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Letters to the Editor


To all those who are dealing in Mendocino County:

I can't leave this county without saying anything. I feel the urge to speak my mind. I got sentenced by this crooked court system to do a lot of time in prison for a crime that someone else did and I got blamed for it. After getting robbed it’s easy to be the victim. But when you try to get your money back they call the cops on you. Having enough time to set up the crime scene to their favor.

This is how good this court system is. The district attorney had to coach the victim and make a deal with the co-defendant to make their case solved. Why do these fake hustlers start snitching as soon as some­thing goes wrong? They need to stay out of business because things can happen when they meet with the wrong person. Do straight business or don't put your nose in the middle. What goes around comes around ten times harder. I've never been in a place or city like this before where there are more stitches and child molesters, or chomos, in the same place altogether.

I did meet some good strong people who I under­stand. They can't do nothing with all this trash because there's too much talking out there and it's not worth doing life in prison for a worthless lump of [bleep]. It's too bad how Mendocino County has too much money and they can’t help clean up all the trash. Too bad for all of you dealers. The crooked court is against you and with all that trash that helped them to be out there to get you.

So good luck to all you hard workers. Be careful with the middlemen. The court counts them in the numbers and they start to sing. Keep your eyes open for those rats and chomos. Don't let them get close to your kids. It is all very bad.


Name Withheld


PS. I don't know why you call me a pelican. You have a good newspaper and calling people by name is not good. Everybody calls me Rico. Can you please fix that nickname to Rico? Thank you. Don't put my real name on this letter. I appreciate that. I read your newspaper every week in jail for 26 months and I still want to get it in the prison I'm going to because I like your paper. Thanks to Johan Espinoza, the district attorney couldn't have gotten a better case without his help. Raton.




As a former long-time resident of Mendocino County and a long-time lover of the beauty, bounty and mystical places that it contains, I can think of no one better to represent this area on the County Board than Dan Hamburg.

I first Met Dan when he and a group of hippie-attired Stanford graduates came looking to settle and start a school in the Ukiah area in the late 60's. They were young, smart, bearded and preachers and practi­tioners of the environment and all its benefits. At first they were scorned or at best, treated as a joke, but lit­tle by little their views began to hold sway and from the start of the great environmental movement that in the following years swept the country, we have all come to know the validity of what those early pio­neers of the land preached. Dan Hamburg may have borne different political labels but he has never changed his philosophy or worldly view. He is basi­cally and foremost an environmentalist and preserva­tionist.

Dan will view the district he represents with the same keen eye and careful study with which he tackles all issues. He is a dedicated student and someone with whom you can engage in a lively discussion of various issues and come out of the conversation better informed because Dan would have studied and assessed all angles of the issue, not just the stand he will ultimately hold. Once he takes a stand, however, he will fight for it all the way. He does not cave way to pressure, as those who knew him in his previous term on the Board know. Later in his career, when he was elected to Congress, he was chosen out of a large batch of incoming new Congressional elects to be on a weekly nationwide McNeil-Lehrer television show with five others to express his views on various politi­cal stands. His combination of good looks and articu­late and well-informed discussion of the issues helped make the show a weekly must-watch.

Dan is a family man and has been married to the same woman for over thirty-five years. He has a adopted children and children of his own. He is a friend to many young people interested in politics or just someone they can talk to about issues and phi­losophy. He is firmly planted in Mendocino County and if elected, I believe he will give his all to represent the citizens of the fifth supervisorial district.

Sybil Hinkle





Hey there. It's me. Dennis Day. I didn't realize that you had to have my CDD number to send me the papers. So here it is. Dennis Day AC 5003. SQSP, San Quentin CA 94974. I appreciate if you can keep them coming. Also, if I can get the ones you've printed on the Kevin Brunelle case. Don't lie in it like you did mine. Anyways, I will appreciate it. And just for the record, I don't appreciate you putting my face three times in one article making basically a joke out of me. Your paper, I find interesting and it's close to home. So can I just get them please? And no more jokes and shit about me. I'm gonna see you again one day. We can talk over all that shit. And maybe get back on the same foot. Well anyways, thanks very much. Please send a subscription. I believe I got a little over four years left. Keep up the good work.

Thank you.


Dennis Day

San Quentin



Mr. Anderson,

Re: My experiences living on the Mendocino Coast, camping in the forest on old Casper Lumber Company land, hanging out with two fine and benevolent people, Bob Boler, a wounded Korean War veteran, known for acting on stage at the Men­docino Center of Arts in the town of— Judy Mayhan, his domestic partner and a fine musician, and her daughters, Shelagh and Omie. I met several unique and talented locals such as Charlie Riemer, a fine singer and guitarist, Antonia Lamb, banjo, violin, singer of folk songs, also a tarot card reader, astrologer and considered by some a Wicca.

Although I was born in Fort Bragg, at the County Hospital, now the building is the Gray Whale Inn, as I recall. My parents and I lived on my cousin’s 10-acre homestead, settled by my grandmother on my father's side.

The Johnson family arrived from Finland around 1900. Her youngest sister, Julia, married a man who had served in the US Navy during World War II, and was on a ship that got torpedoed and sunk. His name was Dean Tidwell, from Texas and probably the most laid back and good humored person — except when anyone of his three sons hadn't cut the kindling, he'd say, “You're going to get a lickin’.”

I grew up in the small island city of Alameda, across the estuary from Oakland, on the east side of the SF Bay area. I have fond memories of Dean, his wide grin, moving his ears back and forth, entertain­ing me. When I asked him for a nickel, he'd hand me a 50¢ piece (to my delight and amazement). A carpen­ter by trade, he died in his sleep recently at age 88.

Returning to my moving up to live on the Mendo­cino Coast. In my youth I would stay a couple of weeks at my cousin’s ranch in Pudding Creek, a short distance from the north city limits of Fort Bragg, so I knew many of the families and their offspring.

I moved up in March 1980 which is so long ago, yet for a writer three sequential novels can take over 10 years to finish. I lived in the town of Caspar near the Caspar Inn, with a family. It was an open-door house, run by Kathy Oliva’s two sons, Clu and Pablo, who traded for an incom, doing odd jobs, like guard­ing marijuana gardens when the plants will female buds, known as part of the “desperado outlaws.”

I met a good number of characters and criminals. I lived a few miles inland of the village of Mendocino, on the property of the well-known medical practitio­ner, Dr. Robinson, known for making house calls, get­ting borderline social rejects on SSI, and being “cool.” I worked at the popular Seagull restaurant and at Mendoza's hardware and other goods. Over the years I was accepted and trusted as a local as a large share of the community tended to be “suspicious” of people. My friendliness helped.

After living a year on Albion Ridge, I visited with my father and his family in Fort Bragg. I was at the turning point of my taking in the coasts, visiting on and off, visiting a girlfriend in Westport. I never grew the valuable crop of excellent pot so I could go back to college, a trade school, buy some land, or do some traveling around the world. Or I could stay in a kind of paradise with a minimal population.

I hit bottom, needing a job and a place to live, when I realized it would be the sure way to end my tour of the area: the notorious trailer parks on the north side of Noyo River — flats, docks, boats, fishing and processing, including sea urchin roe — considered by some to be the town ghetto, drugs were sold, a hos­tile environment, as Sheriff Lt. Tony Craver told me once. (In ways, at times, it was under the venomous spite of the clique who “lived there forever, on a sub­liminal level.” It reminded me of a trap, a pit of vipers and spiders. (I like the piers and the ocean locale.)

Eventually I got it together, working various jobs, living in the paved trailer park in a cozy 12 foot trailer, a stone's throw from the wealthy landlord, Jim Cum­mings, a big and feared businessman with a hot temper who liked to yell a lot. But I liked him, he treated me decently. He had power — property (real estate and business), seemingly a Mr. Big in the har­bor. He was tough, a hard worker, sober and in good health in his 70s.

Anyway, my apologies for making this letter so long and not getting to the point of why I wrote it. I met an impressive variety of people during the 10 years I spent on the coast — aspiring writers looking for material are more curious and know the ways going about it. I would meet the old-timers at the TipTop Bar where the best drinks were made in or out of town.

One afternoon one of these older men who could care less about what was going on in the city, or in the world for that matter, said to me, “FBI — Fort Bragg Idiot.” The strange but harmless “eccentrics in Mendo,” including some who have regular jobs and were not collecting welfare or on SSI, but still awed nor unusual — supernatural, psychic and related prac­tices. Communes, possible covens, non-Christian meetings.

I met plenty of honest and good people, hard-working, upright and minded their own business. But there were a few hateful, gossiping, vicious ones. There was one old woman (the “sea witch”), when I lived in Mr. Cummings trailer park who called the sheriffs and told them I was giving teenage girl drugs, that I was hitting my cohabitant, an attractive wildcat age 35 at the time. She also called my job site and told my boss the same things, including that I was a pot dealer and a “no good son of a bitch.” (I knew who she was but couldn't do anything about it.)

The other woman who really struck hard hit when I was washing dishes by hand at the Columbia House bed and breakfast inn. It had a small and elegant din­ing room and a pleasant young man who appeared under pressure ran it. I worked the evening shift with two others, but when I was put on the morning shift, unexpected trouble hit.

A woman wearing a white uniform evidently by the metal tools and shaped molds, pans, wound up and, exaggerating her importance, or may have been in charge, looked at me in a hostile manner. She was of medium height and build for a “woman,” with short cut darkish red hair (“watch out for redheads”), in her mid-30s. She barked at me: “I'm a dragon lady and you better watch out!” I wondered what a dragon lady meant. She ordered me to wash the dishes from the night before. I grabbed my coat, and talked to my boss about being unable to deal with the presence of this woman. Who knows where she's from and how did she end up in a tolerant place like Fort Bragg? Did she find male verbal battery satisfying, excused by anger and hatred of men? Had she been harmed by men in the past? Or was it just me? I told my boss I would pick up my check later, thinking along my walk to the harbor: who are these self-important invaders of Mendocino, why are they inventing an image among the competition for jobs and domestic part­ners, like greedy birds of prey. They believe they were here first, as if they were settlers. I don't like those bad vibes, man.

Sometime later, landing a good job at a home improvement center, this same Dragon Lady woman and another woman close in age and build, approached the checkout counter. She saw me when I asked if I could help her find something. She replied to her friend, “He doesn't know what he's doing. Let's go somewhere else.” Little did I know she had com­plained to the store manager, telling him how she wanted to buy something but I wouldn't sell it to her — that “she didn't need it.”

Okay, finally ending a short story, if that, without sounding meandering, tangential or— What inspired me to send this letter was due to the article in your newspaper about a Fort Bragg local, Dennis Day, a young man who had been on a roll of crimes unsafe for the community, and finally raped the 13-year-old daughter of a former friend, sending him to prison after often lenient treatment. People were willing to make compromises and had given Mr. Day many chances to correct his behavior. There was no men­tion of any mental defect.

What caught my eye was this photograph picture with the grin and smirk of an asshole deluxe. A proud knucklehead, sad case. His excuses might be, “What? Me worry?” “I was bored. There's nothing to do in Fort Bragg.”

I do hope he is rehabilitated and not turned into a serious criminal in our prisons.

My great aunt Julia Tidwell is 93 now, outliving by far her four brothers and two sisters. Her mother Amanda dressed and looked like a peasant from many places and lived to be 88, breaking her hip which started her waning health. She enjoyed cooking, weaving rugs, keeping her home clean. She insisted on work even when I visited. Julie recently wrote me a letter and said, “Fort Bragg hasn't changed.”

After nearly five years, working on a story in Mon­terey for seven months then returning to Santa Cruz, I continued certain kinds and various novels. I began writing my manuscript, but in six months I had to take a full-time job due to the cost of living, including hooking up with my fiance and a spaniel-Australian shepherd I was fond of. I decided to move back to the Fort Bragg area. I found a landscape labor job through the employment office. The owner was a “fire in the eyes, born-again Christian” whose favorite disposition and saying in regards to the unsaved, unbelievers, the heathen and criminals, was “Burn them in hell!” Friends of mine and people familiar with his hot and easily riled temper, along with how he worked people too hard, told me I wouldn't last long. I lasted for months.

One morning I drove down to Noyo Harbor for breakfast at a small restaurant. I was wearing nice clothes, instead of the standard jeans, flannel shirt and work boots. I knew the woman from the past, work­ing three part-time jobs to support her “old man,” who probably sat around drinking beer a lot, hanging out with his buddies, waiting for a job to come to them. Well, he's sitting near the counter and says, referring to me, “Damn city people coming up here. Iish they'd stay there.”

PS. I've been reading Bruce Anderson and his crew of writers for years, finding an amazing content and better than the San Francisco Chronicle in variety, and truth, with a touch of anarchism (peaceful). The kind of paper ever rural county should have. When one finds truth, sometimes people they wish they hadn't.

Keep the presses rolling man.

Name Withheld





Why would Richard Peacock go “silently off to prison for the rest of his life, his lips sealed”? Well, it was his “third strike,” so chances are he still wouldn't have gotten a “better deal,” even if he had “squealed.” But if his daughter's life is threatened, it makes sense that he'd change his story about what the “Red Dog” note meant, and stay silent about the rest, to protect his daughter. Perhaps he loves his daughter more than his freedom?

Please don't print my name





“When the petals, like sweet rain, deck the earth with fluttering, when the fields are green again, and to us their blessing bring, then the little elves, great-souled, haste to help, help saint or sinner, or they hold heart’s compassion for each luckless person.

Show now the noble power of healing, soothe now the tumult of this mortal heart, and wash away the stain of horrors past; of self reproach, remove the bit­ter dart.

Moon in splendor rules the sky.

Breathe new faith, your ills are banished; trust the newborn break of day; seed now seen in silver swaying gives the promise of the corn.

Look on beams beyond the dusk!

Break from sleep as from a husk!

Though the throng may quail and drift; for the noble soul has power to compass all, if wise and swift.”

With a cup of herb tea among the daffodils I sing: It's spring! And music. To walk through the trees.


Diana Vance


PS. We got some rain, but who gets good water? Those who can afford it, while subsidized housing projects get the “other” stuff! Who drinks water, any­way? It's contaminated. Contaminated. And the con­tamination of our water is “their” problem. What if at school they use only tap water? Do you give your daughter a plastic water bottle to take with her to school where the other children laugh at her and make fun of her, a “water bottle baby!”? And as the sky darkens you can see her plastic bottle in the dirt beside the merry-go-round. The United Nations in 1990 said, “Most of the world's waste — 20 billion tons per year — goes into the ocean” as our wells go dry. A glass of fresh water is music in the trees!




Love is!

Love is an emotion that can't be explained, like dreaming about a person and calling out their name.

Is love just a metaphor that we just use to inhabit the way of life for the one we choose?

A woman's condescending smile can weaken a man's soul, yet her tender touch can also make him whole.

When she kisses another man it feels our heart is torn, but yet, Hell has no fury like a woman scorned.

Yes, this is a pattern of life that we all must live, with indignation and man-made strife is all we have to give.

But still we take this word and use it so bold, for a better life with stories that should be told.

Larry Wilson





I have just read your paper for the very first time in the 18 years that I've been locked up now at Sole­dad state prison.

This is the most fundamentally sound newspaper I've ever read. Truly amazing. Thank God for such a fabulous paper. Everybody here has read it twice. I am writing you now to ask you for a free subscription. We would all appreciate it here in Soledad. The guy who read the paper before his got release to return to Eureka. I myself am from Reading, California, with a release date of September 12, 2010.


Steve Grambo





I’ll have to respond to the nervous Nellie who can’t sign his or her name to an opinion letter. It must be a close friend of DeVall for sure.

But the major problem with the letter is that it is obvious he or she hasn’t listened to or even read Hamburg’s position on issues. Throwing little insults without any facts to support the whiny letter has sure made me not want to vote for DeVall: “…self-inter­ested, lazy and easily bored. … it is predictable that he will lose interest and quit after one year. … but I think he has just been spinning his wheels.”

No facts there…

Norm, you better get them off your team.

So I decided to go to the Hamburg website and pick out issues. Here they are:

Protect our coast — We must stop all federal oil and gas lease sales. We oppose attempts by the US Navy to use our coast for weapons testing. We must protect our local crab, urchin and seaweed businesses and all intact fisheries from over-regulation.

Protect jobs — We must protect our local crab, urchin and seaweed businesses and all intact fisheries from over-regulation. We will work with Humboldt and Del Norte Counties to stop privatization efforts such as the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative (MLPAI) — a private-foundation takeover of marine life, which threatens local coastal businesses that har­vest the ocean for food.

Create jobs — We can harness federal stimulus dol­lars and state funding to establish a low-interest loan program that encourages home and business owners to install solar panels, insulation, thermal win­dows and convert to efficient lighting for their homes and commercial buildings — akin to Sonoma County’s successful project. Meat processing and value-added meat products sold regionally. Seed production and seed banking. Imagine a local food and farming econ­omy that is capable of feeding the people of Mendo­cino County. Picture grocery stores and school cafete­rias with a wide selection of food products from our County, and people eager to work in an invigorated farm economy.

Protect our water — Illegal water diversions will not be tolerated. We support law enforcement and environmental health efforts to prosecute anyone diverting or polluting water.

Fiscal Stability — The Board of Supervisors must look critically at the functioning of the CEO office. The Board is not receiving adequate and timely information regarding the challenges facing the County budget. County government is going to have to downsize.

Why, that sounds pretty good to me and if Ham­burg will work towards these issues, this county will be better off.

Mr. or Ms. so-called far left really needs to under­stand that we all have to live together in this county and rebuild an economy that works and can feed us.

Name not withheld, 5th District

Michael Laybourn





A recent anonymous letter writer (AVA, 4/7/10) had several inaccurate things to say about 5th District Supervisor candidate Dan Hamburg.

With regard to the statement that he's a “one issue candidate,” one need only examine Dan's exten­sive career in politics and his service to our commu­nity to see how ridiculous that accusation is. Dan has broad and impeccable credentials working for the environment, Native Rights, free speech, and grass­roots political movements such as the successful cam­paign to ban GMO’s in Mendocino County. He has been a teacher, a planning commissioner, executive director of North Coast Opportunities, our con­gressman, and has served on the boards of many local nonprofits.

Dan has been an outspoken critic of the war on marijuana for three decades. It's interesting that every time he has run for office people try to hold this against him. We think it's a point in his favor. The common-sense wisdom of his position is being borne out in the growing consensus for legalization.

Dan has never quit a public position to which he has been elected or appointed. One need only look at his history to understand that such a list of accom­plishments can only be achieved by a person who works hard and finishes what he starts.

Dan has been campaigning throughout the district for over a year. He has been endorsed by hundreds of Fifth District voters who appreciate his broad experi­ence and energetic outlook for the future. His cam­paign steering committee is made up of dedicated men and women who know Dan’s political work and are giving their time because they trust him to advo­cate for them and to get things done.

We urge you to visit our campaign website at to get more information about Dan’s background and plans for the future.

One can imagine certain circumstances where anonymity is necessary because of the possibility of negative consequences for the writer. However, it is unfortunate that an individual would use the AVA’s generous policy merely to promote gossip.


Chris Skyhawk, Gai Daly, Doug Mosel, John Schaef­fer, Vicki Oldham, Geoffrey Baugher, Carole Brod­sky, Laura Hamburg, Janie Sheppard, Bill Meyers, Erica Cooperrider, Lynda McClure, Lauren Sinnott, Terry Nieves

Mendocino County




Correction Requested.

Thanks and kudos to Steve Sparks for his generally accurate personal profile of me in last week’s Valley People. In the interest of truth in advertising, I do want to correct two details:

1) While I’ve attended Historical Review Board meetings for more than twenty years, I have only served as a BOS appointed member of that board for the past two.

2) My very limited role in Voices of the Valley was that I wrote the funding grants for the North Coast Rural Challenge Network. Full credit for that splen­did venture belongs to Mitch Mendosa (and any other participating teachers), the student oral historians, and those who gave their time and told their stories. I only wish that my other biographer, who writes over the AVA’s familiar moniker “Name Withheld,” shared Steve’s journalistic commitment to accuracy and the truth.

Wendy Roberts

Candidate for Fifth District Supervisor




Dear Editor,

I endorse Jim Mastin for Fifth District Supervisor in Mendocino County, and I encourage anyone who may be influenced by my opinion to contact Jim and work for his election in the June 8 Primary. With four candidates running for the seat, we can all expect to see a runoff between the top two during the Novem­ber 2 General Election.

I served as Fifth District Supervisor between 1995 and 1999, and I was involved in every campaign for the seat from 1977. During the 25 years I lived in Point Arena I was continually involved in countywide poli­tics involving timber and fisheries issues, coastal access, the Coastal Act and Local Coastal Plan, senior centers, Mendocino Transit Authority, offshore oil drilling, and just about every other issue that affected me, my neighbors, and all of our communities. I do not make this endorsement lightly; this position and the future of the region remain of critical importance to me.

Two of the other three candidates are well known to me. I served as Norman deVall’s volunteer cam­paign manager, and Dan Hamburg was my congress­man while I was on the Board of Supervisors, and I voted for him. Wendy Roberts is unknown to me per­sonally, and because she will be the conservative among the four candidates, she will not be my choice.

I support Jim Mastin because I know that he under­stands something about politics that I know to be crucial. There are two jobs inherent in any elected position. The first one is getting elected. The second one is serving in office. They are two very different jobs.

During an election all candidates are free to take strong and unequivocal stands on any issue of impor­tance to them or to the constituency. It is important to speak one’s mind clearly and forcefully so that the voters know who the candidates are, and how and what they believe.

The second job is serving a term in office. Who­ever is selected as Fifth District Supervisor of Mendo­cino County, once seated, will be one of five people with equal authority to make every single decision. All five Supervisors will have strong opinions. During the election most articulated positions will have been proudly held personal opinions, but every decision that is ever made in the Supervisors’ chambers will necessarily be a compromise. With five strongly held and differing opinions, the rule is always, “Can you count to three?” Even if two or more other Supervi­sors hold similar opinions, the details of any docu­ment that is being voted on (and everything is always in writing) can swing any vote one way or the other. And you can never be sure where your allies on a par­ticular issue may be.

I am certain that Jim Mastin has the personal skills and knowledge necessary to run an exemplary campaign, and even more important, to be a produc­tive and successful County Supervisor. He has been actively involved for decades in all of the issues that are important to me, and that I know are important to a large majority of the voters of the Fifth District.

He was born in Santa Rosa and has spent his entire adult life in Mendocino County. He knows the individuals serving in decision-making positions throughout the district, the county, and at the state and federal levels. And he has worked with them suc­cessfully whether in support or opposition. He knows how to effectively get as much as he can every time, while compromising enough to make sure he can get anything at all. There is a harsh reality in that last sen­tence that many voters do not want to hear. It is a reality, and understanding and practicing it deter­mines success or failure in public office.

I trust Jim Mastin to make thousands of decisions over a four-year period that, taken together, will yield the greatest benefit to the environmental and social issues that are of critical importance to me. I trust Jim Mastin to make all those decisions in a manner that will permit him to show up the next day and continue to work effectively with everyone around him, including those who opposed him the day before.

I encourage you to consider working to help Jim Mastin get elected as Fifth District Supervisor, to contribute to his campaign financially, and to vote for him on June 8.


Charles Peterson

Colorado Springs, Colorado



Dear Editor:

There will be a couple of forums on April 24th at the Saturday Afternoon Club in Ukiah to discuss the possibilities and potential economic consequences of statewide legalization of marijuana. I encourage inter­ested citizens on all sides of the issue as well as all supervisorial candidates to join in this important dis­cussion, “The Future of Cannabis in Northern Cali­fornia” is scheduled from 1 - 4 p.m. and “What's after Pot” from 7 to 10 p.m.

There is currently a ballot measure, the “Tax Can­nabis Act,” that has qualified for next November's election, and polls show that its passage is likely. How will Mendocino County position itself in the event of state legalization to gain needed tax revenue, but to avoid losing the market to large corporate growers in the Central Valley? Are there opportunities to develop the “Emerald Triangle Brand” that would become known for exceptional quality and ecological superiority? Our growing region has a multiple-decade head start in the cultivation of this crop. Could this expertise fend off a precipitous fall in the price of marijuana on the open market? The questions are many, and as a candidate for 3rd District Supervisor, I think it is very important that everyone have a seat at the table in this important discussion.

Holly Madrigal, Willits City Council





As Sawyer’s News enters its final days of business, I cannot begin to express my appreciation for the support that flowed from this community these past months. My sincere thanks for every touching and creative suggestion for delaying the closure of our business. Had I been better prepared, I would have catalogued the myriad ideas that crossed the counter since last September. All produced smiles; many brought tears.

Your sincere expressions of sadness and loss have been truly heartwarming. What I have come to learn is Sawyer’s satisfied a need for a community gathering place. In the not-too-distant past, we were the first location people thought of for timely information regarding most topics and certainly hot news events, which usually created a flurry of activity and rapid-fire discussion. The gathering spot remained, personal stories still told. Ultimately, printed media evolved, which challenged newsstands.

My family’s many employees and I have had the privilege of serving six generations. I cherish the 50 years of memories “the store” provided me. It is now time to let go, to thank the journalists, photographers and loyal customers without whom there would never have been a Sawyer’s News.

John Sawyer

Santa Rosa



Dear AVA readers, and 5th District voters,

As Dan Hamburg's campaign picks up steam with his comedy fundraiser, etc, I want to remind readers and voters that's there's nothing funny about Dan Hamburg.

Dan has consistently refused, on the list serve and elsewhere, to answer questions about his personal finances. Did he inherit a bunch of money or not? And what happened to his dough? We know he's broke now.

It's a relevant question, because rumor has it that Dan is running for Supervisor because he is, indeed, broke.

Research shows that Dan Hamburg makes no more than $30 or $35 grand at Voice of the Environ­ment, where he been executive director since 1997 — almost going bankrupt in the process, except for what he makes growing pot, of course. The Supervisor's sal­ary would roughly double what Dan makes. We're talking about his “declared income,” of course. Pot doesn't count.

Getting county healthcare is another big plus for Dan. Why? Because his family has had significant, and costly, health issues in the very recent past.

And let's not forget, adding years to Dan's county employment — he is a former Supervisor — would only get Dan closer to being vested in the county's retirement system, or MCERS (more about MCERS in a second).

Let's point out to readers and voters a couple of other factoids about Dan Hamburg.

In 1981, Dan barely survived a bitter election to recall him as Supervisor. Quoting from the recall peti­tion, Dan Hamburg's actions as Supervisor,

• “have demonstrated a complete disregard for the property rights of others, ” and

• “have demonstrated a complete disregard for ad­ministrative and statutory mandates for the Board of Supervisors and other governing bodies,” and that Dan Hamburg,

• “has delayed the adoption of a valid general plan,” and,

• “has abused the privilege and influence of his of­fice.”

Do we really want this sort of dude in office at maybe the most important time in our county's his­tory, as Mendocino County struggles with record debt and record deficits? This month, the Board of Super­visors just decided to fire another 100 county employ­ees, and that's on top of 250 county jobs already lost to attrition, furloughs, state and federal funding cuts, etc.

We need better than Dan.

In speaking to some retired county officials from around that time that Dan served as Supervisor in the early 1980s, Dan had a reputation for being “lazy,” and he showed a reluctance in tackling tough financial issues.

“Redwoods and whales were more Dan's thing,” said one former top county official. “Pot, too. That was *really* his thing.” (emphasis was the source's emphasis) Incidentally, this former county official wants to remain off the record, because he is sup­porting another candidate in the 5th District race, this year.

Which brings us back to that current nightmare known as MCERS.

Public pension accounting is tough, like college cal­culus. It's very tough, particularly here in Mendo­cino County where the Teeter Plan is fraught with the “voodoo economics” of a certain former county treas­urer and former county auditor who conspired to hide the fact that MCERS isn't sustainable.

Simply put? Dan Hamburg just doesn't have the IQ points to get MCERS. Or the county debt. Or the deficit.

He never will.

Doesn't Mendocino County deserve more than the “Hunk on the Hill'...the “Ken Doll on the Hill.”..the “Male Bimbo on the Hill.”..or whatever Dan likes to call himself?

Best to stick to redwoods and whales. And pot. What Dan knows best. The Voice of the Environ­ment is the perfect gig for Dan. His comfort zone.

Redwoods, whales, pot...and Afghanistan.

Today, I got an email blast from Dan on the list serve. Dan is opposed to an upcoming $33 billion appropriation for the Afghanistan War. Well, that's an easy call, Dan. A no brainer. And it doesn't have the first [bleeping] thing to do with Mendocino County.

One final factoid. After his supporters worked hard to beat back the recall in 1981, Dan Hamburg turned his back on them. He betrayed all their hard work. He lost interest in the Board of Supervisors. He lost interest in Mendocino County.

He ran for Congress. And ultimately Dan left us with his greatest legacy...Frank Riggs!

Hugh Everett III

Mendocino County



I have not refused to answer questions about my personal finances. In fact, I just sent a message to the listserves clarifying that I never had a trust fund nor did I inherit a “a bunch of money” and then buy gas stations in the Midwest! So there's no need to wonder what happened to “dough” I never had.

And no, I'm not “broke” or “bankrupt,” thank you very much. Your “research” regarding my income is also off. And, by the way, I have a good health care plan as part of my benefit package at Voice.

The 1981 recall was launched because some ele­ments of the County business community didn't like my vote against the Vintner's Village shopping and convention center. They liked it even less when I per­suaded Norman deVall and Jim Eddie to vote with me. I had made it clear during my campaign for 2nd District Supervisor in 1980 that if elected, I would oppose the project because I believed it to be “leap­frog” development.

Folks who lived here at the time will remember that the recall was originally directed against three supervisors — Jim, Norman and me. The effort ulti­mately focused on me because as a newly elected supervisor I was deemed most vulnerable.

I did more than “survive” the recall. I won with 58% of the vote, defeating five challengers.

I did not “turn my back” on the people who worked so hard to win that campaign. In fact, I served for three more years as 2nd District supervisor. The charge that I “lost interest in Mendocino County” is meaningless and silly. I've lived here, worked and raised a family here for four decades.

And now you have “some retired county officials” ragging on me. Interestingly, they also choose to remain in the shadows (if they exist). Do I also have a reputation as a “hit man” who would send “Vinny” after anyone who crosses me? Come on, “Hugh,” turn off The Sopranos reruns and deal with reality.

Those who were here during the 1990s will remem­ber that I defeated Frank Riggs in 1992, a ban­ner year for Democrats. I lost to him (after fending off a primary challenge from pseudo-Dem Doug Bosco) in 1994, a dismal year for Democrats. Riggs managed to stay in office for two terms until Mike Thompson defeated him. Ironically, Riggs was brought down partly due to his handling of the “pep­per spray” incident, a protest against Charles Hur­witz's predations in Humboldt County.

Dan Hamburg




Letter to the Editor —

April 24, 1915 is etched in the memory of Armeni­ans who lost relatives in the Armenian Massacre by the Ottoman Turkish government. There is no Memorial Day to remember the loss of two million Armenians over three years. To this day the memory in the children of survivors has imprinted emotional scar although some have supressed their grief. Some survivors, having seen relatives slaughtered have passed on a legacy of shame for having witnessed and lived to tell it.

One such remarkable witness was a priest, Grigoris Balakian, who was arrested ,April 24,1915, along with 250 other intellectuals and leaders of Constantinople's Armenian community. His book, Armenian Golgotha, was translated by his son, Peter Balakian with Aris­Sevag, was published in 2009.

Robert Jay Lifton writes “In this extraordinary account, Grigoris Balakian makes astute psychological observations about himself and his fellow prisoners, and equally astute interpretations of the behavior of Turkish perpetrators and German collaborators in the Armenian Genocide. His writing is clear and compel­ling as rendered in sensitive translation. He has a keen sense of history, and his extensive travels enable him to record a tragic European panorama. This book will become a classic , both for its depiction of a much denied genocide and for its humane and brilliant wit­ness to what human beings can endure and over­come.”

Those interested in beginning an annual Day of Remembrance locally may contact Agnes Woolsey at

Agnes Kulungian Woolsey





Incredible work of investigative journalism by Will Parrish and Darwin Bond-Graham on Richard Blum, UC President Yudoff and the rest of the criminal regents. This is Pulitizer prize stuff here. Any chance of Harpers Magazine going with it? National and local media — including KPFA — have completely ignored this bombshell.

Add more jewels to the AVA crown: David Yearsley, John Ross, Chris Hedges and Paul Craig Roberts.

Thanks AVA for instructing and entertaining us.

Marshall Curatolo





Regarding the tragic murder of Gerry Knight by Brandon Pinola and Alva Reeves—

It is a sad state of affairs, when brother kills brother, as close as a block or two from the courthouse in downtown Ukiah.

Two weeks before the murder Brandon Pinola was running around threatening everyone he could. He was out of control and it is suspected by the nieghbors using meth as well

Reeves was one of the walking dead, a zombie. The last I saw of him he was trying to sell me a broken calculator for 5 bucks so he could buy a beer, even if he was on parole and had a parole hearing that was just a few weeks before the murder. To say he was desperate would be an understatment. The tracks have been the site for and cause of numerous stabbings, beatings and fights. From what I have heard there was a 14 year old girl who was also raped.

It upsets me to see the poor and disadvatantaged losing their belongings when law enforcement does a sweep through the homeless camps. But as we can well see, this is not exactly Yogi Bear and BooBoo. A menacing aspect looms on the tracks and other camps. Law enforcement has the duty to see that all citizens are protected!

True as it may be with the homeless that not all of them are bad people, the same can be said for law enforcement. Until we find a remedy for how to deal with the homeless issue we will always have the need to push and push back!

They have since removed the tanker where the murder took place, and the white cross and red ribbon that went with it. Gerald Knight is gone too — a well loved man on the tracks who will not be forgotten.

The fact is that the homeless are not going away anytime soon. The shelter is just not big enough, and a lot of them are too hostile to even stay there!

I am just trying to show some compassion toward the many who are on the streets who should be in mental institutions!

Police can go through and clean the mess up. But they will return. The cops are essentially giving them maid service!

What to do?

A few years ago a site was given to them at Lake Mendocino. What happened? They started fighting and blew that oppertunity off!

It was just short of a barn and sheep dip with washable cement floors. A dairy would be just fine! Where are these people going to go?

Out of curiosity I spent some time with this crowd, kind of like the Jane Goodall of the homeless, and let me tell you we have some troubled minds out there, as well as some misguided mentaly ill good peo­ple. I regret that prolonged incident for it nearly claimed my sanity just trying to relate to this segment of society.

But let me tell you that they are no more perverse than the wealthy society circles of New York or San Francisco, kind of like the tabloid readings of the per­verted movie stars.

I have come to the conclusion that without structure the human mind shall deviate with or without money. What is the difference between a bum on a corner or a trust f

und baby on a corner? The bum isn’t waiting for his driver, and that is about it! If left to their own de-vices, both shall pervert from the societal norms.

King Of The Road




Dear friends, family and acquaintances:

The wildflowers are in bloom in Southern Califor­nia. It's only an average year - maybe not even up to average. But it's still pretty good.

Below is the link to a website that'll give you some inkling of what's going on here. If you live is Southern California and have never made the effort to see this bloom, you should be disbarred from heaven - for insensitivity. People travel from all over the world to see this spectacle.

It's a somewhat disappointing season.

I had hopes for the year (we had rains), but it's not to be. I've been disappointed before - many times. It's really only gone off BIG time maybe twice in my adult life.

For a spectacular bloom, everything must be right — the rainfall, its timing, sunlight, temperature and the winds. Ha yes, the winds. And, if all these vari­ables are right, it can still be a sorry bloom if seed production in the previous season was not adequate.

Intervals between spectacular seasons can be dec­ades.

The best years I've seen (and I pay medium-close attention) were 1966 and 1988. There was a pretty good show about 5 years ago, but not like the 2 years mentioned.

I may have seen the last, best years.

A wise person does not click on an executable file (the above URL is an ex file — it's telling your com­puter to go fetch from a website) unless it's been vet­ted. I subscribe to this philosophy. So, if you too are concerned, I suggest you copy this URL and paste it into your browser.

If you trust the lousy source (me) just click on the URL and it'll take you to Desert USA. It's an infor­mative and pictorial site.

Millions of Muslims go to Mecca every year. Mecca is but a chuck of black granite — dead and cold. On the other hand, the Southern California wildflower bloom is a living, breathing organic cele­bration of the renewal of life. And it's been going on for thousands (maybe millions?) of years.

Take a weekend to see it. This is not going last for­ever. Lancaster's subdivisions are starting to crowd the flower fields.

Best regards,

Bart Boyer

San Diego



Dear Editor:

The argument that cockfighting is a local cultural practice that others have no right to judge is terribly weak. The same logic could be used to justify “honor” killings, female genital mutilation, and the stoning of women for adultery. Cockfighting is not as cruel and inhumane as any of these (thank goodness human sac­rifice, cannibalism and the burning of people at the stake are no longer around), but it's certainly as bar­baric as dogfighting or the finning of sharks so that people can conspicuously consume a $45 bowl of soup.

It's worth noting that women are not quite so gung ho about these traditions as the men.


Bill Brundage

Kurtistown, Hawaii




I thought it was too good to be true and it turned out to be just that. For inch after inch I found myself agreeing with a letter from “Mark Richie,” and then, near the end, I found what I had expected. He had used the sordid episode of the attack by Bay Area zionists on the Berkeley Daily Planet to attack Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA) in Berkeley, one of the rare organizations that has consistently and unequivocally supported the Palestinian struggle not just with words but with millions of dollars in material aid over the past 22 years. Unlike Richie, who dis­missed the importance of stopping US aid to Israel as, I imagine, he has dismissed the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel today, MECA recently hosted Ali Abunimah, host of the Electronic Intifada who gave a powerful speech supporting BDS that was broadcast in two parts on TUC Radio on KZYX and can he heard by going to

Part of Richie's style in making his attacks is to include another organization that does merit criti­cism. In last week's letter, ANSWER, performed that role, despite the fact that he has more in common with ANSWER than he would like AVA readers to think, namely that both he and ANSWER's perennial poobah, Richard Becker, dismiss the notion that the pro-Israel lobby has any say over US Middle East pol­icy, preferring to lay all the blame on the accomodat­ing but well protected doorstep of US imperialism. Indeed, affirming belief in that position was a requirement to join Richie's Quagmire email list when it existed.

His April 7th letter to the AVA was typical of his modus operandi. He stakes out a credible position from which he then targets genuine activists, claiming them to be “zionist” enemies. About five years ago when Richie's poison pen was circulating over the internet, I wrote the following, updated when appro­priate. I think it might be of value to new readers of the paper:

Those who are not familiar with the machinations of Mark Richey AKA Mark Richie AKA POneill should be aware that he has been plying his divisive wares, spreading the ink from his poison pen in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than 25 years and has been so diligent in his attacks on genuine anti-Zion­ists while either ignoring or patronizing actual Zion­ists that I and others have concluded that he must be in the employ of the Anti-Defamation League. In the late 80s, Richey, along with a man named Roy Bul­lock, the ADL's “top fact finder” (according to the late ADL spy chief, Irwin Suall), infiltrated the SF Chapter of the ADC (American-Arab Anti-Discrimi­nation Committee) of which I had been a founding member but was no longer active.

In 1987, I received information that Bullock, who had been at the founding meetings of our Labor Committee on the Middle East, had been an ADL spy for 25 years and when I and Steve Zeltzer, my LCOME co-founder, called him on it, his responses convinced us that the allegation was correct and we booted him out and did our best to inform other groups about him. (The folks at ANSWER and Socialist Action did not appreciate my warnings and Socialist Action even brought him in as volunteer to run its office when it was organizing a major march in April, 1988)

In 1992, the SF Police Dept. arrested Tom Gerrad, one of its officers when it learned he had been pro­viding information for the ADL and South African intelligence services. I put two and two together and gave a SF Examiner reporter Bullock's name which up to then had been kept out of the papers. In an FBI deposition, Bullock, who was working in partnership with the cop, said that he had six other people work­ing with him in the Bay Area but their names were never revealed. He also mentioned, gratuitously, that he had infiltrated the ADC after a previous spy had been exposed and that that spy had gone on to become a lawyer. What was curious is that story wasn't true. No spy had been exposed by the ADC, but it turns out that Richie was a lawyer registered with the California State Bar Assn., but who, apparenly, has never practiced and he has never responded to the question as to why he hasn't. (Maybe he will in a follow-up letter but I won't hold my breath). Readers can find out more about the ADL spy and the court case that followed on

According to others at ADC, Richey was relatively quiet at meetings and was eventually promoted to the chapter's board of directors while the other infiltra­tor, Bullock, a weight-lifter “volunteered” to provide the organization's security. After differences with Pal­estinians in the chapter, Richie left and proceeded to attack the remaining board members and other anti-Zionist activists, using his former position as an ADC board member as a badge of credibility.

When the entire Arab community boycotted Alan Solomonow, the openly Zionist head of the Middle East Desk of the American Friends Service Commit­tee chapter in SF, because of Solomonow's open dis­crimination against Palestinian and Arab organiza­tions and individuals, Richey printed a handout defending Solomonow and criticizing the Palestinian and Arab community for boycotting the AFSC offi­cial.

After an early attempt to enlist me on his side failed, and this goes back over 25 years, Richie began attacking me as a “liberal Zionist intellectual.” His attacks began in earnest after I was interviewed by the SF Weekly in 1984 when the Demos held their con­vention in San Franciscoin in which I criticized the control over the Democratic Party exerted by the Zionist lobby. Those attacks have never ceased, the most ridiculous being a message in which Richie kissed up to Noam Chomsky after my article “Dam­age Control: Noam Chomsky and the Israel-Palestine Conflict” was published in Left Curve and began cir­culating on the net. See

While the evidence that Richie was an ADL agent is circumstantial, he made a curious slip six years ago or so in an email exchange with me about Bullock, revealing information about how the spy was exposed as such by the Inst. for Historical Review, the holo­caust revisionst group whose meetings Bullock had also attended. That piece of information was NOT part of the court testimony and has been otherwise publicly unavailable.

There was another incident which also solidified by conclusions about who Richie was working for when I encountered Bullock on day and said to him, “Mark Richie says hello.” This seemed to fluster Bul­lock, who stammered, “I don't know who you are talking” about, even as his face reddened

Richie once left a message on my answering machine, threatening to sue me for calling him an ADL agent and I have since, on a number of occa­sions, online and in person, invited him to do so, since there are many questions that I would have my own lawyer ask him. How he knew about Bullock's expo­sure would be one of them.

It should be noted that Richie has never stopped his spying. Until at least a few years ago, he had main­tained his membership in the Arab Cultural Center in SF, the people at the center being too polite to ask him to leave. I happened to be there a about five years ago at a small reception for a former Palestinian pris­oner and his lawyer from the West Bank when who should show up at the door but Richie. He was told that the reception was private and he was not allowed in.

Before the internet, Richie had to reply on the postal service to do his mud slinging, but thanks to cyberspace he has a world wide reach. In August, 2005, I sent a copy of a similar letter to Richie, repeating my invitation for him to sue me.

I sent it as well to Palestinian Prof. Mazin Qumsi­yeh, who spends most of the year in Bethelem, Prof. Qumsiyeh forwarded my letter to his mailing list and added 'My own experience with Richey was when he exploited a difference of opinion on tactics between some chapters of Al-Awda to then claim Zionists manipulated Al-Awda and Zionists run Middle East Children Alliance etc.” You can read Qumsiyeh's excellent reports from the West Bank on and for more on the Middle East Children's Alliance, check out its site,

Jeffrey Blankfort


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