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Letters (May 11, 2016)

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I've pondered the idea that life passes before one's eyes when embarking Death's craft to the shores of evermore.  Through the years, memories collect in still and moving pictures that on occasion reappear in living color to say, “I will be seeing you through to the end of time on the shores of evermore.”

One such wonderful memory frequently returns with very happy images of my family and friends in the bar and dining room, smiling, laughing, kissing, enjoying ourselves with coippino, crab Louie, garlic bread and many bottles of wine, mugs of draft sliding over polished redwood, patterned tin walls long ago painted white waxing soft muted golden and rose tints of sunlight reflecting from the building's windows across the street facing West, through white cafe lace cafe curtains that wrap up the memories so warm, so pleasant, like a big fluffy pillow where Fort Bragg's Central Business District dreams were made of at the Old Coast Hotel.

I was sad when Fort Bragg California's Old Coast Hotel closed its doors, and hoped that soon, very soon, a better than ever Old Coast bar and restaurant would bloom within and on the spot to ribbon cuttings, several grand openings with the elites of Mendocino and friends toasting Fort Bragg's newest industry, our tourist industry.  Welcoming all the farmers and fishermen, ranchers, wild food hunters and distributors to celebrate their products proudly presented on the menu in marvelous ways which draw crowds wrapped around the Fort Bragg Central Business District for weeks while reservations wind into months, so popular the new Old Coast was in my dreams.  Franklin Streets “For Rent” signs were replaced with “OPENING SOON!” signs in windows brighter than all the Christmas displays of all years past combined, so big was this dream of mine.  If Thomas Keller could turn a mud road into a gold mine for Napa's wines, if Alice Waters could move San Francisco to the farm at her table, surely with two culinary schools, NO GMOs, the wineries, the breweries, the people of Fort Bragg in Mendocino who work so hard to make a Los Angeles restaurant chain tributed in their name, “Mendocino Farms” wealthy, could, if not by themselves, of not of their County, surely could for Fort Bragg?  Alas; It came to "Not".

Fort Bragg government declared the city had a higher calling, an altruistic purpose Pope Francis would envy, made of the City Fathers and government employees, by those contracted to the City and County government, for the homeless who are not substance abusers, and anyone who does not agree, openly declared an enemy of Fort Bragg ironically by the people who claim Fort Bragg in the name of LOVE.  Not even for their own children, that's how altruistic these Fort Braggers have become, sacrificing their children's future in the name of the sake of the homeless, who know it's a bad racket.

How did this happen?  Fort Bragg was sure to appeal to someone with money that could appreciate all these years of closed streets and empty shops.  Someone with millions from somewhere could make Fort Bragg the tourist industry it deserved to be, secure the investments it needed to shine past years of slow death in the name of City improvements.  Summer after summer tourists came, Franklin Street closed for repairs.  Shops relocated.  Shops closed.  Shops got robbed.  Shops stayed closed.  Shops are closed, as the few shops that remain barely open are called “NIMBY”, “greedy”, “selfish” and "exposed" as ignorant or maligned by their own City Council and County leadership working together to endow the "homeless" with much more than the Old Coast Hotel, for if they could, the homeless all over the world should know, in the minds of Mendocino County leadership that has spent over $43 Million dollars on Mental Health in the past 3 years, the homeless and social services that depend on them to sustain government funding, that sustains much too highly paid salaries for people that don't appreciate fine dining, but can afford to go to San Francisco and drop a grand to eat good food, otherwise they go to Taco Bell like the majority.  Name one of them worthy of $1CK.  Not one.  The homeless aren't fools.  They know they don't get what Social Services promises in the name of a hand up or out, especially if they own a Prop 215 Medical marijuana Users Card, to work as a trimmer in Mendocino County, leaving them on the streets and under bridges waiting to be booked in jail for something that wouldn't have happened had they the Social services promised (except in fine print).

The Old Coast was important to Fort Bragg Central Business District as Restaurant Row is to Beverly Hills, or Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, that was once Meigg's Wharf, a saw mill.

If Meigg's Wharf can become a tourist destination with fine restaurants, why not Fort Bragg?  Old Coast was a great place to entertain guests and celebrate special occasions within Fort Bragg.  Close to banks, the Post Office, movies, and shopping that no longer exist as it did just a decade ago, whether the walk was to Old Coast Hotel, or after eating there, we always enjoyed window shopping and sharing what we learned on Historical Society walks, new artists, dropping into another place for an after dinner drink or a dessert.  We had fun.  Where to go today?  Name the best restaurant in Fort Bragg Central Business District.  What restaurant has a full bar, employees can afford to pay mortgages and offeres fine dinning in Fort Bragg Central Business District?  I don't know of one.

Tourist towns are only as good as their best restaurant.  Whether it's a chain like Ruth Chris Steak House or a “destination” chef like Emeril, those high plate prices mean mortgages, taxes and bills are being paid by locals employed in a tourist industry.  Old Coast Hotel stood as the hope Fort Bragg would become the tourist industry we all know it could easily be.  What happened?  What happened that Old Coast Hotel went to another industry, the social services industry?  What does that mean?

That means Fort Bragg is not investing in a tourist industry, but rather sustaining a Social Self Services Industry, where everyone is dependent on the government for income, which means they need to process people, homeless and low income people, not people with money that can afford fine dining.  Those people can bypass Fort Bragg, the other side of the tracks (or Noyo River), by those in Mendocino County that have fine dining and no homeless shelters.  This is why Fort Bragg gets a Taco Bell and not fine dining at Old Coast.

I love my memories at the Old Coast, not one marred by those who actively work in the name "GO Fort Bragg" to transition the Central Business District into The Mission in Los Angeles (Stand included in the name of asphalt being dumped on Koch Headlands and called a “trail”).

Old Coast was among the little left in Fort Bragg's Central Business District where one could indulge in old CA style like a time warp.  Old Coast deserved to be preserved as much as possible, as a landmark restaurant, destination point, rather than a social rights issue that boils down to the Mendocino elite preferring Old Coast Hotel be their homeless camp so rich tourists don't have to be bothered with paper plates, no water and the homeless.  Fort Braggers struggle to evolve from a company town to a government plantation, while Mendocino and Little River polish their redwood bars among patterned tin walls and ceilings with lacy cafe curtains of  old California that makes for sweet memories headed for the shores of evermore.

B.B. Grace

Fort Bragg

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To the Editor:

Stop the madness

Back in the day there was a great Simon and Garfunkel song “It’s all happening at the Zoo.” Today those of us living in this beautiful valley can say “It’s a total zoo at City Hall.” It is so very difficult to understand how one building can hold that many adults that can dream up so many zany ideas. The thought that any adult that lives in our valley might even possibly have a rational thought that we should consider hiring another consultant …this time to see if we need a upscale/high end hotel in downtown is beyond me. I have not found one person who knows of any family or guest coming here that would want to stay at such a hotel. Finally I found out how the “staff” could come up with such an idea. The city keeps sending “staff” off to these conferences…and we pay the bill for them to stay at such hotels. Stop this nonsense! Stop the cost of these conferences. Stop the crazy idea of hiring another consultant. You don’t have money for either.

Opening the UDJ of April 14, 2016 and one gets sick reading the story “A Drive Through Ukiah.” “Dreams?” Far from it. Headline should have read “Nightmares.” Anyone who has a clue to reality knows these people are totally out of touch. Stop the madness! The unwanted and totally unneeded Low Gap Roundabout idea needs to quickly go to the round file. The crime of our valley is this Downtown Streetscape Plan. The downtown merchants overall don’t want this. The people living here do not want this! If this is such a hot idea why not allow the people to vote for this. (Never going to happen…too much mud to go on staff’s face). Why extend the “Tramp Trail” when the valley has so many real needs. We need more MTA buses….with their windows blacked out so no one can see that there is no one onboard except the driver. City hall needs to be brought back to reality. A sign needs to be put on every desk “We spend real money not Monopoly money.” The “staff” is correct…we do need to hire a consultant… who will come and clean house at city hall! And just when you think you have seen it out Ukiah …it is not beyond these folks to head to the next meeting with a request to hire another consultant….this time the headlines in the UDJ will read: “High speed Solar Train possible from Hopland to Redwood Valley.” Yep…this will bring all the folks here to fill the downtown high end hotel. The train will service Hopland Passport and Taste of Redwood Valley….The high end hotel will be full! And “staff” will head off to another conference to bring back more zany ideas and business cards from more consultants. May we suggest someone stop bringing the brownies to city hall that are laced with samples of Mendocino Counties finest cash crop and let’s stop this madness.

Gil Sissons II


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To the Editor:

Just read the 4/9 article “Local proposals for helping the homeless in Ukiah” – obviously a complex problem with so many issues, and so few answers. I don’t know much about the homeless.

Who are the homeless, where did they come from and why are they homeless? How old are they? For those who are younger than, say, 18, who is responsible for their care? Why can’t (or won’t) their parents take care of them?

For working age homeless, what job skills do they possess? Have they graduated from high school, and if not, why not? Are they single parents, and how many children do they have? Do they have a job? If not, do they expect to ever have a job? Are they willing to take extremely menial jobs to help support themselves?

How many homeless are drug addicted? Do they have any source of income or support other than government programs? Are they content to continue in their current situation? Do they see any possibility of being able to help themselves or are they resigned to needing support from others for the foreseeable future? Is it fair to view drug addiction as a form of peer- or self-inflicted slavery?

How many receive retirement pensions, or are old enough to receive Social Security payments? How many are on disability? Does their disability prevent them from doing every kind of job, or only certain kinds of jobs?

Regarding those organizations which try to help the homeless, how many are there? Does anyone have a list of all the agencies, programs, charities, groups, etc. who devote funds or services, in whole or in part, to help the homeless? For each entity, how much do you spend in money and labor to aid the homeless, and where do you get the funds? How much of your funding does NOT come from government sources, including government grants? Has anyone tallied up the total cost of resources devoted to homelessness in this area?

For each of the various help-the-homeless entities, how much of your effort is devoted to helping the homeless avoid or end homelessness, and how much is devoted toward making the homeless more comfortable? What personal traits do the homeless need in order to escape from their situation? What percentage of homeless people are willing and able to acquire those traits and skills, and how many do you judge will never acquire those traits, even if appropriate remediation programs were practical and available?

Given that most jobs require employees to arrive at the job clean and at least minimally well-groomed and clothed, are there any local facilities offered to the homeless to allow them to satisfy these requirements on a daily basis?

Finally, do any of you “help-the-homeless” entities have answers to any of my questions? How many believe those questions have little or no relevance to their efforts? How many believe privacy issues prevent getting answers to some or all of these questions? How many “help-the-homeless” advocates accept or respond with answers like “one size doesn’t fit all” or, “there’s a wide range” or, “it’s hard to be specific” or, “we shouldn’t generalize”? I’d like to understand the problem, but I just don’t know where to find any real answers, and it seems to me it’s hard to solve a problem if you don’t understand it.

Alec Rorabaugh


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Eve of Destruction

“And behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every living that is in the earth shall die.” (Genesis 6:17)

It has rained almost every day for two weeks. Many of my friends attribute the deluge to my disbelief and blasphemy.

I am worn out from the weather and am prepared to acquiesce and repent.

Tomorrow I will board a flight to Mecca and will visit the Kabah. I will submit to ritual ablution and circle the Kabah intoning prayers in Arabic, fulfilling all requisites of Hajj.

From Mecca, I will fly to Jerusalem and the Wailing Wall. I will stand before the Wall, bobbing my head like a penguin, intoning prayers, weeping over the destruction of the temples, and imploring the Jewish god with four or five names not to permit the same to happen to New Jersey. Christie is punishment enough for our sins.

From Jerusalem I will fly to Mount Parnassus, Delphi, and the Oracle of Apollo, offering sacrifices to the Pantheon clique and especially to Athena, who has always frightened me.

Then to Rome and the Pope whose ring, feet, and ass I will kiss in exchange for a special custom-designed indulgence that delivers people from a punishment on Earth, not Hell or Purgatory.

Perhaps I will stop in Mexico to make a deal with The Virgin of Guadalupe and to see if the influence of the Sinaloa Cartel and Los Zetas extend to the weather on the east coast of estados unidos.

If things work out well, I may well make another trip in November requesting intervention on the behalf of Jill Stein.

All the best,

Louis Bedrock

Roselle, New Jersey

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Let’s remember some recent history about KZYX Board member Stuart Campbell.

As Interim GM and Executive Director, he did the following:
1. He conspired to appoint the chair of the search committee for the station’s next GM and Executive Director,
2. He appointed many of the search committee’s member,
3. He required the search committee to copy him on all confidential email (including the resumes of other applicants),
4. He pressured several search committee members to write him letters of recommendation, and,
5. One day before the deadline for applying for the job, he, in fact, applied for the job after publicly stating at a Board meeting that he had no interest in the job.

Stuart Campbell committed the most egregious breach of ethics I have seen in the over 20 years I have served on various boards and commissions. This is ironic, of course, because Campbell bills himself as a philosophy professor and so-called “professor of ethics”.

There is one thing the public should know about Campbell. Remember Werner Erhard, a.k.a Jack Rosenberg?

Werner Erhard, the con man?

Werner Erhard, the master manipulator?

Werner Erhard, the mass mind control specialist?

Werner Erhard, who plagiarized a hodge-podge of philosophical bits and pieces culled from pseudo- existential philosophy, bogus motivational psychology, and other bullshit, and called it EST?

Werner Erhard, who was also a philosophy professor and so-called “professor of ethics” at Sacramento City College.

Werner Erhard, who left EST in disgrace and vanished amid reports of tax fraud and allegations of incest?

Werner Erhard, who released many of his top executives at EST to become executives at Scientology? Scientology had collected filing cabinets worth of materials about Erhard and EST, and aggressively recruited executives and other members at EST.

Well, Stuart Campbell worked for Werner Erhard. In fact, Campbell was himself a top executive at EST.

Specifically, Stuart Cambell was Erhard’s “trainer of trainers”. He traveled the country, training the other con men and other ethical defectives who actually led the EST seminars.

EST trainers were notorious. These insanely authoritarian trainers enforced numerous arbitrary “rules”, requiring applause after participants “shared” their most intimate secrets and vulnerabilities in front of the EST group. They deemphasized reason in favor of EST dogma. They degraded, insulted, and intimated participants.

Yup. Stuart Campbell was Werner Erhard’s trainer of trainers. This interesting factoid emerged in December when Campbell interviewed before the KZYX Board for the job of GM and Executive Director. Thank God he wasn’t hired.

The person who was hired as GM and Executive Director, Lorraine Dechter, should never turn her back on this guy. Campbell is back. He sits on KZYX’s Board of Directors again. And he wants her job.

Campbell masquerades as some sort of silent, long-suffering Zen master, but he is, in fact, dangerous.

Extremely dangerous.

Stuart Campbell lusts for power and control, just like in the old days at EST, and just like his mentor and former boss, Werner Erhard.

John Sakowicz


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