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Letters (Oct 29, 2014)

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Why it’s important that we should vote out all incumbent politicials.

We all need the services the government gives us, but the problem is that with all of us it is never enough. The fact is that government services have gone way overboard. And their cost escalates out of control with no accountability, except for the vote. Since government doesn’t contribute any product to the economy it affects everyone’s stand of living. Every politician should have a term limit in office like six to eight years and then get out of politics completely and live in the real world again.

I am sorry but the real culprit of political fraud is campaign contribution and this election is creating a new record for political contributions. I’m sorry, I mean political fraud.

Emil Rossi


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Honorable Judge of the Court John Behnke,

My name is David Severn and I am the father of Paullen Severn-Walsh who will be coming before you on the 30th to enter a plea to a felony DUI charge. That is his decision. I have taken no position on how he pleads. I write to you not so much about my son's particular case, but to address the more pervasive societal issue which surrounds it.

That would be the tremendous social and financial cost to America (and the whole world?) that drug use ( including alcohol) and misuse imposes on us all. In your position of Judge you most certainly must be more aware of this than I. One national Center for Disease Control study points out that excessive alcohol consumption alone cost the US $223.5 billion, or about $1.90 a drink. Of course the cost is more than just financial. It raises it's ugly head against domestic tranquility, it ravishes our health and batters us on the highways as well as in other violent and frequently criminal encounters. Excessive alcohol and other drug use destroys and takes lives - routinely. A quick look at the daily booking logs from the jail shows the vast majority of arrests in this County are associated with drugs and alcohol and are committed by repeat offenders. While each individual must certainly take responsibility for their own life and actions, their problems relative to drugs and alcohol are a problem for us all.

Yet it seems that all we do about the situation is to lock the offenders up in jail for a while and then turn them loose, only to re-offend and re-encumber and re-endanger the public. Where is the rehab?

My son has been through the DUI revolving gates three times before and at no time has he been offered one tool to deal with his addiction other than more jail. He tells me when I visit that he does realize he has a problem with alcohol and would like to get into a rehab program. Yet to do so there are many obstacles. For my son and others like him a primary obstacle is money - good rehab programs are expensive. True jail time does remove the offenders from the streets for a while and therefore make us all safer for a while. But within months the perps are back repeating the same offenses and running up the same costs. It seems that nothing effectual happens behind the bars - punishment alone is all that we offer by way of remediation and harm reduction.

My two cents is that if you can't find a way to get the offenders into outside options for recovery then jail itself could provide a rehab program that could kick in from the very first offense for those who are willing to participate. You've got these people in the care of the judicial system - carrots and sticks are available to run them through the steps, the therapy and the motivational scenarios. Let them have outside sponsors and form affinity groups that coax them into caring for and helping one another conquer their demons - and whatever else it is that effective programs provide. Such might not work for all but it could provide a significant number of them with the tools for success and would I believe benefit us all. Surely, there is a better and more cost effective way to handle the situation than what we're doing. I strongly encourage you to work with your judicial partners - the sheriff, District Attorney, the Public Defender and Probation department - to set up some kind of rehab program - either in jail or in a court-run facility - that is within reach of the chronic offenders who we so often see being rotated through the jail only to come out in worse shape than they went in.

Thank you,

David Severn


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Dear Editor:

In early April of 2013 I asked Heidi Walters to do a story on the Veterans Administration regarding appointments at the new VA clinic in Eureka. She did a two page report in the North Coast Journal, April 18, 2013, pages 6-7.

I had previously about a month earlier contacted our local congressman's office in Eureka. What a dog and pony show -- not a very funny joke.

Jared Huffman's secretary and field representative is a perfect showcase. She's cute, nice and actually makes you think Jared Huffman will fix the problems at the Veterans Administration.


Then we heard about the "deaths" in the Phoenix Veterans Administration Hospital. So Congress has passed a new set of guidelines and laws to "fix" the problems. They rushed this through so they could go on their summer vacation. It only made matters worse.

Did you know the head of the Veterans Administration clinic in Phoenix is now on administrative leave at home on full pay plus benefits instead of being in jail?

I'm supposed to have a yearly CAT scan and ultrasound and last March I ended up in the emergency room for blood clots in my leg. I need an ultrasound for that also and a blood test. I tried to make all the appointments in one day at the San Francisco Veterans Administration. I had done this the previous two years at Hoptel. This was now impossible because of the "new changes" Jared Huffman and his Washington buddies and lobbyists have passed to "improve" the system.

I do not want to go and have this done locally. I personally don't trust St. Joseph's or the Jerrold Phelps hospitals.

The Veterans Administration sent out several letters for each appointment. It's called cooking the books. You have 14 days to make an appointment and be there in San Francisco for it. 14 days — and that includes the four or five days the letter took to get here.

The room for the overnight stay is called Hoptel. It is so screwed up they have made it impossible to coordinate these appointments. You stay in a small room with two other guys and lights are out at 10 PM. Try staying in your grandfather's room all night. I stayed in my pickup truck last time I went. And the bus ride from here to San Francisco is a ride from hell — but at least it's free.

So I went back to Jared Huffman's office three times this summer to complain. What a joke. This freshman congressman is so screwed into the Washington scene he just doesn't care. I got no results at all.

Jared Huffman: Why is it that you won't help veterans? Why don't you like veterans?

If you can't bring yourself to vote for a Republican, leave it blank. That's called an undervote and they keep track of it.

I have given up on the appointments and I can't fight the screwed up system that they won't fix.

Oh, my Veterans Administration office issued-cane is made in China. Sound familiar?

Hey John McCain. No one is in jail yet. Also, why did you leave your "set"?

W, Scotty McClure


PS. Attachment from the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 4150 Clement St., San Francisco 94121. August 29, 2014

"Dear patient, The purpose of this correspondence is to inform you that your physician wants you to have a computerized tomography CT procedure within the next two weeks at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 4150 Clement St. CT procedures are done by appointment only. To arrange for an appointment date/time you are to phone and speak to the radiology service central CT scheduler at 415-221-4810 extension 3283 between the hours of 10 AM to 4 PM Monday through Friday. If you do not contact the radiology service central CT scheduler clerk within seven days your physician will be notified and the CT request will be canceled. Thank you, we look forward to assisting you with your medical care. — VA medical Center radiology department."

I have received three or four letters like this for each appointment. If you don't respond they count each letter as if they have fixed each appointment. This is cooking the books to make the CEO look good.

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Dear AVA,

Beware Mendoland! If ever you are caught up in the judicial system, the Superior Court of California, County of Mendocino for whatever your case may be you are appointed a public defender because you cannot afford a real lawyer. Just hope and pray you don't get appointed the "big wig of the Department," Linda Thompson. She is the head public defender. But why? I do not understand. Rumor has it she only just recently won her first case ever. And she is always getting the big cases, the life cases, strike cases, etc. I am a one striker and I just sat in the county jail for 10 months on a criminal threats charge and reckless evasion which could have got me a good 10 or 15 years if I had taken it to trial and lost. Some bimbo says I threatened her over the phone. There's no recording. No witnesses. Just her word against mine, easy enough to get thrown out. If I had had a real lawyer like Patrick Pekin for instance, who saved my life from the last bimbo who tried to use the court system as a weapon, it would have been tossed. Anyway, not once or at any time in the 10 months in the county jail did Linda Thompson ever visit me. Not once did she ever answer her phone or return my messages. So when the day before trial arrives do I go through with it? Do I hope and pray that Linda Thompson will win her second case ever? No way. Absolutely not. I took a plea bargain for five years and eight months knowing I could have won without a doubt if I had been able to retain Pekin and Pekin or any other real attorney for that matter, I would be free today. Oh well. What can I do? It is what it is.

Sorry Linda. Nothing personal. But when I hear a truck backing up "beep beep beep!” I think of you. I guess it's true what they say: "Money talks."

Yours Truly,

Daniel Shealor

San Quentin

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Dear Editor:

I am pleased as punch to hear of the community rights "fracking" initiative now on the November 4 ballot. If we can see it pass, it will set a clear precedent for the nullification of federal law, something my friends throughout the slave states have been seeking for 200 years and who have been joined in last the last hundred years by the Wild West states.

In my 1828 "Exposition" I wrote for South Carolina that "it would seem impossible to deny the states the right of deciding on the infractions of their powers, the right of judging, in such cases, is an essential attribute of sovereignty, of which the state cannot be divested without losing their sovereignty itself and being reduced to a subordinate condition."

CELDF's Thomas Linzay (Pennsylvania founder — community environmental legal defense fund), who wrote the cookie-cutter Mendocino initiative, follows in my footsteps and has, God be praised, promoted outright secession from the union on his videos. He has also stated repeatedly that "the issue is irrelevant" to confrontation with federal power.

Among your community rights initiative clauses I most applaud are these paraphrasing me: "Right to community self-government. All residents of Mendocino County possess the right to a form of governance where they live which recognizes that all power is inherent in the people and all free governments are founded on the people's consent. Use of Mendocino County government by the sovereign people to make law and policy shall not be deemed by any authority to eliminate or reduce that self-governing authority. Rights as self-executing, fundamental and unalienable. All rights delineated and secured by this ordinance are inherent, fundamental and unalienable; and shall be self-executing and enforceable against both private and public actors."

Mendocino County Counsel explains the brilliance of the initiative: "The initiative would also declare null and void within Mendocino County and the state, federal or international law or other regulation that would violate the prohibitions contained within the proposed ordinance."

If Mendocino can set this precedent for local sovereignty and for nullification of federal and state law, friends in Nevada fighting to nullify BLM grazing fees, friends in Utah and Mohave Desert seeking to nullify BLM prohibitions on off-road vehicle access to wilderness, friends in Florida and Georgia seeking to nullify federal gun laws and all seeking to nullify Obamacare, environmental protection, and civil rights laws — all will celebrate, gaining confidence and momentum from your community right success in Mendocino.

Thanks Mendocino for this righteous effort.

John C. Calhoun


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Just accept the information we give you. Don't ask questions. — NPR

The president's approval rating is at 41%. What is his approval rating in Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming? Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island? Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi? Washington, Oregon and California? Lozangeles County?

All voters in the aggregate are dumb, some voters are dumber than others.

Those persons over 65 who receive Medicare, a single-payer, socialist medicine program, won't be voting for Republican Senate candidates who oppose the Affordable Care Act. Will they?

Ralph Bostrom


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How lucky I feel to live in this northern California county that is blessed with so much rural beauty; yet despite it's widely dispersed population, the many miles one must drive from one populated area to another, often traveling through relatively pristine forest or scenic expanses of well tended orchards and vineyards, there remains such a strong society of kindred spirits; the many of us who have come here many years ago from much more densely populated parts of the country, having chosen not to take part in the rat race that seems to predominate in many of those places, and now the next generation of those folks.

Mendocino County is unique in California, and perhaps the world; our particular blend of overeducated simple livers, country folks with connections to the most avant guard high-tech and art scenes of the Bay Area, perhaps the world's most vital center for creativity and innovation, close enough for weekend getaways. There is one thing that, more than anything else, unites this widely dispersed subset of the state’s population; our excellent public radio station KZYX.

Currently in the middle of one of its semiannual pledge drives, I was delighted to make a contribution to this essential cultural institution of our far-flung County, reaching, as it does, from the shores of Gualala to the hills of Round Valley, and everything in between with its broad selection of musical and spoken-word programming, whether one is into jazz, classical, rock 'n roll or the wide array of news and information shows on the station.

Due to the incredibly hard work and prudent leadership of John Coate and his equally indefatigable programming director Mary Aigner, this indispensable public resource has been pulled back from the brink of bankruptcy and is now thriving; looking toward a satellite station in Ukiah and all kinds of other improvements, including more local news.

It is so satisfying to hear the pledge drive totals keeping right on track to make their goal for the drive! Please, If you are one of the many listeners who never pitches in at pledge drive time, it's time to cut loose with a few shekels for this special thing that is one of the main features that makes life in Mendocino County different and better than anywhere else in the world, as far as I'm concerned at least. Whatever you do, don't pay any attention to those folks who have been trashing the station recently; apparently they think they have some kind of God-given right to air time, even though they may be impossible for others to work with. If you don't listen, why not? There's something great for just about everyone sometime during the week. You’ll never find those programs you love if you don’t tune it in! 90.7 in Anderson Valley, 91.5 in Ukiah, and 88.1 on the coast.


John Arteaga


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Letter to the Editor

You say Yes on 46 in honor of your dear old mum, a nurse who loathed doctors. Nurses will be next on the drug war jihad, you know. Scientific American also supports Prop 46. One thing they and you have in common is that our glorious Fourth Estate is arguably protected by the 1st Amendment from mandatory drug tests. No matter that these types regularly emit ignorant, absurd, vicious statements, glorified as “reportage,” that cause real lethal damage in the real world. If I were, for example, an ER physician, I might like to relax with a toot or a toke after a hard week saving many more lives than I've buried. And if I were such a person, and had a gram of self respect, I would wave my big finger and with a hearty “Sit on it and rotate!” be out the door the moment some Federal or State Piss Officer demands to witness my urinating a sample for our exalted drug warriors. But it seems like freedom's just another word for nothing much at all. Now that the AVA is officially pro-drug war and the colossal industry it has spawned, let's go all the way! Let's have a Proposition on the ballot requiring drug tests for all lawyers and politicians! These types regularly insulate themselves from laws they create to oppress other citizens. Messed-up, stoned lawyers and politicians cause more real damage in the real world than all the doctors on the planet. Fair is fair, Mein Redaktor! Get on the petition bandwagon Now!

Jay Williamson,

Santa Rosa

Ed note: Pretty big leap, Jay, from dope tests for doctors to being for the war on drugs, and I doubt very much nurses are “next.” As for the Fourth Estate, at least its older members, mostly juicers, especially at the mega-damage levels you refer to.


  1. Jeff Costello October 29, 2014

    Re public defenders: in ’75 I got busted at SF airport for shoplifting a book and the search turned up a small amount of drugs on my person. I was taken to San Mateo county jail and put in the orange jumpsuit. As I sat in a small room with eight or nine other reprobates, a guy stuck his head in and asked if anyone wanted a PD. I was the only who took him up on the offer. This guy got me off with the least possible punishment for my offense. Also a friend is a public defender in Wisconsin and she works her ass off for little pay, helping people who can’t afford a “real” lawyer. If there is a “bad” PD in Ukiah, it’s unfortunate but most of them at least are doing it for something like humanitarian reasons. This would not of course make a good John Grisham novel.

  2. Rick Weddle October 31, 2014

    re: local sovereignty…I’m all for it. But my vision is WAY different than Mr. Calhoun’s. I’d like to see the overfed welfare ranchers kicked entirely off BLM land, then offered the opportunity to grow, harvest, and process bio-fuels crops on those marginal and arable lands not now in food crops. Are these self-styled ‘cowboys’ actually whining about paying $1 per acre per year to graze their beeves? I come from a family of stockmen and this makes me laugh long and loud…then I recall these are the same guys who actually brought out the guns when the feds came to enforce the law. I’m guessing none of these folks were black or brown.

    And prohibit all vehicle traffic in wilderness, for crying out loud. If you’ve ever seen wilderness (no roads, no vehicles) you know we need SOME real wilderness, not only for survival, but for spiritual purposes (for those of us with the equipment).

    I agree gun laws suck. Way too many people have ’em who don’t even know which end is which. And the entire world knows we Americans need to do something about our Gun Problem…from weeding out the wackos from owning them, to holding accountable those in highest office who keep doing the mass drive-bys here and there, and calling it ‘policy.’

    And ObamaCare does look cumbersome and half-assed, when a simple expansion of Medicare FOR ALL would get us up even with the more civilized nations.

    Some may think we aren’t smart enough, or strong enough, or rich enough to make these things happen; I disagree.
    And I think, sort of like Mr. Calhoun, local sovereignty is the way to do it…maybe the only way. Tough? Sure. But not near as dangerous and stupid as the way she’s going.

  3. L January 6, 2015

    I have been trying to keep up on the optic line accident Aug.3 2014. Again have have been trying. But I can’t find out why there was no backup for this system. I do know the court wants the truck driver to pay for EVERYBODY’S losses. I don’t believe our system, ATT should be the one paying the line was to low and they should have had a backup system so this could not have happened. Why is he being liable for the cost over $100,000. dollars. I don’t understand. Maybe someone can give me more info. thank you.

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