THE AVA IS BEING SQUEEZED big time by the Post Office. The people who proudly advertise themselves as getting NetFlicks to you by snow shoe if they have to, have ceased delivering the AVA in a timely manner, and often not delivering it at all to areas of the country outside Mendocino, Humboldt and Sonoma counties. Most weeks, inside the Emerald Triangle, the paper arrives on Thursdays. Outside the Triangle, Mendo's sole source of real news would also reach the San Francisco Bay Area by Thursday and points east all the way to New York City by Saturday. No more. Bay Area deliveries are at least seven days late. Other areas of the country? Like, whenever.
LAST MONTH, a certain Ms. Rutledge of the mammoth Petaluma Distribution Center, called Boonville to say she was on the case. And for one whole week the papers got where they're supposed to get right on time. I was so elated that a real live Post Officer person was untying our delivery knot I sang Ms. Rutledge's praises in our very next issue. Which promptly disappeared, and has disappeared every week since. Ms. Rutledge herself has also since disappeared.
NEXT, we heard from a Mr. Johnston. He asked for a picture of the AVA's front page. We sent him one. Maybe the P.O. was going to put the AVA on milk cartons for its employee lunch rooms. “Have you seen this newspaper?” Since Mr. Johnston's intervention the paper is even slower arriving most places, and readers are beginning to give up in frustration. Our stand sales are also diminishing. There aren't many newsstands left, and there aren't many bookstores left either, and we depend on both for a large part of our monthly income. But anymore, thanks to the Post Office, readers hustling to Bay Area bookstores hoping to find the paper on the Thursdays it's appeared on for many years, instead find editions two and three weeks old and, often, no paper at all.
WE'RE BEING DRIVEN out of business by the government. We depend on subscribers and stand sales. We're not the kind of paper that advertisers flock to. For a while I thought it was just the AVA being singled out by the same forces who caused Amelia Earhart to go missing, Building 7 to collapse, and that guy on the Grassy Knoll to get away after helping Oswald shoot Kennedy.
BUT TALKING to the honchos of the other papers of Mendocino County, I learned that they, too, have been having delivery problems, so severe in Gualala that Steve McLaughlin, editor of the Independent Coast Observer, editorialized about how tardy to non-existent deliveries were getting seriously in the way of his business.
THE LOGISTICS are not complicated. Papers are separated into different bags by zipcode. Jan The Mail Lady faithfully delivers them already sorted by zip to Cloverdale. At Cloverdale, a southbound truck picks up the bags with the AVAs in them and drops them at Petaluma. From Petaluma, they go here, there and everywhere. Except when they don't. Which is every week now. Something is happening to them in Petaluma and/or San Francisco. All these Post Office sons and daughters of motherless bleeps have to do is open the bag and hand the paper or the bundle of papers to the right carrier. Is there room for confusion anywhere in this process? No. So que pasa, cabrones?
I'VE GOT A CONNECTED nephew. Obama himself came to dinner at Nephew's house, and Nephew hobnobs with Whatsherface Pelosi and other of capitalism's more prominent logistical engineers. Maybe Barack could make a couple of calls, or maybe Nancy or DiFi could stop in at Petaluma on their way to Wine Country to ask why America's Last Newspaper is being knocked out by their government in ongoing, two-footed drone attacks.
BY THE WAY, speaking of advertising, I wrote to our supervisors six weeks ago to point out that the County of Mendocino could save quite a bit of annual money by placing their legal ads in the County's independently-owned newspapers rather than in the Ukiah paper which is owned by outside interests who are heart and soul with Romney and Ryan and every other swinish conglomerate of destructive capital in our doomed country. Not a peep out of any of the supervisors, not that we expected any.
IN THE MEAN TIME, we've drafted the following Uriah-Heepish letter to our pal Mr. Johnston of the Post Office: "Dear Mr. Johnston: Our delivery problems have become so bad they're costing us money. Unless the papers are delivered in a timely manner, as I'm sure you know and agree, people simply stop buying them. Here are two letters neatly summarizing what is happening to us:
'Dear Editor: I'm writing this letter to explain why I'm not renewing my subscription as due on 8-25-2012. The way the P.O. is now it's taking over a week for me to receive the paper, which I love and look forward to very much, especially since I moved to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada to help my elderly mother. For example, I received the 8-8-12 edition on 8-16-12 eight days later. Ridiculous! I know you have no control over when the USPO delivers mail, but I thought you'd want to know why. I'll miss it very much as a long-time (25 years) resident of the Mendocino Coast. It keeps me up on what's going on in the area. Fondly, Suzanne Mayer, Diamond Springs, Ca.'
'Dear AVA Subscription Dept: Please check your records to see if we concur that you cashed my $50 check on 7-18-12. I haven't received a copy of my favorite newspaper in weeks and weeks, and I'm jonesing! Bill Brudage Kurtistown, Hawaii.'
We will miss Ms. Mayer. Mr. Brundage was all paid up and his paper dispatched from Boonville as it has for years on Wednesdays. It isn't getting to him. Every week for six months now we've been bombarded with complaints like this.
My next step is to complain to the postal inspectors. I will tell them that the Post Office is now deliberately delaying delivery of the Anderson Valley Advertiser I say 'deliberately' because this is a simple matter of botched logistics by the Post Office and, by any standard, inexcusable. If there's no resolution with the inspectors, I'll have no alternative but to bring a legal action against the individual postal employees responsible. Sincerely, Bruce Anderson, AVA, Boonville"
RED CROSS ON STANDBY to help residents affected by North Pass Fire near Covelo. Ukiah – As the North Pass Fire continues burning, local American Red Cross volunteers remain on standby to help evacuated residents. Typically, Red Cross services in a fire such as this include a safe place to stay, food, beverages, replacement medications for those that have been destroyed, and emotional support. “The Covelo community is pulling together and taking care of themselves,” said Don Rowe, Disaster Action Team captain with the Red Cross in Mendocino County. “We’re keeping in close contact with visits, emails and phone calls to community members and county personnel, so we’ll be ready if needed.” At this time, few people have contacted the Red Cross for assistance. However, those residents who need assistance can call American Red Cross, 1-855-891-7325, to contact volunteers in Mendocino. HOW PEOPLE CAN HELP: Volunteer. The local Red Cross welcomes prospective volunteers in Mendocino County. American Red Cross is offering a free class, “Disaster Services Overview,” for new volunteers and those who want to learn about Red Cross volunteer opportunities in Mendocino County. The Disaster Services Overview class will be held twice: · in Ukiah, on Thursday, September 13, 413 N. State St., NCO office. Meeting at 6:00 p.m., class at 7:00 to 9:30 p.m., after the monthly Disaster Action Team meeting. New people are welcome at the Disaster Action Team meeting. · In Willits, on Saturday, September 15, Willits Library, 390 East Commercial Street. 10:30am to 1pm. Contact Don Rowe, 707-463-2456 to register or for more information. HOW PEOPLE CAN HELP: Donate Funds. Those who want to help can make a financial donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief, which helps people in disasters like the fire in Mendocino County, as well as emergencies across the country: • visit www.redcross.org • call 1-800-RED-CROSS or 707-577-7600 • text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. • Mail donations to American Red Cross, Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake Counties, 5297 Aero Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95403 or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. As a community-based, humanitarian organization, the American Red Cross, Sonoma, Mendocino & Lake Counties, provides relief to those affected by disasters and empowers individuals in our community to prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. By helping people in our community learn how to take care of their families and neighbors, the Red Cross strengthens the community and makes it ready for all types of disasters, including home fires, earthquakes, wildfires and health emergencies. Call 1-707-577-7600 or visit www.arcsm.org to learn more. You may also find us at www.facebook.com/RedCrossSonomaMendoLake. All assistance to disaster victims and to members of the armed forces provided by the Chapter is free and made possible by voluntary donations of time and money by the people of Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake Counties.
CENERGY POWER, a Modesto- and Carlsbad-based solar company, has announced that they want to install a three-megawatt photovoltaic system on 20 acres in the hills west of Cloverdale. The $12 million installation would be the largest solar collector in Sonoma County. The business idea is to sell power to PG&E for distribution on the grid.