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Letters to the Editor


Dear Mr Parrish,

I just now read your “Who Really Rules California's Wine Country?”, as I am catching up after returning to Massachusetts from northern Italy, where my fiance is from, and whose father 30 years ago was a local wine grower there as a second income to help bring up his family. It was a very small vineyard.

Several of these types still exist in the hills of Lombardia and Piemonte. He is retired, but purchases all at once his yearly allotment of wines, for mealtimes, from a small grower in the Voghera hills. He jokingly calls it “peasant wine.”

When we are here, we never drink wine from California. We respect wine too much and the wine-making process. As your great article points out, these corporate vineyards are cheaters, propagandists and liars. They are a disaster for the environment, and have become as corrupt as corporate monocrop agribusiness.

A couple of weeks ago, I was at a New Year's eve party in Milan, hosted by a woman who will be my fiancée's witness when we get married this spring in San Francisco. My witness lives in Sebastopol, about 50 miles from the city. We all plan to visit wine country. A married couple at the party, fans of America (much more than me, but I didn't let on as my Italian is not yet good enough) and its wonderful “local” food available at places like Whole Foods Market, was talking about how they loved the movie “Sideways.” I think they were trying to be nice to an exotic specimen from America.

I have always been curious to find something out, maybe you know. “Sideways,” which waxed so poetic about California's wine country, making it so hip and chic to drink wine, has tricked so many people about the “bucolic” nature of this area and the northern California wine industry. Did these powerful and wealthy wine-growing corporations influence (maybe help finance?) their rich and “liberal” Hollywood producer friends to make this movie, and to get more people interested in drinking wine to boost profits?

I've always wondered and suspected so, but lacked the means to find out. If you could share a nugget or two of your thoughts about it, or refer me to someone who has written about it, I would be grateful.

Thanks so much in advance.

Robert Gardener

San Francisco




I had this idea that I could rope a deer, put it in a stall, feed it up on corn for a couple of weeks, then kill it and eat it. The first step in this adventure was getting a deer. I figured that, since they congregate at my cattle feeder and do not seem to have much fear of me when we are there (a bold one will sometimes come right up and sniff at the bags of feed while I am in the back of the truck not four feet away), it should not be difficult to rope one, get up to it and toss a bag over its head (to calm it down) then hog tie it and transport it home.

I filled the cattle feeder then hid down at the end with my rope. The cattle, having seen the roping thing before, stayed well back. They were not having any of it. After about 20 minutes, my deer showed up — three of them. I picked out a likely looking one, stepped out from the end of the feeder, and threw my rope. The deer just stood there and stared at me. I wrapped the rope around my waist and twisted the end so I would have a good hold.

The deer still just stood and stared at me, but you could tell it was mildly concerned about the whole rope situation. I took a step towards it, it took a step away. I put a little tension on the rope and then received an education. The first thing that I learned is that, while a deer may just stand there looking at you funny while you rope it, they are spurred to action when you start pulling on that rope.

That deer EXPLODED. The second thing I learned is that pound for pound, a deer is a LOT stronger than a cow or a colt. a cow or a colt in that weight range I could fight down with a rope and with some dignity. A deer? No chance.

That thing ran and bucked and twisted and pulled. There was no controlling it and certainly no getting close to it. As it jerked me off my feet and started dragging me across the ground, it occurred to me that having a deer on a rope was not nearly as good an idea as I had originally imagined. The only upside is that they do not have as much stamina as many other animals.

A brief ten minutes later, it was tired and not nearly as quick to jerk me off my feet and drag me when I managed to get up. It took me a few minutes to realize this, since I was mostly blinded by the blood flowing out of the big gash in my head. At that point, I had lost my taste for corn-fed venison. I just wanted to let that devil creature off the end of that rope.

I figured if I just let it go with the rope hanging around its neck, it would likely die slow and painfully somewhere. At the time, there was no love at all between me and that deer. At that moment, I hated the thing, and I would venture a guess that the feeling was mutual.

Despite the gash in my head and the several large knots where I had cleverly arrested the deer's momentum by bracing my head against various large rocks as it dragged me across the ground, I could still think clearly enough to recognize that there was a small chance that I shared some tiny amount of responsibility for the situation we were in. I didn't want the deer to have to suffer a slow death, so I managed to get it lined back up in between my truck and the feeder, a little trap I had set before hand, kind of like a squeeze chute. I got it to back in there and I started moving up so I could get my rope back.

Did you know that deer bite?

They do! I never in a million years would have thought that a deer would bite somebody, so I was very surprised when it I reached up there to grab that rope and the deer grabbed hold of my wrist. Now, when a deer bites you, it is not like being bit by a horse where they just bite you and then let go. A deer bites you and shakes its head — almost like a pit bull. They bite HARD and it hurts.

The proper thing to do when a deer bites you is probably to freeze and draw back slowly. I tried screaming and shaking instead. My method was ineffective.

It seems like the deer was biting and shaking for several minutes, but it was likely only several seconds. I, being smarter than a deer (though you may be questioning that claim by now), tricked it. While I kept it busy tearing the tendons out of my right arm, I reached up with my left hand and pulled that rope loose.

That was when I got my final lesson in deer behavior for the day. Deer will strike at you with their front feet. They rear right up on their back feet and strike right about head and shoulder level, and their hooves are surprisingly sharp. I learned a long time ago that, when an animal — like a horse — strikes at you with their hooves and you can't get away easily, the best thing to do is try to make a loud noise and make an aggressive move towards the animal. This will usually cause them to back down a bit so you can escape.

This was not a horse. This was a deer, so obviously, such trickery would not work. In the course of a millisecond, I devised a different strategy. I screamed like a woman and tried to turn and run. The reason I had always been told NOT to try to turn and run from a horse that paws at you is that there is a good chance that it will hit you in the back of the head. Deer may not be so different from horses after all, besides being twice as strong and three times as evil, because the second I turned to run, it hit me right in the back of the head and knocked me down.

Now, when a deer paws at you and knocks you down, it does not immediately leave. I suspect it does not recognize that the danger has passed. What they do instead is paw your back and jump up and down on you while you are laying there crying like a little girl and covering your head.

I finally managed to crawl under the truck and the deer went away. So now I know why when people go deer hunting they bring a rifle with a scope to sort of even the odds. All these events are true so help me God.

An Educated Rancher




Hi Ray and Jane Zeni,

Thank you so much for the Christmas trees, bows and wreaths; we used them for the decorations at the Apple Hall when we held Tom Burger's memorial gathering. The Hall smelled so nice from the fresh trees.

Thanks again,

The Tom Burger family





The Progressive Liberal Agenda

“The Liberal Agenda” has been falsified and bastardized by the Conservative and Fundamentalist radio hosts of this country, and the Right has been hacking away at our safety nets since Reagan became President.

The Progressive Liberal agenda has always been about caring for and empowering the least among us (Matthew 25), and setting a secure floor under our citizenry. Teddy Roosevelt’s Square Deal: a living wage, a basic safety net; Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal: Social Security; Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society: the elimination of poverty and racial injustice, and Medicare/Medicaid. It’s been about building America from the ground up using government only for what is absolutely necessary and providing a basic standing point: free public education, free medical care, and care for the needy and elderly as in all other developed countries in the world. And, yes, tax the wealthy and very wealthy more than the middle class folks who are just working every day. Why? Because the wealthy benefit more from the commons and thus should pay a higher percentage of their income for it.

Every positive step forward in this country has been brought by the Progressive Left… and the Right’s agenda has been to say No. Progressives brought us the 50-hour work week, then the 40-hour work week. The Right said No. Progressives brought us the Minimum Wage. The Right said No. Progressives brought us the right to unionize the workplace. The Right said No. Progressives brought us worker safety laws so people don’t die in factories or offices which used to be one of the leading causes of death in the US, but not anymore. The Right said No.

The Right’s Agenda is that none of this is necessary; that our democratically-elected government should have no role in providing any standard of living for the American people, and that all power derives from economic power and should be held at the top by the largest corporations and wealthiest individuals… and they should have virtually unlimited power over the political process.

What is the vision for America that the Right has? Less government? What does that mean? It means there is no force restraining the power of corporations and great wealth. It’s a Kingdom… the boss should be King.

Do you want Social Security administered by government with a 3% overhead, or by Wall Street so the billionaires can skim some money off the top?

The documented studies show (see ): Those societies where the extremely rich are fewer and less rich, and the poorer are fewer and less poor, and the middle class is larger and stronger, those societies have lower rates of infant mortality, of teenage pregnancy, of mental illness, of violence, of homicide, of STDs. They have longer life-spans, higher standards of living, higher levels of trust in society, higher levels of civic participation.

A German industrialist was interviewed recently and the American reporter kept saying “You pay 50% income tax.” The man says “Yeah.” And the reporter kept saying “You pay such high taxes!” And the industrialist says “Yes. I don’t want to be a rich man in a poor country.”

Dave Smith





Thank you, Steve Heilig, for bringing back the memories.

In 1993, Eugene, Oregon, my family converged at a Greatful Dead concert to celebrate my daughter's 30th birthday. She had never seen the Dead before, but had, for many years, reluctantly listened to her older brother's LPs. He rode BART to Days on the Green when he was 15, to see the Dead, the Who, and many others. Years later, in 1993 he brought his wife and their year and a half year old son, my grandson, to the Eugene show. It was also my grandson's first Dead show. We rocked to Jerry and friends, and their opening act, Indigo Girls. I still have the tee shirt. Too soon Jerry passed, August 9, 1995. Long live the Dead and the memories and music. You had to be there.

B.L. Truckin’





I wonder how many people will stop traveling to Santa Rosa just because we get Costco here. I know I won't.

About three times a year we make the trip to what we jokingly call “The Big City,” aka Santa Rosa, for supplies. We buy vitamins, maple syrup, and whole wheat pasta at Trader Joe's. We swing by REI for hiking boots and suitable outdoor stuff. Ditto Sonoma Outfitters. Then, for a real treat, coming home we stop in Healdsburg where we cruise the bookstores, get ice cream cones, and walk around the square. We used to buy Parmesan cheese at the Oak Barrel, but when that store decided not to carry foreign cheeses, we stopped going there as well.

Since moving here in 1998 we have ventured to Costco exactly once — to make use of an odd perk thanks to my American Express card: A one-time visit to Costco without having to pay the membership fee. True to form (we did visit Costco when we lived in Washington DC) we managed to spend $300. As one of my Washington colleagues said, a better moniker for Costco would be The $300 Club. And now I would be hard pressed to even remember more than one item we purchased there (I do remember coming away with two fire extinguishers). One other item was a box of plastic garbage bags, a box so big it lasted ten years!

About two years ago I asked our neighbor, who shops at Costco on occasion, to pick up another box of the same kind of garbage bags. For us that translates to another ten years of not having to go there.

So, maybe in ten years (I suppose that would be eight by now) we will venture into a local Costco, should one ever get built here. Meanwhile, we'll make our thrice yearly trips to Santa Rosa.

In sum, I don't believe a Costco in Ukiah will significantly affect sales tax revenue and I know, and so should Costco and the City Council, that we don't “need” a Costco.

Janie Sheppard




To the Editor:

The following was presented to the City Council of Ukiah on January 19th:

You, the City Council of Ukiah, are scheduled today (Jan. 19th ) to approve, in secret session, an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement with Costco. Most of your fellow citizens are at a loss to understand why you would sell 15 acres of land bought with Redevelopment Funds to a retail emporium when it is well established that our real need is affordable housing, not more stores. We hold you answerable to us for your actions and ask for your response to the following questions:

Why is it OK in your view to place a Big Box Retail Outlet in Ukiah after we the voters resoundingly defeated such a Big Box Complex at the Masonite site (1 mile north of town) by a 62 to 32% vote just three months ago? Did you somehow fail to hear the voice of the people?

How can you accept the loss of local jobs and the demise of local business that will inevitably result if CostCo moves in? How can you explain this to those local merchants who are the likely victims: food stores, clothing stores, opticians, hearing aid suppliers, tire shops, druggists, florists, and book stores? We do not suffer from a shortage of local stores meeting these local needs and returning far more to the community than out-of-state monsters like CostCo and WalMart. We can see from the experience of other small towns that when the local market fails to meet their profit forecasts, the Big Boxers nail shut the doors and quickly get out of town. We will regret our gullibility and like a jilted bride sadly survey the abandoned stores along State Street and School Street that the once-welcomed groom has left as his only legacy.

You chose to invest $2.74 million to buy this 18 acre parecel of land suitable only for retail enterprises with our redevelopment funds when our most obvious real need was affordable housing? If CostCo does buy 15 acres of this parcel, what will you do with this money? We have hundreds of low income working families now living in very small converted motel rooms south of downtown and in dilapidated shacks and old mobile homes in South Ukiah and Calpella. We happily exploit these workers in our vineyards and business enterprises. May we have your commitment that the proceeds from this sale will be invested in the construction of affordable housing, not in another unneeded retail complex? How can we trust your word? Will you now respond to the community's real human needs rather than to the selfish complaints of our higher income citizens for a little more convenience in shopping?

James Houle

Redwood Valley

Member of the County Council of the Green Party




A note from the AVA readers at the Coffee Shop in Covelo.

Our condolences for Spec MacQuayde. Truly an outrage!

Why is this article on the last page, when surely, it is newsworthy of the front?

Ruby Head





I recently spoke to Sheriff Allman about law enforcement. We talked about the need to preserve existing resident deputies on the south coast and in Anderson Valley. Tom claims that these positions are threatened by BOS cuts in his department. Of course, the BOS only sets the sheriff's budget and doesn't tell him how to deploy his funded positions. Nonetheless, this is a major bone of contention.

We also discussed the 9.31 program, which Tom believes is a great success and a source of funding in order to maintain what he refers to as the “status quo.” There are currently 18 participants in the 9.31 program, each one paying approximately $6,000 for a total of $108,000. That almost pays for one deputy for one year. He hopes to have 100 participants by next year and is making the case to the BOS that those funds can save positions. Tom claims that he has “cleared” the program with federal authorities (the “marijuana czar” to use his phrase) and will soon be meeting with staff of newly-elected AG Kamala Harris. He expects to gain her approval as well. He also believes that Prop 19 will return to the ballot sooner (2012) rather than later and hopes to have a hand in the drafting of that new proposition.

We also discussed our different philosophies about the role of the BOS vis-à-vis the sheriff. I contend that the sheriff works for the BOS in the sense that it is our job to set the overall priorities for county government within our budgetary limitations. It is in part because of that relationship that I contend the sheriff and other department heads should not endorse candidates in supervisorial races. (Wendy Roberts is not the first candidate Tom has endorsed and will likely not be the last.) Tom contends that he works for the electorate that put him in office and the AG. In his words, we had to “agree to disagree” on this point.

Tom has recently threatened to sue the BOS (on the county dime) for not providing his department with adequate funding.

Dan Hamburg





With all due respect to Dan, those who've followed the BOS meetings over the past couple of years, including the 2010-11 budget hearings, are well aware of the dire circumstances in the Sheriff's Office. More than half of his budget is tied up in meeting State mandated requirements for the jail. He does not have the option of making further cuts there. Hence, when the board cuts his budget, it comes from Patrol. The Sheriff was one of the first to step up with a substantial pay cut and the Deputy Sheriff's have also taken a substantial cut. He has several empty positions in his operation and has streamlined administration to cut costs. He has initiated programs including a bakery, prison garden, and remote monitoring of parolees that have brought in revenue and cut costs. He's brought in millions in grant funds...and he is working with 9.31...which was NOT his idea...and which was never intended as a “fundraiser” to enforce the Ordinance and make it work both for honest growers and for the rest of us. In short, he is running one of the most efficient operations in the county...probably the most efficient and cost-effective...and still, our deputies are at risk. As for endorsements, Dan was quite keen on the idea when he went to the Sheriff Allman and other public officials seeking their support for his own campaign.

Some of you will now take out your flame throwers, and you are welcome to do so, but people who care about what is happening with our county government (and our tax dollars) are entitled to hear more than one interpretation of the news from Low Gap Road.

Wendy Roberts




Dear Editor:

I see by the Off The Record column of January 12 the boondoggle North Coast Railroad Authority aka Tooterville Trolley is still alive and well. It certainly is a good sinecure for the directors, employees, and consultants. They have been fooling around with some boxcars in the Russian River area, but their raison' d'erre is to reopen the long abandoned railroad line that runs up the Eel River Canyon from Dos Rios to Eureka.

As your paper has pointed out the tunnels are caving in, lengths of track are covered in landslides, other sections of the track have disappeared into the river. In 2007 there was a cost estimate of $100 millon to repair the line. No doubt, considering the Authority made the estimate it would be several times that amount today. Plus it would require a significant cost every year for track maintenance. Their continuing existence is dependent upon the largess of the State of California. No state funding and the Authority disappears. The taxpayers would certainly be better off.

Perhaps some good citizen should bring the attention of Governor Brown to this boondoggle.

In peace,

James. G. Updegraff





Chanting to the dark mother goddess Kali Ma for the destruction of materialism is vital, particularly on Capitol Hill and around the White House.

Om Aim Hrim Klim Chamundayai Vicce. Om Aim Hrim Klim Chamundayai Vicce. Om Aim Hrim Klim Chamundayai Vicce. Om Aim Hrim Klim Chamundayai Vicce. Om Aim Hrim Klim Chamundayai Vicce. Om Aim Hrim Klim Chamundayai Vicce. Om Aim Hrim Klim Chamundayai Vicce. Om Aim Hrim Klim Chamundayai Vicce. Om Aim Hrim Klim Chamundayai Vicce. Om Aim Hrim Klim Chamundayai Vicce.  Om Aim Hrim Klim Chamundayai Vicce. Om Aim Hrim Klim Chamundayai Vicce. Om Aim Hrim Klim Chamundayai Vicce. Om Aim Hrim Klim Chamundayai Vicce. Om Aim Hrim Klim Chamundayai Vicce. Om Aim Hrim Klim Chamundayai Vicce. Om Aim Hrim Klim Chamundayai Vicce. Om Aim Hrim Klim Chamundayai Vicce. Om Aim Hrim Klim Chamundayai Vicce.

Craig Stehr

Washington DC



Petition For A Non-Motorized Trail Along The Mainstem Eel River Instead Of NCRA Railway

We, the residents of California, do hereby call on all levels of government and interested nonprofit organizations to cooperate and facilitate:

1. the preservation of the NCRA corridor from Willits to Humboldt Bay for public nonmotorized users (“railbanking”) and

2. conversion of the defunct old NCRA railway into a trail for equestrians), pedestrians, bicyclists and other nonmotorized users.

Whereas the NCRA trains only operated sporadically until the storms of 1997/1998 and thereafter have been nonoperational between Willits and Eureka;

Whereas the population and industrial base of the northcoast cannot be expected to support and sustain the extremely high cost of repairs and maintenance for a railroad in our area of rugged natural beauty (i.e. the “Lost Coast”) and that will not change;

Whereas the NCRA corridor along the main stem of the Eel River is geologically unstable, seismically active, and generally inappropriate for heavy equipment like trains and the government subsidies for a permanent loss-making railroad in this era of structural fiscal deficits is unrealistic;

Whereas more years of inaction would allow the valuable infrastructure of the NCRA corridor to degrade further and make the eventual trail conversion much more costly and difficult; also, additional delays could result in loss of all public use of the corridor;

Whereas the Northcoast needs more healthy activities for youth and families alike and there is a chronic shortage of nonmotorized equestrian and bicycle trails in the Northcoast and such a trail would promote healthy lifestyles and nonpolluting, sustainable transportation and recreation practices;

Whereas the optimum public use of the NCRA corridor as a nonmotorized trail is obvious, since all able-bodied Northcoast residents have legs to hike, most have bicycles and many have horses;

Whereas the proposed Willits-Humboldt Bay equestrian, pedestrian and bicycle trail would become world-renowned for its natural beauty and an ecotourism magnet for horse riders, hikers and bicyclists alike, promoting sustainable ecotourism locally;

Whereas creative solutions exist to all issues related to conversion of the NCRS corridor to nonmotorized rail and public support remains very high:

• Volunteers would keep the Trail clean (responsible names on signs, like for roads);

• Official motorized vehicles would be allowed only for life-threatening situations;

• Grants and other funding to pay for the conversion;

• An appropriate agency can be found to accept and manage the railbanked corridor.

So therefore let it be known that we urge all elected and appointed officials and all others to support conversion of the NCRA railway to a nonmotorized trail as soon as practical.

For more information contact Eel River Trails Association (, PO Box 185, Philipsville, CA 95559. 707-223-2226 (

Rails to trails on California's North Coast — nonmotorized trails for equestrians, hikers and bikers!

Chris Weston, Founder




Dear Editor:

I live in San Diego. Twice in the past decade (in 2003 and 2007) San Diego County has suffered wildfires — fires that caused massive destruction and numerous deaths.

In both cases the people tasked with fighting these fires do their job well, even heroically. But in spite of their efforts, hundreds of homes were lost.

The second fire necessitated the greatest peacetime evacuation in US history. Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced. Most left their homes voluntarily. But some had to be expelled.

After the fires, those evacuated were slowly allowed to return to their properties.

But consider this — suppose the homeowners had not been allowed to return. Suppose authorities that said, “You don't live here anymore. These properties are no longer yours.”

The affected owners would have been justifiably outraged! And lawyers would have swooped in like vultures on a fresh kill.

It's an implausible notion. Nothing like this could happen in the good old US of A..

Or could it?

There's precedent — several actually. (Ask Native Americans.) And, as recently as 60+ years ago something like this did happen. Not here, but in Palestine. A wretched injustice was perpetrated on the Palestinian people — and sanctioned by the United States.

Hundreds of thousands of people fled (or were expelled) in the crossfire of the Arab-Israeli war of 1948. Palestinians fled for their lives — thinking their withdrawal would be temporary. But these people were never allowed to return to their homes and farms that had been theirs for millennia.

This is the plight of the Palestinian refugees today. They are still waiting to go home.

Nobody with even a crumb of conscience cannot but feel sympathy for the Jews of World War II. Their treatment at the hands of the Nazis was despicable. However, it was German people who mistreated the Jews, not Palestinians.

But thanks to the generosity of the American people (the Marshall Plan) Germany is doing quite well thank you — while the Palestinian people struggle to survive almost constant murderous assaults by the Israelis. Adding insult to injury, the F-15s, the bombs, the weapons of this harassment are provided by the US — for free — as foreign aid.

Foreign aid. Makes you kind of proud, huh?

Ever wonder why we have no friends in the Middle East? I don't.

Best regards,

Bart Boyer

San Diego




This idea of asset forfeiture has always made me wonder who is the worst criminal? In the early 1970s when Colombian coke cartels were looking for porous entry sits to supply cocaine to the US market (when you can turn a simple Inca herb into a 500% profit someone will go for it). At that time airplanes of all types were seized and stacked up on the periphery of Florida airstrips. Sheriffs delighted in a weird game of who could be the king of asset forfeiture. The event made me think (our?) police were truly becoming criminal gangs. One of the fears I seem to have stuck in my mind (police state) was a 12 man commercial fishing crew who had their million-dollar ship seized as asset forfeiture because narcs found a joint in the fry cook’s duffel bag. What do you know? Please snoop into it. It sounds to me like asset forfeiture is simply theft by our anointed protectors. (Beware the badge.)

Correct me if I'm wrong but it seems asset seizures are way more the focus. Even (and this is the thing that really reeks) before any due process or court judgments! Extrajudicial — just like third world dictatorships.

Name withheld (because I have a lingering memory of police malfeasance and an 80% contempt for cops and 20% love and gratitude)

PS. Fear the fuzz (with respect to the San Francisco Giants pitcher)

PPS. McEwen seems to have the stones for it. This cop grab hurts untold children/innocents and perhaps worse is in Mexico: don't worry about the druggies — just watch out for the cops.



Dear Editors,

I take it your January 19 “OFF THE RECORD” is due to Bruce Anderson — in my opinion, a great man with a really tough job. Barack Obama, too, in my opinion is a great man  (though no greater than Bruce) with a really tough job.  Obama's job, however, is maybe three or four orders of magnitude tougher.

Ergo it seems sniping at Obama's views and record might be undertaken with some slight hesitation. I mean, this is a bit weightier than noticing that a local goniff* like Colfax has been misbehaving for years.

More specifically, is there really basis for the proposition that President Obama is one of those who “squeeze mental health services out of existence”?  I haven't been aware of this.  Personally I'd appreciate knowing a factual source for that assertion.

Incidentally, I finished Bruce's proposed passage thus:  “Even if the audio-fascisti ceased broadcasting tomorrow, … we should probably all go LIVE IN SWEDEN.” Does that count as an obscenity?

Peter Lippman





Thanks for sending the Alice B. Toklas and Abraham Lincoln pot cards. Now my collection is complete. The pot stats on the back of Honest Abe’s card says that he grew his weed in the White House garden camouflaged as Illinois corn. Maybe that's what Michelle is up to in her “Stop Obesity garden.”

This pot card mania has now gone ballistic with an expanding list of contemporary and historical pop celebrities identified and added to the pot card pantheon. The Herbal Tea Party now has its own website:

Sarah Palin’s Caffeine Tea Party, demanding equal time, has started its own pot card stoner pantheon including Glenn Beck, who by his own admission was a serious stoner for 15 years. Now he's rich, famous, and one of the most influential media muggers in America. And as we all know Genghis Khan religiously used hash to give him the strength to do what had to be done.

The most surprising paleostoner though is Dick Cheney who — rumor has it — started with ditch weed in his native Nebraska, and has been a closet stoner ever since. I believe it! He is a robotic cadaver with a heart of tin. How could he still be alive without megadoses of pot, the magic elixir?

As a native Nebraskan myself, I remember ditch weed commonly used to “spice up” pipe and cigarette tobacco. My grandfather dried in the fruit cellar next to the onions and garlic and added it to his Prince Albert canned tobacco that he smoked by pipe and hand rolled doobies using ZigZag papers.

He was quite a pitcher in the dead ball era and after once pitching a no-hitter in the local semi-pro league he passed his hat around the crowd and scored over five bucks — a small fortune in those days. He could never have done it without the ditch weed.

And of course the Yankees Don Larsen could never have pitched his perfect game in the World Series without the help of pot — the game changer.

As a nation, we're finally beginning to acknowledge that without pot America would have imploded 200 years ago. Like Popeye's spinach, pot has given us the strength and vision to do what had to be done.

So why is pot still illegal? The government does not want the little folks to produce their own medicine. Lower echelon personal independence is a threat to the American oligarchy.

That's why President Obummer recently proposed to allow long-haul Mexican trucks to move cargo in the United States, mostly over the NAFTA superhighway through mid-America.

And what will most of that cargo be? Drugs, predominantly pot — bumper to bumper pot convoys flooding into the United States with low-quality, low-priced Mexican weed, cornering the market, undercutting the mom-and-pop operations. The Wal-Mart model.

So here's the president of the United States aiding and abetting the ultraviolent drug cartels while shedding crocodile tears in Tucson. The daily slaughter by drug cartels in Mexico makes the Tucson shootings look like a Sunday school picnic.

Bye-bye America — going, going, gone to pot.


Don Morris,

Stunktown (Willits)’

PS. Last December the DEA seized “20 tons” of pot being smuggled into the United States through a huge, sophisticated, tunnel from Mexico to a warehouse in San Diego. With the NAFTA superhighway open to cartel trucks they will be shipping in 20 tons a day. And what happened to the 20 tons that were seized?



Mighty AVA,

I'd like to thank Christina Aanestad for her reporting of Mike Thompson's drive-by in Ukiah last week. Wouldn't it be nice if we could “embed” a good reporter with every congressperson, full time, to help shine a little more light on the subject? That would be an excellent use of our tax dollars, for without real information a democracy cannot survive.

By pressing for elaboration after the event, Aanestad got some good quotes from our congressman. My favorite was: “I don't like the fact that my health care coverage and my taxes are higher just because some people choose not to get health care.”

Nice. This wealthy guy, who enjoys gold-plated single-payer healthcare (Congress's plan is like Medicare on steroids) and who probably pays one of the lowest tax rates in the civilized world, is complaining about people who “choose” to go without healthcare. Amazing gall. We live in a country where the profiteering health insurance business is criminally overpriced (two to three times what other countries pay) and cruelly deficient (we ranked 37th in 2000). Millions of Americans do without because they can't afford it.

People, we are in the presence of a great humanitarian/philosopher/statesman. I don't think the name “Mike Thompson” does him justice. It's too mundane, too pedestrian. It's just not majestic enough. From now on, we should address him as “Mahatma Luther Jefferson,” a name with the gravitas and respect he deserves.

Mike Kalantarian

Beyond the Deep End (Navarro)




If you caught Norman DeVall's Access show last Friday, you heard the fast double speak of PG&E PR person, Paul Moreno, talking about smart meters. Essentially, if you have issues with the Somewhat Smart meters or need a cure for the common cold call 1-800-PG&E, whereupon, they convince you to love the meters (hasn't worked yet) and forget you have a cold (ditto.)

The Smart Meter controversy has to do with rights and the determined hand of a large monopoly, forcing all power users to have what is being called the Spy meter on their homes or get off the grid if users have concerns. That's why the Sonoma Republican party said no to Smart meters. The CPUC appears to be in lockstep with this as the most acerbic voice comes from their consumer line representative. This is an agency that is supposed to be controlling ugly monopolies from walking over the basic rights of ratepayers who have no choice. Their edict: no meter, no power. Seems fair? That’s democracy in the land of the free.

Fortunately, Governor Jerry Brown is changing the Commissioners and has started with Michael Florio, previously of The Utility Reform Network (TURN.) TURN is a great, non state organization that really does its professed job. Brown has some other picks that could further this move from the current, PG&E oriented commission. The CPUC posted the CSST report which makes Smart meters sound great except for a lot of concerns in the way they came to that conclusion. That’s what Dr. David O. Carpenter, MD, Director, Institute for Health and the Environment, University at Albany had to say. He felt the study was “faulty.” Then there was the parting comment in the study, where they say there are non-thermal concerns.

That is the whole kettle of fish folks. The non-thermal impacts are the most intensive health impacts. Sage Associates, mitigator of celltower sleep disruptors at firehouses, and primary mover on the Bioinitiative report that pulls together all of the major independent research posted a new study focused on the Smart Meter. Sage Associates discovered that a single meter can violate the FCC thermal standards at 10 feet. The meter is installed on your house, so that means at least half of 100 square feet on a flat wall is making a no man's zone of your home, where one should not go. That is especially true of those with biological heart, brain, insulin, hearing and metal joint implants. Sage notes that secondary meters (apartments and condos) and odd reflective reactions to metal surfaces can amplify this. It was Sage that noted that wireless is intensified when it bounces off of a water surface, such as the bay south of Mendocino.

Meanwhile a couple more cities demanded a moratorium on Smart Meters and our fair county geared up to do the same last Tuesday.

Why? Residents want real answers and they want an option to plug in the meter or keep the ones that work, or PG&E could put the meter away from the house on the pole, turn off the spy-gear and consider impacts on sensitive folks. In DeVall's access show the PG&E representative said that Answer meetings would be occurring the following week. DeVall noted that this was the first he heard of it and questioned how the South Coast that gets poor radio reception would know. This seems to be a common process, two-day notice to get answers.

The AV meeting is at noon Thursday at the Boonville Hotel.

Now with the current awareness of serious mistakes with the gas lines, PG&E’s credibility took a real nosedive. Can they be trusted with this new technology? Did they really test it beyond bench tests? The documented 40,000 complaints up to November 2009 indicates the meters do not met the grade. Remember that State Senator Dean Florez demanded an investigation and got a meter study.

Do you want one on your house? Do you want to spin the wheel of fate to have overcharges and go to Telephone Menu Hold Hell? Do you want to hope that they don't let your personal use data into the hands of appliance makers? Do you want to take a chance they might not accidentally turn off your power? What if you are one of those who has serious personal electronic device meltdown from Smart surges? Will you get quick recourse? Do you really want a Smart meter on your home.

Not me and it is my right to my personal domain I call home.

Greg Krouse



  1. Steve Hansen, Ph.D January 28, 2011

    This is the first time I’ve ever read your rag.
    What a pile of Commie BS !
    Dave Smith, there is NO “free” anything. Someone
    has to pay for it and there is no moral reason in the
    universe why your more successful betters have to
    pony up for your needs.
    A need is not a right.
    The mininum wage laws and compulsory unionism
    are two of the biggest causes of unemployment among the poor
    in this country.
    Laws don’t insure worker safety. Managers who make
    their lazy workers follow the rules do.
    That “German industrialist” forgot to mention that he favors
    high taxes because it makes it impossible for a newcomer
    to gather enough capital to compete with him.
    James Houle, COSTCO is patronized by the lower and middle
    classes precisely they can buy in mass quantity at very affordable
    prices. Not all of us have nice severance packages from large
    companies like many of our Mendo Libs. If YOU want to pay higher
    prices that’s your choice.
    Bart Boyer, the German people didn’t get squat from the socialist
    Marshall Plan (the old General wanted to include the USSR in it
    too !). What they did benefit from was the free enterprise policy
    of Ludwig Erhard. We shouldn’t support Israel, I agree, but the
    Palestinians have never benefited from their demented leftist
    leaders starting with Arafat.
    Greg Krouse, friends of mine in the Bay Area have not had any
    problem with smart meters. Turn off KPFA and stop reading
    the Bay Guardian.
    Editor, if you want to run this as a letter you can, but maybe you
    don’t post non-collectivist views.

    Steve Hansen, Ph.D

    • Bruce Anderson January 28, 2011

      Looks like they’re passing out PhD’s to any old one these days, especially Ayn Rand readers. To take just two of the doctors huge boffos: Fewer than 10% of Americans are unionized. Some compulsion. And without the minimum wage, roughly half our population would be even poorer than they are. The Marshall Plan spared Germans mass starvation on top of World War Two’s devastation. It was one of many great acts of American generosity EVER.

      • January 29, 2011

        Bruce, the key here is inclusion of the PhD after the name. A friend of ours worked along alongside a colleague who never signed or wrote her name without an attached Ph.D. This woman was the least competent, and most socially inept, person in the company. I suppose she thought her title elevated her above the rest, including other PhDs who didn’t feel the need to advertise. If people like Hansen don’t have graduate degrees, they can always resort to other titles to distinguish themselves.

        Hon. Howard Belkamp, Esq.

  2. Steve hansen, Ph.D January 28, 2011

    At one time over 40% of US workers were unionized and THEIR wages came at the expense of the other workers who couldn’t get work at all. Workers began to catch on to the union racket and that is why ONLY government “workers” can be unionized now.
    Without the minimum wage most of the black youth could find work as
    they did before the minimum wage.
    No, the Germans stopped starving because the US finally stopped implementing the genocidal Morgenthau Plan after the Soviets annexed
    Eastern Germany in 1949. Prior to that the great liberal US State had killed
    millions of Germans. MILLIONS. You want refs ? Spare us the nonsense
    about US genocidal “genorisity.”

  3. Steve Hansen, Ph.D January 30, 2011

    Thank you, Honorable Esquire, for the little lecture on titles.
    It smacks of what we psychologists call projection.

  4. Belkamp January 30, 2011

    I wonder if psychologists who don’t need to title themselves also know better than to assume “laymen” don’t know or understand terms like projection. “What we psychologists…” indeed. Having never used a title except in jest as above, I wonder what might have been projected. Of course my reply was not strictly about titles, and its response from the titled one smacks of what anyone would call narcissism, and the obtuse absolutism of the far right.

  5. Steve Hansen, Ph.D February 2, 2011

    Honorable Esquire Belknap, if you could please translate your wordsalad into english I would consider the appropriate response.

  6. February 4, 2011

    The name is Belkamp. Apparently reading comprehension is an issue here. If you can’t read the name properly, how can we expect you to understand the text? No wonder you have to qualify yourself with “PhD.” Esquire and Honorable were just to illustrate how silly and transparent such self-inflation is. The stated assumption that only trained psychologists understand the concept of projection is another clue. The use of “Commie BS” ices the cake. Why, Dr. PhD, are right wingers always angry?

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