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(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

October, 2007



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Letter To The Editor

Probate Court Crimes
Congratulations to the Coastal Post for having the courage to print the shocking truth. The awful reality of this article shows the crimes being committed and sanctioned by the Probate Courts throughout the state of California. There are many victims like Steven Laughton falling prey to the greed of attorneys, conservators and public guardians.
Once you are marked for conservatorship, you stand little chance of escaping the wrath of these so-called "professionals." California should be ashamed for allowing these crimes to continue. The constitutional rights of victims are being ignored in the name of greed. Probate Judges should be prosecuted for the ignorance they display while allowing these crimes to continue.

Following the court appointed conservatorship of my father, I lived this nightmare. I was saddened and disgusted by the untruths told by probate attorneys along with fraudulent documents filed with the court by these predators in their attempt and success in gaining control of property and assets. I found true, the estates are soon diminished by high fees, questionable title transfers and family heirlooms that disappear with no accountability.

The Probate Courts are thriving on elder financial, physical and mental abuse. The predators should be prosecuted for the crimes they are knowingly committing. Stories such as this are commonplace in the Probate Courts and though the victims may not go to the extreme that Mr. Laughton did, I'm sure many wish they could.

If you have been victimized by our Probate Courts, please contact me. I am interested in a class action lawsuit.

Jamie Lamborn

Great Coverage Of National And International Issues

As a longtime resident of Woodacre I have enjoyed reading your newspaper fore years. I especially appreciate your fearless and insightful coverage of national and international issues. I suspect that there are very few newspapers in America (regardless of size and circulation) which cover these issues with such detail and clarity It would be refreshing if the New York Times or Washington Post showed equal initiative and candor in exposing the national and international devastation wrought by the Bush Administration and/or the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

With that said, I have one small request. I'd like to see your local coverage include an occasional story on events in the San Geronimo Valley. We're not exactly on the "Coast" but we're certainly an important part of West Marin and close enough to attract your attention. Thanks again for a your fine work.

Edward Levine

Conservatorship-Human Tragedy
With sorrow and despair, I read the article by Terri Alvillar regarding the death of Steven Charles Laughten.

To the writer, the death of Mr. Laughten has questionable undertones. One must ask, what led to him hanging from a tree in the family back yard? Could this be a case of assisted suicide by bullying, torment and mental torture?

Numerous warnings fell on blind eyes and deaf ears. The only thing that was operating, without a hitch was the pursuit of self-interest using the so-called legal apparatus, continually churning away and milking his estate with precision control.

The preservation of Steve's life with compassionate and understanding diligence was not the order of the day. Instead, the onslaught, that never subsided, despite the cries for help on his behalf and by his testimony before a court that gave him thumbs down, this entire wretched affair seemingly by design in a corrupted system.

The billing on two occasions of Mr. Laughten's estate for a telephone call to tell of his death was shameful and appalling.

Does no one feel remorse and guilt for this man's death?

Without Ms. Alvillar's article published by the Coastal Post, the details of this suspicious and tragic death would have gone quietly away. I hope that this article spreads everywhere, as a memorial to Steve and that this never again happens to anyone.

Rest in Peace, Steve
Ken A. Myles
Surrey, British Columbia Canada

Execution Fast Track
Regarding the proposed regulation granting the Attorney General unilateral power to "fast-track" the executions of prisoners on death row, and to determine whether or not the prisoner had adequate legal counsel, I have a concern: Unilateral power of any government official is to fast-track us on the road to dictatorship.

The Judiciary was set up as a check on absolute power for good reason, based on the living experience of our founding fathers, who knew first-hand what life under absolute power was like. Think about it: No attorney general would have the time to interview the prisoner, witnesses, families, and know all details of any case. The life-death decision would have to be made from afar, lacking complete information. Further, with the current pressure to look strong on terror, or any future agendas on the table, life-death decisions would be made based on agendas and not based on innocence or guilt. Agendas fuel random power. "But we've got to trust someone" is a typical American response. Witness the words of Thomas Adams, which were based on living experience: "There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty." The Department of Justice is seeking public comment through September 21st: Please weigh in and "Just say No." Thank you.

Drina Brooke

The Balls
Enclosed is a contribution, basically because you have the balls to write articles critical of Israel.


Where's The Best Part Of The Paper?
The best part of your paper was letters to the editor. Ever since going to the new look

you have gone to more columnists and less editorials (letters). What's up! Have you gone by way

of mainstream media. You have pulled the soapbox out from under the readership!!!!!!

Bruce Carlton
Mill Valley
Editor's Note: You're right! More letters!

America Crumbling
The US is squandering one trillion dollars in an unnecessary war of empire in Iraquistan while America, literally, crumbles. The New Orleans disaster, the steam explosion in NYC recently, and the collapse of the interstate bridge in Minneapolis could have been prevented with investment in our nation's infrastructure. This bastard government of Republicans and Democrats, of corporate lawyers and social workers, does not serve the American people. It's time for real change in this country and the world!

Art Llebrez
Portland, Or.

Sanity Gets My Vote For President
As voters try to select a presidential candidate, we demand answers to these questions: Will the Iraqis always refuse to turn their oil over to multi-national corporations and isn't that the real "political" problem keeping the war going? Why do Bush and Cheney want to colonize the entire Middle East - isn't it for the oil? When will the illegal, unconscionable occupation of Iraq be over? Why have Bush and Cheney built the LARGEST EMBASSY in the world in Iraq? Why are they building more and more PERMANENT bases in Iraq and other countries? How quickly and how will the next President of the United States restore some semblance of sanity to our foreign policy? The candidate who can provide satisfactory answers to these questions gets my vote.

Eileen Siedman
Mill Valley

Arrogant Board of Supervisors
The unanimous unbridled arrogance of Marin's supervisors in plotting proposed hiking trails over privately owned farmlands, and including them on County Plan maps, is an astonishing aberration and abuse of power. And Supe. Kinsey insisting on holding the shillelagh of eminent domain over the scene is doubly outrageous.

The Supes have clearly never learned the lesson offered by Brigham Young so many years ago, when he told city fathers: The hardest job you will ever have to learn, during your term of office, is where your and the city's business ends and someone else's begins.

If they can thus publicly plot to steal private property rights of farmers and extend unlimited rights for strangers to trespass on farmers' lands, Watch out.

Trails through YOUR backyard may be next.

Fielding Greaves
Past President, MUTA

Dangerous Conservatorship System
I read your informative article on Steve Laughton. The tragedy of Mr. Laughton is that his children will never have a history of how or who caused his untimely death. Perhaps your article will be the beginning for his children to start their search for answers when the time is ripe. Until that day comes let this small voice, from your brave journalist, and in a free press, be the beacon of light that his children will one day find and follow in their search for answers. The following narrative is my opinion:

The State of California has precious few lawyers who actually know the law and work within that boundary. The state also now has an epidemic of lawyers, some new, some old, vying for business. These vying lawyers need a "runner" to solicit clients, as this reader believes, and has created the job of a fiduciary to fit through the loophole in that law until the law is fixed.

An attorney is prohibited from soliciting clients, the fiduciary, however, can and does solicit under the mask of the Probate Court Judges in various counties of our state. And once the person signs (or doesn't sign) up for services, you can't get rid of them. Why? Because the Probate Judge whom "approved and hired" the fiduciary is the only person able to remove the fiduciary. And unless our legislature stops this unholy trio of fiduciary, lawyer and Probate Judge, the fees for the fiduciary pile up and billable hours for the attorney for the fiduciary pile up. As for the Probate Judge I can only imagine what the pay off would be. Lives will continue to be ruined, or in the case of Mr. Laughton, cease.

For any of your readers who still don't get how dangerous this is, the client is forced by the Probate Court Judge to pay the attorney for the fiduciary while the fiduciary and their attorney file mountains of motions, each costing the client thousands of dollars.

The Probate Court Judge is presented with Fiduciary's brief, written by her private attorney, who is paid for by the client's money. But the client has no money. The client's money is being "protected" by the Fiduciary and her attorney so no opposing brief by the client is heard by the court. And round and round they go.

The client has no voice as the Probate Court Judge can demand that the client MUST have an attorney in order to address the court or understand what is happening. But with all the client's money in the hands of the court appointed fiduciary, the client has no money to get an attorney to explain why the client does not need to have the fiduciary's services, have their assets taken, sold, used, or put into the fiduciary's LLP(s), etc.

This fee and billable hour "arrangement" continues until there are no more money ore assets to be sold. The estate or assets have been milked dry. When the heirs ask what happened to mom and dad's assets, well, they are gone, sold, used up, or used as payment for fees.

Many people with no family or money need the help of the named fiduciary. How many shopping carts full of homeless people's only worldly goods are now being "protected" by the fiduciary named in the article? Is the billable hourly rate for the lawyers still the same for the "protection" of the shopping cart person?

There is a serious deficiency of talent and honesty within the legal profession. That my state would allow the rights of individual citizens to be usurped by unscrupulous people is an outrage. Our Constitution must be allowed to speak for Mr. Laughton. The Probate Court Judge who allowed this tragedy will not speak and the fiduciary and her private attorney paid for by Mr. Laughton will not.

In the case of Mr. Laughton, he was in the appropriate court, the Family Court for a divorce. By what right did a judge move a divorce case over to a Probate Court? This brings me to my original thought. There are lawyers who do not know the law or would be "creative." But now the incompetence is moving to state appointed positions as judges. If the legal system is to work on behalf of its citizens, let the legal system prosecute those who abuse it. This reader believes that Mr. Laughton's Civil Rights were violated which led to his death.

There are three issues to be addressed and made into law:

1. Open the books of the fiduciaries. Make them a public document. Show where the assets are being stored, what assets have been sold, and fore what?

2. Produce backup documents for the above.

3. Produce an up to date client list fore future clients to reference.

Mr. and Mrs. John Doe
(Please withhold our names)

Bush Stifles Dissent
The trouble with President Bush's remarks at a recent news conference is that no matter how he tries to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, it still comes down to his administration trying to stifle dissent in a war that is unnecessary and unjust.

Bush and the Republicans seemed to have enjoyed such malicious pleasure in beating back the Democrats in Congress last week. Why they take such glee in voting down legislation that would curtail the Iraq War is puzzling? There doesn't seem to be anything left to gain in continuing the horror in Iraq except the futility of it all. There is no goal post to tear down at the end of the day then swagger to the victory dance.

Four years of fighting has only brought a thriving business in hospitalizing the wounded and burying the dead. The only victories to date seem to be the battles won in Congress in defeating the Democrat's legislation that would end hostilities.

In most wars a victory is celebrated after some mission has been accomplished and a cessation of hostilities takes place, but in Bush's war a "continuance of hostilities" in Iraq is a victory over the objection of the Democrats?

So, the "beat" goes on. Bush and the administration can gloat along with Senator McCain who said before the NRA recently: "We "beat" the Democrats today. We "beat" them yesterday. We will "beat" them tomorrow."

If only they could "beat" the enemy in Iraq?

David A. Whelan
Forest Knolls, CA 94933

For The Coastal Post And Drake Video
I very much appreciate the Coastal Post and I thank you for being there to keep us informed as to what's really going on. It's been way too long since I've sent some bucks so enclosed is my check for $25.

I was saddened to learn that my local, neighborhood, independent video store, Drake Video, is going out of business after over 20 years of serving Fairfax. I have been getting my movies at Drake Video since I moved here 20 years ago. I'm told Drake Video could no longer compete with Netflix prices.

I don't entirely blame Netflix for Drake Video's demise. I think it's also because the local folks abandoned their local, neighborhood store for the cheaper deal. Never mind that Drake Video employed local people or that William Merritt, the owner/manager of Drake Video, helped out his neighbors in Fairfax during the flood of 2005. Think Netflix will be there to help next time there's a disaster? People seem to know the price of everything and the value of nothing. Shame on all the locals who abandoned their neighborhood store for the cheaper deal.

Terry Balestriere

Democrats Aren't Stopping The War
The say that the Democrats don't have the votes to stop the war but that isn't true. Bush is going to come to Congress wanting another 50 billion dollars. Democrats have the votes to not give Bush any more money. If you fund the war you are supporting the war. I'm tired of funding the politicians who are funding the war so I refuse to give money to politicians of either party who keep voting for the war.

This week they are going to lie to us again and tell us that we're winning. We are not winning because to win we have to defeat the people who we are trying to liberate. After 5 years we are told over and over that we are almost there when the reality is that it keeps getting worse and worse. The time has come to shut it down and get out of there. If you really want to stop the war then cut off the money.

I'm Marc Perkel - And I approved this message!

Marc Perkel
San Bruno

Lowe Letters
Fundamentalists-Any Difference?
How many watched CNN's six-hour series The Warrior Gods? It was an in-depth look at fundamentalists in three areas of the world.

Orthodox fundamentalists in Israel and the Middle East; Muslim fundamentalists throughout the world and the fundamentalist right and anti-abortionists in America. CNN called the last segment The Rise Of The Religious Right and it reminded one of the rise of the Third Reich whether intended or not.

The constant refrain heard from these religious revolutionaries was ' we shall never give up.' With that in mind it is highly unlikely that you will ever know many of these fundamentalist foot soldiers and anti-abortionists because of their strict code of silence and secrecy. Are fundamentalists in the Middle East any different than the fundamentalists in America?

* * *
White Folk Party
The GOP i.e., the party of religious white folk, is up to its old tricks, stealing elections. They have an initiative in the offing that would give a Republican presidential candidate a good percentage of California's Electoral College votes. Electoral votes are those pesky things that decide elections, not the popular vote. Remember the snakeoil salesman who slithered into the White House in 2000 and didn't win the popular vote.

The heist of California's electoral votes would be perfectly legal if the Republican initiative passes. And how could a sham like this pass? If the GOP confuses the voters enough or an apathetic electorate sits on its butt going duh!

What will happen if the GOP puts another president in the Oval Office, via California's help, for the next four years? The Republican president would stack the Supreme Court with more religious right-wingers like John Roberts and Samuel Alito. You could kiss Roe vs. Wade goodbye. War would continue full tilt for four more years. This could never happen! No. Have you been paying attention to the crop of GOP presidential pretenders? Anti-abortionists, anti-gay, anti-immigration, pro-war, pro-gun. Go ahead, ignore this dirty-trick initiative and see what it gets you.

* * *
Holy Conflict
This quote pretty well sums up the conflicts in Iraq and the Middle East: "All wars are holy wars fought by people who think they alone know the truth." God told George Bush to invade Afghanistan and Iraq while Osama bin Laden claims he is fighting God's holy war. Republicans of a religious stripe pushed America into war in Iraq and fundamentalist terrorists are on the rise everywhere.

Ron Lowe
Grass Valley

Hiding Out In Texas
Before the Veterans of Foreign Wars audience in Kansas City recently, President Bush referred to the Vietnam and Korean Wars as good examples of the United States fighting for their freedom but should have stayed longer in Vietnam to achieve victory there. This wisdom was from a guy who hid out in Texas during the entire war.

What Bush should have learned from these two debacles is that the U. S. shouldn't interfere in another country's civil wars. And in case he hasn't noticed, Vietnam has prospered since the U. S. withdrew from killing millions of their people. Also the Viet Cong didn't come across the pond to attack us over here after the Americans left as he claims some of those in Iraq will if the coalition withdraws too soon?

Bush should get over it. He has hungered and searched for analogies in other U. S. wars to justify his illegal, outrageous and unnecessary war in Iraq. But nothing short of Jesus Christ Himself coming down out of heaven to bless the horrendous mistake of killing and maiming innocent Americans and Iraqi people will there be any justification for his war in Iraq.

David A. Whelan
Forest Knolls

Bush Steps On Free Speech
The Bush team routinely intimidates those who disagree or question their policies by branding them unpatriotic or worse. Their assaults against those who question the logic of continuing the course in Iraqis a continuation of that practice. Now that the opposition has fired back, they cry foul.

No assault from the liberal wing or press can match the unprecedented character assassinations against Senator Max Cleland, a decorated triple amputee Viet Vet with an honorable senate record. These assaults were in response to Sen. Cleland's sponsorship of an investigation into the causes of 9/11, which was opposed by Bush. Among other things, they displayed his picture with Bin Laden and falsely demeaned his war record, even blaming him for stepping on the mine. With these crude tactics they succeeded in unseating Sen. Cleland by one who shunned military service, & was compatible to Bush's secretive policies.

Despite its degree of deception and importance, a critique of that abuse was avoided by the mainstream media. No republican has even expressed remorse for it. The most alarming aspect of these horrific intimidation tactics is not their methodology--but their successes.

Blame falls on apathetic and gullible voters who succumb to such rhetoric; and our legislators for allowing themselves to be intimidated into permitting this reckless zealot to impose such damage to our nation and the world.

Robert Settgast
San Rafael,

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