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Letters (Dec. 26, 2018)

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Since I spent a good portion of my life correcting math papers I can't let your error pass. In the Valley People section of the December 12th paper, while engaged in your usual rant about KZYX, you pointed out that the general manager's salary is around $60,000 a year and "there's one sixth of the annual $600,000 budget." Please stand corrected that it is one tenth of the annual budget. A hundred grand would be one sixth.  

I also read with interest the idea of a "local Village" and elderly people joining forces to support each other. This seems like a wonderful idea and is already being done in our local churches. I also thought it might be interesting to share how a foreign country deals with their elderly. My wife is German and lost her father a couple of years ago. The focus of the German approach is to keep elderly people in their homes. They are evaluated and placed in levels of need that determines how much assistance they get from trained health professionals that visit them in their homes to assist them with their daily chores. The elderly get to stay at home and this is much less expensive than residential or hospital treatment. The German single payer system covers everyone at half the cost per person.  

In addition, I would like to recommend reading the Blue Zone books by Dan Buetner. National Geographic paid for Buetner's research in finding and studying five different communities around the world whose citizens live longer and more active lives. Not only do they live an average of ten years longer than we do, but they are active into their old age much longer. Instead of a slow decline in health and physical mobility, they maintain their normal lives to an older age, and then pass quickly. In general, their lifestyles provide them with about 20 more years of quality living. The cross-cultural study has isolated nine components that are shared by the communities and play a role in their longevity. A greater awareness of these nine components will enhance a person's life.  

Don Cruser

Little River

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We have been sober and smoke-free almost 14 months. We were at death's door until rescue came with 30 days in Tom Allman's rest and recovery spa in Ukiah. Severe mental and physical health issues have taken away my driver’s license and we are grounded on my reservation in Albion. 50 years in/on the same spot. Stability or lack of imagination or both. I am 80 with a bad back, one good lung — a cancer survivor — and as my father remarked about his father, "machine wearing out." So it goes.

I have dementia, talking meds. As Utah Phillips said, "When you lose your mind, forget it."

Our mental condition shorts out with all modern technology. I gave back my cellphone. I thought it was poisoning me. And I gave away my television. I'm down to a $20 AM/FM radio.

News comes from KZWX and the AVA. Amy Goodman's usual depressed report was broken this week by our broadcast from the worldwide climate conference in Poland. Depression lifts from all over the world. Elements of the enlightened are attempting to deal with climate change. Costa Rica is totally off "poison power." Youth movements all over the globe are fighting for life. Bernie Sanders and his green new deal, which is FDR social democracy and ecology, is hopeful and sane. The odds are still against us but my grandchildren might just reach old age. I don't regret my $25 to KZWX. Thank you Amy Goodman.

Alan ‘Captain Fathom’ Graham


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Re: Insurance

We recently received a notice in the mail from our insurance company that they are dropping our homeowners policy effective Feb 1, 2019. Spoke to the agent (Team Insurance out of Ukiah) and they said that the policy writer, American Reliable Insurance Company, is completely dropping coverage in California. Now that sounds Un-American and Un-Reliable. So our agent is hunting around for other companies that will cover us. To me insurance is a total racket. But try to say that to the folks in Paradise or any other victims of natural disasters. In any case, I look forward to my golden years when I can start gently smashing my car into inanimate objects so I can get some money out of these crooks. 

Merry Christmas,

Kirk Vodopals


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Esteemed Editor,

I just about fell out of my chair when I read in the most recent Off the Record that you seem to have thrown in your lot with the magical thinking brigades who will never give up on the dream of resurrecting the rotting ruins of the Palace Hotel.

"According to knowledgeable people, Ukiah's Palace Hotel is structurally sound." First off, that anyone would render such an opinion is, ipso facto, proof that that person is not in fact knowledgeable, at least with regard to current building standards.

Even though the exterior brick walls (the only conceivably salvageable part of the structure) may have satisfied yesteryear's structural requirements, 2018 California seismic building standards would consider it little more than a lethal house of cards ready to collapse on its occupants with the slightest tremor.

I have seen seismic retrofits of brick structures in San Francisco, and I can tell you that a project that costly will never happen in the humble town of Ukiah; they would have to completely gut the building, leaving only the brick exterior, then excavate the entire inside and fill it four or 6 feet deep with concrete and rebar. They would then have to fasten enormous amounts of rebar all over the interior of the brickwork before burying it in a thick layer of blown on concrete; essentially making the whole interior surface like a swimming pool.

This highly touted public receiver must be entirely clueless about what would really be involved in bringing the building up to modern structural standards, or he would not have experienced such sticker shock when his guesstimation of a $2 or $3 million job turned out to be more like six when they started to look for actual bids.

And as I understand it, that would simply be for the seismic retrofit of the shell; you would still have the five or $6 million more, at least, to actually build a building inside of it. Obviously, even if it could be done for a quarter of that, it's hard to imagine a use that the building could be put to that could ever pay the note on such an investment.

Ukiah is not a Rodeo Drive or downtown San Francisco, and the Palace is hardly an architectural gem worthy of pulling out all the stops to preserve; the façade has been remodeled over the years, burying perhaps it's coolest architectural detail, the beautiful Art Nouveau looking cast-iron columns that once went along the State Street side. You can see a small bit of one of them through the collapsing wall that once hid them. I would love to scrounge them when the powers that be ever come to their senses and realize that the only rational choice is to raze the building and design a modern, efficient structure there, or at least turn it into a public parking lot until someone has the money and a plan for a higher and better use of this centrally located location.

If the builder were enamored of the present look of the Palace, they could salvage the brick and, after building a modern steel framed structure, face it with the same brick in the same configuration that it's in now, for a fraction of what it would cost to seismically retrofit the existing building.

While it may be pie-in-the-sky, the ultimate best use for the property, IMHO, would be for the new courthouse, rather than the folly that is planned for Perkins Street by the railroad tracks. Just imagine, you could have a 3rd floor bridge for all weather access between the two courthouse buildings! I can only hope that the funding for the town-destroying fiasco on Perkins is held up long enough for the idea of this much better location to dawn on the city fathers.


John Arteaga


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Bonjour AVA,

This morning I finally did something I have been meaning to do for more than two years, ever since moving into the retirement home in which I have been living in France since 2016. Soon after arriving here, I learned that I was only one of two foreigners living in Residence Benetin here in Southern Burgundy. The other was a woman from Vietnam.

Immediately I began thinking of apologizing to her for how the USA ravaged Vietnam but I was afraid I would upset her. In my old age--I'm 81-- I have been trying to live by the tenet of the medical profession--"First do no harm."

But as time went by, especially in recent years when I learned of the incredible numbers of suicides of mostly aging American veterans of the fighting in SE Asia, I became more and more haunted by the fact that that war is not over for so many of us including those of us who tried to stop the bloodshed.

This morning my conscience caught up with me. I bought a condolence card and wrote in French, "I wish to apologize for what the country of my birth did to the country of your birth. It was absolutely criminal (C'etait criminal absolu). The woman then invited me to sit and we had a short conversation through my iPad during which I told her the War in Vietnam isn't over for many of us Americans even the ones of us who tried to stop the conflict because we knew it wasn't only about stopping communism. It was also about supporting with tax money the US military industrial complex that a former Republican president and former WW II five-star General warned us about in his farewell speech from the White House in 1961.

I then went on to tell Mme. Barrand who might have been married to a Frenchman, that more American veterans of the fighting in Vietnam have committed suicide in recent decades than those who died in combat in the jungles of Vietnam. My guess is that they could no longer live with memories of what they were forced to do or what they witnessed such as the My Lai Massacre which was as Nazi a thing as done by the SS in France, Russia, Germany and elsewhere in WW II. There needs to be erected in Washington DC a second Vietnam Wall for these vets.

What I didn't tell her but I will, is that life for all living things on earth will be changing for the better soon since we are now two decades into the astrological age of Aquarius with emphasis on compassion and love replacing the Age of Pisces with its greed and deception. But we are still in the period of dawn when the light of Aquarius is beginning to expose all that is false and sweeping it away.

God bless us all, no exceptions.

Tom Cahill 

Cluny, France

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Mr. Arnold from Fort Bragg is a stupid SOB. If he thinks that guns are not something that will be used in the next two or three years, he is crazy! People are going to be coming up here and over here, globalists and whatever, and they will try to move us out. Wait and see, mister. People like you are ruining our country. 16,000 homeless people living in squalor in Los Angeles and another 14,000 in San Francisco. You must be sick to think that it's not going to come to a fighting situation in a year or two as long as you people keep doing what you're doing. There will be problems. Lots of problems. Especially in California. Will anyone fight back? Who knows? Doesn't seem like it. But thanks to people like Mr. Arnold we will have a war.

The only way we can get out of this is a new California. Republicans should be ashamed of themselves for letting the Liberals take over in the election. Sorry to see that just seven out of 53 congressional seats in California are held by Republicans. How about that? Liberals control all the agencies, they hide their taxes, they make the agencies out of their own committees and little organizations here and there, they put tax money in it, they don't use it for that, they use it for something else. The cities don't have a clue where tax money goes. Highways, bridges, infrastructure -- no tax money being spent there. Are you happy, Republicans? Lying, cheating, rotten liberals are taking over. I told you to vote and you hid under the bed! And we know that the Democrats cheated..

Caltrans. They have their thumbs up their ass. And the road department in Mendocino County as well. They are doing nothing. Equipment sits in parking yards while they drive new pickups doing nothing. They used to pave the road with stuff called macadam, it was granular and it stop you from skidding on turns and when the road was wet. Now they use tar. Macadam costs too much, $2 a yard more. So if you drive down the road and the surface looks black and shiny you better slow way down or not make any sharp turns because you will go off the road. It's really slick. They do it everywhere. Even on turns. They let trees hang over the road. It's pathetic. The county of Mendocino used to come out and clear off the fog lines. They used to clear the ditches. But now the ditches are full of leaves and grass and stuff so you can’t even see the fog lines anymore. The centerline is so dim you can't even see it. Thank you Mendocino County, you're doing a hell of a job! Actually doing nothing!

Taxes will get worse and people don't care. State and county hide the money. Gruesome Newsom will be twice as bad as Jerry Moonbeam Brown, if that's possible. No one knows how many agencies and organizations the state and county have that take our money for their own use.

The Liberal Democrats hate President Trump because he beat the mother of all corruption, crooked Hillary Clinton. He is not a politician. He's not part of the corrupt ring running our country for the last 24 years. He is his own man doing it the right way, bringing America back to where it should be.

God bless Donald Trump

Jerry Philbrick


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Dear Editor:

Freedom, life and liberty, memoirs of a man condemned?

Free Bret Bengston! (Or should it be "save"?) I guess either one would be sufficient considering the circus like purgatory my life has been so far. To generalize, we can say that I am one of two things: a, mentally ill "bipolar delusional" denied any imaginable treatment. Or b, a superhuman multidimensional revolutionary activist trained and guided psychically through vigilante style rescue missions. I do not wish I were joking. My whole life I have known, wished and prayed to be the most special being I can be. I am a dichotomy of dichotomies. I have been referred to or labeled almost anything imaginable. Most of my loved ones and many friends take every opportunity to lecture me on what I do wrong and how I should act. They don't realize that the behavior they are criticizing is usually my attempt to comply with the last constructive criticism I received. When I try to explain this push and pull existence, I am instructed to "just be yourself!" I have taken another step further by explaining that I am not sure that I have a self as the character I portray is simply my best guess as to how to relate to other people. Then of course I'm accused of acting to which I respond, "Well yes." 

To me, most people's actions and behaviors are so strangely incorrect considering the outcome they seek that I am left to choose between a myriad of incorrect actions and behaviors. I know from much experience that trying to do things in a way that I think will work results in an almost spontaneous locked up stalemate between myself and the world around me. If you are with me this far you may wish me to explain myself!

That seems simple enough. But the longer I live the more I learn that I seem to be literally speaking a different language from everyone else although constructed of the same words. Vocabulary, spelling and grammar, linguistic communication in general have never been my strong point. It usually takes an intellectual with some mirth to understand me at all. But you have to be wary of the deception which concludes my having to be a genius because I have long assumed that: it takes a genius to work with retards. (That's my saying.)

Anyway for the last few months I've been doing my best to accumulate an internal reference of translations focusing on my way of saying things versus their way of saying things. Keep in mind that everyone speaks a different language constructed of the same words to one degree or another.

Here's what I think I'm going to do:

I have finally translated “just be yourself” to “be real and tell it like it is.” I am 40 years old. I've spent way too much time incarcerated for breaking our broken laws. I have a world to change. I have a family who deserves my loving influence and care. I am an artist of yet unseen unparalleled depth and proportion. You deserve what I have to offer. I have never committed the crime of victimization. I have never committed a crime for monetary gain. My rap sheet is an injustice. My court minutes are a memoir of my 20 years of activism. I believe in personal liberty. I'm against injustice and victimization. I know that I did change the world for the better. I need help, I need friends, I need a lawyer, I need an author, I need a rest, I need support. I am calling on all those courageous enough to help and here's how:

Write to me at 951 Low Gap Road Ukiah 95482. Or you may attend my court dates. Or visit me by calling the sheriff and making an appointment. You can donate financial support electronically -- send money to Bret or by using the kiosk at the jail. Anything will help. I will correspond with all of those who write, visit or donate and I will share free artwork of various media.

Here is an example of my songs/poetry:

“Release Me”—

Release me from this bondage. Release me from these chains. Release me from the shackles that are making me insane. 

Release me from the prison walls, I am asking your name. Release me from these bonds that maybe I'm the one to blame. 

I know there was a time, I knew that you were in my heart. I am not sure how I lost you or how my world fell apart. 

I have been struggling through such painful change, I thought I was alone. I am sorry that I could not see the signs to me you have shown.


Through trials and tribulations I have been struggling so long. Despite feeling so alone and lost I still know right from wrong. 

What made me think I had to bear the weight of this world alone? I can now see you have been carrying me. I am sorry I did not know.


The power that I draw on I forget where it was from. I'm sorry that I could not see you always were the one. 

You gave me everything I asked while chasing down my dreams, but I did not know to ask your help to deal with these feelings.


Release me.

Bret Bengston.


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Merry Christmas and happy new year! Thank you for sending me the weekly AVA. I enjoy all of the information and updates. The AVA is the only thing I look forward to each week. I use it to count my remaining time. For instance, I have 29 AVAs to read until I'm released. May 2019. Blessings to all.

Keep smiling,

Ben Keator

Lake County Jail

PS. I liked last week's story about the Lake County Lady who is an activist in the forefront of local affairs. I would like to get in touch with her to discuss a wide range of issues. I can be reached at Lake County Jail on Helbush Road in Lakeport.

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Attention: Tom Dow - Interim KZYX GM

Dear Tom Dow,

I hope you listened to that show on Jukebox and found that I did not "bash the station" or the other bad things that you were told that I did on The Discussion, when Steve S. called me and allowed me to speak for One Minute only. I absolutely deny that I said anything negative. I only spoke about being Banned, and my History with kzyx/z, and all the great programs I did in the past, and all the years of support that I have given to our station. One minute is not much time to say very much over the air, as you know. I also asked the listeners to support me by calling the station and requesting that you un-ban my phone number from being blocked. I am once again begging you to please UNBLOCK MY TELEPHONE NUMBER so that I may call The Discussion. I am playing for a New Year's Eve event, and would love to announce that on this program. Why not? What exactly have I done to deserve such harsh treatment? I request that you please phone me and tell me what I did and how I may repair what I have done, so that we may move forward. Or, do you intend to punish me for LIFE, Mr. Tom? And, how fair or just is that, to silence me forever over OUR airwaves? that seems really radically over the top, even for kzyx/z. 

Peace, Love and Justice,

DJ Sister Yasmin

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Dear AVA,

It's been some time since I've written you. However, it's not because I don't have anything to say. On the contrary, there has been so much going on both in my case and our own country. I've been apprehensive about it showing my hand. The political climate is currently out of control. The issues with the “me too” movement, the Kavanaugh nomination, the NFL players taking a knee and the players continuing to abuse women just to name a few. All of which I have personal life experience showing another side to all of the above.

I'm presently writing for another reason. My civil lawsuit is still putting along in court, possibly nearing a positive result (against attorney Masuda, my paid attorney who walked without representing me). Emails from that case’s discovery unearthed Timothy Stoen's participation as you may remember. Anyway, I've been having someone dig into Stoen’s dirty deeds and come up with a May 11, 2016 article written by Tim Stelloh and Bruce McEwen Re: Robert Forest’s case. I am curious if you have access to campaign donation information to Lintott in 2005 2006? I believe the victim in my case, Al Simon, may have pushed my prosecution either by paying Lintott or even Stoen’s campaign for state assemblyman in 2004? I think county records would have the above? Bottom line, Stoen and Lintott were very motivated to go after me. I'm not sure why other than my position with the GOP.

Recently I met now Lake County Judge Markham on a prison tour as a guide. He was the appointed trial attorney the county paid to represent me at trial after Peterson was relieved along with the Laughlin. I would like to talk with McEwen and or Stelloh. I have new counsel who are preparing a habeas to overturn my wrongful conviction. For now I don't want to say who. Is Stoen still practicing?

I have from good sources that Mendocino County taxpayers footed a bill for over $1 million to prosecute me at Stoen’s hand. The closing of the 2016 (Robert Forest) article states, "How many others are out there who had been ruined in the same way, but without resources to fight back against the system so appallingly susceptible to the obsessions of petty tyrants like Tim Stoen?"

I believe my case is even more glaring. I admit I held offices and participated in marijuana growing for profit. I am guilty of being greedy. However, I did it within (mainly) the state and county laws at the time. However, I never paid anyone to shoot anyone. I did hire some unsavory men to work on "the project."

I submitted an application for the governor's office to commute my sentence. In it I admit to my "green thumb" activity. I will have it sent to you. It is interesting work. I still have Howard Herships working, but of late I've asked him not to tip my hand in hopes of not giving Stoen the advantage of knowing what's coming.

I believe my habeas motion will be in another county as we will ask the Mendo DA's office be called as witnesses and the judges be recused as biased. The fight goes on.

May your Christmas be wonderful and again thank you for printing the news with honesty and integrity, a rarity these days.

God bless, Your friend, 

Kenny Rogers 

San Quentin

PS. Still look forward to a steak and cold brew! 

ED NOTE: Background:

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