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Letters (June 27, 2018)

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Pebbles Trippet's latest whining pot rant was a bit over the top. Ms. Trippet says: "Back in the day we hippies dropped out of the television trap, shunned normal jobs, withdrew our skills from the mainstream and set out on our own, unimpressed by money and finery- fortunately- so we could put our energy elsewhere. By taking on the cause of marijuana/hemp we added significant risk and ridicule. Still it's worth it." 

Fer sure, fer sure. While non-violent, non-cooperation is a noble cause, dedicating one's life entirely to pot is a self-indulgent waste of talent. Withdrawing from a clinically insane society is not an act of courage, it's an act of necessity. So why, then, is pot dependence the standard for dropping out? To be truly free is to be drug-free. Tune out, Turn off, Drop trow, And Moon your Masters. 


Don Morris


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Watching the separation of children from families by the Trump administration brings memories from my childhood.

In 1938 and ’39, Saturday afternoon newsreels at San Francisco’s Irving Theater showed adults and children being taken to camps where they were separated.

Seated in the back of my parents’ car in 1942, I shall never forget seeing helmeted American soldiers standing guard at Tanforan Racetrack on El Camino Real (now a shopping center) with fixed bayonets that reflected in the sun. They were guarding American citizens of Japanese ancestry, who had been involuntarily removed from their homes and herded into the stables. They were waiting to be transported to camps for the duration of World War II.

Those images have never left me. Later, a program titled “It Can’t Happen Here” raised questions about whether the U.S. could become a totalitarian nation. Well, yes, it is happening here.

What are we going to do about it?

Tom Martin


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Why are so many of us sad? Why are Americans committing suicide in such large numbers (“Suicide is more common than you may realize,” Editorial, Friday)? I will tell you why.

Life can be ugly and hopeless. It is hard to make a decent living in America. It is hard to provide for a family and save money. Our schools are lousy. Our leaders include uneducated, unqualified, despicable and corrupt, mean-spirited people.

While the average US citizen is kind and warmhearted, the people with all the money and power just want to keep it for themselves. Leaders ignore the rule of law.

There are so few birds and butterflies anymore. Every summer it is hotter and hotter. Lake Tahoe is getting cloudier. Our Earth is filthy. Nothing seems to change for the better. Thus life has become bleak. And some of us may not want to be part of this cruel world anymore.

Pat Dietz


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To the Editor:

Recently those traveling through the city of Ukiah have been given a glimpse of what “City Staff” thinks is best for those of us who drive a car through the middle of Ukiah will be in the near future.

On Wednesday May 16 from 4 until 6:30 p.m. Northbound traffic crept along at slower than a stop and go pace. People walking on the sidewalks were moving along faster.

Today, June 6, once again we see the traffic totally jammed up. From Clara Ave. to Low Gap Road, traffic was almost at a total standstill with traffic being shoved into one lane for the long overdue road repair. Again, people walking the sidewalks were progressing at a faster pace.

This is what the fine “City Staff” has in mind for us if they progress with this crazy downsizing of State Street…and making it into one lane each way through mid town. I continue to be amazed that I have not talked with anyone who thinks this is a good idea.

With someone leading this department making what is reportedly about $250,000 compensation per year, I think our area deserves better ideas than this.

City leaders should take control with this issue promptly. This type of radical change should be offered to the citizens of Ukiah via being on the next ballot.

It does not matter where the money for this crazy project comes from. The bottom line is, this is our tax dollars. And we expect those dollars to be spent wisely.

G. Sissons


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My name is Benjamin Keator, or Benny. I'm looking for help. I'd like to start by thanking you for providing me with a weekly paper. I can honestly say I look forward to it and being in jail hearing my name called for mail brings a bright smile. 

Today I’d like to touch on a few issues. After fighting my cases in Mendocino and Lake counties over the past 15 months I have been on a wild roller coaster ride. I first took a plea deal from Mendocino, two years eight months for transportation of a controlled substance (even though the amount of meth was only ten grams). I agreed to the plea to be able to be placed in drug court. The other eight months was for a failure to appear. Drug court accepted me and recommended that I complete a six month residential treatment program. So I went to Lytton Springs Recovery Center. At Lytton I began to truly engulf myself with the program. I was looked to by my peers as a leader, a person who really might be able to overcome their drug addiction. I was arranging my own Narcotics Anonymous meetings, mentoring new arrivals and beginning a new life in my walk with God.

Unfortunately this was short lived. After in Lytton for five months I began to slip back to my old ways thinking that I had it under control. I didn't need anyone. I knew it all. Right!

So I began to see my old friends during my free time. I say my “friends,” but I should say punk-ass lame-Os. Anyway, my actions, my choices were questionable. Not right.

One Sunday I returned north to Redwood Valley to visit my family and friends. At this time I felt weak to my inner self and couldn’t wait to finally get high on meth. I enjoyed the first hit so much. My body felt no more pain, it blocked all my emotions out. All I could do was enjoy. Shortly after that, of course, regret, shame, disappointment overwhelmed me. So I snorted some more. I was relieved of all worry for an extremely brief time. That was followed by paranoia, anxiety and grief which overtook me. I knew then and there that my addiction was the only saying that mattered to me. I realized that my family, my friends, being successful, raising a family or anything else was nowhere near as important as the drugs were to me. Needless to say I never returned to treatment. 

You see, I'm a runner. I hate responsibility, accountability or even being successful. My entire life I've fallen short of my goals and I've never completed anything. I rarely ever follow through. Well, I can't say never — I have successfully completed three prison sentences.

Being an addict is lots of work. You have to really know how to talk BS real fast and have no standards or morals. Once I was off and running full tilt I masked my drug use by having nice things, driving fancy new SUVs, trucks, being very careless with money, etc. As time went on I began to find my way over to Lake County. There I met an entirely new range of addicts and people like that. I surrounded myself with them which gave me a false sense of power, and acceptance because they didn't know me. They only could see the image I put out and the big bag of dope and the nice truck.

That's what led me into why I'm currently serving a five-year eight-month prison term here at the Lake County Jail.

Once I started running around Lake County I finally was pulled over by a Lakeport police officer even though I was on the run from Mendocino for not completing drug court because after not showing back up at curfew at Lytton my probation officer put a warrant out for my arrest.

Due to driving a new SUV my ability to hold a conversation with the officer was limited. He believed I was my brother even though I couldn't provide any ID. The officer ultimately let me go with a simple ticket. I signed it Sam Keator and accepted a written citation to appear in court. At the time I was amazed that I had once again avoided the law.

Soon I was pulled over again by the same damn officer. But this time as the officer approached the vehicle, even though it was two months later and two different trucks, when he got to the driver's window he immediately recognized me from before. So I reacted by slamming the truck into gear and screaming, "Come on!" Like the Dukes of Hazzard boys I was gone. The cops never located me that night. 

But the cops knew me now and they put out an APB for me. So now I was running from the law in both counties. I became extremely paranoid and refused to close my eyes for anything. I became extremely unhealthy, lonely, on the verge of self-destruction.

Finally one day after buying a big nice Ford F-250 I drove from Laytonville and headed to Santa Rosa. Between Laytonville and Willits my good friend Brandon was begging me to let him drive because I was continually falling asleep and crossing into oncoming traffic. But I refused. We almost started fighting because he couldn't stand to see me destroy myself any longer. Of course he was stoked as well because he was wide awake watching me sleep and drive.

Finally I dropped him off and headed south. I can honestly say that I truly remember nothing after I somehow ended up in Calpella heading south just before the Granite Construction plant. I ran off into the ditch and officers were screaming for me to get out of the truck. I was completely unharmed. I simply very slowly drove over the edge of the road and fell asleep until officers arrived. I was shocked. All I had to do was wake up, slap it into four-wheel-drive and keep on trucking. But the man upstairs wanted me to call it quits.

So I was faced with all my legal problems piled up in two different counties. After several court appearances in both counties I was finally sentenced to a two year and eight month term in Mendocino and three years in Lake County. On sentencing day in Lake County I finally realized I had been wrongly informed by my legal counsel into taking the deal of felony evasion and all my cases would be run consecutively. I refused to finalize the deal and requested the court to allow me to retract my plea. Several more court appearances later I was set to begin my trial. I was certain after all the research I had done on evasion that there was no way I would be found guilty by a jury. I was right. The District Attorney took another angle. Since I outran the cops and they couldn't prove it was me to a jury, they pushed the matter to providing false identification to a police officer with a three-year prison term and a prison prior with a misdemeanor for failure to obey an officer’s direct order. They then threatened me that if I wouldn't take the deal moments before trial the district attorney would drop all charges and refile assault on an officer with deadly intent with the vehicle. That charge alone carries a life sentence and once the charges were formally filed I would never be able to have a valid driver’s license.

The district attorney basically strong-armed me into pleading out. Yes, I admit I'm fully responsible for my actions. I'm sober now going on 15 months. I'm thinking clearly again. I work out daily. I spend hours reflecting on my decision-making that lead me here. I've reflected on the negative side of drug use, drug sales and my life of crime. I can't come up with any positives so far. Positives really aren't possible because there are only negatives. Even though I'm in love with fast money, fast women, fast cars, and the fast life, I must constantly remind myself that it is not worth it. Life is too short. 

With that said, I would like to reach out to the community. I'm here in Lake County Jail until the year 2020 and I would really like to take college courses on becoming a substance abuse counselor. Unfortunately the jail offers no classes other than the GED. I would like to put together classes through Mendocino College that inmates can take while serving a local AB-107 realignment prison sentence. It is completely unfair that the jail offers very little rehabilitation to me. Yes, I'm aware it's been overwhelming since the realignment act of Prop 57 passed back in November 2016. But come on. Even Mendocino Jail offers welding, education, narcotics anonymous, etc. So I'm reaching out to anyone who would be willing to help with contact information on resources, personal contact information or any other hints. I'm looking for a solution to my addiction and I really feel that if I stay involved with positive things I won't get involved in the negative things.

I send all my love and respect to all active men and women locked up in Mendocino County Jail. A special shout out to Troy Ward: I love you big brother. And my friend Billy the Kid, keep your head high. Always remember to keep smiling. Of course if there are any ladies needing a pen pal I'll be right here.


Benjamin ‘Big Ballin’ BMW Benny’ Keator 

4913 Helbush Drive

Lakeport, CA 95452

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How does everyone out there like the job President Trump is doing now? I know the Republicans do, most of them, and the conservatives. But the liberals? Oh! When they go to bed at night they sit down by their bed and they holler, or pray, "Oh Hillary, why didn't you win?" And the better Mr. Trump gets the more jealous they get and the more hateful they are and the more they try to clog up the system. That's the way it is. I want Mr. Trump to keep on doing the great things he's doing and I know he will. We will hope for the best.

Back when I was a kid the definition of a rapper was a guy who was really good on the drums or really good on the saxophone or some other musical instrument. But now — Oh! Far from it. Now they get up on the stage, both black and white, and they try to see how many times they can say the f-word in five minutes. Or they grab themselves by the crotch. And the crowd goes wild. That's what our society has become. I don't know.

God Bless Donald Trump

Jerry Philbrick


One Comment

  1. Pat Kittle June 27, 2018

    Letters here (as usual) confirm that humanoid multiplying is approaching its terminal phase, and we still don’t know any better than a cancer cell how to stop. Or even why we should.

    Water pours over the bathtub rim. Do we turn off the faucet? No. We angrily debate mop selection.

    I always wanted to believe it didn’t have to end like this.

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