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Letters (Nov 5, 2014)

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My Dear Favorite Ed,

If you endured this morning's (10-31) Democracy Now! webcast, you'll have seen how Standard Oil's Richmond refinery bosses have dumped $3 million (so far) into that city's elections trying to oust the successful and wonderful 'Green Meanies' from their town government. As a former employee (mid '60's) of that exemplary SOCAL industrial bomb, I've a small insight into the strength and depth of the political grip Standard Oil has enjoyed there, almost from day one.

Most of the many process furnaces in my brief experience were plumbed for the use of bunker oil for burner fuel, which was used massively in our 'refining' of low-end petro feedstock. A significant piece of each of these furnaces was a complicated, high-pressure-steam apparatus called a soot blower. These machines were of a kind of giant pressure washer for blasting the residues from nasty fuel oils out of the furnaces, an operation without which the furnaces' efficiency declined quickly. Each furnace had several blowers lined up the length of the firebox, with pushbutton ON-switches. Walking down the line, an operator would poke the button on each blower, setting them in operation. This sent the steam nozzles in auger-like motion out across the firebox and back, shutting off automatically when done. Each of these regular operations -- weekly, as I recall -- sent great billowing clouds of soot up into the air. They were necessary for the continued use of those furnaces. All operators were trained to operate them, and did so, under furtive conditions.

The then newly established regional Air Quality Control Board, in close harmony with SOCAL officials, claimed that with tight monitoring of air quality over and around the refinery, no detectable pollution was generated by soot blowers, giving the refinery a squeaky clean public image in that regard. The line was that the Control Board had all sorts of monitoring equipment set up all over the place to make sure this was so. When I asked how this could be certain, the answer was that the comprehensive monitoring included infra-red sensors which could detect particulate emissions even at 'no worries!' Yet the 'standing orders' for soot blowing specified that these operations were to be performed only at night...orders which were carefully not written down, but made clear to each of us in the plant. It was then glaringly obvious that the Control Board was 'on the payroll' of SOCAL, almost from the very beginning.

The galling contradiction of then feeling hopelessly powerless, while personally walking down the line, pushing the ON button on each of these polluting engines was not lost on me, nor on others, I'm glad to say. When I'd finally had enough of all the corruption and official duplicity inherent in the Biz, with no notice whatever, I dropped my hard hat and tool belt in the middle of the control room, said, 'Screw this!' and walked out and drove away for good. I'm also glad to say, as I was going out the door, several of my fellow 'lifer' operators said they'd miss me, and more important, wished they'd been leaving with me.

The population of Richmond is well acquainted with the ongoing crime of the health- and life-threatening pollution of the Standard Oil Refinery that's their “neighbor.” But neither they, nor anyone else should be in the least surprised when the place goes off with yet another huge, nasty explosion and fire as direct consequence of the way they 'do business.' If you are familiar with the way SOCAL goes about their operations, you won't need a crystal ball or a 1-900-PSYCHIC number to know this.

Rick Weddle

Honoka’a, Hawaii

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A Heartfelt Thank You To Anderson Valley From The Elderhome:

It “took a village” and then some, but as anyone who stopped by the open house on Oct. 26 could see, the just-completed total interior/exterior face lift of the ElderHome duplex looks fantastic. The new resident moving in this week will find a senior-friendly space with a completely re-modeled bathroom including walk-in shower, new floors throughout (save the living room), new appliances, shining fresh paint and much more. Both duplexes now have curved concrete walk-ways leading from the drives to the front doors—no more stairs—and evolving new front yard landscaping. There’s also a new well water system. The list of heart-felt thank yous below reflections the extent of what went into improving the ElderHome’s livability and infrastructure (apologies in advance to anyone we’ve overlooked):

For the generous donation of their professional time and services thanks to:

  • Pardini Appliances—new stove, refrigerator and dishwasher
  • Jed Adams & Robbie Lane, A.V. Construction (Jed, you went above and beyond!)
  • John Leal—master drywall artist
  • Eddie Slotte, T.S. Logging (long-term equipment loan) & crew Gary Abbott and Ryan Jones—excavation work and site prep
  • Steve Daniels—built the customized bathroom cabinet
  • Mike Brendlen—repaired doors, built thresholds
  • Pam Callahan—landscape design
  • Linda MacElwee—landscape design
  • Ken Montgomery—landscape consulting and plants
  • Ron M. Lane—designed bathroom/kitchen remodel and front yard pathways

Thanks to the following businesses and individuals that helped make the project happen:

  • Jeff Pugh, Pugh’s Pumps & Water Systems—new well water system installation
  • Jim Boudoures, Philo Saw Works—the concrete walkways
  • John Harding, Mike Graver, Otto Fraser, Angus Fraser, Morgan Kobler—general all-round labor at various times.
  • Interior painting: Rod Lyman, WA State, here for a Philo job and pitched in for us
  • Exterior painting: Bob Day and Kyle DeVries
  • John Phillips, Northcoast Tree Care—removed large (un-well) backyard tree
  • Bill Dwyer from Oregon installed the new floors and did finish work

A valiant crew of volunteers pitched in, particularly during the final push including:

  • Anne Bennett, Wally Hopkins, the AVEH Board Members
  • Thanks, too, to Linda and Gary Abbott, tenants in the adjacent duplex, for their patience and good will during construction.
  • And finally: Throughout the past three months, Karen Ottoboni donated her hard work, time, skills, and tools to drive the remodel project forward every day. Thank you, Karen, for your optimism, tenacity, and faith in the ElderHome vision.

The next phase of our project is to prepare the main house for its new tenant, a Valley senior who will move in at the beginning of the new year.

Most sincere thanks to all

from the AVEH Board of Directors


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Friday, October 24, 2014 -- Mexico beckons again otra vez. The hills of Baja and San Felipe's shores. Will I follow my heart in this matter? Meanwhile the world flies by. Meanwhile the moon is on the wane. Meanwhile a dog barks. Another day is in the making for better and for worse. The Day of the Dead is fast approaching. La Virgen de Guadalupe is everywhere -- what a woman!

Diego Donohoe

San Diego

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Dear Dr. Doo,

I've got ideas for a couple of cartoons that maybe you can have some fun with.

I enclose a rough sketch of the first. The basic idea is a drone in the air sending out radio signals to "boots on the ground." Modern warfare? The "boots on the ground solution"? I don't know. Maybe some sand dunes in a desert scene for the boots to be walking on?

The second is a play upon the phrase "Do bears shit in the woods?" In the foreground are two men, woodsman or lumberjack types, standing in the front of the trunks of large, tall trees. A path leads to an outhouse out of which a bear is emerging, carrying a roll of toilet paper. The only caption I can think of is "No shit!" But maybe you can think of something better. Maybe the men just look at one another in wide-eyed amazement and it doesn't need a caption.


Bill Brundage

Kurtistown, Hawaii

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To the Editor:

I need someone to tell my story to the public before it is too late. On March 12, 2014, I was involved in an auto accident where the alleged victim in this case drove his Chevy SUV into the right front fender and bumper of my truck. When the accident happened I was coming into the Oaks from the Highway 53 side. The accident happened right in front of the motel as you are coming into the Oaks on Highway 20. I was in my lane of traffic when the alleged victim tried to pass me from the shoulder of the road, when he drove his SUV into my truck and eventually he rolled his vehicle after he got past me. I did not see him roll his vehicle. I did not know that he rolled his vehicle or that his four-year-old daughter was in the car until I read it in the paper two days later while in the Lake County Jail. Thank God she was not hurt at all, not even a scratch. Her father, the driver of the SUV, on the other hand, had one small cut on the little finger of his left hand and another small cut or scratch on his left elbow. There were also one or two small scratches on his back. The cuts to the hand and the elbow happened when I passed him and he broke out a window in his car. He must have scratched his back crawling out of his SUV when it was upside down. From what I'm told he crawled out of his vehicle and was telling people who stopped that I hit him several times. This whole time his four-year-old daughter was still in the upside down vehicle until the sheriff arrived. Then he remembered his daughter. Since I did not know he rolled his vehicle I just kept driving. I just needed to get away from that madman who was putting my life in danger. I was already in combat mode. You see, I suffer from PTSD from my combat experience in Vietnam. I was in therapy for three years for this and I was getting better. Now the nightmares have begun again.

Since that day I have been a guest at the Hill Road Correctional Facility here in Lake County, California. I was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and some strikes. It took six court visits just to get a preliminary hearing. The district attorney did not want to give us any of the discovery but wanted me to plead guilty to the charges. I was only looking at a 25-years-to-life sentence on the charges. Then on June 16 she amended the complaint and added a special charge which put my preliminary hearing off until July 7. On July 7 I had my preliminary hearing and I was held to answer the charges. On July 22 I was arraigned in Superior Court. My trial was set for September 3, 2014.

Because my attorney was starting a trial in another case, my trial date got moved to September 17th and eventually my trial was moved to October 22 with a court date to get a courtroom assigned for trial. That court date was October 17. On October 3 when I went to court the new district attorney on my case, Susan Krones, had received the Reconstruction Report from my expert witness clearing me of any wrongdoing. It was put off for another week so she could make a motion to dismiss and refile. But she did not do that until October 17 at which time she dismissed the charges. But she refiled the same charges with a new felony added — a hit and run.

Now I have to start the whole process over again on October 27 when I go for another preliminary hearing which I will be held to answer on the charges. Right now I'm looking at a trial date around December 17 or 24th, Christmas Eve. But my trial must be started before January 9, 2015.

The good people out there should see how Lake county handles the justice system: it makes defendants plead to charges they are not guilty of just to get a conviction so they can say how well they are doing their job. If you are an officer of the law you can get away with murder. Just read the Lake County newspaper. My case was in the newspaper. They made me look like I was out to kill that child in that SUV which I was definitely not. I did not even know there was a child in that vehicle. And why hasn't the father of that four-year-old girl been charged with reckless driving and felony child endangerment?

He is the one who caused this accident, not me. I was on my way to do some work for a client. If I had known or seen a child in that vehicle I would have just pulled over and called the client and told them I was going to be late. Now I have to pay for his stupidity with my life. But I ask you, should I be made to pay for his actions? Am I my brother's keeper?

I would like to hear some feedback on this. If you would like to respond to this you can contact me at Eric von Renegar #34777, 4913 Helbush Drive, Lakeport, CA 95453.


Eric von Reneger


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Letter to the Editor

Business 101 for Supervisors & Mental Health Services

1. Long distance management of everyday mental health patient services doesn’t work.

2. Dual Mental Health management systems (County and Ortner) also does not work. Who’s responsible? Who’s accountable?

3. Hiring the Mental Health Director’s former employer, Ortner Management and Real Estate Development Corporation, to try for their first time to provide daily mental health patient services for a County, was a mistake that needs correcting.

4. Supervisors (and CEO Carmel Angelo) can make a new choice — hire an experienced non-profit like Turning Point to come in to hire and train locals to create and build a mental health patient system that works, and is in compliance with State mandated services — pre-crisis and crisis care, 24-hour treatment, residential, rehabilitation and support.

How much longer will our supervisors choose to continue this unnecessary suffering of patients, their families, and people in our communities?

Sonya Nesch


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Good morning,

My name is Mark Bishop and I was the Director of the Access Center in Ukiah until June of this year. I was terminated for questioning OMG regarding the delivery of Mental Health services as well as refusing to conduct illegal 5150 holds at the direction of Dr. John Riley. I have maintained several emails shared between me and OMG that I feel clearly point to illegal activities as well as the attempt to have the staff conduct illegal activities on their behalf. The community denies and ignores the fact that OMG is taking them to the bank but I feel I can demonstrate it clearly. I do not fear OMG and am more than willing to share all info I have available as I feel they are criminals of the highest order. The people I am most concerned with at OMG are John and Jessica Riley, Jeff Payne, Todd Harris and Mark Montgomery. I was terminated on the day that Steve Nueroth was in the Access Center begging for help and witnessed the events that led to his death in jail later that evening. He was refused services and even a bottle of water by Todd Harris and was told that he had no right “spinning in the Access center” and told to leave the property. After I was terminated that day, I stayed in close contact with the Access Center staff who tried all day to intercept Steve as he traveled on his last day, They had several contacts with him but the Cops got him and the rest of the story is well known except for how he died! I was known for my honest and direct approach at the Access Center and it was too much for the OMG “machine.” I gathered and saved and will gladly share all info I have. OMG needs to have a brilliant light on them as they attempt to further con and steal from Mendo County. I expect to be engaged with OMG legally for about a year but that will not deter me from at least informing you of what I have available to demonstrate the criminal nature and activities at OMG. They are the worst form of PREDATORS!


Mark Bishop, Psychiatric RN

Central Valley, CA

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Dear Editor:

There seems to be no end to the efforts of the Obama Administration to enhance the ability of federal agencies to spy on us. The FBI is now trying to get new powers to vastly expand their powers under Rule 41 of criminal procedure. This rule allows the FBI to conduct searches with court approved warrants which have to be very specific, But now the FBI has proposed an amendment whereby a judge can issue a warrant to allow the FBI to hack into any computer wherever it is located. These expanded powers would apply to any criminal case investigation, not just terrorist cases . It allows the FBI to hack into any computer in the US or around the world.

As usual with this administration and its police state mentality they are trying to significantly expand the surveillance powers of the FBI without input from the public or Congress. One only has to look at the sordid history of the FBI to understand how these new powers can be and quite likely will be abused.

In Peace,

Jim Updegraff


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For those of you who might have been offended by my Halloween costume of sunken dark eyes, ashen complexion and a sign that read “I have Ebola!” I apologize. I do know that there are those of us whose hearts are locked very close to the suffering going on in Africa. Over there it is horrible, a very sad and frightening situation.

I was forewarned early in the day when my son-in-law scoffed at my costume idea with, “That's not funny.” In The US, though, I feel there is a different situation. And there is some evidence that Doctors Without Borders agrees with me in that a fundraising ad they ran in the New York Times showed a man decked out in full Personal Protective Equipment including gloves, hood, mask and a suit labeled “Ebola,” holding a Halloween Trick-or-Treat pumpkin.

That ebola is scary is a component of my point and makes it Halloweeny. What makes it funny, and funny is indeed part of the scary of Halloween, is the way we American people and our government have been dealing with the situation. For weeks ebola in America has been front-page news and our governmental leaders both national and local at times look like stumblebums. It is scary how our government handles crisis. Remember Katrina? My costume was a social and political comment.

Four people have been diagnosed with ebola in the United States — one of them, having contracted the disease overseas, has died. The CDC estimates that on average 23,607 people die annually in the United States from the flu. Is not there some absurdity in our obsession? And are not absurdity and satire valid humor genres?

I do though apologize again, if I in any way dampened your holiday bliss.

David Severn



  1. chewsome November 7, 2014

    Unanswered questions in published newspapers of Public Record surround circumstances of why Mendocino County jail inmates have been dying, according to at least one published coast reporter who admitted not making a specific inquiry.

    A wall of silence by the office of District Attorney and Sheriff-Coroner, supposedly exists with the case of mental health patient Steve Neuroth whose body has been allegedly cremated.

    Tom Allman is scheduled to be a radio guest Thursday 9-10AM November 20th on KZYX. The third hand rumored monger account on the streets of Ukiah is that a coverup is in progress.

    To not have a status report or conclusion before disposal of the body is inexcusable to the body politic, and festers a distrust of local law enforcement.

    Allegedly there is one witness from Willits who was in custody in the Ukiah drunk tank or rubber room with Neuroth, who was summoned to testify at the DA’s inquest or court hearing.

    This witness planned to say he had no knowledge. Aside, this was because he was not offered witness protection, and is frequently in jail, and was afraid of meeting a similar fate at the hands of jail staff.

    Supposedly Steve arrived from Willits, beaten up by the Willits cops because he had refused to submit to a drug test blood draw.

    At the County Jail, Neuroth again refused to cooperate with providing a blood sample. He was in a straight jacket. Multiple cops individually, came in and out of the holding cell and beat him, is the claim.

    According to the non-cooperative jail witness on the street, Steve Neuroth’s relative called the jail about midnite to ask if he was in custody.

    Allegedly the corporal told staff taking the call, to say that Neuroth was not there. Steve was still there in jail, but by that time, dead. Paddles were used to try to restart his heart but to no avail.

    What facts are wrong with this account may not be known, but even if true something undoubtedly is garbled.

    It’s a shame to have to resort to airing dirty laundry from the street, to illicit any kind of response from elected officials. On November 20th at 9AM find out if on this matter Sheriff Allman dodges and dances a gig behind a thin blue line.

    The public is left hanging, and continues to wait for lab results, or the inevitable sweeping under the rug with a pat answer.

    Could that be that cause and circumstances of this death cannot be determined beyond a reasonable doubt because of insufficient or destroyed evidence, with inadvertent or premeditated cremation of the remains, by design or default.

  2. Mark November 11, 2014

    The Mental Health Board is set to meet this week and my guess is Ortner Management Group will send their “trick ponies” to the show in an attempt to deflect, dodge or otherwise de-value the TRUTH.
    A suggestion for the Board would be to get the information from the horses while they are present and ask any OMG attendee some very basic and forthright questions regarding delivery of care in Mendocino County.
    Several questions should be asked of OMG.
    1) How many clients was OMG given from the COUNTY when the transfer was initiated? Of those clients turned over to OMG, how many are currently being served by OMG or ICMS and how? What happened to the remaining clients?
    2) What is the OMG process of placing a 5150 (involuntary psychiatric hold)?
    During my time as the ICMS Director, we were emphatically told by Todd Harris that NO placement would be made by the ICMS unless a call or fax went to OMG Corporate Placement Officer, Jessica Riley. It was further explained to me that she had “no capacity” to influence the Crisis staff decisions on placement, BUT ALL completed 5150 hospitalization packets were sent to her no matter the time of day. Without fail, Mrs. John Riley would receive the packet and instruct us to do nothing more regarding placement of the client. The very first consideration given to ANY 5150 client by RN Riley was to be sent to NORTH VALLEY BEHAVIORAL HEALTH. It seemed as though consideration and placement in other facilities was only given if Jessica Riley was unable to get the client placed at North Valley. So, the next question could be to ask what affiliation does OMG and namely the Riley’s have to North Valley Behavioral Health Psychiatric Facility? Why are no other facilities entertained until North Valley is?
    Does OMG or the Riley’s profit in any way from placement in that facility?
    Finally, the word on the street is that OMG has consumed the CONTRACT money and made an emergent appeal for special monies last week that was granted. If that is true, Tom P, Tom O and the OMG cast of clowns need to be shown legal ropes.
    It is time to hide in the BRIGHT LIGHT OMG!

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