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Letters (Dec. 5, 2018)

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Immigration In Perspective—

I am seeing letters and comments from people who seem to be afraid of allowing immigrants into the US, especially the 6000 or so who are part of a “caravan” that is just now on our border. If these folks are like past immigrants, both legal and illegal, they will work hard and contribute mightily to our nation – just as most of our own ancestors have. 

We are a nation built of immigrants, and I see no reason to change that. It is who we are and what we are. 

A search for US Immigration on Wikipedia tells me that 31 Million people immigrated to the US between 1830 and 2000. Divided out that means that for 170 years an average of 182,353 people immigrated to our Nation each year. That is over 30 “caravans” the size of the one on our border now – every year – for 170 years! 

Exactly what is anybody afraid of here? Let them in, process their applications, and in the meantime let them get to work. That is what they are asking for, they want a job, a home and a safe place to live with their family. We are all immigrants, we are surrounded by immigrants, and America is Great because of that. 

Tom McFadden


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Rep. Mike Thompson is a standard-bearer for the Democratic dynasty in California, and he shows no sign of releasing his grip on the 5th Congressional District.

Thompson is clearly nowhere near political extinction. In his recent re-election, and in each election dating back to 1998, he devoured his opponent.

For many, his challengers require an introduction: Anthony Mills (2018), Carlos Santamaria (2016), James Hinton (2014), Randy Loftin (2012), Loren Hanks (2010), Zane Starkwolf (2008), John Jones (2006), Lawrence Wiesner (2002 and 2004), Russel Chase (2000) and Mark Luce (1998).

For those residing in the district, it appears we’re in a long-term relationship with Thompson. Or at least until he sees fit to end it. A bit ironic.

Each of Thompson’s opponents has proved to be noncompetitive. On average, Thompson has defeated his closest challenger by 40 points.

One recurring complaint is shared by his opponents: an inability to engage Thompson in a formal debate.

Is it fair to the electorate or his opponents when an entrenched, Tyrannosaurus rex-like incumbent opts to tread carefully during a campaign to avoid any potential risks, however small?

I’m disappointed by the lack of serious competition and Thompson’s reluctance to debate. Competition is always a good thing. It forces us to do our best. A monopoly renders people complacent and satisfied with mediocrity.

Mike Tabacchi


ED NOTE: None of these permanently entrenched professional officeholders debate. Ever. First off, they, including Thompson, are incoherent off the cuff and naturally avoid open forums where their verbal deficiencies would be apparent. They stick to platitudinous pressers, dutifully reported as news by local media. A grape grower, Thompson, as all Northcoast conservative libs installed forever in local office, is primarily supported by the wine industry, the edu-blob, public employees. Huffman is a lot smarter than Thompson but, like Thompson, is about as independent of the prevalent conservative, lifestyle liberalism as a seeing eye dog. All these characters are what used to be called Rockefeller Republicans. They don't even know anyone who makes less than a hundred grand a year. The irony here is that the Northcoast went heavily for Bernie, a soft democratic socialist, an FDR kinda candidate, but still way to the left of Thompson, Huffman and Healdsburg's dual ciphers, McGuire and Wood. So why are we stuck with these imposed seat warmers? Because our candidates are selected for us, then supported by tons of Demo Party money. The Republicans don't even bother running plausible candidates against any of them, while third parties, thanks to the Democrats, are a thing of the past for all practical electoral purposes. 

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Dear AVA:

I just felt like penning a short note of appreciation for what you do with the Anderson Valley Advertiser. I have never been to Anderson Valley but some times over the last 15 years a few copies of your fine publication have made their way into my hand. To be honest, I'm not sure how that happened, although it is possible that they come from my friend Aaron Cometbus who sends good reading material my way and who I also believe once wrote a column for the AVA possibly under a pseudonym. But again, I'm not sure about that. 

What I am certain about is that every issue makes me think, Wow, this is great and there's nothing else like this. Even though I've never been there it makes Anderson Valley and Mendocino County come alive for me and makes it very "real," while also bestowing an almost mythic status to the goings-on in your neck of the woods.

A few weeks ago my friend William Milverton in San Francisco, a fellow AVA fan, sent me a copy of the September 19, 2018 edition and once again while reading it while traveling from Incline Village, California, to Orient New York I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, especially "Assault At Sunrise," "Meeting Of Minds," "Off The Record," and the classified ads. There's personality to the writing and evocation, qualities sorely missing in most contemporary news reporting. Having a few minutes to spare, I felt compelled to commend you on your long-running and always enjoyable and stimulating newspaper.


Jocko Weyland

Incline Village, Nevada

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Editor & fellow AVAers,

It’s almost Thanksgiving 2018 as I write this.

When Trump is out the sun shall sing and shout as we Americans say Amen.


Farina bangs her election bowl in a smoky state.

Diana Vance


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God bless Donald Trump for telling it like it is. Let the kingdom of Arabia and its murdering prince kill its US based newspaper critic and destroy Yemen with its arms made in the United States. After all, they paid for them. 

Is this what we become? Rather than an arsenal for democracy we have become the arms supplier for an autocratic regime that makes fascism appear to be a progressive force.

God help us.

Allen ‘Captain Fathom’ Graham


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CRAZY STORY? (Yeah, we’d say so.)

Dear AVA:

This is a crazy story but it is true. Two years ago I met a young man outside a Wal-Mart in the parking lot. He was a dirty homeless man. He asked me for money for food. Feeling bad for the less fortunate, I agreed to give the kid about six dollars. The man smelled like urine and feces and was hard to bear. He said his name was Jack. Jack thanked me for the money. Then I watched him scurry off towards the gas station. Interested in what he might buy, I followed Jack. He came out of the store with a four locos and a couple single cigars. "What a dirt bag," I thought to myself. “I thought he was going to buy food.” So I approached Jack and asked him, I thought you were hungry? Jack looked at me with a smile on his face and said, "I'm sorry, bro! I'm an alcoholic and if you give me another $10 I will be willing to perform oral copulation on you for at least an hour or so.” I quickly denied him and stated that I was not a homosexual. Jack became angry and violently reached for my genitals and jumped to his knees, tugging at my zipper and begging me to let him pleasure me for orally. I broke away from Jack but he gave chase. I jumped into my car and locked the door quickly. Then I pulled out my cellphone and called the Ukiah police. I told the cops that a dirt bag homeless man was attempting to rob me in the Wal-Mart parking lot. I did not want to say rape because I felt embarrassed. I guess he was trying to rob me of my manhood. When the police arrived Jack had climbed into a silver pickup truck. I think it was a Dodge. It occurred to me at this time that Jack was not homeless. What the heck? I said to myself. The cops walked up to his truck and yelled, "Get out of the truck, Woida. I don't know why they called them Woida. Maybe he lied about his name too. Jack exited his truck and was arrested for drunk in public. The police said he was a regular sex offender pretending to be homeless to solicit himself on the streets. They said they had caught him several times engaging in oral copulation behind Wal-Mart. I'm just glad I got away from him in time. God knows what he would have done next. And that's my story. Thanks for listening.


Michael Overholt, 

Mendocino County Jail


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I’m a boomer who has absolutely no problem with someone saying “no problem” in response to my “thank you.” What a recent letter writer fails to understand is that “no problem” means the same thing as “you’re welcome.” 

Both utterances belong to the same class of exchanged social niceties as “how-are-you-fine.” The words themselves have no particular meaning; they serve the purpose of conveying goodwill. And since the writer yearns for improved communications, she should know that accepting a well-intentioned response with grace and a heartfelt smile is a terrific way to do just that. 

Ann Clark 


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Finally, someone willing to speak out against the politically correct notion that the SMART train is a sound transportation investment for Sonoma County taxpayers.

Rarely has there been a light-rail system in recent memory that has been financially self-sustaining and, despite The Press Democrat’s continual pandering to the environmental elites who support these financial boondoggles, SMART is proving itself no different.

It is absolutely galling to sit at a crossing and watch one of those 34 daily runs lumber by with most of the seats empty. No wonder the per-train ridership is such a closely guarded secret. To publicize how empty most of these trains are would be political suicide for SMART.

SMART will be a financial boat anchor for taxpayers for the foreseeable future. Wake up, Sonoma County, and stop voting for these feel-good public transit rip-offs.

Ron Paris

Santa Rosa

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(The preposterously overpaid CEO at terminally ill Coast Hospital

Dear Editor:

Stonewalled by Bob Edwards, MCDH CEO

I had a prearranged meeting with Bob Edwards, Mendocino Coast District Hospital CEO, at 10:30 Friday morning. Prior to the meeting, Gayl Moon, Edwards’ Administrative Assistant, told me the meeting could not exceed 15 minutes. When I arrived, Edwards introduced me to his newly hired PR man (the third in as many months). I asked if he needed to be at the meeting and Edwards replied it was part of his PR training. A minute later, Ann Rennacher arrived and Edwards told her she wasn’t supposed to be there, to which I quickly replied that if he had his PR man, I could have my community support person. She stayed and served as a witness to what transpired.

My first question was why the Emergency Physicians Medical Group in Walnut Creek used the MCDH’s EIN# with the Franchise Tax Board. His reply was that it did not happen. I shared that a couple months ago, Mike Ellis, the CFO, told me he was trying to get to the bottom of it and that he was aware that the SF based for-profit medical group had, indeed, used MCDH’s EIN#. My direct communication with the CA State Franchise Tax Board was the source of my information about this in the first place. 

Who to believe? Ellis or Edwards? They can’t both be right.

My second question was about the HCAHPS Survey Report and why he, Edwards, sent an email out to recipients of the Planning Committee Meeting Agenda were told by him to remove and destroy the document from the packet. He said it was not public information and was accidentally put in the agenda packet. The only thing in the way of the public knowing about the survey was Edwards. Since no patients’ names were included, there was no violation of the HIPAA Act. I asked what was being done to improve the hospital’s significantly below average performance scores on this survey. His reply was basically it would go to this committee then that committee then to a board closed session to figure out what to do. I can’t remember all the names of the committees rattled off. Edwards tried to get me to commit to destroying my copy of the document and I refused. 

My third question was about the extremely low morale among the rank and file at the hospital. Edwards immediately stated that the morale was excellent. When I mentioned a meeting with the rank and file hospital workers with the four now newly elected board members, it was clear that there was enormous employee dissatisfaction….fear of being fired was right at the top, followed by low wages with no raises in years, etc. The only happy campers at MCDH seem to be the administrators, whose salaries are off the charts. No complaints from them. Edwards wanted the names of dissatisfied employees to which I replied, “Never.” He has gained a reputation for firing people if they disagree with him. 

After about eight minutes of denials by Edwards, Ann and I walked out of the meeting. So much for attempting to lift the veil of secrecy.

Margaret Paul

A Healthy Hospital Supporter


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If that earthquake in Alaska had happened in the Sacramento Valley area everything from Redding down would be washed to the Bay Area among all the other carnage and damage. I'm right about this, just like I am about everything else. Not if but when. The Oroville dam, the Shasta dam, the Whiskeytown dam, all the levees that are 90 years old and some of the lakes and ponds — all of it will flushed down to the Central Valley. That's when the shit will hit the fan. The dams and levees will break. The water will come down I-5 about 20 feet deep. And the Capitol building in Sacramento will be washed off its foundation and it will float down the valley and Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom will be on the roof praying, Dear Lord, please forgive us for being such a bunch of assholes! Glub, glub, glub. 

Gavin Newsom is eight more years of Jerry Moonbeam Brown: more regulation, more legislation on our backs, more stupid gun laws, more protection for criminals, more disrespect for law enforcement. Sheriffs in every county in California should revolt against Gavin Newsom. More like Gavin Gruesome. 

There's so much civil unrest in California it makes me laugh. Fort Bragg, Ukiah, Eureka, Boonville, Hopland, Cloverdale — every town people have the same feeling. They have had enough. It's going to happen. Believe me conservatives against liberals. 

Mr. Arnold in Ukiah, you stupid frothing at the mouth liberal, maybe we will get a chance to shoot at each other. That would be nice, wouldn't it? Maybe you will win. Maybe I will. Who knows? I believe I will. 

God bless Donald Trump 

Jerry Philbrick 


PS. Our governor Jerry Moonbeam Brown is turning a bunch of criminals lose early because he said they had reconstructed themselves and they were fine. I would like to see one of those reconstructed criminals pay him a visit, or somebody he loves. I would like to see somebody he cares for mutilated, or shot or knifed or raped or whatever. How would you like that? Huh? He is turning these people loose on our society to feed on other people because he doesn't have to worry about it, that rotten SOB. He doesn't care about the people in California or anybody else but himself and his liberal Democrats. 

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Warmest spiritual greetings to everyone, We have just concluded the Saturday evening BBQ at the Plumeria alternative hostel in Honolulu, with winter visitors arriving steadily, plus tonight's comfortably cool Pacific trade winds. Over at Waikiki Beach there are hula dancers performing on a stage next to a huge decorated Christmas tree with a crown of native flowers at the top, ukulele players at the base, and an international crowd singing the choruses in Hawaiian.

I am in my room with my onyx beads watching the mind. I am sitting on the bed watching thoughts arise and dissipate. And that's all!

Please know that I will no longer be sending out networking emails, for the purpose of getting a situation for more peace and justice and radical environmental activist participation. I mean, I am receiving nothing in the way of offers. There is apparently no group housing in the Washington, D.C. region available to me. There is nothing for me to do anywhere right now. And it feels strange to continue sending out networking messages which do not result in anything at all. So, in spite of the fact that I feel that I ought to be doing something of a radical nature somewhere, (and in spite of a rising sense of bafflement about all of this), I am going to stop being attached to the contemporary socio-political spectacle altogether, because detachment will eliminate the greater misery of being associated with it absurdly.

I will henceforth exclusively watch the mind, witnessing thoughts as they arise and dissipate. Thank you very much for your kind attention. 

Craig Louis Stehr

Honolulu, Hawaii

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Hon. Nancy Pelosi
U.S House of Representatives
Washington D.C.

Dear Congresswoman Pelosi,

As Minority Leader and soon likely-to-be Speaker of the House, you can help set a forward-looking agenda for the Democratic Party – and the Nation – to guide us in this critical time.

I urge you to support bold policies that resonate with the public and that truly address the fundamental survival issues we face.

Here are the priorities I suggest:

A Green New Deal. Global climate change is upon us -- recognized not only by thousands of scientists but also by the vast majority of Americans. Our nation must be a leader to stop and reverse the worst damage. We must quickly wean ourselves from fossil fuels, creating new jobs in clean energy.

Protect Democracy. A package of measures should address: restoring & expanding the Voting Rights Act (nation-wide standards for auditable ballots, fair redistricting, adequate polling places, and curbs on purging voter rolls); enacting real campaign finance reform, including disclosure of all major donations and legislation that corporations aren’t ‘people’. Eliminating the electoral college would be a good future step.

Ensure Health Care for All. The public and nearly all health care providers now support a single-payer, Medicare-for-all approach, which saves lives and money. The ACA was a baby step in the right direction but amounts to subsidizing the insurance industry and falls way short of needed solutions. 

Investigate Corruption. Instead of draining the swamp, the current Administration has us drowning in it, with wide-spread, blatant conflicts-of-interest from the top down. Congress should aggressively pursue independent investigations and then act accordingly (even if it takes beyond 2020).

Tax Reform. The chasm between the richest Americans (fewer than 1%) and the rest of us has widened alarmingly, aided in large part by the GOP’s reverse Robin Hood tax policies. Democrats should champion an economic New Deal to help the 90%.

I believe this agenda would have broad public support and would set the stage for dramatic and much-needed leadership in the 2020 election and beyond.


Madge Strong


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I've been holding my tongue on this for days, hoping for a better or at least more hopeful outcome, but... It. Just. Keeps. Getting. Worse.

Most of you know I am a true and true advocate for responsible forest management. As a 3rd generation logger's daughter (I'm the 4th) and witnessing the birth and aftermath of the anti-logging/EarthFirst movement, I am sickened to my core at what is happening today all across the West. Every year in this past decade we've seen humongous wildfires. Not just large, but MEGA fires, infernos. Fires SO hot NOTHING survives and will take years to even remotely recover, compared to fires decades ago that didn't burn as intense OR for so long.

What has changed? I'll tell you what has changed. It's the mindset of people who have NO IDEA what forest management is, who are making the decisions or casting the majority vote on how our forests are managed. Not just in California, but all across the western states. We desperately need thinning, selective logging, responsible forest management, and in urban areas fire mitigation ... but we needed it two decades ago. We have dead and dying forests. Standing dead trees, forest floors littered with fuels, no fire breaks, all in the name of what? We have groups who sue every time a timber harvest plan is set. They sue in the name of "habitat", "wildlife", "let nature take its course" and so on. Well, those groups have won. I blame them. They have infiltrated the USFS, BLM and other land management agencies and have for years. Now we are experiencing the consequences of little to NO management of our lands. How many more lives have to be lost? How many more homes, acres, livelihoods need to burn up? What about all the wildlife that no longer have the "habitat" these environmental groups are supposedly saving by not letting us be good stewards of the land and actually take care of it?

As a kid, I remember forest fires, few and far between. But back then, our forests were being logged and the "land agencies" weren't as corrupt as they are today. Fires were no where near as frequent, large or intense as they are now. Why is that? Because someone (or some groups/agencies) figured out a way to cash in on taxpayer money and get paid to sit back and "let it burn". All while locking us out of OUR public lands, not managing and/or mis-managing the land....all under the guise of "saving wildlife and habitat". My heart goes out to everyone affected, emergency personnel, fire fighters, business owners, wildlife, pets ...everyone. MAYBE NOW people will wake up and take a stand?

And before anyone tries to say, "oh its climate change" or "humans are the problem" or "we need more wild places". Humans have been here since the dawn of man. We have survived and reproduced to get to where we are today. Climates are CONSTANTLY changing - we're just here now to bitch about it and blame and impose laws. The best thing we can do (and should've been doing all along) is deal with the changes by lessening the fire fuel loads (logging/thinning), creating fire breaks around urban areas, keeping access roads open instead of decommissioning them etc. I also want to point out that I know fire, in the past, used to be (and still could under the right conditions) beneficial to the land. I also understand that droughts, weather (wind/humidity) and even asshole arsonists play a role in how devastating some of these fires are today. But what I do not understand is the mindset that responsible logging is bad, fuels reduction is bad, fire mitigation in urban areas is bad. I do NOT agree with that. I hope you don't either. Maybe something good will come from all the lives lost and all this devastation. I hope and pray something good does.

Stacy Philbrick

Billings, Montana

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With the final results of the election in, I want to express my gratitude, dedication, and humility in being elected 3rd District Supervisor. I can truly say that this campaign has been a very positive experience. We are blessed with great communities, a beautiful environment, and lots of very talented, thoughtful, and caring people. 

There are too many people who powered this campaign to mention them all. We made over 5,000 phone calls and knocked on 1,200 doors. Thank you to all who called, walked, endorsed, donated, and helped in a variety of ways. 

I very much appreciate the contributions that Georgeanne Croskey and John Pinches have made to this district. Supervisor Croskey stepped up and thoughtfully and energetically represented our district. I have appreciated her keeping me informed on the issues and I hope to continue projects on which she has worked. As supervisor for 3 terms (12 years), Mr. Pinches left his mark in many ways that have helped make our communities better. His sense of civic duty is something to which we can all aspire.

A huge 'thank you' to the voters of the 3rd District for participating in every step of this election. I am proud to live in a community where so many people care so much. I am humbled by the opportunity to represent our communities on the Board of Supervisors.

I will continue to be accessible to all and I look forward to building stronger communities together. If you have any ideas to share, please call me at 707-513-6166 or email me at 


John Haschak



  1. izzy December 6, 2018

    When The Dam Breaks, Nancy

    Two epistles from this week’s offering caught my eye, as they so well capture the opposing polarities of our current domestic social and political climate. One is a more violent expression than the other, but both appear to be grounded in delusion. Either way, the prognosis is grim.

  2. Pat Kittle December 6, 2018

    Tom McFadden:

    Just how many over-breeding foreigners do you think the already over-crowded, over-consuming US should import?

    Seriously, HOW MANY??

    Without immigration Americans would be reducing their numbers in the direction of sustainability. You are pro-sustainability, aren’t you?

    You open-borders enthusiasts never account for your self-contradictory demands. You should be made to.

  3. Pat Kittle December 6, 2018

    Jerry Philbrick:

    The redwood forest somehow managed to bungle its way through 145,000,000 years without humans “managing” it.

    But now it just can’t do without us.

    Without you I would have never figured that out.


    • George Hollister December 7, 2018

      People started to “manage” redwoods 10 to 12 thousand years ago with the powerful tool, fire. Prior to that, mega-fauna would appear to have had a major influence. So redwoods could do well without a lot of “managers”, but it does not appear that situation has ever existed.

      • Pat Kittle December 8, 2018


        Yes, non-human nature has always provided its own “managers.”

        That’s a piss-poor excuse for what humans are doing.

  4. John Sakowicz December 6, 2018

    Best wishes to John Haschak. The CEO system is broken. I hope he will consider leading the way to bringing back the CAO system. The county’s top executive should work at the direction of the Board of Supervisors, not the other way around.

    • George Hollister December 7, 2018

      The problem with the CEO system is someone’s in charge. The problem with the CAO system is no one’s in charge. Which is better?

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