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Letters (Aug 6, 2014)

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Re: Mark Scaramella’s “We Want It All” item about Dr. Light and his grape-water lawsuit:

I think what we have here is a pompous individual rather full of himself. He suffers from a greed complex and apparently has little awareness of what is happening with climate change. We now exceed 400 ppm on Carbon 2 index and are moving rapidly to parts unknown when we reach 450 ppm. We may get some rain this year and perhaps the following year but the drought will return on a increasing frequency. As pointed previously in the AVA, the wise decision to have followed would have been the French system of deep rooted grapes and limitation on annual production. Unfortunately, shallow rooted grapes and maximum production is not drought resistant. If not this year but in the not distant future droughts of longer length and frequency will kill Dr. Light’s grapes.

In peace,

James Updegraff


PS. Stupid Is As Stupid Does

The performance on Thursday and Friday of The GOP in the House of Representatives leads one to the conclusion: Stupid Is As Stupid Does. They seem determined to give the Latino vote to the Democrats. When coupled with the Jim Crow laws passed in Red States directed at African American, Latino and young voters plus their war against women (keep them barefoot and pregnant) leaves them with the Tea Party racists, bigots and their voodoo economics. It is the large states like California and New York not a Red State like Nebraska with 3 electoral votes that decides Presidential elections. They have given the Democrats lots of ammunition for the fall election.

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Captain Fathom’s selection as best short poem ever: Liberals Lament by Ernest Hemingway: "I know monks masturbate at night, that pet cats scream, that some girls bite. But, alas, what can I do it to set things right?”

A wedding, 1958 — We were young and strong. We swam out to a tiny dot of an island off Chinaman’s Hat in Sunny Hawaii. Earl and Maxine Kingston were minister and best lady. Tami-Diane, Bride. Alan Graham, Groom. Captain Fathom speared a fish. We sat in a sundrenched “blow hole.” Max smiled. Earl pronounced us man and wife. We kissed.

Alan ‘Captain Fathom’ Graham


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Tonight I sit in the “hole” at Hill Road corruption facility. Yes you read that correctly, I said corrupt because this is definitely not a correctional facility. There is far more corrupt about this place than correct.

First, I want to make clear that this is not the same old worn-out story of a man incarcerated crying about his horrible treatment. They can do no more to me than they've already done. I'm in a cell being denied access to a phone. They are denying me a religious meal. Visits have been suspended. And somehow my commissary is minus $96.80 so I cannot buy food and make up for the meager portions I’m fed. Lastly, much of my mail is being returned to sender marked "not in custody."

Yet, I am all right. I'm alive and I have a spirit they can't break if every one of these corrupt Lake County Sheriff’s deputies were to stomp on my neck at the same time.

I am in this situation because I chose to speak out for a man who can no longer speak for himself, a man named James Smith. On May 10, 2014 Mr. James Smith was found hanging in his cell right in this very hole. The circumstances of his death are more than a little suspicious. Sure, the food here is horrible, the deliberate indifferece to serious medical and mental health needs is a joke. But none of that caused James Smith’s death, at least not in itself.

When Mr. Smith was arrested he was shot four times by Lake County Sheriff's, They tried to kill them man because he was attempting to evade arrest. He head no weapon. As soon as doctors would allow him to leave the hospital he was transported to Hill Road Jail where he was driven to vote to “suicide," which I'm still not sure I really believe.

It has been nearly three months since his death. Lake County Sheriff's Department has yet to determine the cause of death. They claim the lab is so backlogged they are "unable to produce a toxicology report." The simple fact is, they killed him! It does not matter if it was by his own hand, they (jail deputies) drove him to suicide.

I personally witnessed an officer tell him to hang himself! I saw how they treated this man, ridiculing him at every turn even stooping so low as to tell him that his mother was killed in a vehicle accident the day before he was found dead.

As soon as I began to speak out for this man I have been getting the "good old buddy system" treatment. But I can handle it. I won’t break. But James Smith was not used to this stuff. He was not a born criminal. He was a family man with a heart of gold who made a mistake.

I'm not going to back down no matter what they throw my way. I want to see the Smith family vindicated. To merely say the Sheriff's department used excessive force would be an understatement. This "good old buddy system" needs to be eradicated once and for all.

Again, I want to assure you all that these allegations will be brought to light. They are built on a firm foundation of truth! This is not a case of "blind justice." I can see clearly and the finish line is stamping out the corrupt individuals employed under ousted Sheriff Rivera!

Just a few weeks ago this jail began “suicide proofing" the cells here in the Hole. I’d say it is a bit late for James. Suddenly they painted the cells for the first time. This jail has been here since approximately 1995. Now, since James Smith’s death they are answering mental health requests and medical grievances which are three months past due. All futile attmpts to cover up an unspeakable misdeed.

Some might think I am playing the martyr. But I am simply a man with a conscience who cannot sit back and watch these vermin stomp all over people's constitutional and civil rights. It is my innate responsibility to speak out against this injustice.

I pray that James Smith's family take’s solace in the fact that even though he is no longer with us, James still has a voice through me.

I welcome questions and comments

Billy Bond #37798

4913 Helbush Drive,

Lakeport CA 95453

PS. A bit more news from your neighbors to the east. Good ol' Lake County, land of the meth head. Home of the freak-nasty females in whose pockets you'll find more grams of chrystal than teeth in their mouth. A place where the average monthly income depends on how much you can make slinging a couple ounces of dope or hampering someone else's hustle.

In Clearlake if you don't know a few people who are slinging dope, hustling pills or living on SSI you are either an outsider or cop. If you do not know the going rate for an IR-30 you're too far out of the loop to be trusted.

The average education of a "Lake Dweller" is eighth grade and far more people go to prison than to college from Good Ol' Lake County.

Maybe there is something in the water. But more likely in the dope that turns the most promising individuals into zombies. The cast and crew for the hit TV series "The Walking Dead" would be able to find an entire set of zombie extras here and not even have to use makeup on them.

Now we've just gotten over the hump of the new fiscal year. Elections are finished. Sheriff Rivera has been voted out of office by such a large margin that there is no need for a runoff. The county is scrambling to recover from the corrupt procedures and policies implemented when Mr. Rivera took office — out with the old and in with the new. Sure that is an age-old adage. But so fitting for the situation. Yes Mr. Rivera and his minions are leaving a legacy of internal affairs investigations, an overcrowded jail, and higher crime rate in their wake. But if that is what it takes to see an end to their epidemic, I say bring it on! The taxpayers, the voters, and the county at large will be much better off. Good riddance, Mr. Rivera, and don't let the door hit you!

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To the Editor:

Apparently the efforts of the county grand jury result in nothing more than a futile exercise. The grand jury investigates selected government financed county operations and provides their findings and recommendation based on all the facts discovered and published in a public report. Whereupon the county administration goes into denial and obfuscation indicating that the grand jury has got it all wrong and the Board of Supervisors are reluctant to admit anything could be done wrong during their watch.

It is a shame that the dedicated work of 19 volunteer jurors who spend one year delving into the county government morass on behalf of the residents of the county is often covered over and soon dismissed.

Such is the case of the grand jury report on the County Free Library. I encourage anyone with the capability to obtain a copy of this report. It is available either by hard copy at one of the libraries or on the internet at the grand jury website, It is an in-depth review of the county library system from the very beginning to the present. The process of government that has unfolded over the years will be of interest. Unfortunately the report does not reflect well on the county administration.

Of special interest will be your comparison of the responses by the county CEO to the findings of the report. The only force that the grand jury has is the power of truth. If these truths are covered up, the work of the jurors on the grand jury will be for naught. We should all read these reports and evaluate these truths for ourselves.

Don Howard


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After 30 years as caretaker, Mendocino College earned clear title to the Point Arena Field Station. The public recently learned that the Superintendent of the College has signed an Intent to Sell to the BLM this unique and valuable fifteen acres, with research and educational facilities. The Board of Trustees, who has the authority to approve or deny the sale, considered the matter at their July board meeting and is scheduled to review the matter again at their August 6 meeting.

A recently-formed group, Friends of the Point Arena Field Station, believes this hurried intention to sell is wrong and must be stopped. We are convinced that our community must work together with Mendocino College administrators, faculty, staff, and the Board of Trustees in order to find other collaborative educational institutions to use and help maintain the Field Station. We also intend to explore and find new ways to properly fund the Field Station permanently.

Our group feels that our efforts have so far fallen on deaf ears of the trustees — well before our intentions, and concerns have been heard. Furthermore, under Title 5 of the California Code, an important policy of 'shared governance' with the college faculty seems to have been sadly ignored as well.

We are gathering a list of citizens, who favor keeping this facility. We welcome questions readers may have, and invite names for the growing list of those who support saving this unique and unspoiled site. You may contact any of us for questions, but names of those wishing to add their support should be emailed to as soon as possible.

Thank you,

Bonnie and Jared Carter, Bill and Billie Smith, Julie and Jim Bawcom, Wade Koeninger, Paul Poulos, Barry Vogel and Janet Mendell.


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Anyone who wants to comprehend how wealthy some people are compared to most of us should read the Insider Trading Report in the Chronicle every Monday. This week, for example, one insider at SanDisk cashed in $6 million; three at Facebook, $24 million; five at Intel, $39 million; and one person at Google went home with $78 million! One person! One week! Why would anyone need that much money? More importantly, what do they do with it?

Richard Sanborn


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Dear Bruce,

In her July 30 article on a KZYX&Z board meeting in Willits (“The KZYX Backward Shuffle”), Sheila Dawn-Tracy incorrectly states that I “rose from (my) chair and shouted for (John Sakowicz) to stop speaking…”

I did not shout nor did I rise from my chair, as Sheila would have known if she had been present when this behavior is alleged to have occurred. She admits in her next paragraph that she did not actually witness the scene.

Yes, I did interrupt Mr. Sakowicz, imploring him not to continue discussing a confidential personnel matter that I felt was completely inappropriate at a public board meeting.

Ms. Dawn-Tracy is at her best when she sticks to the facts. Inflaming the readership with incorrect reporting discredits your newspaper, divides the community and hurts a radio station that I believe is one of Mendocino County's most precious resources.


Jane Futcher, KZYX&Z Board Member


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I want to thank you for forwarding your great newspaper to my new address here at SCC-Jamestown, California.

I must have been extremely tired from my extended travel time from CMF to here because I noticed some errors I made in my letter in the July 23, 2014 issue.

1. I seem to have forgotten to put (is) at the end of the very first sentence: “I want to thank you for sending me the greatest newspaper there is.

2. When I wrote the names of my friends at CMF sending a “shout out,” I obviously wrote “Wind-Bill” instead of “Wild Bill.” Sorry about that, “Wind-Bill” — Ha ha ha! I know the fellas are giving you the wind-bill treatment now!

3. My final error, when I told you “drifter…” I love “your” life little brother.

I am generally not that illiterate or sloppy when I write and I send my apologies and respect to all of those concerned.

Again, thank you for helping me feel closer to home by sending me your great newspaper.

Bryan ‘Big-B’ Hartke


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