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Letters To The Editor


Letter to the editor

Where is the Democracy? is the title of this letter.

Reading through Will Parish's accounts of the struggle to save Little Lake Valley wetlands from Caltrans’ insane plan to wick drain the marsh and valley water table, I observe that at key points in the decision making process there is one person only upon whom yea or nay rests. After a three-clone man appellate court acquiescence to a Caltrans invasion of Willits, the next big decision was the responsibility of federal court judge Jeffrey White. He had to choose whether or not to grant an injunction to halt Caltrans until the case could be adjudicated. DUH. An injunction would prevent legal procrastination in order to avoid the consequences of a wrong and possibly unpopular decision. It is the route of a political coward. Shouldn't the injunction be mandatory so that the issue can be adjudicated? Procrastination is the route currently taken. Where is the democracy in this procedure?

Another decision rested in the hands of superior court judge Cindy Mayfield. Again, she alone decided whether Caltrans may remove poisoned mill residue and soil from the old mill site to fill and destroy the federally protected wetlands according to the mandates of the Clean Water Act. One man, Mendo County Planner John Speka, had granted the initial permit in obeisance to Caltrans. Realizing that a local judge might be more responsive to respected community input, Caltrans shifted its plans. Without hesitation, Caltrans moved their action to a hillside south of Willits which their convoys proceeded to remove. Remember the extensive public hearings held in front of the entire County Planning Commission re whether Walmart could expand its Ukiah store or not? Walmart's plans were examined in minute detail. Recall that Walmart's land was already developed and not protected by federal wetlands, clean water law. How does Caltrans get permission to alter its documented plans without public inspection at public hearings? Once again, Where is the democracy in this procedure?

Now, Caltrans, taking advantage of Jeffrey White's acquiescence to corruption, racing against the rainy season closedown of operations is working against the clock. With no court decision, no injunction to impede the destruction, convoys of huge double wagon cargo trucks, filled continuously by an orange bucket loader, haul the dirt from the destroyed hill site of south Willits, to the northern marsh. The plan is to make the destruction of the wetlands irreversible before the tardy court decisions are revealed. Where is the democracy in all this?

Caltrans trucks are roaring through downtown Willits at an estimated speed of at least 55mph. Where are the Willits city police whose responsibility it is to ensure safe speeds within the city limits? Are they too helping Caltrans violate federal law by disappearing when they are needed? Where is the democracy?

Searching for Democracy while our precious rural watershed and Pacific flyway is being ruined by an utterly corrupt public/private for profit agency like Caltrans is like searching for Waldo. Where's Waldo? The only difference is Waldo is always there.

Where is our democracy? Find it. Demand it. Hold timid bureaucrats and public officials accountable. Impeach and remove recalcitrants.

Kudos to the brave young people, ordinary folk and their elders who practice civil disobedience.


Dorotheya M Dorman

Redwood Valley




In the May-June, 2013 issue of Mother Jones magazine, Mac McClelland chronicles “the insane cost of abandoning troubled minds.” In his article “Schizophrenic. Killer. My Cousin,” McClelland lays out the tragic consequences and wasteful costs of slashing the budgets of our mental health systems.

Consider the following….

One in every four Americans will suffer from mental illness in any given year. Among those are the “seriously mentally ill,” meaning severe and disabling long-term functional impairment caused by major depression, bipolar disorder, and the schizophrenias, occurring in an estimated 1 in 15 Americans and 1 in 3 of our homeless.

The feds gutted spending on mental health care decades ago. And now states have cut $4.35 billion in public mental health spending since 2009. California ranked number 1 in amount of mental health spending cuts from 2009 to 2011, down 21%.

The result? America has the same ratio of psychiatric beds for the population that we had in 1850.

The result? America’s largest mental health hospital is our jail system. In the eight years between 1998-2006 the number of mentally ill behind bars more than quadrupled, often for “nuisance” crimes. They are now five times more likely to be in jail than persons without mental illness. The Catch-22? Public Mental Health Departments are not obligated to provide psychiatric treatment to jail inmates.

We have criminalized mental illness instead of treating it, locking these afflicted humans in cages as we did hundreds of years ago.

Today, jail is just about the only route to a psychiatric hospital, although the mentally ill often rot and “decompensate” into psychological hell in isolation jail cells 6-12 months awaiting an open state hospital bed. Today, 92% of California state hospital patients got there via the criminal justice system.

The costs of not treating mental illness? At least 10% of US homicides are committed by the untreated severely mentally ill, although most violence committed by them is committed against themselves.

Costs? Forget all that touchy-feely stuff. All considerations of humanity aside, McClelland found that the bottom line economics are that $2500 dollars in treatment saves the taxpayer $50,000 in jail costs.

What are our politicians and bureaucrats — local, state, and federal — not understanding here? Do the math. This is financial folly. This is barbaric cruelty. As McClelland points out, “it’s insanity.”

Contact Mel at our local chapter of the National Association for the Mentally Ill to see what you can do about it here and now:

J. Holden, PhD




Dear Editor:

Thank you for the great story in the Sunday, September 15, edition of the “Mendocino County Today” blog at Anderson Valley Advertiser, about the $16 million dollar lawsuit filed by the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District against the City of Ukiah.

Apparently, the Sanitation District thinks that the City of Ukiah has been dipping into Sanitation District funds — “borrowing” — to cover their own budget/cash flow problems for years, and that these “borrowing costs” may have been passed along to ratepayers.

Yup. You read the lawsuit right. The cost of the City's hijinks have been passed along to ratepayers! Passed along to ratepayers probably for at least the last 20 years. Those ratepayers are we, the readers of this newspaper who live in the Ukiah Valley. All 15,000 of us.

If the District wins this case, or settles, I'm wondering if maybe rebates will be passed on to us, the ratepayers. Let’s hope so. My sewer bill has tripled during the last ten years.

Also, it would seem apparent that the District only recently got wind of this ruse of “borrowing” money. The accounting deception was that skillful. Reportedly, the District hired Duncan James to file the claim, and that after it’s routinely denied by the City, it will become a heck of a case in the courtroom. The claims made by the District are numerous. And serious. Besides the City “borrowing” the District’s money, I gather so far in my reading of the lawsuit that the District also thinks the City of Ukiah may have been “cooking their books” to cover it up — the City was doing the District’s bookkeeping, apparently.

I’m asking City Clerk Kristine Lawler to send me a copy of the claim. It’s quite lengthy. It's a 10mb file of scanned non-text images. I’ll post it on my blog on KZYX once I receive it.

PS. One of the named parties in the lawsuit is our old buddy, Gordon Elton. Remember him? Gordon Elton, the retired Ukiah City Finance Director.

He is also the guy who Dan Hamburg felt so strongly about protecting from negative publicity that he violated my right to free speech at the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors meeting on July 16 during public comment. Hamburg ruled me out of order when I started to enumerate my criticisms of Gordon Elton.

Hamburg chairs the Board of Supervisors. He had the power to rule me out of order.

Just think about it.

Gordon Elton was more important to Dan Hamburg than the First Amendment of the US Constitution — the very same Gordon Elton who is now alleged to have cooked the books at the Sanitation District.

But Gordon Elton, or no Gordon Elton, I should not have been told to sit down and shut up at that July 16 of the Board of Supervisors. Free speech rights are inviolable. Why? Because free speech, which includes freedom of the press, is central to our democracy. That's why it is the First Amendment of the US Constitution. Free speech comes before any other amendments to the US Constitution. Free speech is regarded as so important that the US Supreme Court has allowed state constitutions to provide free speech protections that actually exceed those of the US Constitution. In a few states, such as California, our state constitution has been interpreted as providing more comprehensive protections than the First Amendment. The Supreme Court has permitted states to extend such enhanced protections, most notably in Pruneyard Shopping Center v. Robins.

So, my friends, stand-by for my own lawsuit. My issues surrounding free speech have not yet been resolved with Mendocino County Board of Supervisors. I am hopeful we can come to a settlement, but time will tell. The majority of the Board are decent, well-meaning, responsible people.

If we can’t settle and I sue, folks should know that I sue on behalf of all of us, the citizens of Mendocino County.

It will not be a frivolous lawsuit. Our First Amendment rights must not be abridged. Especially in this age of corporate personhood, big political donors, lobbyists, and Super PACs, our rights must not be abridged. Public comment is the only access that many of us have to our elected officials.

Every violation must be contested. It’s a slippery slope.

Finally, I wonder if the Ukiah City Attorney will be called upon to defend Gordon Elton. Will taxpayer dollars be spent defending Gordon Elton?

And if so, I wonder if the good people of Ukiah will protest that misuse of public funds defending Elton during public comment — during public comment at both Ukiah City Council meetings and Mendocino County Board of Supervisors meetings?

While you're up there at the podium for public comment, ask, too, when those rebates are coming.

John Sakowicz




Dear Editor:

All the news about Syria and the chemical warfare issue have pushed news about Edward Snowden to the back burner. A new revelation about his documents published in the Guardian Newspaper did not get any play in the US media but should be of concern to Americans. The newspaper published in full a “Memorandum of Understanding” between the NSA and Israel which allows the NSA to share with Israel raw intelligence on phone calls and e-mails of American citizens. The MOU places no legally binding limits on the use of data by the Israelis. Of course, the NSA says there are safeguards to protest the privacy of Americans. However, there are no safeguards in the MOU and does any one believe the assurances of the NSA? Apparently the FISA Court has not been aware of this agreement. Also, it is not clear to what extent President Obama was involved. Did he give his blessing to the agreement? Once again our rights are being willfully violated by the NSA and apparently the Adminstration.

In peace,

James G. Updegraff





I had the dubious pleasure of visiting San Francisco with my three-year-old daughter and feel compelled to write to you regarding an unforgettable experience. In an effort to take my daughter on a cable car ride, we found ourselves on Eddy Street for parking near the cable car turntable. We could hear the sounds of an angry man screaming in the distance. Within minutes, the source of the sound became readily apparent. It was a man in a “Jesus Saves“ shirt with a bullhorn strapped to his waist and a hand microphone screaming at my daughter and me as loud as he could from three feet away.

On the surface, I say, fine, the guy has his First Amendment right to say whatever he wants to say, but is there really nothing that can be done when a man is screaming in the face of parents and children who are effectively stranded in a line, to the point where a little girl is shaking in fear and put to tears?

This went on for at least ten minutes while a police officer casually chewed gum with his thumbs in his belt roughly 20 feet away. I asked the officer how this could possibly be tolerable, and he gave me the First Amendment pitch and noted that the same guy has been doing this for years down there.

Is there anything you can do to address this kind of unconscionable, egregious absurdity? Is there no line of decency that can be drawn in a city as grand as San Francisco?

Clay Miller





Time of Teddy—

At the turn of the century a Republican president invited the American Negro genius George Washington Carver to have dinner with him at the White House. This harmless event caused a rift of very bad s___ to descend on Teddy Roosevelt. He did not apologize, but never repeated the invitation.

As the trusts were dividing up the country, one of the ghouls noted that they were indeed ushering in a Socialist Industrial Commonwealth for the elite. I've been reading 'Theodore Rex' by Edmund Morris. His description of the coal mines is vivid and horrible. His description of the fat cats is pretty horrible also.

Captain Fathom





So you heard that there was a party at Testa Vineyards.

I do not know how many times I have said or written, “I adore Maria,” when talking about Maria Testa Martinson of Testa Vineyards in Calpella, just north of Ukiah, on North State Street. The feeling is universal, everyone loves Maria. Maria asked me to judge the wines created at her recent Barn Blend BBQ Party and, inspired by the experience, I wrote a column about blends that will run soon.

Last week on the Monday following the party, when I went to work, I was asked three times for news on what happened at the party. The first time I was asked, unaware that anything but an enjoyable party had happened, I described the blending, the food, the terrific music by McKenna Faith, the judging experience, the things I experienced.

It turns out folks knew more about things that went on than I did.

I arrived at 6pm, parked in a lot below the vineyard, was shuttled in a golf cart up to the party and had a great time. I left between 9:30 and 10pm, again catching a ride in a golf cart from the party back down to my car.

Hours later, past midnight, after the party was over and just a few folks remained for cleanup, there was still fun being had with the golf carts and a neighbor called for law enforcement.

I golfed for many years, and cannot claim a single round of golf in all of those years where the golf cart was handled in a completely responsible manner. There is an enormous tendency to want to treat the cart like a go-kart, a mini race car, or as a bumper car. I don't know what it is, maybe it is simply a guy thing, but I am not alone in this. I have witnessed the phenomenon affect nearly every golf cart driver at some point.

Anyway, a Mendocino County Deputy Sheriff arrived and the fun quickly evaporated. When brother-in-law Jim Thompson was cuffed and put in the back of a patrol car, Maria's husband Rusty Martinson allegedly became very confrontational and wanted law enforcement to leave, and leave Jim behind. Rusty was then arrested and put in the back of another patrol car. Meanwhile, someone opened up the first patrol car and freed Thompson. Bottom line: poor judgment at the end of the party led to a bunch of charges for Rusty and Jim with more likely to come for the person who freed Jim.

I am not writing to excuse Rusty's or Jim's behavior. The deputy sheriffs work hard and deserve respect. Drunk in public, resisting, escaping, removing from custody, are unfortunate and without question the deputy sheriff shouldn't have had to deal with any but the first, the drunk in public. That said, “stuff” happens.

I have noticed that in our quiet little community where everybody knows everybody else, folks love gossip and scandal. Folks can't help themselves, no one is immune. Heck, I was hitting the booking logs for more information and I knew the story would break. It did. Newspaper, radio and internet are ablaze with the story. Oh my, a new scandal.

Maria is the same lovely person today that she was before this happened. Rusty isn't exactly lovely, but he is a good guy, a solid guy, and he would be the first of tell you he messed up. Rusty too is the same person today that he was before the incident. Same for everyone involved.

I screw up all the time. I am thankful that most people look past my occasional bouts of stupidity and accept me as I usually am. I also find that owning up to my most grievous lapses of judgment helps folks move past whatever transgressions I commit.

Beside herself, with the mini-media storm begun, Maria called me the morning the story broke here in the newspaper. We talked. I told her that people love a scandal, but small-town scandals die quickly as folks move onto the next scandal and there is always a next scandal. I also said a heart felt apology, a statement, helps folks move on.

Here are Maria and Rusty in their own words: “Our blending party was just as wonderful as we could imagine. People meeting people for the first time, working on their wine blends. The music, the food, it was all just amazing. We are so sorry this happened. Sorry for the officers involved and our family and friends that were only still there to help with cleanup.” — Maria and Clyde “Rusty” Martinson.

So there you have it. 220 folks gathered for celebration and had a spectacular evening. Party done, most everybody gone, some men acted like boys and bad boys at that. But an apology has been made and it's time to move along. To that end, I will be back up to Testa Ranch to taste and buy wine soon from my friends Maria and Rusty.

John Cesano




To the Editor:

There was a traveling road show that appeared in selected areas of our county showcasing the county budget. One of the crown jewels of this spectacle is the multi-million dollar reserve that the Board of Supervisors has magically created. The Board of Supervisors took drastic, punitive measures to create the size of this treasure chest; and they threaten to continue on this same path indefinitely.

Anytime a significant employer takes a hatchet to their payroll local businesses, small and large, become major victims in the collateral damage. This letter is not about the individual human tragedies and miseries the Board caused. This letter is a challenge to business leaders to think about what the Board is doing and to hold each member accountable. This reserve is money scooped out of circulation by drastic payroll reductions and placed in a “mattress” for future unknown contingencies. Contact each of these Supervisors and ask when this accumulation will be enough and when reparations to the local economy will begin. Be mindful that the size of this is massive and growing with no end in sight.

It's not rocket science to deduce that removing millions from the county economy every year means fewer cars, fewer dinners and lunches, fewer lawn mowers, and fewer groceries are sold every month. The workers of Mendocino County do not send their paychecks to the Cayman Islands; they inject the money into our local economy.

Don Crawford





I recently talked with Russ Shively of Mendocino Redwood Company to get an update on the J Road Timber Harvest Plan on the lower Albion River. This was a follow up coming on the heels of the community meeting that we had in April where approximately 80 residents attended a meeting with MRC officials Mike Jani and John Anderson. At that meeting a number of concerns were expressed and the conversation was far-ranging. John Anderson has since been promoted within the company and Russ Shively is now the Registered Professional Forester in charge of this plan.

Logging for the year will likely wrap up mid-late September. Russ informed me that they have completed the portions of the plan that called for tractor hauling the logs out. Due to certain economic considerations they are going to return next year to do the portions that call for cable logging. The acreage covered by these two different yarding methods is split roughly 50-50.

During pre-harvest inspections it was determined that the area of the plan adjacent to the lagoon was potential Marbled Murrelet habitat. No murrelets were found at that time, but there was the sufficient possibility that Murrelets seeking to inhabit the area might find that that suitable, so it was removed from the plan. Shively stated that the adjacent areas are among those slated for cable yarding, so that area will not be entered this year. When the company commences logging it will be sufficiently flagged to insure protection of that area.

The contractor for the job is Sanchez Brothers out of Fort Bragg. Russ is pleased with their work.

Russ wanted me to remind neighbors to stay out of that area while logging operations are active even if you have a walking permit from the company. There was one incident of a local walking in the area during operations, which is a potentially dangerous situation.

The use of herbicides across MRC land is probably the greatest source of friction the company has with its neighbors, and this was evidenced at the Community Meeting. In part due to strong sentiments expressed from the community MRC agreed to not spray herbicides on this plan, a decision that many Albion Residents applauded. Russ stated there are eight small areas where tanoak and other vegetation are being tractor crushed, and at the close of operations crews will come in with chainsaws for further work.

I talked with Russ about the agreement that John Anderson and Mike Jani had made that the company would take interested neighbors on a walk-through as the community is very interested in helping monitor the level of success of these methods. Many are hopeful that MRC will find ways to reduce its overall herbicide use and that this plan may help toward that end. There is a strong interest in helping MRC find other methods in addition to the ones being used on the J Road plan.

Russ said he would be glad to guide such a tour. He suggested that it could take place some time this winter after they were done with the selected treatment areas. Interested residents will be notified when this event takes place.

Chris Skyhawk, 937-4295

Albion Community Awareness Network




In “Lost and Found at Burning Man” (Sept. 11) Katy Taha recounts the good time she had at the gathering of 70,000 (not 60,000) revelers, which is cool enough — there's no denying that it's a good party, with fascinating art and behavior. But she completely dismisses any ecological (not “philosophical”) concerns raised about the event, environmental or otherwise, including the “7,000 bicycles left on the playa” by these “leave no trace” attendees, the massive polluting traffic jams (which she says were OK as they “allowed people to socialize”), and so on with a curt “spare me.”

And like one of the true BM faithful, she assumes that those who raise questions haven't been there (wrong). At least she's honest in letting us know that she just doesn't care about anything other than her own good time; her piece could have been titled “It's My Party and You'll Fry If I Want To.”

Steve Heilig

San Francisco



Re: Me costing Norman the election? I'd love to talk with you


Due to my poverty, I've not been able to afford a sub to the AVA or individual copies for over a year. A couple of people have recently brought up to me that you have mentioned on a number of occasions a gripe you have about me somehow costing Norman the runoff spot.

Someone said that no, you didn't think I cost him the nov election, but that you thought there would have been some value for Norman to keep running through Nov.

So I'm wondering what your issue is.

Here are some points:

Norman Solomon is a Cherwitz. I'm really sorry you didn't catch that from the beginning. i was sorry to see you get duped by him and never catch on. Norman is another narcissistic egotist and liar. He's the most sexist leftist I've ever met. He pulled all of his punches in the 2012 Congressional campaign to make himself a pathetic Pelosi Dem. Norman is not only sexist but he is abusive to women. My campaign manager Yarrow, at the time a 25-year old woman, and both Dr. Courtney's wife Kristin and John Lewallen's wife Barbara had traumatic experiences with Norman. All three of these women loath Norman! If Norman had made it past the primary, they were all going to campaign against Norman. And none of us were pro-Huffman.

So the first reason my leaving the race would not have given Norman the winning margin is because all three of us Emerald Triangle candidates received floods of Norman voters over to our side, especially at the end of the race, after Norman sent out his suck my dick and shut up anti-Stacey Lawson mailings. it was the most hideously sexist thing I've ever seen produced by a leftist. His math?

Pinocchio penis nose + Stacey Lawson with her mouth open to receive it = Woman business leader who shuts up (photo of Meg Whitman with her lips shut as tightly as possible). I call it his “Shut up and Suck” mailer. Norman is a disgrace to the left. That's what you should have gone after, not attacking me as a threat to your cult-like dreams of a Norman-produced Fake Leftist Utopia. I got suckered too, by him, and couldn't even imagine him being this way until I started experiencing it from the very beginning of his campaign. Unfortunately, I had never met the man before.

I feel very guilty about provoking the creation of Dr. Caffreystein's monster, Norman the Congressional candidate. You see, Norman would not have been running if it weren't for me. Originally it was all my idea. He has acknowledged this to me. I very publicly started calling on him to do so starting as far back as the end of 2006, right after Pelosi won the House.

That's probably why he never sent his goon squads after me like he did to Dr. Courtney & John Lewallen, to try to get me to leave the race. He ruthlessly tried to pressured them out, but never asked me, either publicly or privately, to leave the race. However, I did at the end ask him to leave the race since he never had any plan or hope to actually win the seat. Staying in the race, he was only keeping Ecotopia from electing the first Green to Congress: Andy Caffrey.

What you should do is add Norman's votes to mine and I would have defeated Roberts for second place by 3/10 of a percent. Plus, if Norman had withdrawn, there is an excellent chance that John Lewallen, and perhaps even Dr. Courtney would have stepped aside and endorsed me. They both told me that they wanted me to win. John told me he was going to vote for me. That would have put me over 20%. Then a race between Huffman and Caffrey would have made it a north coast guy representing the four rural counties of the district vs the urban liberal Pelosi Dem. from Marin County.

Republicans up here like me because since 1986 I've been fighting for their jobs against the Hurwitzes and Merlos and Boscos, because I've saved the lives of homeless veterans, work to keep the streets safe for businesses, customers, and the homeless. The fact that I never promoted myself the way Judi and Darryl did is evidence that my activism was and still is, because of the needs presented to us. I do what has to be done with my activism. Period.

I could have started pimping myself, if I had that nature, and making a big ecoactivist name for myself back in 1987, when I shut down the atmospheric GMO microbe industry with my anti-Frostban campaign, something for which The BBC in 2002 declared me a World Historic Figure as the World's First GE crop Trasher. David Brower's wife Anne offered to edit my Genetic Alert newsletter, something she said she had offered only one other time, to her husband David Brower.

So you see, without a Caffrey for Congress campaign, there very likely never would have even been a Norman Solomon for Congress campaign to begin with. You see, since the Nov 2006 election, I've been arguing that we will NEVER get what we need to solve our civilization-threatening ecological and economic meltdowns from corporatist members of Congress. I've been fighting my whole life for us to address those crises at fundamental levels before it's too late, so I argue that we must do what it takes to make those changes. That means we have to invent as a movement, and beyond that to the broader American public, ways to get community leaders elected to displace the corporatists.

Is there really any way to do that? Can we beat Congressional candidates armed by over a million dollars? Well, what does that million dollars buy them? Mostly TV time in 30 second bursts.

As you know, I have been a videographer, editor and producer since 1988. I have all the gear I need to make videos just in one old computer. I concluded that if as a movement we got behind our movement candidates, that community organizing, combined with you tube, cable access, and well, provocative media events like, say, a Democratic Congressional candidate smoking a joint and getting on national news TV, might allow us to reach, if not as many people as the million dollar corporatist candidates, then at least enough for us to make it into round 2, and maybe even a November victory.

The argument I then made was that if we can do this to get a community organizer/leader elected who isn't famous, like me, then two years later, we could get several more famous people, like Norman Solomon, Winona LaDuke, Jim Hightower, and Erin Brockovich elected.

Norman apparently thought that was a brilliant idea.

Except Norman blew off all of the grassroots components of campaigning that I was talking about. He ran as an establishment progressive Democrat (except of course when he packaged and colored his brochures to try to get people to think he was running Green party, that he, and not me, was the Green running in this campaign).

Kind of ironic that it is only now that he sees the value in developing the community networking and solidarity aspect of this electoral revolution I'm talking about, that has been the foundation of my Congressional campaign since I started working on the idea in 2006.

Since Huffman got 39% of the vote in the primary, and the two Republicans got a combined amount of around 21% of the vote, and since many Caffrey, Courtney, and Lewallen voters would never again vote for Norman, without any other votes, Huffman would have had crushed Norman in the Nov. election by an even bigger margin than he crushed Republican Dan Roberts. he would win with 60% of the November vote from His and the Republicans' primary voters. Add to that almost all of the Stacey Lawson voters and Huffman ends up with closer to 70%. Norman got 14.3 % so lost out on making the runoff by 7/10 of a percent to Roberts' 15%. Which is where, I suppose, your gripe against me comes from. You apparently think Norman would have had the 1% votes that went to Caffrey in their pocket. Nope, they would have mostly gone to Courtney and Susan Adams. Susan and Norman are pals, so Norman would have probably received a good chunk of her votes. Courtney and Lewallen got, I think, 2.7 % and 2.3 %, respectively.

This was clear months out from June. Financially Norman had shot his wad way too early in the campaign and was largely out of money by February or March.

He never aired any TV commercials. I did. Four of them. The only other candidates to air TV spots were Huffman and Lawson. Although my spots were only aired in two of the six counties in the district, they did go to every TV in Humboldt and Del Norte counties during shows like Letterman and the Charlie Rose CBS morning show. As far as left messaging is concerned, my spots were the most radical Congressional TV spots ever aired in the USA. You can check them out at

And that joint-smoking direct action I did, that got me on MSNBC, and spurred Leno to talk me up twice, well, it worked. No one else in the nation was talking at that national a political and media level that no one should spend another hour in jail for marijuana, that that destroys families. I argued that no one should feel shy or defensive about taking their medicine, and that thousands of people really suffer when Obama shuts down the dispensaries. Well, guess what? We got 2 and 1/2 of those three things this summer from Obama.

Look at the MSNBC newscasts with me. Steve Kornacki on Alex Wagner's panel for my interview, said that while my story was interesting, it had no legs outside of my region. A year later Obama ends mandatory minimums for marijuana violations, and is establishing a “Let It Be” position on medical marijuana and recreational use states. So people won't suffer from being deprived of their medicine, and they won't have to be shy or defensive about their medicine, and hundreds of thousands of people over the next few years won't be spending time in jail or will be spending a hell of a lot less time in jail.

A day after my first appearance on MSNBC, David Maraniss hit the airwaves to talk up his bio on Obama, and they specifically talked about the chapter on Obama as stoner. Then, Thom Hartman, Lawrence O'Donnell, Chris Hayes, and several others at MSNBC started running several excellent segments on those very specific marijuana concerns I had brought up, such as ending the war on drugs, and echoing my call for federal legalization.

However much credit, I deserve I suppose we'll only find out about once I'm elected to Congress next year and I get to ask Obama himself! It doesn't really matter that much. What matters is that I was a national leader in that campaign. I made a difference, more so as a candidate than Huffman will do as a one-term Congressman. Now it's Caffrey 1, Huffman 0, Solomon 0.

Now I probably even have higher national name recognition than Norman, Huffman, or any of the other candidates, and I'm just getting warmed up for the 2014 race. I'm about to start eight months of running my TV spots. I'm working on getting on Democracy Now and Bill Maher and Jay Leno as a guest.

So Bruce, how did you become a Solomander cult member? You more than most people saw this kind of thing happen with Judi's uncritical fans. Just because Judi, Darryl, or Norman argue good left politics, that doesn't mean they aren't malignant narcissist or psychopaths.

On the other hand, no one will ever be disappointed that they supported my activism work, including this campaign. My campaign advisor, Earth First!, Rainforest Action Network, and Climate Ground Zero co-founder Mike Roselle told me last year that I'doing the best activism of my life so far right now. I'm sorry if I'll give more credence to Roselle's encouragement and not so much to you whining about a narcissists not getting past a primary run-off.

Anyway, I hope you know that if you ever think I'm doing something destructive with my activism, you can feel free to call me any time and tell me why. I learned a long time ago that when people criticize one, that person is either correct or partially correct with their critique, or they are full of it. Unless the person who is full of it uses lies against you, then don't worry about the idiots who are incorrect. And a wise person will learn from the critiques that are correct or partially correct, and change themselves for the better.

For a New Green America,

Your pal, Andy Caffrey, Redway

So can we talk on the phone some time? I'm at 923-2114

PS. Oops! I left a place for this link in the note below but forgot to include the link

Ed note: Interesting that your characterization of Solomon, a gentlemanly fellow in my experience of him, is as vile as what you attribute to him. I hope he runs again.




I would like to respond to my friend Dave Smith's rebuttal of my Letter criticizing the Willits bypass protesters. Dave begins by setting up a straw man, transmogrifying the points made in my letter into ones that he criticizes as hackneyed, while pointing out (in a hackneyed, didactic way) the salutary effects of nonviolent civil disobedience in recent decades. This argument strikes me as a complete non sequitur; the fact that nonviolent civil disobedience has had wonderful utility in recent history, it seems to me, is not an argument for why one should support that method or any other method of opposing this particular project.

Having driven both directions through Willits the other day, I once again was astounded that anyone in his or her right mind would be opposed to resolving the intolerable traffic situation there; in both directions, time and fuel must be wasted bringing my vehicle and all the huge, heavy trucks to a complete stop, then accelerate them, stop again etc., needlessly burning significant amounts of fuel in the process.

This ongoing squandering of fuel, promoting global warming, polluting the downtown Willits environment, not to mention the enormous waste of everyone's time, is something that the anti-bypass zealots are willfully blind to; the much ballyhooed destruction of the environment occasioned by the new highway's footprint struck me as rather modest in scope, especially in comparison to the vast expanses of relatively wild, undisturbed forest land that comprise such a high percentage of Mendocino County's land mass.

Dave's conflation of the Willits protest with a great Redwood Summer protests of yesteryear doesn't make much sense to me either; the overcutting of the forests was an ongoing foolish enterprise that could be slowed, impeded or stopped entirely at any point along its course. This has nothing to do with a specific road building project which has, after decades of working its way over myriad hurdles, is finally to be built. Let's be clear, it will be built, according to the democratically expressed will of the people of California. It is not being built for the pleasure or convenience of the people of Willits, but for the citizens of California and the rest of the United States.

Another argument I find totally unconvincing is that the bypass is being built for short term construction jobs, and, “for the rapidly obsolescing,car-centric, nature killing, climate change economy...” as if the failure to build this one item of sorely needed infrastructure is going to cause the whole world to stop driving cars and trucks and, what?, we'll all suddenly start transporting ourselves strictly with bicycles? I don't think so. Let's be realistic about our expectations for change; cars and trucks are going to be with us for generations more, and the Willits bypass will produce significant savings of fuel, and a major improvement in air quality, noise pollution and traffic flow in Willits. What's not to like about that?

I like to think that I am trying to work for 'deep ecology', that is, to my way of thinking, looking beyond my narrow personal 'viewshed' to think not about the ecological impact that is right in front of me, but about how the whole system works, and total impact everywhere, through the lifecycle of the system. In my analysis of everything I have read about the Willits bypass, in the long term, I believe that it is actually the Green alternative.


John Arteaga





Arriving San Francisco 7:10AM Wednesday 9/18. My love and warmest spiritual greetings. Please know that I am arriving on Greyhound at 7:10AM Wednesday. I need a place to go to, particularly a place to sleep Wednesday night. I receive money on the following Wednesday, and will be making an effort to survive upon my return to California. As you know, I did everything I could to relocate to Washington DC, but it just did not happen, mostly due to a lack of cooperation to get housing. I did the best that I could! Otherwise, I am giving myself over to God. I have contacted Natalie Siva (director of the Berkeley men's shelter) via email asking for help, if anybody could assist me in getting a survival housing situation set up, that would be very appreciated at the moment. Peace be with you.

Craig Stehr
En route


One Comment

  1. October 2, 2013

    re: Cap’n Fathom’s mention of ‘Theodore Rex’, this book should be required reading. When it came out at Borders in Kona a few years ago, there were 8 or 10 fresh copies on the shelf. I pulled one down, thumbed thru it, impressed and interested, especially by a stark photo near the middle about U.S. occupation of the Philippines ca. 1907. Two men in U.S. officers’ uniforms stood on a pile of human bones maybe the size of a suburban residential lot, one of them presenting two femurs crossed over his chest. They posed for this pic. When I came back a week later to buy a copy, there were none on the shelf, so I asked about one. ‘Oh, we have them in the back,’ says the friendly clerk. He brings one out, I buy it, take it home, and presto, no portrait of U.S. officers playing jolly roger, anywhere. The pages were still in sequence, the edition number in front was ‘1st’…
    They did leave in TR’s reference to “…that most dangerous of classes, the wealthy criminal class.” Teddy was surely in a place to know whereof he spake, eh?
    …and ahoy and aloha my cap’n

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