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Letters (Jun 29, 2016)

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Open Letter to Mendocino County Board of Supervisors:

Dear Supervisors,

Today is June 27. Twenty days have passed since our Primary Election took place, yet we still lack meaningful results (more than half of our votes remain unaccounted).

Six-and-a-half hours after the polls closed 11,320 votes were tallied and posted. Two days later (June 9) we were informed that at least 16,525 ballots remained uncounted, and since that time we have received no updates.

We should not have to wait this long; therefore, I am asking you, the Board, to 1) investigate the problem, and 2) find a solution. If we need to hire temporary workers (jobs!) to get our results processed more quickly, let's do it. At the very least, a few updates along the way would be much appreciated.

Imagine if you were one of the candidates for judge this time round — their race is close. Same for the residents of Fort Bragg, who await the results of their Measure U (only 22% of the Fort Bragg vote initially got posted). Much hangs in the balance for these people, their lives currently in limbo.

As for the main event of this election, the presidential primary, a majority of Mendo's Bernie votes remain uncounted. The parade has long since moved on and many of our voices were never even heard. This is a crappy version of democracy, and we can, and should, do better.

Mendocino is one of only seven counties in California that handle election results in this unresponsive way. I suggest we leave that sorry bunch and join the other 51 counties that provide updates as their ballots are processed. You can see that list here:

Thank you for your consideration of this matter (it would be nice to have this resolved before November rolls around),

Mike Kalantarian


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This is now the fourth week (or is it the fifth? I'm losing track) of trying to get the Assessor to tell me how I am wrong and she is right in her figuring the new neighbor's property lines. Also, the County Counsel is just as bad as she (Katherine Elliott) is siding with the Assessor and not answering my letters. Several attorneys are employed to make sure that the moves of our County officials are legal and generally protect the County government by giving them current legal advice. While they protect the County, their duty is to also to protect the public (that's me) from improper decisons from people and policies.

It reminds me of the high speed train Jerry Brown is starting. He passes a ballot measure for a certain amount and then he immediately says it will cost way more. This should have disqualified the measure and required that another measure be put to a vote of the people.

If one went into a store and said to the clerk, OK, I will take the widget for $99, and then the clerk packs it up and gives you a bill for $199, you would be very angry and would walk out and also probably report him to the Better Business Bureau.

That's the way it's supposed to be, but not with our government. They can lie and cheat and it's OK.

Well it's not OK.

Emil Rossi


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The giant old-growth stumps still standing within the 300 acres of the new Dogwood Timber Harvest Plan slated for the Gualala River have a story to tell. They are the grim reminders of a history of unsustainable forest management that began with the cutting of these redwood giants over a century ago.

For the first loggers, these ancient trees were the easiest to reach, all found on the flat flood plain upriver from the mouth. The trees, some up to 17 feet in diameter and 2,000 years old, were hauled out on a railroad line built next to the river for the hungry markets of San Francisco in the early 1900s.

An unrelenting campaign of logging the biggest and the best has continued to this day. As a result, it is estimated that today’s forest inventories are one-tenth of what they were before the start of logging.

After complying with minimal harvesting setbacks and saving the largest 13 trees per acre, this new plan will log all the next largest trees until canopy retention limits kick in. The trees that should be cut, i.e., the numerous small, overcrowded trees, will be left behind. This commercial, profit-maximizing cut is not the restoration forestry that this watershed really needs and the rest it deserves.

Most of the trees now harvested wind up in outlets like Home Depot as low-grade deck boards and fence pickets. The time has come to consider a different future tor this watershed. If it is ever to be anything different than a “recovering forest” it needs to now be stewarded with restoration forestry, not clearcutting and floodplain logging.

What better place to start than with the last remaining tract of big trees growing back in this fragile Gualala River floodplain?

Chris Poehlman


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Dear AVA,

My very most favorite column in the AVA is Todd Walton's. I look forward to it every week, and read it first before anything else. He does not appear in this week's paper, and also was absent a couple of weeks ago or so, much to my disappointment. His column is not long. I certainly wish you would be sure he is in every issue – wedged somewhere between the latest horrors of the local hospitals or animal shelters or drug busts or real-estate self-promotion… His column is always thought provoking, encouraging, and expresses many of the progressive values I know you agree with.



Nancy MacLeod


ED NOTE: Mr. Walton told us recently that he was going to reduce his submissions to something less than weekly for personal reasons. So far he has not. Sometimes when ad space increases we get tight for the fixed amount of remaining space which, amazingly in this era of tweets and general illiteracy, is still in demand by a number of good local contributors. We know Mr. Walton has a loyal following and, with your urging, we will try to get every one of his columns into print.

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I'm that boy with that dragon tattoo. The time for talking is over now. I've been exceedingly blessed with that gift of gab. Ask her where does she get it? She will tell you, her dad!

I'm telling you now, it's easy for me, writing my son and daughters from my prison cell with a pen and a pad.

No, this ain't our first rodeo. Not quite. She's come out swinging this Round 3 like Ronda Rowsee. She wants a fight. Leave it to this four year old to change Dad. I know I've been repeating myself over and over now. It's getting sad.

You can ask my oldest now. Veronica, this 13-year-old who is speaking up to reach me and make a difference.

Through her strength and tough love, she hopes to see her half-sister grow up a little bit different. She is fed up with my bullshit at 13 years old. Sick of trying to be an adult."

She's always been the apple of my eye. Yes, that's her.

Leave it to the apple to lead the root, stating that I didn't raise a quitter! She's shouting at me through her letters about how these years are supposed to be memorable. If you think this boy can in write just wait and you will all see. I promise you this: my apples don't fall far from the tree.

Leave it to my hero to come rescue me. It's like she said, "The time for talk is over now."

Let's get sober now, walk that walk or it's f-ing over now.

She's giving me one last shot, leaving me sitting here like -- wow!

Guess who's back? Back again. Veronica is back, tell a friend! So daddy's baby girl has become a very remarkable young woman.

And my life's like, I'm really trying to be more Christlike.

Her letters get me on my knees every night, like without you I really got no interest in living. I'm sorry little lady, I never meant to hurt you. Don't be depressed. I thought I had lost you too. I was so, so foolish to think I could fool you. It's always been like this. Daddy's little girl. Just the two of us. My ride or die. Just you and I.

I promise no more broken promises and shattered dreams. Stick close to Dad and I will give you everything. You are my dragonslayer and I promise you this. Ours is a bond that no one can touch! No, not mommy, brother or sissy or even your other half brother.

What's it to you? Big Ronnie is back. Let me and Dad school you! I know this story started out bad and it was hard to foresee this happy ending. Call me one time Dad. I won't have any more money. Happy Father's Day. I'm sending: Loyal to one, second to none, Slim Shady ain't got nothing on us.

Ronald Rhea


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AVA et al,

I will open with the honorable Moses Maimonides from his Mishneh Torah on the 613 biblical commandments and that is quite simply to refer to one of the commandments that we have all heard and know, "Not to stand by idly when a human life is in danger."

On Tuesday June 21st at about 9:30pm there was a sexual assault at the Valero station on the corner of MLK and University avenue, less than a block away from the Berkeley Police Department.

Most shockingly when I heard of the assault I also found out that the woman who was being assaulted was yelling and screaming and fighting back as best she could and yet none of the many passersby on foot or in cars nor the gas station attendant — NO ONE— came to her assistance. I believe it is a sad day in our society when the passerby does not help someone being hurt right in front of their eyes. Are we all too distracted, complacent, self-absorbed, scared?

Why would no one help or come to her assistance? Is everyone so completely absorbed in their handheld device that they are too "busy" to even pay attention to anyone else? They say handheld devices create a lack of empathy in people. Well, this is a direct example of how. The perp was a tall, thin black male about 50 years old, riding his bike around wearing a green Oakland Athletics parka who did not appear to be one of the many homeless characters lurking about this town.

I have several conclusions.

First there is a subset of characters who are not homeless but who come from neighboring towns and ride their bikes around Berkeley looking for crimes to commit and use their bikes to escape. This is a finite group of characters so somebody knows this guy and this is not the first time he has been in Berkeley if he is comfortable enough to commit a sexual assault less than a block from the police compound. I'll bet the perp is known to the characters who hang out in the city center park and drink malt liquor purchased from the Valero station in question.

Second, do the police have a lock on BART surveillance and operations where they can stop and search trains forward several stations after leaving from Berkeley after the commission of a serious crime, and review tape to see the perp entering the station? Has BART taken out the dummy cameras and put real ones in?

Third, there are a lot of young women in Berkeley because of UC as well as Berkeley High and so I want to know how active the special crimes task force is on this issue? What is good police work and is it being done locally?

Fourth, are we beefing up the presence of closed circuit television wherever possible to capture perps on surveillance (it works wonders for the conviction rate in London)? Are local businesses canvassed and encouraged to possess an outward facing surveillance camera to capture video of criminals on the approach or escape? Trader Joe's and Valero should have street facing cameras.

Five, are we doing enough to raise the general awareness of the need to be active, vigilant and aware for ourselves and others when we travel the streets? Do we grasp the gravity and prevalence of these crimes and the fact that many go unreported?

Six, are we teaching our young boys that the objectification of women's bodies is demoralizing and wrong, even if it is glorified in popular culture? Again we are back to devices/internet as part of the problem on all sides.

Seven, are we targeting problem businesses that attract crime and fuel criminality? I believe the Valero station in question, which sells cheap malt liquor to be consumed on the streets and in our filthy parks to the detriment of our city, is a PROBLEM BUSINESS. I have personally seen a crime being committed on that corner that I chose not to personally get involved in, which is why modern societies employ police forces. When I went into the Valero station and insisted they call the police I was adamantly rebuked over and over again despite my insistence and eventual cursing.

This is a real sign of decline when women are so brazenly sexually assaulted in public and no one will help. The fact that the handheld device fuels the pervert, preoccupies the witness, and distracts the victim seems to be quite telltale in all of this. Anyone who saw that crime being committed and did nothing to help the young woman deserves a wicked slap in the face if not worse. Wake up, pay attention and get with it people!

Nate Collins


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Letter to the Editor

Questions for Camille Schraeder of Redwood Community Services:

Redwood takes over Adult Mental Health Services July 1st. Redwood has not notified Medical Providers, Patients or Family Members about the new vision, the changes, and what to expect. All we know is that John Garrett MD will be providing services 1 day a week each in Fort Bragg and Ukiah and this is not enough patient care.

1. Why doesn't Redwood provide Medical Outpatient in addition to Pre-Crisis and Crisis Care? They work best together as you know from providing those services to Children and Adults under 25. Fragmenting it with the County doing Medical Outpatient hurts patients and their families. Professional Crisis Workers are well aware of the need to access medical providers in order to stop a relapse or to get prompt treatment for someone who is psychotic and/or suicidal. The County has failed again and again to recruit medical staff, whereas Redwood (with a vision for adult MH services) has a chance at successful recruitment.

2. Who are the other medical people that will be providing Medical Outpatient psychiatric treatment to patients, where will they work, and what is their phone number?

3. Could Redwood and the seven Clinics cooperate to provide Medical Outpatient, with Redwood providing Telepsychiatry and the medical staff necessary to treat all the patients in Pre-Crisis and Crisis?

4. How does a patient access 24/7 Pre-Crisis and Crisis medical treatment, who are the medical providers, what is their phone number and where are they located? Who are the nine Crisis Workers you hired and what are their qualifications? How many came from Ortner?

5. Why is there a major decrease in 2016-17 County funding for Adult MH Services, down to $5.1 million? Why have Children's MH Services been significantly increased to $9.9 M. Adult MH patients need more treatment services, not less.

6. The Mendocino County 2016-17 Budget for MH and MHSA (11% of total County budget) comes to almost $28 million. Isn’t this enough to hire psychiatrists, nurses, tele-psychiatrists, rent-a-docs and to have Crisis Residential Treatment Centers (to avoid hospitalizations) in Fort Bragg and Ukiah, as well as Intensive Day Treatment in both places with one and two day a week programs (classes and self-help support groups) in other areas.

7. Why have you chosen to carry on Ortner's practice of using minimum wage employees of the Hospitality Homeless Center to provide MH services? Pre-Ortner, there were MH Clinicians to work with patients and most medical providers, patients and family members believe it is wiser to use MH Clinicians.

8. When will you send a Press Release to all seven newspapers, seven Clinics, North Coast Family Health Center, and to all Adult Patients defining Redwood’s Vision and the specific MH Treatment Services that will be provided — who, what, where, and when? The Vision could clearly define Redwood’s differences from Ortner and the County, and could offer hope for provision of State Mandated Services and more, such as neuro-feedback and an exemplary Addiction Recovery Program, etc.

Sonya Nesch, Author

Advocating for Someone with a Mental Illlness


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Jill Stein for President.

This November, it looks as if Jill Stein will be the only Presidential Candidate that you and I can be proud to vote for. She is not tainted by the corruption underlying the Democratic Party and its control by the large corporations. She has a good grasp of economic and international issues. She supports strengthening of social security, food stamps and other social equity programs. She would fight to invest federal money in infrastructure rebuilding and reverse the trend towards ever bigger and more worthless defense budgets. She is not beholden to large corporate donors and to foreign governments as is Hillary Clinton.

The Clinton campaign will emphasize the dangers of Donald Trump as if he still has a real chance of winning. The Main Stream Media (MSM) will try to put a fear of Trump foremost while being careful not to put the spotlight upon Hillary's corruption, her husband's rabid dishonesty, and her frightening foreign policy ideas. As we are already seeing, Trump is fading fast, but the MSM will prop him up as the straw man with the blondish hair. A vote for Jill Stein may not have much of a chance this time, but should she get 20% or more of the total vote it will certainly improve the prospects for a Third Party Candidate in the year 2020 and a break with the Look-Alike two party system we have now.


James Houle

Redwood Valley

One Comment

  1. Mike Kalantarian June 30, 2016

    An addendum to “WHERE’S THE VOTE?” . . .

    Perusing the County Reporting Status page for California ( Mendocino County currently comes in dead last for percentage of Registered Voters counted (23.1%).

    More than three weeks have passed since Election Day, and Mendocino remains last among ALL California counties for reporting results.

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