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Letters (Nov. 15, 2017)

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Dear Anderson Valley Community,

On behalf of the Valley’s veterans and their families, and the local men and women who are currently serving in the military, and their families too, I wish to thank everyone who attended the special Veterans Day of Remembrance that was held at Evergreen Cemetery last Saturday morning, November 11th.

Having been involved in this service since the inaugural event in 2010, I can report that this was the most successful one in terms of attendance. There were 102 people there and the ceremony allowed them to express their deep sense of gratitude for our servicemen and women, both past and present. It provided a time to pay honor and give tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the wars of the past, and also to show respect and appreciation for those who served and returned safely, although perhaps with scars both mental and physical. It also was an opportunity to express support and recognition of those who continue in the present to put themselves in harm’s way to insure the many freedoms we are able to enjoy.

I would particularly like to thank my co-organizer, Kirk Wilder of the American Legion, along with the other key contributors — Patty Liddy, Tom Towey, Neil Darling, Ellen Ingram, Tom English, Tom Condon and The Buckhorn for the post-event complimentary coffee and pastries, and the members of the American Legion.


Steve Sparks


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To the Editor:

I am a 33 year resident of Redwood Valley.

My husband and I stayed home even though we were supposed to evacuate. We knew the fire wasn’t real close because I drove up East Road a couple of times to see. We did pack our vehicles with items from the house; photos, mementos and my Jan Hoyman pottery. We had a plan if we did need to go and what animals would go in what vehicle. We slept in shifts so one of us could keep an eye on the fire. I had my phone and was in constant contact with several people on the outside as well as inside the evacuation area. When a few people that I knew found out I was still at our home, they contacted me to see if I could feed their animals and check on their house. I said “yes, of course.” Luckily their homes weren’t in the fire zone. So at that point I felt I had a responsibility to stay.

Later, after everything died down and I heard several people stayed to protect their homes and those of their neighbors’ that were in the fire zone, all I could say is “good for them.” I’m sure they knew the risks and I’m sure they would get out if need be. There are some people who think those ‘heroes’ were foolish and should not have put themselves in danger. Unless you were out here you can’t say that. You don’t know unless you were here. You can’t assume that because you wouldn’t stay near harm’s way, that someone else who does is foolish. Our colorful valley is full of all walks of life. The people who stayed behind knew full well what they were dealing with. How could anyone possibly not, we all saw the raging inferno that morning.

At first I didn’t consider myself a fire victim so I just went about my regular routine. I told myself, my house didn’t burn down, I’m fine. But I wasn’t fine, I hurt for all those people who lost loved ones, homes, vehicles and pets. I realized that we are all victims along with everyone that lives in Redwood Valley and friends and family of those that live here, they’re victims also. As a community we all took a collective hit, and as a community we are strong. Not all of us can know the experience of that morning in the thick of it. But we all know our community’s pain. We all feel it, and we all will be even stronger now because of it.

Robin Madsen

Redwood Valley

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An article in last Wednesday’s Santa Rosa paper quoted officials regarding the urgency for fire clean-up before winter rains commence (“With upcoming rain, fear of contamination”). Property owners are reluctant thus far to allow government to clean up their toxic ash and may be setting the stage for a secondary tragedy: massive polluting of our waterways.

Remaining ash, containing an eviscerated combination of toxic products, may be washed into the water or settle on gardens and farms to do irreparable damage. This stuff is so toxic that men in white suits with masks, gloves and boots have to remove it to a special place where they allow toxic wastes.

It is time-consuming, dirty, expensive and hazardous. And it needs to be done immediately before the heavy rains begin.

Those holding off may find it hard to find qualified people to do the job properly and affordably so they can obtain permits to rebuild. Time is of the essence to get it done. Please sign your right-of-entry form, and let others arrange to do the work free of charge.

It’s a hard choice. We feel sympathy for people having to make it, but the effects could be so dire, it might greatly compound the suffering and loss.

Brenda Adelman

Russian River Watershed Protection Committee

Santa Rosa

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Arthur Horner, who ranted against people questioning over-generous public employee pensions as disrespecting firefighters in a recent Santa Rosa Press Democrat, clearly doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The majority of firefighters working the fire lines during this historic and devastating tragedy were either seasonal contract workers from multiple states or volunteers from surrounding fire districts paid an hourly stipend through the state Office of Emergency Services. These firefighters don’t have pension benefits and aren’t the same as the city of Santa Rosa’s unionized firefighters making $100,000 a year, plus benefits.

What Horner doesn’t understand about the pension crisis, which was created by elected representatives who colluded with organized labor to rip-off taxpayers, is that money for services once provided from tax dollars now goes to public employees who can retire at age 50 with lifetime benefits. Shameful.

Volunteer fire districts are under extreme financial strain, and the volunteer model itself is collapsing. Public safety tax dollars, derived from Proposition 172, all go to law enforcement or district attorneys, which isn’t what voters wanted when this tax was passed back in 1993. Pension costs and organized labor’s political influence have taken all of this funding.

So if you want to help firefighters, tell your elected officials to fund volunteer fire departments, not more pension debt.

David Roderick


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Jerry Philbrick is 100% completely wrong. The liberals and Governor Brown had nothing to do with the Texas shootings, yet he blames them and calls them assholes. The killer was a white guy who had no problem buying his guns, even though he was a convicted felon. They've admitted he shouldn't have been allowed to buy guns; the US Air Force failed to notify the FBI. SNAFU.

Philbrick used this tragedy to make a political point, which is scumbaggery, but he's also completely ignorant about the facts. He says Governor Brown wants to disarm citizens. Bullcrap! The libs want better registration, which would have prevented this! These mass killings are mostly from white men, not immigrants, so this scapegoating of immigrants and liberals is moronic and unjustified.

As a 20 year subscriber to the AVA, Philbrick’s letters are the most stupid. His ongoing mental illness illuminates the psychopathology of the modern Trump worshiper. Selective senility!

It was reported that Trump has made over 1,300  false or misleading claims this past year. Seems obvious his base doesn't care about truth, honesty or integrity. They mimic it.

Even if everybody was armed in that church, it's likely that they'd still be wiped out, by superior firepower and surprise.

The Constitution mentions a "well regulated militia." By any standard, the easy availability of these civilian M-16's is not "well regulated." These gun nuts are the problem, not liberals.

Information society requires discernment, and we're getting info-tainment and propaganda now  too much of the time, so beware. If these Trump supporters won't stop lying, misleading and ignoring the truth then they are scoundrels. Their time's coming..


Rob Mahon


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My heart goes out to all the people affected by the terrible fires in this country. I wish there was a way to repair it and make it like it was, but all we can do now is root for them and help them in every way we can.

Jerry Kim Jong Un Brown is at it again. Now he’s encourgaging the NAACP to protest against the National Anthem because in some ways it affects the character of the American Way and it supports racism. I can’t believe it, man. This guy is a madman. Why hasn’t he been replaced? What is going on with this place? Can we let a dictator like that run this place? I doubt it. Also, that gas tax Jerry Brown just passed that’s supposed to go to fixing up our roads, highways, bridges and dams? 30% of that tax money is going to build a $25 million dollar complex for criminals that get out of jail after serving their time to come and hang out and get rehabilitated. That would be a good place for one of them to kill another person, wouldn’t it? Thanks again to Kim Jung Un Brown. And Brown just jumped the gas prices up to almost $4 a gallon for diesel, $3.90 and something. I was up in Washington State recently to watch my grandson play football and the gas up there is $2.50 and diesel is $3.15. I can’t say enough about the way this state’s administration is run. It just makes me want to puke.

Tom Allman is one of the best Sheriffs we’ve ever had. Good deputies too. He and his department took good care of all these areas during the fire. I hope all these deputies just say, Mr. Brown, you’re down.

Good bless Donald Trump.

Jerry Philbrick


PS. I’m not paying my County tax bill until they fix the Ukiah-Comptche Road.


  1. izzy November 16, 2017

    Jerry Philbrick has got to be one of your more controversial correspondents. But he’s sure right about one thing – the Comptche-Ukiah Road is a freakin’ mess. That uncontroversial fact crosses my mind every time I read another article about county government wasting tax money one way or another.

  2. Jeff Costello November 20, 2017

    “God bless Donald Trump” — about that mental health apparatus in Mendo… if god blesses Trump will he stop the bullshit?

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