Letters (July 10, 2019)

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MOSS-CHANDLER’S CONFLICTS?

Editor,

Several of us concerned citizens of Mendocino County felt obligated to express concerns over the potential conflicts of interest Ms. Tammy Moss-Chandler has created for our county. Ms. Moss-Chandler has hired several friends as consultants. It is our understanding that she did not follow the County process for contracting with individuals which require competitive procurement through solicitation of bids when sole-source procurement is deemed necessary. What appears to be even more of a travesty is that these individuals are being paid double to triple the amount of county staff. Where is the union which is entrusted to protect its workers? From what we can determine, Ms. Moss-Chandler has personal relationships with at least five of the consultants she has contracted with. We are asking our Board of Supervisors to correct this conflict of interest and to require Ms. Moss-Chandler to follow county policy.

We also are hearing through information shared at public meetings that Ms. Moss-Chandler has agreed to contract with Partnership Health Plan of California to administer Alcohol and Other Drug Programs (AODP) without a request for proposals (RFP) or bid process. We have heard she is on the Partnership Health Plan of California Board which creates the appearance of a conflict of interest. Why would Redwood Quality Management Company be required to go through an RFP process and not Partnership when they would be doing about the same activities for the County?

Another example of a potential conflict of interest: Ms. Moss-Chandler supposedly hired a close friend into a top position above other qualified candidates without conducting interviews. As an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) employer the County must adhere to EEO standards as a requirement for receiving state and federal funding. Yet it appears these requirements do not apply to Ms. Moss-Chandler. It is disheartening that our County’s Executive Officer Angelo is complacent and being supportive of these actions that create a conflict of interest.

When will something be done?

More to come.

Concerned Mendo Citizens

Ukiah

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MOSS-CHANDLER RESPONDS

Dear Editor,

I take very seriously my responsibility to ensure that the Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) operates within state and local requirements, while striving to provide high quality services for the residents of Mendocino County. Through nearly two decades of experience overseeing California county health and social service programs, I have many colleagues regionally and across the state who have expertise in County Health and Human Services. I have undoubtedly used my knowledge of and professional relationships with various experts in order to identify and hire appropriate expertise for the benefit of Mendocino County.

The fact that I know a number of qualified individuals who are willing to provide expertise and services to Mendocino County does not create a conflict of interest. With over 20 years of experience in the field, it is expected that I will leverage my experience and professional relationships on the county's behalf. I am confident that I have followed the county's conflict of interest code, worked closely with SEIU to make sure we are not utilizing consultants in lieu of county employees, and follow County Policy #1: Purchasing, leasing and contracting policies and procedures.

It is true that I have held a number of regional and statewide leadership and board positions as an executive in county government and that one of the positions I currently fill is as a Board member of Partnership Health Plan of California (PHC). PHC is Mendocino County’s Medi-Cal managed care plan, operating as a County Organized Health System in partnership with 13 other California counties. As an appointee of the Board of Supervisors, I have continued to work on Mendocino County’s behalf to explore how to participate in the Medi-Cal 2020 waiver program known as the Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System (DMC-ODS). The way that PHC is organizing this system with their PHC counties would significantly increase funding for and delivery of substance use treatment services in Mendocino County, contingent upon approval by the California Department of Health Care Services. The HHSA advisory Board and the Board of Supervisors have been apprised of this potential opportunity, and the Board of Supervisors will ultimately make the decision about participation in this Medi-Cal waiver opportunity.

In closing, I am confident that HHSA has followed the County’s Civil Service rules as well as EEO standards and requirements in its hiring decisions. Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the inquiries you received.

Sincerely,

Tammy Moss Chandler, MPH, MBA

Director, Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency

Ukiah

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A PROPER WHEELCHAIR, PLEASE

Letter to the Editor,

On 14 June I went to the hospital in Fort Bragg for an x-ray of my ankle, which it turned out was fractured. Afterwards I was expected to walk to my car, which I had parked far away at the front entrance—so I requested a wheelchair. A wheelchair was brought, but it did not have footrests which was awkward and seemed odd. I googled “wheelchair safety,” and found this:

Wheelchair Safety

“We are preparing to file a lawsuit against an assisted living facility in Michigan which caused a severe injury to a resident when an aide attempted to push her in her wheelchair without the footrest intact. Our client sustained a severe fracture of her left ankle requiring surgery and an extended hospitalization. In a case we recently resolved, Greenway v. Petoskey Geriatric Village, Margaret Greenway died as a result of injuries sustained by her when she was catapulted from her wheelchair as she was being pushed by an aide down the hall without the footrest in place. Footrests are a commonsense safety device for use with wheelchairs to prevent serious lower extremity injuries. Wheelchairs are intended to assist patients in a medical setting who cannot walk on their own. Wheelchair safety must be practiced by healthcare providers who should never assume that it is acceptable to push somebody in a wheelchair without footrests.”

I sent this information to the hospital but have yet to hear from anyone there, and when I returned to the hospital’s radiology department on July 1 for another x-ray, I noticed three wheelchairs in a row in the waiting room there: one had footrests, but two lacked footrests.

Beware… If you notice crippled wheelchairs anywhere—don’t ride in them—complain. Perhaps together we can prevent needless harm to patients at our hospital and elsewhere.

Bettylou Whaley

Fort Bragg

MARK SCARAMELLA NOTES: I couldn’t agree more. When my brother was dying of cancer and had to be moved in a wheelchair to a variety of doctor visits and appointments over a period of months he had increasing difficulty controlling his legs. While guiding his chair down a ramp in Ukiah one day, one of his feet somehow came off the footrest and hit the rough surface of the ramp. He was unable to lift his foot back on to the footrest and we came close to either breaking or straining his foot or tipping over forward due to his foot catching on the ramp. Footrests (most of which fold up if not desired) are absolutely essential to the safe movement of people in wheelchairs.

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SUPPORT OUR LOCAL VOLUNTEERS

Editor,

Operating since 1984 the Anderson Valley Volunteer Firefighter’s Association (AVVFFA) is a group of dedicated community members with the task of raising funds to provide for the wellbeing of our local volunteers who make up the Anderson Valley Fire Department (AVFD). The majority of the money we can work with comes from YOU, the community members. As a result of your generosity the Association was able to contribute to the purchase of the new Wildland Engine 7471 and support the crew in their training. The AVFD’s focus is to provide the best response possible to the needs in the Valley, be it medical, traffic collisions, or fire. Your generous giving is a reflection of the trust you have placed in our personnel.

The annual report of the AVVFFA is now available for viewing at the Boonville fire station. The report contains a list of contributors as well as our annual budget from 2018. While you are there, take a moment to tour the engine bay and see our recent additions, 7471 and water tender 7491. 

With much gratitude, 

Kyle Clarke, representing the Board of Directors

Philo

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COW CATCHERS

Editor,

The continuing incidents between SMART trains and pedestrians speak of a need to look for solutions beyond individual crossing issues. Trains moving through human corridors will always be prone to incidents involving inattentive or suicidal individuals.

One potential solution involves the rail vehicle itself, specifically a “cow catcher” as was employed on most early engines. Essentially a scoop-and-toss construct, anything in front of the rail vehicle would be deflected to the side. While this would not prevent injury to the pedestrian (or bike), it may prevent fatalities from blunt force impacts.

Additionally, it is a potential solution that isn’t crossing specific. Such a device could be fabricated to fit into the existing railcar coupling on the front, allowing easy removal when re-configuring the rail vehicles.

Brian Corzilius

Willits

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A COAST LIFELINE

Editor:

My wife recently had full hip replacement surgery at MCDH. Major surgery is always stressful for both patients and family members. We live in Gualala, and I worked in health care for ten years managing primary care before I retired. I’m very familiar with standards of care, accreditation, and protocols in hospitals and clinics.

What my wife and I experienced was remarkable. Everything from the surgery to recovery and afterward went perfectly. The level of care provided by MCDH nursing staff and medical assistants was highly professional and very caring. At every shift change, and throughout the day and night, information was passed along and vitals were checked and rechecked. Everyone was truly on their game. They follow up at every turn, and they work closely together as a team and as a family.

MCDH may not be as new and pretty as some of the hospitals in Sonoma County, but when it comes to critical care, the nursing staff and MCDH may have them beat. I hope their management and the Fort Bragg and Mendocino communities appreciate them as much as we do. They are an important and critical part of our “life-line” here on the coast, and we are very grateful to them for everything they do — and they do it so very well.

George and Vicky Provencher

Gualala

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ASPHALT PLANT = FIRE HAZARD

To the Editor:

In the wake of all the recent wildfires, it is important to sound the alarm that our own Board Supervisors are re-visiting a previously failed, ill-conceived plan to build a 150,000-ton asphalt industrial complex at the Harris Quarry location, which is perched on the Ridgewood grade — between Willits and Ukiah. There is a school, a church and a 200 plus senior citizen development immediately adjacent (on one side) and a proposed senior-assisted living complex (on the other side). As is the case in so much of Mendocino County, the surrounding area, in all directions, (and for miles), are grasslands and heavily forested territory where the ‘ four winds blow ‘- strong, unpredictable winds.

Not surprisingly, asphalt plants generate and utilize heat, build pressure and produce volatile, flammable chemicals — all with the propensity to leak, ignite — yes, and explode their contents in fiery, dangerous, combustible havoc. A recipe for ember and wind driven catastrophe.

Incredibly, 50 or more heavily loaded trucks per hour would be allowed to carry this combustible, volatile product in all directions; through a confusing, dangerous, accident-prone Highway 101 intersection. Wildfires caused by vehicle crashes and even engine burnouts have happened as recently as last summer. To make matters worse, planned night-time firing operations multiply these dangers. This conjures up images of unsuspecting folks living alone or families awakened in the middle of the night by sirens of fire engines — that may, or may not arrive in time. Mendocino nightmares!

California is no stranger to wildfire. Hotter seasons, drier fuel, happening more often- and with greater intensity. The now infamous ‘Camp Fire’ consumed 153 thousand acres, destroyed eighteen thousand buildings and killed eighty-five people with two still missing. The worst fire in Ca.’s history so far. Could placing this ‘powder keg’ plant in such an inappropriate location invite disaster ?

Why would the Supervisors vote to put this unholy mix in the middle of this environment? Why would they “fast track” a vote which, in effect, bypasses the important oversight of the Planning Commission and indeed circumvent the citizens’ right to full public comment? Why would they collude with County Counsel to lobby for recusal of the lone Supervisor leaning toward disapproval? Why would they stubbornly insist on another plant when the current source keeps up with demand by operating only two days a week? The Environmental impact report states in fine print that only four new jobs would be created and further confesses. “If the plant was not built, there would be no adverse impact on asphalt availability,” and no particular negative impact on the County’s financial status. Are they planning on exporting to other counties who want to stay clean while we breathe the toxins? We don’t know. It just doesn’t make any sense.

One irate citizen told this writer its as simple as ABC: Arrogance, Bias and Collusion. It may be even simpler than that: A major dose of DUMB.

Our Board of Supervisors’ pledged mission is to protect the citizenry in matters of “Public safety, health, environment and social needs.” Instead, could they be the foxes that are guarding the chicken house? Are we looking forward to higher insurance rates and reduced property values?

California’s largest Utility, PG&E, is reeling from class-action litigation seeking compensatory damages of over $30 Billion, principally for their alleged negligence and lack of preventive foresight in the devastating California wildfires during the 2017 and 2018 fire seasons. Fires that killed scores of Californians and destroyed thousands of structures. One fire was reportedly caused by sparks from a downed power line in powerful winds. The type of winds we are all familiar with.

This is a cautionary tale. The County Counsel Mission Statement, in part, underscores “protecting the County from risk and loss.” Using the PG&E experience as a warning, perhaps the Board, along with County Counsel, should note PG&E’s catastrophic losses — and consider the possible legal and financial consequences of negligently: Playing with fire.

Jack Magne

Willits

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DEMOCRATIC BOMBS

Editor:

The Independence Day display of US militarism put on by Trump and the Pentagon was beyond disgusting. A crude and wasteful exercise of an obviously insecure rich brat bully. Clearly America is a weak and pathetic nation that has confused force with power. 

Only sadist and masochist could delight in the gross display of death and destruction that so dominates the imbalanced identity of America. Only suckers and fools would get off on such glorified violence. 

Does anyone really like rich bastards and bitches who strut around showing off all their trinkets? Do you know anyone who likes violent, mean, stupid, rich assholes who impose their will on to others? Why do so many Americans accept mental illness in the ruling class that would not be tolerated in their own communities? 

Only a people rendered empathetically illiterate by the mind managers of consumer capitalism could enjoy such a sickening parade of Imperial grandstanding. 

U.S. militarism is the pornography of the industrial arts perverted by the profit motives of Capitalism’s bottomless pit of greed. The gluttony of America’s long consumer orgy has harmed the entire world while leaving itself sick in body, mind, and soul. The psychopathological, mass murdering Pentagon thrives as it destroys from within the very country it’s supposed to protect. The DOD is not defending America as it bashes up the world securing the immoral wealth of the 1% at the expense of all the rest of us. 

America suffers from the following illnesses;

  • democracy deficit disorder
  • income disparity syndrome
  • justice withering disease
  • chronic empathy malaise
  • truth allergy pandemic
  • earth abuse ailment
  • Imperial citizen amnesia

Perhaps someone had better call a doctor before it becomes time to call a priest!

Ross Dendy,

Elk

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MORE NEEDLES?

Editor,

The Anderson Valley Fairgrounds have a wonderful little softball park. They used to have some great softball tournaments. They need to fix that park up and have an old-timers softball game on some upcoming Sunday. Maybe a little barbecue. Give the money to the high school sports. It would be fun. It would be great.

God bless Donald Trump.

Jerry Philbrick

Comptche

PS. How would you feel if your child was raped and butchered and mutilated by an MS 13 or some other illegal alien? Thank the Liberal Democrats for that. How would you like it if your wife was killed in a head-on collision by a DUI? Thank the Liberals and their illegal aliens for that. They want open borders. They think it's fine that illegals come in here to our sanctuary state. That's how stupid the Liberal Democrats are. Fascists. Communists. Socialists. Sons of bitches. That's all they think about — away from the United States, doing everything they can to hurt our government and our Constitution and everything else that goes with it. Makes me sick. It makes me sick we have people like Gavin Newsom in office, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Kamala Harris, Cortez. I could go on and on. But I won't. It's sad. We have to live with people wanting to get us killed and other people trying to make us safe.

PPS. The small town of Needles in Southern California has done a good thing. They have declared their area a sanctuary area for gun owners and the Second Amendment. They won't obey any stupid laws that California has put out to the gun owners. Most of the deputies there have said they will not process anything that the state has done. They won't enforce the laws. We have to get this in more cities and town and communities. Stand up to these bastards like the people in Oregon did with the CARB situation. It would work. We have to stick together. I can't wait to see the outcome of all this.

PPPS. Have you noticed that Gavin Newsom smiles when he talks? That's the mark of a crooked man. A no good person. He knows he's guilty and he is trying to cover it up with a smile while he talks. Now he's going to give the illegal aliens driver’s licenses and they won't even have to pay for them and they don't have to take any tests and they can't read English but they’ll be driving around in our public roads and he is trying to give them free citizenship so they can vote. That's all they want. That's the only reason they want open borders. They don't care what these illegals will do to our public. They just want the votes. That's all.

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