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Letters To The Editor



Punish one, Punish all.

I am one of the many inmates in Mendocino County Jail in Ukiah who have prison terms in our past and who are housed in administrative segregation under title 15 (1053-AS). It states that administrative segregation shall consist of separate and secure housing but shall not involve any other deprivation of privileges. Yet D-tank inmates are without any write-ups or rule violations, nor are we on title 15 (1080) disciplinary penalties. And if we were, we would have a right to investigative and punitive powers and a right, a right, to a disciplinary review. Rule violations are listed as major or minor to consider one's loss of privileges mandated by regulation. Nevertheless the D-tank inmates are without TV. We only had one phone for weeks, we are sometimes made to eat in our cells where the toilet is close by. We are made to wear orange striped suits to indicate to others in court and elsewhere that we have bad behavior. We are only allowed $35 of canteen/hygiene expenses a week. We stay locked in our cells all day and only come out for a little over an hour a day. We do not get to attend school or other programs. We deal with problems such as no cold water for drinking. Our out of cell time rotates so that one might wait for three or four days to call an attorney or family. They punish all of D-tank for one inmate's misbehavior.

I myself was asked by a sergeant about an incident where an inmate was singing country songs and a deputy cuffed him and dragged him out. I simply aanswered saying that the Deputy misspoke and asked the inmate to sing a little quieter when he meant to say stop singing.

So I am now being labeled as a spokesperson for prison politics. Maybe I should have ignored the Sergeant. General population is allowed out of their cells all day. They have a television as well as a $70 a week canteen. They live three men to a cell. We have five. They have school and programs and are given board games. This also applies to the sex offenders.

A question about prison politics. The Sheriff who houses the inmates — that's right you do. If we were pushing politics we wouldn't be requesting to be housed with other races where your segregation is white and Indian only. Other races with prison histories are housed in general population. It seems to me that you, Sheriff, are the one pushing politics as many deputies walk in the jail, a tobacco free jail, with tobacco in their mouths and pockets. This is not a rule violation but a crime against the law. And it's a felony that you overlook. You are a racist who unlawfully punishes whites and Indians.

As I read about Army Private First-Class Bradley Manning I read words of cruel and degrading imprisonment in solitary confinement which is a harsh measure which may cause serious psychological and physiological adverse reactions regardless of their specific conditions! Suffering from corrupt assessment perhaps, I say welcome home where small-town sheriffs like the one here in Mendocino/Alabama (as we call it) make up their own laws.

James Gator Lawson





My son is three and a half now and he had followed the 2012 Giants season with me with pretty good cognition of what was going on. Every time we would play catch I would talk to him about the team news, struggles, victories, etc. He listened to many games on the radio with me. So when we play catch I always ask him who his favorite player is and who do you want to be like. Invariably his reply, Melky Cabrera. I asked him over and over again, same answer. After the season ended the news changed to who the Giants were going to sign and who they would try to keep. So I kept little Oliver up to date on all the news. I'm like hey buddy we got Pagan back, we got Scutaro, we got Pence, we got Crawford and on rambling off names and said hey we basically got the entire 2012 team back for 2013. Oliver earnestly asked, “What about Melky Cabrera?” I said, “Buddy Melky went to Toronto, he won't be back next year” He cried with all earnestness and seriousness for at least five minutes. His mom and sister asked what was wrong and he told them Melky Cabrera would not be back with the Giants next year. My wife and daughter looked at me like, Man you got that kid started early. They thought it was hilarious. He is serious about his Giants.

Nate Collins





In response to Will Parrish's excellent article on the tan oak (now known as natho-liithocarpus) and the herbicides used to eradicate them, I offer up this poem written many years ago to commemorate Gualala Redwoods valiant efforts to, in Henry Alden's words, “mimic nature” through the use of toxics in the watershed.

A fan of the flames,

Randall Sinclair


Enclosed: “Emulsion” (for Henry)

Mankind has tried many ways

To rid this planet of unwanted species.

Coyote, Puma, Pomo, Coho.

Religion, bullets, treaties, clearcuts.

Now he poisons the mother tree,

The she-oak that feeds us without discrimination.

High in fat and carbohydrates,

The Oak has seen many cultures

And diverse creatures,

Through hungry winters.

The Timber Barons think that Tanbark

Has become a problem tree,

Shading out their coniferous cash crop;

In the same way the first people of Kashia

Were a problem,

Injuring the expansion of the colonials.

The barons cry: remove the Oaks!

Shed more light on the land!

Reduce competition! Diminish diversity!

Heat up the water to kill enough fish,

That we might bottle the Gualala

For fertilizer and spray it back

On this even-aged forest,

To make these money trees

Grow faster!




Sadly, the experience Peter Lit of Elk described with Ferrellgas propane pricing is common practice among Mendocino County propane sellers. I've personally had similar experiences with Ferrellgas and Suburban Propane. Other people who I have spoken with report the same story. Prices are all over the map, but seem to come down a bit only if the customer complains or threatens to change vendors, and then only for a short while.

I would like to suggest that the AVA do a story on this problem. It's cold outside, and people are broke. It would be nice if these particular wolves could be beaten back a bit. I'm not the greatest writer in the world, but I'm one hell of a good programmer. If you're willing to put a piece in print about the propane scam, I'm willing to add a webpage to your site where readers can report the prices they're being charged, as well as other unsavory practices. Then, you can go to print with some hard facts and it may do some good.

Please let me know, I can put something together in fairly short order.

Very truly yours,

Bob Abeles


Ed note: The best we can do on short notice is to reprint the advice we’ve run before from Steve Sparks, Ukiah Daily Journal Editor KC Meadows and AV Fire Chief Colin Wilson: 

Sparks: It would seem that the whole propane business is one big racket with deals offered either with little rhyme or reason or at the discretion of the person in the office, particularly if the threat of changing company is made. Meanwhile, special offers are made to entice new customers, mysterious add-on fees and surcharges appear on bills, and exorbitant charges are made to remove tanks if a customer changes their propane company. All-in-all, it is a very unsatisfactory situation and I can only advise propane users to take these few precautions. Try to compare the prices of the four main companies — Suburban Propane (462-3858), Ferrellgas (463-1515), Eel River Fuels (462-5554), and Redwood Coast Fuels (463-3100); to check bills from one to the next and be aware that prices should be coming down in the next few months until reaching the annual low in August; and if your price per gallon goes up call and inquire why, and do not be put off with vague explanations — ask to talk to the supervisor if you are not satisfied. Good luck with this, you will need it.

Meadows: “I looked on the web and found the US Energy Department's webpage for propane prices and it will tell you what the price should be on any given day. The link to that site is:"

Wilson said he’s had similar problems at his home in Yorkville and observed that the four or five local propane companies typically will offer what they call an “introductory” rate which is actually their normal rate, then after a short period they jack up the introductory rate to an overpriced rate. Wilson said what he does when this happens is simply call the propane company and tell them he’s switching propane suppliers. At this point the supplier who has jacked up their rate can either go back to the “introductory” rate or not. If they don’t, Wilson tells them to come pick up their tank. Then when he calls the next company in line, they come out with a new tank and sign him up for the next company’s “introductory” rate and the new company’s tank installation is free because tank installation is free to new customers. Apparently Wilson has rotated through the local propane outfits several times in the last few years.




Seems that the post office is trying to be nice as we approach Christmas (or whatever you want to call this time of the year. Is Santa a Jew or Muslim?)

Anyway, you mailed my AVA on Wednesday and it arrived here in Alameda, CA on Thursday. Thursday, that's the next day not 8 days later.

Guess I must have been nice, not naughty.

Happy New Year to all you AVA readers although I think '13 will be a bitch.

Carl Flach





How to get rich:

• Offer a service or product for sale (best if it is a monopoly).

• Don't provide adequate quality control (that way it doesn't cost as much even though it might cause some “collateral damage.”)

• Take what funds are left over to increase the salaries, bonuses and other perks of a select few, and spread the rest to shareholders.

And: If you do get “caught,” you don't even have to pay for all the monitoring and upgrades that should have been performed as part of the service you are supposedly providing.

Angie Papastefan




Recording Angel,

Thanks for excerpting my cookbook in the letters section! That was a generous gesture of publicity. You didn’t have to do that. But since you did do that, perhaps your generosity will extend so far as to allow me to clarify that my wild food cookbook is available online actually at (the lovely independent bookstore in downtown Chico, California), NOT (“The Leading Lion Book Site On The Net”). Happy Forcemas to all, and to all a long night!

Wolfgang Rougle





Considering his record with drone strikes, I am more than a little disgusted at Obama choking up over the death of children. There’s a website that maintains the Obama authorized drone strikes have killed around 168 children and “have killed more than 800 innocent civilians and just 22 Al-Qaeda officers.” It is clear that this is in violation of international law since the Fourth Geneva Convention states that “children shall be the object of special respect and shall be protected against any form of indecent assault.” “Indecent” is the word of choice here in all cases. I am of the opinion that we can't export violence without importing it.

Don Cruser

Little River




Thank you for my complimentary copy of the Anderson Valley Advertiser. I enclose my new address here in Corcoran. While I'm at it, let me thank my lawyer Ms. Carly Dolan. She's beautiful, intelligent, competent and a person who has a strong drive for the law. I just want to say thanks to her. She saved my life.

One love,

Darvel Blackwell

California State Prison-Corcoran




Congrats on bringing back Eyesores. I think the new federale concentration camp vandalizing the south entrance of the valley is seriously eyesore ugly and what it represents flat-out obscene. I hear that monstrosity will cost over $6 million; money flushed down a toilet in a place where children go hungry and working families live under greedy slumlords.

Since porkbarrel projects like that one cost more to put on paper than to build, you'd think they'd get it right but you'd be wrong. They poured a concrete entrance stout enough to hold a D8 Cat atop a lowboy trailer but, forgetting that lowboys flex and flatten under a load, they high-centered their test trailer and so had to rip the slab out and pour it again. Gold-plated morons, these desktop engineers; I wonder if they got fired or were given raises. Seeing how government at all levels has degenerated into a protection racket, I'd bet the latter.

Bruce Patterson

Prineville, Oregon



Happy New Year Bruce,

Suppose that two gentlemen are having a drink at an outdoor café table. They are both very wealthy and dress as befits someone of their social status, including expensive jewelry. One of them is white and one of them is black. As they are sitting there, a commotion takes place a few yards down the sidewalk.

A black man, dressed shabbily and obviously poor, is seen by the two rich guys attempting to mug another rich white male to rob him. So, their dilemma is this; do they identify with each other, both being upper class, and rise to the aid of the victimized rich white guy, or do does the black guy identify with the black mugger and do nothing, or does the black guy identify more with the rich white victim and get up to help him?

Now, let’s change the scene and instead of black and white, this time the two rich guys sitting at the café outdoor table see the same thing happening, but one of the rich guys is a born-again Evangelical and the other is an orthodox Jew. The guy being mugged is also rich, and also an orthodox Jew. The mugger, this time, is wearing a large cross, with which he is beating the rich orthodox Jew on the head. So, do the two rich guys at the table identify with the rich victim, or do they split up and the rich Jew identifies with the rich Jewish victim and gets up to help him, while the rich evangelical guy identifies with the mugger and joins him in his anti-Semitism.

OK, now let’s change it again. Same scene, but this time the two guys at the table are of a different nationality/ethnicity than the victim. Do they identify with the rich victim, who is a different nationality/ethnicity that they are, or do they identify with the mugger who is the same nationality/ethnicity as they are?

The overriding issue here is this; does social class trump race, religion, and nationality/ethnicity? Does wealth create a stronger bond than the other three characteristics?

I have my opinion; what’s yours?

Lee Simon

Far ‘n Away Farm, Virginia

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