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Letters (March 13, 2019)

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Mark your calendars for St. Patrick’s Day, Sunday, March 17 at 3:00 at Lauren’s if you want to join a celebration of the publication of Jerry Cox’s book “Shamrocks and Salsa.” 

There will be brief readings from the book by Jerry’s family and time to share stories about Jerry. Light refreshments will be served and the bar will be open. The book will be available for purchase for $16. If you are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in a different way and can’t come to Lauren’s, you can order the book at, Barnes and Noble online, the Apple Store or The e-version is $9 and the paperback is $21 if you order it on line. We hope to see many of you there. 

Kathy Cox


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Thank you for saluting Shorty Adams on his 90th birthday in bold capitals on the front page of the March 6 AVA. No other community hero deserves recognition more.  

I first got to know Shorty at a Panthers basketball game where Tolman and Macmillan were matching up. "Who is that guy going crazy rooting for our team?" I asked my friend, a high school coach. "That's Shorty," he said. "You ought to see him when he gets really excited."  

Shorty was a passionate and partisan fan of Anderson Valley athletics. No wonder, since he knew every player, many of them from when they were kindergartners, because of his long service as a school bus driver.  

Most of us know (because it has been in the news many times) Shorty is a legendary school bus driver. So many years without a crash, around the winding and sometimes icy roads of our valley and hills, and down to the big city, where unfamiliar traffic flies by at lightning speed. Generations of parents have entrusted their children to Shorty's care, and he has never let them down.  

One more thing: Because I was a teacher of at-risk kids, I consulted informally with the most effective school counselor and mentor I have ever met--Shorty Adams. I do not know how to begin to count the kids Shorty has listened to, counseled, rescued from trauma, and set on a path to having a good and productive life. Many times he was the one adult person a kid felt safe talking to, when they could not talk to anyone else. I learned a lot from his experience, and I am grateful that he was willing to share his wisdom.  

So Happy Birthday Shorty, and thank you for all you have done for the community and our children. When the time comes, I think there will be a special place for you. I wouldn't be surprised if you get to meet all the kids who have gone before. They might have a party waiting for you.  

Best wishes,

Bill Baker


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Dear All, 

We write this with a heavy heart. For some months we've struggled to do the essential work of creating what we always hope is the best reggae and world music gathering of these times. Our founder, Warren Smith’s health challenges since last June’s 25th annual festival have made this much more difficult than ever before. Warren suffered a setback in his recovery which resulted in us reevaluating the “runnins” to ensure everything goes smoothly. But as times flies by we find it is undeniably looking to not be possible this year, and therefore we must reluctantly and regretfully take a year off. 

Rest assured that nobody wishes SNWMF to continue more than we do, as it has been an exhausting but rewarding joy to present it all every June. But we cannot in good conscience present an inferior version, while risking the health of our fearless leader. We hope and trust that you will all understand this difficult decision — and that you will rejoin us again in 2020 when we fully expect to return. 

You have all been a pleasure to work with, and we have always felt that you have made SNWMF one of your priorities. Thank you for all of your support, and we look forward to working with you again in 2020. Thank you all. 

Sherrie Letcher and the SNWMF Team

Coordinator, SNWMF, Epiphany Artists

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The Board of Supervisor’s received a petition requesting the waiving of the building permit fees with over 500 signatures, yet they have done nothing.

The Board of Supervisors, although repeatedly asked, have failed to waive or substantially reduce the cost of the building permits. Supervisor Carrie Brown has attempted to blame various codes, rules, etc. on why they are unable to do this. The fact of the matter is none of this is true. There are no laws, codes or any other statutes which would prevent the Board of Supervisors from waiving or substantially reducing the costs.

Ever since the fire of Oct. 8 and 9, 2017, the fire survivors who decided to stay and rebuild have been gouged with cost after cost.

Other counties, Napa for one, have either greatly reduced or waived the building permit fees for the victims of the fires who were under insured or are finding the rebuilding costs more than they can afford. $6,000 for a building permit is criminal especially when this is not a first time build. These fees were paid originally when the house was originally built. We are not building because we want to. We are building because a fire burned down over 300 homes and killed 10 people. Most, if not all of us, had no warning and lost everything. My family left with only the clothes on our back and our pets. Some other people were not as fortunate as us and were not able to rescue their pets and lost them, as well.

Supervisors don’t you think we have been through enough? If anything, we should only be charged a remodel fee. Many of the fire victims are going to lose their FEMA trailers soon and with all the upgrade fees and building permit fees, they are not going to be able to stay and rebuild. You know what that means? No taxes for your raises.

This fire has been a cash cow for this county. We not only have to pay outrageous fees to the county, but we are paying sales taxes for refrigerators, furniture, appliances and lumbar. Not to mention the work we are giving to the contractors (who by the way have upped their fees), electricians, plumbers, etc. Then of course we have to pay for this ridiculous state law for the sprinkler system. That’s another almost $10,000. A sprinkler system that will up everyone’s insurance rate because any little jolt will set it off, flooding the room. Just what we need. We can go from fire damage to flood damage.

It should also be noted that instead of reducing the fees to help the victims, the Board of Supervisors had no problem giving themselves a 40 percent raise. Nothing like taking care of themselves. Hopefully every citizen of Mendocino County will remember this the next time we have an election.

If the fire victims did not stay and rebuild the counties tax base would plummet and then where would the Supervisors get the money for their raises? Maybe they could donate some of that money to the fees for the building permits? The amount we are paying in taxes for the items needed to rebuild should more than cover any monies not collected for the building permits.

I hope every fire victim will start showing up at the Board of Supervisor’s meetings at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays and speak at the public forum. We should not stay silent and let them get away with this despicable behavior. Let’s stand up for what is right.

Wendy Escobar

Redwood Valley

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The current recommendation to modify downtown State St. reminds me of a few years ago when the City spent tens of thousands of dollars for a study to change the State St. traffic plan. At that time the firm that was hired recommended making State St. one way north and diverting the southbound traffic two blocks over to Oak St. through the residential areas. Upon presenting the plan to a public forum the criticism was universal. Finally when everyone had their say Judy Pruden spoke up and said, “I think it would be better to make State St. one way south and divert the northbound traffic to Main St. and encourage the merchants on the east side of State to ‘spiff up’ their back doors to provide access from both streets.” The “so called” traffic expert commented with wonderment in his voice, “That’s a good idea.”

Needless to say, the traffic plan ended up on the shelves with the many other studies at city hall. The lesson learned may be to find out what the locals want and solicit their solutions.

Janet Freeman


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The quote in the 3-6-2019 AVA by Peter Hitchens sounds like moralizing propaganda. Without bothering to even mention why all these crazed killers might be stoned on mind altering substances, he plows on into the typically American shallow view of reality which is always confusing symptoms with causes. 

Does it follow that all of our glorious warriors who are out in the world killing and maiming for the war-mongers who do the work of the “free market” racketeers, are also altered on some kind of drug? Were the mass murders Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, George W Bush also on drugs, and could it matter whether they were legal or not? Maybe they were drunk on religion or state power, or US exceptionalism, or some mix of all the above. The Nazis were quite stoned recall. 

Suggesting that drugs are somehow the most important common feature in mass shootings is like saying junk food is the problem. Has anyone seen the toxicology reports on these drug crazed killers? Isn’t it highly likely that these tragic events are being used to further promote lone nut scenarios while making drugs the evil motivator? A simple and false answer to a huge and deep problem the greater origins of which it would be far too disturbing to look into. 

The unraveling of human society, which of course the USA is #1 in, has very little to do with things like illegal drugs or guns. Now, legal mind managing drugs and Hollywood violence peddlers, and malnutrition and intentionally failed education and economy systems, are another matter. And don’t forget the mind destroyer of old, religion. 

If one had the nerve to look, it’s easy to see that the sickness in our society is a direct result of the psychotic nature of consumer capitalism and corporate controlled government and markets. And besides, what goes around comes around. The chickens are coming home to roost for 70 years of death and destruction and destabilization visited to every sorry corner of the world by our evil and belligerent militarism. Defund the Pentagon or watch it continue to ruin the earth and the earthlings like a blind drunk bully on steroids. 


Ross Dendy


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Dear Editor,

The Dems only have one thing in mind and that is to destroying President Trump. They will let the United States go completely uncared for and that means everything. The libs are so pissed off that President Trump is doing such a great job they can't stand it. That Cortez woman and those two Arab women and all those others in our Congress are a joke. Hypocrites. Stupid. Those are the idiots we are dealing with. 

Dictator Gruesome Newsom is driving California over the brink. He wants us to dump our trucks if they are not at least 2010 models. Before that, we have to junk them and get rid of them. What will that do to our economy and jobs? He will put people out of business. The dictator does not care. All he cares about is getting the money because they will lose money on license fees and raise our taxes to make up for it and we are already the highest tax state. President Trump is getting pretty mad about that. 

Why don't they dig some reservoirs and catch all this rainwater and use it in the drought years? Oh no, that makes too much sense. I can't wait for President Trump to declare martial law on the state of California. He should do it because our stinking state leader has declared this to be a sanctuary state. Every illegal criminal in the state is here because of Moonbeam Brown and Gruesome Newsom. If another police officer is killed by an illegal or a child raped or some other heinous crime, it will hit the fan. Because of you god-damned liberal democratic bastards, President Trump needs to use an executive order to call martial law. The National Guard will stand down and most sheriffs will stand down to let this happen because they all know that what is going on is wrong. 

Some people should be drummed out of their offices and burned at the stake like those two anti-American representatives calling for socialism and killing babies. A lot of first-class newscasters are saying that we are only about two steps from civil war. The silent majority of the United States is two thirds of our population and they are starting to get pissed off at the rotten, radical, socialistic anti-Americans trying to destroy this country. 

If the Army takes over under martial law directed by President Trump, we will get our state back and we can operate it like it should be, the way America should be. 

Down with socialism, up with Americanism.

God bless Donald Trump.

Jerry Philbrick


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Given the positioning of my head, aforementioned a couple weeks ago in this journal (up my ass) by a fellow American, I feel it wise to keep my tongue firmly in my cheek.

Others not so well able to see themselves and their surroundings overtly flap their tongues heedless of the bad taste through which they try to spew their rage.

With that said I will to Jere Philbrick first announce my candidacy for President of the United States of America under the campaign logo — MADA.

“What’s da MADA?” He may ask.

”A lot.” I would reply. “I want to fix it and Make America Decent At last.” 

I want to stop cold forever the racism, sexism and imperialism that have been woven into the very fabric of American social and political history. I want to stop cold the denial, that our forefathers initiated inflationary, inflamatory, self-interest capitalist social order, is battering the Earth as well as the psyches of not only Americans but the global minions out of which springs more and more distrust and hate for America.

Let’s let 2020 be clear vision for us all and for our country. Especially for those yet unborns — some of whom danced so wonderfully happy on stage at the Friday night Variety Show. Let’s give them a future to keep that smile on their faces.

Daveed Jose Bin Severoni


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Fourteen years ago, a nine-time-arrested, six-time convicted drunken driver killed Kathryn Black, our daughter-in-law, on Mark West Springs Road at 1 p.m. He had been drinking at his brother’s bar in Larkfield since 8 a.m. He was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 15 years to life.

Last October, our family attended a parole hearing for Joseph Lynchard. The commissioners asked him many questions, and despite his history of arrests and convictions for DUI, he denied that he has a problem with alcohol.

When asked if he would drive if he is released, he said he is a better driver driving backwards than most people driving forward, and since he doesn’t have a problem with alcohol, he could have a drink. You would think that the parole denial would be a slam dunk. Not.

The commissioners concluded Lynchard isn’t a violent risk to society and, therefore, is eligible for parole in October. But that isn’t the end of the story. Bill Brockley, the assistant district Attorney involved since day one, wrote a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom, who reversed the decision of the Parole Board.

Thanks to the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office for helping to keep our streets safe. Our family appreciates their efforts, as well as those of the governor.

Lynn Darst


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