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Letters (Feb 18, 2015)

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The Anderson Valley Election Committee is announcing an election for Mayor of the Valley. The PWEIP* party has put forth Steve Sparks as a Candidate for Mayor of the Valley.

Candidates are expected soon from the Tupperware Party, the Wine and Cheese Party, the Garden Party, the la Fiesta Party and perhaps others.

In the interest of Democracy, Transparency and the long standing precedent set by the Chamber of Commerce, the committee will be anonymous. You can get more transparent then invisible! Beware of pretenders to the committee offering favors for drink or sex.

We are looking for volunteers to staff our “Vote or Else!” voter registration drive in front of the Grange at the Variety Show. There will be a Poll Tax, probably a pint, no more than two.

The date of the election is being confirmed shortly as all bars must be open on Election Day. No guns or viscious dogs please.

We are scouting a location for the voting booth(s).

*PWEIP People Whose English Is Peculiar

Name Withheld


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At the January 11th Point Arena School Board Meeting, there was discussion to, “Accept bid from Fort Bragg Electric for bond approved electrical repair at Arena.”

As I went to question this item, President Miles informed me this was “our meeting” and he was going to refuse my question even though at the January meeting he stated he would allow the public to speak during discussion items.

He allowed my question which was, “Is this the bond funds from the Gualala Measure E School Bond?” I was quickly corrected by Trustee DeWilder stating, “Arena Bond.” I am not sure when the Measure E Bond became the “Arena Bond.” How can a board change the legal intent of a bond which was to build an elementary school in Gualala and update the elementary school to a middle school?

The long and short of it is, back in 2011 the community was informed by Superintendent Cross that there was $82,603 available for “Bond Approved Arena Projects” which would be used to complete Arena Middle School project of a covered walkway outside the cafeteria for weather protection, that is why the Measure E Bond Funds were taken from what should have been returned to the taxpayers. This would then leave the balance at $0.

I remember that night going home and telling my husband they were going to use $82,603 on the covered walkway! I thought it absurd — obviously I was right! Again, they were not being transparent with the community and gave them false information.

Currently, the district has $24,479.50 in the “Arena Bond.” Cross informed me they have a Bond Oversight Committee (BOC) which should consist of “at least seven members.” The BOC has four with three district representatives including Cross. They combined the seven responsibilities into the four members on the BOC to make it legal?

Again, not the intent of CA Education Code 15282.

The important part of this letter is our community members in Point Arena, Gualala and The Sea Ranch voted on an elementary school in Gualala but are paying for this “Arena Bond” on their property taxes. Also, I am not sure when you will ever see the returns on what was voted for but I know for a fact it will not be any time in the immediate future (the County Auditor’s Office would not release this information to me).


Suzanne L. Rush


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Letter to Editor,

Yep, there were strange lights in the sky. I was in Ukiah in a car headed from South State Street exit of 101 to Boonville exit of 101. Undistracted, traveling on an uncongested four-lane freeway, the sky blinked brighter and not, several times behind an overcast sky in about 15 seconds time. Didn't last longer than a minute. Was in the afternoon between 1 and 4, but don't remember the exact time. (All time present and accounted for, however!) Do know it was a Thursday. Very strange and unlike the heat lightening experienced in tornado alley thunder storms.

Debra Keipp


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Letter to the Editor,

Think about how it might feel for a mental health patient to have to go to the very public Old Coast Hotel to see their doctor. Would a medical doctor even want to work there in a space shared with people suffering from addictions and homelessness?

Why does Hospitality House Center, Ortner Management Group, 3 City Councilmen, and Jennifer Owen think this is a therapeutic environment for medical patients?

Sonya Nesch


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Dear AVA,

I noticed the Fort Bragg Police Department warning about counterfeit money. It seems quite sophisticated yet with due diligence bills can still be spotted. I really fear that there is an attempt to replace currency with digital money, even more than it is. I really hope that this doesn't happen. I like cash and I especially like our local vendors.

Here's hoping from a cash customer!

Name withheld

Fort Bragg

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Dear Editor:

First, I am not the UFO type, disks spinning through the sky, little man crawling all over your anatomy. And we weren't on drugs. It was lunch time although that might not count for much in the Valley when on an average day a few dozen people might…

But here's what three of us did see:

At approximately 12:55 PM on January 31 we witnessed a very unusual object in the sky moving in a descending arc roughly from the southeast to northwest perhaps 30 or 40 feet above the horizon. We were standing on the deck of a house facing west with a clear view down the Navarro River Canyon where the river passes below the highest point on Greenwood Ridge about 10 miles from the ocean. The object appeared from behind this high point and was visible for about 15 seconds before it was blocked from view by a large tree. It was a glowing, incandescent fireball, perfectly round, about the size of a baseball, greenish white, very intense, like a welder's arc at close range. The glowing object was brighter than the brightest meteor or meteorite any of us have seen. As it dropped out of sight behind, it appeared to be changing in color to a reddish orange as if it was burning out. There was no noise either from the moving object or from an impact. The object seemed to be close, perhaps within 10 miles, but its brightness made it hard to estimate how close it was. Was it man-made or extraterrestrial? We have no idea.

Peter Wiley

San Francisco

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Dear Editor,

I'm writing to tell you that you can discontinue my subscription. I get out in a couple more days. The AVA was one of the highlights of my week while I've been down. Thanks. Also while I've been here I read a book called Mendocino Noir written by you and Mark Scaramella. Hell of a book. I really enjoyed it. For such a beautiful county we really have some bleeped up people, huh? Still though, I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. In the excerpt on the cover it read something along the lines of "When bad people and civic irresponsibility coincide, vast Mendocino County becomes a dangerously unpredictable place." That was by far the truest and most profound thing I've ever read in my life.

Now here is something else I need to get off my chest. The Honorable Clayton Brennan of the 9-1/2 Mile court in Fort Bragg sentenced me to prison because he really didn't have a choice. I already had three years joint suspended hanging over my head from judge Ann Moorman for being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm. She gave me a good chance by putting me on felony probation. She could have just sent me to prison. So I'm thankful for that.

But what I'm getting at here (and in the most respectful way I can) is, What's going on under the robes? I've only seen her while she has been up on the bench. She definitely has the sexy librarian look going for her with her glasses and that hair. Is she as hot as I think she is? She is in the paper a lot and every time I see her name that is what I wonder. Also, I think she is a fair judge and does a good job, but as far as I'm concerned that's besides the point. I just hope she's not fat.

Enough on that subject.

I will stop before I put my foot in my mouth. Anyhow, I think you do a really good job with the paper and I will continue to read it when I get out. The big difference will be that if I will go down to the store and buy a copy each week instead of waiting for a cop to pass out the mail. I won't miss this place a bit!

Craig Barnett (aka in Fort Bragg: "The Boat Hippie")


PS. Where did you find this Flynn Washburne guy? Is he the same Flynn Washburne I was in rehab with on Albion Ridge? Thought so! Hi Flynn!

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Dear AVA,

I recently received a request for donations from the Republican National Committee. This was my response:

February 11, 2015

Dear Republican National Committee,

I do believe in the highest ideals of the Republican Party. However, the Republican Party of today has abandoned all of those ideals.

The party of Lincoln now represents: the 1%, spoiled corporations, big government (military industrial congressional complex, farm crop subsidies, corporate welfare), crazy religious fundamentalists, totally crazy tea baggers, and the right of corporations and the 1% to bribe anyone they like and buy elections.

Bush/Cheney inherited the wealthiest country on earth. They bankrupted it and raided the treasury for the benefit of the corporations and 1% (no-bid military contracts, tax cuts for the rich).

And now you blame Obama.

As Abe Lincoln and Ricky Nelson once said: "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to."


Dr. Donald Phillips


Ed note: Wasn’t it Lesley Gore (no relation to Al) who sang “It’s My Party”?

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Dear AVA,

Here I sit a victim of my own advice once again with no one to blame but myself. I hate how familiar this place is to me. I've been here too many times. As sad as that is, there are a few things that would and do brighten my day. The Advertiser is a great way to make me get a broad perspective on many topics that other newspapers so often obfuscate for whatever reason. The AVA is always a blessing every time. My main purpose for this letter is to request a small stint of your news if possible. My out date is in September 2015. If possible please forward to the above address here in Hell.

Sammy Lee Summers

San Quentin

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Response to Gordon Black

I truly do not understand Gordon's letter to the editor printed in the AVA on page 2 of the February 2, 2015 edition and so would like to clarify a few of the issues he brought up. First, I am not aware that current board member John Sakowitz has publicly endorsed my candidacy for the at-large seat of Mendocino County Public Broadcasting, but if he has, why would it have anything to do with his complaint to the FCC? I would like to let voters know that I have no affiliation with Mr. Sakowitz other than that I have spoken with him at length in order to understand the frustrations that led him to file a complaint. I made it clear to him at the time, and am now making it clear to you, that I never advocated for his complaint to the FCC. It put the station’s very existence at risk. I believe the problems at KZYX should be dealt with in house, through public discussion of station policy and fair and free elections determining the will of the membership. It is the membership, according to the Mission Statement of MCPB, that maintains control over the station’s “programming and operational philosophy.” If elected, I promise to ensure that statement is honored, as is the legal obligation of any duly elected board member of a non-profit corporation.

I always enjoyed our conversations at the station between our shows, Gordon, and I consider you a friend. If all I need to do to earn your trust is apologize for not complying specifically to FCC regulations when a caller used inappropriate language on Open Lines then by all means Gordon, I apologize. I made a mistake.

To set the record straight, I do not recall ignoring a directive to correct the violation, but rather I remember hanging up on the caller the instant Mary Aigner walked into the studio and told me to. I do not know where you heard otherwise. Also, I am not a programmer “on suspension.” Rather, I am an ex-programmer who chose to leave the station after Open Lines was offered back to me with perimeters on discussion of station policy that I was uncomfortable with. I always billed the program as the show “for the people, of the people and by the people.”

Free speech is a big issue for me. The changes made to Open Lines seemed more to do with my feelings about station policy than anything to do with the occasional off color word that may slip through onto the airwaves. I would also like to mention that of the five people who did ultimately complain to the FCC, none of them complained about foul language. They did complain about many of the issues I brought up to the board of directors privately in the months leading up to the loss of my program. Had the board listened to me when they had the chance, this FCC mess might well have been avoided entirely.

It is interesting to note that the FCC has never fined nor shut down a radio station for the occasional, accidental airing of a bad word. It is my feeling that staff seriously overreacts when this occurs and makes a mountain out of a molehill. KZYX has lost too many good programs and too many good volunteers for minor infractions while larger issues, the very issues that led some members of our community to complain to the FCC, have been ignored. My question for you Gordon is: “What are those issues, and why aren't they being discussed on Open Lines?”

Doug McKenty


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Letter to the Editor

Listen to the news on TV or read about it in the newspaper, including your own, and the amount of killing going on domestically and globally is mind-boggling. Take a look at the video games and movies and one”s mind staggers at the violent assault on both the mind and emotions.

Yes, there has always been killing, down through the ages. This in spite of the fact that every known human culture in history has banned via taboo the act of murder and of incest. Yet history is full of countless murders, all of which got rationalized.

The rationalizations have mostly been in the form of “God wills it” when it has been murder in the name of the religion, or the tribe. The second most common rationalization has been by the state or the tribe, in wars. “National interest” or “tribal interest” have been hauled out ad infinitum to excuse the killing. The drive for more territory, more power, more resources make it all seem so necessary.

According to the police most murders are either about love or about money or about revenge for some real or imagined act. When you combine the murders for personal reasons with the murders for “reasons of state or tribe” it seems to be the case that we humans like to kill each other.

Wait a minute say most people. Is it not true that the great majority of human beings never kill anybody? They may want to, but they don”t actually do it. True enough, but when it is done in their name very few protest. They act out the urge to kill vicariously. They hire substitutes called soldiers to go and do it for them, and then make them heroes when they do it.

Is there, deep in our collective unconscious, a desire to kill; and if there is, why is it there? I have a suspicion that killing another person, or many of them, whether directly or indirectly, provides the perpetrator with an affirmation that he or she is still alive.

It is, after all, the fact of being conscious of our own mortality that separates us from the other animals. Knowing we are going to die gives us a reason, albeit unconscious, to need to re-affirm

that we are still alive. Every generation needs its own war(s). This is not a happy thought.

The instinct for survival is deeply hard-wired in each of us. Is it such a stretch to posit that when we kill we are unconsciously affirming our own life?

Lee Simon

Still in Virginia

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