Saturday, September 23, 2023

Letter to the Editor: The County of Mendocino Kept Me Off the Grand Jury Because I’m a Conservative

Welcome to our letters to the editor/opinion section. To submit yours for consideration, please send to matthewplafever@gmail.com. Please consider including an image to be used–either a photograph of you or something applicable to the letter. However, an image is not necessary for publication.

Remember opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of MendoFever nor have we checked the letters for accuracy.

Dear Editor,

I have lived in Mendocino County for just over 20 years during which time I have witnessed the disintegration of just about everything that contributes to a decent life. The litany of woes includes a struggling economy, inadequate health care, a shortage of workers which itself is caused by a shortage of housing, a truly dysfunctional County government, and, sadly, a feeling of helplessness.

Like many of you, I want to be a part of improving our communities. My latest attempt was to apply for the Grand Jury. My application was enthusiastically accepted. I met all the qualifications including the significant commitment of time. And there was a lack of applicants. Remember seeing the many ads imploring people to serve on the Grand Jury?

I was next interviewed by Judge Nadel, a nice woman, that went well enough that she indicated I would be included. In subsequent weeks, I was contacted multiple times by a representative of the Superior Court who asked me to reaffirm my intentions. My affirmative answer was met with enthusiasm. On Monday, I was invited to attend the swearing in ceremony this Friday. But then…

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Judge Nadel called me today, Tuesday, to say, and I am quoting, “after reviewing all the interviews and transcripts, I have decided to name you as an alternate.” Meaning, I don’t want you.

So, what happened? Because I have tangled with Former Grand Jury Chief Kathy Wylie and Supervisor Ted Williams, could they have poisoned the well? What about the Democratic Party which holds the County in an iron grip?

There is a virtual sign on every government door in Mendocino that says: “Conservatives need not apply.” Just like it was before for Irish, Blacks and Jews.  With this mindset, if there is corruption or just plain failure at Mendocino County, it will never be discovered and identified. 

Shame, shame, shame on the Superior Court of Mendocino County.

-John Redding

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  1. John, explain more about your tangle with Kathy and Ted. Also, it’s funny to me how people label themselves “a” conservative or “a” liberal. If you’re just a citizen who’s conservative that’s different than whose identity is “a conservative”. Same would go with a liberal but not sure someone so proud to call themselves “a liberal” would get the same treatment as you did. Also don’t know if a liberal would be getting into tangles with former grand jury chiefs and supervisor. Perhaps the reasoning behind making you an alternate was less about your political views and more about personality clashes.

    • Be happy to. When I was running for the BOS against Mr. Williams, I was contacted by Kathy Wylie who was then the foreman of the GJ. She wanted me to appear on short notice before the GJ. When I asked what it was about, she replied that she just wanted me to appear. What would you make of that, happening right in the middle of an election? What would you make of Ted Williams calling me a white supremacist, an anti-vaxxer, and someone who was fomenting hate among Asian Americans.

      Lastly, and this is for all of you who commented, isn’t the purpose of the Grand Jury to seek out dysfunction, political corruption and other wrong doings? What kind of personality would do that? One that gets called controversial.

  2. I like how you casually equated being named as an alternate on a small town Grand Jury to the injustices of slavery and the Holocaust.
    “Just like” them. That takes a considerable amount of gall.
    I have a feeling you believe that, too.

    Good job Ms. Nadel for passing on this one. I can’t imagine respecting the findings or judgement of this type of citizen who immediately turns to writing “poor persecuted me” letters with such pugnacious aplomb.

    This is a cute story:

    There once was a child in elementary school who didn’t get picked first to be on a sports team in PE. He called his mommy in tears and started to accuse the the children, the teachers, and the school of picking on him.

    She told him, “poor little darling. You should write a letter to Mendo Fever and let the whole world how hard life can be.”

    • You are speaking from a leftist perspective, so you don’t suffer consequences for expressing your views. But discrimination against people who don’t share your views is real. Do you not read the news?

  3. Maybe it’s your ignorant comment on the Mendo fever article posted in April? It was proof you would not serve fairly as a juror, that you jump to conclusions, do not do your research, and work through hysterics and accusations without lifting a finger to empower yourself. That’s no kind of juror, too bad you are even an alternate. Of course you assume you are slighted rather than exhibiting bad qualities for a juror.

  4. I read the comments about letter. This mans letter, didn’t mention the holocaust or slavery? It was about discrimination. In my opinion most people have conservative and liberal positions. Not fully the stereotypes this divided country has perpetuated. Stereotypes are making assumptions of large groups being exactly the same. Individuals are unique. And anyone whom is critical of a person trying to help in politics or jury selection has applied themselves for positions in government….then go ahead and critique all you want. But if not, than at least this man tried to put time and effort to applying. Has anyone here felt wasted time was spent in a futile effort? He felt strung along. If it was a “no”. Then say it from the beginning. His time is worth something. Only my opinion of this letter & comments.

  5. Hi John- There’s plenty of conservatives in Mendocino and northern CA as a whole so it’s not because you’re conservative. Old retired people are the only ones with the time to be on a grand jury and old retired people are normally conservative anyway.

    “Because I have tangled with Former Grand Jury Chief Kathy Wylie and Supervisor Ted Williams”
    I think you answered your own question. I don’t know what “tangled” means but apparently you are a known quantity to them and they don’t need the headaches- that’s why you weren’t selected. Guess what? I’ve never “tangled with” or even spoken to the supervisor in my district- which is probably the way it should be.

    • I feel like your comment fits the narrative strongly in my experience living in Mendo for the last five years. I came to Mendo in 2018 with my Girlfriend. Mendo has lots potential but the leadership bodies are constricted by the “local’s” demand to keeps things small or quant even as the homeless population and unemployment vacancy grows. Many people who grew up here have moved out of the area or have become part of the cannabis black market or the homeless itself. Housing is mostly unaffordable and the legal jobs here are more often under-paid and over worked. The priorities to maintain/protect old or dilapidated buildings especially in downtown Ukiah is astounding given many of these building are not earthquake compliant nor are they all being occupied all the time. Lots of squatter fires for such a small town too. Mendo needs new blood. I understand why the BOS wants to appointment more leadership bodies and have fewer elected officials. They need new blood from the outside world. The thirst here is strong. Unfortunately, I had priorities with family back in my home town to take care of and had moved on since. I still will visit this area. It has wonderful natural beauty and is a nice break from the urban city.

  6. I thought the procedure for picking jurors was by lottery. If there are more than 19 eligible applicants, any two drawn beyond the required 19 in a panel would serve as alternates. There should be a Mendocino County Grand Jury procedural manual that may describe the selection of jurors.

  7. Nearly all commenters here need to learn how to hold their assumptions and presumptions in check, paticularly Alternate Jurist John Redding.

    Based strictly on what you’ve written here John, you have an imagined slight vs a definitive & observable slight.

    Where’s the evidence?
    Not conjecture or supposition, but something, anything, that “constitutes” evidence.

    It is critically important for any potential Grand Jurist to know the difference.

    Thus, it’s very hard to feel bad for you (much less believe in your imagined belief, not “knowledge of” an intentional & concerted effort to exclude you) as it appears that you still need a. some base civic education, b. awareness of fact vs fiction, and c. are likely shooting yourself in your own foot.

    Without something constituting evidence, I rate your claim as a spurious accusation, as in baseless and unfounded.
    Those chosen as “Alternate Jurors”, by definition have NOT been Excluded.

    This raises another concern, in that your language comprehension skills apparently need some correction & improvement.

    Being chosen as an Alternate is by definition a certain, though minimum, level of Inclusion.
    Know the difference and quit the “this Little Piggy” whining and bitching.
    It’s very unbecoming and is potentially evidence of a disqualifying bias.

  8. Doing some research, it seems like this person is extremely hateful. I know that I wouldn’t want someone with such strong prejudices against the LGBTQ, different races, and genders to be a juror. I’m sure he’ll just jump in and say “that’s the inclusive left!” instead of “maybe I should reflect on my actions and words.”

  9. One thing for sure, if your running in the 5th District as a conservative, you’ll never get elected!!!!! Just look at the list, Bowtie Ted, Dan Hamburg, David Colfax and Norm Duvall.
    Wow, a who’s who of Nut jobs.

  10. Something not right with story….if true then they. .the judge…went against their own procedure on picking jury member…which is by lottery. 19 are drawn for main jury….then alternatives are drawn by lottery. Is there a possibility your his name was drawn by lottery as a alternative and he’s just not accepting it … I mean they can be be lying who knows… our gov is corrupt.

    • This is the issue I have. Why would a judge gave any control over grand jury selection. Shouldn’t that be a blind process?

  11. I am surprised Mr. Redding was named an alternate but not surprised he wasn’t happy to be of service to the County. Isn’t this the same John Redding who caused such a kerfuffle while he was on the MCHCD board who threatened another member she must quit immediately and give him a public apology or she’d be sued for $100,000 multiplied dollars? This is the legal desription of extortion and he received a letter from an attorney to stop harassing his client or they would seek criminal action. Mr. Redding then released this information and other grievances he has to the public. While on that board he was asked to not interrupt, be derogatory to other members and a few other things for eight months and he was greatly annoyed the board was asking him to be polite and civil to other members of his team. On the Grand Jury impartiality is required, polite and civil conduct is required, confidentiality is required, calm and reasonable listening to others and weighing their opinions in addition to your own is required. These are challenges which he has failed at publically in the past as a matter of record and his own public actions. I am wondering, didn’t any one just Google his name during the process of selecting members. If he was part of a jury deciding a person’s legal or criminal fate I would be concerned. Mr. Redding please don’t bother to respond. I am going to be like you, close minded and not listen to anything you have to say. I could be wrong … but my mind is made up just like you thinking you got the shaft, rather than being grateful to serve, and accepting someone in our community may have been better suited for the main jury.

  12. This letter may be a pretty good indication of why you weren’t put on the GJ.
    You complain but offer no substantive evidence to support your assertions. The events may be factual, but you offer no support for your conclusion. Did someone say it’s because you’re a conservative? You don’t quote a reason, but inject your own. Maybe you have horrible BO or just an unbearable personality.
    Or perhaps, as your letter indicates, you’re just too petulant and lack the analytical capacity to serve.

  13. Sour grapes become a bitter whine. It appears that some folks here know your history so maybe others do too. Your opinion letter sounds like you were attacked when in actuality you were not. You are an alternate juror which means you are still on the grand jury.Keep writing letters such as this one and you will probably never get to sit on the Grand jury…

  14. Conservatives excluded from the Grand Jury? No. Curmudgeons, on the other hand….

    JR: ” When I was running for the BOS against Mr. Williams, I was contacted by Kathy Wylie who was then the foreman of the GJ. She wanted me to appear on short notice before the GJ. When I asked what it was about, she replied that she just wanted me to appear. What would you make of that, happening right in the middle of an election?”

    A few facts are in order. First, the foreperson of a GJ doesn’t just call somebody in for an interview because it’s been a dull day and they want some excitement. No, the GJ can only call witnesses in the course of an authorized investigation, one that has been approved by formal vote of at least 12 of the 19 empaneled jurors. If Mr. Redding had been contacted by the GJ, he would have been told why in the letter that he was sent. And the fact that he was called or interviewed, and any testimony he might have given, are to be kept strictly confidential forever — which he would have also been told in that letter.

    It may soothe Mr, Redding’s bruised ego after losing his bid to become a Supervisor and losing his bid to be re-elected to the Mendocino County Health Care District board to think that the Grand Jury had something to do with the losses — but the facts are otherwise.

  15. There were a number of “conservatives” on the 2022-23 Grand Jury.
    John Redding has “history” in his volunteer positions–unfavorable history.
    His ego seems to get in the way of him being an effective member of any board.
    That’s the truth, Mr. Redding.

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MendoFever Staff
MendoFever Staff
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