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Letters (Aug 20, 2014)

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I invite readers who may be interested in the issue of affordable housing in the Anderson Valley to tune into the Farm and Garden show on KZYX next Monday, August 25th at 1pm. I will be airing a series of investigative interviews into the matter, which is of crucial importance to the health of our local community and agricultural industry.

When housing becomes unaffordable for farmworkers, teachers, and other essential members of a community, the very health and sustainability of that community is at stake. As a young person of color working in sustainable agriculture, I find the lack of affordable housing a deterrent to others like me entering the community. Though I left the Valley once before because of high rent, I am lucky to have found an affordable cabin and grateful to have therefore become part of the local fabric.

If, as I do, you believe that diversity of race, social status, and skills are necessary to a place's ability to thrive, I hope you'll join me in looking at this topic. Healthy rural communities are an integral part of the way forward for our society and although there are no easy answers, we cannot afford not to examine the question of inequality in our own backyard.

Valerie Kim


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Dear Editor

A few years ago I accidentally chain-sawed my knee while cutting heavy brush. When I walked to the pick-up, my knee felt like mush. Dr. Mark Apfel pieced my knee together and sewed it up. The Doc made me whole again.

Back in the day when a blue collar worker had an emergency injury and an ambulance worker wasn't around to drive the ambulance, Dr. Apfel, on his own time, after work, would drive the patient to Ukiah himself so that the worker's insurance would kick in immediately.

Mark Apfel knows so many things that I don't understand anyone not liking and respecting this fine and excellent doctor. I thought he was the glue that held AVHC together.

Ken Hurst


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We have been fortunate in the past to have had excellent health care providers in Boston, Cleveland, the US Navy and the Palo Alto Clinic, but the absolute best health care we have received for the past 20 years has been here in Anderson Valley from Doctor Apfel in our Clinic.

Doctor Apfel has always been accessible. He provided services which allowed a terminally ill partner to be treated and remain at home during much of the final days of her life. Another partner of ours who was in severe pain reached Doctor Apfel on the weekend at a family party at Lauren's. He told her to come down there where he diagnosed and treated her at the restaurant. It is not unusual for Doctor Apfel to open the clinic to do an X-ray or EKG when waiting for the Clinic to open would pose some risk to the patient. Doctor Apfel has extensive history and excellent connections with good practitioners in the Bay Area, which allows his patients access to surgeons, specialists, and fine hospitals.

It appears the Board hasn't closed the loop completely on firing Doctor Apfel, but all the pieces are there with the Board’s removal of all but 20 hours of patient care per week. The problem for the Board is finding any meaningful rationale for his being discharged. They seem to be looking for a hook as our family group was recently polled on the question “Do you know of any unprofessional conduct by Doctor Apfel?” and we were given the suggestion such as “Drawing blood without wearing rubber gloves?” This followed a dinner at our house involving two board members. It is a bit creepy and late in the game to be looking for non-existent justification for all the bad decisions that are now being made.

The ostensible reason we hear from the Board for reducing Doctor Apfel’s hours and bringing in practitioners new to our community is the closing of the very successful dispensary. It is suggested that closing the dispensary could lead federal regulators to close the rest of the clinic.

We don’t buy it. If there was a failure, it was administrative which seems to be an area of chaos for which the Administrator and Board should have been responsible. The problem is also being corrected. To take that item, place all responsibility on Doctor Apfel and escalate it to the rationale for reducing his hours and hiring people who have no connection to our community is outrageous. It is a case of throwing an excellent and respected doctor out with the Board’s dirty bathwater

Doctor Apfel is not the problem with the Clinic, and the proposed “solutions” we are hearing are extreme, unnecessary and place the continued existence of the Clinic at a much greater risk of closing.

The Board’s budget for next year relies on $118,000 in public donations. How much will the community donate to the Health Center if Doctor Apfel is pushed out? Many valley residents would be unwilling to donate to a board who has unjustly replaced a doctor we trust, who has taken excellent care of his patients, and who is a respected member of our community, in favor of doctors we don’t know and a new Federally approved VA standard.

The Board is on a very dangerous and unjust path that is putting the Health Center at risk.

Daniel Myers, Jill Myers


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Dear Editor,

It's shocking the way Dr. Apfel is being treated. The one who knows the most about the health concerns of our community is Dr. Apfel. He's the one who should be consulted. Dr. Apfel has done nothing but good for our community. I remember how compassionate he was when my young granddaughter was suffering from a kidney infection on her visit here and he quickly hooked her up to an IV in the office and she was better very fast. She was in a lot of pain and he saved her from a trip over the hill to ER which would have been really miserable. I'm sure there are hundreds of stories just like this one from members of our community.

I have been going to Dr. Apfel for the last 15 years and my mother and stepfather before me. I feel very lucky to have him as my doctor. The Health Clinic is wonderfully convenient for people in the Valley and what makes it work is our trusted doctor, Dr. Apfel.

Joanadel Hurst


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To the Editor:

We too want to save the Point Arena Field Station and appreciate that it is a unique and valuable resource that should be permanently protected. That's why it should become part of the California Coastal National Monument, joining the Point Arena — Stornetta Unit as a federally recognized national treasure.

For over two years the sale of the former LORAN station that is now surrounded by the national monument has been discussed with those of us who are partners with Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on the California Coastal National Monument Point Arena Gateway Group. The buildings at the station are in serious need of repair and the rehabilitation costs are estimated at between one and two million dollars. Mendocino-Lake College District, finding even maintenance expenses in this exposed coastal environment to be a serious drain on its budget, actually initiated the proposed sale to BLM.

Everyone agrees that the state-owned tide pools of the station's cove must remain inaccessible to the public. BLM has offered to protect this area with fencing and signage identifying it as a Special Study Area and closed to the public (as some areas of the Point Arena Unit are currently protected). Furthermore, the college is considering "reserving" access to the tide pools, legally blocking public access under trespass statute.

The valuable research and long term studies will be allowed to continue as a condition of the sale.

Additionally, several options have been identified that would reserve some of the buildings such as the classroom/lab building and the houses. This would reduce the $1.5 million sale price to some extent, although considering the poor condition of the buildings, they may be more a liability than a value.

An appraisal is now underway to take into account these various options. The college has determined that $40,000 to $50,000 a year will be necessary to maintain the buildings once they are renovated. Even this expense is considerable for a facility that serves between 11 to 100 district college students a year. We hope that other academic institutions that use the facility will help defray these costs and allow the buildings to be preserved for education, research, field trips and for a full-time caretaker.

We would hate to see the college lose this opportunity to save and maintain this facility. The $1.5 million Land and Water Conservation Fund allocation will expire in December of this year. This funding will not come our way again. These funds were secured because of the national monument designation and all the outreach, advocacy and publicity that went into this effort. Furthermore a key decision-maker in the allocation of these funds, who helped make the acquisition of the Point Arena Lands possible, is retiring this year.

We urge the Friends of Point Arena Field Station and the College Board of Trustees to work quickly toward closing a sale agreement that would: Save the pristine tide pools; Retain the education and research; Provide funding to restore the necessary structures.

Let's go forward to make this happen — Save the Point Arena Field Station!

Leslie Dahlhoff, Merita Whatley, Lori Hubbart, Susan Moon

Point Arena

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Letter to the Editor

It is depressing, sad, and disheartening that Mendocino County supervisors are giving Ortner an extra million dollars (bringing the contract value to $7.7M) and they still won’t provide 24/7 Crisis Residential Treatment Centers (CRTC) in Fort Bragg and Ukiah, with stays up to 30 days. Most counties in California have those for early intervention crisis medical treatment. Instead ICMS (Ortner by one of their other names) will lease a building in Fort Bragg to do something else. Looks like another year of no Recovery Programs for people with severe mental illness, and for people who in addition, also suffer from substance use disorder. For $7.7M, we should have two CRTCs, and Recovery Programs all over the County. It only takes a County car and a couple of experienced people to take Programs out to other communities. The wall of resistance to mental health crisis and recovery programs here is huge — the four Ortner men, Directors of Mental Health and Health and Human Services, and the CEO. This appears to be enough to convince a majority of the supervisors to choose another year without critical mental health services, and with the unnecessary suffering of hundreds of their constituents and people close to them.

Since their current staff eliminated 80 positions in the Department of Mental Health, they can now complain of no capacity to do programs. I wonder if they ever listen to themselves.

Sonya Nesch, Author, ‘Advocating for Someone with a Mental Illness’


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Dear Editor,

At the Coast League of Women Voters meeting with CEO Carmel Angelo answering questions regarding the 2014-2015 County budget, I had a question. I began with a statement about the 2000 foreclosures in Mendocino County from 2008 accounting for a drop in county revenue, due to a loss in property taxes not on the charts. There were also losses in transfer fees. MERS, the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, set up by Wall Street banks was used to bypass paying transfer fees to the Assessor's Office. An audit would show how many were MERS foreclosures and how much in transfer fees were lost to the county. However, recently the NY State Federal Bankruptcy Court Judge had determined that MERS had no legal standing to foreclose.

I asked, Do you see any gains to be made by an Audit of Foreclosures in the Assessor-Recorder's office?"

Carmel referred the question to Supervisor Dan Gjerde.

He said “A Petition was received asking the Board to Fund a Audit. He said the Assessor is an elective office, an office independent of the Supervisors oversight. You would need to take up the matter with the Assessor.” Supervisor Dan Hamburg had said previously that there is no guarantee monies the Supervisors approve for an audit would be spent appropriately for an audit. The Assessor, Susan Ranochak, may request funds from the BOS, but she did not. Dan Gjerde reported that the County Assessor said there was nothing to be gained by an Audit. Do you wonder about that and how the loss of money affected services in our county?


Agnes Woolsey


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Greetings & Salutations!

The August 6 edition of the AVA arrived in Coos Bay on August 11! Always glad for another installment!

I think the post office does a damn good job given all the hindrances and restraints that have been placed upon it. Or the corporate competitors eating the gravy and overcharging for their privilege. I won't go further but to say: The Post Office Needs Our Business!

I enjoy the AVA immensely and am in for the long haul. Apologies for the late renewal. Evidently it can't be helped. Keep it up. Bruce Anderson's Frisco vignettes are priceless!

Gary Durheim

Coos Bay, Oregon

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Veteran Editor/Publisher Bruce Anderson,

The earlier the naked ladies bloom each year the heavier the annual rainfall. In 1998, the wettest year in recorded US history, the Ladies bloomed on the third of June; while these past 16 years of drought the naked ladies have bloomed from the end of September until Christmas Day. And when they bloomed on Christmas I picked them, placed them in a vase in front of a doorway and painted them.

But it's been too dry too long. So hallelujah, naked ladies bloomed this year, across the street from Fort Bragg Mini-Storage on July 22 which means that this year, folks, is gonna be a wet one in the Mendocino rainforest.


Diana Wet Duck Vance Gone Dry

Tarp-time, Dead Tree, Mendocino

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Dear Treasurer Schapmire,

I arrived a bit late and didn't hear the beginning of your Annual Investment Report. I have several questions.

1) Did I overhear the Chandler adviser mention something about "credit enhancements" that might boost your return...? The derivatives market is always coming up with creative new names for their high risk, unregulated investments. I surely hope that you are not investing the County's money in any fancy designer notes.

2) The Economic Update on p3 gives a surprising and rosy report. Were those statistics for Mendocino County, California, or the USA?

3) Since farming is the largest income producer in our county, what do nonfarm payrolls mean to us?

4) Although the unemployment rate fell, how many of those jobs pay a living wage? How many of them also require public assistance to make ends meet?

5) Why is it a good thing that consumer debt rose? That just means that there will be more fodder to foreclose on when the Homeowner's Bill of Rights expires in 2018.

6) What is an "asset backed security"? What is a "mortgage pass through"?

They both sound like the mortgage backed securities that the big wall street banks are paying settlements for defrauding people and the rating agencies declined to take responsibility for their ratings of these toxic assets. Although the big Wall Street banks have been paying settlements, the laws have not changed and the banks are still carrying on the same frauds. The settlements are only a small fraction of the amount of profits gained from the fraud.

Please remember that Orange County went bankrupt from the Treasurer investing public money in derivatives.

I noticed that there were no ABS in June 2013. Now there is 3.6%. BEWARE! I suggest to stay miles away from ABS or MPT for investing public monies! Don't be tempted by that smooth Chandler guy.

7) General Electric is one of the biggest defense contractors in the nation, and they control a large part of the mainstream media. They are war profiteers and promote nuclear weapons. They are an unethical company and I suggest you divest our public monies from them.

8) Wells Fargo Corporation is one of the banks that have settled over their fraudulent foreclosure practices. They are an unethical company and our public monies should not help fund their unethical business practices.

9) Both Coca Cola and Pepsico contributed to defeat the GMO labeling law Prop 37. They bought fraudulent advertizing with misleading and specious accusations shortly before the election. Considering that Measure H was passed in 2004 banning GMO agriculture in our county, one could assume that your constituents are in favor of GMO labeling. You must not invest our public funds in companies that actively fund opposition to the will of Mendocino County voters.

10) The Wal-Mart business model depends upon paying such low wages that their employees need public assistance to make ends meet making Wal-Mart one of the most profitable companies in the world. Wal-Mart corporation is an unethical welfare queen robbing the public coffers to get richer and richer. Please divest our county's public money from supporting a welfare queen like Wal-Mart.

11) Why are we investing all the county's money in companies that have NOTHING to do with Mendocino County? Why aren't we investing our county's dollars into our own county's economic development?

12) Carmel Angelo said our county loses about $53,000 per year from MERS bypassing recording fees. If we started recording assignments, and stopped paying BOA $45,000/yr, we would be $8000 ahead. (a joke)

12) Please watch this 12 minute video about the looming risk of depositing in the big banks.

In Peace,

Robin Sunbeam


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Dear Bruce,

I just finished reading a fantastic novel by David Eggars titled The Circle. He lays it out there that the cyber world, the social media world, is creating a loss of privacy, a loss of non-conformity, a loss of being in touch with reality.

Here is a prime quote from Pg. 132 of the book. “I mean, all this stuff you’re involved in, it’s all gossip. It’s people talking about each other behind their backs. That’s the vast majority of social media, all these reviews, all these comments. Your tools have elevated gossip, hearsay and conjecture to the level of valid, mainstream communication.”

Eggars posits the complete takeover by cyberspace, wherein all other space disappears. We are not there yet, but we are, in my opinion, well on the way toward it. Around 50 years ago Timothy Leary said, “Tune in, turn on, drop out.” I think that today it should be, “Tune in, turn on, delete.”

Lee Simon

From a Sunny Slope in Virginia

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Another week has all but passed here at Hill Road "Corruption" Facility. The food is still horrible. The correctional officers are still corrupt. But now they've reached an all-new low.

It seems the jail, or at least the correctional officers working under Lt. Findley, think it is a joke that I have a deaf daughter and I need a TTY machine to communicate with her. I've been denied my right to use a TTY machine. Moreover, I have been laughed at when I have requested to use the TTY machine. Lt. Findlay has approved me to use the machine but his subordinates refuse to follow his direction.

The Americans With Disabilities Act, Title 15 Section 3282(1): "assistive device telephones and additional time on telephones may be necessary to provide accommodation for inmates and their callers with disabilities. (2): The facility shall provide for the procedures necessary to ensure effective communication."

In 1998 the United States Supreme Court held that the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to prisoners. This is a disability-based discrimination. I have written to internal affairs and I am sending out a discrimination complaint form to the US Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.

I hope I will be moving on from here soon. But you never know with the Lake County kangaroo court system. But filing the necessary paperwork with the proper authorities may allow the next person with a hearing or speech disability to communicate with their families.

BillyBondOn another note: The one time I visited 951 Low Gap Road I was picked up by a friend and somewhere along the line I lost his address and phone number. If John or Missy Dawson of Ukiah are reading this please contact me at the address above. Or if any friends of the Dawsons read this please let them know I would like to hear from them. I enclose a picture of me that may help jog your memory.

And now little bit of self-promotion! For the readers of suspense tales out there my first book is still for sale on or Barnes & Noble. It's available on Kindle or the Nook and also in paperback. "Sad But True," by Billy Bond. I welcome all questions and comments and I will respond to all mail.

Billy Bond #37798

4913 Helbush Drive, Lakeport, CA 95453

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