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Letters (Apr 16, 2014)

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Letter to the Editor,

The Yuba City contractor Hilbers bought the Fort Bragg 300 Harrison St. property to remodel and sell to Hospitality House as soon as they get the CDBG money from the City and can buy the remodeled place to use for offices and “transitional housing.”

In addition to that profit, Hilbers will soon get money from the County Mental Health Director Tom Pinizzotto to reimburse them for the remodel. Pinizzotto plans to give them funds from the MHSA Housing Program ($1.3M) that are earmarked for “permanent supported housing” for people with serious mental illness and their families. Three supervisors need to see that these State funds are not misused for offices and “transitional housing”; and that they are instead used for “permanent supported housing.”

State and Federal Mental Health Patient Funds are not Pinizzotto’s private purse to take care of his Yuba City cronies.

--Sonya Nesch, author of "Advocating for Someone with a Mental Illness," Comptche

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Don't listen to that bozo  —  Walton is great! Please continue to publish him.

--SK Dodge, Point Arena

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Editor —

Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association, neighborhood bullies indeed. I always thought “white noise” was listening to Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly. To digress briefly: as in all agriculture so it is with grapes: good methods and bad methods make all the difference. For instance, to use chemicals that kill the very soil you're depending on is both stupid as well as criminal, not to mention highly unsustainable. As a former small vineyard owner I know that the vines don't require these chemicals, especially when you have people power as well. Apply that frost protection creatively. As for noise pollution over here in the Ukiah Valley, by far the winner would be the troglodytic racetrack. Moving westward imagine, if you can, what our Navy would do to the ocean crittters with their sonar games. Send the wind machines to Washington DC. No one would even notice them. And raise the wages of people power.

--Tom Force, Ukiah

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Dear Anderson Valley Folks,

This is an overdue letter of thanks from the Anderson Valley Food Bank to all the donors this past year. The Food Bank served between 200 and 300 individuals per month, about 60-70 families. This year our fundraising drive before Christmas brought in enough funds for us to slightly increase the amount we currently spend on fresh produce and other necessities. Although we did try to individually thank all our donors, there are many people who contributed  —  and of course we were unable to personally thank. This last group includes a mystery donor, the winner of the cash raffle at the Anderson Valley Variety Show who donated the entire kitty at $540 to the Food Bank. We wish to thank this generous person as well as many others who inconspicuously donated cash toward our efforts. We would also like to thank the Anderson Valley school system and Ms. Beth Swehla in particular and her group of intrepid schleppers who were so helpful to us. We are also proud to thank Ms. Esmeralda Espinoza who has taken on the Food Bank as her senior project. She is a very fast learner and a great help in many ways to our work. We will miss her very much.

We would like to continue our outreach efforts toward any who might be needful in the coming year. We have contacted schools, the Senior Center, the Anderson Valley Health Clinic and the newspaper trying to spread the word of available quality foods. The feeling is that there are still people going hungry but we are working on ways to contact and encourage them to come to the Food Bank distribution and sign up to receive at least some amount of food. If you, dear reader, know of anyone who could benefit from our services please encourage their attendance.

We are open every third Tuesday of every month from 8-10am. People should feel free to contact me for information at any time. My phone number is 895-3763. We also have some resources available at all times.

We have all felt and said it at times but we are always grateful to live in this community of caring, sharing people who give so much in so many ways.

Sincerely and on behalf of the volunteers of the Anderson Valley food bank,

--Denise Mattei, Director, Anderson Valley Food Bank

PS. Oh yes, also thanks to all the volunteers who have kept a good thing going for over 31 years now!

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Dear Editor,

In your March 19, 2014 issue you print that Ms. Pebbles Trippett, a marijuana advocate and literary notoriety, has been named to the position of contributing editor to the national magazine Skunk. It seems perhaps Pebbles has found at last her forte. I would like to say: Pebbles “Go Girl” and drop me a note stranger and to get in touch.

--D. Dustin J-67741, CSP Bldg 4A1L-21, PO Box 3476, Corcoran, CA 93213-3476

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Howdy Fellow Grangers and Community Members:

A Grange Update: We have a bunch of fun stuff going on and hope some of you would like to be involved.

Piano concerts; AV Grange website, a monthly pancake breakfast; vendor for the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, possible food vending for campers at the Anderson Valley Beerfest, kitchen upgrade (a new larger stove); a Theater Guild production of Comedic Scapino, May 1-4; Our Variety Show (a big theater production/fundraiser that helped this year!); AV Grange Newsletter (a big heartfelt thanks to Suzy and Jimmy for their longtime work on the Grange Newsletter. We are looking for a new newsletter editor); Grange rental policy upgrade.

We appreciated Maria Mendoza's long services building manager. We are looking for a new bilingual manager.

New members who join at our April meeting get a free annual membership.

Contact David, 895-3580, Greg 895-3842 or Andy at 895-3020 or e-mail

--Anderson Valley Grange

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Greetings, Mr. Anderson;

Your endorsement of union-made Pabst Blue Ribbon was indeed stirring, but one wishes that some other more drinkable concoction might also be made by organized labor. Back in 1987 I toured the immense historic PBR brewery in Milwaukee and finally learned what it was that always left that unpleasant Pabst aftertaste in my mouth: corn grits. As I understand it, for economic reasons as a result of World War I, American breweries were obliged to “stretch” their dwindling supplies of expensive malted barley, the primary grain product employed in beer making, in order to keep up their brewing volume. Budweiser chose to add rice, Pabst chose to add corn; the resulting products might be accurately termed Ersatzbier, since wise Bavarians decided back in 1487 that actual, genuine Bier was to be made from malted barley only. Diverse grain adjuncts do not improve the quality or flavor of the final product (arguably, wheat might be excepted here, though it is only employed seasonally in weissbier) but they do make the final product less expensive to brew and hence attractive to a Board of Directors.

These days the number of possible additives to American-brewed beer is scarcely short of appalling. Besides the above mentioned (GMO) adjunct grains the list now includes propylene glycol, Calcium or Disodium EDTA (that's “Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid” for you crossword puzzle fans), MSG (!), corn syrup and its ubiquitous cousins Dextrose and High Fructose (all GMO), caramel coloring, dyes (chemical and natural), glyceryl monostearate — plus that most mysterious of gastronomic un-nameables, “Natural Flavors.” But I digress.

The PBR tour was a pretty dull affair, since big-volume commercial brewing isn't exactly exciting to watch unless you think watching a guy with a trolley who is tipping a few trays of hop pellets into a hatch when a light blinks is exciting. The Anchor Brewing tour in San Francisco is a white-knuckle ride by comparison. After the final station, namely a window showing thousands of PBR cans loudly whooshing by every few seconds on a conveyor heading to packing & shipping, we mercifully adjourned and crossed the road to finish the tour with a visit to their famed Tap Room. Quite a contrast to the brewery, it was a gorgeous interior with stained glass windows and an immense and beautifully carved wooden bar that might have been over a hundred years old, sporting some eight or nine elaborate taps dispensing fresh brews for the tasting. Unfortunately, after one swig each of headliners PBR and PBR Lite, I wondered if we were expected to actually finish the glass before trying something else. There seemed to be no facilities handy for discreet disposal such as the traditional potted palms of mystery novels, and a man might draw scant attention carrying the sports page with him to the bathroom but not two glasses of beer. My abstemious wife solved the dilemma by going up and getting tasters of the other brews supposedly for herself to try; all were equally lackluster and disappointing with the exception of the last one I sampled, Hamm's. It was not exactly the best so much as the least unpleasant, but it had always been my dad's favorite beer and it made me feel good that I could at least finish my glass without making a face. In fact I smiled, because I couldn't get their silly TV jingle out of my head, you know, the goofy bear with the Indian feather, shaking his butt to the tom-tom beat…"from the land of sky-blue wa-ha-ters….Hamm's, the beer refreshing…” I was a bit surprised it was brewed by PBR but there they were, already contract-brewing other beers including some only distributed east of the Mississippi.

This was in 1987. If you go on-line today and check them out, you never leave the Boardroom. The first web site button is “Company,” yielding the usual display of a few Rich White Guys in nice suits. Next is “Portfolio” — a term as lacking in beery conviviality as can be — displaying all the brands that now comprise their cephalopodic corporate lineup, including Rainier Ale (known to my friends and me as The Green Death in our youth), Clint's favorite Olympia, the German Zees (Schlitz, Schmidt's and Blatz), the almost undrinkable Primo (remember that in Hawaii “aloha” also means “goodbye") as well as the urban horrors known as Champale and St. Ides. I had always found the “iconic logo” for Schlitz Malt Liquor to be highly appropriate: a fighting bull, posing at an angle that reveals his curious lack of…well, what makes him a bull. Or ought to. Hamm's has, apparently, fled PBR for the copious bosoms of Miller/Coors. I wish 'em luck.

The answer to the dilemma? Brew your own! Like fruit and vegetable gardening or baking your own bread, brewing beer at home is not only wholesome and rewarding, it's both patriotic and happily subversive at the same time. It's even legal. And as A.E. Housman put it,

O many a Peer of England brews
A livelier liquor than the Muse, 
And malt does more than Milton can
To justify God's ways to man. 


--J.B. Reynolds, Graton

Ed Note:: Thank you for the tour, Mr. Reynolds, enlightening but disillusioning as it was. Beer is quite an adventure these days, though in a few more years we'll probably have two beers, Comcast and Amazon. I once asked a clerk at Whole Foods why there was no Red Stripe in the store. She said “we” don't sell it because Jamaica is homophobic. I said, “Everyone? The whole country?” She looked at me like I was probably a homophobe just for asking and strode righteously off. I've meant to check back on that one when I pick up my monthly consignment of granola but keep forgetting. Crimeny, who wants to shop with bigots? You might try Boonville Beer some time. I think it's quite good but kinda expensive over the long haul. 

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Dear Editor, Most cultures have a stock character they use in fables to demonstrate the pitfalls of vanity and pride. Clancy Sigal’s piece in the 3/26 AVA reminded me that growing up in Berkeley, Mario Savio was ours. Mom never ran out of Mario tales to take the wind out of my sails. The rest of the country’s larger-than-life heroes were for us a bit smaller, because we watched them from backstage, sometimes literally. My mom remembered Mario’s fiery words, but also the sight of Mario’s immigrant parents fussing over his clothes before he stepped up to the microphone, wanting to make sure he looked respectable for his big speech. So proud were they of their college-educated son — right as he was doing his best to get expelled. Sigal’s article mentioned Mario’s later teaching career. So did my mom, but her version had a different spin: A girl arrives home from school one day nearly in tears. “It’s my Math teacher,” she says. “He just won’t shut up! He won’t answer our questions or help us with our problems — he just rambles on and on. We say, ‘Please, Mr. Savio, be quiet for just a minute so we can do our work’.” My mom and her friend — the girl’s mother — look at each other in horror. They ask: “Is his first name Mario, by chance?” “Yeah, how did you know? God, he’s SO annoying!” And so it was that Mom drove the point home: the same qualities that make you a charismatic youth can make you a doddering old man. But these parables didn’t detract from her estimation of Mario Savio, nor do they detract from mine. Throwing our bodies upon the gears of the machine was, for us, quality family time. But she made it clear that the awkward details were just as important as the cinematic moments in the search for a truth. Sigal maintained in his article that heroism does not go away when the lights are out and the cameras put away. I disagree, and am glad for the humble, fumbling humanity that takes its place.

--Aaron Cometbus, New York City


  1. Jon Spitz April 28, 2014

    Holly Madrigal for 3rd District Supervisor

    For the first time in many years there is no incumbent running for the 3rd District Supervisor seat on the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors which means that no matter who wins, our district will be represented by a new face on the Board. Of the four candidates running for this seat – Holly Madrigal, Clay Romero, Hal Wagenet and Tom Woodhouse – it is clear to me that Holly Madrigal has the knowledge and experience to best represent the interests of the people of the 3rd District as we move forward into an uncertain and challenging future. Madrigal’s superior understanding of the issues facing Mendocino County became quite apparent over the course of the Candidates Night held in Laytonville on April 24th. To me the three most important issues addressed at this forum were County water resources, economic development and the Willits bypass.

    On water, Madrigal presented a clear picture of how our county government can respond to the extreme drought conditions we’ve been experiencing over these past three years having been recognized by the State for her management of the water crisis in Willits as the city’s mayor. None of the other candidates offered any new ideas or actual accomplishments in water management. Interestingly, Madrigal was the only one of the four candidates drinking water from her own reusable container while the others drank from the throw-away plastic bottles that litter our streams and rivers. Madrigal gets water!

    On economic development, Madrigal was the only candidate willing to recognize the elephant in the room, that cannabis is a major economic driver in this county and that the soon-to-be legalization of marijuana is going to have profound effects on this industry. While Madrigal sees county government working with producers to keep Mendocino County as a premier growing region in the world, Wagenet and Woodhouse see pot as under State and Federal jurisdiction and out of county control, and Romero is set to mount a crusade by county law enforcement to root out the devil weed. Whoah bro, like that’s seriously rogue dude.

    On the Willits bypass, Madrigal has resigned herself to the reality of this destructive project and sees her job as a Supervisor to try and mitigate the worst of the environmental and economic impacts to the Little Lake Valley and the City of Willits. The other three candidates fell all over themselves in wholehearted support of the bypass while showing no remorse over its collateral damage.

    I have had very little personal contact with any of the candidates, but in the few times I’ve spoken with Holly Madrigal, I’ve gotten the impression that she was actually listening to me; the last time Hal Wagenet was our Supervisor I got the impression that he thought he already knew everything. Although I’ve never met Tom Woodhouse he seemed like a nice guy on Candidates Night, but as it turns out, most of his campaign contributions are coming from Willits businessmen which makes me wonder who he’s really going to represent. And then there’s Clay Romero, I’m not sure who he represents, but it sure as hell ain’t me. Vote Holly Madrigal, she’s the only candidate with a practical vision to guide Mendocino County into the 21st century.

  2. Lazarus May 3, 2014

    I think your approach, and Ms. Madrigal’s is a bit dated….Railing against the competition is one thing but discrediting with absolutely no basis in fact is another. Understand if you can, I have no dog in this hunt, but Wagenet…as unattractive of a candidate as he is….was once a elected member of the BOS. Woodhouse is a “Community Organizer”…..WINK, Wink…….seems I’ve heard that term disrespected before……and this Romero fellow vaguely fits your equation, but really deserves no consideration on Ms. Madrigals part at all…he’s a classic Jimmy Rickle or Tony Orth also ran…..
    Then again desperate people do desperate things.Good luck with this approach…..

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