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Letters (Jan. 2, 2019)

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ALBION, 1967


My friend and major music maker Ira Rosenberg gave me a ride from the Albion Post Office. After listening to my lament about hitchhiking he forecast that I would achieve "enlightenment."

Having my driver’s license pulled because of my health issues means that mostly I depend on my thumb for travel which puts me in closer contact with my Albion Nation.

On the way to Mendo via Highway 1 near Albion we were picked up by 91-year-old "Rusty Gates," who didn't look a bit older than 65. A Stanford graduate and success at everything he ever did, we both agreed that the saddest part of getting old was losing our friends. The thought of the past brought me back to 1967.

In April of 1967 we got our first post office box in Mendocino. The post office then was a storefront overlooking the Pacific Ocean on Main Street.

Two of my best friends and mentors had moved up to Mendocino from Berkeley about 1962 — Paul and Nancy Kelly. Paul invented the philosophy of "dynamic indolence." He was the smartest person we've ever known. He was the inspiration of the Albion Nation, a superlative fisher of salmon and humans, innovator of the IWW/EF! challenge to destructive logging, a first-class poet and writer, played "lead jug" in the Casper Flats Jug Band, a great mentor to Norm De Vall, Bob Ross, Jack Sears, Jan Emo, et al. His wife Nancy, was a nurse, RN, and later supervisor of nurses at Coast Hospital, still later a Chinese doctor, mother of two of his very successful sons and a true gift to the planet. She still lives -- may she shine forever.

From Paul and Nancy we met Walter and "Hilly" Wells who was an excellent refrigeration repair person, great builder, owned a small farm and produced "the Illustrated Paper" of Mendocino, one of the first of the "underground" papers.

He rented me my first dwelling for $20 a month including utilities. He hired me to sell ads, sell and write for the paper and work with him so we could pay the rent. A landlord from heaven. We then met the "Yellow Kid," an art professor who turned me on to diving. We soon became addicted. Harold Braydon, a local pirate, took me under his wing and taught me the finer points of the shell game.

In late 1967 we met Jan Eno and David Isakson of Peerless Pipeworks of Casper. Phil Bianci, a community organizer, steered me over to Peerless where we were hired to market their fabulous herb smoking pipes. Over the next course of years we met the then new settlers including my diving instructor Jim MacMillan who named me Captain Fathom. His beautiful wife Valerie, Bill and Jerry Zacks, Bobby Markels, Bryon Randel and Emmylou Packard, Barbara Champion, Dr. Harold Robinson, Morris Boynoff, Dr. Peter Barg, life coach Victor, Kathy O'Grady, Susan Trieman, Nat and Kathy Bingham, Riva and Stephen Anapolsky, John and Judy Wester, Jack Sears, Jim Cummings, Jan Me, Sam Costa, Delbert Schaffer, Kent Allman, Charlie and Ken Crother and Jocko, and of course my number one ex, Tami-Diane.

Alan ‘Captain Fathom’ Graham


PS. Next up: Albion in 1970.

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When I was growing up my mother came up with a lot of true sayings:

  • People are dumb as a box of rocks, so you can’t plan for stupid.
  • You don’t dress to impress. You dress to show your respect to others.
  • The fastest way to failure is to claim you are a victim of some accident of life.
  • Life’s not fair. Get over it and move on.
  • Don’t let your career find you. You find what you were made to do.
  • Knowledge comes from school. Maturity sometimes comes with age. Wisdom comes from the Bible.
  • Something worth doing is seldom easy.
  • If you give a hobo (homeless of the time) a quarter you guarantee one thing. He will be back for another quarter.
  • Most people want to feel good, so they vote with their hearts not their brains.

I added: Your logic can be perfect, but your facts could be wrong.

Growing up in Redding we couldn’t ride horses in the field until the first rain because a spark from the horseshoe might start a fire. We could only ride on the dirt road in the summer. Not fun.

This year I saw someone mowing tall dry grass with a power mower in July. I thought about the box of rocks.

Bob Seyms

Santa Rosa

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There are a series of history books about towns, cities, communities across the United States -- "Images of America" -- and they have San Anselmo and Fairfax versions which I just bought. You can get them at Barnes & Noble, Copperfields, and Book Passage. They are about 130 pages long and cost $21.99. They're mostly photos with information-laden captions. But there is a good amount of information as well.

There is also a San Anselmo history book by a local author named Barry Spitz which came out in 2003. It's a coffee table sized book and it is quite detailed with lots of text and photos.

I'm guessing that the "Images of America" series would not have an Anderson Valley book but maybe Ukiah, Willits and Fort Bragg versions. Their website is:

Hoping you’re having a good holiday season.

Keith Bramstedt

San Anselmo

Ed note: Yes, there is one of Anderson Valley. Done in conjunction with the local historical society. Also of Ukiah, Willits and Fort Bragg. All available in local bookstores, last we checked.

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The United States stock market is carrying volatility to unbelievable levels. Those who are scrambling to create some sort of edge that will give even the slightest bit more profit have created electronic systems that are still a mystery. These systems have unintended consequences because they are so sensitive. The result is wild gyrations. The experts have outfoxed themselves, and now this needs to be acknowledged and fixed before we all lose whatever is left.

Barbara Krings


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Dear Senator Harris, 

We need to change to a system with sharing at the heart of it; that would allow for other positive democratic ideals to surface - social justice, tolerance, compassion; sharing of resources - food, water, land, wealth, knowledge, skills, ideas; sharing in the decisions and ideas that shape our lives.  

No more a government that cares only about wealth and the wealthy. Here in the USA: 40 to 45 MILLION people are living in poverty! We are ranked 36th in the world in terms of access to clean water and sanitation! The statistics for the US are unbelievable for one of the world's wealthiest countries. [from Statement on Visit to the US by Prof. Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, who was invited to study poverty here by both Presidents Obama and Trump] 

We must change our economic systems. Corporations are one of the most tyrannical systems ever invented. Control is at the top, where the majority of the wealth concentrates - the workers are expected to obey and be grateful they have work, while being paid a pittance compared to the pay at the top. This system wasn't so bad in the '60's when corporations at least thought it was good to be loyal to workers and treat them well. But that all changed in the '80's, when the focus became to maximize profits, to the detriment of all else, humans and nature. Since these huge corporations own the media as well, they make sure people know what they want them to know, and nothing else: people need to behave in ways that support the corporations, no longer "citizens" but "consumers"; and these huge corporate institutions now have tremendous influence over our government as well as the general population. When the system failed in 2008-09, banks, which had caused people to lose their money and their homes, were the ones bailed out!!! In Michigan we had people forced out of their homes, which were then destroyed, razed by bulldozers or Military war games, rather than let people stay in their homes! This is unconscionable, it is sick, but that's how Trickle Down economics works- or, rather, DOESN'T WORK. We are run by an unjust, unsustainable, environmentally destructive economic model. 

We ask you to enforce the Anti-Trust/Monopoly laws, and to pass stronger ones so that we can no longer have eight people own more wealth than HALF the people in the world! We ask you to hold people in positions of power accountable, not let them all go "Scot-free", like Nancy "impeachment-is-off-the-table" Pelosi, and President Barrack "Let's-look-forward-not-backward" Obama. NO! That let Trump and his ilk know, "Hey we can do whatever we want and get away with it!" Bush/Cheney/ Rumsfeld/Rice, et al- they are all war criminals! Yet what was done about it? ZERO! The Democrats in power did absolutely nothing, and in fact cheated to get Clinton the nomination in 2016! Is this disheartening?? You'd better believe it! 

We agree with the changes proposed by Bernie Sanders and "Berniecrats"! Trickle-UP economics! Social democracy! 

Sincerely, Nancy MacLeod 


PS: No more government that cares only about "protecting American interests" abroad. While there are people suffering anywhere in the world, we cannot be happy. Diplomacy and real help are what is needed - no more a government that attempts to solve problems in the world with bombs and violence!...or walls and prisons! 

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In 1969 Pete Townsend of The Who produced the only album by a little-known band called Thunderclap Newman with the hit song, "Something’s in the Air." The lyrics declared the revolution had arrived and spoke of calling out the fomenters and handing out guns and ammo. It perfectly captured the hunger for change. The song became a fixture for the films “Easy Rider,” “Strawberry Statesmen, and “The Magic Christian.” The rhythms on the ghetto streets of Fillmore and Hunters Point in San Francisco and West Oakland in the fall, winter and spring of 1973-1974 were more akin to the funky calls of Sly and the Family Stone, Tower of Power, and the Pointer Sisters than Townsend’s “Something’s in the Air” yet the sentiment was the same, driven by promise after promise failed in the 1960s and the desire, as Malcolm X. put it, to change the system by any means necessary. 

The world was caught up in political chaos, bloodshed and violence. Native Americans clashed with the FBI at Wounded Knee. Chile fell to Pinochet’s fascist junta. The Yom Kippur war raged in the Israeli town of Ma’alot. The IRA, Basque separatists and the Red Army Faction took on institutions in Europe as the Symbionese Liberation Army and Black Liberation Army did in the same year in the United States. The president stood naked as the scandal of Watergate brought down his administration at his feet. 

The dramatic terrorism in the history of the United States was not one single event, rather it was a random wave of terrorist attacks. The United States was on the brink and President Trump had nothing to do with it. 

In the wake of 911 people in their efforts to come to terms with the catastrophe compared it to Pearl Harbor, the Cuban missile crisis, the assassination of JFK, the Oklahoma bombing, and the World Trade Center bombing. Undercover conservatives passed as liberals and cause homelessness in the richest country in the world. California threw a Supreme Court justice under the bus and a three-star generals under the bus. 

Nowadays they are trying to blame everything they can on Trump. It's open season. Trump said he would make the United States great again and clean up the swamp of corruption which is deep as hell as he is showing who they are for the world to see. The Democrats are mad that they are not the ones doing what Trump is doing. Trump shut the whole world down, not the United States government as you can see. Corruption in the world is deep and US is at the top of that heap. Obama bankrupted the United States for the world to see. We were the weakest at that point. For 16 years chemical weapons were used in the Middle East. For sixteen years, Bush through Obama, did not stop it. 

As soon as Trump got in office he dropped the mother of all bombs on ISIS and all chemical weapons stopped. If the homeless voted Democrat they would not have the thousands of homeless communities in America. Mexican immigrants, many thousands of which are illegal Mexicans, are now California prisoners and United States prisoners. California has run out of the prison programs just for the overflow of Mexicans from Mexico who are three strikes convicts who will never get out of prison. 

So yes, we need Trump to show the world the ugly head of the United States corruption that we have become and nothing more.

I could go on and on but I think I've said enough thanks for Trump. 

Republicans are just as corrupt as Democrats and this nanny-run California is Governor Brown's prison system. All state correctional officers union members voted for Trump. At least someone has their eyes open. Everything Trump does or does not do the Democrats blame him. If he farted, Nancy Pelosi would catch it and paint it green and say Trump did it. He started the California fires, he's to blame for the pollution, the ozone layer depletion, the homeless, climate change and on and on. He is exposing the corrupt politicians and they don't like it. Trump changed 80 years of corruption in two years and he will win four more years. That's a given. If he doesn't the United States will be stronger than it ever was. So let's hope the next president stops the corruption as well as Trump has.

God bless the AVA for keeping it rolling and fanning the flames of discontent.

Dean ‘Dino’ Stevens, from an isolation cell in the Mendocino County Jail

951 Low Gap Road, Ukiah 95482

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They caught the illegal immigrant who killed the officer in Newman. He had a wife and a five month old boy. Jerry Brown is responsible for that. Him and his liberal administration. It's political murder. His sanctuary state has allowed another murder of a peace officer. You gotta be kidding me, man! When is enough going to be enough? This is crazy! It's not the way America should be. Liberal Democrats can't be allowed to run around with laws that are killing innocent people and law enforcement officers. Something's gotta be done. I'm willing to start if anyone will follow me. It's sick and it's got to be stopped. I praise the law enforcement people in Stanislaus County for doing such a good job. I only wish they would let me go down and give that guy a trial, a .22 hollowpoint right between the eyes. No trial.

Jerry Brown's sanctuary state provides protection for criminals coming here from other states who know they can be protected by Jerry Brown. It's like putting a wolf in a pack of sheep as far as our local communities go. Somebody better do something.

God bless Donald Trump, he’s trying.

Jerry Philbrick


PS. Now the Jerry Moonbeam Brown administration is trying to blame PG&E for the big fires. But we all know that it is environmentalists that caused the problem. Them and the Jerry Brown administration for not allowing PG&E to clear around the PG&E poles to solve the problem. They passed a bill to do that but Jerry Brown vetoed it. So he is a murderer, a political killer. There is so much evidence that the state has been lax on cutting grass alongside the roads because of environmentalists. PG&E is not letting grass grow by the highway or brush all over our roads and sidehills. PG&E is not preventing people from clearing around their houses because of some extinct bug or blade of grass. It's the environmentalists. And the Brown administration for allowing it to happen. It's a bunch of horseshit. It's high time something is done about it.

PPS. The sitting ducks in Mendocino County waiting to have a tragedy are the roads that run inland from Highway 1 like Simpson Lane, Oak Street, and all those lanes that run up there that are dead ends. No way out. Plus Brooktrails. That's another one, a hotspot which will have a terrible tragedy one day. There's only one way out. How stupid are these people?


  1. Pat Kittle January 5, 2019

    Jerry Philbrick,

    Every treasonous politician who aids-&-abets “sanctuary” status for illegal alien invaders should be fully prosecuted for aiding-&-abetting whatever additional crimes the aliens commit while they’re here.


  2. Joe Hansem January 5, 2019

    A little bit of misinformation here, the bill Brown vetoed would have REQUIRED PG&E and CPUC to mow and even move certain power lines underground. Needless to say, the utilities weren’t too keen on this mandate which Brown vetoed as “unnecessary”, since supposedly all this stuff was already being done. Not clear as to why the veto wasn’t overridden since the bill passed unanimously. But all this had nothing to do with environmentalists or preventing PG&E from doing anything.

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