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Letters (Mar 23, 2016)

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Dear Anderson Valley Community,

This is a letter from the Anderson Valley Food Bank touching on several topics.

First, the Anderson Valley Food Bank wishes to thank our community for a very successful fundraising campaign conducted this winter. Thanks to your generosity the Food Bank has been able to increase its monthly purchases from local vendors and provide more and better food to local families and seniors. We are very thankful.

Second, the Anderson Valley Food Bank is excited to announce an additional distribution day and time which will hopefully allow many who work during our regular hours to have access to food. Our additional new hours will be from 4-6pm on the Monday evening before our regular third Tuesday giveaway which operates from 8-10am the next morning. Now you can access food at either time. We hope this helps get the food to those in need.

Third, the Anderson Valley Food Bank is coordinating with the Anderson Valley Elderhome in their Community Garden Project, expected to be in operation by this spring or summer. We hope many of our food bank recipients will be able to participate in this wonderful project consisting of 20 or more raised beds located in Boonville behind the Elderhome. Thanks to both the Elderhome and the Community Garden Project out of Ukiah for this excellent opportunity!

Fourth, take notice of our new posters recently created by one of our volunteers, the talented Jody Williams, and colored by a group of grown-ups with too much time on our hands, or a group of students who also love to color. See if you can tell which group colored your poster! The poster advertises our additional new hours and is part of our constant effort to reach more people who might be in need.

Finally, if you are a local gardener, farmer, or agribusiness person, the Anderson Valley Food Bank would like to begin doing more business locally and would love to talk with you about buying large quantities of produce in the spring, summer or fall.

We are particularly interested in locally grown organic produce. I'm thinking tomatoes, hot peppers, zukes, cilantro, squashes and the like. I will try to contact as many of these businesses as I know of, but please do not hesitate to contact me if your business is interested at 895-3763.

Thanks again, Anderson Valley!

Denise Mattei, Director, Anderson Valley Food Bank


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To The Editor of the Beacon,

I would like to express my appreciation for the strong editorial in support of teachers in MUSD. I would like to provide some information on how administrators did not follow the certificated contract in evaluating these teachers. It is important to recognize that the contract provides the guidelines for how administrators and teachers are supposed to do their jobs. The contract is posted on the district website and Article 7 spells out the evaluation procedure. It recommends that non-tenured teachers be "observed and debriefed with written feedback by the administrator on three occasions". In the event of a teacher receiving an unsatisfactory rating "the teacher shall be so informed in writing by the evaluator at the time of each conference. Said written comments shall include the identified, specific deficiencies, suggested remedies, and available administrative support and/or assistance." Recommended assistance includes "release time for the employee to visit and observe other classrooms, schools, and workshops". Clearly, this is a collaborative process designed to make a teacher successful in the classroom for the benefit of students. It was not done in any of these cases. Oscar Stedman was never evaluated. Linda Tulley was observed once in January with no followup. Erin Brazill was observed once in December, and once in February. There was no feedback in December and the followup on the February observation was being scheduled after her release. Teachers who give up higher paying jobs and uproot their lives to work in our district bring valuable experience on how things are done in other districts, and administrators need to be receptive to this input. More importantly, these teachers deserve to be treated in a professional and ethical way. For the school board to rally behind the administrators when they have clearly not done their jobs is shameful and irresponsible. Thank you Kathy Wylie for being the only board member to vote in support of the teachers.

Recommended reading: The Teacher Wars, A History of America's Most Embattled Profession.

Don Cruser

Mendocino County Office of Education Board member


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Letter to the Editor,

On Saturday, March 19, 2016, at 11am a rally will be held in Redwood Valley concerning the General Dollar Store. This is a nonviolent rally. The presence of pitchforks/torches at this stage is appropriate to symbolize the intense feelings of 17-1800 citizens in opposition to this inappropriate intrusion of corporate commercialism into our rural, small-town environment.

Please join us to support the spines of our supervisors to do their democratic duty to honor the wishes of the majority of their constituents by exercising their authority over a rogue planning commission's decision to forever change the pastoral nature of our Redwood Valley. (None of the three planning commissioners live in Redwood Valley.)

Let's prick this nightmare balloon and pop it once and for all.

Susan Wertheimer

Redwood Valley

PS. Our friend Kenneth, talented, says a wax sock on the torch will double the efficiency.

PPS. Black balloons would be fun to pop regarding the nightmare on East Road.

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A couple of things. First the frost fan issue. We are in the season now and I have seen many a new fan trailer enter the valley. They appear to have smaller props and let’s hope so. Major Scarmella’s law suit should do something. It is too bad our Supervisor totally fumbled the ball that was not even handled by the Rah-Rah Ag Commissioner. Both missed the game, where they could have been supporting the erosion of the important Right To Farm law which does not apply when a farmer is moving a farm into a suburban or township area as it was in Boonville and Philo. The New Zealand Noise Ordinances provoke the development of the New Zealand fan blade adaption which makes fans that move the same amount of air at lower RPMs quiet, possibly saving operational cost as well. With a noise ordinance we all win, because violators must comply. The Ag Commissioner could have been looking for grants or working with local legislators to get funding for famers to adapt with low interest loans. To their credit some of the wine folks use frost fans to reduce water consumption for the frost battle. Sadly the wine industry is not educating their fellows about the clear disruption poorly designed fans can cause and the solution which probably has no extra charge if purchased correctly. The wine industry could subsidize others to make the shift because the local image and neighborly relations are very important. The ordinance would insure rental companies sell complying quiet fans.

The Grange has a few things to present including Dancing On Ivories Piano series with talented Spencer Brewer and Ed Reinhart at 7:30 PM on March 26th followed by the First Friday Film and Social Nite (April 1, 7 PM) featuring Timbuktu, a scenic movie about the impact of Jihadist manipulating a town or herders toward their fundamentalist beliefs. Colorful, thought-provoking and well received. Worthy of your perusal, and you can discuss it post filming as it is only 1 ½ hrs long. You don’t have to scramble for dinner as Tim Ward plans to whip up Pizzas in the Grange kitchen in the normally pot luck snack-Social hour (6 PM) that precedes, but folks can bring their own box dinners.

Next night (April 2, 7:30) is Big Band Night! Twenty one or more great musicians running through the Bob Ayres blender to make some darn good danceable music. And dance you can and compete if it is your desire for 5 different prizes.

A minor addition to the Variety show report. The well-hidden, but definitely heard Pit Band not only filled preshow and intermission with tunes, but also the first few acts and the Jackson Pollock act. Ukelonic Dennis Hudson, Swing-low, basser Dan McDonnel, horn man Professor Hot lips Sims, Slide Patelle on the trombone, Polka Queen, Lynn Archambault on keyboard and accordionist, Down beat Kevin Burke, and stand in Pres-Greg on Accordion and keyboards all crammed in the pit. Don’t try this at home! Our Queen and leader also fills in sound effects along with Kevin’s rim shots. As Pres., I too wish to thank all involved. The V show is the Granges biggest fund raiser and we’ll need it as our insurance is going up up up! Last note, per Brother Lewallen’s comments last week. National Granges attempt to herd Calif. grangers has been to sue our elected leaders; wasting money on both sides of the suits, and demand we join its appointed version or lose our halls. They are offering to sell our locally constructed & maintained halls on donated land to us at no reasonable cost. They would prefer we rejoin. We never left. They kicked us out. Now they are stomping over their values to force us back into the fold. There are two problems, they want to leave beloved leading members out, ignore our democracy and make us accept bylaws that give them ownership of our halls. Hard stuff to swallow. The AV grange is incubating on this. Meanwhile as I am not all knowing, call me President and not Master unless referring to my education.

Greg Krouse


Master/President of the 1st Solar Grange

Anderson Valley Grange 669

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First off I would like to thank you for reading and taking the time out of your day for my letter. Man, your paper is hella funny. I like to sit back and watch people get mad as hell that you talk shit about them and their cases and all the dumb shit they do. But hell, I am one to talk. I moved up here from the valley to get away from drugs and all that other BS. But man, was Mendo the wrong place to do that. (There's more drugs up here than down there.) You see, these cops don't give a shit about drugs. But if you get caught with a gun you are fucked. Whereas where I'm from, you get off with a gun, no biggie. But drugs, oh hell no.

You see I met this girl from Laytonville (native). Man was that about the dumbest shit I could have done. But I will get back to her.

Man, this whole county is about as corrupt as that movie Training Day. I've been here in Mendocino County Jail for over a year and I've seen some funny shit.

For example, it don't matter if you are here for a sex case or Protective Custody, you can still hit a man on mainline or General Population here. They (meaning the cops) don't care. This is the only jail I know where you can go from protective custody/red suit to general population. But when those protective custodies get rolled up (beat up/making them leave), the cops flip their shit. It's like, Bro, you should have known it was coming. It's like they turn a blind eye to the fact that some people are on their way to the Big House and if word gets back they were programming with protective custody/red suits, there goes any chance at a main line.

Or here's a better example, if someone doesn't know any better the cops just put them in protective custody or a red suit. But when they come back on a new case the cop locks them in general population with him not knowing any better. He will get to talking, saying he was in Protective Custody or red suit or someone saw him. Then he will get beaten up for something he knows nothing about. Wow. Right. Just drop them off.

Man, I can go on for ever. The jail is so fucked up people ask for prison instead of county time here in Mendocino.

Now I will get back to my lovely ex. Eeveryone knows drinking and Indians don't mix. But I still for some reason thought she was different. I would love to tell you how it all went down but not until I take the deal. But for sure you are going to get it.

Also, I thought I would write to ask about the paper you wrote two or three weeks ago. About that sergeant who beat his wife and was locked up and all that. You see, the cops here took it saying we can't have it. We get the paper but it is addressed to the Mendocino County Jail Unit 4 so they can take it. But if you send it to me I would get it. Every time. I would just get a subscription but my money is a little bit low right now. So if you would please send this paper and the upcoming papers to me addressed to me I would appreciate it. Please and thank you.

Emilio Chrisp

Mendocino County Jail, Ukiah

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It was nice to read in the February 24 edition that some Boonville students will be studying at the Instituto Cultural de Oaxaca, in Oaxaca, Oaxaca. The capital cities of several Mexican States have the same name as the State, i.e., Puebla, Puebla; Colima, Colima. Total immersion language learning is hard to beat.

I had a minor in Latin-American Area Studies in college and for many years I traveled in Mexico and Central America visiting ruins and near the Instituto are located the ruins of Monte Albán. Before going there I read a guide book about the place and learned that there’s a secret passage there that begins behind an altar and goes under the courtyard and comes up behind an altar on the other side.

I looked for that opening and couldn’t find it; I was without a guide. Finally, on looking along a wall I decided to walk along it and saw that it had been built so that there was a bit of a lip which obstructed the view of the entrance unless one was almost in front of it. It was a trompe l'oeil.

If the students go there, I hope they ask the guide what the purpose of the hidden passageway was.

One may meet some pretty interesting people down there.

I don’t remember exactly how it came about, but I think I first met Don Jesus in ‘69, in Mexico. I sometimes went by the barber shop to play chess with the barber when he wasn’t busy and one day he was and this fellow wanted a game so we played, and that’s how I met him. After that we often played and ended up shooting the breeze. He told me he was 68 years old. In those days I was studying about the Mexican Revolution, off and on, and I asked him whether he remembered any of it. He said he was in the Revolution and that he’d ridden with Pancho Villa.

Francisco Villa had been doing all right until the Battle of Celaya in 1915. By then, Carranza had obtained the backing of Wall Street and his military leader, General Álvaro Obregón now had modern materiel. Villa faced barbed wire and machine guns.

Felipe Ángeles was Villa’s best general. Indeed he was probably the best general in Mexico. He’d spent all his life in the military and had lectured internationally. France decorated him with the Legion of Honor in gratitude for his artillery instruction to the French Army. Ángeles suggested they simply pass on this one, and he ended up pleading with Villa to not attack. Villa insisted, and there is no logical reason for that decision, in my opinion. It was a disaster, and to make matters worse, Villa had purchased ammunition and powder from a supplier in Columbus, New Mexico and that seller had been gotten to by US agents and he had sold Villa ammo that was of the wrong caliber and also powder that used to be used in circuses where they “shot” a guy out of a cannon and the powder coming out of the cannon was a colorful red, white, and blue.

His courageous and valiant cavalry was repeatedly thrown against the wire and machine guns, and it crippled the magnificent División del Norte.

Going south from Chihuahua Villa had taken all the valuables from the churches and he had ransomed many American administrators and engineers. Also he had forced the clergy along the way to go door-to-door and beg ransom money or get shot. The treasure was kept in one of the railroad cars.

The outcome being in doubt, Villa ordered the treasure taken and buried. Don Jesus told me his company was ordered to guard the mule train and help with the burying. They traveled a great distance and got the treasure buried.

On the way back, they were ambushed and he told me the only thing he remembers was sudden mortar fire all over the place.

The next thing he remembered was hearing someone say, “Éste todavía vive.”

Healing took a long time but he eventually made his way north. Things had changed a lot and, as a wounded veteran, he was given a job working for Customs at the Port of Veracruz. Years went by and he never thought about his last assignment. He eventually realized that he had been the only survivor, and years later he speculated that he probably was the only person who knew where the treasure had been buried.

Here he was willing to tell me about the clever concealment, but I would have to promise to never reveal it to anyone. I said okay.

They had ridden all the way to Morelia, Michoacan. They were a large group and had a lot of mules and horses loaded. They had to have been seen as they traveled, what with the huge cloud of dust being generated. That’s probably how the federales were informed and were able to set up the ambush when they returned.

The Capital of the State of Mexico is the City of Toluca. From Morelia there is a road we may refer to as the salida para Toluca. The road goes over the saddle between two hills. Close to fifty years have gone by and I think it’s okay now to break my promise to Don Jesus. I’m certain he’d be okay with it.

Here’s something else: One time, unexpectedly, I was looking in Don Jesus’s direction as he was entering another room and, due to a capricious breeze, his shirt was lifted and I saw his back for about half a second. It was the most horrible mish-mash of overlapping scar tissue you could imagine.

One may go to Morelia and rent a car and head for the salida para Toluca. The highway stretches out and gradually slopes up and over the saddle. Once you’ve gone about a third of the way up, or so, get out of the car and look back towards Morelia. There are two church steeples visible. One is a cathedral and the other is a church. Go to the right or the left until the two steeples are lined up. Now go up or down until the two steeples are at the same height. He said that is where they buried it.

Some years later I drove over that road. Of course I remembered Don Jesus, but I didn’t stop. I looked and, yeah, could be, but it’s not a one-man operation. I suppose I don’t have to tell you that Morelia’s population has increased in the past century.

Moving to a subject touched on some months ago in the AVA, a couple of years after playing chess with Don Jesus I was living up on the Greenwood Road seven minutes from the late Loren Bloyd’s place. Loren’s son Rich had some acres down by Floodgate and I would help Loren cut and split firewood down there. After that we always stopped at Floodgate and Loren bought a beer or two. He had told me that Mrs. Avery was a war bride from France. I speak French and so enjoyed greeting her. For those idly wondering what her name was, they called her Margareet, Marguerite en Français. I went to work at Philo Lumber after and so I didn’t have the opportunity to cultivate a friendship with her, but I would have liked to. I know she must have had a great story to tell. She kept the cleanest store I ever saw. By the way, that pic of the two ladies sitting at a counter you ran a couple years ago, I think it was Floodgate, as do others who commented.

Loren and I ended up getting the wood to Caspar where Loren’s wife Joan taught school and they had a house there. I got to drink a bit of beer with Loren and his brother Robin, and with Skip, Deed, and Mick, too, a long time ago. Loren Bloyd was an upright man. I liked all the Bloyds, but Loren especially.

Loren showed me his line of four or five apple trees growing outwards from his doorway. He told me the apples farthest away from his door ripened the earliest, and those which ripened last were nearest to his walkway. He had grafted several other apples onto these trees, so he had about eight or ten different apples. He said he’d planned it that way so as not to track as much mud into the house. To me this was superior thinking, and I admire it to this day.

Tom Rivard

Santa Rosa

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Dear Ed.,

The voice projected by Bruce Patterson (3-16-16), coming from the direction of the AVA here in the piece 'Handicapping the Fix,' is keen as a cutting-torch. If our friend Bernie had a mouth on him like Mr. Patterson, there'd be no stopping him. The 'elections' in far-off November would be a mere formality, North Americans would grow some fortitude (somewhere besides in their 'Arms') and warm to the heavy lifting of a Dynamic Peace; just cleaning up after ourselves and the God-Awesome Mess we've already made is good for quite a lot of long-distance job security!

I, for one, am awfully glad to hear notes like those struck by the Handicapping article. Listening for others tuning up in the wings...

Politicians jailing politicians might be a good place to start; maybe whistle-blowing becoming a national pastime, like that...

It will not go without saying here that Mr. Obama has failed from Day 1 of his tenure to prosecute, or even name, George W. Bush and his Ghoul Gallery for stealing an entire National Election from us (we, the People),...or for then lying us into 'perpetual' war crimes...or for being an idiot convincingly disguised as a man...

Of course, such a First Time Ever Prosecution of Highest Offices might have to start with, 'A lot of y'all did vote for 'em, and most of ya sat still for it, but we're puttin' these fuckers away like Nuremberg...

Rick Weddle


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Dear Editor:

Utah lawmakers passed a bill to provide a $53 million subsidy for coal shipments through the Port of Oakland. The Governor has indicated his approval of the legislation. The coal mines in rural Utah were recently acquired by Bowie Resources Partners, a Kentucky based coal company. To expand its operations Bowie has been seeking a West Coast coal export terminal. In 2014, the Port of Oakland rejected a proposal by Bowie to build and operate a coal export terminal. The new proposal put together by a former chair of the Utah Department of Transportation and a local developer to build a $250 million bulk commodities terminal at the former Oakland army base which is adjacent to the Port of Oakland, Local lawmakers are concerned that the facility could be used to receive rail cars of coal for shipment to Asia. Reaction to the the proposal has been quick with concerns expressed that such a use would expose West Oakland residents to greater risk for respiratory illness

In a prepared state the Sierra Club said "Unless Governor Brown's administration and the Oakland City Council act, legislators in Utah will be dictating California energy policy and Oakland air quality". State Senator Loni Hancock (D-Oakland) has introduced 4 bills that would declare shipping coal through West Oakland a health and safety danger danger and prohibit shipment through the Oakland port; require extensive environment reports for public agencies approving coal projects; prohibit public funds to build or operate coal-exporting ports located next to poor communities and require state facilities to prohibit coal or participate in the state's cap-and-trade program. Also, the Oakland City Council will have to declare the coal shipments a health and safety hazard to residents along the rail line. The legislation is support by Senate Pro Tem De Leon, the Sierra Club, the longshoremen union and local anti-coal activists.

As a sidebar, I would say Utah and many of the other red states are climate change deniers and do not seem to care about the health hazards of coal usage.

In peace and love,

Jim Updegraff


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It is now official. The last of the Abraham Lincoln brigade has died: Delmer Berg. I say official because once before I submitted a similar poem thinking that was the last. This is of course my large telling of being in Spain with them. Salud!

William J. Hughes


Volunteers of America

The last man standing

of the Abraham Lincoln brigade

has died —

So we who know


Salud! No pasaran!

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Dear editor:

The AVA does neocon.

I was sickened to read James Kunstler's snot-nosed remarks about Palestinians being the "pets" of the American left in the pages of the AVA. As if we shouldn't complain about our money financing Israel's theft of Palestinian land and water and its industrial scale killing of the Palestinian people. Oh no, it's just a silly whim of ridiculous left academics to say a word in support of the Palestinians. The smug, condescending cheap shot is par for the course for Kunstler, a big cheerleader of Israel's 2014 Gaza massacre, but, one would've thought, out of place in the columns of the AVA.

It's even more depressing to see your embrace of Kunstler — and Sanders (another supporter of the 2014 Gaza bombardment) — in the March 2 Off The Record.

You then stumble along and invoke the name of Cockburn who would surely puke to see Kunstler taking up valuable space in your paper and who would only laugh sadly to see you taken in by the Burlington Blowhard he pegged long ago.

Very truly yours,

Steve Elliott

Bridgewater, Massachusetts

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