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Letters (July 16, 2014)

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Thank you to the many folks who attended the book-signing event last Sunday at the AV Museum. It was a very gratifying afternoon and Wes Smoot and I signed and sold 109 books in two hours with all proceeds going to the A.V. Historical Society and Museum. Later that evening, when Wes signed the check at The Broiler Restaurant, he told the waitress that it was the 110th time he had signed his name that day. Needless to say, she gave him a funny look. Of the remaining 41 from the original order of 150, Lemons' Market in Philo has almost sold out of their batch and there were a three or four copies left at both the AV Market and the Museum a day or two ago. We have ordered more and they should be at those aforementioned locations by the end of next week, and at the AV Brewery too.


Steve Sparks


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Mr. Scaramella,

Thank you for helping me understand more clearly the total lack of mental health care for adults here in Fort Bragg. I have been asking where the money allocated is going. It is past time for an investigation into the money trail. It is pathetic that the money has not helped the mentally ill and their families, and these victims continue to wander the streets.

Joan Hansen

Fort Bragg

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The young gentleman from the oil industry who jumped up to diligently lobby in opposition to the new Marine Sanctuary because it would permanently preclude off-shore oil and gas drilling here works for British Petroleum, Shell, Chevron and virtually all of the offshore drilling support companies who build on-shore service ports and oil and gas processing facilities that destroy little places that used to look a lot like Arena Cove looks today.

In the 30 years that I have been in harbors within other marine sanctuaries around the nation, I have never heard a report that any marine sanctuary stopped the fishing community from their use of a harbor. As the local community here now weighs the facts and thinks about trying to exempt a bigger piece of Arena Cove from the new sanctuary, it is important to remind ourselves that the present sanctuary regulations would not necessarily be able to prohibit an oil pipeline from coming in from the 90% of the offshore Point Arena basin that will still remain unprotected from drilling rigs because most of the oil potential actually lies to the north of Alder Creek.

If Big Oil finds what they hope to find up there, then building an undersea pipeline to Arena Cove someday is a very profitable way to get the oil through the necessary onshore processing facility, particularly since their prior preferred off-shore site has now pretty much been foreclosed by the stunning completion of the Stornetta lands federalization.

Harmless concrete block vessel moorings do no damage whatsoever and these moorings can be easily grandfathered into a new Marine Sanctuary through a process called certification. The best of intentions may prompt us to carve out too much of Arena Cove from protection right now, and as a place I have loved since the 1950s. I am sad to say that it is virtually inevitable that Arena Cove will someday be an easy sitting duck for the oil industry. I work with some communities along the Gulf Coast who would give anything to be where we are right now, on the verge of permanent protection for our coast, instead of removing yet another, leftover, toxic, 1000-pound Deepwater Horizon tar mat from their beach.

Richard Charter, The Ocean Foundation

Washington DC

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Dear Editor,

I was asked a question recently about overtime, so I’m writing to you in hopes of reaching many employers and employees. Please be advised, overtime for non-farm workers is anything over 8 hours in one day or 40 hours in one week.

So if I worked 10 hours per day two days a week, for a total of 20 hours a week, that is 16 hours at regular pay and 4 hours at time and a half, which is the overtime rate. If I worked 6 hours per day seven days a week for a total of 42 hours, that would be 40 hours at regular pay and 2 at overtime.

Anyone with questions can call the Labor Relations Board in Santa Rosa. A person usually answers the phone and they are very helpful.

Best wishes

Nancy Mayer


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Requiem for Roger

You will always be the greatest men’s tennis player ever in my opinion. You could not have tried any harder or played any better than you did today. A younger man beat you by the smallest margin, even though he looked tired, frustrated, and had to take a medical break. You are never any of those things. Your fitness, grace and composure are unmatched, in any era. My heart aches for you, but you have one more try this year at the US Open.

While you will be trying for a record-breaking 18th championship, your opponents will be smelling blood, thinking you are beatable and demoralized. I know you will give it your all. You always do. You are a champion in every sense of the word. One more win and no one can ever dispute your excellence. And if you don’t win in New York, will you come back next year, or will you hang up your racket??

I will miss seeing you play, as millions around the world will too. Your physical ability and stamina at age 34 are simply awesome!! You are the finest athlete in the world, but that’s just my opinion. I appreciate the thousands of hours of practice you have played, the tens of thousands of various strokes and serves you have repeated, all behind the scenes, so that all we, the public, see is your beauty on the court.

Thank you Roger, and I wish you success in New York and hope to see you lift that trophy.

Louise Mariana


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Mr. Wayne Allen, CEO

Mendocino Coast District Hospital

Dear Mr. Allen,

At a public meeting in January, you distributed a handout titled, ‘Initial Planning Presentation’ making the following promises to Mendocino Coast Healthcare District voters:

• The hospital would conduct a ‘scientific voter survey’

of 365 likely voters to gather community input.

• The survey would be conducted by trained professionals who’d speak with participants for an average of fifteen minutes.

• The margin of error for that survey would be around five percent.

• The results would be made public.

In June, you conducted a completely different survey. In particular it:

• Was bulk mailed to approximately 15,000 district voters.

• Was emailed to folks outside the district.

• Was published online.

• Combined the results of 2,787 completed surveys from all of the above for results.

Then you published results with the following mistakes:

• 1,660 respondents in favor of a parcel tax equals 66% of those surveyed (check your math, Mr. Allen; 1,660 ÷ 2,787 = 59.6%).

• 94% of the respondents wanted MCDH to continue

providing local health care (that wasn’t a survey question!).

• Stating that a 20% approval rating for your board of directors is somehow favorable (Nixon’s approval rating was five points higher than that when he left office).

• Omitting the survey analyst’s name from the results (thereby blaming all the mistakes on everyone at the hospital — which is profoundly unscientific).

So let’s get back to your original promise, Mr. Allen. Where’s our ‘scientific voter survey’?


Scott M. Peterson


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The same politicians who decry the inequality gap between the rich and the poor are widening it in exchange for getting re-elected.

It is quite simple and clever: They raise taxes and enact business-killing regulations for everyone under the pretense that these actions will benefit the citizens. Then, those who have the money and the connections to pressure the politicians threaten them to withhold political contributions or move their business outside the city, state or country. The politicians then give them tax breaks or exemptions so that they can prosper. Those who don't have the money or the clout suffer the consequences of higher taxes and more regulations and earn less.

There are many examples: exemptions and delays for large corporations on Obamacare, reduction in taxes for Twitter to remain in San Francisco, tax breaks for the film industry to produce movies in California. Politicians know full well how to stimulate the economy, but that is not a priority — getting re-elected is.

They pick winners and losers in order to remain in power. Unfortunately, many of us losers don't get the picture and keep re-electing them.

Claudio Mariotta

San Francisco

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Don MacQueen, 1925-2014.

It's been a long time. And I bring you sad news.

Don MacQueen, 88, a long-time AVA subscriber and contributor, died in Eugene, Oregon, on June 28, 2014. He was a major part of Sonoma County's literary scene in the '80s and '90s, helping found the Russian River Writers' Guild, which sponsored a lively reading series, quarterly newsletters and occasional poetry collections, notably “A Stone's Throw,” a major anthology of local poetry, including several Mendocino County writers. Don helped edit Rich Benbrook's feisty quarterly “The Tomcat,” and “Tiny Lights,” Susan Bono's periodical of short fiction. He also helped with “Green Fuse,” which published political and environmental poetry, some of which appeared in the AVA. Don's terse, witty poems appeared in virtually every Sonoma County publication of those years.

Don MacQueen died at his daughter's home under hospice care, very much on his own terms, exactly as he had lived his life. His family said that his last, barely audible words were to a hospice worker who had assured him that everything was taken care of, everything now all right. Don's reply: “Really, what about Iraq?”

I imagine you'll want to add your own recollections of Don's letters and the controversary they created at the AVA. He took those angry responses very seriously and stopped sending you letters for quite a while, as I recall. He loved the AVA. (I introduced it to him, come to think of it.)

Bruce, if you have it available, I'd love to have a copy of the story the AVA published about Don. (Bruce Patterson's, I think.) I cannot find it after a thorough search. Don was my great friend, the finest gentleman I've ever known.


Brian Boldt

Santa Rosa

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My name is Jeremy Jason Freeman-Britton, and I am currently being held in the Mendocino County Jail for the murder I did not commit of [Rosalena] “Belle” Rodriguez. I sit here alone with the support of very few. Because of the articles that people have read it’s being assumed that I am a murderer. A murderer I am not. I am a son, a loving father, a brother and friend of those who still believe in my innocence.

I am writing this letter because there hasn’t been any follow-up on the case in the articles. Just because someone is arrested doesn’t mean they are guilty. This is America and I’m innocent until proven guilty. And I am confident that I will be walking out these doors a free man. And shame on everyone who I thought loved me and turned their backs on me since being locked up. For those of you who still believe in me I could really use a show of support in the forms of letters, as I am locked down 24 hours a day.


Jeremy ‘Juice’ Freeman


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The honeybee, like the frog and others, is an indicator of how we humans are doing as a species. Any guesses? There’s a whole new family of pesticides: neonicotinoids — “neonics” for short — that is devastating bees by affecting their immune systems and disorienting them so they can’t find their way home, so they just disappear. Why can’t we do that with the politicians and corporations?

Anyway, the EPA, predictably, is dithering. Although neonics are made by the German company Bayer, they are banned in Europe. Whereas we third world Hamericans use it to the detriment of all, even though 95% of it could be done in other ways. Locally the non-organic, unsustainable vineyards are, of course, using it now that the wind machines have been blown to the periphery. The $6 billion Central Valley almond crop currently endangered by drought and the effects of neonics normally would bring in twice the amount of money that California grapes do.

Read labels, then decide what you use in your backyard as well. That shit is everywhere.

All the best,

Tom Force


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VA hospitals are so popular these days that vets are dying to get in, and that’s no joke. 20 to 40 have died waiting for appointments while an average of six commits suicide every day. The Bush/Cheney Iraqnam war for profit and oil have overwhelmed the system. The Republican Senate [sic] voted down additional funding, but recently relented after the appointment scandal was exposed.

The solution to all of this is quite simple. Any service member who spends one month in a warzone or has four years of active duty service automatically receives Medicare with Uncle Sam picking up the unpaid 20%. Can’t get an appointment with the VA? Get out the yellow pages and go somewhere else.

Is this solution too expensive? No. Try to imagine a million dollars multiplied 400,000 times. That’s the amount our bought-and-paid-for Congress wants to spend on a new unnecessary superjet that flies so fast and high that it has no enemies up there to fight. In addition, we would have to train a couple thousand pilots, pay them an officer salary for 20 years, and then send them a retirement check for the rest of their lives.

So would you rather have another piece of useless military hardware, or actually “support our troops” with something more than a do-nothing bumpersticker?

Don Phillips


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Memo Of The Week

(Proposed unnumbered resolution for the Fort Bragg City Council meeting, Monday, July 14, 2014.)

Resolution No. ___-2014 

Resolution Of The Fort Bragg City Council Approving An At-Will Employment Agreement With Steve Willis For Interim Police Chief Services For The Police Department And Authorizing City Manager To Execute Same (Amount Not To Exceed $61,756.80; Account 110-4200-0100)

Whereas, Fort Bragg Police Chief Scott Mayberry and Lieutenant John Naulty are both on medical leave and it is uncertain when they will return to work; and

Whereas, in order to ensure leadership and direction of the Police Department’s operations for continuity of services to the Fort Bragg community, the City Council has determined its need for the services of an Interim Police Chief; and

Whereas, Stephen Willis is an accomplished and experienced Police Chief, having served with the Sausalito Police Department for 30 years and as an interim Police Chief for the cities of Cloverdale, Fort Bragg, Healdsburg, Sonoma, and Seaside; and

Whereas, the City Council is seeking the specialized services of an Interim Police Chief for a period of limited duration; and

Whereas, the City Council wishes to enter into an agreement with Stephen Willis to serve as Interim Police Chief effective July 15, 2014; and

Whereas, based on all the evidence presented, the City Council finds as follows:

1. Appointing an Interim Police Chief will ensure continued leadership and direction of the Department

2. Stephen Willis is an accomplished and experienced Police Chief, having served twice before as Interim Police Chief for the City of Fort Bragg, and has the specialized skills needed to perform the duties of an Interim Police Chief.

3. Stephen Willis has agreed to serve as interim Police Chief within the fiscal constraints imposed by the City’s budget and CalPERS Post-Service Retirement Employment Requirements.

Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved that the City Council of the City of Fort Bragg does hereby approve an At-Will Employment Agreement with Stephen Willis for Interim Police Chief services for the Fort Bragg Police Department, attached hereto as “Exhibit A,” and authorize City Manager to execute same (Amount not to exceed $61,756.80; Account 110.4200.0100).

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