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Letters (June 4, 2014)

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Letter to the Editor:

This week, I received a copy of the informal objections from the FCC and their decision to renew KZYX’s license. The packet compiled the objections of five people with Eliane Herring, Board Chairman refuting and dismissing all complaints. Included are signed documents by Ms. Herring, Mr. Coate and Mr. Culbertson, subject to perjury if found to be false.

Ms Herring, an attorney not licensed to practice in California, categorized my complaint as a “frustrated” volunteer who did not have an art show picked up by the station. She also said that I “didn’t like” John Coate, Mary Aigner, and Rich Culbertson. This is NOT only untrue in reality, but it was not stated in my objection. Ms. Herring is interpreting and putting words in my mouth.

I volunteered to answer phones for a fund drive. Ms. Aigner learned that I worked as paid staff at another NPR affiliate. I had produced and hosted public radio shows and worked on the fund raising team for at least 13 on-air membership drives. Ms Aigner told me the station needed a program about the arts in our community. She said I would be a great person as I had the public radio background with on-air experience, a degree in music and was a practicing visual artist.

I soon met with John Coate with a prepared, two-page written proposal on how the show might look. He asked me to tape a demo of an actual event and I did. In addition, Mary Aigner invited me to attend the Volunteer Programmers Meeting held at Scharffenberger Winery. I did not insert myself, or demand that I attend that meeting. I was personally invited by Ms. Aigner and I was happy to attend the orientation.

I made a demo in Fort Bragg and turned the tape over to John Coate. He said Mary wanted to hear it. Over three years later, not a word has been said to me by Ms. Aigner and the show never materialized.

Ms Herring: Given the problems under your watch as board chair, I feel I dodged a bullet when Ms. Aigner intentionally did nothing about creating a new program for the arts. Her recent removal of Mr. de Vall says more about you as chair, and the staff in particular, then one “frustrated” volunteer.

M Kathryn Massey


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Gotta say this Frost fan thing is getting real old. I am discriminating and open to change. I realize that these folks are trying to deal with the dual problems, yet I am seeing different strategies in our and the Geyserville valleys. There are vineyards with no fans here and there. Less fans in Geyserville. The density of fans here is way beyond the scale of anywhere I have seen and I get around the Mendo and Sonoma Counties. Only Mr. Charles says he is adjusting fan speed to lower noise levels and as another said had the courtesy to apologize. I will buy his wine.

I am not interested in lawsuits. I prefer friendly exchanges and resolve to deal with problems. Currently they have made this our problem, not theirs. That is wrong. Also I am not using a wide brush in my frustration; saying it is the entire wine industry. Only a few vineyards are using these devices and they are not manually operating them. I am not buying their wine.

Last night’s 3 AM triple operation was at 50 degrees Indian Creek valley ambient with what looked like a bit of fog. Why? In concurrence with the Canadian study, removing a direct exposure removes the low harmony subfrequency rattling. Scharffenberg’s (Roederer) is mitigating their noise by identifying noise making fans and creating water only blocks.

Per our call, they removed the direct fan to our home. Yet the other fans noise wakes us. This surprises me. I am a deep sleeper. I awake to the sounds of helicopters that get loud and then quiet. It is not a sleep through thing and I resent those unimpacted; suggesting it is no big deal and frankly recent the tear in our community fabric as these vineyard managers impose this nuisance. Further I find the “best practice” reference to be just a bandaid jargon to say we are really trying when they aren’t. Sure Scharffenberger’s is changing (appreciated), but the manned operation would avoid the double nuisance of unnecessary nuisance errors. Frost duty has required one person in the past to insure that the pump or generator operates. Why not someone alert to insure the machines get turned on instead of erroneously turned on automatically? Is that now too expensive?

Further I triply resent those vineyard owners, who confidently sleep knowing their profits are secured while my bottom line is eroded and my wife’s health is challenged to pay for their. I can only call their recorded line that they retrieve while being paid during their work period. If my wife’s health turns, you can bet my patience will follow.

We have a right to a healthy life and sleep is the key.

As I talk with some Valley folks they say “This is their (grape growers) livelihood. They have a right.” What about other businesses dependent on quiet nights (Inns, the fairgrounds camping, Hendy woods) and those of who need to function after a sleep interrupted night? It is sort of like parenting a fussy baby and you know how they are. I drive loads, work with a tractor and do technical things, children need to function well in school and Mothers just deserve respect. When people are sleep deprived, moods and illness follow. Then there is the immobile infirmed. Imagine being ill or dying with this cacophony every night? Back to the comments of locals supporting this noise, it isn’t about a right to do what you need to survive, it is about not wanting anyone to tell you what to do.

That is called lawlessness. We have rules for a reason.

The Noise ordinance is there to protect us all. An ordinance is an ordinance and no one should be able to violate it. Now because we have so many eggs in the recent boon ag business, representative are afraid to act and just like fishing relative to logging, the former took it on the chin while the latter was coddled; stretching or avoiding common sense laws and regulations. Representatives and regulators treat it like a hot potato; avoiding being the person to follow the ordinance and not bend it with some silly interpretation. Further those at the meeting a few weeks back had the audacity to claim that their industry created many jobs.

Articles in this paper have challenged that. They have also creating a great burden on our housing and health providers.

When representatives and law officers fail to do their jobs, unnecessary negative situations follow. Victims act out. If they would have made noise at Pinot fest, they would have been arrested as nuisance makers. The double standard. The victims get abused for simply asking for commonsense and respect.

Victim in Philo,

Greg Krouse

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To the Editor

Regarding the frost fan controversy, I'm curious about the decision-making process local grape growers used that produced giant, community-disrupting noise machines? For example, did they do any research at all into alternative, quieter wind machines such as Shur Cold Air Drains and the 4-blade Australian Frost Fans? And, if so, why did they choose the loudest alternative? Was an alternative of having more, but quieter fans rejected as too expensive? Was it a strictly bottom-line, community-be-damned decision?

Apparently, the loud 2-blade models can be converted to quieter 4-blades. Wouldn't that be a better alternative?

Dave Smith

Redwood Valley

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Esteemed Editors:

The comments below regarding today's Health Center and its operations are based on observation, usage and support going back to the “good old days” of Phranklin and the virtually lockless walk-in storefront, Main Street Boonville around 1976.

In recent years I've become reacquainted with HC affairs as a volunteer fundraiser, occasional board meeting attendee and informal interviewer of miscellaneous HC board members and other reasonably well informed members of the community who care about the Health Center and its survival. I also attended the May 19th Board meeting advertised to the public and read the correspondence the meeting provoked, including Board Chair Ric Bonner's letter to the community published in last week's AVA.

I applaud Ric's effort to communicate with the constituency the Board represents and support his reminder to us all that the “good old days” of rural health care in the form of the remarkable achievements of the Drs. Apfel and supported by the rest of the community are likely not to return.

Primary and emergency health care are both dramatically more expensive and administratively more complex than, for example, when I tried being a HC board member a quarter of a century ago. I suspect also that the recent Federal grant award itself, while life-saving and generous in scale relative to the HC budget, has raised the level of workload stress upon medical and admin staffs and the Board itself. I am thinking particularly of managing the more demanding procedure compliance than in the past AND the issue of shared administrative services employing the capabilities of non-resident staff.

This latter issue was, I thought, one of the most important points raised at the May 19th public meeting not by the HC Board (nor is the matter addressed in Bonner's letter), but by this letter writer. To wit, it appears the Medical Director and Head Administrator (in this age of bureaucracy title inflation called CEO) are not working well together and as a consequence there is a prominent morale problem among the Caregiver and Support staff, the people enabling the Health Center's mission and purpose.

If there is merit to the concern I identify here about administrative staff interaction and care provider morale, it appears to me that the HC Board, both by virtue of its fiduciary responsibility to the Anderson Valley community it represents and because of its point of observation outside the vested perspectives of the operating players I mention above, the Medical Director and the CEO, needs to step up and PROACTIVELY engage itself in reconciling the working together problem AND to communicate with the community it represents about what it is doing to remediate the problem.

I am concerned that this board doesn't have the capabilities required to undertake the responsibility. Voluntary boards for public non-profit institutions are a problem all across America. Anderson Valley's boards, Fair, CSD, etc., don't deviate much from the typical.

In the case of the Health Center, arguably, along with the local school system, one of the two most important community institutions we share here, it appears to this writer that the Board doesn't have the knowledge and skill to play the leadership role reconciling the stresses of managing an underfunded and complex healthcare enterprise going through very dramatic fiscal and administrative change for over five years now. It also doesn't have the ability to know how, independent of organization staff sources, to develop the knowledge required to play its role effectively NOR how to communicate with the community it represents what the important administrative issues facing the Health Center today are and what is being done to address them.

This last point about communications may be a key to addressing the problems I identify above. Engaging the community in an OPEN, INFORMED and THOROUGH dialogue about the critical issues of managing a vital community resource in a time of worldwide economic stress, rising healthcare costs and short and longterm provider staffing concerns is part of the Board's fiduciary obligations to us AND also a way of finding members of the community with interests and skills that could contribute to the boards understanding of and capabilities for performing its Health Center leadership responsibilities.

Sorry to mobilize so many words to promote my concerns. I claim their number suggests how complex managing and governing the HC today is, nothing for anyone contributing to its affairs to be ashamed of. But not sharing carefully and systematically the nature of the issues with the community it represents, I also claim, is a default on the HC Board's fiduciary duties to us all.

Brad Wiley


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Dear Editor,

I am responding to the editorial by President Miles and Superintendent Cross in the 5-23-2014, Independent Coast Observer regarding “PA schools face challenges.”

I don't believe there is one community member who wouldn't agree the majority of schools throughout United States are not facing financial difficulties. However, it gives a person pause to wonder what is going on within our Point Arena district when last year a member of the school board was telling the community they have a board that is very “frugal with their spending” and that is why they came up with an extra “TWO MILLION DOLLARS” in the budget which was immediately doled out and this year we are now being told in order to survive they must unify our high school and elementary school in order to survive.

So much for frugal spending!

Financial difficulties could not have come as a surprise to them but it must have to Miles and Cross. They picked a year (2011-12) to give statistics to let you know how very difficult things are becoming with only 171 students in the high school. Yet, in 2012-2013 there were 184 students which is about the average for the high school. What makes the elementary school enrollment so high is the influx of kindergartners each year. Oh, but weren't we told a number of years ago by Trustee DeWilder that the elementary school does not have enough students to build a school in Gualala?

Finally we have been “ENCOURAGED” to attend a “PUBLIC HEARING” at 4:30pm on 6-18-14 to “HELP US IMPROVE THE EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE FOR THE CHILDREN OF OUR COMMUNITY”! Miles and Cross know the majority of community members are not able to attend a 4:30pm meeting.

A public hearing meeting is just one of the steps mandatory to unification of the schools. So, I don't believe they really are interested in hearing from any of the public!


Suzanne L. Rush


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The story of the election of Supervisor-Fifth District-1994 is on page 401, and “Inside the Mendocino County Jail” is on Page 85 of the “Golden Age Is In Us,” by Alexander Cockburn.

Scoop du Jour: In August Walmart will begin remodeling and will expand the grocery department. Not good, but the best prices available.

Miz Brown holding seat to prevent someone worse to get it.

On a scale of 10: G.Gjerde, 9; McCowen, 9; Hamburg, 9; Wagenet, 7; Madrigal, 4; Doghouse, 2; Romero, 1.

Ralph Bostrom


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Just went back to Alameda County Jail Santa Rita facing possible felony possession of concentrated cannabis charges. The problem, I had received 2 felony strikes for strongarm robbery in San Francisco in 1997. So you can see the panic. I have been out of the Jail/Prison world for 15 years. Going back was a reminder to me to not forget the purpose of life, not myself and getting drunk and gambling and having a good time. My purpose on earth is to serve others, to know my past, and to serve my brothers of all races behind bars by teaching them knowledge of self.

The inside is amazing in the collection of men who live in close proximity 24/7 sharing the travails and tribulations of awaiting trial on whatever charges, big or small. Candid casual conversations of insights into the true social fabric of our society from its direct witnesses and participants of the lowest rungs. The care and concern for other than self is astounding. A slew of extremely talented citizens by all regards. Some of these men are in my estimation purer hearts than most in the outside world. Men facing their ultimate judgment or the crescendo of it as if it were an ocean wave gathering girth heading to shore. Will you surf that wave or will you drown?

Nate Collins


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Letter to the Editor

Every month to me is Mental Health month, every time  another mass killing of innocent people,  as in Santa Barbara recently, mental illness is the first thing that comes to my mind. Not guns, not violent electronic games but the sick mental state of the executor of these crimes. The grief I feel for the families that lose their young and vibrant sons and daughters is equaled by the same grief I feel for the families of the mentally ill perpetrator, most of whom knew something was wrong for many years but did not have support from assisted outpatient treatment centers. They had experienced their family member go through a criminal justice system without “crisis intervention training”, putting a burden on police and the emergency rooms of hospitals.

Our society cannot continue to ignore “the huge elephant in the room”, mental illness is our problem, and it is our responsibility to find a way to help the sick and too often dangerous victims whose minds are tortured by a mental disability. They wander the street lost, not able to be responsible for themselves, vulnerable to street drugs, alcohol and physical harm.

One big step forward in this problem is to speak out for Laura’s Law, here in Mendocino County. It allows an adult relative, or a person who lives with a mentally ill family member to request help for them. They would have a safe place to sleep and an opportunity to receive psychiatric care and medical intervention with follow up on an outpatient basis. If they can be treated with the proper medication and monitored as to dosage and compliance, they would benefit and so would every community and school. Please research Laura’s Law, get involved. Mental illness affects all of us and we must work to make our communities safe.

Joan Hansen, member of NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness)

Fort Bragg

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Dear Editor:

Bowe Bergdahl is no hero. He went AWOL. He is a deserter. And he got fellow soldiers killed. The U.S. Army should try Bowe Bergdahl in a court martial proceeding for walking off base with intent to protest the so-called "War on Terror". He slipped away from his platoon’s small outpost in Af­ghanistan’s Paktika province on June 30, 2009, after growing disillusioned with the U.S. military’s war effort.

Regardless on any individual's personal views on the War on Terror -- I for one believe that terrorist threats are grossly overstated and that the U.S. should not be the world's "robocop" -- the fact remains that Bowe Bergdahl broke several Articles under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and needs to be punished, not welcomed home as a hero.

Bowe Bergdahl directly disobeyed Article 86 AWOL and Article 85 Desertion. Both articles call for trial by court martial. He is not a hero and is directly responsible for deaths of several members of the military who have tried to rescue him over the years. Bring accountability to Bowe Bergdahl, and let President Obama know that the military should hold all members to the same standard.

Please consider signing this petition:

Finally, why did US negotiators give up so much? Five extremely dangerous Taliban commanders at Gitmo were swapped for just one U.S. Army sergeant? Khair Ulla Said Wali Khairkhwa. Mullah Mohammad Fazl.Mullah Norullah Nori. Abdul Haq Wasiq. Mohammad Nabi Omari. These guys are badass. Additionally, President Obama broke the law in not informing Congress 30 days before the exchange. Why? Why was the prisoner exchange rushed? And why was it done without Congressional oversight? Something very strange is going on here. Furthermore, Obama broke the biggest rule of all. You don't negotiate with terrorists. And such a prisoner exchange, like the Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban commanders, encourages terrorists to capture more Americans in the future.

As I said, something very strange is going on here.

John Sakowicz


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Dear Editor,

Locals and Valley guests gathered in the Redwood Grove, Sunday, May 25, for another wonderful dinner orchestrated by the Lions. This was a fundraiser for the ElderHome so included a silent auction. For a change in AV fundraising protocol we added a grab bag event. Two tables of colorful bags with a hint of what was inside were set up with many happy buyers. Another table held brown bags of white ($10) and red ($20) wines. All wines had a much higher value, some three times as much. Everyone seemed delighted with their surprise.

The ElderHome Board and Volunteers want to thank everyone that came and contributed to a lovely evening. Special thanks go to the Lions for a job well done, Philo Ridge for donating all of the wine, and to DJ Pete for keeping us uplifted with great music.

Once again we all enjoyed al supportive community event.

Thank you!

Maureen Bowman, AVEH Board President



  1. Jeff Costello June 4, 2014

    Sounds like Mr. Sakowicz is getting his info on the Bergdahl thing from TV news, which in turn gets its info from official sources whose business is to promote proper patriotic loyalty and correct thinking in the masses of television viewers. I want to retch every time I hear the word “hero” applied to military personnel. This Bergdahl fellow is now being referred to as NOT a hero, which apparently makes him a traitor.

  2. Larry Vance June 4, 2014

    Laura’s Law allows a relative who wants to get rid of another one to have them imprisoned even though they have committed no crime.
    NAMI is just an adjunct of the psychiatric Big Pharma complex. They are in favor of electroshock, forced drugging, outpatient commitment (imprisonment)
    and probably lobotomy too. Though I haven’t formally seen their position on this last but judging from their overall record nothing would surprise me.

    • Jeff Costello June 4, 2014

      The White House website is a fine example of the “official” sources on which Network TV News relies. Here we have a petition playing on our national obsession (see Death Penalty) with punishment.

  3. John Sakowicz June 4, 2014

    One possible step could be an Article 32 hearing, the prelude to a possible court martial. That would result in a recommendation to a commander about whether Bergdahl should be sentenced.

    If the military can prove that Bergdahl deserted with the intent to shirk hazardous duty, the penalty could be as stiff as five years, either in civilian or military prison. The lightest penalty would be nothing.

    The military says 466 service members deserted or went AWOL in 2012, the most recent year for which figures are available. That figure has declined since the mid-2000s, at the height of the Iraq and Afghan conflicts. It was 1,866 in 2004.

    There are wrinkles in Bergdahl’s case: He has already spent five years in captivity, and the military doesn’t throw the book at people”who have been prisoners.

    In 1965, a soldier named Charles Robert Jenkins deserted the Army because of fear of combat in Vietnam. He walked from the Demilitarized Zone into North Korea, where he lived until 2004.

    Jenkins turned himself in at an Army based in Japan, was court martialed at age 64, dishonorably discharged, and was given 30 days. He served 24 days and was set free. Thus there is a precedent for prosecuting Bergdahl.

  4. mark June 4, 2014

    KZYX license renewal

    As far as I know, the FCC doesn’t evaluate station management, and won’t deny a license renewal on such grounds, absent criminal conduct, or dire financial situations.

    The FCC isn’t endorsing KZYX management in any way by renewing the license, and their action sure doesn’t reflect any decision that there aren’t censorship/manipulation/cliquism going on!

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