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Letters To The Editor


Ms. Janelle Beland (Acting Director of State Parks),

Over the last ten months, I have written and published 13 in-depth articles on the Parks crisis. The articles appeared in the Anderson Valley Advertiser and on a Mendocino listserve. However, during all that time, in spite of the fact that Anderson Valley is at the center of the closures controversy, the Parks Department has routinely ignored inquiries concerning privatization initiatives. Mr. Stearns, for instance, consistently ignored queries about RFPs issued since January. These RFPs ultimately produced a number of camping units (Brannan Island and Benbow Lake for example) being turned over to American Land and Leisure Company. This was done without public input, with no opportunity for local communities to weigh in, and with no sign that communications with the department were going to improve anytime soon. I repeatedly pointed out that the status of non-profit proposals for keeping individual units of the 70 parks slated for closure were indeed listed on the California State Parks Foundation list, along with information as to status and nature of the proposal. Some press releases from CalParks also routinely referred to non-profit organizations' efforts.

Why, then, are we still being kept in the dark about RFPs and agreements with for-profit companies? Ruth Coleman, during her tenure, was often heard to call her department the “enterprise department.” Additionally, she has been a commentator on PROS Consulting reports, such as the Arizona State Parks report of 2010. PROS Consulting has consistently advocated private for-profit interests, ways to shift the budget burden on to users, and lowering labor costs by replacing professionals with lower wage workers in the private sector. She is on video tape as having told the American Recreation Coalition, in January of 2012, that private concessionaires know how to run campgrounds, whereas volunteer organizations (and one may assume park professionals) do not. There are many such indications that former Director Coleman had a pro-business bias.

Currently, PROS Consulting, with-out public input, is conducting as survey at three park districts. The report (due in October 2012) is almost certain to advocate privatization of revenue rich units of the system. Again, this is an example of no transparency, no public input, and no accountability. And, frankly, you should not assume that California State Parks Foundation speaks for all or even the majority of Californians. CSPF is a professional lobbying organization, as you well know. You may not know, however, that its Board of 30 Directors is exclusively drawn from the ranks of bankers, real estate developers, wealth management professionals, corporate lawyers, Disney and PG&E executives. Absent are biologists, park management professionals, environmentalists, and others who come from the broad cross-section of California citizens, let alone the many dedicated, well- established volunteer organizations It can hardly be expected to provide an adequate sampling of sentiment among all parks advocates. Clearly, users, visitors, volunteers, and California taxpayers are concerned that revenue rich components of the Parks will be siphoned off, further weakening the remaining, not so revenue rich, elements. This is a proscription for disaster.

I'd like you to address these concerns directly. You can dispense with the boiler plate nostrums that are available. You might also find it worth noting that when two requests for documents (January 2012) by members of the Mendocino community concerning who constituted the parks closure committee and what communications prior to the May 13th, 2011 announcement of the 70 parks slated for closure there were between DPR and the Governor's Office, all that these requests produced was useless boilerplate platitudes extracted from existing DPR publications. Ann Malcolm, specifically, claimed that some 64 pages were not released to us due to “executive” privilege.

I will continue to press these issues and publish at every opportunity. Being able to rely on direct communications from DPR will help immensely to insure fair and balanced reporting. Not having access to information that affects the public's business, and to which we have a right, can only exascerbate the impression that appointed officials are a world onto themselves, unaccountable to anyone but the powerful. Since DPR, specifically, holds public lands as a public trust, it also has an obligation to communicate openly and completely with its constituency. The alternative is the current sense that some officials at DPR have practiced deceit, betrayal, and malpractice.

An example of the publications I have written on the Parks is attached. Clearly, I would like a real conversation with parks officials. It is not enough to access the CalParks online communications site and find that the most current posting from August 1st has nothing to do with the real issues that State Parks is facing and what or how State Parks intends to deal with them. As a self- described communications expert, perhaps you can help to provide greater transparency and openness between the DPR and its constituency.


Franklin Graham,




Dear Editor:

In late June the US Supreme Court by on a 5-4 vote struck down automatic mandatory life sentencing without parole for juveniles, as is the practice in 26 states, ruling the law violated the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. In a previous case the court ruled in Graham v. Florida that juveniles convicted of non-homicide offenses could not be sentenced to life without parole under the Eighth  Amendment.  Last Thursday the  California  Supreme Court ruled that a term of years sentence that is effectively a defacto life without parole is in  contravention of  Graham's mandate against cruel and usual punishment  under the  Eighth Amendment.

The US is about the only developed country that tries juveniles in adult courts. These rulings are important steps in eliminating this barbaric practice. As for me if I was assigned to a jury pool involved in such a case I would tell the judge  “I am opposed to the judicial lynching of children and I refuse to participate as a juror in the trial.”

In peace,

James G. Updegraff




Dear Editor,

Even though millions of dollars in misplaced funds for State Parks were discovered, it doesn't discount the terrific job Kathy Bailey and her fine group of volunteers did to raise more than $50,000 to keep Hendy Woods State Park open. I especially enjoyed the Kris Kristofferson concert in Mendocino.

Kristofferson proved to be a good and decent man to rearrange his busy schedule to plug in the Mendocino concert and generously lend his time and talent to the fundraiser for Hendy Woods.

Kristofferson came on to the stage in the big white tent without much preamble. He walked to the microphone in jeans, boots and a off-white colored southwestern style shirt with a thick rolled collar, and a guitar and no hat. He is in his mid seventies and was fighting a bad cold. After using his handkerchief to blow his nose, he said, “I bet you guys are thinking, I paid money for a concert and I'm just watching an old fart blow his nose.”

I don't fully understand how he did it, but I was mesmerized by the guy and I think the entire audience loved him. Because of his age and his cold, he often had to talk musically because he couldn't hit all of his notes singing. When he spoke, we heard and understood all of the words. And, more than anything else, his greatest talent is he is a wonderful writer.

He wrote, I went into a cafe in a small desert town and saw a couple of truck drivers drinking coffee sitting at the counter, and I notice two small Okie boys standing by the screen door. One of the boys asked the waitress how much it cost for a round candy ball. She said how much do you have? The boy said a penny. The waitress said the round candy balls are two for a penny. And the two boys were happy when they went outside. The truckers said to the waitress that candy ain't two for a penny. She said, that's my business. When the truckers left the counter, the waitress said, wait a minute, you left too much money. The truckers said, That's our business.

Another time he knew he was getting dumped by a beautiful lady he cared for but he couldn't stop going out and drinking with the boys. He came in late again and he saw the moonlight shining on her beautiful light red hair. The moonshine was coming from the window in that room. He pulled her face gently on to his pillow.

(I'm not putting quotes on any of the things he wrote because I may be screwing up part of the words.)

It is just this. He often said in the concert that “I'm really glad I came up here.”

Because he brought so much experience and gravitas to those moments, it was special to have a neighbor in Elk who had such generosity of spirit to aid his community.

Ken Hurst





A new word: Corpiration.

This is not a misspelling, but a term I cobbled together because I thought it was widely and obviously needed for accuracy and clarity, in communicating and for thinking purposes. It's a combination of Latin “corp” for embodiment and Latin “pirata” for the practice and practitioners of illegal violence on the seas and on the shores.

It was printed by the heartwarming little biweekly, Hawaii Island Journal, in their Letters section around 2005 if I recall correctly. Sadly, HIJ has since been plowed under by corporate (corpirate) media, leaving a void there still unfilled.

Still, this home-built word stays handy for specifying the criminal nature and behavior of these artificial organisms we made so welcome in our midst.

I know you have a preference for print and I mostly agree. But I felt compelled to respond to last year's Japanese earthquake disaster and the nuclear horrors it unleashed in an immediate and public way. I began posting a series of notes to try to organize my thinking about those issues and to communicate with others perhaps. In fact if you can bring yourself to look at, I'd like to solicit your response to these unpolished observations in general. In particular, I'd like to know what you think of the entry titled “Friendly Fire; One Veterans View.”

If you have the time and inclination please check it out. If not, I know your attention sees much demand and I remain among your most avid readers. Thank you.

Quite sincerely,

R. Widdle

Brookings, Oregon

PS. Thanks again for years of the most excellent AVA!



Dear Republicans:

Dick Cheney has just told* Romney-Ryan that they propose at the Republican convention (he can't make it to Tampa himself due to an appointment to overhaul his motor) to run that pipeline from Canada to Oklahoma through his ranch in Wyoming (what a guy!), thence to Utah's Salt Lake (Williard contributes a few acres from the tabernacle, you see), and they win in November having created all those jobs. Ta Da!

And after that horrible pipe rupture right over the Ogallala Aquifer like the spill in Michigan by the same company (by the way) we can employ thousands for years to come ala Prince William Sound! Win-win.

OldAnd Intheway,

Eureka (very cold)

PS. *Fiction



Attention: Joe Don Mooney:

I loved your article about the Rockabilly Rebels. I wanted to call you to express my appreciation for your fine account of that musical event but you are not in “the book.” Would you please notify me of next year's event? I'd love to go. Maybe we can carpool.


Louise Mariana





Thank you for printing my letter. Here's a poem I have written through the years each week with a little intro. I'm just trying to get some mail. Thank you.


Josh Bolen

San Quentin

PS. Posted Up. Posted Up in my cell, glaring at midair, trapped in a state of reminiscence, I swear I could see my baby there with her captivating smile looking so fine and divine being mesmerized by the beautiful glow and a sparkle in her eye, simply causes all the hate and frustration I conceal inside to resolve and die.

Holding her in my arms, intoxicated by her scent, for the first time in my life I am feeling at ease and content, suddenly I realize that this is just simply another dream pondering on the times that we shared. Yes, they have been very few but each moment has been so precious and so very rare, only if you knew how much I adore and miss you. I wish I could hold and kiss you, the tenderness of your touch which I desire so much but it's been a long long time since I felt that good, good feeling.

* * *

Greetings and salutations ladies. I am currently being held against my will and the mailman seems to just keep flying by my cell. I am looking for a friend who I can become close to and be able to talk to and tell her how I'm feeling and I want her to be able do the same. I posted a letter a couple weeks ago to the editor but I did not proofread it before I sent it so there more a few things that were incorrect. One is I don't have a couple tattoos, I've got my whole body full of tattoos from the neck down and I'm 33 years of age, white, I write poetry and I am waiting patiently to make a friend. I'm currently incarcerated. I have less than two years left. So pick up a pen and paper if you want to put a smile on someone's face. I will send a photo and response to any one's letter if they would like.

Waiting on your words, angels on your pillows,

Josh Bolen T-52860

San Quentin, CA 94974




Ola from Ensenada.

A great preview of our future Mexico. But oh well, the decline of western civilization is just too boring to spend a lot of time on anymore. It’s election time and I can't even find the TV guide. It’s not Mitt, it’s Williard, not Mitt, Williard, not Mitt Williard like the Rat from the film (the film being a tone perfect biopic of the Repuglicans’ plan), it’s not Mitt, it’s Williard and people shouldn't let one fool pass this asshole off as Mitt because it’s Williard the Rat Bastard, there are no substantive claims that there is any difference including that irksome tail. And now hooked up w with Paul Ryaerrrand. Another Rat Bastard

Anyhoo. Yep the Williard/Rand plan well now there's some substance (although the substance has an irksome bathroom odor and is hell to get off one’s shoe). Give me a shout out if that TV Guide turns up. It’s in Spanish, but comforting just the same.

As usual w/Love

Tim Hemlock




Dear AVA:

Thank you for all the good journalism and political editorials. I have been inspired by your courage and willingness to publish all the stuff you seem to neatly stuff into one newspaper. At nearly 60 years of age I have two things left on my bucket list and guess what: I believe you can help. I want to be published here or anywhere and go on record that I support the families of the following corpses: Raymond Yellow Thunder, Acorn Peters, Marvin Noble, Martin Luther King and Trayvon Martin. Before I join them I merely want to remind young people of color that racism, bigotry and institutionalized genocidal warfare persist to this day. Since high school I rallied many to end the war on racism and class bigotry, yet it seems now like such a waste of time because I feel no safer than I did when I was a kid at Oak Manor Elementary getting the shit kicked out of me by somebody else's children for being young, dark and curly.

Case in point. I was arrested, jailed without trial for three weeks for looking like a homeless guy who began pummeling the food co-op grocery bag boy for no apparent reason back in January. It was a charge I vehemently denied from the outset, at the arrest that was blocks away from the alleged attack. The maximum sentence for the “crime” would have been 30 days. At the arraignment to the charges I was called a “transient” and without resources to post bond at $15,000. So I sat in jail. At the pretrial the appointed public defender said to plead guilty to the charges or stay in jail for an indeterminate number of days in custody until a jury trial would be calendared. This meant staying in jail an indefinite number of days beyond the maximum sentence.

Of course, this made as much sense to me as the initial charge of assault which I pleaded innocent to twice, once in writing to the court before the trial issue even came up. Only by inadequate and unresponsive legal counsel provided by the County and the bigoted and libelous behavior of the district attorney, staff and judge, I chose the door to freedom and pled to a crime I did not commit nor would I ever commit against anyone unless in self-defense.

It is this last point I want to make clear to anyone I ever shared a drum, guitar or dance lesson with over the last 20 years in this county. Unlike the DA's office, I don't take cheap shots at defenseless people just because they don't measure up to some arbitrary and capricious standard of normalcy such as performed by their offices during the three weeks that I sat in their jail. Nothing can replace the time I left there or the economic and political fallout created by the County's notion of creative disaster capitalism — our lives lost create their revenue. Who says you can't run government on three felonies a day?


David Lincoln


PS. RIP my brothers. (Adrian, Virgil, Mike, Norm, Eric, Mahatma and Jesus C., Jeff, Delia, Binky, Juan, Richard, and everyone who died walking or driving while black! It's on the young now!

PS. I need a good lawyer?



Dear Editor and fellow AVAers —

Half of the energy consumed by man in the past 20,000 years has been consumed in the last century. Also evident is the acceleration of economic growth in the United Nations which race toward super-industrialization.

In France, between 1910 and the outbreak of the Second World War, industrial production rose 5%. Then, between 1948 and 1965, it increased 220%. Things move fast these days. Too fast. Speed is insane; though we may pray the damage won't be fatal. Ha!

As I said in my AVA letter, “Waiting To Exhale,” “Sooner or later the steepness of the slope and our momentum down its curve will take us beyond the point of no return. Let's slow down our momentum toward environmental catastrophe before our momentum carries us past the point beyond which an ecological collapse is inevitable.”

Save the trees and plant more please. Is botany more important than the bonfire? I want both — to see the flames against the waveswept dark sea, and watch the almond trees blossom on Cedar Street.

Diana Vance,

With the sound of the ocean in the distance

Deadtree, Mendocino




My sincere most intense loving greetings. Tonight I begin a week and a half of housesitting for my longtime hiking partner/zen priest friend and his wife in Pinole. A two-level home with landscaped back garden above the commercial district, a reliable auto full of petrol, and they are giving me hundreds of dollars just to walk the dog twice daily. I am not certain if I can handle this much comfort all at once, since suffering on the frontlines of the global psychotic patriarchal plutocracy is my norm. However, I will try.

I am no longer in need of living anywhere in particular. I am playing LOTTO four times weekly, because more money will enable me to live on the earth plane without restrictions. Full global mobility is our common goal! Do we consense on this crucial point?

Let's be real. In order to usher in a brand new happy civilization based on the immortal eternal spiritual core of all phenomena, and install this on top of the bones of the old demonic suicide of a postmodern civilization, will require our being fully available for spontaneous use by the Absolute (ParaBrahman, Dao, Buddha Mind, Christ Consciousness, Goddess, God, Shiva-Shakti, Krishna Consciousness, Allah, the Self, Your Choice Here).

To that end, I am hereby publicly proclaiming that my only desire is to be wu wei (i.e., “non-interference”) in regard to the Dao working directly and spontaneously through the Craig Louis Stehr body/mind complex.

I am actively seeking others whose only desire is to be on the earth plane in harmony with the Dao, and to bring about the destruction of the global psychotic patriarchal plutocracy.


Craig Louis Stehr


PS. Facebook me, baby!



To The Editor:

I just read an article in today’s Journal titled “County: Diesel spill did not reach Ackerman Creek” regarding the fuel truck accident on Orr Springs Road. Well of course the spill didn’t reach Ackerman Creek because Ackerman is located behind the big ridge east of Orr Springs and it runs east to the Russian River. Where the wreck occurred is on the upper reaches of Big River which runs west to the ocean.

According to the article “Redwood Empire Hazardous Incident Team responded to the crash, including REHIT members from Ukiah Valley Fire, CalFire, Ukiah Fire, Willits Fire and Mendocino County Environmental Health. State Dept. of Fish and Game wardens and Biologists also responded because that stretch of Ackerman Creek is home to the endangered Yellow-legged Frog, according to the county’s statement.”

Now wouldn’t you think that all of these supposed experts would know what waterway they are on? And I’m really questioning the statement about the yellow-legged frogs in Ackerman Creek. How can the supposed experts know they are there if they don’t even know where Ackerman Creek is?

Thank you

David Anderson





Here we go again — four bridges in Avenue of the Giants slated next by Caltrans project managers. Avenue of the Giants. Caltrans Four Bridges Meeting is Thursday August 23, 2012 (4:30 p.m.-6:30) South Fork High School Gym, 6831 Avenue of the Giants, Miranda, CA

My letter to Caltrans:

In regards to the Four Bridges proposed projects in the Avenue of the Giants, I choose the NO BUILD ALTERNATIVE. To me, no build means no bridge widening and no damage to be done in the Caltrans 4 Bridges Proposed Project in Avenue of the Giants.. Fix what is broken; but don’t make another pork barrel project out of our historical treasures.

Do you purposefully intend to harm old growth redwoods by cutting their roots? Is it true you don't care about harm to Marbled Murrelets, so you advertise that you will do a project during the nesting season of the endangered Marbled Murrelet's? Am I reading correctly, that you seem uncaring that this will impact the already endangered Eel River?

Will the State Parks sign off on this like they are signing off on all the destructive projects going on in OUR State Parks? Are the State Parks Officials in bed with Caltrans too?

This project is presented in a heartless and despicable way, with absolutely no thought of care about our protected State Parks and it's habitat, endangered species, or the protected Eel River, in my humble opinion.

Is it your intention to cause us further distress, knowing the people are trying to protect Richardson Grove State Park, Willits wetlands and farmlands, and Highway 199/197 old growth from the same harmful plans to log and cut the roots of old growth when you know you don’t need to do this? This is over the edge, and I certainly hope Governor Jerry Brown and Senator Noreen Evans come down on your wasteful spending of the taxpayer's money. You should be ashamed.

Perhaps we need to split the gas tax to be utilized in other areas besides one over-inflated project after the next.

Why aren't you fixing the serious problems instead of pushing these projects you say are for safety, when no accidents have occurred? Just in the Southern Humboldt and Mendocino County vicinity, there are places where the road is caving in, north and south of Richardson Grove. North of Richardson Grove State Park, near Big Foot, the river is gradually taking the ground under the highway. Oh, and the mountain is still caving in near the new Confusion Hill Bi-pass you all wasted way to much money on, and you all made way to many violations to harm the environment and Eel River on that Confusion Hill bi-pass project too. Up in Smith River Canyon, the road is way too narrow to be messed with and yet someone seems to be allowing Wal-Mart STAA Trucks (over 65 feet big rigs) to go through 199 without restrictions? Or am I mistaken?

Were these four bridges in Avenue of the Giants just earthquake retrofitted recently? What do you expect it would cost to fix the four bridges in this proposed plan? Do you care about the survival of the 2% of old growth forests under “protection?” If you do, then abandon this proposed project and just do what is necessary to fix the Four Bridges. The people are so tired of your bloated multi million dollar make-work projects that are invading our supposedly protected State Parks.

Access and temporary roads deserve careful scrutiny. They extend the project's footprint with root damage, vegetation removal, and soil compaction. We can expect that heavy equipment will drive and park on the old growth redwood roots. Temporary road construction made the Big Lagoon project much more damaging. An Environmental Impact Report should clear up some of this, and let the truth be known.


For Keeping Caltrans OUT of OUR State Parks,

Trisha Lee Lotus




Dear Editor,

The Mendocino Coast is fortunate to have the unique Inglenook Fen — Ten Mile Natural Preserve within MacKerricher State Park. This Preserve is the location of coastal dune and wetland habitats that support many special plant and animal species, and provide habitat for resident and migrating shorebirds. The Preserve was set aside in 1995 by State Parks expressly “to preserve such features as rare or endangered plant and animal species and their supporting ecosystem…”. (Public Resources Code (PRC § 5019.50 - 5019.80))

The Preserve includes the Ingelnook Fen, the ONLY remaining fen in California and a relic of the ice ages, and the Ten Mile dunes complex, which represents one of the few remaining natural dunes areas on the California Coast. We are indeed fortunate that the dunes and wetlands have not been subjected to the degradation and abuse that has occurred at other dune complexes along the coast, the Oceano Dunes in San Luis Obispo County being a prime example.

Because of the unique qualities of the Preserve; including rare plants, sensitive dune-mat plant communities, and snowy plover nesting habitat; the Sierra Club, Mendocino Group is in support of the Mackerricher Dunes Rehabilitation Project proposed by Mendocino Sector State Parks. We find that the value of the Preserve on ecological grounds outweighs the value of the disintegrating haul road, and we support its removal. This is not meant to negate the value for recreation of the haul road, but rather to encourage the Parks to provide realistic alternative trails into the Preserve that protect the ecology while allowing visitors to experience the sweeping expanse of natural dunes, scenic views of the ocean, and unusual plants, animals and birds. Limited reinforced-sand or boardwalk visitor trails can protect the environment by directing visitors to less sensitive areas while offering the good walking surface people enjoy.

The haul road has impacted the Preserve for many years by creating a hard barrier between the sandy beach and the inland swales. This impact has only increased with shoreline erosion and has brought the shoreline right up to the haul road in many places, undercutting it and toppling the pavement onto the beach. The ocean waves have been unable to level the hard barrier to smooth the shoreline, as would naturally occur, leaving the low-gradient shoreline that is essential to the nesting snowy plovers. These birds are endangered in California precisely because of human impacts on sandy beaches. The northcoast holds perhaps the best chance for the plovers to retain some nesting habitat. It is imperative that we allow Parks to restore this area to its natural low gradient shoreline.

Regarding the removal of European beach grass, we find that without removal, the huge grasses will take over the foredunes and areas of the mid- and back dunes, eliminating natural habitat there. As an invasive species, European beach grass is relentless, and we support hand-removal at every opportunity. If Parks can implement a phased removal, where private property is somewhat protected by preemptive planting of shore pine and other native plants, the dune environment can be restricted at the eastern edge (although nothing can entirely stop dune movement). The Local Coastal Plan does allow for sand removal if dunes encroach on private property.

The value of the unique dunes ecosystem, which relies on natural sand and water processes, weighs in to support the return to a more natural state of the dunes. The Sierra Club, Mendocino Group supports the removal of the haul road relics and European beach grass, the phased protections on the eastern boundary, and the establishment of low-impact trails for recreation.

Sierra Club, Mendocino Group

Coastal Committee

Rixanne Wehren, Mary Walsh, Linda Perkins



Dear Bruce,

The editor of The Progressive, Matthew Rothchild, wrote an excellent article about the dilemma faced by people on the left regarding whether or not to vote for Obama.

The arguments against voting for neither him nor Romney can be summarized this way: Obama has done nothing to get climate change under control; the Democratic party is gutless and unprincipled, bought and paid for by the same interests that buy and pay for the Republican Party; he has been so callously killing people with drone attacks in total violation of international law; Obama has either fostered or allowed the Bill of Rights to be shredded in many ways, and the economy still sucks; he is a “corporate liberal” and neither his party or he himself have earned your vote. This would be a means of saying no to the two-party system itself.

On the other hand, there is a very good argument in favor of voting for Obama. That vote would provide us with space; it would be a vote against the implicit and explicit racism of the Republican Party; it would be a vote against ‘white revanchism’, the Right’s attempt to prevent any and all redistributionism from whites to non-whites. Even though we have been criticizing Obama for three and a half years, the rightist movement is so hideous, in so many ways, a vote for Obama might make people’s lives less miserable than Romney would.

Or, as some advocate, would it be best to vote for anyone other than Obama or Romney, or not for the office of President at all and work to build a mass movement on the Left? Or, would it be best to not vote at all and thereby withhold giving consent to the entire system?

What further complicates the issue is that there are only eight ‘swing’ states. If you don’t live in one of them your vote doesn’t much matter anyway, as blue is blue and red is red, and it doesn’t look like they will change in the near future.

This is an agonizing, existential dilemma. It will let each of us know what we think and what we feel, and how we wish to live on this planet. To vote or not to vote, that is the question.


Lee Simon

Far ‘n Away Farm, Virginia

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