Press "Enter" to skip to content

Letters (Apr 22, 2015)

* * *


Dear Supervisor Hamburg:

It is with great distress that the Anderson Valley Unity Club writes to you about the loss of resident deputy service to our valley. We wish to request your aid in rectifying this impossible public crisis. As older citizens we hesitate to think what will happen to our community without the "soft safety controls" executed so well by Deputy Craig Walker, our resident deputy. We do not need to list for you the many reasons why a deputy's presence is of vital concern. Public safety cannot be maintained without public safety officers. We may all feel that we have other priorities, but the foundation of responsible government is to provide that very public safety we are requesting. We look forward to seeing you take prompt action to find a funding solution in the Sheriff's department — this seems to be the crux of the problem. As our Supervisor, we are requesting your guidance and assistance. Thanking you in advance for a prompt resolution.

Sincerely, Grace Espinoza, President,

AV Unity Club, Boonville

Copy to: Sheriff Tom Allman

* * *


Dear Editor,

Saturday night was the Ninth Annual Winemaker Dinner benefiting the Anderson Valley Housing Association.

It was a pleasure to see so many people attend in support of affordable housing in Anderson Valley. This support is what has made it possible for the Housing Association to provide low income housing to more than 40 people for over two decades. To those who were able to attend, thank you.

Sponsoring this year were Golden Eye Winery, Sharffenberger Cellers, MacPhail Family Wines and Signal Ridge Vineyard. Our most sincere thanks to them for their enthusiastic participation. Sharon Sullivan graciously managed many details of the dinner and her assistance was invaluable.

Many thanks also are due to Burt Cohen and the crew from Boontberry Farm for their delicious meal.

We also acknowledge the volunteers who served the meal so professionally: Lily Apfel, Sheila Leighton, Miel Newstead, Gwyn Smith and Jared Titus.

We hope that next year this event will be as big a success as this year's. Please consider joining us if you can.

Thank you,

Angela DeWitt, Administrative Manager,

Anderson Valley Housing Association

* * *



Sheriff Allman has publicly stated (among other places in AVA Letters, April 8, 2015), "…while this staffing change will affect the response time to outlying areas it will improve the officer safety which is paramount to all."

Foolish me, thinking the officer's job was to protect me, John Q. Public. You know, "protect and serve."

Yes, deputies are underpaid. But their job is to protect and serve which can be risky in terms of officer safety. If personal safety is paramount — "of chief concern or importance" (American Heritage Dictionary) — then the Department's priorities are out of order. Deputies' safety is very important but not more important than that of the public which they are hired to protect, nor is a soldier's personal safety "paramount" as the millions who have sacrificed themselves have shown.

Please sign me:

Anonymous (for obvious reasons)

* * *



I call this one, "Bastards in the Bushes."

As if tax season isn't stressful enough, there is a very mean phone scam going around. I reported my experience to the sheriff's department but was told there is nothing they can do to stop the bastards. She said there had been a couple of press releases. I guess I missed them. I figure others did too.

So here's my report: The calls come from different phone numbers in different states. The message varies slightly. English is a bit off, but here's a transcript:

"This is an automated system generated message from [mumbled]. You are selected to receive this message even if your phone number is on a state or national do not call list. Our attempts to notify you by certified mail have been returned undelivered resulting in a lawsuit to be prosecuted in your name without a need of a trial on account of fraudulent or no tax filing. To know your tax outstanding, call the auditing department at 703-828-0605 before any legal action is taken to forcefully recover the unpaid amount. Thank you."

The first call came from 800-829-1040 unavailable. Other numbers: 703-662-8286, unknown. 559-328-0038. Avenal, 305-356-9999 Allied Interstate, 302-883-8691, Dover. 916-241-4497 Fair Oaks, and 203-644-0474 Connecticut.

One day on a lark I called one of the numbers. An anonymous answering machine asked for information. I I hung up but goodness, that unleashed a barrage of calls the next day. But it's been days now without a new call.

I've also been slammed by morphing bastards on my landline but that's another story.

Linda Breckenridge


* * *


Dear AVA,

Readers trivia: Readers Digest is beloved by millions throughout the world for its lively humor and thoughtful insights. It is secretly controlled by: a. The CIA, b. The Catholic Church, c.. Wall Street, d. The Mafia, e. Saudi Arabia

Best Wishes,

Tim Ballard


PS. Answer: a.

* * *


Hallo AVA,

I have been silent for quite a long time and as you know silence is complicity. I really have enjoyed the AVA and appreciate all the hard work you have put into it these many years. That the AVA is Boonville's beloved community newspaper is obvious. All the changes have been for the better. That whistling sound you hear is the passage of time — or frost fans!


Gary Durheim

Seaside, Oregon

* * *


Dear AVA,

I am writing to ask your readers if anyone knows of a Mexican national who was growing marijuana in the Mendocino National Forest in Lake County while living in Clear Lake during the 2011-2012 harvest years who seems to have fallen off the face of the earth. If you or anyone knows of someone like this who just vanished and no one knows where he went, please contact the Lake County District Attorney, Mr. Don Anderson. This man would be 30-50 years old and may have been the victim of a murder-robbery. Any help in this matter would be very much appreciated.

Concerned Citizen

Santa Rosa

* * *



My name is James David Hoffman Sr. I am currently in custody for post-release community supervision violation for my drug addiction problems. In this County of Mendocino I have been unsuccessful in trying to receiving any sort of services in this regard such as getting a 12 step program, private counseling or even the benefit of full communication with anyone because I'm in need of an American Sign Language interpreter.

My hearing aid is broken. I mean broken to an unrepairable stage that requires it to be replaced. It was damaged by another inmate while I was in custody at the Mendocino County Jail in mid-January 2015. Since then I have been unable to get another hearing aid because my medical insurance doesn't cover it. As well, I keep being returned to the custody of the County Sheriff. I try to request the Sheriff's medical staff and correctional officers that they should help me replace the hearing aid, but so far the only result they give me is that they are unable to help.

While I stay in the county jail I'm unable to communicate with anyone on the TDD telephone devices for the deaf because it's not working properly in the booking area or the housing unit. My understanding is that the inmate services staff is trying to resolve this issue, but at this time nothing has been resolved.

With all this going on concerning my situation, I find my rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act are completely violated. Probation doesn't provide interpreters when I'm supposed to show up my appointments. Same thing at all my doctor's offices and every other important appointment I may need to attend.

I may be able to read lips in some situations for short times on a one-on-one basic communications level. I may be able to write the conversation back and forth. But because of my frustration of trying to be successful in society I usually give up and turn to my drugs of choice, heroin and meth, to overcome my own anger and limitations. And I don't seem to have the willpower to insist that my own disability rights be met.

But right now I'm in need of a hearing aid and unable to get one while in custody. Once released I have to reapply for medical assistance over again. How long will that take? Being in custody or in society with no hearing is very frightening and frustrating. I'm reaching out to society for help in this matter. I would greatly appreciate it if anyone would like to come forward to help. Thank you!

James Hoffman Sr. A# 5281

Mendocino County Jail

951 Low Gap Road

Ukiah CA 95482

* * *


Dear Editor of the AVA,

During the past year I have had much concern over seeking help from the Mendocino County Sheriff. The Deputies are sadly inappropriate and immature. They lack integrity and empathy. They ooze with discrimination and mockery of the public and their concerns.

They call situations “civil matters” and excuse themselves from taking reports (attempted arson, burglary, property damage, assault and vandalism, all Civil Matters!). They say I call too much or not enough!

But more than this is clear and convincing discrimination towards anyone they feel to be "less than," or easily dismissed for any other reason/excuse. In doing many phone calls to many people over the past several months, I have discovered this to be an epidemic in Mendocino County. Thus I have decided to seek out the stories from the citizens of Mendocino County of their situation. I have asked and been approved to submit a complaint to the FBI and certainly it is your time to bring the light of truth upon our Court's embarrassing failure to have the Sheriff's Department act with the highest of ideals when it comes to the law, due process and equal treatment under the law. Myself, being called a crazy old lady by Your Honor from the bench, and told further that he would not hear my issue or look at my documents in support, as I am a troublemaker annoying others. I have been told that should I write this and seek out letters from others as to their stories, and should I do so, I would literally be besieged, so let’s find out. I want to hear from you on this,

We The People, as this is our Country and our privilege to have Due Process, equal treatment and to not be made fun of and dismissed. I would like to add to this, that I was the Woman of the Year when I had a free legal clinic in Fort Bragg called The Gray Panthers of the Mendocino Coast Legal Center. I served over 7,000 people and their issues over three years, all for free. You might also like to know that I was the organizer of a chapter of the ACLU in Mendocino County and was the Chair for four years. I am a Paralegal and advocate of Seniors, Disabled and Veterans for 40 years, and have never taken a dime for this work. If anyone understands the law where the "rubber-meets-the-road," it is my clients I have heard their stories and shared in their solutions. Now, I want to crunch some numbers on the under served of Mendocino County and how the Sheriff's office is a part of that sad loss. The Sheriff is the bridge to the DA and thus this reporting by their deputies is important to that next step.

If I get one letter or one thousand, I will let you know. Maybe we can be heard and make a difference in our County. Lastly, to my dear friend Ricky, always loved and remembered for your outstanding contributions to the lives of ordinary people. You were simply THE BEST. To Bruce Anderson for giving me this forum, may you always remain the man of high integrity who allows the People to speak out, using your wonderful newspaper.

Linda Leahy

West Sacramento

* * *


Dear Editor,

A gremlin seems to have wormed his or her way into the hallowed halls of the AVA, intent on making the readership turn page after page again and again to the point of ultimate annoyance. Now, I must admit that I am 13 editions behind in my reading, and if the situation has been remedied in the meantime, then my fullest apologies to all for the waste of precious time. But, failing that happy change for the better, here's what I mean:

If memory hasn't completely failed me, it seems as though, in the dim distant past of many years ago, articles and stories were nowhere nearly as 'continued on p. xx' as nowadays. In an issue from near the end of 2014 that I just finished off, two side-by-side short articles of the same approximate length began on p. 10, and both were continued to p. 11, forcing me to turn pages twice as much in order to avoid losing continuity. In an ideal world, the first of the two shorties would have started AND finished on p. 10, and the second would have started and finished on p. 11. But, no! Some evil gremlin in your hallowed halls insists that your readership must endure maddening wastes of time by having to endlessly turn pages. I recently read an average-sized article that was continued 3 or more times! Little pieces of the article here, there, and everywhere, forcing me to search for one little section after another! Now, where is the reading pleasure in that?!?

Now, don't get me too wrong. I have gotten quite used to all four articles on the front page being continued on pages 11 or 12, no problem. And I do understand that the Valley People articles often have to be continued somewhere else if they don't all fit on p.4. No problem there, either. Other reasons for continuing articles are no doubt not worth arguing about. But, what has developed over the past year or so is truly diabolical in its excessiveness! Making me speculate - no, it would be too SAD to contemplate the demise of our favorite publication brought on by a callous disregard for the patience of the readership, whose members probably are no more inclined than I to be forced to constantly shuffle pages.

So, dear editor, please do what you can to rein in the gremlins who are inclined to chop stories into smaller and smaller pieces, and for no valid reason that I can detect.

Thank you for considering my plea,

Ken Ellis

New Bedford, Mass

* * *



The California Coastal Commission has put off until June a decision on whether or not to allow the California Department of Parks and Recreation (the infamous "State Parks") to charge a fee of $8 for the privilege of accessing the Pacific Ocean at 14 beaches and coves along the Sonoma County coast.

If approved in Sonoma County, it's only a matter of time before the corrupt State Parks agency begins trying to charge for access at points up and down the Mendo Coast.

Please send your objections to this very bad idea to the Coastal

Commission, at following email address:

Do it today. Thanks.

David Gurney

Fort Bragg

* * *


Dear Editor:

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Monday issued a report "Israel Settlement Agriculture Harms Palestinian Children". It concerns Palestinian children young as age 11 who work as farm hands in the Jordan Valley for Israeli settlement farms. These children grow, harvest, and pack agricultural produce, much of it for export. Wages are low and the children are exposed to dangerous working conditions in violation of international standards. The children pass out and vomit from farming with illegal pesticides on Israeli settlements. HRW commented that Israeli labor laws prohibit young people from carrying heavy loads, working in high temperatures, and working with hazardous pesticides. Israel has not applied these laws to Palestinians children working in its settlements. Many of these children have dropped out of school. These children are hired by Palestinian middlemen working for Israeli settlements, were paid in cash, and did not receive payslips nor have work contracts. In West Bank factories Palestinian workers do get payslips and have work agreements. The US grants preferential treatment to Israeli settlement products under the US-Israel Free Trade Agreement. The US Department of Labor maintains and publishes a list of more than 350 products from foreign countries that are produced with the use of forced labor or child labor. The list does not include Israeli settlement products. The question is WHY NOT? For myself I will not knowingly purchase any agricultural products from Israel.

In peace and love,

Jim Updegraff


* * *


Dear AVA,

Being from Mendocino I am aware that the AVA is the finest newspaper Mendo prints and would like to once again be able to read the AVA each week. I hope you can renew my subscription here in Corcoran State Prison. There are actually about half a dozen fellow Mendo boys here who enjoy reading the AVA and passing it around. I have been waiting to receive a subscription for some time now but until recently I received a letter informing me of your address and containing an article from the AVA with my name in it. I did not have information to write to you with a request for a subscription. I now would like to ask if you would please send me a subscription of the best damn newspaper printed in Mendocino County. I'm also hoping that you will print this enclosed letter to the Editor. I write this to correct some lies and misinformation that was printed about me in the letter to the Editor titled "183 years for?" authored by Walter "Kris" Miller. I have actually been in your newspaper several times for my bad decisions in the past, but never was I lied about before that article. My name is Christopher Skaggs and Mr. Miller was my codefendant in this case. Please send a subscription to the enclosed address.

* * *

Telling It Like It Is — Hello there, Mendocino County. What's up home boys and home girls and all the rest of my fellow AVA readers? I hope that you are all having a wonderful day and comfortably enjoying this article and newspaper. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Christopher Skaggs and I am writing from my cell in Corcoran State Prison. Most of you are probably familiar with who I am and probably aware of why I am in prison. Until recently I don't think my name has been in any newspaper since I was sent to prison in early 2014. But recently I received some mail that had a newspaper clipping out of the Advertiser in it. It was a Letter to the Editor from a recent paper by Walter Krissy Miller titled "183 years for…" Mind you the mail is real slow here so it may have taken a few months for that letter to reach me. I have been in the newspaper many times before but this is the first time I read blatant lies about me and felt compelled to write my own article so that I can set the record straight and say things of my own.

The first thing I would like to say is to Miller: You got 183 years for being the idiot moron who admitted to using an AP9 9-mm machine pistol to fire from the passenger seat of a fleeing vehicle upon the fully marked with lights and sirens Mendocino County Sheriff's vehicle that was in pursuit of us and demobilizing it, then surrendering after a four-hour standoff with law enforcement two days later still being in possession of said gun, then taking it to trial rather than taking the 25 to life deal the district attorney offered you while at the same time pleading guilty to a third strike for residential burglary and losing in trial whereupon you received 183 years.


Now I would like to address the lies Mr. Miller wrote about me in his letter to the editor.

Yes, I was the driver of that fleeing vehicle that night. I seem to have a bad habit of that. I guess I got some rabbit in me. I hate being locked up and chained so for some strange reason I usually try my damnedest to avoid that and whereas most people pull over when they see lights and sirens behind them, my first natural reaction is to run.

Anyway, in Miller's letter he wrote one big lie about me in some stupid attempt to smut me up. That being where he tries to state that I had all of my charges dismissed for my cooperation with the District Attorney. Even a person as sharp as Mr. Miller knows that lie don't even make a bit of sense and anyone with a brain would quickly realize that I by no means ever had any of my charges dismissed. And never have I and never would I ever cooperate with any district attorney whatsoever no matter what. I wasn't brought up that way and I don't believe in it.

I got 30 years in prison, two strikes and $121,000 restitution fine. You don't get 30 years in prison for having all your charges dismissed. No, I just took a plea bargain and took the 13 years rather than risk getting life if I were to lose in trial like you did, Mr. Miller.

I also had no prior strikes whereas you had been a violent two-striker already. I also want to say this as just about everybody agrees that any solid dude who was pleading guilty to a third strike and was getting no less than 25 to life without possibility of parole would have taken the rap for everything and taken all the charges up off all the others. I mean I pray that doesn't ever happen, but were I getting life for the stuff I did and admitted I would be like, I did that — and anybody else involved, I forced them. Straight up, I would. What's the point in taking everybody else down with you? I would take it and be like, Take care of me homeboi and go down with some honor. Nope. That probably never crossed the mind of a guy who never cared for anybody but himself.

Why plead guilty to a residential burglary and third strike but then testify that I kicked open the door for you? Why admit that you fired a gun at the cops then say that both I as well as Tracy were encouraging you to shoot, making us accessories to that charge which carried life? Why try to say that I was armed with a pistol grip shotgun and lever action rifle when I was never found to be in possession of any firearms period? Why even say shit? Even one of the jurors from your trial told the Ukiah Daily Journal following your conviction that you really hung yourself running your mouth. Your mouth not only put the nail in your own coffin, but it also screwed me, pretty much forced Tracy to save us, as well as led to the arrests and charges of three home girls who you gave up that were simply trying to help you out. (Alicia, Ashley and your black chocolate no-no that you said yes-yes to, Kamara.) Oh and the video you made on the laptop in the motel after the shooting that showed you with the gun and telling the police "Come on, get served, motherf__ers” was a great touch.

You really are sharp. I would rather be me any day. At least I will be back out there having it my way and trying to build up an army of my children. I only got four years left. That's going to really fly by fast for me what with the family visits I am getting every 90 days or so. I also want to say this: "Only bitches perpetuate rumors and gossip." I put stuff on the table. If I got an issue, I handle it.

I'm going to wrap this up as I ain't the window or newspaper warrior and would have never written this had you not lied about me. I would have waited for the day I could have brought it to you personally or let it be if we don't get that opportunity. I read that bullshit letter you wrote and got pissed off that you tried to smut me up and had to respond. Anybody who knows me personally knows that was all bullshit. And for those of you who don't, well, rather than believe any propaganda you read in some newspaper, go down to the Mendocino County Superior Court and research everything that ever happened or was said in court in both cases. It's public knowledge. Go look at it. It's all there.

And for those of you who are too lazy to go down and research it and are stupid enough to believe that idiot's bullshit, well then, just come and see me because I will be back in Mendo soon. 2019 will be here fast. Yes, due to this being my first strike I got half time. So I will be back and will not be hard to find. I take responsibility for the stupidity of my actions, the stupidest being around and involved with an idiot, scandalous coward, fake, phony SOB like Miller. So I have manned up and am paying my debt to society. Since being here I got what I had coming for what I had done and take full responsibility for it. I can do my time and won't cry about it when it's time to pay the piper.

And as stipulated in the plea agreement I took, I had to wave my rights to appeal. So don't worry about me wasting your tax dollars on appeals for a new trial that won't change shit. But I want to say this to Mr. Miller before closing: I wish you all the best of luck at the new trial you are getting. I honestly hope that you win and get a date because I would love an opportunity to have a face-to-face with you ASAP. So good luck with the new trial and until we meet again, keep my name out of your holster.

Chris Skaggs, Mendocino's Finest

AS 5194 3C04-131

Corcoran State Prison

Box 3471 Corcoran CA 93212

* * *



This story definitely belongs in the theater of the absurd.

We had been waiting, waiting — not for Godot, but for AT&T to repair our line and restore communication. For a month and a week we waited…

Here is how the story goes:

Our phone went out on the 24th of January before 11am. We informed MCN since we are their fusion customers and have been nothing but satisfied with them.MCN sent someone the next day to check if the problem came from their end and ascertained that everything was in order from their side. So the line problem fell under the jurisdiction of AT&T. They told us they would contact AT&T to let them know.

After that we remained pretty much in the dark, especially after the big storm that left us without electricity for three days. We were pretty sure that the problem came from our neighbors’ side: they had accidentally cut through our phone line doing work on their road in November. At that time AT&T had taken 5 days to do the repair even though it was entirely their fault since our neighbors had actually called them before doing the digging to check where the lines were (this because a similar incident has occurred a few month earlier, and at the time they had been told of the protocol to follow).

Anyway, a few days after MCN checked with us an AT&T truck driver came once to our side of the land and told us we should expect repairs within a few days. We told him about the incident in November and added that workers had come since to fill the hole: it might have been the reason for the problem. Our story didn’t seem to make a big impression, it appeared that AT&T didn’t need our help: obviously they had equipment that would detect the breaks in their lines in no time.

At one point we heard some digging on our neighbors’ land and went to check. Indeed a new hole had been dug and the line pulled out. But obviously that was not where the break was. And we heard nothing more from then on.In the dark again.

It is only much later, we were in the fourth week without a phone or internet, that I learned more from my neighbor. I was making a very important medical phone call, perched on my rooftop leaning over a 15 foot drop in order to get reception on my track phone (the only cell phone that works at all in our neck of the woods) wondering about the wisdom of being up there at my age when she showed up. She suspected that I knew nothing about what had been going on and wanted to inform me.

She said that a big truck, equipped with a big ladder, and one or two big men would show up at her place every week or so. They would ask her to tell them what the problem was. They wanted the whole story. Apparently they hadn’t talked to any previous AT&T worker and didn’t know the first thing about what might have happened. They would use their equipment to locate the break, put a few red flags up, and then leave saying that diggers will follow in a few days, and repairmen after that.

No digger ever showed up! But after a week or so another big truck with the big ladder and the big men would roll in. The men also questioned her about the problem and didn’t seem to have any knowledge of what had been done previously. They would leave telling her that they were just locaters and that the diggers would follows in a few days.And again, and again, same replay, 3 or 4 times. It seemed like we were dealing with zombies who had no contact with each other or with a main office. They all said they were only locaters and that the diggers would come.

Finally on February 25, my husband ran into a repairman in a truck on our road and asked him if he had come to repair our line. It was the first intelligent, responsible person we had dealt with, but mostly the first real contact we had had with AT&T servicemen. The man realized, after answering that no repair had been done yet, that it had been more than a month since we had telephone or internet and he took it upon himself to run a temporary surface line so we could have phone and internet, temporarily. This could have been done the very first day. It didn’t even take an hour.

Talk about efficiency! And now MCN was told that the final repair would be done by the 15th of March. Maybe the temporary line will hold until then! Cross our fingers!

An Update On April 14

We are now in the middle of April and finally some men were sent to fill the hole that had been sitting there since January, they didn’t seem to look at the lines that had been uncovered, then went on the dig another bigger hole not far from it.

As the story goes a splicer should come very soon to ascertain if that is where the damage is, and repair it.

As of today April 20, I have heard nothing. I do not know if it has been done. And there are other cases like ours!

Lydia Rand


* * *


TO: California Coastal Commission45 Fremont Street, Suite 200San Francisco, CA


Dear Commissioners:

This letter is in reference to the proposal by California Parks and Recreation Department to put “iron rangers” intended to collect money for access to and use of public beaches in California, specifically, in our understanding, Sonoma County.

The California Supreme Court cases of Dietz v. King and Gion v. City of Santa Cruz clearly established the right of public access and use of our coastal beaches. The former case involved a landowner charging money for access to a public beach. We are unable to see a meaningful distinction between an access charge by State Parks as opposed to a private landowner.

Although the State is trying to raise money from a multitude of sources, denying the public free access to OUR beaches seems a clear manifestation of class warfare. One of the few things a lower income family can do that does not cost money is to spend a day at the seashore.

The California Coastal Commission was created by popular vote to insure public access to the beaches and to protect those rights, whether from private landowners or public agencies. Particularly in this case where Parks and Recreation has proven itself to be capable of massive budget mismanagement and the concealing of funds, the idea that this organization should deny the public free access to beaches which are supported by our tax dollarsis unconscionable.


Peter D. Lit, Darcie Mahoney


One Comment

  1. Jeff Costello April 23, 2015

    Pay to go to the the beach? Our national parks: In 1977 I was in South Dakota and had just read an excellent book by a Sioux medicine man, Lame Deer – Seeker of Visions. The book aroused my curiosity about the Badlands, so I went there. There was a toll both set up on the road leading in, and they were charging $5.00 entrance fee. I got all huffy and indignant, and went on about being charged to look at land in the country of my birth, made a u-turn and got out of there. None of the money collectors were Indians… but like Mt. Rushmore, the place is sacred to Native Americans. Not being much of the outdoor type, I’ve never had the desire to visit our national parks – slide shows of the Grand Canyon put me to sleep – but have been told they all have entrance fees. What sort of capitalist bullshit is that?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *