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Letters To The Editor

Dearest Editor,

Tonto and QueNoSabe (or QuienNoSabe) called each other names. One called one “QueNoSabe” (or “QuienNoSabe”), which means “One Who Doesn't Know", in Spanish, and the other one called the other one “Tonto", which means “Dumb” or “Dummy", in Spanish. It makes sense.


Fort Bragg



Letter to the Editor,

Thank you for your kind words in the AVA in regards to last week's Not-So-Simple Living Fair. Although we have not done our final tally, it appears as though this year's event was an even greater success than last year's. More people showed up to learn important skills, share hard earned knowledge and enjoy a community based on common interest.

Like all good things, this event is not at all simple to organize and put on, and I really only had a small hand in it's success. I'd like to mention and thank all the other organizers who dedicated so much time and personal resources to this year's fair. First and foremost, I'd like to thank Cindy Wilder our lead organizer who put in so much time and held so many important roles throughout the year. If it weren't for her ability to multitask so very gracefully, I don't know if the event would have happened at all. And from the first generation of Not-So-Simple Fair organizers, Linda MacElwee and Sophia Bates who wrangled presenters and Diane Paget who kept the creative reuse area going, all while continuing to hold the original vision. There were many people who were drawn into the the organizing committee over the last three years; Brent Levin who facilitated the many meetings, Ryan O'Corrigan who gathered entertainments and took over for Captain Rainbow in his absence, Kate Castagnola who wrangled all the volunteers, Lynda McClure and Jenny Burnstad who secured the event and the gates, Vicki Moss who ran the best pot luck ever, Rainbow Hill and Alice Woelfe-Erksine who gathered all the food and craft vendors, Jini Reynolds who lent her years of event organizing experience to our meetings as well as the beautiful hospitality room, Tamekia Brown who put together the kids area with advice from Deleh Mayne, Barbara Lamb who oversaw the kitchen with all it's various classes, and Rose Flanigan who kept our social media up to date.

Not on the organizing committee, but without whom the event would have been so much less, Lori Lee for assisting Cindy with the fantastic and constantly changing website, Torrey Douglas for the brochure with it's last minute changes, and Via Keller for posters so beautiful we kept having to replace the ones folks kept taking home.

There were also many fantastic volunteers who dedicated so much time and put so much thoughtfull attention into the running of the event. Thank you all for another wonderful Not-So-Simple Living Fair. On behalf of the organizing committee, I look forward to seeing you all next year,

Julie Liebenbaum





Money grubbers beware:

It's not bad enough we have our own greedy and manipulative banks gaming the capitalist system, most notably the Bank of America and JP Morgan-Chase. Now it's revealed that Barclays, the English icon, was in on the power scam that built Californians out of millions a few years back. Our staunch ally, Britain. Who needs enemies?

Fool on the Hill


PS. Is it the canary in the coal mine gasping for breath that Bank of America is closing shop in McKinleyville and Eureka?

PPS. Too big to fail — right!



To my clinician:

“The Majestic Beast”

Dr., Each day you enter here at the belly of the beast and walk the grounds of the hidden university. You witness a first hand account of all the anguish, agony and suffering — behind the eyes of so many men whose spirits have been broken due to psychosis from childhood traumas that go unspoken and even though we all act tough acting off of different haunches, even gangsters cry out too at night sometimes due to a guilty conscience. Have you ever gone to the zoo and stood before the cage of an untamed beast in a frustrated rage? And found yourself craving that human urge to want to reach out and touch? But just as you attempt it, it struck out at you just as you expected such. I am that uncivilized savage majestic beast, caught up in a cage without a release. You don't even know I exist. But as a creature of God's creation, I am too just like you deserving of love from the abyss.

Ken Crawford D-55689

PO Box 1050

Soledad CA 93960




Devil Girl? You mean the Creole sex goddess with the big firm booty and the giant hard knockers and the foot long tongue? The Devil Girl that made hash out of Mr. Natural and Flakey Foont? As drawn by the demented lust-freak, R. Crumb, who sits atop a pile of battered women in HUP #3, dangling his dong into an unconscious mouth? Why--why--this is pornography, Mein Redaktor!! Your duty is clear! Wrap up this Evil Portrait and mail it to me immediately!!


Jay Williamson

Santa Rosa

ED NOTE: Crumb is a great artist, and Devil Girl, in all Crumb's renditions of her, is a work of art.




Loose Booze in Mendocino County.

I was moved in a fashion from the beginning of time to have adoration for our Public Health Department for allowing love and concern they so preciously have and keep for our community now as well as for our future community. There's something special about those who have been gifted to care for the public's health. How important is the need of care and love for a people as as a whole which makes up a community? Extremely important! Just as important as it is for that same level of intense care and love to be woven in our police department which works 24 hours around the clock making sure that our community is a public safe environment; or our fire department which is on call 24/7 to make sure we as a community don't burn in hell. Can't forget our ambulance and the membership program. They show the same care and love through their donations which helps support our community along with CalStar and Reach. All those who lend their talents and abilities to the aid of our community right here where we all live in unison are qualified as “health and safety” needed heroes. What's more life-sustaining than this?

So lets face it! All of our needed and accepted heroes need funding to help make sure we can live a life filled with “health and safety” which is a daily need. Plus our community happens to be in a time of hunger and suffering! We are hungry for change and suffering because of the lack of funding to help needed change to take place. Think about it. Can you imagine a mother telling her child who is hungry that “Dad isn't going to give her enough money to shop for food"? No! Of course not! But if it happens the innocent child suffers and so do the heroes and the community if the heroes can't seem to get the support from those who hold the wallets and purses of funds. Make no mistake about it. I believe that we as a community are in the Reagan Times which is “war on drugs” and other lifestyles that roll parallel with it!

I do take my hat off to Supervisor Pinches who said “the Public Health Department should spend more time in grammar schools.” Although the second part of his statement, “and less time worrying about booze outlets,” I totally disagree with.

Here's are a few things that I feel compelled to share on the statements.

Who do our children listen to first and the most? Their parents or their guardians.

Whose words are next to the gospel when it comes to her children? The parent or guardian.

Prevention in schools in the form of programs is always a plus! It lends a hand in helping our children's thought processes. Although no one on earth has a much more influential effect on our children's “executive functioning skills” than the parent or guardian.

My point? Approving more funding for our heroes who worry about the effect of booze outlets or placing funds in campaign ads for booze prevention is extremely needed. Our reality here is that there's a huge percentage of parents who spend their grocery money at these booze outlets who will then sit back and tell their children to hurry and get dressed for school so the Public Health Department can teach you how not to be like me!

Those in a position of handling funds for community, please listen. This is in words, but in live action reality out boozing adult behavior in the homes is before the hour school where the strongest and biggest influences on the children are born. So by approving more funding to the Public Health Department supporting our needed heroes to go after the booze outlets, not only will we hit the nail on the head but we will build a stronger family structure which in turn and hope will give us a booze-free healthy and safe community.

My fellow Mendonites remember: if we as a community don't come together and stand for something right, then we will stand a chance of being separated to fall for something wrong.

Raoul Taylor

Redwood Valley

PS. Mendonites: P.U.S.H. — Pray Until Something Happens.



Dear Friends,

The Mendocino Environmental Center recently hosted a community radio forum with the San Francisco Mime Troupe and several local organizations. You can listen to the full two-hour show by clicking here.

We discussed who we are, how we can work better together, and how we can better engage the public. All who attended and listened found it very inspiring. To support the work of the Center and it radio station, KMEC 105.1 FM, please become a member. For regular membership, send a check for $35 to Mendocino Environmental Center, 106 West Standley Street, Ukiah, CA 95482. Your check is sufficient for membership if it includes your address and contact information. Thank you very much for your interest and support.

Dennis O’Brien





We assembled our mob. They have beaten and disfigured the already dead “look-alikes.” They are already hanging by their heels. Their own mothers couldn't recognize them. Your tri-engine plane is ready for the flight to Catalonia from Spain, one of our last long-distance submarines will take you to Argentina. In Argentina your loyal friend Stefani has arranged immediate cosmetic surgery. You will then disappear, disguised as an Italian-Jewish refugee. The major players have been well compensated and threatened. Twenty years of service have earned you a clear place in the sun.

Viva la Duce — Graziani.

PS. Stranger than fiction. The corpse identified as Mussolini had no sign of stomach ulcers. A medical condition he suffered from. The entire population was well aware of this ailment.

Captain Fathom





The Trend in America --

The trend is to criminalize homelessness. The big cities have passed all sorts of laws designed to persecute those who live on the streets. They can't beg, can't sleep on a bench, can't camp under a bridge, can't store personal items in a public park, can't sit on a sidewalk, can't eat in public. Many of these have been as struck down by the courts. Some attorneys have done some work convincing federal judges that the bad laws infringe on First Amendment rights. So the cities selectively enforce general laws such as loitering, vagrancy, public drunkenness. They target the homeless but a guy with a nice suit gets drunk in a bar and pees in an alley -- no big deal. The homeless guy pees in the same alley and is he is arrested for urinating in public.

Sweeps are common. What are sweeps?, you might ask. Sweeps target one area of the city. Shovel off all the homeless and dump them somewhere else. Atlanta did this just before the Olympic Games. They couldn't have poor people begging and sleeping on the park benches with the world watching. So they sent the shock troops to eliminate the problem. Then they bragged about how pretty the city was. Where did they put the homeless? Well, they didn't take them to shelters that's for sure. Why? Because they don't have any. They moved them around, dumping them in other parts of the city.

I'm not saying this would happen in Ukiah. But remember, everybody has to be somewhere, but the homeless have no alternatives. If you're hungry, you will beg or steal for food. If you're tired, you will sleep wherever you can. If you're homeless, you have to live somewhere. Do the homeless get arrested then?, you might ask. Yes, every day, it's stupid public policy.

Take me, C. Philip Lopez, and other people living on the streets in and out of the Buddy Eller Shelter. I'm on SSI. I was and still am on probation trying my best to step up and become self-sufficient. I went to the program they required. I finished the program for probation. It took me a year longer than most because of my seizures. I have good days and bad days but I finished, so I thought, after having the seizure. I rode my bike across Ukiah when I should not have. I was not feeling good. Just because I have a probation officer I am looked at and accused of using speed. In three years I had not given one dirty test for anything.

Now I am sitting with 30 days in county jail losing my house that helped me pay my rent. So now I face going back to the streets and sleeping under a bridge. Do I want to be there? No. Can I get arrested for this? Yes. I am guilty because the City Council in its brilliance has made it a crime to be homeless. But everybody's got to sleep somewhere. Now I'm in jail. I don't have the money to get a good lawyer. I barely make it as it is and I've been taken from the one who loves me. People have stolen my property and taken advantage of my girlfriend. So now I have been kicked down another notch on top of being arrested, humiliated, fined, punished and I am supposed to see the error of my ways and go find a home. And get off the streets.

This happens in most of our cities all the time. Would I be better off in jail? You might say, No. If you haven't been to jail lately, don't go. Cops are not trained to deal with the homeless, especially the mentally ill and addicted homeless. The jails are overcrowded. The criminal justice system is a nightmare to begin with and persecuting the homeless only clogs it more.

Here is the stupid part: It costs 25% more per day to keep a person in jail than to provide shelter, food, transportation and counseling services. These of course would have a long-term benefit. These of course would make more sense and save 25%. And that doesn't include the cost of arrests and processing.

Most of the cities are broke anyway, especially Ukiah. That's why they're closing shelters. Remember, they waste money making criminals out of the homeless. It seems up for litigation. Ukiah is spending more on legal fees than on building shelters for the homeless.

You have to love this country, one of the supposedly richest countries in the world can't house its people, so they sleep out in the streets and panhandle on State Street and this upsets the sensitive Ukiahans. So they elect someone who promises to clean up the streets and he or she will get a blue ribbon from the city council to outlaw homelessness just like that: Can't beg, can't sit on the sidewalk, can't be homeless. And they cut budgets like hell, close shelters and cut assistance and at the same time they spend a shitload paying Ukiah lawyers to defend them for trying to eliminate poor people.

C. Phillip Lopez





It's Crunch Time!

Warmest greetings of peace and love, Powerful spiritual currents are occurring in this darkest phase of the Kali Yuga, resulting in abominable social situations. A cloud burst mid-June in northern India washed away countless villages, bridges, and urban residences as the wall of water cascaded southward. Glacial melting, deforestation, and the moving of a Kali related goddess murti to accommodate a power project are all cited as factors in the devastation north of Rishikesh. Once again, global climate destabilization is recognized as the most critical environmental concern, and there are no ordinary effective solutions. Following the dissolution of the Washington DC Occupy protest encampment at Freedom Plaza last year, I returned to California, but was soon flown back by Veterans for Peace to help get additional media attention for their ongoing dissent. This led to my reuniting with members of the D.C. Occupy kitchen working group. We stayed at a house in Virginia, and co-wrote a play which is focused on the increase of global warming, and the failure of society and government to do anything intelligent in response to the crisis. The play is parked in my blog, several pages back, at ; it has not been performed publicly as of yet. I wrote countless poems of a mystical/radical nature, which were sent out and subsequently happy that Earth First! and particularly Warrior Poets Society appreciated them...they're on the blog too. Apparently the left wing in Washington D.C. didn't value me enough to let me stay at the Peace House, and since the Catholic Worker Olive Branch House was turned into condominiums after the D.C. Metropolitan Police confiscated it, I had nowhere to live long term in the district, and therefore accepted a return airplane ticket to California in mid-December. Due to having given up my housing space in Cali before returning to Washington D.C., I returned homeless to Cali! Six months of homeless shelter hopping ensued, as I continued to be active with Berkeley Catholic Worker these past 23 years. I also spent countless hours doing advanced yoga sadhana at Ocean Beach, when not reading mystical texts at Berkeley's Graduate Theological Union Library. Last Thursday I boarded a Greyhound bus in Oakland, and traveled 3,000 miles to Pittsburgh, PA to again reunite with members of my D.C. Occupy kitchen working group. We are at a house in Mt. Lebanon, PA hosted by our friend Julie, who is sitting in a Pittsburgh jail, for letting postmodern America publicly know of her dissatisfaction with mindless materialism's illegitimate authoritarian structures. As I sit in Julie's backyard at a large glass-topped table, with a summer shade umbrella, sipping my organic chai tea, and automatically “writing down the bones” longhand in my marble covered standard student issue blank page composition booklet, I reconsider a proposal I made to the D.C. Occupy encampment at McPherson Square in January of 2012. My proposal is to create a caravan to circumambulate the beltway which goes around Washington D.C. The purpose is to neutralize the bogus energy which emits from within the beltway, which is negatively affecting the rest of world society, and irresponsibly contributing to a deteriorating global ecological situation. (This is aside from philosophical considerations, such as the stupidity of materialism in lieu of necessary individual spiritual progress, which itself is the whole purpose of taking human birth in the first place). I suggest creating a caravan featuring recitation of mantrams, performance of Vedic rituals, and related sacred art forms. And yes, your band on a flat bed truck is welcome, and I am open to other traditions and their ways being woven into this as well. The potential is vast! I am tonight sending this message out and I am very actively seeking others to do the beltway action. I want to establish permanent residency in the region, having obviously moved on from California after 40 years of front line radical environmental and peace & justice enlightened behavior. Following my bliss, Craig Louis Stehr Nota bene: I am accepting money, and don't even think about giving me any insane left wing American shit, inferring that I am not being politically correct because I am asking for it. I need some dental work, and I am still interested in enjoying an adult social life at 63 years of age. Yo, that's just the way it is right now. My current address:

Craig Louis Stehr, c/o Julie Diana,

903 Florida Ave., Mt. Lebanon, PA 15228-2016.




The family of Robert Tompkins would like to extend heartfelt thanks to the volunteers and staff of the AV Fire Department, the AV Ambulance Service and REACH Helicopter for their professional and and timely response to the unexpected, tragic loss of my husband, Robert. The family would like to thank the Valley all the condolences, cards, phone calls and prayers during this difficult time.


Shirley Tompkins and Family





The story as I know it: Escalade, a large brown and white dog owned by a man named George who lives in Clearlake, disappeared from his yard. Strayed, picked up, stolen? George reported him stolen, made trips to various animal controls including two to the Ukiah shelter. It was said no one saw him until one officer said they all knew him and that he had been adopted out two weeks ago.

Legally, if a dog is unclaimed for a certain number of days and then adopted out, he/she is legally the property of the adopters. That is the legality of it. And of course, the tragedy is that if the dog is microchipped, then it has a much greater chance of being reunited with its person. I keep reading these wonderful stories of dogs and cats found thousands of miles away and identified through microchips. They are cheap now, $10 or $15.

The only hope for George to have his companion of ten years back is if the people who adopted Escalade give him back. He has offered to pay whatever they paid for him. That would be the morally correct action. No ifs, ands or buts about it. George and Escalade have a solid ten year relationship. Even if George was not a former Prisoner of War in Vietnam, even if he was just the guy on the corner, Escalade in every way (other than legally at this moment) is his dog.

This is not the first time a much loved dog has ended up at Animal Control and been adopted to another person or family and not returned to their person. It was a tragedy 10 years ago and it is a tragedy now. I know how quickly I become attached to some of the 300 foster dogs that I have had over the last 15 years. I know how a well loved dog can fit in another household easily. I also know how totally devastating it is to lose a dog to illness or old age. I do not know how these people can keep Escalade knowing how much George misses him. There are thousands of truly homeless dogs that need a good home. Escalade has a home.

Now, more time has gone by, Escalade and George, his rightful owner, have NOT been reunited! George made two trips to the shelter in Ukiah. The staff denied that any of them even remembered him being there. Then one of their officers walked in and said, “Oh yeah, we know that dog well. He was adopted two weeks ago.” Then “suddenly” the rest of the staff remembered him. I think they remembered him from the start, they just didn't want to admit they knew anything.

I'm trying to help George get Escalade back. It is not George's fault his baby was stolen from his property in Clearlake and abandoned in Ukiah. Now that the Ukiah shelter knows the dog was stolen it is their responsibility to get the dog back, or they are guilty of receiving and selling stolen property. George is even willing to refund the new adoptees the money back. This is more than wrong of the shelter to keep this man from his therapy dog, and his four legged son of 10 years. George has had to start counseling through the Veteran's Administration because he is so upset. If any of you would like to call and complain to the shelter about this, their number is (707) 463-4427. This will be a voice mail more than likely, and please be polite about your complaint because we are still attempting to get Escalade back to George, and do not want to make the shelter angry.

Their Facebook page is

Eliza Wingate

Upper Lake




Dr. Doo's humorous cartoon depicts me, a tokin' female with a joint, and the caption, “Why does Pebbles Trippet love baseball — she'll tell you she likes any sport she can play on grass.” (AVA 7/31/13)

Fred nailed it! That's an astute explanation of why this thing called Major League Baseball has a hold on me. Baseball has a calm pace; weed calms you down. They are both slow lane kinds of things and they mesh when done together.

Having grown up in Tulsa Oklahoma under the umbrella of the Tulsa Oilers, I learned the rules and got the hang of the game by keeping a meticulous scorecard and rooting for the home team. My Dad took me with him and I got used to him yelling incomprehensibles when something went wrong. He turned me on to baseball as well as how to drive a stick shift car and for those early lessons I am grateful. I also played catcher in grade school, a little standing broad jump, swimming, diving and ping-pong. But the only sport that has continued to matter is major league baseball.

The first team I cared about was the underdog insurgent 1969 New York Mets who took the world by storm, moving from last to first, winning the World Series and proving the old adage, “The Last Shall Be First.”

I remember marching in a massive anti-war demonstration in Boston, carrying a dinky little portable radio listening to the Mets win the World Series as we marched and chanted against the Vietnam War and the Draft. I didn't have to choose between marching for peace and cheering for the underdogs as they won the World Series.

After that, I lost interest for 40 years til the SF Giants caught my attention, after the demise of the bloated Barry Bonds big ball showboat era. Out of the superstar void arose a grassroots team of freaks, oddities and misfits with heart and talent and a knack for pulling together. “Fear the Beard” was the clarion call of bushy closers Romo and Wilson along with two-time MVP ace Timmy the hippy with long hair.

'Torture” was the emotional theme, walking the tight wire of multiple elimination games, winning every one with small ball. From the smooth savvy announcers and down home manager to the can-do spirit of the P players — Pence, Posey, Panda — to Romo's t-shirt of the decade, “I only look illegal.” The SF Giants are an extended family encompassing millions, starting with a melting pot of folks at the core who get along and immensely enjoy what they're doing. Oh, that's the other reason I love baseball. I like to see men get emotional.

Pebbles Trippet


PS. If I were to guess why the giants have lost their edge, it's because their three big superstar pitchers — Lincecum, Cain and Zito — were rewarded too early with multi-year outsize contracts and learned they could coast instead of scrap. As Lincecum once said about his own rise within MLB, "It was too easy."



Dear Editor,

In February 2011 Occupy Mendocino and Occupy Ukiah wrapped crime scene tape around the front of the Mendocino County Offices in Ukiah. We were carrying signs showing fraud in the Clerk/Assessor/Recorder's office and got the attention of the Supervisors. We spoke at their next meeting informing them of fraud in foreclosure documents recorded in the Assessor's office. Occupy informed the BOS that the San Francisco Assessor, Phil Ting, had an audit of 400 foreclosure documents and found 80% of them had errors denoting fraud. We delivered 500 signatures on a petition for funding an Audit to the Mendocino BOS and have yet to hear of a response.

We informed the supervisors of the action taken by the State legislature of Nevada which required Assessors to send Affidavits of Authenticity to banks and entities sending foreclosure documents to be recorded. In the first month of enactment, the rate of foreclosures dropped by 75% in Nevada.

Now two years since we occupied the Supervisors offices with crime scene tape, we have been urging Susan Rannochak, Assessor/Recorder with a petition asking her to send Affidavits of Authenticity with CA Penal code 115, requiring true signatures of foreclosure documents to be recorded. No action was taken to stop fraud by the Recorder Susan Ranochak. She simply records all foreclosure documents, even those not paying transfer fees and those stamped with MERS,(Mortgage Electronic Registration System) having no chain of title. This is destroying the integrity of land title and property records in our county.

In January 2013 Occupy Mendocino urged the Board of Supervisors to apply for a Public Bank license and to use Eminent Domain to take contracts of foreclosed properties, reevaluate them to market value and direct mortgage payments to the county, creating a revenue stream and keeping revenues local.

Supervisor Dan Hamburg has been interested and charged Occupy to come up with a proposal. He attended the Public Banking Institute Conference in June along with nine others from Mendocino County, including John Sakowicz. Occupy Mendocino has begun writing a draft Mendocino County Charter with a Public Bank to continue efforts to stop foreclosures using Eminent Domain and we are dismayed at the lack of interest from some of the Supervisors, while already the City of Richmond has begun using Eminent Domain on occupied foreclosures with notices of default. Richmond as well as San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland are Charter Cities, this enables them to capitalize a bank with the help of their treasurer. San Francisco is also a Charter County. Their lawyer has found that a Charter county has more sovereignty than general law counties or cities.

We are asking individual Supervisors in this county to meet with us to acquaint themselves with our proposed Charter. We would be willing to amend the draft in response to them. When will the supervisors take action to meet with public banking chapter members to discuss the draft Charter for Mendocino County?


Agnes Woolsey




Bruce, Bruce, Bruce,

Know I often laud you as a vital news and muckraking source in our County. However, your recent Off the Record coverage of Ukiah City Council is heavily laden with disinformation. Not sure who your source is for such anti-Ukiah AVA propaganda but it’s unlikely this provocateur resides in our city. Do you and the Maj actually watch the Council meeting videos in absentia or are you relying on Star Chamber Sakowicz to supply the dirt? Lately, he’s been on an irrational vendetta against the City.

It’s time to counter the disinformation campaign being waged by a few individuals who don’t live in the City of Ukiah.

The argument you repeat that the “City was changing its position” in December about sharing all new revenue 50%-50% is total bullshit. Cities rarely take positions but we might accurately use that phrase after a majority vote is taken by a City Council. Come on man, you’ve got to know that a two-person City committee can never speak for the City when the Council majority has not made its position clear by formal vote. Never happened with this dubious proposal.

Well Bruce, OK, the last note above is only accurate in reference to the last seven years. The City has entered no agreement and has taken no vote on a sharing formula since 2007. However, few involved in the current anti-City disinformation campaign know or want to admit that the City did take a vote — a unanimous vote — to endorse a sharing formula on November 27, 2006. Now get this — on the recommendation of current 2nd District Supervisor John McCowen (then Councilmember) and Mayor Phil Ashiku, that unanimous vote by the Ukiah City Council supported for “the selected area” a 65% City—35% County sharing of new revenue out of the City’s piddly 9¢ on each sales tax dollar. As this is the only tax sharing formula position the “City” has ever taken, it would clearly be a change of mind if the “City” were to move to endorse the 50%-50% concept.

The AVA’s failure to find and mention these facts surely harms your journal’s credibility. I’m concerned you’ve been relying so heavily on questionable, non resident sources.

And give us a #$%$&^& break about a meeting of two Supervisors, two Councilmembers and a bunch of powerful (i.e. high paid) staff on December 17. At the recent City Council workshop on tax sharing, CEO Angelo ripped the City for changing its position, yet we’ve already shown this to be a bogus claim. It was as if County leaders thought this December 17 meeting was some kind of “smoking gun” that the “City” was not only not playing fair but had committed a sacrilege or terrorist act on that date. Flabbergasted by such nonsense, I then exclaimed something to this effect “What’s the big friggin’ deal about a meeting that got rather testy” because the financial analysis of the proposal caused the Councilmembers present to suggest alternatives.

AVA hero Angelo went on to argue the City’s financial analysis was “not based on real numbers” but, hey, the gracious County, the AVA reports, “was ready to come back to the table anyway.” For the record, the County has produced no financial analysis of any tax sharing proposal. All such analysis has been produced by City staff.

More importantly here is that all projections regarding the future sales tax revenue cannot be “real numbers” because they are projections into the future. Come on! The AVA is supposed to get this kind of stuff.

The star chamber’s John Sakowitz, again who frequently provides valuable, well researched reviews of local government, has lately been on the warpath against the City of Ukiah, which may make sense as he doesn’t live in the City. In attacking the City for dipping into reserves in order to maintain services provided by City staff, Sakowitz comes out for severe budget cuts which can only mean reduction in staff or staff salaries. Claiming in the AVA and the UDJ he implies that the City is on the verge of bankruptcy because we refuse to shaft our staff and curtail City services. Utter hogwash. The City of Ukiah now carries one of the most conservative budget reserves in the State of California, more than 35% of its expected expenditures for 2013-2014.

And even without the JS supported radical staff concession, we will end this fiscal year with a reserve of 25%, far above 70% of nearly all other California Cities. Bruce.

Yes, I realize much of this seems “mind numbing trivia” yet the community could use a wee bit more. After the November '06 proposal for a 65% — 35% split adopted unanimously by the Ukiah City Council, including its sponsor John McCowen, Supervisor Mike Delbar “expressed his appreciation for the proposal” according to Council minutes of that meeting. Subsequent to that City decision the Board of Supervisors refused to recognize that draft agreement.

Then back to your sources — the reason a regular AVA reader will question yours or the Maj's authorship of the Rip Ukiah series is the inclusion of such doublethink as “score one for the County at least in terms of credibility” and such elementary school syntax as “the County CEO and the County Counsel were well prepared with remarks that were to the point ...”

What you should know and few Ukiah valley residents do know is that under State mandate City of Ukiah sales taxes are already shared. Yes, the current sharing of the sales tax dollar collected in Ukiah shows these takes: State of California 52 cents, County of Mendocino 30 cents, City of Ukiah 15 cents, Education Protection 3 cents. Then of course you know that the lions share of property taxes for City of Ukiah property goes, after the schools' take, to the County of Mendocino.

Yes, indeed, the City of has resisted “jumping off the cliff” with the County and has approached this sharing agreement with utmost caution. Few know and those among County officials who do know seem not to want the community to know: no other city in California has entered an agreement to share all of its future new sales tax revenue or even future revenue from its new retail businesses. Yes, there are dozens of agreements in place but these involve specific sections of a city or new annexations. Those aware of the novelty being discussed should appreciate the caution being taken by City Councilmembers and staff.

We have been repeatedly warned by County officials, including the City's own representative on that Board, John McCowen, that with only three votes the Masonite site can be transformed into a mega mall. Those paying attention know that any such action would fly in the face of the 70% county voter rejection of DDR's Measure A several years ago. Dangerous to tell so many voters, most in Ukiah, that you're ignoring their wishes.

Still I assert we can achieve a reasonable tax sharing agreement before the end of the year.

Phil Baldwin


The AVA responds: “Rip Ukiah”? Easy, Phil, some of our best friends live in Ukiah, a model of civic functioning under you and your colleagues. But as anyone who pays attention knows, Ms. Rodin, Polly Anna Landis, and Little Benj, don't need help making themselves look silly, which they manage to do at nearly every meeting of the Ukiah City Council. And you get off some doozies yourself, Phil. But heck, even our infallibility has been challenged a few times. Ancient history aside, it seems clear that for the last several years there has been agreement on a 50-50 split of sales tax revenue by the City's and the County's ad hoc negotiators right up until the last meeting (the one the City participants conveniently can't recall). And thanks for the basic civics lesson, but yes, we understand that an agreement is not final until it is voted on by a majority of both sides. But it reeks of bad faith when the people on one side abandon a long-held position without a clear showing of the need to do so. And as we understand the proposed agreement, it would only apply to future revenue that is currently up for grabs; that is, it is no more the City's revenue than it is the County's. The basic prob seems to be that the City Manager is unable to provide the leadership that would lead to a balanced Ukiah budget and is therefore unwilling to share any of the future sales tax revenue.



My Dear Elizabeth Swenson ––

I want to thank you for keeping Channel 3 on the air for a while, because the ARTS Showcase at least temporally gives me the illusion that my world is not going to hell in a hand basket!

I owe you an apology –– not that I’ve ever been actively related to the Footlighters or MCTV, other than being interviewed for Senior Perspectives and in news clips and having attended Footlighters’ performances. I apologize for the naivety exposed on October 8, 2009 in The Advocate Community Forum, in which in part I said:

“For half a century Footlighters Theater brought the coastal community a touch of down to earth family fun and in doing so earned our sincere thanks. So it was with confusion and sadness that I learned that in the name of Footlighters a lawsuit is pending against MCTV, our public access television station.”

Apparently there was some dispute among the members of Footlighters as to the gift offer of the Footlighters’ somewhat dilapidated building to the TV public access outlet. But as I wrote in 2009 :

“In my view, the Footlighters at the time took proper and responsible action. The reputation of the Footlighters was safeguarded, their deteriorating property brought back into use, while the quality of life for the entire community was enhanced by the strengthening of MCTV.  After transfer of ownership, MCTV substantially repaired the property, expending over $100,000 to do so.”

During the two years MCTV spent making structural repairs, Footlighters said nothing. Then a lawsuit –– against MCTV ! not vs Footlighters’ erstwhile President! Apparently absent any mutual discussions, in this action one could discern opportunism, even greed. I remarked then:

“It is difficult to see how destroying MCTV furthers the interests of the people dedicated to the Footlighters. We should focus our energies and creativity rather than let them be consumed by the destruction this lawsuit represents.”

As to my apology: When we chatted in 2009 I was mistakenly assuming good will and community respect would govern the matter of whether or not a law suit. I was in error and am sorry I was not more forthright in urging action.

In light of the current behavior of the remnants of Footlighters, the conflicts of interest shadowing the case, the persistence of misstatements of facts and misdirection by leaders of the Footlighters and their attorney, I should have been more direct in urging public and legal action. Now, I am puzzled why no appeal has been filed. To my mind, the very basis of the law suit was fragile, if non-existent.

The overwhelming reality is that we residents-citizens have been deprived of a vital community communication resource –– an important vehicle for helping to make government processes more visible, accountable, and accessible to our widespread residents.

Yes, we have newspapers and radio, and some of us have broadband computers –– but the loss of MCTV is seminal. For citizens to be able to see and recognize public officials –– and to realize they can speak up to them –– is a precious value. Access, participation and communication are critical to the very existence of our community and our democracy.

In my time I’ve seen many instances of incompetence and unfounded and arrogant assertions –– the McCarthy fiasco, for instance –– but this home-grown one is startling in its viciousness and absence of concern and respect for community needs and values.

Honestly, my personal inclination now in light of this revelation of ethical lapses and absence of community values is to remove myself from this environment. It’s only that being in my 97th year do I refrain from moving. Certainly today I’d not recommend anyone taking up residence or business on the Mendocino coast.

My dear Elizabeth, please remember that in shaping MCTV you achieved a marvelous turn-around against substantial odds. I honor and thank you!  Yes, I know you feel it was a team effort, that you had support –– enthusiastic often –– and the MCET-MCTV history will shine on, of that I am certain.

I must say, however, that I am acutely disappointed by the silence and invisibility of our community leadership who, by and large, have not stirred or expressed themselves. I am reminded of Edmund Burke’s comment:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good  men [ and women –– HE ] to do nothing.” With warm personal regards, I am

Howard Ennes

Fort Bragg



Dear Anderson Valley,

Shelly and I would like to tell all our friends, “Thank you” for the support we have received since reopening The Boonville Saloon. Unfortunately, we have to say, “Goodbye.”

It’s no secret why the bar was closed prior to our reopening in 2010. We are encountering the same issue. The rent has been raised to a level that we cannot meet. Our plan is to stay open until August 17th. If there were another location nearby we would give it a try, but that option has not presented itself.

This decision has been very difficult and we have prolonged it until now.

Once again, Thank you.

Shelly and Marcia

The Boonville Saloon



Dear AVA,

A few months ago, I read Allman and Spark's hastily written how-to on catching a mentally ill killer, who also happened to be an excellent tracker and survivalist outwitting inner-city swat teams and police brigades by the hundreds in the Mendocino woods.

When I got to the part where Allman had just received news of the killing of Bassler and headed out Hwy 20 to the site, passing by, but not stopping to inform Bassler's mother of his death, my heart ached with disappointment. Are the family of high profile killings by cop no longer informed by law enforcement when law enforcement has to act defensively in a mortal way in regards to a relative outside the law?

In this case such consideration was not given. Bassler's family heard of his killing through the grapevine — not law enforcement. Natch Mom, conflicted and oblivious as she was, was not always forthcoming with information about knowledge of her son's activities.

Instead Allman's rendition sounded and felt like no victor vanquishing crime, but childishly hateful in intentionally NOT stopping to inform Bassler's mother of her son's killing. As though Allman had chosen in a very ugly way then, stooping to no better than her level, by matching her actions in choosing to not inform — like she did when dropping Bassler off with rifle in the location of Matt's killing. Somehow, law enforcement is still supposed to be expected to take the higher moral ground, and failed at that last chance.

Many folks whom I've asked if they read the book, won't even read it, and find it distasteful and opportunistic of Allman's re-election bid, even if the money is donated to mental health blah, blah, blah.

Also in the book, why no mention of the extraneously unidentified burner/disposable cell phone call (the “hit” call) reporting Melo had been hit and was on the ground. A lot of folks hated Melo and the work that he did. It was creepy and weird then, that his body was left there overnight by law enforcement. That's the strangest part of the whole story. Was it an assassination of Melo?

Law and lumber concerns about homeless vagrant campers numbering a small community (who also provided law enforcement with helpful witness information regarding meeting Bassler in those woods) were expensively rectified by the woodland sifting and dollars dedicated to Bassler's highly expensive end.

Aaron Bassler kept trying to return to his mother's home. Why didn't law enforcement let him? Why could they not let Mom feed him one last time with laced food? Start with any one of several highly effective and expedient knock out drugs added to his mom's food and let her feed him one last time.

Allman comes up for re-election. He's starting to collect money for his campaign NOW. Can't we get Tony Craver back? Recently Allman was asking for donations because the Sheriff's Dept. is broke. After Allman's been on whose side of how many pot confiscations — especially for those in his unsuccessful zip tie program? Pick another badge-man Mendocino!

Name Withheld

Fort Bragg

Ed reply: I know for a fact that both Basslers were kept fully informed throughout that awful series of events, and that Allman and Captain Smallcomb did everything they could to bring Bassler in alive. It was an unprecedented occurrence, and given that Bassler had committed two murders and seemed likely to commit more, law enforcement's first priority had to be the safety of the wider community. Expecting the Sheriff to stop by the former Mrs. Bassler's home to bring her the news of her son's death seems wildly unreasonable to me in the circumstances. Melo was shot down doing his job managing a timber property, ordinarily not a capital offense. Drug people, many of them forever stalled in Blue Meanie mode, forget that at least half the population of this county do not assume the libertarian position on the drug issue. Allman is Sheriff of everyone while going to extraordinary and extraordinarily creative lengths to accommodate the pot brigades only to be overridden by federal authority, which is where the unreason on the entire drug question resides. He's been a good Sheriff in a difficult time, and I think the book is an honest account of the Bassler affair, and a must read for anyone interested in local history.


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