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Letters (Aug 17, 2016)

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You have probably heard of Kevin Starr, the California historian. I found this passage about Boonville/Anderson Valley and Boontling in his book, "The Dream Endures — California Enters the 1940s," and I thought you might be interested in printing it in the AVA.

Keith Bramstedt

San Anselmo

Enclosed: "Near Ukiah, in the Anderson Valley, an Ozark world of rural whites with their own special patois, Boontling, brought added color to the region. Boontling had emerged at the turn of the century among the hardscrabble ranchers, lumberjacks, hop growers and sheepherders of Anderson Valley centered on the hamlet of Boonville. It was, in its heyday, a joyous Li'l Abner world, free, frank, exuberant, given to barn dances, baseball games, moonshine liquor, and linguistic and sexual gusto, all of it accompanied, day and night, by fiddles, banjos and harmonicas. Scholars would later see in Boontling an argot possessed of a rather high degree of inclusiveness and flexibility. Not surprisingly, given the lifestyle of the Anderson Valley, a significant percentage of the vocabulary was devoted to liquor, sex, fiddle music, baseball, local feuds, and putting it over on outsiders. Bits and pieces of Boontling seeped into the general Northern California vocabulary: horn, for example, meaning a drink, or hoot, meaning a laugh."

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This letter is about the half cent sales tax proposed to be put on the ballot in November to create a new bureaucracy for the homeless and mentally impaired people. I am certainly not against taking care of our problem people, but what concerns me a lot more is where we are headed. This is not only a Mendocino County problem, but most cities, counties and federal governments are having the same problems.

Here is the scenario that has been going on for years. Since government has no competition for cost, they are a monopoly. There is absolutely no reason to be efficient and stay within their budgets. What is really needed to be put on the ballot is a measure that would make it impossible for any of these government agencies to raise any money more than they get now. No taxes. No fees. Absolutely no more money from the public.

The rub now comes as politicians usually find ways to get around such laws. What also is necessary on this ballot would be a part that makes people who come up with a method to raise more money than is already being extracted personally held responsible. Like lowering their compensation.

Consider that most governments are collecting more money than ever but it's never enough. Since the 1990s all parts of our governments have grown and subsequently our standard of living has gone down as we have been less competitive as a nation.

Just think, in the 1970s we built a national superhighway system of some 24,000 miles. Yes, I said 24,000 miles in some 10 years. That meant buying right always, building hundreds of bridges, moving mountains of dirt.

Today we can't even upkeep all those roads. BART took eight years to rebuild the railroad from Santa Rosa to San Rafael on the existing right-of-ways. The base rock was in place and all other parts still in place. During the early part of the 19th century they built a railroad from San Francisco to Eureka in that same amount of time with equipment that was maybe 10% of the equipment they have today. And this is what all governments do. Why? No competition. The solution: no matter what they try to raise it for, it's people who cause things to happen and it's these people who should be held accountable for their actions.

Emil Rossi


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It is apparent that you do not realize that the new courthouse is needed as a source of patronage. How can the county government hire new county workers, or contract for more private security guards, without the excuse of a new courthouse?

Of course, a rational county government would have grabbed the Palace Hotel ruins via eminent domain, and built the new courthouse next door to the old one. Result: an eyesore eliminated, and a new courthouse convenient to the old one. However, we are in Mendo-schemeo!



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FFA 2016


It was nice of Bob Dempel to talk to you about the AV FFA members who showed at the Redwood Empire Fair. The picture you published is from 5 or so years ago at a Lion's Club Easter breakfast. I have attached a picture of this year's AV FFA exhibitors at the Redwood Empire Fair. They are a great group.


Thank you,

Beth Swehla, AV High, Boonville

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To the Editor:

The next meeting of the Mendocino County Public Broadcasting Board of Directors (KZYX) takes place on Monday, August 29th, at the Point Arena Library at 6 pm. The address is: 225 Main St, Point Arena, CA 95468

The public needs to attend this very important meeting. We need to know why Lorraine Dechter just resigned as the station's general manager and why Raoul van Hall resigned as the station's program director a few months ago. Both Lorraine and Raoul are public radio professionals with impressive resumes and tons of credibility.

Why did they resign? Indeed, what's going on at KZYX?

And does Ms. Dechter's resignation mean that former KZYX Board President, and current Board Director, Stuart "Stewie" Campbell, get the general manager's job he so desperately wanted back in December when he tried to hijack the hiring process and bypass Lorraine Dechter?

John Sakowicz, Ukiah

KZYX Director (2013-2016), Treasurer (2014),

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For all the decades that his self-advertisements have appeared in the AVA, it is clear that Craig Stehr's "Warm spiritual greetings" have been little but a mask for "Cold financial demands." His letters have almost exclusively focused on two obsessions: that he is so enlightened and selfless that the readers owe him money, and that a bunch of slackers owe him $55 for a utility bill. With a little psychobabble and vague claims of great suffering on his part on our behalf to leaven the loaf, that is all he has ever had to say.

Now that Stehr has $150,000 in the bank, maybe he has forgiven the $55. If he is so transcendently yogic that even God owes him money, he should donate his $150,000 to the Seva Foundation, for example, where some real work, not spiritual blather and posing, may occur. God will make it up to you, won't He, Craig? So consider the admonitions of Jesus Christ as to the rich and their possessions. And drop the Holiness Horseshit. The 70s are over.

Jay Williamson

Santa Rosa

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World Key Climate Target May Be Missed

This letter follows several letters I have written on the subject of climate change. The Paris climate negotiations in December set a goal to limit warming to 1.5C as measured in relation to pre-industrial temperatures. The goal of 1.5C is to avoid the melting of polar ice, coral reef destruction and extreme sea level rises among other potential disasters. It is anticipated goals will be set to abandon all coal-burning stations and halt the use of combustion engines possibly within 15 years. This goal would be extremely difficult to meet. Unfortunately, 2016 has been the hottest year on record and now at +1.38C and it appears keeping within the 1.5C limit will be very difficult to meet. Discussions are on going as to how soon as a practical manner we can can achieve zero carbon emission. One factor not discussed is our need to achieve zero population growth. Projections anticipate from now to 2050 a population growth of several billion people will bring the world population to 10 billion. Much of the growth will be in third world countries. The ability of world agriculture to feed these additional people is nil. Certainly, one of the big problems in slowing population growth are religious groups that resist taking meaningful steps to stop population growth.

In peace and Love,

Jim Updegraff


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This is a great letter. I know that because I'm an amazing letter writer read and write unbelievable letters.

Most of the letters in this paper are poor letters. Really bad letters. I guarantee this letter is very great. Other letter writers are morons and losers. Total losers. They're disgusting.

I learned to write really amazing letters at Trump University. Really great college. Huge. Other universities are killing letter writing. They teach politically correct letter writing. Give me a break! I write it like it is.

You have to be really smart to write a letter like this. And believe me, I'm really smart. Other letter writers are idiots. I'm telling you. Believe me. Believe me.

The rumor that I have a ghostwriter is a total lie. From lying letter writers. I'm suing all of them. And I will win. I'm a winner. I write all my own letters. That's why they're very, very good. People love my letters. Everybody loves my letters. I am the best letter writer.

I am making letters great again! Okay? You hear me? You don't need to write letters. Leave it to me. I am your voice.

If the editor doesn't print this great letter it's because this paper is rigged.

Drew Fagan


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Hare Creek EIR scoping meeting

Here is the announcement:

Dear community members,

Citizens for Appropriate Coastal Land Use (CACLU) want to inform you that the "scoping session" for the Hare Creek Shopping Center Environmental Impact Report (EIR) will be September 19 from 6 to 8 pm at Town Hall in Fort Bragg. We hope that you will share your key environmental concerns and issues in regards to this mall. We need to identify potential & significant impacts and determine the extent of those.

Please put this date in your calendar, show up early ready to speak and ready to turn in a written statement. We can share our concerns with the EIR consultants Michael Baker International who were awarded the EIR contract on July 25, 2016.

The project entails three separate buildings totaling 29,500 sq. ft. and covers about 3.92 acres on the west side of Hwy 1 in Fort Bragg. The mall would be anchored by a Grocery Outlet, has 99 parking spaces and would be located at the gateway to Fort Bragg (corner of Hwy 1 and Hwy 20).

The owner and developer of this project is Bill Patton who owns two other malls in Fort Bragg (Boatyard Shopping Center & Franklin Street Shopping Center) where the DMV is located. There are at least 8 empty buildings in these structures and altogether the city has currently about 20 empty business spaces.

It is good urban planning to fill the core, not the outlying areas of Fort Bragg with business. This creates a more livable town that appeals to people who want to explore it by foot. The stores on Franklin Street started emptying when the Boatyard Shopping Center was built. Would the Hare Creek Center Shopping Center cause similar blight?

Please attend the "EIR scoping session" and let the consultants know that there are visual & aesthetic issues and/or issues with sufficient water storage & supply. Do you believe that the neighboring shallow wells or the local rivers carrying endangered & threatened salmon and steelhead trout could be impacted? Do you think we should reserve this land for open space, or a performing arts center, or for the development of Mendocino College? Do you think that we need a new Cultural Resources Evaluation Report, and/or a new waste water, traffic, air quality and/or noise study? Do you think we need yet another corporate franchise business in Fort Bragg? Should the Grocery Outlet be located in that parcel? Is there a reason why development did not happen at that site so far even though the owner/developer wanted to develop this site since 1991? Would you like to see the new Coastal Development Permit, the new Use Permit, the new Design Review, and the new Lot Line Adjustment? Would you like to see the minutes of the Hare Creek Ad Hoc Committee? Do you have any other concerns? Please share them with the EIR consultants on September 19.

There are only a few days left for candidates who want to file nomination papers in order to become city council members.

Please share these news on face book, among your friends and/or any other way you can.

Thanks, Citizens for Appropriate Coastal Land Use

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To the Editor:

I see the article in paper about protesting MRC hack and squirt. The protesters started to protest only when drought was very bad and criteria changed that put their property in danger. I get that. I hate when someone starts an illegal open fire in my backyard. Protection, I understand. But the process has been going on for a long, long, time. Don’t pretend it’s for the environment now, it’s for property owners. And because of fire danger, adjustments should be made. But MRC is trying to eradicate an invasive species.

It’s not simple, it’s complicated. So no one in the protest group have pulled out new trees or eradicated blackberries or other thorny maddening plants, like sycamore trees in their own yards?

MRC gave away young Redwoods for people to plant, but the employees in the booth stated no one wanted them. I was the only one who took some. How odd.The people that protest didn’t take free Redwoods to plant in their yards? All of us live in wood houses, or build new homes. We use logged wood. We are the consuming masses. And yet some don’t see themselves as part of the equation or the problem. In my opinion, which goes back to many years ago, the eco systems and water sheds are being destroyed by pot growers. But no one in the protest circle has protested that on the front page of the local paper.

Only legitimate companies are monitored, and they get protested. The exception to protesting pot grows, was maybe my letters. The huge pot raids now, have come, and now in 2016 the public is fighting the growth of a pot industry that hasn’t been in check for years. And now in 2016, when pot is going to be legal, there is talk about banning new growers? Is it really for environmental damage or to protect the vast illegal growers so the price of pot stays up?

Absolutely no one is protesting until it affects them personally. Who really cares and has cared about the forest, wildlife and water sheds all along?

Check out MRC’s office, and do a tour, if they will allow it. They have done logging as best they can, and have more overhead spending because of their commitment to the future of the landscapes they are changing. Has any protester in that circle taken the time to investigate the real story? They have microbiologists, they replace timber with new plantings, plus actually have properties that will never ever, be logged. Could you say the same for thousands of pot grows? Approximately 5,000 Pot grows? Do they even try to put properties back to normal for a future of forest growth? So protest in a circle for tan oaks and forget about the pot grows. And forget about planting indigenous trees instead of lawns or flowers. Because until we all realize it is not just corporations but individual use and practises that is causing climate change nothing will change. WE Are all part of the problem. I don’t think hack and squirt during a drought is good practise, but I’m not making villains out of a company that I know is at least making an extreme effort to do logging as well as possible.

Take individual responsibility, just for yourself, and if a company is doing wrong, ask for change, but don’t ask anymore, more than what you ask of yourself, otherwise, it’s hypocritical and only because it affects you personally. Take a Redwood and plant it in your yard next time. Water your trees instead of lawns or pot. Protect the water sheds from abise by everyone! Please save the earth from loss. Because the earth’s loss, is our loss.

Catherine A. Lair


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August 6, 2016

In my letters I will change the names of prisoners to protect the guilty. I just got some paper from Lynette Fromme. All mine is used up until commissary Wednesday.

Saturday with Simmons, the cruel and unusual? Looking back on my first couple of days here, Simmons may have violated 146 PC: My snivel is, I had written to the AVA first thing when I got here. I put two pages (wrapped in toilet paper packaging to keep them together), rolled, scroll-like on the shelf in my cell. Simmons took them while I was out of my cell. (I can't recall why I was out, shower perhaps, it was seven weeks ago on the other side.) When I returned my little scroll was gone. I asked Simmons what was up and she said she threw it away. I got the attention of my friend Susan Atkins. She actually dug in the trash looking for it for me. I saw through my window. No luck. At this point I must say something good about Simmons: I'm blind as a bat, have a strong prescription for my astigmatism with 450 reading glasses. Susan offered her readers as I had no specs at all. Simmons passed them to me, something she did not have to do. And I am very grateful to her for that.

Well then, back to doing Simmons fourth step for her. This is amusing and revealing in my humble opinion and it deserves reporting on. It's pretty easy to record interchange between Simmons and I verbatim. The banter is short in duration and occurs through a 5" x 16" slot.

Saturday, August 6, 1415: I asked for the dictionary (so I could look up oppression).

Simmons: Where is it? (Mind you, I only leave this tiny cell in the middle of the night for 45 minutes.)

Me: "You said you had it the other day."

Simmons: "I gave it to the other wing." It is clearly labeled Wing 1.) She walks away.

1420: I asked for toilet paper. She gave me that blank look she gets and wandered off without a word to me to chat with the girls in the day room. When she finished talking she walked over to stand by the exit waiting to be popped out. I shouted, "Hey Simmons! I need toilet paper!"

She shot back: "I'm not gonna stop what I'm doing. I'll get it later."

1500: She shoves the TP through the slot. I jump at the chance to inquire as to why Wing 2 has acquired Wing 1's dictionary. Simmons states: "Because no one was using it." What actually happened was she took possession of the dictionary in the first place as myself or another inmate upstairs (they had been on lock down a lot) usually had it and were using it. (I was copying the periodic table of elements when it was in my possession.) More than once when Patricia Krenwinkle sought it I did not have it. Finally Simmons took it so she would know where it was.

1540: Simmons puts her face to my little window and gives this (late) "response": "The dictionary over there is theirs (Wing 2, I'm guessing.) I don't know what happened to the one over here." (?)

I had the phone today. Simmons was kind enough to let me use it. As luck would have it I only got through to Mike after a couple of hours. My door swung open. I was five minutes into the call when Simmons demanded the phone -- now! I quickly asked Mike to look up the definition of oppression and hung up. Simmons pulled the rolling phone unit from my cell. She is the only CO who takes the phone midconversation. Not even when other COs have the hard-ass male deputies do they just take the phone even if I am not on it. They asked first if I am finished with it.

I did get the chance to ask Mike to get the documentation regarding my back surgery from Queen of the Valley medical center regarding my back surgery. Simmons handcuffs me behind my back to go to the nurse which makes it damn near impossible. Mike said, "Why didn't you show them your scar?" I said, "I tried to." Like I said in my last letter, the medical staff behaves like totally different people in Simmons' presence. It boggles the mind.

August 8, 2016: Back from court. The 23 day eggshell walk begins. Since my letters have caught Simmons (and likely other staff's attention). I am thinking they are looking for new ways to punish me. Therefore I am following rules to the letter. I considered asking for reclassification to be in general population but there are criminals out there! They may get me into trouble, especially on the orange side. I'm serious! Most here have the desire to be clean and sober. I am willing to go to any length to stay off booze and meth. Because of drugs and fights with my spouse and Joe Strahan, my probation officer insists on a psych eval. There was talk in court of prohibiting my use of medical marijuana. This would not be a good idea. Had I just stopped with the marijuana maintenance (after my surgery) that was assistive to my recovery time of 18 years all would have been well. However, fluctuations in availability, political climate in spurts of inflated economics (with meth everywhere) during the bipolar seasons of California marijuana laws spiking during the past few years, all made the perfect storm in which the responsible use of marijuana as a pain reliever/depression medication and harm reduction tool was difficult to access and prove its value. On a personal level, new in my marriage I chose to stop attending 12 step meetings, the backbone of my recovery. Early on I feared socialization. (My husband is young and sexy.)

I truly need assistance from those in the know to provide me with clinical information that I can forward to probation to support my theory that cannabis is a safe and effective and intelligent alternative to pharmaceutical pain and psych meds. Please! Anyone reading this who can help, please send information to me, Eros Nelson #156, 951 Low Gap Road, Ukiah, CA 95482, or to my spousal unit Michael Nelson, 16 301 Mitchell Creek Drive, Fort Bragg, CA 95437. Thank you so much!

I know my letters contain quite a lot of whining, so it may not be as clear as it should be: I am immensely grateful for this experience. I love to be clean and sober and live life in a decent and respectable fashion. I am filled with immense gratitude for the man God has chosen to make my husband. We were just talking on the phone and he informed me he's paying my overdue credit accounts I have with local merchants and he opened my tickets from the Golden Gate Bridge Authority (seems I evaded tolls a few times). He's paying those too! He pays for our phone calls and my commissary. I am truly blessed! I can get used to being treated like this! I sleep easily and comfortably at night (even on this mattress) knowing he's spending his days helping our pastor and my mom and cleaning up our little home and farm.

There is talk of my grandbabies' other grandma moving on to the property. This would be a dream come true for I adore Judy.

Closing Gripe: a thick green mattress was being taken out of the newly vacated cell next door. (My back hurts terribly.) As I watched through the door, I said, "May I have that mattress? Reply: "No." I said, "What?" Answer, "What part of no don't you understand?" Oh well.

Love from the inside.

Eros Nelson #156

Mendocino County Jail, Ukiah

PS. August 9, 1400. Prayer and a good lunch changes everything. The food here is surprisingly good. There is not enough of it in Skinner has been replaced by two do-it-yourself sandwiches. But Sunday's lunch is exceptional. Today was one of the great days. Turkey burgers with perfect fresh lettuce, tomato, onions and pickles. Side of beans, corn, macaroni salad and watermelon! Prepared deliciously. I am a happy prisoner.

My happy list, I came upon Keith Richard's bio, "A Life." It's my kind of read. Then my friend I met in here a few weeks ago: Cherri Pie was moved into the cell next door. When it's quiet she and I can talk. Human contact! Thank you Lord. I have much to be happy about.

On the outs my mate is working for our pastor, Grace Community's very own Greg Escher. (Thank you some more, God.). Now my husband, sweet daddy that he is, will have the means to give me sugar in the form of eyeglasses and a three-week subscription to the Advocate since Greg can probably run right by the newspaper office during the workday. I'm fully elated that Cherry Pie is next door.

Cherri is a houseless local, Emerald Triangle nomad nymph. She and I share a similar taste in music and art, ebulliance noir!

Low Gap became her stopover when JD went mental and she cracked her man in the melon with the drained receptacle. She will be here a bit longer, but in six weeks I've seen miraculous change in her. Another upside to this place is watching girls who have hit bottom blossom as they get sober. Makeover by metamorphosis makes me smile. I would like to make a public request: if someone could find it in their heart to put $20 on her books: Cherri Roberts #67619. God bless you. She is a very kind and loving girl who has been kind to me from the start. I have money on my books, but there is no way for me to transfer funds or goods. So I publicly plead: help a sister out! She doesn't even go to trial until September 22 and some zuzus and wham-whams make a big difference when you got nothing. Plus, knowing someone, somewhere cares somewhat is a spirit lifter, both for the giver and the receiver.

Feeling Low Gap lovely…

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