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Letters (Mar 9, 2016)

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We extend a hearty ‘Thank You” to our entire community from the Powers That Be involved in the Anderson Valley Variety Show.

The show is a community effort in the truest sense of the phrase, and we don’t have time and space to give the individual many well-deserved “thank yous” here and now. But to everyone who helped out backstage, organizing, selling concessions and tickets — you know we couldn’t do this without all of us, so thank you for being a part of it.

We express the most gratitude to our loving and supportive community.  It takes all of you and your support for the Variety Show to keep happening for these past 25 years, and we want you all to know how thankful we are for each and every one of you.  We have the best audience, bar none.

Our biggest struggle this year was in accommodating our fire chief in his efforts to keep our community safe. As a result, there was some confusion around tickets and seating, and we apologize for that. Anyone with constructive ideas about how we might handle these issues in the future is welcome to share them with us.

For those of you itching to perform for your community, there’s always next year! Please approach us with your ideas, it takes a village to put on a good show!

With our Sincere Gratitude,

The Variety Show Powers That Be (Such as We Are)

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Letter to the Editor,

Yeah Coach!

If you go out of the Valley for entertainment, you have been missing the spirited playing of our AV High School Championship basketball team.

Over a two-year period we have watched young boys turn into young men. What’s so great? They focus, they are playing as a cooperative, well-oiled team. They execute plays in a coordinated dance. Not always perfect, they recover well. You can see the problem-solving and teamwork happening.

This fine display of sportsmanship comes out of quality coaching. The kind of training where the coach can “let go” and trust his players. Watching other coaches and teams, we have seen some talented players but mostly coaches who do not trust their players (and/or their own coaching).

The entire community owes Coach Luis Espinoza and his wife Shauna a big, big round of applause. We thank you for giving these young men the skills and experiences that will last a lifetime. They will be better individuals, partners and parents from what they have learned. They certainly will be more effective in their chosen careers.

Coach Espinoza has enabled these young men to become valued and an esteemed part of the community with a feeling of mutual belonging. They demonstrate the values of hard work and teamwork, cooperation and self-control. We are fortunate and so are these young men. It is easy to envision them all doing well as adults.

Thanks Coach.

Marvin and Beverly Dutra


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The Dedication of the J. Roderick Basehore Theatre.

An incredible thing happened on this February 27 that I was fortunate to be a part of. In the little town of Indio, California, a beautiful state-of-the-art theater was dedicated and named after a schoolteacher who inspired many, many lives.

J. Roderick Basehore Theatre at Indio High School may very well be the single most important structure in my hometown, as many who traveled great distances might agree. Certainly there are great teachers inspiring students every day, J. Roderick Basehore was far more than an outstanding teacher. For decades and with not a lot of fanfare he quietly taught his students lessons they are still understanding decades after earning their diplomas.

Former students from the 1960s, 70s and 80s took center stage and shared how so much of what they do in their professional careers can be attributed to J. Roderick Basehore. Alumni who now work with autistic children and others working with brain injured patients credit J. Roderick Basehore with their ability to make major differences in the lives of countless people across the country. The effect this man had on decades of his students is impossible to calculate, but I think it can best be described by what happened approximately 120 miles west of J. Roderick Basehore Theater in the city of Los Angeles.

On February 28 as the world tuned in to the 88th annual Academy Awards ceremony, the curtain rose and the lights faded at the hand of one of J. Roderick Basehore student. And without realizing it every television viewer who tuned in to the Academy Awards ceremony experienced some of what J. Roderick Basehore taught his students by way of Dave Taylor's skills as a master lighting and sound technician.

Rest in peace with a gorgeous, beautiful grin on your face, J. Roderick Basehore. It was never your intent, but you will be forever be remembered, adored and admired in ways you never imagined. And when people entering the theater bearing your name ask who J. Roderick Basehore is, it's a darn good thing that there are plenty of seats because they will need to sit down to hear the countless stories there are to tell of the man you were and the legacy left to your students.

Bernie Bodanovs-Naggs

Former student 1977

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I think it the responsibility of all of us who remember the Cuban missile crisis to tell their story to those who don't remember or were still to be born. The thought of Donald Trump as the person with the responsibility to push or not push the button that would begin a nuclear war is frightening. This man is not even civil to members of his own party. How would he react to someone like Vladimir Putin?

The job of president goes far beyond winning a popularity contest. I'm not sure he is aware of the responsibility resting on the shoulders of the commander in chief.

"You're fired" doesn't work.

Ashley Jones


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I was truly saddened to hear about the passing of Jack Hayward. And if I go off the deep end late in my life please don't let those two friends who wrote his obituary (even if they are the last people who will speak to me) write mine.

I was hoping someone who had been there with firsthand knowledge of all the good times that happened would write something. I had just read this article about John Schaefer in the Ukiah Daily Journal, founder and president of Real Goods Trading Co., and have added this excerpt from the article about the commune: "..... I visited a Greenwood Ridge commune called 'Rainbow' in 1972. I discovered 20 idealistic environmentalists much like myself living on 290 acres. They had purchased the property for $60 per acre... For $50 a month we lived very comfortably, keeping chickens and goats, milling lumber to build our first main house and busting our butts building pumps and water systems...."

As I understood it Jack and Kay Hayward had $10,000 cash to put down on the property and were asking anyone who wanted to own it with them to put in $1000. Back in 1972 or 1973 $10,000 could have made a really nice down payment on a house and land around here. The home I own sold around that time for $17,500.

Jack and Kay decided they wanted more of an adventure and so they started a commune. Back in 1972 or 1973 I was renting a room for about six months in a house on Blattner Lane (James Dean's duplexes) with a woman who, with her boyfriend, had bought into the land. Every week during those early days of the commune a group would come down to take baths at our house. It was really great times with a whole party happening every week.

I remember great music parties at the commune and swimming with everyone at the "three tiers" waterfalls.

Jack and Kay were the elders. Jack especially took the figure of the leader. Everyone looked up to him. He was extremely handsome (not like the old man arrest photo that was added to his obituary). Must have been hard on him (as years went by) when everyone got older and didn't need a leader anymore.

As I understand it, the commune bought a rundown house in East Oakland and had the whole commune go down and work on it. With 30 people working on it in a few months they sold it for a full lot more than they paid for it and made a substantial payment on their mortgage.

Then when half the group wanted to buy another old house and remodel it, the other half said they had had enough and didn't want to spend any more time in the city. This added up to two groups that didn't see eye to eye.

The only thing I can think about a commune is it is like a marriage, only with lots more people. Only about 50% of marriages last with just two people.

I know they finally went to court and one group bought the other out of the land. The one half started over again on the land — and then again.

I am sorry to see Jack gone. I will remember the good times.

Doug Johnson


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Dear Mr. Anderson,

Your paper was given to me by a mutual friend, Mr. York, who has a long history with me. How ironic that your paper would cover that liar Tim Stoen who has now written a book claiming he was a victim of Jim Jones at the time.

Well, I'm the real victim who he and Jim Jones cover up when he was the Assistant District Attorney of Mendocino County. I was one of the six wards from Alameda County who was sent to live at the Touchette home that the church looted for its own funds and the treatment we received. After the Touchette left for Guyana to set up the killing zone in 1978, my roommate Vincent Lopez died in the jungle. I was beaten at the Geary Street Church by Jack Beam at the order of Grace Stoen, the church's hit-list lady. I was poisoned at the Los Angeles Temple in 1974 or 1975 and left sick and almost died at the hands of Alameda County probation department and many others who are now trying to cover this nightmare up.

I would like to see if Tim Stoen has the guts to face me or contact me and tell me he was a victim of Jim Jones. I had inside access because of the Touchette and Walter Jones, my institutional foster father, who did the last article dated 2013 by Numbskull Kilduff who I've written to, but no response.

I've been trying to contact a lawyer who would file a case against the County of Alameda for breach of duty, 340.1, delayed discovery rule. So far no takers. Is it because the current governor was sleeping with Jim Jones at the time for votes along with the San Francisco political machine at the time?

Feel free to let that liar Tim Stoen know that he can contact me for atonement.

Mr. Arthur D. Scott A 9005

Building II-209 L

Soledad Prison III

P.O. Box 4000, Vacaville, CA 95696-4000

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Things are often reported differently elsewhere and I wondered if the Pope's comments to the effect that Trump, wanting to build a wall between the USA and Mexico, was not a good Christian and, therefore, don't vote for him, was reported in the mainstream press here as it was in Costa Rica. Trump's response made reference to the walls around the Vatican (at least he finally said something intelligent). Have we all forgotten/blocked Mao's statement that they would bury us? I wonder if he anticipated all the Chinese crap on our shores. I also recall reading somewhere that when asked about the French revolution he responded, in effect, too soon to tell. When it is time to vote, remember that a vote for the lesser of two evils is a vote for evil. Also remember that Earl Warren was appointed to the Supreme Court as a conservative, by a conservative. Vote Stein. Keep up the good work.

Peter Lit


ED NOTE: It wasn’t chairman Mao, it was Kruschev who said it and he said it to Nixon. 

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Dear Anderson Valley News [sic],

I wonder why so many people read your paper? Maybe they do it for the blatant slander that frequently shows up when someone call my attention to an article? The situation regarding Sage Mountainfire is a good example of this. I read she is accused of harassment, animal endangerment, misuse of funds, and a general disregard for animal and human rights. When I read those accusation I laughed at the absurdity of it and was also appalled that such hurtful untruths were actually before my eyes! Anyone who actually knows Sage Mountainfire, which certainly can’t be done in a minuscule amount of time, knows Sage to whole heartedly stand up for all those rights, with the passion of a true activist!

Another issue I have with the AVA, besides the slander, is the one sidedness that appears in many articles. Staying with Sage Mountainfire as an example, I didn’t see anything in the articles about the limited funds available to the Shelter for the animals and how much has changed positively for the rights of those animals since Sage went to work there. She started there to help protect those rights and has continued to within the political arena it is and with virtually no funding or support. Has anyone from your paper interviewed those who can back up these statements?

I do appreciate the wild side of your paper, the willingness to not be bought like main stream media. Maybe that’s a reason people read your paper? Can you imagine how many more might read it if you were more respectful to the good people who dedicate their whole lives to making a difference in our community?


A Neighbor of Sage Mountainfire for 20 Years

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Dear Editor,

There is a "grange war" now distracting a revitalized local grange movement with threats of property seizure. It seems that the national grange group has a court order demanding that local granges join it or forfeit the grounds and buildings that are vital community centers in many California rural areas. Most California Grange chapters have not knuckled under, and have joined a lawsuit put forth by what is called the "McFarland Grange" (because there is now another California "grange" loyal to the national group) appealing this ruling.

I'm asking all community-minded people to join their local grange to make sure we do not lose control of community assets. In Anderson Valley, the local chapter owns property deeded to the chapter long ago by a generous landowner, and a building rebuilt in the mid-1980s entirely with community financing and labor, after the original grange structure burned down.

Since I came to Anderson Valley in the 1970s as part of the "back-to-the-land" movement, I've seen huge population influx--us, Mexicans attracted to the burgeoning vineyard industry, a wave of young exurbanites drawn by the cannabis boom, and others. We all need the grange building to maintain peace and well-being in the valley, for our great annual Variety Show, Mexican Quincenaras, peace conversion meetings, and so much more. It's ours, and we will defend it against all threats of property seizure.

John Lewallen

Member, Anderson Valley Grange Chapter 669

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Letter to the Editor,

Two years ago we received a Grand Jury report regarding our County Animal Care Services (ACS). The findings were deeply disturbing concerning conditions at the shelter, care of animals and interaction with the Sheriff’s department and the public. Since that time it appears things have only gotten worse.In the last month the Ukiah animal shelter manager has been put on “paid” administrative leave and an interim “paid” manager has been brought in to run the shelter and to bring it up to minimum animal care standards. Health and Human Services has proposed bringing in a “paid” consulting group to evaluate the shelter and make recommendations for improvements. And the County is talking about increasing the shelter budget at a time when our County is broke.

Previously valued volunteers have had their privileges revoked, volunteers who raise funds, photograph animals to promote adoptions through a website they created, foster dogs, walk dogs and socialize animals, all to make shelter animals more adoptable and to improve their quality of life until loving homes are found.

Volunteers are now asked to sign agreements which are in violation of their 1st Amendment rights, the freedom of speech.Interior shelter windows are now kept covered.Petaluma Animal Services Foundation (PASF), a stellar foundation, was the only group to respond to a 42 page Request for Proposal (RFP) put out by the County (the 42 page RFP, by the way, did not include any animal care for the Coast whatsoever). You may remember this group for their heroic efforts during the Lake County fires.

PASF’s proposal was rejected. As many of us see it Mendocino ACS has had two years to implement recommendations made by the Grand Jury and to raise animal care to best shelter practices of today rather than to wait until now to merely raise its standards to meet minimum animal care requirements. No more good tax dollars after bad, it is clearly time for change.

Carol Lillis


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