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Letters (March 8, 2017)

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The Anderson Valley Variety Show Executive Committee wants to extend a BIG THANK YOU to everyone in our community and beyond that helped make the 26th annual Variety Show such a smashing success.

The show went off with nary a hitch, thanks to the crew, new and old, that are so involved with every aspect of putting the show on at the AV Grange. We were so fortunate and grateful for our skillful, selfless community members who give so much of themselves to make the show happen.

Our acts this year were all spectacular, on Friday night in particular, we were proud to host a Guinness Book World Record holder (for long distance tap dancing), as well as one of the funniest animal acts ever seen on the stage.  We also got the culmination of many years’ experience on stage, as we saw so many young performers giving their last efforts before leaving AV for parts beyond.  We will sure miss them, and we look forward to seeing where their creative endeavors, honed on our Grange stage, may take them next.

We want to be sure to express our gratitude to our audience, the most enthusiastic, forgiving, encouraging, supportive, and friendly group ever to grace a community hall.  The Show certainly wouldn’t be what it is without all of you, and we are privileged to have the opportunity to perform for you all.  Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for showing up for us again and again, laughing at our jokes, and cheering us on.  The culmination of our efforts is what we have to share.

From All of Us to All of You, many thanks, and see you next year!

AV Variety Show Executives


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Thanks, AVA and Mark Scaramella…

…For the continuing series of in-depth interviews with Deputy Orell Massey of MCSO. It’s good for us average citizens to hear clearly spoken, honest talk about the everyday challenges faced by our law enforcement officers. And it’s also good for us to hear what it’s truly like for a black deputy to work in our county. Deputy Massey’s feedback about the racism he’s faced over the years makes his service here even more admirable.
Years ago when I was a CPS supervisor , I attended a seminar on methamphetamine, taught by a lieutenant from one of the Sonoma County police departments, In an interesting aside, the lieutenant spoke of officers who begin police work and remain in this duty for a long time. He noted that at the 7-8 year mark, a good officer comes to perform police work as an “art form.” He meant, I think, that the field experiences over the years, and the learning and refinement of the work that take place over the years, mold an officer into someone who uses his whole being—his intellect, training, experience, grit, wisdom and humanity, in performing this hard and dangerous work. (In my years at CPS, I saw social workers who stayed in the work for this amount of time come to exhibit a similar evolution of skill and professionalism.)

Clearly, Deputy Massey is a deputy who has performed his work in such a manner. Law enforcement is public service work that the vast majority of us could not do. We owe Deputy Massey great thanks for his service. Your interviews with him are surely a part of that gratitude.

Chuck Dunbar


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To Deputy Massey: It is too bad I didn’t know you were a former Marine when I was teaching at River Community School. I think I could have more effectively dissuaded my students from having such a bad attitude about you. Semper Fi.

Dr. Ernest Jones (USMC 1968-1971)

Potter Valley

PS. My time in Marine Corps Boot Camp was not as bad as Massey described, but it was tough enough for a 20 year old to grow up. I am thankful for the experience, and proud to be a former Marine. Served 1968-1971.

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In the summer of 1972, I was inside LA’s regional HQ of the McGovern Presidential Campaign when I heard cheering coming from the director’s office downstairs. Curious, I peeked in and saw on the TV how “the Plumbers” that had recently burglarized the Democratic Party’s National HQ at Watergate had just been connected to Nixon’s inner circle and, presumably, to Nixon himself. “The smoking Gun,” it was, and people were cheering because they figured Nixon was toast.

But, in the mass media, the story “sank beneath the radar” for months and Nixon and his crew—the butchers of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam—won reelection by promising “Peace with Honor.”  When, over two years later, the appropriate authorities finally verified that the smoking gun was indeed smoking and that Nixon was in fact the triggerman and he got escorted to the door (and pardoned and, ala the magic of The One True Eternal Party, “rehabilitated” into an American Patriot), his regime’s saturation bombings across all of Indochina had proven beyond all reasonable doubt that peace was indeed at hand for the helpless Indochinese.

The other day Trump’s “smoking gun” was revealed on the Rachel Maddow Show. Her info was based on an article in the New Yorker (?) and none of the other media has picked up on as yet, which stinks because it’s the real deal maker: Trump earns $100 million laundering Russian mob money in a cash real estate transaction in Palm Beach, Florida. Go to and view the 2/27/17 show. An outstanding, Bible-thick espionage novel reduced to a charming 20 minute monologue. You won’t be disappointed.

Bruce Patterson

Prineville, Oregon

PS: Regarding all this talk about the tyranny of “political correctness.” Here’s an outstanding example: “While slavery was in many ways a harsh and cruel system, it did allow Africans to make contact with Christianity and Civilization.”

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Only a scumbag would throw a trash bag or three off a road in our beautiful valley. This morning I saw three new trash bags on County Road D before the second cattle guard. I feel like climbing down the hill and looking in the bags for the scumbag’s address! Then drive to their house and dump them in their driveway so they can look at it for a year or three like I will have to after the critters open the bags and spread their trash on the hillside. I will drive by each day I go to work and see the work of a subhuman who lives here and has shit for brains. I know the dump fees are going up, but that is no reason to be a scumbag with a trashbag.

Andy Jones


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To the Editor,

The Orr Springs Road closure is having a huge impact on reservations and revenues at Orr Hot Springs Resort, which is located at 13201 Orr Springs Road, several miles beyond the sinkhole at milepost 39.20. The road closure impacts local employment and will soon impact on County taxes. I'll explain.

Although I am a weekend employee of Orr Hot Springs Resort -- and love Orr Hot Springs and would work here for nothing (I love the place that much!) -- as a disclaimer, I must be crystal clear that I am not writing on behalf of anyone at the Orr Hot Springs Resort. I am writing this letter as a private citizen only.

In short, and as might be expected, the road closure is very bad news for Orr Hot Springs What was formerly a 25-minute trip by car from Route 101, North State Street exit to Orr Hot Springs Resort, is now easily a two-hour trip for local residents on alternative, often difficult, routes.

For Bay Area guests, the news is even worse. THe principal route is now a long and arduous trip. Guests from the Bay Area must take the Rt. 128 exit on Rt. 101 in Cloverdale, drive through Yorkville, then Boonville, drive past Navarro, take Flynn Creek Road, drive to Comptche-Ukiah Road, and finally drive to Orr Hot Springs Resort.

The current Comptche-Ukiah Road conditions remind me of those road conditions on Orr Springs Road -- only worse.

The Comptche-Ukiah Road is well off the beaten path, and road conditions are dangerous in places, with huge potholes and rock slides, due to the recent flooding. Pothole damage to tires and vehicles is not uncommon. Folks not familiar with the Comptche-Ukiah Road, and driving too fast, have complained of tire damage, wheel rim damage, wear to shocks and struts, suspension damage (including broken components), and steering system misalignment.

Bottom line? Alternative routes to Orr are long and slow.

Hence, as you might expect, Orr Hot Springs Resort has experienced a drop in reservations, especially during the week, and that translates as a loss of revenue to Orr. Ultimately the loss of revenue means a loss of tax revenue for Mendocino County. I'll explain.

Orr Hot Springs Resort had approximately $2.1 million in revenue in 2016.

In 2016, Orr paid something like $65,869 in Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), and $6,624 in Business Improvement District (BID), which doesn't seem like much, however Orr only pays tax on the "motel" portion of the room rent, which is $90.00 per room/yurt, or $160.00 per Cottage. It does not pay TOT or BID on the soaking fee portion of its rates.

The big thing to keep in mind is that Orr grossed $2.1 million, which is money flowing into the county from primarily outside sources (tourism).

Then, there are Orr's property taxes.

According to the County Tax Assessor's website at , the Orr property is valued at $2.4 million, which I think is about $24,000 in property taxes. I'm not sure what the business is valued at, and what the taxes for that are.

Also very importantly, Orr Hot Springs Resort is an employer. Orr provides about 1,100 hours of work every 2 weeks (28,600 hours/year), for residents of Mendocino County, with a minimum starting wage of $15.00/hr. The average hourly wage is higher -- easily over $20.00/hr.

A drop in reservations means that Orr must cut hours for some workers.

Finally, the owner of Orr Hot Springs Resort gives generously to local charities. In 2016, Orr made $20,000 in cash donations. My own public affairs show at the Mendocino Environmental Center and KMEC Radio received a $1,000 gift. At the recent gala on Valentine's Day weekend to benefit the Mendocino County AIDS/Viral Hepatitis Network (MCAVHN), Orr Hot Springs Resort bought three tables. Orr Hot Springs Resort also makes $10,000 to $20,000 in in-kind donations in Mendocino County annually.

Orr Hot Springs Resorts a good neighbor. Now is the time to help Orr Hot Springs Resort. The Bailey bridge must be deployed as soon as possible.

I am encouraged by efforts made by Director of Transpiration, Howard Dashiell. On February 22, he issued an RFP for assistance in deploying the County's 150-foot Bailey bridge. The RFP was subject to Caltran's Emergency Repair System and their Emergency Bid Procedures. On February 24, Director Dashiell held a bidders conference.

I, along with many other County residents, look forward to a progress report on the Bailey bridge deployment.

Again, I emphasize that I write this letter as a private citizen only. I love Orr Hot Springs Resort. They are good neighbors. And they are responsible stewards of a sacred, environmentally fragile place which local Pomo Indians starting visiting hundreds of years ago, if not longer.

Pomo Native Americans regularly passed through this vibrant spot on trading expeditions and on annual treks to the Mendocino coast. Unfriendly tribes agreed to co-exist peacefully while stopping at the hot springs.

In the late 1800s, “Orr Hot Sulphur Springs” became a resting spot on the Ukiah-Mendocino stagecoach line. It developed into a popular resort for city-dwellers who came seeking health and wellness. The mineral waters were heralded as bringing great relief to arthritis and rheumatism, and to blood, kidney and liver disorders.

Visitors come today for the deep peace they find at Orr Hot Springs. I tell my friends that at Orr you can "hear the silence."

Thank you.

John Sakowicz


Ed Note: Years ago Orr Springs was recommended in all the travel guides, including Triple A’s. None of the guides mentioned that the facility was “clothing optional.” One night, a disoriented family, small children in tow, from somewhere in the Midwest appeared seeking the rustic accommodations they’d read about, only to be met at the door by an irate naked man who screamed at them, “Can’t you see I’m wearing my quiet beads?”

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David Eyster, Mendocino County DA

Dear Sir,

We are contacting you to request that you  take any actions appropriate to encourage the FBPD to enforce existing laws and regulations  for the transient population in Fort Bragg.    This growing number of homeless people has caused a dramatic increase in town of public drunkenness,  blatant use of drugs on the streets, illegal camping and living in vehicles, trespassing, vandalism and robberies, littering, using the streets as a toilet, loitering, panhandling, etc etc etc.

The lack of enforcement is one of the factors attracting more and more uncivil behavior, and damage to the local economy, plus destruction of our quality of life, and lowering of property values.   After 43  years here on the coast, we no longer enjoy going to town to walk around and visit friends, shop, and dine.    We must remember to lock the car, and at home, a mile outside city limits, we have had to i crease our security measure, as the transients have spilled over to outlying areas.

It seems that FBPD prefers to order vagrants to move on, rather than cite them for violations, and many businesses have given up in frustration calling  the PD when problems arise,  because nothing is done to the perpetrators, except a scolding.

When asked by Mayor Peters  for stricter enforcement of the laws and regulations governing the  problems mentioned above, Chief Lizzarago angrily responded that he cannot and will not violate their civil rights.    Homelessness is not a crime, but when the homeless break laws, we believe our police should do the job paid for by our tax dollars, and enforce the laws.    The Chief seems to forget that residents and business owners have rights too.   Perhaps you could remind him.

We appreciate whatever you can do to help correct the problem of lax enforcement, and ease the negative impacts it has caused here.  Perhaps more background checks would help identify the criminal element, including those with out standing warrants, and VOP.

Thank you for your time and attention,

Alice and Douglas Chouteau

Fort Bragg

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Dear Editor,

Of the latest declarations by Trump, I am most upset by the increasing funding for militarization of the American experience. He proposes huge increases in Pentagon funding, NSA funding, border patrol personnel and equipment, and private prisons. This is taking us in the direction of more military policing everywhere. Is this what we really want or need? Crime is at a historic low, immigration has been decreasing for years, and military equipment in local police forces has alienated a large part of the populace. Trump also declares the “the USA has to start winning wars again.” What wars does he have in mind? To have a “win” you have to have an opponent. Who shall USA batter next? Maybe the “safe zones” he wants to establish in Syria? That will only lead to foot-soldiers once again on the ground in a Middle East country. That didn’t work out too well last time, as we recall. To spend great deals of taxpayers money on militarization means to buy more armaments, more nuclear bombs, more spy equipment; as well as pass on the “old” equipment to local police forces. Who does this benefit but the huge arms manufacturers? Is this the employment scheme Trump has in mind? Think long and hard on this one, as he ratchets up the war machine.

Rixanne Wehren


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Pit bulls -- Pit bulls rule the dog world in Albion. With the exception of Eiber Dobermans, they provide "in-house" protection for the predominant herbal product from the "family farms" of the Albion Nation. The pit bulls are really just dogs. When brought up with tenderness, they are sweet and friendly. They, like terriers, have a "fighting edge." They were created like English Bulldogs, bull mastiffs and German police dogs so they can be overprotective and may well kill you if you threaten their loved ones or their property. Beware.

Alan Captain Fathom Graham


One Comment

  1. PK March 27, 2017

    I lived in CA back in the 80’s and did not notice litter, but was there last year and my Lord! Do people even care? Who is doing this? Do they teach kids not to be slobs anymore?

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