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Letters (July 20, 2016)

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I find myself bewildered at the Elder Home Community garden. But no more elder homes, these Community Garden plots could hold at least six small homes for our elders. We live in Anderson Valley for God sakes. Abundant for growing. Not abundant for our elders to have homes. I thought all these fund raisers were so our elders could have retirement homes, not radishes getting their own beds!!

Beverley Bennett


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Dear Beverley,

In your "Radishes or Elders?" query you express bewilderment that there is room for a Community Garden on AV Elder Home property that you feel should be devoted to senior housing. Fortunately for the 30 plus community members now enjoying the garden, the site where it is located cannot be used for construction of any kind and is therefore ideally suited to bringing the community together over “radishes.” The garden was constructed above in-place infrastructure that includes buried pipes: no vehicles can be driven there, no buildings can be built there. This is part of the infrastructure that serves the house we rent to AV seniors and will eventually serve the cottages to be built between Highway 128 and the Community Garden.

When interested community members, the AV Foodshed and the Gardens Project of North Coast Opportunities approached the AVEH board last fall to ask if we would be interested in having a community garden on the site, it seemed like an ideal use of the land we couldn’t build on. We received a $9,000 grant from a Mendocino County fund designed specifically for this type of community project, $2,000 from NCO, and donations from several locals; and by late spring the Community Garden was a reality.

In our grant application, we wrote that the garden “will bring diverse community members together in a shared experience, and will offer Elder Home residents an on-going connection with their community.” We think this has already come true, and the garden is proving its worth every day—just ask anyone who has a plot. It serves folks who have too little sun, good soil, water or space to garden where they live—or who just want the experience of gardening with a community. It is overseen by a committee of four community members (chosen by the gardeners) and administered by AVEH.

The AVEH board has begun the process with county agencies that is necessary before we can build six cottages fronting the garden, plus a one-bedroom rental near the duplex. This is a big project and making it a reality will require much help and support from our community. The garden will remain a permanent, integral part of the AVEH complex, and it will keep growing radishes while we grow housing for AV seniors.

For more information about the Elder Home, the Community Garden and/or our plans for future construction, we can be contacted at 895-3889, or found on Facebook. The community is also welcome to attend our AVEH Board meetings the first Tuesday of each month at 5PM in our office (14450 Hwy 128).


The AVEH Board of Directors

Working to “keep our seniors at home in the valley."

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To the Editor, The AVA

Hey, Let's Starve the Homeless

Bruce Anderson raised up in his rant last week about homelessness and the local Lib/Labs to attack the soup kitchens: “Homelessness cannot be solved by funneling millions more public dollars into existing bureaucracies and bumbling apparatuses like Hospitality House in Fort Bragg and Plowshares in Ukiah. These programs have become THE problem,” he lectured. “If you help a person addicted to alcohol and/or drugs by giving him a free meal every day and just enough tangible help to enable him or her to continue to drink and drug, YOU are the problem.” Oh preach to us, Bruce!

I've worked chopping food in the Plowshares kitchen for eight years now and have seen little I would label as bumbling in their operation. I have seen families and children at the dining tables but have not seen drunken or drugged people scarfing down the free food. Plowshares provides no housing, only meals. So why are you attacking the soup kitchens when your concern seems to be housing? Bruce, would you have us merely stop feeding the hungry and let them starve in the underpasses where they could await John McCowen's clean up crew? It might reduce the litter under the Talmage overpass, a problem of paramount concern to our Mendo Lib/Labs. Starving people good / dirty streets bad?

Lighten up Bruce.

Jim Houle

Redwood Valley

ED REPLY: Soup kitchens are necessary in lieu of a real homeless strategy, but to spend millions on existing non-profits "serving" the homeless, all run by very well paid people, not only lets the government off the hook it's cruel, even by limo lib standards. Of course if you think it's humane to permit the insane and all the many thousands of people dying on the streets from alcoholism and drug addiction just enough help so they can continue to die uncared for and unhoused, we don't have anything more to talk about. PS. Sheriff Allman's interim psychiatric center is a step in the right direction here in "progressive" Mendocino County. At the state and federal levels we need a revival of state hospitals and a federally-funded housing program, neither of which is likely with the present elected leadership.

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Competition, that holy word again. But this time it’s the lack of it. Government employees are called civil servants. We don’t expect our government employees to be slaves, but on the other hand we pay for civil servants and don’t expect them to be the masters or the boss. Unfortunately, that’s what many of them have become. To those who realize that they are civil servants with many perks, I give them credit. In the private world, it’s a competitive world. Watch how many businesses come and go. Competition is fierce. Competition does one thing, it keeps the demand for products and services in balance. If we have too many grocery stores or sporting goods stores, some have to go. On the other hand, if not enough of these stores are open, more will open up. The sad part is that all of us keep asking government for all kinds of support. Unfortunately, politicians get in power or stay in power by giving out these requests.

Now on to my squabble with the County Assessor. The deeds of two neighbors usually agree, but every so often they do not and in that case the two neighbors have to come to an agreement, end up in court, or do nothing. In my case four different neighbors and I for some 70 years that I live lived here have agreed on a fence between us for these 70 years. The latest neighbor wanted to have a clear title to their property line. Both deeds did not vary much from the fence in the lower part and not at all in the upper part. A surveyor was hired to survey the fence with no property changing hands. That’s what it says, a property agreement. If we had exchanged pieces of property as one piece for another that would be called an exchange of property.

The Assessor either in the ignorance of this situation, which is not common, called it an exchange of property and conveniently raised the taxes slightly. Not a lot, but wrong.

A fence is not necessarily the property line, but if the two owners agree to a fence as the line for five years much less 70 years, it becomes the property line.

The Assessor and County Counsel made a mistake and won’t admit it. That’s what I mean by civil servants and masters.

Emil Rossi


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We are the Anderson Valley Service Learning Team — a student-led community service group whose current mission is to reopen Paul Dimmick Campground & Picnic Area in Navarro River Redwood State Park. We're writing because we are organizing a Volunteer Clean-Up Day and Celebration at Dimmick State Park in Navarro next Sunday, July 24th, and we are wondering if it would be possible for the event (and perhaps also our broader campaign into the future) to be mentioned in the newspaper, and/or on the AVA's event calendar. We had been hoping to get in touch sooner — sorry it's so close to the event!

A little background: Dimmick was shut down in 2011, and due to the funding crisis within the State Park system the park has remained closed to camping. Our team chose to investigate this issue late last year, and has decided that in order for the park to have a chance to open for camping, the issue must be publicized. After visiting the park since its closure, we discovered that the park was in bad condition. We decided to first organize a Volunteer Clean-Up Day with the goal of gaining community support, along with refurbishing the park for day use. After the clean-up day (and the official re-opening of the park for day use), we plan to gather public support to pressure the state to make investments necessary for re-opening the park to campers.

Here is a schedule for the July 24th Volunteer Day:

  • 9am-11am: safety briefing and first cleanup session
  • 11am-12pm: snacks & beverages
  • 12pm-3pm: second work session
  • 3pm-6pm: Grilled Chicken Dinner, Side dishes (potluck) & activities

And here's a short video that our group filmed and produced to introduce Dimmick campground to you:

Thank you for your time and we hope that you can support us in our mission of reopening Paul Dimmick Campground & Picnic Area. Please join us!


The AV Service Learning Team

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To the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors:

As you know, Brian Hurt of Grist Creek Aggregates is currently negotiating with the Mendocino Air Quality Management District to resume rubberized asphalt production on Outlet Creek in Longvale.

Last year, before you approved the plant, many neighbors implored you not to. We thought the plant was bad for us and for the environment. Why put a potentially hazardous industry along a twisty, landslide-prone road in a narrow canyon on the banks of one of the longest coho salmon runs in Northern California. There was much too much risk and very little to gain — for the county and certainly for neighbors.

Supervisor Woodhouse, last year, over our pleas, you urged your colleagues on the board to fast track the plant. You then assured neighbors that if anything went wrong, the agencies that oversee air and water quality would protect us. But after months of struggle, of begging you, of calling Grist Creek Aggregates, of complaining to the Mendocino Air Quality and its oversight commissioners, of imploring state Air Quality to stop the spewing of toxic air into our neighborhood, the plant remained open.

Grist Creek and Mercer-Fraser violated their permits, used outdated equipment that filled the air with bitter smoke and put at risk the health and safety of hundreds of residents near the plant.

Grist Creek finally stopped production in late fall, not, apparently, because of $270,000 in fines imposed on it by the state — fines Grist Creek has never paid and apparently doesn’t intend to pay — but because the company had completed its Caltrans contract.

Our trust was violated. No other way to put it.

Supervisors, as county leaders ultimately responsible for the decisions of the Air Quality District, restore our trust and don’t allow Grist Creek to reopen. The county may need asphalt, but not at the price of a neighborhood and a creek. We deserve better.

Jane Futcher


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To the Editor of the Ukiah Daily Journal:

Your July 3rd editorial contained a glaring mistake that may be skewing your view that the length of time required to canvass an election in Mendocino County is way too long.

In your second recommendation, you state, “Even if 900 people go to the wrong precincts to vote and create provisional ballots, if you have the other 27,000 votes in the machines, it doesn’t matter if it takes two weeks to count the 900.”

The thing is, the machines (one per polling place) are clunky things that are required in federal elections by the inaptly named “Help America Vote Act.” Those machines are expensive and really difficult to set up, discouraging some would-be poll workers from volunteering.

For a couple of elections we did indeed have machines that scanned the ballots at the polling places, rejecting ballots that were incorrectly cast (allowing the voter to immediately correct his or her errors on a clean ballot). The scanners tallied the ballots. At the close of the polls (8 P.M.), the poll worker hooked the scanner to a modem which transferred the results to the central computer in the county offices.  Hence nearly instant results.

Alas, it turned out that those scanners were easy targets for hackers and so they were disallowed. It may be that you were thinking of the halcyon days (which were few) when those machines were in use.

Now we are stuck with a mishmash of a system; one clunky machine per polling place, paper ballots that must be checked and scanned at the county office, and provisional ballots, which take an inordinate amount of time on the part of poll workers at the polling places plus additional time for checking at the county office.

I used to be an advocate for everyone going to a polling place to vote, but I have changed my mind. Oregon has switched to entirely mail-in ballots, which has not hurt their voter participation. In fact, voter participation in Oregon is 30% higher than in California. It’s time we followed Oregon and switched.

Janie Sheppard


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Denis Mulligan, general manager of the Golden Gate Bridge district said that despite the apparent setback (barrier cost bid $142 million rather than the consultant’s $76 million estimate), the barrier project will move forward.


In the real world (not the governmental world) don’t you think reasonable people would reconsider this ill-conceived plan?

When this was voted on, I think that the unbelievable estimate was $50 million. Now it is going to cost 284% of the amount estimated, and they will not reconsider?

The board voted unanimously to build the barrier to the applause of supporters “including family members of those who jumped from the span.”

Well, of course. But can anyone really determine how many lives will be saved with the barrier? Or will people bound to kill themselves find other means?

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Caltrans will be kicking in some money on this “bridge to nowhere.” Perhaps our money could be better spent on filling potholes, something that will benefit all of us.

How about more hearings on the barrier, with more widespread participation, than predominately the survivors of suicide victims?

With the higher cost perhaps a more representative crowd would likely attend such a meeting.

Art Wasserman

San Anselmo

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Dear Friends,

As you may know, the Bernie Revolution persists. The Mendocino Coast Folks for Bernie just isn’t ready to let go or go away. Our fledgling new creation has its maiden voyage this upcoming Wednesday and it should be a pleasant, not lengthy, and highly informative good time for all. We’ll also have some solid preliminary information on the 17 Propositions coming up this November that will at least get your well-oriented and prepared a bit for the voting task. It would mean a lot to me to have this first event well-attended. We’re looking at it to help us determine if this PAC is a viable project. So do see if it might fit both your schedule and your interests to attend. Thanks.

Progressive Alliance Center

Democracy for All ~ Continuing the Revolution

On Wednesday, July 20, 4-6 p.m., the Center will host guest speakers Kevin Miller, M.D., a local and state activist on campaign financing, and Margaret Koster of Willits, Co-Coordinator of Mendocino County’s Move to Amend (MTA). They will address this critical challenge to our democracy. Proposition 59 on this November’s ballot is a relevant Citizens United advisory measure that will give California voters a voice on this most pressing political issue of our time. The public is invited to attend this free event, with donations at the door designed simply to defray expenses. RSVPs are encouraged by phoning 962-3101 before July 19th. !

Rodney R. Jones

Box 189, Mendocino, CA 95460

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Just when you thought the 24/7 texting zombies might be the end of civilization as we've known it, along comes the "Pokémon Go" crowd. One mindless step down from the texters. Who knew it could get worse? Pokémon Goers are the cultural/visual equivalent of a full-blown leaf-blower of the mind. Garbage in, garbage out. If this doesn't help get Donald Trump elected — nothing will. And if that doesn't work, "Jerry Springer for Pokémon Go president." We deserve no less.

Neil Davis


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Most people believe the system is rigged, because it is. Any belief in fairness was erased with the exoneration of all charges against Hillary Clinton. She went to great lengths to intentionally and illegally set up private servers to send and receive classified information. The FBI has determined that Hillary Clinton had no intent and is simply extremely careless and does not possess the judgment any reasonable person would have concerning the handling of classified information.

Anyone else who behaved as Clinton did would have been found grossly negligent, not extremely careless. There is no difference except to parse words to let her off the hook. The rest of us pay our taxes, obey the law, don't cheat and don't lie.

We are held to a higher standard than the Clintons. Hillary Clinton has said if she had to do it over, she would have followed the rules. She is only sorry that she got caught. This extremely careless person who lacks reasonable judgment expects us to accept the double standard and vote her in as our next president. No wonder so many people are just fed up with the status quo. Enough already!

Deborah McMicking

San Francisco

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To whom it may concern: If the U.S. is allowed to convert over to total liberalism and political correctness and anti-Americanism we are doomed as a country. Where are the Americans who built this country? Hiding under their bedsheets? People are killing our law enforcement demonstrating totally against the law. When are we Americans going to stand up and say enough is enough? If we could get rid of people like Barack Obama, John Kerry, Hillary & Bill Clinton, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Mary Nichols, Gavin Newsom and Jerry Brown we would be a lot better off. God Bless Donald Trump.

Jerry Philbrick


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It is time for Good citizens to support law enforcement as we maintain Public Safety. If you are silent, you are not helping. I am asking for you to tell our local Deputies, Police Officers, CHP Officers and probation officers that they are supported. I have people tell me that I am supported everyday, but the men and women who are patrolling our streets need to hear you. I'm an office guy, these folks face danger every day.

May God Bless America as we bury more officers who were assassinated.

May God Bless those men and women who maintain the Thin Blue Line which separates civility from anarchy.

I am beyond being pissed off. I am scared that our Great Nation will succumb to anarchy.

To the Men and Women who keep us safe, Thank You from the bottom of my hurting heart.

Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman

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