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SEASONABLY COOL weather occurring today will transition to above normal temperatures Sunday through the middle of next week. Otherwise, very little precipitation is expected during the next seven days. (National Weather Service)
REINSTATE BARBARA HOWE
In general, no news is good news when it comes to public health, like the water from our taps that we don’t really think about much unless it tastes funny or stops running. As with a big ship or any other large system, there has been enough momentum built up that we have not yet felt the reverberations of the firing of the Mendocino County Public Health Director, Barbara Howe, two weeks ago, nor the subsequent resignation of the County Health Office, Dr. Gary Pace, in solidarity with her. There was no reason given for her termination, and no replacement director waiting in the wings to replace Barbara after this hasty and arbitrary decision was made. In fact, there is no one there at all. Other staff, who themselves are already taxed from their own burgeoning workload in a perpetually understaffed department, are expected to “fill in.” This decapitation is only the latest morale hit to staff who have not had a competent public health leader for over a decade before Barbara. And the manner in which she was terminated, giving her fifteen minutes to gather her belongings, was designed to stifle disagreement and suppress diversity of opinion among the ranks.
Would a potential measles outbreak in Mendocino County reveal just how important an experienced public health director is in a crisis? And what if we had a fire this season? What about the multiple existing crises, like extremely high rates of drug overdose, suicide, and child abuse that she has been tackling since she first came to Mendocino 18 months ago? She has eliminated redundant services and improved the department’s capacity to meet the medical needs of citizens in a shelter during a fire; she has pre-deployed air scrubbers to inland schools to protect the health of kids with asthma; and she has made sure that at-risk folks experiencing homelessness got the hepatitis A vaccine. She and Dr. Pace have worked with the Sheriff to bring medical treatment for substance use to county inmates while in the jail, thereby reducing recidivism for drug crimes. Her other achievements include pursuing national public health accreditation, bringing modern epidemiologic surveillance programs here so that Public Health staff can monitor local emergency room data in real time, and committing Public Health financial resources to the county’s Community Health Improvement Plan (www.healthymendocino.org).
All this in 18 short months.
Her staff, as well as community partners, like me, are outraged and alarmed about her termination. As a pediatric nurse practitioner, I have been able to rely on Barbara and her staff to support new parents who needed a little guidance in caring for their newborns. Thankfully, we never hear about these families because, after all, no news is good news.
Please join me in petitioning for Barbara Howe’s reinstatement as Public Health Director in Mendocino County. I invite you to register your disapproval to the Board of Supervisors by emailing all 5 of them with this address: firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 707-463-4221. Thank you for your attention and advocacy.
Medie Jesena Parrott
Pediatric nurse practitioner in Ukiah
UP IN SMOKE
by Mark Scaramella
The the following zen communication was inserted into the “Summary of Changes in the FY2019-2020 Proposed Budget” presented to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday:
“The Cannabis Business Tax under performed in FY 2017-18 resulting in a 38.5% reduction in projections for FY 2018-19. The FY 2018-19 Cannabis Business Tax actuals of $1,296,125 resulted in the Auditor-Controller increasing the FY 2019-20 projections by 15% totaling $1.5 million.”
The tax “under-performed” so the projection was INCREASED by 15%?
According to Exhibit A the “Cannabis Tax Revenue” (actual) for the last three years was:
And for the 2019-20 budgeted (estimated): $1,500,000.
(2017-18 was the year most of the initial spurt of applications came in; they have since dropped down to a crawl.)
The peculiar message continues:
“The biggest unknown component of the Cannabis Business Tax collection is the cannabis cultivation minimum tax true-up process currently underway. Due to the October 2017 fires, calendar year 2018 is the first year the County is collecting the cultivation minimum tax. After the Treasurer-Tax Collector processed the 2018 4th Quarter returns, it was determined that 40 cultivators met or exceeded the minimum tax due amount for their respective cultivation permit type; this equates to 4% of all cultivators in the cannabis tax program.”
Yes, you read that right: Only 4% of Mendo’s growers made enough money to pay more than the minimum tax they were required to pay. (Not to mention all the other costs just to apply for a permit.)
CONTINUING: “Where the minimum tax due amount was not met, invoices for the minimum tax were mailed in April totaling $3.5 million with a payment date of May 31, 2019. The collection process is currently underway. In June 2019, the Treasurer-Tax Collector will have updated information on what percentage of the $3.5 million was paid by the due date.”
Apparently, $1.5 million in “minimum” taxes have been paid so far by the County’s failed pot permit program, thus the $1.5 million “projection.” To hear the Supervisors talk, they think the $1.5 million is some kind of one-time windfall for the County with another $1 mil to be extracted from the permitted pot growers by the end of 2019.
In fact, these paltry amounts don’t even cover the cost of the program, and they demonstrate that most permitted (or wannabe-permitted) growers aren’t making any money at all and are probably in some serious debt. The program continues to churn out a few approved permits, but most growers remain in permanent permit limbo with no end in sight.
Mendo’s new Planning & Building Director, Brent Schultz, told the board Tuesday — three years after the program was instituted — that he’s “digging down” into the permit process to unearth the reasons for the huge permit processing backlog.
The zen-budget note concludes: “The results from the true-up process [of the minimum tax receipts] may [sic] result in updated projections for the Cannabis Business Tax in the 1st or 2nd Quarter of FY 2019-20.”
This “true-up” is the estimated $1 mil in additional minimum tax receipts expected by December.
WHEN the voters approved Measure AI, Mendo’s Cannabis Business Tax Measure, back in 2016, it was promoted by the Supes as the better alternative to the pot growers own measure, and approved by 63% to 37%, primarily because it promised bountiful new revenues for roads, emergency services, mental health, and code enforcement.
THE BALLOT summary of the measure asked: “Shall Chapter 6.32 be added to the Mendocino County Code, placing a business tax on cannabis cultivation and dispensaries (not to exceed 10% of gross receipts) and cannabis distribution, delivery, manufacturing, nurseries, testing laboratories and transportation businesses ($2,500.00 per year, to be adjusted in accordance with consumer price index increases) of medical and nonmedical cannabis where legalized by state law, potentially generating millions of dollars annually to help fund county services be approved?”
Turns out the voters were badly misled.
INSTEAD of “helping to fund county services,” the measure has cost millions, more than it has brought in — and most of what it has brought in is from growers who couldn’t even make enough to cover the minimum tax.
Nice work, Mendo.
Mendo voters also approved the half-cent sales tax increment for mental health facilities and services, Measure B, which was supposed to save money on out-of-county psych placements, among other wonderful benefits. After more than a year and a half the County hasn’t even begun to evaluate alternative facility sites: new psych facilties are still years off at best.
And now Mendo is talking about putting a sales tax increment measure for roads on the 2020 ballot?
How much more can county taxpayers be soaked for before voters realize that these revenues are going into a black hole presided over by bureaucratic incompetents?
BIRDS OF A FEATHER FLOCK TOGETHER
AV FOODSHED NEWS
Visit Brock Farms
Brock Farms stand is open. We have broccolini, spring onions, beets, cabbage, kale, chard, and eggs. Coming soon: zucchini and basil.
Beef For Sale
Grass Fed Murray Grey/Angus cross Beef, by the 1/4
For July delivery
4 Bar K Ranch in Boonville, CA is offering premium grass-fed beef for sale. This is local grass-fed beef, raised in rural Anderson Valley, in Mendocino County, with no shots or hormones, just excellent, lean, grass finished beef. We raise our beef free range, organically, in a humane, safe, and stress free way. This ensures your beef is the best quality and safest meat, that is raised and sold in the right way. We sell live beef by the 1/4 then ship it to the butcher who then slaughters, ages, cuts, wraps, and freezes it before we deliver your 1/4 to you. Bones and offal are included at no cost.
Please contact me and I will send our information flyer in an email. It should answer most of your questions, but feel free to call me anytime if you're interested.
If interested please contact Dave Kooyers at email@example.com (707) 895-2325.
I am looking for a small herd of goats or other browsers for my fenced hill with shed and water available. A burrow or donkey would work too! Looking for someone who would like to utilize the space.
SUPERVISOR DAN GJERDE WRITES: "I'm really pleased with the reforms underway at the County of Mendocino. Examples of reforms are all throughout the FY2019-20 budget adopted moments ago. Here's one example: Next year's Mental Health budget will cut administrative overhead by over $400,000 so that people in crisis can stay additional nights and get additional help at special room and board facilities. Bottom line: more of the County's work will be accessible online, including some building permits, and the County will be a leaner, more dynamic organization."
Mark Scaramella notes: Hmmm. Let’s put this good news in some context. According to Mendo’s Mental Health Director Dr. Jenine Miller speaking at Tuesday’s budget presentation, Mendo’s total mental health budget is about $25 million. Of that, about $18 million goes to Redwood Community Services for adult and child (combined) mental health services, a private business owned by Mr. and Mrs. Schraeder. The $400k number referred to by Supervisor Gjerde is a reference to a number that came to light almost at random at during Tuesday’s budget hearing.
Supervisor John McCowen asked Dr. Miller why the County’s internal mental health staff budget went down instead of up and Ms. Miller replied that after an internal review $400k had been shifted from staff positions to services of general type described by Supervisor Gjerde.
So “administrative overhead” went from $7 million down to maybe $6.6 million, still quite high considering that nearly all the mental health “services” are being paid for out of the $18 million handed over to RCS which itself includes a good deal of administrative overhead. Dr. Miller did not claim that the reduction was as an efficiency or a "reform," per se, she only pointed it out in response to McCowen’s question after which Supervisor Gjerde jumped in to describe it as a “cut in administrative overhead.”
No one asked how the “administrative overhead” got so high in the first place. No one asked what happened to the $400k worth of positions in mental health overhead or what they were previously doing and why they were determined to be unnecessary. No one in official Mendo has expressed the slightest interest in the ratio of services to overhead or how they compare with other counties, much less a report of what the services are, how many people do what for for how many mental health cases, or if Mendo is getting its money’s worth with Redwood Community Services. (For example, how did all five inland deputies get tied up with 5150s on one day recently as reported by Sheriff Allman at the last Measure B Committee meeting?)
SO YES, we’ll grant that there’s been a sort of random improvement. But it would be much more reassuring if the Board, including Supervisor Gjerde, expressed real interest in what’s going on with mental health and why it’s taking so long to make any progress whatsoever on the Measure B psych facilities objectives.
AS FOR THE ON-LINE BUILDING PERMITS, that’s still being finalized. Planning Director Schultz said he’s trying to get the simplest, easiest most basic low-hanging fruit permit applications (electrical panels, re-roofs, etc.) live and on line soon, but the payment module is not yet in place. Schultz said he knows a local contractor who’s offered to be a guinea pig for the new on-line permit process and when that person says it’s ready, they’ll put it in place for everyone else.
THIS IS ALSO good, if limited and belated and only because Supervisor Ted Williams more or less single-handedly forced it on them.
OOPS (Mendo Replies to MendocinoSportsPlus’s question.)
HHSA of Mendocino Press Release Date Correction - Measles
We have been alerted to a mistake in our Press Release entitled, "Public Health Warns of Possible Measles Exposure in Mendocino County," sent out on June 4, 2019.
The date cited on the Press Release was 5/20/2019, a left over date from an old template. The Press Release was written and sent out on 6/4/2019, and the date has been corrected in the copy below, and online at:
For more information, please call Mendocino County Public Health at (707) 472-2717.
Thank you for your help in communicating this to us,
Communications Coordinator for Mendocino County HHSA
IT STARTED IN POTTER VALLEY
California’s largest wildfire was caused by a hammer, Cal Fire says
NO ESCAPING HIM. Trump ought to be impeached not for his numerous crimes but because he's an obvious diminished capacity case. Off the cuff, which is where he is when he isn't stumbling through a simplified prepared script, he's free associating. But you don't have to listen too carefully to much broadcast and televised speechifying to know that a lot of professional yak-yakkers, especially when they're unscripted, are only a little more coherent than the dear leader.
WITH all the talk about fascism, us lib labs get visions of the World War Two version, trim ranks of goose steppers mobilized for mass murder, but the kind we're getting is much more subtle — the takeover of the courts and bureaucratic strangulation. Destroy the helping bureaucracies with judges signing off on it to move even more money into the pockets of the ownership, a bipartisan commitment except for a minority of Democrats.
THAT MINORITY is vilified as dangerous left wingers, especially the Cortez-Omar contingent whose modest proposals for economic reform are deliberately mis-characterized by Republicans and Democrats alike as akin to Bolshevism. In most of the rest of the world where people are able to make simple political distinctions, people like Bernie, Elizabeth Warren and Cortez-Omar are rightly seen as social democrats, not even socialists.
AT THE TURN of the twentieth century, and brilliantly described in BIG TROUBLE by J. Anthony Lukas, there were socialists who weren't just woofing, who not only threatened violence against the ruling class but did it. (Local note: the late Bob Lawson, Sr. of Yorkville, told me when he was a kid he worked a summer in a lumber mill whose workers were mostly radicals — Wobblies and socialists. Lawson said they "scared hell outta me." They also put the fear in capitalists. Can you imagine Bernie joining with Eugene Debs' call for a million working people to free imprisoned labor leaders? Not that the rightwing is taking in new info, but figures like Bernie, Cortez-Omar, Elizabeth Warren do not represent even a remote threat to current economic arrangements.
Louis Adamic's excellent history of the trial and acquittal of three leaders of the Western Federation of Miners, Charles Moyer, Bill Haywood and George Pettibone, for the murder of ex-Idaho state governor Frank Steunenberg in 1906.
Unquestionably the most significant incident in the war between the have-nots and the haves in the first decade of the twentieth century was the Haywood-Mayer-Pettibone case at Boise City, Idaho, in 1906-1907.
American socialist Eugene Debs called it "the greatest legal battle in American history."
Fifty special correspondents from all parts of the country and from England covered the trial. It involved the leaders of the most notorious, the most revolutionary, labor organization in the country, and started William Borah and Clarence Darrow on their different routes to fame.
It drew in the President of the United States and, before it was over, threatened to cause a most formidable uprising of the underdog element in America.
The background was the murder of Frank Steunenberg, ex-Governor of Idaho, who was blown to pieces by a bomb planted at the entrance to his home, on December 30, 1905.
The next day Governor Gooding of Idaho offered $10,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators of the crime. The Steunenberg family offered $5,000 more.
The large sum aroused the interest of the Pinkerton Detective Agency, and one of its managers, James McParland, came from New York to take charge of the work. McParland was in his late sixties, looked like "an innocuous countryman," and had a record that might have made Sherlock Holmes turn green with envy. It was he who, some thirty years earlier, had been largely instrumental in the breaking up of the Molly Maguires.
McParland arrested a man going by the name of Harry Orchard and placed him in solitary confinement. Orchard was known to be somewhat of an underhand-man and occasional companion of Charles Moyer, president of the Western Federation of Miners, and of labor leader Bill Haywood. The man was a frequent visitor at the W. F. of M. headquarters in Denver and occasionally acted as Moyer's bodyguard.
Under McParland's examination, Orchard broke down, whereupon it took the detective three days to take down his story, in which he confessed to 26 murders, all of them, he said, planned by an inner circle of the W. F. of M. McParland further obtained a confession from an alleged accomplice of Orchard.
The "inner circle" implicated by Orchard's confession consisted of Haywood, Moyer, and George A. Pettibone, the latter an unofficial factotum in the affairs of the Federation. According to Orchard, the three men had been hiring him to murder mining bosses in Colorado, Idaho and other states over a period of several years. They — especially Haywood — were the brains, he only the hand of the crimes. All three were living in Denver.
The confession was not made public.
Idaho officials proceeded to Denver and presented to the Governor of Colorado their evidence against Moyer, Haywood, and Pettibone, and a request from Governor Gooding for their extradition. But there were legal difficulties in extraditing them; so the resourceful Idaho men of-the-law decided to kidnap the two labor leaders and Pettibone.
On the night of February 17, 1906, they were arrested; Moyer at the station just as he was leaving for Kansas on some "organization business"; Pettibone at his home; and Haywood in a rooming-house near the W.F. of M. headquarters. In the morning they were put in a special car, Idaho-bound.
At Boise they were lodged in the penitentiary, and later transferred to the county jail at Caldwell. They stayed in prison for eighteen months while the preparation for the historical trial went on.
Now Debs raised a cry: "Arouse, ye Slaves! Their only crime is loyalty to the working class!"
He wanted to organize an army in the manner of John Brown (whom he admired above all other characters in American history) and march to Idaho and free Haywood, Moyer, and Pettibone by force. But Debs' wife talked him out of a march on Idaho.
“NAPOLEON'S family had never, under whatever regime, had any merit other than spying, treachery, vice, impudence and prostitution. Condemn them to eternal execration and infamy." Whoever said that seems to have had a premonition.
TWO FEATHERS FLIES
On 05-23-2019 at about 10:45 PM, a Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy was on routine patrol on East Side Calpella Road when he observed a dark colored Honda Accord traveling southbound at a high rate of speed. The vehicle failed to make a complete stop at the intersection of East Side Calpella Road and Lake Mendocino Drive continuing west on Lake Mendocino Drive at a higher rate of speed. The Deputy attempted to make a traffic enforcement stop on the vehicle but the Honda continued accelerating while failing to pull over for the pursuing Deputy. The Honda then continued south on North State Street, turned on to West Lake Mendocino Drive and entered US Highway 101 southbound towards Ukiah. The Honda, occupied by the solo driver, was identified as a reported stolen vehicle out of Ukiah. The Deputy continued pursuing the vehicle with speeds reaching in excess of 90 MPH on southbound US Highway 101. A second Deputy entered the pursuit and the vehicle continued southbound on US 101 reaching speeds in excess of 100 mph. As the vehicle entered downtown Hopland, the driver turned east on Highway 175. During the attempted evasion, the driver of the vehicle, later identified as Edward Two Feathers Steele Jr., 29, of Ukiah, used the west bound lane of Highway 175 for a significant section of roadway.
No traffic was on the roadway at that time. While attempting to continue east on Highway 175 at the "Old Hopland" roundabout, the vehicle's left rear tire became disabled and the vehicle slowed to 60 MPH. About half a mile east of the roundabout, Steele attempted to take a slow turning corner and lost control of the vehicle causing it to roll and come to a rest in an open field. Steele was taken into custody and transported to Ukiah Valley Medical Center for medical clearance. Steele was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail for Evading a Peace Officer: Reckless Driving, Evading a Peace Officer: Driving on a Highway in a Direction Opposite Traffic and Driving with License Suspended for DUI, and was to be held in lieu of $35,000 bail.
On May 30, 2019 at approximately 10:45 PM, a Mendocino County Deputy Sheriff was dispatched to an unwanted subject at a business located in the 1300 North State Street in Ukiah, CA. The Deputy arrived at the location and contacted a subject he knew from prior contacts as being Scott Faber, 39, of Ukiah.
Faber was found to be on active summary probation out of Mendocino County with a specific term that he stay away from the business. Faber was placed under arrest for violation of probation without incident. Incident to arrest, Faber's clothing was searched and the Deputy located a glass methamphetamine smoking pipe and a concealed dirk or dagger on his person. Faber was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail on charges of Carrying a Concealed Dirk or Dagger, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Violation of Summary Probation where he was to beheld in lieu of $20,000 bail.
On May 25, 2019 at approximately 10:30 AM, a Hispanic male adult (approximately 30 years of age) arrived at the Howard Memorial Hospital emergency department in Willits. The male adult entered the emergency room suffering from what appeared to be gunshot wound to the face and neck. Deputies attempted to interview the male adult who was uncooperative at the time. Information provided to Deputies was the incident occurred somewhere in the Laytonville.
Initial statements suggested the male adult was picked up by a passing motorist in the Laytonville area and driven to the hospital. The motorist dropped the male adult off at the hospital and left the hospital. The motorist was described as being a Hispanic male adult (approximately 30 years of age), driving a newer four door Jeep Wrangler with a black top. The male adult with the suspected gunshot wound was later transported to an out of county medical facility for treatment. Anyone with information about this case is urged to call the Sheriff's Office Tip Line (707-234-2100) or the WeTip anonymous crime reporting hotline (800-782-7463).
On June 3, 2019 at approximately 8:00 P.M., Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Deputies were dispatched to a reported shooting at a vehicle in the area of North State Street and Empire Drive in Ukiah,. Ukiah Police Department Officers were also dispatched to the area and assisted with this investigation. During the investigation, Deputies learned a vehicle was traveling northbound on North State Street and stopped in the westbound turn lane for Empire Drive. An adult male subject, later identified as Christopher Bayard, 36, of Ukiah, approached the vehicle on foot and shot a firearm into the vehicle stopped at the traffic light.
An adult male was struck by the gunfire and was ultimately transported to a local hospital for medical treatment. Bayard reportedly fled the area on foot after the shooting. During the investigation, Deputies located and interviewed multiple witnesses to this incident and processed the scene for evidence. At this time, Bayard's current whereabouts are unknown and he is considered to be armed and dangerous. Bayard was described by witnesses as being a white male adult, approximately 6'01'' tall, 190 pounds, brown hair, hazel eyes, with dark facial hair and a thin build. Bayard was last seen wearing a black hat, black shirt, and blue jeans. Bayard is known to frequent the Ukiah, Willits, and Covelo areas. Anyone with information related to this incident is requested to contact the Sheriff's Office Dispatch Center at 707-463-4086. Information can also be provided anonymously through the Sheriff's Office Tip Line - 707-234-2100, or the WeTip anonymous crime reporting hotline at 800-782-7463.
BACK IN THE CAN, CAMPBELL
On June 2, 2019 at approximately 12:02 AM, a Mendocino County Deputy Sheriff was on routine patrol. The Deputy observed a subject riding a bicycle southbound on North State Street approaching the intersection of Low Gap Road in Ukiah. The Deputy observed that the bicycle did not have any required lighting equipment. The Deputy stopped the subject who was identified as Robert Campbell, 28, of Ukiah, who was found to be on active parole through the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Per Campbell's parole terms, he was to submit his person to search by any peace officer. Campbell was searched and a dirk or dagger was located concealed in his pants pocket. Campbell's parole officer was contacted and ultimately issued a parole hold. Campbell was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail on charges of Carrying a Concealed Dirk or Dagger, and Violation of Parole where he was to be held on a no-bail status due to his parole hold.
CATCH OF THE DAY, JUNE 6, 2019
MYQ ATTANASIO, Fort Bragg. Protective order violation.
KIMBERLY BASELT, Gualala. Domestic battery, protective order violation, probation revocation.
RYAN GRIMM, Potter Valley. Resisting, probation revocation.
FRANCIS JONES, Ukiah. DUI.
KEN LOCKHART, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
JAMES LOWE, Ukiah. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, stolen vehicle controlled substance, probation revocation.
CALEB MACARTHUR, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
TONY PAUL, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
WILLIAM PIMENTEL, Nice/Ukiah. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent.
MIGUEL PLACENCIA-BARAJAS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
DANYEL ROBINSON, Lucerne/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
COURTNEY VESSEY, Lakeport/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
DARIEL ZAPANTA, Ukiah. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, probation revocation.
JAYE ALISON MOSCARIELLO'S ART will be at the Ukiah Library during June, with the opening Friday, June 7th from 5-7 P.M. during Art Walk Ukiah.
The Ukiah Library is featuring local artist, Jaye Alison Moscariello’s vibrant paintings. Jaye’s art is all about connections; either to self, community, nature or all three.
Bill, 707-272-1688, see some of Jaye's work at jayesite.com, but better yet see it "live" at the library!
P.S. Info on the library:
105 N. Main St
ATTA BOY, HUFF
With Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refusing to acknowledge that a war with Iran isn’t already authorized, I want to thank Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris and Rep. Jared Huffman for their support of the bipartisan Prevention of Unconstitutional War with Iran Act of 2019. This effort is much needed to preserve Congress’s constitutional authority to determine if and when the United States goes to war. I am highly concerned that the president may instead take action to go to war with Iran without the constitutionally required approval from Congress.
I encourage our representatives to continue to take steps to promote a diplomatic approach to resolving our differences with Iran. It is the only way to true peace.
THE RIGHT CALL
Supervisors Williams, Haschak, and Gjerde,
Thank you for voting to pass the Mendocino County budget with the level of funding for the Climate Action Advisory Committee (CAAC) reduced from $110,000, as initially proposed, to $7,500, as passed. As the May 12 editorial in the Ukiah Daily Journal pointed out, the county does not need another new bureaucracy funded out of general funds. An all-volunteer advisory committee will be sufficient.
Besides, the county has too many other priorities.
There are other problems, of course, in funding the CAAC. The $110,000 would have clearly been a gift of political patronage to the Mendocino Environment Center (MEC), which is located in Supervisor McCowen's district. That is McCowen's first conflict of interest. Additionally, McCowen is the MEC's landlord, and he has been an early member of the MEC going back to Redwood Summer and Earth First!
The core support for the CAAC comes from the MEC. I would know. I served on the MEC Board of Directors from 2017 to 2019. I hosted a radio show at KMEC from 2015 to 2019. I am very familiar with the shift in leadership at the MEC and the genesis of the CAAC.
The MEC was the catalyst -- and the driver -- for the CAAC.
Creating the CAAC was a solicitation of support from the MEC. It is crystal clear that McCowen was attempting to "buy" a block of political support that he hopes will carry over into his re-election plans in 2020. This will be hotly contested race. A very competitive candidate has emerged in the person of Ukiah's mayor. McCowen will need every vote he can get.
Just as clearly, $96,450 of the $110,000 originally budgeted that was earmarked for the CAAC's program manager was intended as a patronage job for the current president of the MEC, Alicia Bales. This person is a close personal friend of McCowen. McCowen and Bales have been videotaped during breaks at meetings hugging and otherwise fawning over one another.
Furthermore, the CAAC program manager position was conceived by McCowen to be an independent contractor, not a county employee, and, as such, contractors circumvent civil service hiring requirements. This is a slap in the face to county employees.
And, this is cronyism, pure and simple.
McCowen should have never sponsored the CAAC on the Board of Supervisors's agenda. Never. Where was County Counsel?
McCowen should recused himself from all votes involving the CAAC. But he did not. Again, where was County Counsel?
My attorneys and I have consulted both the California Political Fair Practices Commission and the California State Auditor, Investigations. Almost certainly I shall be filing a formal complaint, but, in any case, the optics of McCowen's involvement with the CAAC are terrible. If the county has an extra $110,000 laying about, then give it to the county's SEIU and line workers for their long-overdue pay raises.
Again, thank you.
THE RIGHT CALL II
Congratulations on passing FY 19-20 budget today. After watching the proceedings these last couple of days, you should all be commended for working through the various challenges that you face now and in the months to come.
I agree with the reduction for the line item of Climate Action Advisory Committee to $7500. As you know, I gave public comment with concerns about CAAC last month. After listening to the many challenges our county faces with current available funds, you have made the best choice.
One of several concerns I had about the CAAC appeared from the start up group itself and Supervisor McCowen being in conflict as to where and how this initiative would be placed within county government. I thought? I heard Supervisor McCowen say this has been worked out, but information was not forthcoming in today's meeting. The individuals who spoke in March were adamant that CAAC not be contained within the special district or RCD. And yet, Supervisor McCowen, sponsor of the initiative thought it well-placed within RCD. Supervisor Williams rightly voiced that the person(s) who coordinates the volunteers should have paid work experience and first hand knowledge about environmental needs, reduction in pollutants, and be able to work with RCD staff. It could be that a current RCD staff person work part time with the advisory committee using the money approved by the BOS today. CEO Angelo rightly pointed out that during a hiring freeze, creative means are needed to get the work done. A full time position in RCD or two shared positions just might be a workable solution.
With another scorching summer season nearing us; with more and more homeless and mentally ill lying under trees with their possessions and dogs beside them; with a much needed second access passage out of Brooktrails waiting; and with the Sheriff's Department meeting more OES needs (during fire season) while experiencing a 17 % reduction in overtime in the last budget cycle. You have made the best choice.
A 70-YEAR-OLD MAN with prostate cancer had previously opted to have a prostatectomy at a non-military hospital. Now, many years later, he was being treated at the VA and he came to me to be considered for radiation treatment of the “surgical bed,” which is where the prostate used to rest. His PSA level – the tumor marker in the blood – had indicated a possible recurrence.
“I saw that you had the operation at a private hospital,” I said. “Why not at the VA?”
“I wanted to be away from all things military,” he said. “I went to Vietnam in October of 1967. I stayed for one tour. Then I was home October 1968. I wanted to forget about Vietnam.”
He looked at his wife, who gave him a smile, then he continued: “You see some guys going to AmVets meetings or wearing Marine Corps hats.” Many of the patients wear these hats, sold in the hospital gift shop, which is called the “canteen” like the store at a military base. He shook his head, looked down to his lap. “But I didn’t want anything to do with it.”
“But you’re wearing the hat now,” I said. He was wearing a blue baseball hat with “US Marines” embroidered in gold over the eagle, globe and anchor insignia.
He thought for a moment, looked to his wife, then back to me. “I guess I changed,” he said. “My third day in country I was asked to write a condolence letter. That was my job, to write letters. It was a suicide. He was 21 years old.” He put a finger on his lower lip, on his magnificent beard, and gave it a rub. “In writing to the family, I couldn’t say what the circumstances of the death were.”
“Did he count as a casualty?”
He looked across the room for a moment. “He counted as a casualty.”
I thought about it. “Do you think his name is on that black wall in Washington?”
“His name is on the wall.” He took a deep breath, exhaled. “I checked.”
“The letter said nothing about the suicide?”
“Nothing,” he replied. “We weren’t allowed to say that. I wrote, and my commanding officer just signed it. Sign, sign, sign. Thirty-six letters in 13 months.”
“You must have done other jobs, too,” I said. “You didn’t just write two or three letters a month.”
“It was an administrative job. But still, I wasn’t ready for it.” He thought of something. “My second day in country, I was brought to a large room. It was where bodies were collected before being sent back home. There were two guys walking around the room, stuffing rags in all the holes.” He shook his head, put his thumbs inside the shoulder straps of his overalls, looked into his lap. Then he looked up, still shaking his head from side to side. “We were 19, 20 years old,” he said.
THE UNPRETENTIOUS BLING OF AGE
More and more, this place looks manifests as a special, almost secret, gift. We had Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes and gravy for lunch, topped off by a glazed sugar bomb in the form of a donut. Both before and after lunch, I sat out at the designated dope smoking area and did some vape.
I am surprised, nay, I am floored by the evident fact that I am the only patient (inmate?) here who generally imbibes by vaping. Everyone else smokes bud of widely varying quality. I guess that makes sense somehow. But it also makes a kind of sense that the earth is flat.
It has often been asserted that the generation that fought World War II was "the greatest generation". With all respect for the security of that earlier generation, I beg to differ. We got the soul of the sixties. We got the hippies. We got the best music. Of course, we also got school shootings and crazed republicans. And you know what? Maybe not for much longer, but we are alive. And many of us are determined in these, the last days, to understand. And in the words of Chief Joseph, we understand, Great Spirit. We understand. And we refuse to lose heart.
STANDING COMMITTEE STANDS DOWN
Community Partners, Colleagues, and Interested Parties:
The Board of Supervisors Standing Committee meetings scheduled for June 10, 2019, have been cancelled.
Please contact the Executive Office at (707) 463-4441
( tel:7074634441) if you have any questions regarding this message.
Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and Executive Office
SUPES AGENDA: TUESDAY, JUNE 11
The Board of Supervisors Meeting Agenda for the June 11, 2019, meeting is now available on the County website:
Please contact the Executive Office at (707) 463-4441 if you have any questions regarding this message.
Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and Executive Office
FACTS VS. NONSENSE MEET UP FOR TEENS
June 11, 2019
Here is a chance to bring out your detective side and solve cases by using creative research and reliable sources of information. Open to all teens.
Every second Tuesday of the month in summer.
One Seed, One Community
When you participate in this statewide program, you will receive 1 packet containing twenty Cherokee Trail of Tears bean seeds to plant in your home garden. You will also receive support emails that will help you with the process of growing, harvesting, saving, sharing, and returning your bean seeds to the Yokayo Seed Project at the Ukiah Library. If you have the space in your garden to grow more than one 8 foot row of beans, we would be happy to give you more packets of seeds. To participate in One Seed, One Community and to get your beans, please visit the Ukiah Library and ask for Jen Lyon or email Jen at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
WHEN THE GOLDEN GATE SAGGED
In May of 1987 about 300,000 people jammed onto the Golden Gate Bridge for its 50th anniversary. It sagged some seven feet, flattening out under the weight, causing frightened engineers to do some quick math and authorities kept another 500,000 on the north and south approaches off the bridge.
TIME TO MOVE ON FROM MUELLER
“This is the background that Democrats have to grapple with as they decide whether to continue the investigation that Mueller has closed, or even intensify it with the opening of an impeachment process based on his report. Like Mueller, they too face political pressures, but unlike Mueller, those pressures are self-generated and carry political consequences—including whether or not they keep their jobs in 2020. It was Democratic leaders who chose to promote a conspiracy theory that Trump colluded with Russia and make it the centerpiece of the #Resistance. It is true that they now have to answer to their riled-up base, but it is equally true, and arguably more pressing, that they will soon have to contest a presidential and congressional election.”
KNOW YOUR OLIGARCHS (#4)