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Letters (June 23, 2021)

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Re. Dario Sattui’s Let to Ed

In these days of great division I do ponder just how to talk respectfully to the other side, but now find myself called upon to respond to the somewhat duplicitous position expressed a couple weeks ago by Dario Sattui in a Letter to the Editor in the June 9 AVA. 

Back in the days when I wrote a regular column, ‘Vine Watch,’ what was happening in Anderson Valley was often referred to as “Napa-fication,” not only by me but others as well. So now we have Mr. Sattui in his introduction to why he is enlarging (metastasizing?) his Napa based, castle dominated, feudalistic enterprises to Anderson Valley stating that it is the “…. pristine nature which I adore.” And acknowledging that “Napa Valley is over built with sprawl, in my opinion, with traffic and congestion problems, Anderson Valley is probably like Napa was in the 1950’s.” 

My God Dario, if you don’t like what you helped to build in Napa why in hell bring it to Anderson Valley - not just in one vineyard but in three that you name?

Initially the “overbuilt ” Napa Valley oozed into Sonoma Valley bringing a disruption to community well documented in a book titled “A Tale of Two Valleys: Wine, Wealth and the Battle for the Good Life in Napa and Sonoma” by Alan Deutschman. 

Next was Anderson Valley, first led by rich wine empire elites wealthy beyond their need to make a living and then joined by the billionaire dot com-ers all of both factions whom for the most part are non-resident and colonize solely to exploit terroir and water in the process of growing greater empires. 

I will interject here that it is truly bewildering, the chasms that can separate we humans from each other. We are, all of us, creatures of nature and of a species that fortunately or not is endowed with big brains. Yet it is the artificial entity of money that so often has a hand in the divide. 

Mr. Sattui goes on to acknowledge that there is a body of Anderson Valley residents that see his Earth battering undertakings behind the Elke Vineyards as an affront to the Valley and the environment and seems to also acknowledge his actions as such by the juxtaposing statement, “I am also [my bold - an admission of guilty as charged?] a conservationist/environmentalist.” 

My question: How can you claim to be an environmentalist when you are doing your part in pushing what you see as “pristine” toward a situation you find unpleasant and “… over built with sprawl”? The hill that Mr. Sattui denuded is not only an eyesore but also an emblem of the steady slurp by outsiders for more and more of our precious water. 

He says he “…frowns on developers who despoil the environment for profit,” and states he has “never done so.” Ha! When he bought the Dennison Vineyard, and I’m sure he did so under the common price setting standard of setting value and price based on plantable acres of which that hillside would not have been considered. It would seem that if he was not worried about profit he would not be motivated to squeeze what he could out of his investment.

Mr. Sattui goes on, claiming that he has “a right” to build three more houses and guest houses on that Dennison Ranch Vineyard but “vows” he will not do so — stating, also, that he will not build a second house on the Navarro vineyard he calls Morning Dew. His rationale, “I do not wish to be part of the problem despoiling nature.” 

As if denuded of nature hillsides and his thousands upon thousands of grapevines are a blessing. And there are certainly quite a few of us in the Valley who say we need the housing infinitely more than we need more water sucking wine grapes and wine vistas.

Dario Sattui’s letter is self-contradictory and self-aggrandizing to the point it feels like he thinks of himself as the loving king or lord addressing the vassals, peasants and serfs of the medieval feudal period that his Napa Castle of Love represents. His is a love that even lib/lab hippies can’t even recognize even if we are also the kings and queens of being whatever we fancy ourselves to be. 

Oh please Mr. Sattui, Gag me with a spoon, and get the hell outta Dodge.

David Severn


PS. Under Glossary of Medieval Land Holding Terms my computer tells me a Rape is an intermediate division of a county, usually with a river, forest and castle. Hmmm?

PPS. As I close out this letter about noon on Monday the Navarro River gauge puts the flow rate at 1.55 cu/ft per sec. The previous record low was in 1977 at 2.90 cfs and the average for 6/21 is 40 cfs.

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I wanted to reach out to our residents in Mendocino County regarding several conversations which have occurred between the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. There has been much discussion regarding the budget and efficiencies which will help us to continue serving the public. We are all in agreement that we must be efficient in our duties in order to serve our communities. There is a limit to this before it begins having an impact on the service which the public demands and deserves.

We are in discussions regarding several things including the Sheriff’s IT department, vehicle replacements and other items which are extremely critical to the operations of the Sheriff’s Office. The reason these items are important are because ultimately, they allow us to identify, investigate and suppress crime in Mendocino County. The impacts of crime are far reaching and continue to be an expense to our communities. These expenses are often a drain on the entire system, from drug abuse which we see as a major factor in psychological well-being and a direct contributor to crimes including burglaries, assaults and crimes against persons. All of these take a toll on not only our residents, they create a huge cost for all county departments. The expense is not only monetary however often there is the cost of life. We also want to see prevention of crime by patrolling and being within the community. Like I have said before, we pay now or we pay later, later always comes with interest.

We are continuing to investigate and solve crimes. When we solve crimes we are preventing future crimes while working with our District Attorney to hold the offender accountable. These offenders are arrested prior to committing further crimes. Our deputies are continuing to serve our communities and have a high clearance rate of on felony calls including burglaries, and assaults. The reason for this is because our deputies are connected to the communities. This connection begins with trust and understanding. This trust is cultivated by being in the communities with you, working with you and often keeping information confidential.

I receive several calls and emails every day from community members who wish to remain anonymous. We often receive information on various crimes because the community trusts us to keep their anonymity. I can assure you retaining the trust of the community is a high priority for me. 

We have engaged in several life saving activities, some of which were people who had overdosed on drugs. In many of these cases, our deputies were able to arrive at the scene safely and administer NARCAN or other life-saving measures. We have been able to complete these duties because we are able to patrol our communities and remain in partnership with the community members. 

During the 2017 wildfire event, a Sheriff’s Sergeant was patrolling in Potter Valley when the initial fire began. Due to his location and ability to communicate from a radio unit, he was able to begin the alert and warning to residents while calling out additional personnel for evacuations. We have no way to quantify the lives which were saved because this sergeant was patrolling in a small community, in the middle of the night.

These are just a couple of reasons why we must continue moving forward with the equipment and personnel and support staff needed to serve our communities. As we move forward we will all continue looking at efficiencies and keep the spending to what is actually needed. Please understand there is a balance between where we are efficient VS where we become deficient. I am confident we will strike this balance and continue to serve as we have sworn to do. 

Thank you

Sheriff Matt Kendall

(707) 463-4085

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Let me begin by asking: Wouldn’t you think it was unfortunate if it were someone’s job to risk their health and safety for those in their community; yet they were hardly paid enough to live in the community that they serve? Well, this is exactly what is happening for our local City of Ukiah firefighters. The starting wage for a firefighter in our city is $18/hour. This is comparable to the wage of someone starting at In-and-Out Burger. In a city where the average home rents for $2,000 a month, these people can’t afford to rent homes or support their families single handily and forget about ever being able to buy a home. Now, lets compare these wages with those of firefighters working in Santa Rosa. The starting wage for firefighters working in Sonoma county range between $7,000 and $8,000/month. Furthermore, these departments often staff fire engines three firefighters to one engine, while ours only staffs two to one. This poses a safety risk, especially when two firefighters are tasked with responding to medical emergencies that involve lifting very heavy people. Needless to say, injuries are common in this department. And when firefighters are out on injury, which two are now, the remaining firefighters are mandated to stay on shift. My loved one has been mandated to work 72 hour shifts all month. These firefighters run calls all day and night, and if you think they are able to sleep well during these 72 hour stretches, you’re wrong. As you can imagine, this also poses a risk for injury. While many City of Ukiah departments received raises this year, the fire department did not. This is during a year where much of our firefighter’s time was spent responding to medical aids during the COVID pandemic. Our tax dollars fund a city manager who has a pay and benefits package worth over $300,000 annually. Why can’t he balance the budget in a way that compensates these individuals fairly? Mind you, it’s not that they haven’t been asking him for a raise. I have never been more disappointed in this city. As we enter this fire season, it is my feeling that the public should know just how unfairly the City of Ukiah treats some of the people who support it the most.


A concerned citizen


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Dear Anderson Valley Folks,

I haven’t seen an Advertiser since the summer of 2013. I’ve always thought your paper was the best local newsapper in the country. I was pleased to find your address among the mass of paperwork I’m forced to live with.

I am sending $50 in hope that this will afford me a partial subscription. At the moment this is all I can spare.

I really miss the updates on “Pixie,” and hope she’s well. It’s a rough world out there and the weekly “manbeater of the week” was something one can only find in a Northern California newspaper. I’m totally over all the “fake news” and BS that the rest of the country eats up. I look forward to reading something more aligned with my west coast mentality.


Joseph Guadagnoli, aka ‘The Bear’ #57064-037

Federal Correction Institution

PO Box 52020

Bennetsville, SC 29512

PS. I’m also interested in whatever back issues you might have available as much of your reporting and essays are timeless.

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May 11, 2021 

To: Mitch Stogner, Executive Director North Coast Railroad Authority 419 Talmage Road, Suite M Ukiah, CA 95482 

From: Board Of Supervisors, County Of Humboldt 

825 5th Street, Suite 111, Eureka, CA 95501-1153 

Telephone (707) 476-2390 

Subject: Proposed Railbanking of North Coast Railroad Authority’s Line from Willits to End of Line in Samoa, Korblex, Korbel, and Carlotta; Surface Transportation Board Docket No. AB 1305 

Dear Mr. Stogner: 

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors supports preserving the North Coast Railroad Authority’s (“NCRA’s”) railroad right-of-way through railbanking for interim trail use and subject to possible future reconstruction and reactivation of the right-of-way for rail service. NCRA’s railroad right-of-way is an immensely valuable public resource and should remain dedicated for current and future transportation needs. The proposed action to file a railbanking application with the Surface Transportation Board is consistent with the land use plans and zoning regulations that apply to Humboldt County’s jurisdiction. 

We look forward to collaborating with NCRA and the successor agency on planning and implementing trail projects. We understand that the proposed Senate Bill SB-69 would mandate development of a master plan for the Great Redwood Trail. In planning for the Great Redwood Trail within Humboldt County, it will be important to recognize the significant differences in context between the portion of the line from Scotia north to Samoa (the “coastal region”) and the portion of the line south of Scotia along the Eel River to the county line near Alderpoint (the “interior region”). We expect that the near-term priority will be to develop trail segments linking cities and communities within the coastal region along Humboldt Bay, the Eel River Valley, and the Mad River. Developing trails within the more remote interior region will likely be a longer-term enterprise that will require significant planning and consultation with adjacent landowners to address geological instability and compatibility with adjacent land use. 

Trails should be planned and designed with consideration for community values and priorities and the context of the surrounding landscape and land use. A key planning principle in developing trails and access points is to ensure compatibility with adjacent land use. Security, trespass, fire, drainage, dogs, traffic, parking, and other important issues will need to be addressed. Just because the railroad corridor is railbanked does not mean that trails should be developed along every segment. Suitability for trail development will need to be determined on a segment-by-segment basis. In some locations an alternative alignment for a trail will be preferred over the railroad corridor. In addition, the purpose and design of the trail should fit the context. For example, trails that connect cities and smaller urban areas will likely be planned to have both transportation and recreational purposes, resulting in paved paths designed in accordance with engineering standards to accommodate bicycles and mobility devices. Trails through natural and undeveloped areas can often be planned for recreational use only, resulting in smaller unpaved paths. 

Investment is needed to rehabilitate and maintain the railroad corridor where it is having an adverse impact on adjacent property or public trust resources. NCRA’s railroad within Humboldt County has received little maintenance and repair since the 1990s. In many locations, deterioration of the rail prism and railroad infrastructure is increasing flood risks, contributing to drainage problems, creating potential safety and environmental hazards, discharging sediment to waterways, and creating potential nuisance conditions. The railroad along the Humboldt Bay shoreline has become critical coastal protection infrastructure; however, certain areas have suffered significant erosion and deterioration. The Great Redwood Trail represents a critical opportunity to leverage funding that can address these difficult issues while creating trails that provide substantial public benefit. 

Please continue to coordinate with Hank Seemann, Public Works Deputy-Director (707- 445-7741 or on trail-related matters in Humboldt County’s jurisdiction. 


Virginia Bass, Chair, County of Humboldt Board of Supervisors 


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You’ve got to be kidding, our governor wants to “reward” individuals for doing something every responsible person should have done on their own — get vaccinated (or not; it’s their choice)? To throw out several million dollars to a few “lucky winners” is ludicrous. Why not distribute those millions of dollars to the people who really deserve it — the doctors, nurses, health care workers, emergency responders, volunteers, etc., who put their lives on the line daily for the past 15 months in efforts to combat this pandemic? No, just a dog and pony show in the face of the recall. He probably even submitted a reimbursement for the dinner he had at the French Restaurant (unmasked). Wake up, people.

Hank Corda


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Dear Editor,

Inaccurate Slant—

I read your paper often. I especially enjoy the wonderful history articles and Valley News. I would like to correct some of the opinions that Mr. Calder put forth in relation to my participation during the June 14 Fort Bragg City Council meeting.

Anyone can review the public comments on the Fort Brag City Web page and the entire Fort Bragg City Council meeting that Mr. Calder is referring to and has misquoted is archived for viewing.

As per his article, I want to clarify that I did not “poo-poo” (a term that I did not use) the idea that huge last-minute comments are a problem, nor did I suggest that the public voice and my own is being suppressed.

I thanked the council for the hybrid meeting, one of several in a row where the public can provide comments in person or via Zoom. I mentioned that the acoustics and microphone in City Hall make the sound difficult to hear in that room and I have excellent hearing and I can't imagine what it is like for those who have hearing issues. Council member Tess Albin-Smith weighed in with that from her own experience.

I did say that there was a problem with duplication of files regarding the most recent planning Commission meeting and where 900+ pages were added to the agenda shortly before the Planning Commission meeting in question and that it took a long time for myself and others including the Planning Commission to download those documents.

During the public comment period, where the council was trying to troubleshoot this problem as well as adhere to the Brown Act regarding public comments, I offered a solution. My solution was suggesting that the agenda addendum including public comments, agency reports, applicant documents be compiled into a single pdf and that be assigned a hotlink. I mentioned as an example of other agencies where I download their huge documents that way.

My name is spelled Kaczorowski, and I am not a frequent public commenter. I as member of the public am offered an opportunity to weigh in (as others are) on the thread of issues that come before the City Council or Planning Commission meetings especially when some projects go back and forth between both the Council and the Commission at the direction of the Council. My civic duty as an engaged citizen is to diligently question, inform or discuss without malice. Disagreement is not considered malice.

There were so many positive and informative public comments. I am sorry that Mr. Calder missed out on reporting them.

My Best Regards,

Mary Rose Kaczorowski, M.T.S.- Pacific School of Religion/Graduate Theological Union

How to pronounce my name?

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Chris Calder replies: I believe I summarized the portion of her comments I reported on accurately. Ms. K. goes into quite a bit more detail about her “solution” here in her letter, than she did at the meeting. Sorry for the name misspelling.

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To the Editor:

Why isn’t the C.V. Starr Center opening? Our property taxes went up to help support it. I’ve heard they are having to rehire people but haven’t seen a single ad in the paper saying they have openings?

Why aren’t county offices open? We’ve been going in to stores with masks for over a year. I can get my hair cut, I can go to a doctors office finally, I can shop in any kind of store, I can eat in almost any restaurant, I can buy gas, furniture, hardware, food, clothing, cars, nursery products, lumber. etc, etc etc.

Why can’t these other places open?

Sharon Meyer

Fort Bragg

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I think it’s time for journalists to step up and stop hiding behind “neutrality” or “objectivity.” The fact that the stunt at Rep. Jared Huffman’s town hall meeting was organized by a GOP splinter group and announced ahead of time to KTVU — a Fox affiliate — so they could film it should have been in the headline and first paragraph of the PD’s article. The news is that these kinds of manipulative stunts are being pulled to try to destabilize democracy, not that there were “protesters.”

Step it up for democracy, and tell the truth behind the story.

Susan Rose Pareto


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It’s all very well for public entities to urge residents to be water wise. I lived through the Marin County droughts of the 1970s and ’80s and now the latest ones living in Sebastopol. I have honed my residential water behavior to a point that I get anxious whenever I hear water running for any reason. A normal shower for me is 5 gallons. Short of letting all my trees and plants die, there is nothing left to for me to do.

I suggest that all the powers that be in Sonoma County and California demand that agriculture and industries be water wise. Residents cannot catch enough water by putting buckets in every shower in the state to fix this. These types of measures are just more political/drought theater. Just another buck passed to the consumer instead of to industries that are usually responsible for these crises.

Gabrielle Disario


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Readers should know why the Russian River doesn’t dry up in the summer, like it did before 1908. In 1908, Eel River water was diverted into the Russian to generate power. In dry years, power was not generated, so Scott Dam was built on the Eel in 1920, forming Lake Pillsbury. This reservoir supplies water year-round for the Eel and Russian rivers.

There is a movement to take down Scott Dam and empty the lake to enhance fish populations on the Eel. The problem is not the dam; what is killing the young salmon and steelhead are illegal water diversions from the tributaries by cannabis growers and increasing populations of predatory pike fish.

The proposal is to let water travel into the diversion tunnel at Potter Valley in wet years, but not in dry years like the past two. Without Lake Pillsbury’s storage feeding the Russian, Lake Mendocino would be dry, and so would the farms and towns from Ukiah to Healdsburg. Russian River water co-mingles with Lake Sonoma, which supplies water from Windsor to Marin Country.

Saving fish is an excuse for environmentalists to remove dams, but this plan will not solve the fish or water supply problems.

David Fanucchi


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