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Letters (Jan. 30, 2019)

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Dear Neighbors:

Please join me in applauding the new Board of Directors of our local hospital, Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH), for replacing our hospital's CEO and moving forward towards creating a new, kinder, gentler, successful hospital.

The Board took the appropriate action because the present CEO had three years to perform and he failed. This amount of time is over two years longer than the vast majority of business leaders would have allowed him.

Here are two of many examples of the MCDH CEO's unacceptable performance: 

One-MCDH is currently not meeting the requirements of the mortgage holder, Cal Mortgage, and thus the CEO has left our hospital in jeopardy of closure. It would be the same if you failed to make timely payments on your home mortgage. 

Two-The MCDH CEO is one of the defendants (along with, his former CFO, the last Board's former Chair and MCDH itself) in a Federal lawsuit and the plantiff is his former employee, the former hospital Director of Human Resources. A Federal judge recently gave this case the green light.

Threee-As a last ditch effort the hospital administration persuaded the public to vote for a foolhardy parcel tax the income from which only covers a few months losses and thereby helped the financial books look a little better for a very short period. Taxes, bonds and loans, are tactics that many failing CEOs use to provide temporary cover for failing to perform. Our local boondoggle parcel tax was a small band-aid to a mismanaged, hemorrhaging business.

The new Board, and our new CEO will have a huge amount of work to do to turn our hospital around. This is our hospital. Let us put aside any differences, come together as a community, and give our new MCDH Board every bit of support we can muster.

Please spread the word, far and wide, that our hospital is aiming for success.


Richard Louis Miller, M.A., Ph.D. Clinical Psychology

Fort Bragg 

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Dear Editor:

Thank you, Mendocino TV, for your coverage of MCDH meetings.  This has been an invaluable and necessary service to our community, leading to the election of four highly qualified new board members by an informed public.

The act of blatant sabotage perpetuated by Steve Lund in renewing CEO Edwards' contract for an additional four years was egregious.  Edwards' evaluation was only satisfactory and he had another year still remaining on his original contract.  This action was totally unnecessary and made it MUCH more expensive for the new board to fire Edwards. As a defendant in the on-going Hardin v MCDH case, Steve Lund bears responsibility for yet another enormous drain on the hospital's resources.

Margaret Paul

A Healthy Hospital Supporter


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To whom it may concern,

I am Bonnie Taylor, the paternal aunt of Garret Rodriguez, and the family representative for Garret’s case. 

This letter is the result of my no longer being able to keep quiet and wait for the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. I have been more than patient for six years while the HCSO has conducted themselves in an incompetent and unprofessional manner in the handling of Garret’s case from the very beginning. I had hoped that Sheriff Honsal would invite a new era of professionalism into the department, but after the recent HCSO press release regarding the “Murder Mountain” series, I now feel the HCSO (Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office) will only continue to hide behind excuses. 

It is also clear to me that they only sought to discredit the documentary because it exposes their incompetence in the case. I will now outline for the public to see exactly what I have been dealing with the last six years when I speak of their incompetence and unprofessionalism:

1) Det. Todd Fulton told me within the first weeks of the missing persons report that “[my] nephew was a drug dealer, and these are the consequences of that life.” Det. Fulton later went on the record for the Times-Standard before Garret’s truck was found, and claimed there was no evidence Garret made it to Humboldt County. It is only through the professional and highly competent efforts of Cook & Associates that the evidence of Garret’s truck was discovered and eventually returned to the family.

2) When we first approached private investigators about Garret’s case after getting the aforementioned responses from Det. Fulton, Cook & Associates outlined for us the problem of hearsay evidence in Garret’s case. The recent HCSO press release even went so far as to give the public a legal definition of hearsay. The HCSO wants the public to believe their hands are tied on the case due to the lack of non-hearsay evidence. Why did Det. Jennifer Turner tell me in July of 2017 that the suspect “gave an original statement to law enforcement, and it is on file as, ‘I shot Garret and buried Garret'.”?

Please tell the public, Sheriff Honsal, under what conditions you chose to ignore probable cause for arrest?

3) The HCSO took several days to come and retrieve Garret’s body after Alderpoint residents had repeatedly called them about the now infamous “Alderpoint 8” incident. This is in direct conflict with the false narrative of the HCSO that Alderpoint residents forced the alleged murderer to confess due to “increased pressure on the community […] because the community wanted the Sheriff’s Office to stop looking for Rodriguez […].” HCSO was not out looking for Garret. If HCSO had been out looking for Garret, we never would have had to get private investigators involved.

4) The HCSO published the identification of Garret’s body in the media before the family had been notified. Despite near-daily and weekly calls to the HCSO and national news media coverage, the Rodriguez family was not given the professional courtesy of being notified their loved one was dead before the public knew.

5) The family was never informed about the local and federal prosecutors declining the case. The first time I became aware of this information was when it was published publicly in the recent HCSO press release.

Despite HCSO calling “Murder Mountain” “sensationalized,” I feel as a person who lived through this horrific event that the producers and the persons interviewed accurately portrayed the events that led to the recovery of Garret’s body. While there are elements of the story that no one knows but those who were present, the main element of Garret’s story that the public needs to take away is this: Garret’s alleged murderer is still at large, and the HCSO has not conducted this investigation in a way that is satisfying to the family of the deceased. We do not feel that justice has been served in this case.

I look forward to seeing Justice for Garret!

Bonnie Taylor

Humboldt County

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Goddammit! I am just SO BUMMED about Flynn Washburne! God damn that tweak! What on earth is there about that shit that it can seduce even a mind as clever and sophisticated as his into throwing everything he has away for some stupid sensation?

For years now, my wife and I have gotten so much enjoyment out of the Stony Lonesome author's work; the years of laughing to his unique missives from behind bars. I remember when I first read about how long his sentence was, it seemed like we would never see him get out of there, but time flies, and before you know it he's out, holding down that dishwasher gig at Chipotle and turning it into a decent career.

My wife Candida actually went in and looked him up there — neither of us know what he looks like — just to tell him how brilliant she thought he was. I had been meaning to do likewise, but now circumstances have changed irreparably. Damn! We're just both so heartbroken over it.

Guess I'll send him a few shekels to that GoFundMe thing and just hope that some heavier duty rehab will someday free him from that God damned scourge!


John Arteaga


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A lot of locals were put off by the hippies but we had friends in the Hamms brothers of Middle Ridge who remembered the 1906 earthquake. They remembered and supported the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW/Wobblies) and were stoked to find young “wobs.” Fred Shandel invented logging equipment and had an international junkyard and was friendly. When we arrived in 1970 there were no hippies on the Albion/Little River Fire Department. That all changed as my pals from Berkeley, Oliver and Rick Ricca, became "chiefs." Neil and Gary from Spring Grove were EMTs, et cetera. The Shandels and the Lawrence family appeared tolerant and indeed Bill Shandel who bought Spring Grove from Bo did a great job of selective logging and sold the property back to "the people" on favorable terms.

Brian and Lori Shea ran a successful horse ranch. Larry Miller became a "high linter" fisherman as did Smiling Bob and the young prodigy "Salmon," son of River, who sadly died on a vacation dive in Baja. Another young prodigy appeared in the person of Eric Beckeridge who rebuilt a huge Mercedes engine while still a child. K. Medley owned the Albion grocery and was a mother to us all.

The old hippie-hating Fred at Fireside Market on the coast side of Highway 1 passed to the "Kerry Jane Market" who liked, hired and gladly sold to the new settlers. (Thank you Beth Bosque for the name and magazine.)

Dr. Hal Ginsberg, always a friend, and his wife Naomi founded the "community center" located in the old Albion high school. Table Mountain and the Whale School boomed with Pam Abel, Bill Heil, Luna Linda Perkins, Leslie, Peter Matlin, Walter Sneider, etc. putting collective soul and talent on the line. Bill Chase, a "brother," founded a community called Riverdale and later sold it. He went back to the land in Ireland and bought a potato farm. So it went.

Early arrivals were [illegible, looks like “jontwiner”], Michael and Dobby Pickle, Ti Farm, the country women, Gloria Dike, Donna Finer, Bernadino, Charles/Larry Navarro, Ranger Rick. The great builder Cliff Sanders and beautiful Kathy Mooney, Mike Riley and two fabulous new Zealand ladies. One married Riley, the other Larry Miller. It was true. The locals found out that the hippies could indeed work. However, it was the herb that melted the hard edges.

Soon our redneck brothers found a pretty penny could be made in the agricultural sector. Hippie boys and girls fell in love with redneck boys and girls and produced children called hipnecks. Albion Strong became the Albion Nation (credit name to Captain Fathom.) Some fought in, most fought against the war in Vietnam. Food stamps arrived. The sea urchin business began. Mike Riley, Billy Walsh and the [illegible, looks like “Fink”] Brothers made water tanks. no you know what that is Bruce Lee Fink Brothers made water tanks is that think I can't read that this and know it looks like FIA candy or maybe FI and gay and I think looks like they. Bobby Markels’ son Alex, the young giant, got a job tearing down the largest building in Fort Bragg, the old International Hotel. Alex hired the whole IWW membership. Beautiful redwood boards, beams and window frames in new age hotels. The old co-op grocery across the street experienced a slight boon from our beer and sandwich trade.

More to follow.

Alan ‘Captain Fathom’ Graham


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Dear Editor,

As a long-time reader, I appreciate you and your newspaper enormously. But in response to your continuing ignorance on several issues that you have repeatedly written about: transgenders and vaccinations of children...

A seven- or eight year-old child who feels very clearly that they are not the right gender for their genitalia? This has nothing to do with sexuality. They are no more sexually precocious than any other child of their age. This is a matter of gender identity.

And on the vaccination issue: I might consider it child abuse to give my children the longer and longer list of mandated injections, whereas you would consider abuse not to.

I do not trust the profit driven pharmaceutical industry. I'm not opposed to all vaccinations, but where do we draw the line? Let them catch chickenpox or mumps. If your child is immunized then that's fine. But why worry if mine aren't when yours are safe?

If we are going to mandate to parents for the health of their children, how about: not sending abused (physical or mental) children back to their families? (My daughter worked for several years in the alternative/"delinquents" school in Fort Bragg and told me a lot of stories.)

How about banning violent video games and movies?

How about mandatory vasectomies for all 15-year-old males with a free reversal operation when they are 25 upon request then?


K Dodge


ED REPLY: We'll just have to disagree. I think children are too young to make momentous sexual/gender choices, and I think it's obvious that widespread public health vaccination has prevented much human misery. I find it odd to even be debating this stuff.

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Mr. Matthew Brady

District Director

California Department of Transportation

District 1

P. O. Box 3700

Eureka, CA 95502-3700

CC: Mike McGuire, State Senator

Jim Wood, Assemblymember


Dear Mr. Brady:

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has for many years regularly closed State Route Highway 128, between milepost 0.00 and milepost 11.5, just west of Flynn Creek Road, County Road (CR) 135, a County Maintained Road. Closures have resulted from winter flooding of the Navarro River, but in recent years, the unmaintained sandbar at the mouth of the Navarro River has left the roadway closed during the dry season. The additional traffic during these closures – an increase of some 78% during the most recent incident – has severely impacted Flynn Creek Road, a road not constructed for highway volume traffic, especially heavy trucks.

The Mendocino County Department of Transportation (MCDoT) has informed me that our County Maintained Road System was never designed and built to modern standards, but instead “evolved” from legacy roads, a majority originating from old wagon roads that were dirt, later upgraded to gravel surface and then transitioned to asphalt pavement or chip seals surface.

The reason for all this history is to explain why the “basement soil” under these County roads is not built to modern specifications like modern highways. In modern designed and constructed highways, the roads were built on soils that were tested for strength, excavated, and built with sub-base layers of aggregate specified to withstand the modern truck weights allowed on modern highways. Our County roads were not built to such standards and some 5% of the full 9 mile length of Flynn Creek Road, CR 135, has suffered deep base failures from heavy traffic loads due to the regularly diverted highway traffic. MCDoT informs me that repairs will require 1,750 cubic yards of “dig outs” that will cost approximately $1 million. MCDoT advises me that this method of repair is consistent with Caltrans Maintenance Technical Advisory Guide Volume I - Flexible Pavement Preservation 2nd Edition, Chapter 5 specifications.

A recent closure notice from California Department of Transportation included “MOTORISTS ARE ADVISED TO USE AN ALTERNATE ROUTE”. A driver headed to the town of Mendocino would be guided by GPS navigation to use Flynn Creek to Comptche-Ukiah Road, a total distance of 22 miles. While the motorist could detour via other State Highways, the shortest path would be SR 128 to 253 to 101 to 20 to 1 for a total of 102 miles. The vast majority (if not all) motorists will choose the path one-fifth as long.

Respectfully Submitted,

Ted Williams

Mendocino County Fifth District Supervisor

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I was in Gualala and read the shocking article in the Press Democrat about Native American students failing in schools. I have lived internationally, and I have friends in Scandinavian countries where the educational system is easily 50 years ahead of American schools.

These learning differences are common knowledge, and special education is provided for them. Our prisons are full of people who were told every day in school that they were stupid.

The American education system is stupid and tragically behind. It is killing children.

Frances Enfield

San Francisco

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I think this will probably be my last letter for a while. I'm tired of bashing the Democrats, those anti-American liberals. I'm tired of trying to get the Republicans, the conservative people, to vote. That's the only way we are going to get these rotten people who are running the state of California out of office. It just doesn't make sense to me to try to do it any other way. The Republicans won't get off their lazy asses and vote. So all you liberals out there: Don't worry about me. I'm not going to start shooting until the revolution starts. Thanks to the AVA for allowing me to write the letters that I have. Good luck to everyone out there. Remember: God bless Donald Trump. MAGA.

Jerry Philbrick


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I lied. I'm back. The only way to get rid of Liberal Democrats is to vote them out of office. Republicans are too lazy to vote. They won't step up to the plate. Democrats not only vote but they cheat. They vote illegally.

We need a different state called Jefferson, Northern California. Southern California wants our water and recreational areas. They’ve built too many highways and congest all their towns. Our Mendo shopkeepers love the tourism but locals have to fight the traffic as it crowds the streets and recreation areas with visitors from Southern California. It’s a strain on law enforcement.

Gruesome Newsom is taxing our water, our air, our springs, our wells, our exhaust pipes in the name of climate control. He has to be voted out of office. He treats people like criminals.

The Libs are fighting President Trump as he tries to do the right thing and he is still getting it done. Schumer and Pelosi and the rest are rotten to the core and it will all come back on them.

Kim Jong Il is violating the agreement and we should bomb all his bases and then turn around and bomb Iran at the same time. I'm sure President Trump knows what to do despite the liberal protests. My dad always told me to respect the law, never lie, be kind to animals, respect elders and stay on your own side of the road. I have tried to do that.

Law enforcement. Greg Stefani, Jesse Van Wormer and others are great officers. Greg’s dad Paul was a great officer in the Ukiah police. Young people respected law enforcement back then. It's too bad law enforcement officers have to protect people who hate them. That's what the Libs are all about. They hate law enforcement but they want protection. Officers must be very patient.

Our border is wide open. MS 13 is coming in and all the other riffraff and felons and people who hate the United States and who rape little kids and murder people. That should make you rotten Libs happy. As long as it doesn't happen to you.

But I do feel sorry for the people just trying to get a job and get a better life. I wish I could help them but I cannot.

God bless Donald Trump.

Jerry Philbrick


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Reading Jerry Philbrick reminds me of a column our late friend, Alexander Cockburn, wrote for the Village Voice after Sixties icon Tom Hayden and his celebrity wife, Jane Fonda, visited Israel and Lebanon to show their support for Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982, in a gesture, he admitted a quarter of a century later, was designed to woo Jewish voters in Santa Monica where he was running for state Assembly. 

"In the National Gallery in Washington," wrote Cockburn at the time, "there are 46 portraits of Benedict Arnold. None look alike yet they all resemble Tom Hayden." 

What does that have to do with Jerry Philbrick? 

I expect, sometime in the past, you have seen photos of lynchings of black men in the South and Middle West that were made into postcards. They show crowds of white men and some women grinning and celebrating as a black body hangs by the neck from a nearby tree. None of the men in the photo look alike yet I suspect they all look like Jerry Philbrick. Can anyone doubt that after reading his weekly hate infested diatribes that he wouldn't be in the front row with a smile from ear to ear? 

Now, I have never seen photos of the white settlers, who behaved like savages, as they slaughtered the indigenous Indians in Mendocino County, but I would guess that while none of them would look alike, they, too, would all resemble Jerry Philbrick. 

Jeff Blankfort


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I suspect that many travelers, including some of my friends, have been surprised and disappointed to learn that SMART’s Airport Station isn’t at the airport. Rather, the train puts you off or you await its arrival, often with your luggage and no connecting service, at least a mile from the airport. This is a serious gap in service.

With the hundreds of millions invested in SMART, couldn’t and shouldn’t it include minibus shuttle service operating between the station and the airport to connect passengers with the 10 or so arriving and departing daily flights?

This could perhaps be a jointly funded service to improve passenger traffic and convenience for SMART and the airport. It seems like a reasonable and justified additional cost to incur, at least for SMART and probably the airport as well.

If necessary, a modest passenger fare ($5-$10?) to help defer costs could be imposed. Saving just one day’s parking fee at the airport, as well as the drive to and from there, would more than cover that.

David Meyers


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