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Letters (Dec. 7, 2016)

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Dear Locals,

We at Libby’s would like to thank you for the past 20 years of patronage. As a thank you to all of our loyal customers we will be having one last Farewell Feast at no cost to our customers. Please join us Sunday, December 11th from 4-6pm for a buffet style feast provided by us. There will be a no-host bar available. We hope to see all of you there, thank you for your many years of dedication.

Jose & Libby Favela


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Just moments ago I hung up from talking with a Mendocino County Building Inspector. He told me that the only allowable use for a yurt in Mendocino is storage.

What prompted me in this yurt direction was the discovery Friday of a list of code violations for Blackbird Farm that included two mentions of yurts. "Yurt #1— Unpermitted structure, restrooms and deck. Lack of approved heat source— Unvented gas heater observed." Yurt #2 was similar without the restrooms and deck. Upon reading this I had emailed County Code Enforcement personnel for an explanation. First thing this morning (Monday) I received the following reply,

Good morning David,

I can let you know that there is an ongoing investigation and that Code Enforcement is working with the owners towards compliance at this time.

Thank you for your concern.

For future reference, you may fill out a complaint form and turn it into our Dept. and we will always follow up and look into the matter.

Thank you,

Lisa Washburn

Code Enforcement Officer

By all accounts Blackbird Farm has been using the yurts to house the "students" brought in from their beginning back in 2013. With a new batch having just arrived last Thursday, they continue to do so as I write. That would make it four years of unpermitted and according to the Inspector unpermittable use. I don't understand the "…working with the owners toward compliance…" Compliance would and should be "Get the kids outtathere right now!"

I don't have the timing down but a year or two ago an Anderson Valley-raised, attractive and energetic young couple built a yurt on the lower hills above the north side of Philo to use as their residence. I did not inspect the place but knowing the pair I feel certain it was not a rag-tag hippyshack. They were almost immediately red-tagged and kicked out with an admonition, "no plumbing, no electric, no heat."

Here is my reply to the Code Enforcement Officer. But I suppose I must take responsibility for not having turned in a formal complaint four years ago or anytime since regarding the offending yurts. Let us hope it now gets resolved quickly.


Thank you for the prompt reply, but I am left a little bewildered. Common knowledge around Anderson Valley is that the yurts have been in use as "student" housing from the beginning of Blackbird Farm back in 2013. That is when they first applied for the Use Permit U_2013-0008 to expand operations. For four years they have been allowed to house children in the yurts??? Andy, an Inspector, just told me that the only permitted use for a yurt in Mendocino is for storage. Be advised, though, since it is also common knowledge, I thought you folks would have been aware, two years ago miraculously on the one night between outgoing and incoming "students" when no one was sleeping inside, a large tree crashed down and demolished one of the yurts. According to staff on site if anyone had been sleeping there "deaths would have occurred."

I know you are busy.

I know you have a very hard job.

Thank you for all that you do.

David Severn


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An Open Letter From The Board of the Small Farmers Association (SFA).

Dear SFA Members,

An employee of the association has been abusing the responsibility and power vested in her, through the board, by the members of the SFA.With disregard for her contract and the bylaws upon which the SFA was founded, this employee has withheld the rolls and contact information of the SFA members from the board. Additionally, she has falsely represented herself as speaking for the SFA as a whole. Furthermore, she has taken money from SFA coffers without board approval for her own wages and ends. This has caused disruption in SFA activities, such as delaying payments to the state tax board for incorporation fees.She has hand picked the people she would like to see sit on the board; established this selection without consultation with the sitting board members; and has set a yearly meeting date, again without consultation with the board.

As per the Association’s Bylaws, new board members must be nominated and voted on at the open yearly meeting. Finally, she has established her own steering committee without board approval.The members of the board who have represented, financed, and managed the activities of the SFA have no interest in continuing to fight for control of this organization. Therefore, we of the board have decided to resign our positions rather than engage in a legal battle for control of the SFA. We urge the membership of the SFA to look for information and representation from other local groups.Thank you for your support over the years,


The SFA Board

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Now that this year's grape crop is in and before next year's season I want to share my thoughts about the wind machines in the Valley (and hope you'll stop writing about them). I have them on both sides of me and I think it is silly to carry on about how bad they are. It does sound like a bunch of helicopters landing outside my house if I open the door but my Monitor heating stove makes more noise in the house and comes on throughout the night. It seems to me that for the few numbers of days they are on in the spring for frost protection it is much better to use the wind and heat from these rather than water which is a scarce resource. Before these came to the valley we heard constantly from you about the vineyards' water use and stream appropriation. These machines cut way down on the water being sprayed on the grapes for frost protection which could be thousands of gallons a minute throughout the valley.

I think if you want to address something that is important, how about Roundup use in the valley? Now that the FDA has told us what we should have already known (that Roundup is a poison and causes cancer), wouldn't that be something more important to everyone? It wouldn't even have to be a negative thing. You could just make a list of the wineries that don't use it. I would say print the list every week so the people visiting our valley know which wines are safe to drink (and which have been sprayed with poison). Hopefully in this way you could make a big change and clear out the poisons that we are all subjected to. It is pretty easy to see who does and who doesn't use it in the early spring when the grass under the vines is either yellow from use or still green. The problem is the tourists who come here in the summer (the buyers) never see that.

You could start the list with Navarro Vineyards who state in their 2016 newsletter that they use no Roundup and that they "control weeds under the vine-row either with babydoll sheep or removal with implements; all are labor intensive, arduous tasks. Although we don't use herbicides we acknowledge that they would be easier and cheaper."

I want to thank my neighbors on both sides of me who do grow grapes and feel conscientiously enough about the environment and who will be drinking their wine to use no Roundup. Ernie and Ruth Anne Kiser across Highway 128 from me and Paul Ardzrooni up the hill from me. Neither have wineries, but have decided to do the right thing.

I really want to thank Paul Ardzrooni who has a business managing many vineyards in the valley but has no winery. He has planted 16 acres of his own vines up the hill from me. I have lived on this property for 40 years and wouldn't drink the water if I knew Roundup was being sprayed on 16 acres above me.

I hope with this letter the wineries in the Valley will send you a note saying they don't use Roundup and you can add it to the list. It could be a "movement," like from Arlo Guthrie song "Alice's Restaurant."

Of course the people who are really being poisoned are the farmworkers spraying the stuff. It may be killing them, but they never complain because they are getting their $13 an hour.

Doug Johnson


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While Obama is still in office he has the power to protect our California Coastline for the next 5 years under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. Since there is hardly any time left for him to protect us it is imperative that everyone act right now and write a letter to the President asking him to do that before he leaves office.

Go to and click on writing to the President

Then if you are on any social media send this info to any social media you are on and to any people in your email list and ask them to do the same. Let's go viral with this as what they have in mind for our coastline is tragic.

Here is a copy of the letter I just wrote.

Dear Mr. President,

While you are still President I beg you to remove any portion of California federal off shore land from leasing to energy companies. Before you leave office under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act you have the power to remove any portion of federal land from leasing to energy companies. By signing that act you can ensure that the California coast has 5 more years of protection from oil development.

I live in Mendocino County and if you don't protect us the Mendocino coast is slated for oil development in 5 areas of our coast: Pt Arena, Little River, Mendocino, Ft. Bragg, and Shelter Cove. That is practically the whole coastline.Although we are a beautiful county, we are not a wealthy county. Our coastline economically supports our fragile fishing and tourism industries. People come here for the sheer beauty of our environment. Being in such beauty positively enhances mental and physical health. Enhanced mental health is important for all the communities that we live in.

Protecting this natural environment is vitally important not only to the residents of Mendocino County but also to all the visitors that come here from all over the United States and elsewhere. It would be a crime to not protect this national treasure for all of the residents of the United States.

Please give us 5 more years of protection. With the present changes of government we definitely need your support now before it is to late.


Benna Kolinsky


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Good day, editor and fellow AVAers,

Walking home during rush hour.

On the horizon a purple line. Birds. Deep blue branches and wings. A white haze above the trees. The red light turned green. And all of the way down Route 1 windows between yellow leaves go dark.

November. Each year is the same: headlights in a long line, leaves burning, a fire in the glass, and the blue sky opens into stars. Stars, so many stars. They line my dreams.

It used to be so easy to be happy to be going home.

Sincerely wind with a blue ocean,

Diana Farina AntiFrack Vance


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Over the last 25 years the Republican Party has been moving steadily rightward, and the Democratic Party has followed this drift.

In 2004 a friend, J.S. sent me a postcard entitled “Early Warning Signs of Fascism”. The card then listed the following:

  • Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
  • Disdain for Human Rights
  • Identification of Enemies as a unifying Cause
  • Supremacy of the Military
  • Rampant Sexism
  • Growing Racism
  • Controlled Mass Media
  • Obsession with National Security
  • Religion and Government Intertwined
  • Corporate Power Protected
  • Labor Power Suppressed
  • Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
  • Obsession with Crime and Punishment
  • Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
  • Fraudulent Elections

Arguably, the Republican Party has now become a Fascist Party. We should call it like it is—Fascism

Now let’s mobilize for battle!

Dr. Nayvin Gordon


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