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Letters (November 11, 2021)

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TO: Board of Supervisors, Mendocino County 

FROM: H. Andrew Coren, MD, Health Officer 

SUBJECT: COVID-19 Update – data edited 11/03/21 

DATE: 11-03-2021

Mendocino County’s testing positivity rate has increased to 6.3%, with testing rates at 387/100,000/day.

New daily case average is 50% higher than 2 weeks ago: 20.5 day/100,000. There are currently 8 Mendocino residents in Mendocino hospitals. One more is from out-of-County. Two Mendocino residents are in out-of- county hospitals for a higher level of care. We have 3 COVID patients in our County Intensive Care Units, but only 1 staffed ICU bed available today (11/3/21).

Total COVID cases are now 7,724; of these 2,856 are Hispanic (disproportionately high)

89 Mendocino residents have passed away, 3 more than 3 wks ago.

Testing is ongoing but we would be in better shape with more testing to contain this pandemic.

Drop boxes are set up at the Public Health offices in Ft Bragg, Willits, and Ukiah for PCR tests to be sent to state lab. This saves time and money for the schools and clinics.

Monoclonal antibodies in Mendocino are being administered at AHUV, AHMC and Round Valley Indian Health Center, at a rate of about 12 per week total for the whole county. These must be administered to mildly symptomatic people with increased risk within 10 (preferably 7) days of symptom onset.

Outbreaks are resolving; in one Skilled Nursing Home (Redwood Cove), and one Hospital (AHUV) and Round Valley numbers are much lower, with days of no new cases. Sherwood Oaks outbreak is resolved.

Vaccines: Moderna and J&J boosters have been approved in addition to Pfizer. We are giving or confirming vaccination plans for our SNFs, Long Term Care and smaller residential facilities The uptake of 3rd doses and Boosters in Mendocino and the State has been less than expected.

Vaccines for 5-11 year olds should be approved by CDPH by 11/5/21. We have received some of the doses (a smaller dose than adults receive). Children under 12 can receive vaccinations from their regular health care provider, FQHClinics, and pharmacies. In addition, Public Health is organizing clinics at some elementary schools upon a school district’s request.

As of November 3, 2021 116,637 total doses have been administered to 81.6% of those over 12 years: This is 72.5% of eligible (over 12 years old) are fully vaccinated. This number will decrease (by about 7%) after 11/10/21 as those from 5-11 years old are added to the denominator. From an Equity perspective, our least resourced, Quartile 1 have 80.8% fully vaccinated. In Quartile 2 only 68.7% % are fully vaccinated. Hispanic vaccination rates is 60.2% fully vaccinated and the non-Hispanic white population is 68.6%. This disparity between Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites is decreasing. The uptake in all age groups is increasing-but very slowly. Those between 18-49 years old less vaccinated than the state, while vaccination rates of those over 50 years old exceed the state averages. Our regular vaccine events at the Fairgrounds in Ukiah and at Public Health in Willits and Ft Bragg are going well. We are making flu vaccines available at these sites. Vaccines are also available through the FQHCs, Rural and Hospital clinics and pharmacies.

In summary, after the decline of Delta, we are seeing a new wave. To prevent a surge, we must encourage more vaccines, including primary series, third doses, boosters and now for children (5-11 years old). 

Dr. Andrew Coren, MD

Mendocino County Health Officer

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For Major Mark,

Where have you been? Dr. Drew [Colfax] and Alicia have hosted the COVID update on KZYX for over a year. Used to be on Monday at 3. Since Dr. Drew works at the emergency room in Ukiah, he's able to provide information about what's really happening — something the county health department hasn't been so good at. After his report, the line is open for questions from the public and he's usually able to answer most people's questions with either concrete information or he his opinion.

The show was really helpful for me, being someone who is immuno-compromised and who didn't get protection from the vaccines due to the drug I was taking for multiple myeloma. Lots of people tuned in or listened later (from the jukebox) and judging from the feedback and the money raised during the show, I think people felt that it was a benefit to the community, especially those who had no internet access.

As far as I know Drew does the show voluntarily.

I love the AVA and am continually amazed that you and Bruce and the rest of the crew can put this paper out every week, along with the online content daily.

Kudos to all!

Dobie Dolphin


ED REPLY I listen to KZYX's NPR early in the morning while I'm logging an hour or so of elevated pulsation. That hour of audio bullshit lasts me until the next morning's NPR. The Major listens to Karen Ottoboni, I think, because I can hear her voice and then him groaning from next door. That’s it for the AVA’s local listening, although I’m an off and on dues payer out of a misguided, in this case, sense of community. I have every confidence in Dr. Drew, whom I knew as an unusually smart teenager who went off to Harvard, as did two of his brothers. I first met Ms. Bales when she was a nose-ringed and barefoot Miss Little Tree. I think she's very good on the radio, at least the one time I heard her interviewing some very boring local luminary (is there any other kind of local luminary?) where she had to do all the talking. She managed the excruciating interchange very well. Tree of course is a charter member of the Bari Cult and also of course no mention of the Bari interlude from the skeptical position can be mentioned on Free Speech Radio, Mendocino County. Or at the County Museum in Willits for that matter. I'm aware, though, as most of us are, that KZYX doesn't do controversy because it upsets the Bushansky wing of the Democrat Party who have dominated the station since it's dubious founding by a Republican hustler called Sean Donoivan. But as you also certainly know we live in a cringing, cowardly time, what with all these little orthodoxy sniffers trying to tell us all what we should think about the issues of the day. I say let 'er rip, and trust us all to make up our own minds about everything. Onward!

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A Oct. 26 Press Democrat article aptly described the multiple issues facing the Potter Valley Project, but I was taken aback by Rep. Jared Huffman’s statement that decommissioning may be a faster and easier way to deal with the project.

As with the federal licensing process, the decommissioning process will require millions of dollars for multiple environmental studies, and it most likely will cost between $100 million and $500 million to address infrastructure, sediment, mitigation, restoration and litigation.

The Russian River needs the water, and so does the Eel River. Lake Pillsbury, part of the Potter Valley Project, provides a year-round water supply for water users and endangered fish in both rivers, and it provides critical water for wildland fire suppression.

If corporate sponsors can fund the studies for a decommissioning process, surely they can find the $18 million needed to complete the studies for a future Potter Valley Project — hopefully one that preserves Lake Pillsbury and implements fish mitigation enhancements for the Eel River in lieu of removal of Scott Dam.

None of this will be fast or easy.

Nancy Horton

Santa Rosa

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Mendocino Coast District Hospital Board Treasurer John Redding commented on Chris Calder’s recent report about the Coast Hospital District Board’s attempt to address problems at the Adventists Coast Hospital. The AVA’s Chris Calder replied and this exchange ensued.

First, the last few paragraphs of Calder’s report: “According to Treasurer Redding, even though the district never applied for any relief funds, large amounts were deposited in district accounts by HHS ‘according to some algorithm,’ eventually amounting to $5.8 million. Unsure if the district actually qualified for the money, the board spent none of it. Now, he said, it appears that the district can keep at least $4.4 million. ‘That will go a long way toward building a new hospital, or whatever,’ he said. ‘We're kind of flush with cash right now,’ he said, adding that at least $3 million in additional money for adjusted MediCal and MediCare payments has also just showed up in district bank accounts. ‘They think we still own the hospital for some reason,’ Redding said.”

Redding: The correct website address is The “www” must be used to get to the new website. Also, the last quote is incorrect. Peevishly yours, John.

Calder: No, the last quote is not incorrect. Watch the meeting. “For some reason, they think we still own the hospital,” is exactly what Redding said. Truth matters, Mr. Redding.

Redding: Yes, I said that but not in the context in which you place the quote. I had remarked that CMS has delayed a $2.1 M payment owed the District because they think we still own the hospital. This was referring to the fact that the CHOW, or change of ownership, is still pending even though that document was filed months and months ago. Context matters, Mr. Calder. If you want to get the story straight and are unsure of what was meant, just call me for clarification or comment. Instead of asserting that truth doesn’t matter to me. Which seems more applicable to you than to me.

Calder: I stand by my reporting. The statement Redding made in his initial comment that the quote was incorrect was false, and you acknowledge that. Now he says it was taken out of context. That is also false. The context in which he made his statement is the context in which it was reported: Redding referred to MediCal and MediCare making reimbursement to the district related to adjustments of payments from previous years. I think at this point, an interview with Redding, all on the record and recorded, by both of us if you like, would help the public understand both his commitment to the truth, and the job he is doing representing the people of the Mendocino Coast and their healthcare needs. When can we sit down and talk?

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Dear Friends and Forest Lovers,

We believe our case is very strong. Yesterday, Judge Jeanine Nadel of Superior Court in Ukiah postponed our TRO hearing to protect Enchanted Meadow. She ordered the emergency hearing to be heard sixteen days later on November 19, at 9:30 am in Dept. E. In the interim the Mendocino Redwood Compan may continue to log and desecrate the Enchanted Meadow environs.

Contact us at if you're someone who “cares a whole awful lot.” Thank you!

Friends of Enchanted Meadow


Quote from the Lorax: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.”

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Beth Bosk: Somebody needs to run against Jeanine Nadel. She's bought and paid for by MRC. The whole purpose of a TRO is to put a stop to permanent damage so a case can be made. Jeanine Nadel has used this stall before to allow total destruction to go unabated. This is the second time on this THP. Are you or do you know an attorney willing to run against her? There will be plenty of help.

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Dear AVA Editor:

In reference to your back-handed election endorsement in which you wrote, “[DA Eyster] makes reasonable and proportionate charging decisions.” Thank you for the professional compliment and thank you for noticing.

As for the claim of my having “imperious personality tendencies,” I had to pause to research this niggle, as I couldn’t tell whether this was another professional compliment or an ad hominem attack.

According to the very old Webster’s Dictionary sitting on my bookshelf (yes, I still have and use books), an imperious personality is “befitting or characteristic of one of eminent rank or attainments; commanding, dominant, intensely compelling.” So, in that Websterian context, thank you again for the professional compliment and thank you for noticing.

However, your misguided attempt to portray the interim auditor as a competent underdog is a disagreement I will leave for another day. As we both know, her fight ultimately is not with me or my staff, as we were not the five votes she took for granted but failed to procure at the Board level.

You really fell off the wagon and must have hit your head hard in leveling criticism at the high-quality investigators working in my office who promote public safety and assist in investigating serious and violent crime. Even you, Messrs. Anderson and Scaramella, have in the past acknowledged the DA investigators for their high-level functioning and expertise in a wide array of investigative functions ranging from officer-involved shootings to homicide investigations to complex and intricate white collar criminal activity.

I have to admit I did laugh a little when I saw your misfired arrow that I somehow manipulated CEO Angelo to somehow “pad” my office with investigators.

The current number of investigators working under my supervision is based on demonstrated real world public safety needs vetted by the county personnel department, the CEO’s office, and, ultimately, the entire Board of Supervisors. The number of investigators positions needed was approved long before I was sworn in as DA; all I have done was seek out high quality law enforcement candidates to upgrade each position when opportunities presented themselves.

I trust your hard fall was not from a “defund the DA” bandwagon. The DA investigators are necessary to and important for dealing with the realities of a more violent class of defendant that we are unfortunately having to help investigate and vigorously prosecute on almost a daily basis.

Thank you for this opportunity to thank you and to share important information.

If you would like to further “investigate” the DA investigators and their importance to local law enforcement and public safety, please feel free to schedule a meeting with Chief DA Investigator Bailey and I over here in Ukiah. I believe you know the way over the hill and, while I have been the DA, you folks have always been welcomed in the “inner sanctum,” as you have in the past referred to my basement office.

DA Dave Eyster


ED NOTE: All highly debatable, but I'll take the DA up on his invitation for an in-person visit, but as always prior to visits with the county's lead law enforcement officer in the ancient basement catacombs of the County Courthouse,I will put my affairs in order and make sure at least a dozen people know where I am.

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Keta Hodgson is furious that she received a glass of water at a restaurant without asking, citing it as a needless waste. Let’s do some arithmetic. If every citizen of Sonoma County (rounded to 500,000) goes out once a week and receives that pint of water, that works out to 3.25 million gallons per year. That is the amount roughly seven acres of cannabis require per year. Sonoma County has permitted 10,000 times that acreage for cannabis. This is to say nothing of vineyards and other crops. So while I would agree that every little bit helps, let’s keep our outrage in perspective. Every citizen could cut their personal drinking and flushing to zero, and it would barely dent the water deficit when compared to the usage of agriculture.

Paul Kitzerow

Santa Rosa

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My mother had a bachelor’s degree in journalism and worked as a newspaper reporter. If a public official had spoken to her, saying they were quitting because of “racial bias” and “microaggressions,” her first questions would have been those questions she always said were the core and essence of journalism: Who did what, where, when and why?

But you’ve just reported on two public officials resigning or declining county posts while making those accusations, and you’ve left your readers without the slightest clue as to what actually happened to them, and with no idea whether their accusations are well-founded or are overblown hype.

Admittedly, my experience is from 60 years ago, but do journalists no longer ask those questions?

Willis Eschenbach


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To the Editor:

I’m in favor of the annexation of Ukiah with the Ukiah Valley Fire District in general. A consolidation of the UVFD and the UFD should improve response times, improve fire fighting capability, and save cost by eliminating some duplicate functions. However, since residents of the City are already paying for the UFD through sales tax, I am opposed to paying an additional parcel tax. I am in total agreement that City residents and businesses should pay the same as those outside city limits. To get my support, the City should either a) pay the equivalent of the parcel taxes on behalf of the city residents and businesses with the sales tax, OR b) reduce the sales tax to offset what will be paid in parcel taxes by property owners. It is not right for the City to enjoy a revenue windfall at the expense of the taxpayer. 

When Measures P (Police) and S (Fire) passed, City employees got significant raises. I have nothing against City employees, but the City does need to live within its means, just like all of us do. 

The Q&A from the City says renters will not have to pay the parcel taxes, but landlords will have to pass the cost onto their tenants in the form of higher rent. Businesses will have to pass the cost onto its customers in the form of higher prices. Those of us on fixed incomes or in the lower economic classes are already feeling the brunt of inflation. If the additional cost is a concern to you, please submit a protest form to LAFCO and attend the hearing on Nov. 8, if you can.

D. E. Johnson


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To the Editor:

Please support the Ukiah Valley Fire District’s application to annex the City of Ukiah for fire service. Don’t be mislead by the selfish and misinformed ad campaign against the annexation being waged by Medstar Ambulance Company. Medstar is apparently worried enough about the effect it thinks the annexation may have on its business to spend heavily on direct mail ads and full-page newspaper ads. This is unfortunate because the annexation has nothing to do with ambulance service and everything to do with adequately funding fire protection services for the entire Ukiah Valley and the City of Ukiah.

Since 2015 the City and the Ukiah Valley Fire District have joined together to provide fire protection services to their residents and businesses through the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority, but only District residents and businesses pay voter approved parcel taxes, resulting in a funding shortfall. If the annexation is approved, City residents and businesses will become part of the Fire District and property in the City will become subject to the same parcel tax District residents already pay.

It will cost homeowners in the City $120 per year for parcel taxes that will cover an annual revenue shortfall of $500,000, allow the jointly operated and funded Ukiah Valley Fire Authority to fully staff its fire stations and replace antiquated equipment that is desperately needed to respond to the ever increasing threat of wild fires. If the annexation is not approved, funding for this vital public safety service will remain inadequate to man the two firehouses with 3 on-duty firefighters. At the same time, the new normal severe fire seasons have placed increasing demands on on-duty and on call staff.

Don’t be confused or mislead by Medstar’s ad campaign. Its business will not be harmed by the annexation, but if Medstar is successful in opposing it, all residents and businesses in the Ukiah Valley will be.

I am submitting this letter as a Ukiah resident and not in my capacity as the Ukiah City Attorney.

David Rapport


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I thoroughly enjoyed Ann Kil­lion’s tribute to Buster Posey in the Chronicle. Three World Series wins and his accolades all speak to Posey’s excellence on the baseball field.

I take exception to the assertion that Posey was a player in a class with Willie Mays. Those of us who were privileged to watch Mays play beginning in 1958 know that there has been no one else in his class. Mays was the epitome of the “five-tool player.” Not only could he run, throw, field, hit and hit with power, he was one of the best in the history of the game in all five of those categories. Posey a great baseball player? Of course. In a class with Willie Mays? Never.

Kenneth Jones

San Francisco

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