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Letters To The Editor

Dear Editor,

In a letter in the September 5th AVA, I reported that the California assembly had passed by a unanimous 80-0 vote, HR 35, a non-binding resolution which condemned all protests on state university campuses against Israel and in support of the Palestinians as antisemitic, if not outright hate crimes, and that use of such terms as “ethnic cleansing,” “war crimes,” and “apartheid,” in describing Israeli behavior was threatening to the psychological and physical well being of the state's Jewish college students, (some of whom take part in these protests) but the on-campus organizing for BDS ("boycott, divestment, and sanctions") is what really pushed our legislators to hold a match to the 1st Amendment and the concept of academic freedom without thinking twice about it. As we have seen in the behavior of Congress, when an Israeli prime minister or one of his Washington surrogates shouts “Jump!,” our members (or rather “their” members) of Congress ask, “How high?”

It seems that the next member of Congress to represent Mendocino County, Jared Huffman, currently the 1st District Assemblyman (Marin County), already has his Air Jordans and is ready to serve the powers that be.

Two weeks ago, I asked his office and that of Wes Chesbro, our assemblyman, for written explanations of why they agreed to co-sponsor this fetid resolution. Chesbro's Sacramento office did not respond but the night before my September 12th Takes on the World program on KZYX, I received the following email message from Huffman.

* * *

Hello Jeff,

Regarding my support of HR 35, I take anti-Semitism very seriously, I believe it is on the rise, and that’s why I supported HR 35. Upon reflecting on the wording of HR 35, however, I agree that it is overly broad and should have been more narrowly focused to avoid the implication that all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic.

I understood HR 35 to be mainly focused on the so-called “BDS” (boycott, divest, sanctions) movement which has gotten some traction on college campuses, and which I strongly oppose. The BDS movement has singled out and applied a blatant double-standard toward Israel (this in itself can be seen as a form of anti-Semitism or racism) in an attempt to de-legitimize the Jewish state, while praising and supporting groups like Hamas — which, to this day, vows in its charter to destroy Israel and kill all of its Jewish inhabitants. BDS leaders are advocates of a “one state” solution for the Israel-Palestinian conflict. What that means, based on demographics, the stated intentions of groups like Hamas, the fierce anti-Semitism of neighboring Arab states (where Jews are by law prohibited from being citizens), and the history of the region — is that the world’s only Jewish state would cease to exist and Jews who chose to remain would almost certainly be subjected to genocide. I agree with HR 35’s condemnation of the BDS movement, and so should anyone else who believes Israel has a right to exist as a state and Israeli Jews have a right to live in peace and security.

That said, HR 35 should have included language acknowledging the difference between overt and de facto anti-Semitism such as the BDS movement, the use of swastikas, etc., and legitimate forms of pro-Palestinian (or anti-Israeli) expression that are perfectly acceptable as part of the political debate on any college campus. I regret that my colleagues and I did not do a good enough job of scrutinizing the resolution to ensure that it was carefully written.

I hope that answers your question.

— Jared Huffman

* * *

On Sept. 12, I read most of Huffman's response on my program, pointing out that while many BDS supporters are in favor of a single democratic state, the BDS movement takes no position on the final solution and that not only does the BDS movement not support Hamas, it criticizes Hamas on its website over its restrictions on movement of Palestinians within Gaza and its hindering of those who try to leave. The notion that our next member of Congress believes that calling for boycotting, divesting and sanctioning companies that produce or to do business with companies that operate in the Occupied West Bank is the equivalent to drawing a swastika on a wall is chilling. That he also believes that under a single state the Palestinians would subject Israel's Jewish population to genocide is something that not even Israelis claim but when one is wearing Air Jordans, there is no limit to high someone can jump when trying to please. Even Mike Thompson never went this far..

Jeff Blankfort




Dear Editor:

Several days ago I saw a quite shocking polling statistic. In Ohio 35% of the registered Republicans believe President Obama was not born in the US. Further, past polls would indicate that the percentage of Ohio registered Republicans who believe President Obama is a Muslim could well approach the same 35%. It is hard to know if these beliefs are the result of very limited cognitive abilities or racism and/or religious bigotry. I don't think these perverted beliefs are limited to Ohio but are common in many of the red states. The Grand Old Party is beginning to resemble the Know Nothing Party of the 1800s. However, the GOP does go farther with its misogyny and its trashing of the poor and other disadvantaged citizens of our society.

In peace,

James G. Updegraff




Dear Editor:

Yea, it's always a screw up for everyone when you play illegal players as you explained in last weeks in Valley People. Due to your disgust of principle Tomlin, however, you paint a very unfair picture. I have been both AD at Mendocono and basketball coach at Mendo and AV and it is always the coach who is ultimately responsible for making sure the players he plays are eligible. I know, Steve the good guy, writes for you and all, but, the blame should be equal for Sparks, Pinoli and Tomlin, with a little for the kids and parents on top.

Jim Young

MHS Basketball coach





After reading what transpired at the Point Arena School Board Meeting Tuesday, September 13th I would truly be remiss if I neglected to give my opinion on the board’s decision regarding Superintendent Cross’s new contract. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the meeting but went to the district on September 15th to look at the contract. I also spoke with individual community members in attendance at the meeting.

Prior to Cross’s arrival the high school was successful in meeting both State and Federal guidelines. However, now because the largest feeder school to the high school (the Arena Elementary School) is not successful in meeting their guidelines, the high school is failing. When the elementary principal (Ms. Paula Patterson) was going over end of the year benchmarks with the board, she actually looked over to the high school principal and said, “Oh, by the way, that’s what you’re getting next year — good luck with that” and chuckled. Not one board member said a word. So, how can a high school possibly achieve with the hand they are continually dealt along with programs being cut due to “lack of funds.”

In 2010-11, the State Target Growth the elementary school was given to achieve was 5 — they obtained a minus 3. The Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Scores for 2011-12 have not yet been released to the pubic but Cross did go over the following: 1. Math: out of 7 grades tested 4 were stated to be proficient. 2. English/Language: out of 7 grades tested, again, 4 were stated to be proficient.

However, the State Proficiency Level in 2011 in Math was 68; the elementary level was 51. In 2012, State’s level was 69; elementary level, 45. State Proficiency Level in 2011 in English/Language was 64 and the elementary school level 47 and in 2012 the State’s was 67l elementary school level, 41! John Bastian reiterated the fact to Cross that it appeared the elementary school was well behind proficiency when compared to State levels which Cross readily admitted they were.

Trustee Bates stated, “I think that the woman is doing an excellent job. We (the board) want her to be the superintendent.” That is fine that the board thinks “the woman is doing an excellent job” but statistics show otherwise. Also, it is not up to what the board wants but what is best for the students and truly the board is not to be the voice of the board but of the public!

The Independent Coast Observer informed the community that Cross will be receiving a “total overall increase of $25,620 per fiscal year.” She has a base salary (without benefits) of $130k, work year of 220 days, a $2,000 stipend for having a PhD (not sure if the other teacher having a PhD is granted that) and 2.5% annual step increase with satisfactory evaluation. She has fringe benefits of health, dental and vision (ex-superintendent Iacuaniello and his wife are also currently receiving this same benefit until they turn 65 costing the district over $1,300 a month). Also, Cross is being “reimbursed for job related automobile travel.”

This board on a 6-1 vote agreed to meet her demands because Trustee DeWilder and Miles informed the community, “that keeping Cross was less costly than advertising and hiring a new superintendent.” Wait, doesn’t she have a contract with the district already? Of course, she does. I was told the Willits School District approached Cross to become their superintendent. So let’s give Cross whatever she wants to keep her in spite of the lack of performance on her part! Why Willits would want Cross as superintendent when she has really not been much of a visionary for the Point Arena Schools really escapes me. More importantly, last year Willits had 1,907 students in the district and we had 520 students. So, why would this board even consider paying her what Willits was willing to shell out?

All last year, what teachers and community members heard from the board as to the reason programs were being cut, and why they just had to let some teachers go was the State budget cuts and that they were “deficit spending.” If the district is already “deficit spending” and can’t keep programs or teachers to benefit the students, another question to the board is, where is the money coming from to give Cross this outrageous contract? While most school administrators are taking cuts to keep their schools afloat ours is getting a raise — makes perfect sense to me!

Oh, yes, prior to the board agreeing to the supe’s new contract they signed a resolution to support Proposition 30 and 38 because each provides needed revenue to public schools. The intent of Proposition 30 and 38 is to: “direct billions of dollars to public schools, providing an important short-term funding solution that may allow for the restoration of some student programs and services.” I have my concerns as to what will happen to the “billions of dollars” being filtered down to the students if it were left up to the discretion of this current board.

This entire board should be recalled for being so fiscally irresponsible to the teachers, staff, parents, community members but most importantly to the students! If there was ever a time for them to stand up and speak out, it would be now.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Rush




Letter to the Editor,

In a grueling four hour meeting on Wednesday, September 5, the Ukiah City Council was faced with quite a dilemma. They were forced to choose between an established heirloom store in downtown Ukiah, owned and operated by a local family or a September/October seasonal franchise managed by regional and district supervisors in a building owned by a guy living in Sonoma represented at the meeting by an attorney from Santa Rosa.

It wasn't easy, but four council members were able to bite the bullet and do the right thing — put the welcome mat out for a hit and run franchise. One council member cited his reluctance in saving a local store, another councilperson while reminiscing about his childhood in and about Brownie’s market, advocated strict adherence to an ambiguous zoning law. Still another member espoused from her bully pulpit the benefits of competition — last one standing wins — while stressing the need for educating the public to shop local — do as I teach, not as I do. Then there was the councilmember who, drawing upon her best retail business acumen, came to the conclusion that the two stores had distinctly different customers, ergo why shouldn't both stores go along to get along? This is after she changed her vote. At one point the denial of a use permit to a predatory seasonal business was compared to Han Solo fighting the Evil Empire. Many attendees were confused — is this Price Wars or Star Wars or just business as usual?

With this city council, Ukiah's future is assured.

HG Smith




To the Editor

State Department: Stop asking us about the Benghazi attack .

Having been caught with her panties down around her knees, the State Department First Mouth Victoria Nuland was forced to clam up — at least for a while. Almost all the initial information about the Benghazi demonstration and the subsequent death of our Ambassador was apparently fabricated for immediate release to Fox News and later disproven. He had been evacuated with others to a separate building some distance away during the demonstrations over the film that disparaged the Prophet's name, and it was there that the well equipped Al-Qaeda hit men fired rockets or grenades. Others in the State Department told selected newsmen that he died at a hospital some time later. Note that the Marines just sent over by Obama are actually there to try to pick up some of that vast stockpile of murder weapons dumped off during our campaign to get Qaddafi, and not to protect our embassy staff, most of whom have quickly flown out of country. Try to picture these 40 jarheads picking up guns and grenades scattered carelessly over the vast Libyan Desert? It is still hard for me, after years of watching this sort of incompetence repeatedly, to accept the failure of our government to think before they speak.

By dumping it all on the hapless FBI (why are they over there anyway? — did the CIA escape to their own safe house somewhere else?), the State Department hopes to save themselves from looking even more stupid, less informed, and just as compulsively manipulative as ever in shaping the facts to fit the agreed-upon scenario of the moment?

Remember the Osama Bin Ladin murder scene? It took months to get confirmation about the crashed helicopter, the fact that OBL had no gun, that it was cold blooded slaughter and not self defense, and that it is very unlikely he was dumped off in deep water. I did not hear any talk about “it's now a crime scene” and the FBI is in charge. When our mercenaries from Al Qaeda get out of line, as Qaddafi warned us back in 2011, and as they are doing in Syria right now while ostensibly fighting for the cause of democracy and the fall of Assad, and as they did in Afghanistan way back in the late 1980s when we stopped financing their “get the Russians” campaign, we begin to look as if we will never learn. Maybe this is why Nuland has clammed up.

From The Cable: Posted: 14 Sep 2012 02:26 PM PDT

The State Department told reporters Friday afternoon that it won't answer any more questions about the Sept. 11 attack on the consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans until the investigation into the incident is complete.

“I'm going to frustrate all of you, infinitely, by telling you that now that we have an open FBI investigation on the death of these four Americans, we are not going to be in a position to talk at all about what the U.S. government may or may not be learning about how any of this this happened — not who they were, not how it happened, not what happened to Ambassador Stevens, not any of it — until the Justice Department is ready to talk about the investigation that's its got,” State Department spokeswoman Victorian Nuland told reporters late Friday afternoon.

“So I'm going to send to the FBI for those kinds of questions and they're probably not going to talk to you about it,” she said.

All aspects of the attack, including what led up to it, its causes, the identity of the perpetrators, and the circumstances surrounding the death of Amb. Chris Stevens and the other three Americans,are off limits for reporters.

The new policy leaves many questions about the Benghazi attack unanswered, potentially for a long time, such as the identity of the attackers, whether they were connected to protests earlier in the day in Cairo, what were the exact circumstances and cause of Stevens's death, whether the administration had indications of the threat beforehand, and whether the consulate's security was adequate or not.

Many of these questions are sure to be asked by lawmakers, beginning with the leaders of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, who called today  for an investigation into the security procedures at the Benghazi consulate before and during the attack.

Two senior officials did speak extensively about the events of the night of the attack on the consulate Sept 12 in a background conference call  with reporters, but that's all the information the administration intends to give out, Nuland said.

Reporters at the briefing pointed out that the officials on that conference call noted that they were giving out preliminary information that might have been wrong and if the State Department doesn't talk about the night's events ever again, that wrong information would remain uncorrected in the public sphere.

“The US government is going to be happy to let incorrect information stand?” one reporter asked.

“I will make a personal pledge to you that if I become aware that information we gave that first night is radically wrong in a way that you deserve to know, I will do my best to get that information to you,” Nuland said. “But I have to respect the fact that this is now a crime scene.”

Jim Houle

Redwood Valley



To the Editor:

This letter is not funded by the FC Brothers. Just a couple of blocks from that infamous landmark the “Willits Justice Center” an exact replica of the prison camp in northeastern Siberia where Alexander Solzhenitsyn was held and described in “the gallant archipelago” is nearing completion.

The name of this compound will be “the February 15, 2003 elementary charter school.”

You will recall that this is the day of the nationwide protests against the winnable unwinnable Iraqi war, a war in which a majority of the residents of Mendocino County either supported or were indifferent to.

In my campaign to try to stop the Willis bypass as planned, I admitted to Dave Kelly of Caltrans in Eureka that the one thing in favor of the bypass was that it would eliminate the need to look at Willits; in appearance the economy is down on Highway 101 between Mexico and Canada.

Name withheld





Who saw it coming?

Sep. 13 US State Department warns travelers of possible attacks on US citizens. Is that the extent of their insight? Somehow I doubt it. The massive unrest at US embassies precedes the warning and soon escalates worldwide.

I’m not a foreign policy expert but I could have told them months in advance to put all US interests on high alert. I have been thinking of this auspicious date for some time and made sure to tell most people I know in the days leading up to the 11th year anniversary of 9-11 that something was bound to happen (letters to the editor Sep. 5, 2012). Unfortunately I don’t know anyone with access to the inner circle or they would have been duly warned.

As it goes in America we still can’t get a hold on basic human decency and the eradication of racism. We’re literally seething with it from the seams while even our heads of state decry the inflammatory. There is no robust accountability for hate speech in this nation because it is the clear expression of all of our unaccounted demons (natives, slaves, immigrants).

The fact that idiots like Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and Terry Jones types make hate films about Muslims and the religion of Islam is almost inconsequential. It is idiots like Morris Sadek who email blast a thousand Egyptian journalists to have the movie translated and propagated to the point where Libyans thought this was daily fare that every American was watching. It is the absolute cultural disconnect that we have with the Muslim world that would make this type of misunderstanding possible. Is it a misunderstanding at all? Or is it just another clear outing of our demons.

I will venture to offer a small piece of insight into the global conflict. Let us compare the Islamist Insurrection that we see globally with the Black Nationalist Insurrection of the sixties in the US. A few words could be used to describe both; radical, violent, reactionary, uncompromising. Well, does the black nationalist agenda dominate the lives of black people nowadays? Not really. Well what has changed for black people since the sixties? I would say that black people are much more a part of the social project of America. They have been included in the mainstream. The Empire will seek to enfranchise Muslims as it has its black citizens, my fear is more the quiet compromising with injustice that comes next, and less with the bucking of the stallion. These are strong demons, they will not be easy to exorcise.

The answers are even in the popular culture if you pay attention. Literally the standup comedian Katt Williams could have advised them, “First of all white people understand this. If you cannot understand what it’s like to be a tiger in a zoo, I don’t know how you ever gonna understand what it’s like to be a nigger in America. If you cannot understand what it’s like to be a tiger in a zoo. Look at white people, whaaaat?!? Niggers are tigers now? They’re gggreat. Follow along white people. It’s like when those mother fuckers got attacked by that god damn tiger in the god damn zoo in San Francisco and shit and they had it all on CNN like it was a national tragedy and shit, just oohh it’s so sad, well I didn’t see nothing sad at all, these was grown mother fuckers. I feel like if you a grown mother fucker, and you get killed, and you get killed by a tiger, and you get killed by a tiger in a zoo, I think Gods will has been done for your life, I think that’s exactly what the fucks supposed to happen. And these motherfucking zookeepers got on TV and started talking shit about the tigers. Started snitching on the tigers, like they was disappointed in the tigers and shit. Like, “we can’t believe they would even do something like that, they’ve never done anything like that before, and if they’re a danger to the community then we’ll have to get rid of them.” “You gonna get rid of the tiger. You gonna get rid of the only god damn real mother fucker in the whole god damn equation? You gonna get rid of the tiger? Fuck that, I’m a parent, I got kids, I feel like if you raise a child at any age that’s dumb enough to climb into a tigers cage you should tell them the rest of the god damn story. Then the tiger eats your asshole out baby that’s the end. (slam) All I’m sayin is you got to look at this shit from the tigers mother fuckin viewpoint. These poor tigers don’t know what the fuck to do. It be four or five real tigers in a fake ass habitat. What the fuck you think them tigers talk about every god damn day? Nothin but what the fuck they would do “If a mother fucker was to ever…Ever….EVER!!! Climb they god damn foot over the god damn gate. That’s all they fuck talk about, “I wish a mother fucker would climb in this god damn cage. This cage right here nigger, this cage right here nigger? I wish a mother fucker would.” (this is an excerpt from Katt Williams DVD “Its Pimpin’ Pimpin” and can be seen as an animated excerpt on youtube under “Katt Williams Gangsta Tigers”)

Best foreign policy advice ever. If you want to restrict people physically and socially, it is best not to add insult to the injury you have delivered. If you fuck with the tigers they will eat your ass, end of story.

Nate Collins




Letter to the Editor

A Thank you to the Community

We would like to kindly thank all of the friends who came Tuesday to The Boonville Hotel for Jamal’s gathering and to Johnny for offering his beautiful space for the evening. It was such a heartfelt event filled with people’s memories and wonderful stories of how they knew Jamal and how he’d touched their lives.

We know there are still many unanswered questions held in people’s hearts.

Jamal was a very determined young man, and stubborn at times. When he could not see his dream unfolding, he lost faith in his own future and all of the love and care he received was not enough to convince him to stay.

With much gratitude to the community,

Colleen and Laura Essayah

Anderson Valley




Re the topless princess scandal, here is the real burning question about the British royals: Do they have to use the toilet, or are they hermetically sealed?

Jeff Costello


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