” nationwide by July 2022.

Knowing this, it is critically important that states pass legislation NOW to reliably fund 988 and their state’s crisis response system, just as we fund 911 and emergency services — through small fees on our phone bills. Reliable funding will help to ensure all 988 callers can reach a counselor in their own state who is familiar with and can connect them with local resources. Culturally competent support and local connections can better help all callers through their crisis and in their recovery.

Throughout my own life, I’ve lost family and friends from suicide. The stigma to reach out for help remains challenging. Please research the potentials of 988. Each and every one of us live with traumas and fears, challenges and turmoils. This is Life. Be part of the team that helps with the light of hope through the darkness in these tunnels.

Join me in urging your public officials to fund 988. We all play a role in changing the culture around mental health. Together, we can ensure #MentalHealth4All.

Elisabeth Vance


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Wow. What a beautiful little blurb, right on, with the type of socialism we have now: “A system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.”

This should be in the schoolbooks today. Can you imagine that? So against the grain of the way things are going. Can you even count all the different giveaway programs, all the different government agencies that are available to lazy people now? Nonprofit organizations are created to make their owners rich while idiot politicians give away tax money to these self-enriching schemes of all kinds. When you hear non-profit, think con-artists and politicians trying to buy votes with giveaway programs.

Tom Madden


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Just read about you and your knees and if you can still do your (daily?) hour hikes in the hills then you are good. Last year when I could only walk three minutes without pain I knew it was time to get the hip replacement. I have to admit I was a bit envious that you went an hour daily when I've been about 40 minutes the last couple years, decades. However, after the new hip I am now up to 70-80 minutes five times a week including trudging up a mountain to boot, more active than I've been in years. Well, we all know that recovery from a knee is way more difficult than a hip, so there's that. 

Paul Modic


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To the Editor:

Recently I read a great letter to the editor about Dr. Bowen. We have known Dr. Bowen for many years. He is an excellent orthopedic surgeon in Willits and he specializes in total hip and knee replacement.

Ukiah has an excellent orthopedic surgeon who has a good track record for total hip and knee replacement. His name is Dr. Gherini. A few years ago my husband broke his wrist. Dr. Gherini took him to surgery and put a plate in the wrist. It healed with good results. I hope we can keep Dr. Gherini here in Ukiah.

Donna VanWyhe


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Federal Judge Roger Benitez seems to have teleported himself back 200 years, as that is the only explanation for his decision to strike down California’s 30-year ban on assault weapons (“Ban on assault weapons reversed,” June 5). The Second Amendment is shrouded in ambiguity and consists of only one sentence: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” That’s it. 

As far as national security is concerned, we haven’t been invaded by a foreign power since 1812, and even then, militias operated under the direction of the U.S. military. I think a defense budget of $733 billion a year makes such a concern laughable. Furthermore, Benitez said the AR-15 is a “perfect combination of home and homeland defense equipment, just like the Swiss Army knife.” 

Unquestionably, the Founding Fathers would be horrified to see how an outdated concern has been manipulated to guarantee citizens the means with which to slaughter each other. How many workplace massacres would have been prevented if only the victims just had an AR-15 at home? Insanity. 

Benitez might as well be wearing buckle shoes and knee britches to court. 

John Brodey

Santa Rosa

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