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MCT: Friday, October 25, 2019

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JUST IN FROM MALCOLM MACDONALD:

On Sunday, September 22nd, parties representing both sides of the federal lawsuit Hardin v. Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH), Bob Edwards (former MCDH Chief Executive Officer), Wade Sturgeon (former MCDH Chief Financial Officer), and Steve Lund (former President of MCDH's Board of Directors and current board member) attended a mediation in the San Diego area. At the conclusion of that ten hour session, the mediator drafted a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the parties settling the lawsuit that had been ongoing for more than two years. Readers can examine the AVA online archives, dating back to at least January, 2017, to find the origins of the allegations of harassment and questionable billing practices brought by then Chief Human Resources Officer Ellen Hardin against MCDH, its top two administrators and the leader of the board of directors. Many other AVA articles subsequent to the beginning of 2017 also reference the Hardin case.

The amount of the settlement, though blacked out in court filings, is presumed to be in the neighborhood between $2.5 and $3 million dollars, with the most precise educated guess placed at $2.6 million. According to a recent filing made by Hardin's attorney, Paragraph 3. of the Sept. 22nd MOU states, “The Settlement Sum will be paid by check made payable to 'Ellen Hardin and the Trust Account of the Law Office of Twila S. White.' Appropriate IRS Forms 1099 shall be issued. Plaintiff reserves the option to structure all or a portion of the settlement proceeds into an annuity.”

At this point, the parties are squabbling about whether or not the payment will be made in one lump sum (MCDH's desired method) or doled out in smaller increments, presumably to make Ms. Hardin's tax hit less substantial. Other than that, the lawsuit is a done deal.

When a court case that has begun from extreme adversarial positions reaches a mutually agreed upon settlement, observers are still tempted to ask, 'so, who won?' Having been a negotiator for a nascent then fledgling union for several years in the 1980s and 1990s it is tempting to go off on a tangent about “Interest-Based Bargaining” (IBB) vs. “position-based bargaining, but let's leave that to anyone interested in more progressive methods of negotiation investigating those worthwhile topics on their own time.

The Hardin case result might best be called a win-lose-win situation. Receiving more than $2.5 million in a settlement ostensibly makes the former MCDH human resource officer the victor. Obviously, those forced to pay out must be labeled the losers.

However, let's look at Paragraph 1. of the MOU: “MCDH and/or its insurer, BETA Healthcare Group, a California joint powers agreement (hereinafter 'BETA') shall pay to Plaintiff the sum of __.” [presumably an amount near $2.6 million]

BETA is covering the coast hospital's losses in this matter up to about $4 million. That means that MCDH is not going to incur an actual monetary loss from its financially stressed coffers other than a possible insurance rate increase in the future.

The next question that may be on some readers' minds: Will this impact the potential affiliation with Adventist Health if the haggling over how Hardin's money is paid out lingers too long? The short answer: another type of mediator will decide whether the Hardin payment comes in one lump sum or not will occur before the year is out.

This takes us to another sticky situation that at this point is more supposition than actual hard fact. At recent town hall forums in which MCDH interim CEO Wayne Allen, Chief of Staff, Dr. William Miller, and board member John Redding have laid out what affiliation with Adventist Health (AH) will look like, there has been talk about a possible roll back of the public vote on affiliation to June, 2020. Up until this past week, the March 3, 2020 election day had been all but cast in stone for a public yea or nay on affiliation.

In addition to hints about the affiliation vote being pushed back to a later date, CEO Allen also has brought up the possibility of MCDH entering into a management contract with Adventist Health during the period leading up to a public vote on the matter. That would require approval of the MCDH Board of Directors then AH would send in its own team to essentially run the day to day operations of the coast hospital. One might think of it as a sort of exhibition season representing part of what AH is capable of providing after affiliation becomes official.

Of course, an AH management team would likely make some quick and potentially painful payroll cuts. In addition, rumor on the street would have it that the first thing to go at an AH run coast hospital would be the labor and delivery department. For those revving up indignation (righteous or otherwise) at that prospect, MCDH plans a November public forum on the future of labor and delivery on the coast. Precise date, time, and setting of such meeting is yet to be determined.

In the meantime, we can wait and see whether or not the voters of the Mendocino Coast Healthcare District have their say in March or later. Remember that the affiliation deal would first have to be approved by a truncated (three member) MCDH Board of Directors. To be clear about when a special election would occur, the June election mentioned at the affiliation forum is not an option. California election law has changed as of the first of the year in accordance with switching the Presidential primary to March. The first Tuesday after the first Monday in April is available for a special election as is a similar Tuesday in November, 2020. Making a rough guess, the cost to taxpayers of the Mendocino Coast Healthcare District for such a special election could be upwards of fifty to sixty thousand dollars. Of course, Adventist Health might be persuaded to foot that bill. A mail-in ballot procedure would be available in May, 2020, presumably at a reduced rate of expense.

The rumored reasoning behind a delay in the public vote involves hesitancy on the part of AH due to uncertainties created by their operational agreement with St. Joseph's Health to integrate clinical services. That agreement made more than a year and a half ago is still under review by the state attorney general's office for possible antitrust issues.

Where there is one rumor, you can pretty much count on a counter balancing alternative. That has the Adventists still full steam ahead in their desire to make affiliation with MCDH happen as soon as possible.

Full disclosure: This writer has the price of a decaf mocha riding on the outcome of whether or not the public vote occurs in March or later. So come and get me coppers, for betting not on the outcome of an election, but when said election takes place. Perhaps this is one of the signs of the apocalypse or a sign that I need a gamblers anonymous meeting.

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AN UPPER RIDGE located in the vicinity of the West Coast will favor mild and dry weather during the next seven days. Otherwise, strong east-northeast winds will support critical fire weather conditions across portions of southeast Humboldt, southern Trinity, and interior Mendocino counties Saturday night through Sunday night. (National Weather Service)

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THE KINCADE FIRE was up to 16,000 acres late Thursday with 49 structures destroyed. Containment was estimated at 5%. Wind speeds were lower late Thursday but the fire was still “spotting” over fire lines. Calfire brought in more resources adding 12 helicopters and 17 air tankers to the 1300 firefighters on the ground. The fire apparently started in an area where PG&E had already shut off power. But it’s still under investigation.

MEANWHILE, PG&E is forecasting another power outage for the north bay on Saturday into Monday as winds are expected to reach 40 or 50mph sustained and gusts up to 70 or 80mph in the higher hills.

This one may well impact larger portions of southeast Mendocino County including a significant segment of Anderson Valley along Highway 128.

SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS: PG&E anticipates another large planned power outage this Saturday due to a projected significant wind event. The estimate for Mendocino county is 8,343. Plans change with the wind.

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT reported Thursday that the Kincade (Geyserville) fire started at or near a PG&E transmission line inside the Geysers geothermal power generating facility outside of Geyserville. Calfire discovered broken equipment on a transmission tower that was not deactivated in the Wednesday shutdown. PG&E had shut down power in the area but not on the tower because, PG&E announced, it could withstand higher winds than the lower distribution lines. The separate company that operates the Geysers power facility had shut down power on their own before the fire started. Calfire is still investigating.

https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10216601-181/kincade-fire-starts-inside-the

SMOKE from the Kincade Fire began drifting into Mendocino County this morning about 11. To the south, between Cloverdale and Geyserville the smoke was thick as fog. Tonight, (Thursday), much of inland Mendocino County is under a red flag warning.

GOVERNOR GAVIN NEWSOM slammed PG&E: “For decades PG&E has neglected investing in undergrounding and hardening. We’re here because of their greed. We’re here because of their mismanagement going back decades. But we are, unfortunately where we are. It’s a bankrupt investor owned utility which means that they need to invest millions and millions of dollars to get its system up to date. These blackouts have not been necessary for the scope of them for the last few weeks.”

LAWRENCE BULLOCK reported it was "85 degrees four miles up the hill from Mendocino. That's pretty warm for this time of year. So naturally I'm down for the count with a blasted head cold. Still, grateful for the NA Summer."


AND NOW A WORD ABOUT PG&E ELECTRICAL TRANSFORMERS…

“Neighbors,

If you see an oily substance dripping from an electricity transformer pole on your street or neighborhood, call PG&E and ask them to come out ASAP to have it tested. If they tell you that it’s just ‘mineral oil’ because they haven’t used PCBs since 1970, check to see how long that pole has been there.

In Caspar South, we’ve just discovered that the oily substance dripping from a pole contained PCBs, highly toxic chemical compound, which was previously used in transformer cooling, before its adverse effects were noted for both humans and wildlife. PG&E came out and did the testing which determined that it contained PCBs, temporarily shut off power to a few houses, and replaced the old transformer with a new one.

PG&E also hired Paulson to remove contaminated soil, and they'll keep removing dirt from around the pole until tests prove that the PCBs are all gone. (This is because PCBs biodegrade very slowly.)

We’re grateful that PG&E is remedying the situation, but it seems that PG&E’s policy has been to replace poles only if and when they deteriorate so it’s up to us to be careful and on the lookout. Please call PG&E immediately if you spot anything dripping from a transformer: 1-800-PGE-5000.”

(MCN chatline)


NEWSOM, PG&E & THE PUC

Editor,

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s righteous indignation against PG&E is entertaining, but the question of how the Public Utilities Commission’s possible corrupt complicity with PG&E remains. How comes it that PG&E was able to neglect maintenance to the point of actually killing people when the PUC had a duty to oversee the utility? What exactly did the PUC’s oversight responsibility include?

Tom Glynn

Santa Rosa


ADVISORIES FOR MENDOCINO COUNTY AIR QUALITY AND PUBLIC HEALTH

Thursday, October 24, 2019

4:30 PM: The Air District is monitoring potential smoke impacts to our County from the 10,000 acre Kincade Fire, a wind-blown grass and brush fire northeast of Geyserville in Sonoma County. Strong wind from the north to northeast is pushing smoke from the Geyserville area southwest and west. These winds will ease by Thursday evening. Smoke impacts have been observed in Anderson Valley and the south coast of Mendocino County. Currently air monitors in Ukiah and Willits continue to show particulate matter concentrations in the “Good” range.

Based on the meteorological forecast, an even stronger wind event is forecast Saturday night into Sunday, which could increase fire spread and re-direct smoke. All residents should be prepared for smoke throughout the region until the Kincade fire is out. Please see the accompanying Public Health Advisory for recommendations of personal protection for sensitive groups, as well as, everyone during “Unhealthy” or more severe air quality conditions.

Mendocino County Air Quality Management District continuously monitors the air quality, reporting particulate matter and ozone concentrations hourly to our website: www.mendoair.org. In the sidebar on the right of our webpage (scroll down if using a mobile device) under “Air Quality for Mendocino”--Click Here for current conditions, forecast, and email alerts. For additional information, click on an air quality index range or the colored tabs below the map.

For more air quality information visit: https://airnow.gov

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BURGLARY AT LEMONS MARKET, PHILO

On Wednesday, October 9, 2019 at about 1:00 AM, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was notified a burglary had just been discovered at Lemons Philo Market in Philo. A Deputy responded to the scene and located a broken front door along with a broken cabinet inside the business. Tobacco and liquor products were identified as being stolen from the business during the course of the burglary. A review of surveillance footage revealed a single juvenile male caused the damage to the front door using a tool and entered the business at about 12:40 AM. While inside the business, the juvenile male was observed causing additional vandalism to a cabinet inside the business to facilitate the theft of tobacco products. A short time later the juvenile male was seen departing the business through the same broken door and leaving on foot. The investigation led to the identification of the juvenile male and on October 13, 2019 at about 5:15 PM, the juvenile male was taken into custody for the listed offenses. The juvenile male was transported to the Mendocino County Juvenile Hall for booking on the listed charges. Anyone with information concerning this incident is asked to the contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Tip-Line at 707-234-2100 or the WeTip Anonymous Crime Reporting Hotline at 800-782-7463.

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MEASURE B COMMITTEE GOES DARK

by Mark Scaramella

After accomplishing absolutely nothing of substance at their latest Wednesday, October 23 meeting, Mendo’s Measure B Advisory Committee decided to cancel their November meeting, Thanksgiving and so forth. County CEO and Measure B Committee member Carmel Angelo described the meeting cancellation as “going dark.” (Note to self: please add “going dark” to Ms. Angelo's list of emphatic adjectives: Robust, sustainable, and resilient.)

After discussing the salary for the project manager at some length, the Committee reviewed where they were on hiring this person. Answer: soon. Ms. Angelo added that the hard-hitting Measure B overseers are also now thinking about hiring a construction manager to assist the Project Manager.

The pending contract with an architectural firm? Also coming soon. The CEO’s staff has, however, finally finished a “draft” scope of work for the Measure B architect. Significantly, the Committee has expressed no interest in the content of that “scope of work.” A recommendation is supposed to be on the Board’s agenda next month. We can safely assume another eyesore box structure for Ukiah whomever the architect might be.

There was a very long discussion of what percentage of the Measure B money should be put aside for reserves. No decision was made.

Committee members congratulated themselves for getting a new high-tech sound system for the Committee’s meetings.

Not to be outdone, Third District Supervisor John Haschak told the Committee that he thinks the Measure B committee’s forward movement was positively brisk, that the project is "where it needs to be with the pending hiring of the Project Manager and an architect.” Haschak said the public should be thanking the Committee for all their good work. Haschak didn’t mention that these accomplishments — which barely amount to preliminary first steps — have taken almost two years.

Perhaps Supervisor Haschak wasn’t paying attention the day before at the Supes meeting when he and his fellow Supervisors discussed Measure B at some length.

Supervisor John McCowen thought that by now there should at least be some visible improvement in services.

Supervisor Ted Williams wanted to know why nothing substantive had been done so far, asking, “I would like to hear some perspectives on why we are at a block and what we can do about it.”

Measure B Founding Father Sheriff Tom Allman quickly went on the defensive: “The Measure B committee is certainly striving to fulfill our obligations to get the necessary services as well as the necessary buildings done and underway. However, you know better than most the bureaucratic process it takes to improve not only services but to get the job descriptions done for human resources and contractors in line — you and I experienced the Ortner debacle. In this county we have all experienced over 20 years without having a PHF. And while the voters have passed this less than two years ago, we are now at the point where the Measure B committee is making progress. I would welcome — and what we have right now — the CEO is certainly aware of the RFPs that have been out to the public saying, Tell us what you have to offer and tell us what it's going to cost because we need to know what's available. …”

The only RFP we know of that’s “out to the public” is for architectural evaluation and design services. There’s been some vague discussion of what hospitals and non-profits can do, but no RFP has even been requested, much less gone “out to the public.”

Allman continued, “We also know that over the past seven years this county has advertised for a psychiatrist at a quarter million dollars a year and we can't get anyone to respond. A quarter of a million a year for psychiatrist! So I hear what you're saying and what you are saying if you don't mind me saying is voicing frustration. What I feel in those meetings is frustration also with long discussions over a sound system, but with people who are often believing that just because we have the money we have the answer. If we had the answer we wouldn't have the mental health problem in this county that we have. So I challenge anybody listening to my voice to please come to the Measure B monthly meetings, one o'clock, conference room C and be very specific. Instead of saying we need help and what are you doing for us, come and say why aren't we doing — and then fill in the blanks, x and y and z, and let's have a conversation.”

Actually, several people have done just that, suggesting things like a modular unit in advance of the brick and mortar — Sheriff Allman himself vetoed that idea, saying it wasn't long term.

We have been bringing up the crisis van idea almost every year for at least 20 years (going back to the Marvin Noble tragedy). And Ukiah Police Chief Justin Wyatt suggested some kind of crisis van be set up two meetings ago, and so far all there’s been is some vague mention of maybe asking the people who run one in Oregon to come down for a chat.

Still others have said the County should get the nearly dormant but fully funded outreach van back up to full staffing. But that doesn’t even make it on the Measure B agenda, even though they voted to spend several hundred thousand to supplement it.

Allman continued, “We have 11 major stakeholders in mental health [i.e., the Meaesure B Committee] that get together once a month and we get together two hours a month, 24 hours a year, right at half the work week. We need suggestions other than just how to spend money because spending money is not the answer.”

Again, suggestions have been made. But they never make it onto the agenda, much less to where the “11 major stakeholders” could vote on it.

Allman continued, “We are going to have to think our way out of this with good rational solutions of where we are going to go. I don't know if any of the 58 counties in the state have come up with the answer. That's what you're asking about. Nobody has found the perfect pill. So your frustration is felt by many of us. And I'm not being critical of you, I appreciate you saying exactly what you said because I agree, we need professionals to come in and say, these are the solutions, let's give it a try.”

So they want professionals to offer solutions? Ukiah Police Chief or their own committee members or a member of the public bringing something up is of no interest.

Allman continued, suggesting that they try things on a provisional basis: “You know what? After 12 months if it's not working, pfffshshshshs — let's hear a big flushing sound and get rid of it. We got rid of Ortner because it wasn't working.”

First, that’s the first we’ve heard that privatizing mental health by hiring a former Ortner Exec to wire the job to Yuba-county based Ortner was some kind of experiment that was “flushed” after three years. And the Sheriff himself has dismissed a temporary idea like a modular for initial crisis services. Nor has he mentioned the County’s inability to staff the outreach van although he got it going and it’s funded with County and Measure B money. What’s the status of recruiting people for that?

Allman concluded, “We are not limited by anything except our own imagination and the amount of money we have to spend it on.”

Supervisor McCowen reminded the Sheriff that the Supervisors recently told the Measure B committee to go back and look at the Kemper report where a number of good ideas were laid out. Then McCowen suggested a joint meeting of the Board of Supervisors and the Measure B committee: "Let's see what we can agree on as a group and let's move this forward."

Measure B Committee Chair Dr. Ace Barash replied that they’ve had trouble hiring staff “because of the housing cost and difficulty of finding housing and the higher pay in Sonoma County.” He also said the Kemper report didn't spell out enough specifics about how money should be apportioned.

Not true. The $60,000 Kemper report laid it out quite nicely and nobody’s disagreed with it.

Barash continued with the lame excuses and finger-pointing: "It's not up to the Measure B committee to decide without somebody else having some — it would be nice to have experts in the field before we made decisions about how the money is spent before we decide to just give it here or give it there because it's not spelled out in the Kemper report. It gives categories, but not which agencies." Dr. Barash went on to wonder how they would staff the facilities once they are built and how much of that cost would be coming from Measure B.

CEO Angelo agreed that it's hard to staff up. Then she wondered how much would be left over for facilities and how such services would be continued after Measure B ended.

Maybe if somebody made this staffing question an ongoing agenda item for monthly tracking and follow-up…?

Supervisor Williams then asked a question we raised way back before the County even hired Kemper: “Does Health and Human Services staff have any recommendations that they could bring to Measure B? It seems like asking the people who work in the field who have the expertise would be the right way to move forward. Why do we not have our own staff recommending a plan of allocation of funds and what services to pursue?”

CEO Angelo agreed that that was a good question and that they would look to the mental health staff to come forward with their recommendations. "Your comment is correct,” the CEO said. “We have thought about it. It just has not been agendized — the mental health staff coming forward with a plan for say $3 million or so for services."

The more likely reason that the County’s mental health staff has not been asked for recommendations is that they are only involved in what they consider to be Mendo’s “severely mentally ill” — i.e., the reimburseables. They have very little to do with the non-reimburseables — the mild to moderately mentally ill. Some numbers for that category as well as for “substance abusers” are in the Kemper report, but Mendo continues to pretend that the Kemper report doesn’t provide enough specifics. (See the also ignored $50,000 Marbut Report on the homeless.)

Measure B Committee member Jan McGourty offered the observation that the mild to moderately mentally ill are to some extent seen by the County’s widespread health clinics, and that she’s in the process of “surveying” those clinics. But nobody has asked the clinics about what kind of help they could use for those mild to moderately mentally ill that the County turns away.

Coincidentally, a Coast Hospital ER staffer told us recently that at any given time four of their eight ER beds are taken up by mentally ill people under some kind of staff-intensive observation or medication or stabilization, leaving only four beds for more conventional “emergencies.” He said that because of the mental patients, several times a week their ER room has to decline real emergencies and shuttle them inland because their ER is full.

After “going dark” in November, the Measure B committee will hold their last meeting of 2019 on Wednesday, Dec. 18 when, with luck, they might have a project manager on board who will magically get everything moving.

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BETSY CAWN WRITES:

Re: Supervisors hearing on Mendocino County communication system frailties.

The eerie calm with which the IT professionals deliver statements like “ongoing maintenance and support” (for the circa 1990 technology, much of which is reaching its “end of life” capacity for acquiring replacement parts, and for facilities that are weather-beaten, seasonally inaccessible, and critical for life-saving contact with first responders, etc.) was cut from the County’s budget during “the recession.”

One presumes that the event referred to is the 2008 sub-prime mortgage financing “crash,” but the fact that it has taken over a decade for the Board of Supervisors to face the impacts of their budget management choice is — as always — befuddling, especially given the gratuitous waste of money spent on “tourism” and high-end salary boosts.

Given the short-term deadline (2020) for replacement of critical components (eliminating old analog components, repairing damaged facilities, and replacing poorly chosen generator systems), the Board will have to do some “outside the box” thinking to match the proposals they heard about on October 22, 2019. Better late than never, of course.

But the other half of the communication puzzle is the ability to communicate effectively with the public, for which the U.S. Department of Homeland Security provides a useful, timely publication, “Report on Alerting Tactics” (August 7, 2018): https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/1051_IAS_Report-on-Alerting-Tactics_180807-508.pdf.

While the advent of new technologies and means of receiving “information” are adequately addressed in this report (quite lovely, in fact), the “core capacity” problem here in Lake County remains undiscussed: creation of “messaging” that reaches people via public channels (TV, radio, direct contact, print media, and US Postal Service) and coordination of governmental agencies with their citizen-based counterparts.

The fact remains, in Lake County, that during the construction of our latest “Local Hazard Mitigation Plan” — beginning in 2017 — the issue of vulnerable communication services was actively avoided (the very suggestion was “forbidden”) by the Lake County Office of Emergency Services. We appreciate having the example of Mendocino’s Board of Supervisors close examination of the harsh realities they must face, at long last. Nice job, Supervisor Williams.

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ENCHANTED MEADOW SUES MRC

Dear Friends,

You may have read our earlier list serve announcement of legal action filed against the California Dept. of Forestry and Mendocino Redwood Company on behalf of Friends of Enchanted Meadow and the general public.

We've retained an attorney who will represent us at a preliminary injunction hearing, this Friday in Ukiah. We're asking the court to halt the logging and rescind approval of the timber harvest plan (THP) 1-19-00070 MEN.

This THP's boundary is contiguous with Enchanted Meadow Wetlands Sanctuary along the Albion River. Cutting is on slopes above EMWS and covers an extensive area, about a mile in length from the interior Eastern side of Pleasant Valley Gulch and along EMWS, east to Duck Pond Gulch.

We are seeking the ultimate in wetlands protection. This THP refers to EMWS as a seasonal wet meadow, instead of wetlands, which by law require more protection.

Please Friends who have supported us in the past and new Friends, we need your generosity, a donation of any size helps us with legal costs.

In the next two years MRC has plans to log 862 acres next to and nearby FOEM sanctuary areas in Slaughterhouse, Deadman and Duck Pond Gulches.

Your tax deductible donation is greatly appreciated, You may donate online through PayPal at our website, www.friendsofenchantedmeadow.org, or mail a check to FOEM, PO Box 271, Little River, CA 95456.

Thank you,

Friends of Enchanted Meadow

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CATCH OF THE DAY, OCTOBER 24, 2019

Aguilar, Benkoski, Ceja-Lopez, Edwards

JOAQUIM AGUILAR, Ukiah. Resisting.

STEPHEN BENKOSKI, Ukiah. More than an ounce of pot, probation revocation.

JOSE CEJA-LOPEZ, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.

LARRY EDWARDS, Rio Dell/Redwood Valley. DUI, suspended license.

Haas, Johnson, Liese

BRENT HAAS, Potter Valley. Burglary, felon/addict with firearm.

EDWARD JOHNSON, Ukiah. Smuggling controlled substance or liquor into jail, probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)

THEODORE LIESE, Covelo. Domestic abuse.

Speers, Squire, Stanley

JESSICA SPEERS, Redwood Valley. DUI, suspended license (for DUI), child endangerment, hit & run with property damage, blood-alcohol over 0.15%.

COREY SQUIRES, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

MICHAEL STANLEY, Albion. Elder abuse, under influence, controlled substance, probation revocation.

Tucker, Vargas, White

ALEXANDER TUCKER, Laytonville. DUI, blood-alcohol over 0.15%.

ROBERTO VARGAS, Hopland. DUI, probation revocation.

CARLOS WHITE, Covelo. Parole violation.

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CENSUS REJECTION

Editor

Hearing ads on the radio for the Census Bureau recruiting workers for the 2020 census reminds me of my experience applying to work on the 2000 census in Marin County when I was 34 years old.

I showed up for the test the applicants had to take at the College of Marin, either around the end of 1999 or the beginning of 2000. Figuring that not having a car in a suburban environment might disqualify me as a candidate, I asked one of the census workers if I was wasting my time applying and he assured me I could get a census taker job even without a car.

I had been volunteering for a Marin County supervisor for at least eight months and had her as a reference and I got a 98% score on the test, but I was not hired. It was easy for me to speculate why.

I was on SSI for depression and I am sure the Census Bureau did a background check on me and saw in the Social Security database that I was on SSI for depression so they had no interest in hiring me. Why else would they reject someone who got a 98% score on the test and had a reference from a county supervisor?

I would have been interested to know exactly what the Census Bureau's specific reasoning was for rejecting me, but it comes down to bias against those with the label of depression. It's very understandable to me that most American males who suffer from depression go to great lengths to avoid the label of depression so as to escape being marginalized in terms of employment as well as in the areas of socialization and finding a mate. However, I'm sure a very large percentage of those men wind up becoming alcoholics or drug addicts and then have a substance abuse problem on top of their depression.

It's a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't choice.

Keith Bramstedt

San Anselmo

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LAST GO AROUND FOR THE REDLEGS (2015 or thereabouts). Jeff Costello, second from right, has moved on to the great ensemble in the sky.

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REGULATION AND THRIVING BLACK MARKET BURNING UP PROFITS OF CALIFORNIA’S LEGAL WEED BUSINESS

Nearly three years after California legalized marijuana, the profit outlook for this budding business looks cloudy. 60 Minutes reports, Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET and 7 p.m. PT

cbsnews.com/news/marijuana-in-california-regulation-and-thriving-black-market-burning-up-profits-of-legal-weed-business-2019-10-23/

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TODAY! Monday, October 23, at 3:00 pm, the MENDO STRONG t-shirts will be available at the Ukiah Mendo-Mill. $20 each (tax included) and 100% of the proceeds will go the the NCO Fire Recovery Fund.

Be the first in your neighborhood to show your support. The message, the sky blue color and the generosity all combine to show the rest of the world that we have started our recovery process.

Bob Perkowski and Deb Perkowski are the generous donors to start this fundraising effort. Perkowski Screen Printing is a huge part of our local community and economy!

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WHAT IF YOU CALL 911 AND NO ONE COMES?

Inside the collapse of America’s EMS systems.

nbcnews.com/health/health-care/there-s-shortage-volunteer-ems-workers-ambulances-rural-america-n1068556

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CLIMATE HAVOC WIPES OUT COASTAL KELP as SF Bay’s native fish species die off

A climate-related catastrophe off the California coast has resulted in the death of 90% of the kelp from San Francisco to Oregon as an explosion of ravenous urchins devours everything in sight. And it’s happening at the same time native fish in San Francisco Bay are dying out, two studies released Monday documented.

sfchronicle.com/environment/article/Kelp-disappearing-from-coastal-waters-as-fish-14551459.php

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WHERE ARE THE INFLUENTIALS WHO FIND TRUMP DESPICABLE?

by Ralph Nader

The British political philosopher, John Stuart Mill, was a man of many pithy phrases. Possibly his most widely quoted assertion is that “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.”

This quote fits the Trump age perfectly. Where are you, Barack Obama? Obama is still polling higher than any other politician, active or retired. Instead of speaking out, he is making movies, maybe writing another book, and otherwise really enjoying himself.

Where are you Condoleezza Rice? She encouraged Rex Tillerson to be Trump’s Secretary of State, but Tillerson was cast aside in 2018 by a sneering Trump, who pronounced him “dumb as a rock.” Condoleezza is collecting honors and large speech fees and teaching at Stanford University (keep in mind that Rice was on the inside during the criminal Bush/Cheney war in Iraq, which she supported and defended).

Where are you General Colin Powell? Powell is another former disgusted high official still high in the polls. He thinks he is hated by the White House. He needs to speak up, as his formidable former Chief of Staff, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, has repeatedly done.

The list could go on and on. The former high officials or elected politicians, now retired, who do want to speak up, complain that they can’t get any media attention. If that is true, they should organize into a collective force, with some staff, to help push for media attention. I’m sure they will be able to attract some enlightened large donors.

Not all former officials are AWOL. Some former officials write prominent op-eds in newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post. Some former Obama-era public servants started a podcast called Pod Save America. These efforts are, sadly, not enough to compete with Trump’s onslaught.

It is imperative that these political figures speak out, stand tall, and push back against Trump’s worsening outrages. Trump’s brazen lies obscure his administration’s secrecy and cover-ups; for his abysmal betrayals of workers, patients, consumers, communities; and for Trump’s false pledges that he would help create a safe, healthy environment. Remember his nonsensical rhetoric about clean air, clean water, and beautiful, clean coal.

He still thinks evidence about climate disruption is a “Chinese hoax.”

In his mass rallies – that screen out critical citizens – Trump knowingly lies with reckless abandon. For example, at his recent Dallas rally, Trump said that he has brought the “largest decline in drug prices in over 51 years.” Actually, drug prices are soaring as deprived patients, insurance company executives, and Medicare officials know so well. So what does Trump add? He tells his believers that the reason they don’t know about lower drug prices is that the media, which he calls “crooked,” “corrupt,” and “fake,” isn’t telling Americans the truth.

That Trump has lied over ten thousand times to the American people is itself, given their many ramifications, a “violation of the public trust,” which Alexander Hamilton described as an impeachable offense. Trump lies more in a month than other presidents do during their entire four year term.

Many of the influential people who are silent about Trump’s abuses have no economic worries. They are sufficiently or extravagantly well-off. They have no concerns over the need for future jobs, being in their sixties or seventies. Retired lawyers who see Trump trampling on our constitutional and legal frameworks should be particularly incensed.

If some billionaire would fund the creation of a Secretariat to promote the views of Trump’s critics, a small experienced staff and these influential people together could create a whole that is much greater than the sum of its parts.

Former lawmakers and executive officials, when acting together and assisted by a support staff, can multiply their efforts. Former Senators Lowell Wiecker and Gary Hart; former EPA chiefs, such as William Ruckelshaus; and former governors of New Jersey, Thomas Keane and Christine Todd Whitman are all critical of Trump’s misbehavior. Trump ravages people and lies about a variety of serious matters without rebuttal. As we know from history, an unchallenged lie, repeated over and over again begins to sink in. It is imperative that accomplished people who challenge Trump’s lies gain public credibility. Just consider the “nicknames” Trump assigns to his adversaries, without any nicknames being successfully applied to him. “Crooked Donald,” “Decadent Donald,” “Draft-dodging Donald,” “Disgraceful Donald,” “Lying Donald,” and so forth. He has used such monikers, and worse, to slander opponents and these insults have been repeated by the mass media. Trump’s victims are not afforded a chance to respond to his invectives.

A few media critics, notably Margaret Sullivan from The Washington Post, have chided their editors for allowing such defamatory Trumpian soliloquies. To avoid being his bullhorn, Sullivan argues, the media should not report such abuses. At a minimum, those who are attacked by Trump should be offered the chance to respond. Rebutting bullies is the first step in balancing the public stage. This would be particularly effective for a nasty, thin-skinned bully like Donald Trump.

(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! )

* * *

THE GRACE HUDSON MUSEUM will be open from 5 to 8 p.m on Friday, November 1 for First Friday Art Walk. At 6 p.m., there will be a screening of “Young Frankenstein,” Mel Brooks’s classic comedy. Also showing is the Museum’s current exhibit, “Stitching California,” featuring stunning art quilts exploring facets of our state’s history, culture, and environment. An audio tour featuring all 42 artists in the show talking about their work is available. All events on this and every First Friday are free. The Grace Hudson Museum is at 431 S. Main St. in Ukiah. For more information please go to www.gracehudsonmuseum.org or call (707) 467-2836.

* * *

* * *

BASEMENT PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

All we saw today

Was a dumb, failed

beerhall putsch.

That’s all. It’s over.

(Isn’t it?)

—Jim Luther

* * *

* * *

GIVING BACK: EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE

by Megan Barber Allende

President/CEO, The Community Foundation of Mendocino County

One of the most vulnerable things I have ever done was to step into the role of leading a non-profit organization. It was exciting, and daunting, and has continued to challenge me every day. When I took the helm of the Community Foundation three years ago, I was fortunate to have grown under the incredible tutelage of my predecessor, Susanne Norgard, for ten years. Not all executives are this fortunate.

Two of the most important lessons Susanne imparted, was the importance of giving back and the necessity of a strong countywide non-profit network. The Community Foundation often receives estate gifts that potentially won’t be realized for 10-20 years, and when we consider the future in which we will steward our donors’ wishes, the need for local leadership training for the large number of new and aspiring executive directors in our county right now becomes imperative. For this reason, it is important to the Foundation to invest in the future leaders of Mendocino County.

With this in mind, when I graduated with last year’s Leadership Mendocino Class XXVI, I decided for my “capstone project” to collaborate with Sarah Livingston of Redwood Community Services to create the Executive Director Leadership Institute. This new ten-month program is designed to fill the role of a mentor, while broadening the network of community resources available to our local leadership. Nonprofits in Mendocino County have unique struggles, and new executives need a wide array of skills to succeed in running the many unique organizations across the county. The Institute offers practical skill development, education, mentorship, and support opportunities. The Foundation is developing and managing the pilot year of the program, with the anticipation that a long-term home will be found.

The Institute welcomed its inaugural class of 19 executives* from across Mendocino County in August. So far, we have engaged both non-profit and for-profit leaders to train and mentor the class. We are so grateful to the Savings Bank of Mendocino County, Adventist Health Ukiah Valley, Redwood Community Services, Economic Development and Financing Corporation (EDFC), Mendocino College Foundation, Mendocino Area Parks Association, the County of Mendocino, and many retired executives for their willingness to share their experience and talents with the participating executives.

As I sit among the 20 participants, I am energized by the engaging discussion around issues that face executive directors every day: change-management, human resources, nonprofit finance, volunteer management, marketing and branding, board relationships, fund development, and something I believe is critical for every leader – self-care. Leading a small, mission driven organization can sometimes feel lonely. In her book, Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. Brené Brown writes “When I think about my personal experiences with leading … I completely underestimated the pull on my emotional bandwidth, the sheer determination it takes to stay calm under pressure, and the weight of continuous problem solving and decision making.” Dare to Lead is one of our textbooks, and I believe will be an essential playbook for developing brave leaders as we meet for the next seven months to learn and grow together.

“Giving Back” is a value that has been a part of the Community Foundation’s mission since Susanne Norgard’s tenure, and has become an important way for me to continue her legacy. By creating this unique program for onboarding and training of the next wave of leaders, the Community Foundation is able to invest in the future of our county in a way that will realize our donors wishes and fulfill the dream of its own founding executive director – that of advancing the well-being of all our communities.

*Participants in our pilot year include leaders from Boys & Girls Club of Ukiah, Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County, EDFC, Healthy Mendocino, Leadership Mendocino, Mendocino Area Parks Association, Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center, Mendocino County Resource Conservation District, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, Mendocino Food and Nutrition Program, Plowshares, Redwood Coast Seniors, Inc., Redwood Community Services, Safe Passage Family Resource Center, Tapestry Family Services, The Waldorf School of Mendocino County, Visit Mendocino County, Water Conservation Improvement District, and Willits Community Services and Food Bank.

Executive Director Leadership Cohort at the Class Retreat hosted at the Flow Kana Ranch. L to R : Sarah Livingston, Ruthanne Volz, Spring Senerchia, Michelle Shaw (I’m pretty sure) and Liz Elmore. The backs of Carla Harris and Cathy Garcia

* * *

FOUND OBJECT

15 Comments

  1. Lazarus October 25, 2019

    FOUND OBJECT

    Congratulations, you just won a oneway ticket to Mars.

    As always,
    Laz

  2. Professor Cosmos October 25, 2019

    To add to the CS contribution today, in different lingo:
    Turned in onto ourselves, overwhelmed by the growing complication of attending to even the basic needs requiring our attention and energy to sustain our existence here, has left us blind to so much of the “interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs” (as the word “context” is defined in the Webster dictionary).

    Homo sapiens have no actual concrete obstacles to realizing their essential nature, or what some behavioral/cognitive scientists call “the self as context”.

    Fused as we are with the “conceptualized self”, this contracted condition of entranced involvement with subjective movements leaves us blind to, or only with a dim recognition of, our essential nature, ie the “self as context”.

    Lucidly recognizing our essential nature and relaxing into a spontaneous allowing of that realization into the forefront of awareness and feeling is Liberation from our suffering-inducing ways of recoiling from the movements of “what is”.

    Our essential nature is not an objectified something that can be grasped and shown through conceptualization. It is not a state or an experience that we can strive for and attain. There is no achievement of becoming enlightened, as all beings, and I mean ALL BEINGS from unicellular to the most advanced, are ALREADY the intrinsically Enlightened Condition, whether realized at the forefront of awareness and feeling, or not.

    There is NO iconic great “Other” to worship or appease, as Shiva tells the Goddess in the course of their dialogue in the Bhairava Tantra. (Shiva is Consciousness Itself, the Goddess all of the energetic and manifest Universe, and they are not two “things” but a seamless singularity.)

    There is absolutely no need to dissociate from the “daily grind” or take up some goal-oriented course of action to achieve some grand attainment. To borrow the characterizing terminology of the Dzogchen tradition, this is already The Great Perfection or The Great Completion.

    All beings, everywhere, with no exceptions are ARTISTS manifesting the expressive creativity of the Cosmos, in a seamless movement with the totality of energy. The art is limitless in potential. The potentialities are like seeds that sprout out of the total Sphere of what is, becoming evident in the light of non-local, non-dual naked awareness.

    • Bruce McEwen October 25, 2019

      Prof. Cosmos,

      I would change only one word of the above celestially poetic testimonial, the last word, which I would substitute w/ “…becoming evident in the light of non-local, non-dual, stark naked cupidity.

      • Professor Cosmos October 25, 2019

        That’s 2 words! But, Shiva and the Goddess find your editing on the mark, so thanks.

        • Bruce McEwen October 25, 2019

          Perhaps we could compromise on ecclesiastical technicalities by hyphenating stark-naked, eh Prof.?

          • Professor Cosmos October 26, 2019

            I thought i was bringing psychological technicalities to the table!

  3. Eric Sunswheat October 25, 2019

    CNN May 16, 2019.
    LED lights damage eyes and disturb sleep, European health authority warns…

    LEDs are “undergoing rapid technological and economic development as a new source of lighting. For many years, they were only used in electronics but are now found as integral parts of lighting systems,” ANSES wrote in a 2016 report. Today, LEDs are used for domestic purposes as well as industrial and commercial ones…

    ANSES differentiates types of blue light in its report. For example, “warm white” domestic LED lighting has weak phototoxicity risks, similar to traditional lighting, according to ANSES. However, other LED lighting sources, including the newest flashlights, car headlights and some toys, produce a whiter and “colder” blue light that is more harmful…

    An American study also described the use of blue light as “increasingly prominent” in today’s world. Lead author Gianluca Tosini, professor and chief scientific research officer at Atlanta’s Morehouse School of Medicine, said blue light can indeed damage the eyes, but only if the wavelengths are below 455 nanometers and the intensity is quite high.

    “There are blue light photoreceptors in the retina that directly communicate with the brain circadian clock,” Tosini, who was not involved in the ANSES report, wrote in an email…

    The retina “accumulates fluorescent molecules generally referred to as lipofuscin,” explained Sparrow, who was not involved in the ANSES report. “These compounds become more abundant with age and are sensitive to blue light.”

    Early evidence suggests that this light sensitivity may lead to unhealthy optical responses over the long term, she said.
    Tosini noted that scientists are convinced that exposure to LED blue light in the range of 470 to 480 nanometers for a short to medium period (days to weeks) should not significantly increase the risk of eye disease, but the same is not necessarily true for long-term exposure (months to years)…

    An unrelated 2017 review of scientific studies also lends support to the finding in the ANSES report that sunglasses and filters may not protect us. The review investigated the potential benefits or harms of “blue-blocking” lenses, marketed to protect against phototoxicity, and found “a lack of high quality evidence” to support their use “for the general population to improve visual performance or sleep quality, alleviate eye fatigue or conserve macular health.”…

    However, Sparrow said that, generally, sunglasses block ultraviolet light, and those “that have a yellow tint should be preferred as they will also reduce the amount of blue light that reaches the retina.”

    Ultimately, ANSES believes the recommended maximum limit on short-term exposure to blue light should be revised downward, even if most people would only rarely be able to meet that level.

    Children and teenagers, whose eyes do not fully filter blue light, are particularly sensitive to the harms of cold blue light, the French authority noted. The agency also recommended that only low-risk LED devices be available to consumers and the luminosity of car headlights be reduced.

    https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/16/health/blue-light-led-health-effects-bn-trnd/index.html

  4. michael turner October 25, 2019

    Just what Mendocino County needs: more “leaders”.

    • James Marmon October 25, 2019

      and fat ones too.

  5. Micheal koepf October 25, 2019

    Basement President Politics
    Which putsch? Reference unclear. Poem as vague as darkness in a cave. Sing it out like a leaping trout.

  6. James Marmon October 25, 2019

    RE: MORE KEMPER RECOMMENDATIONS THAT GOT IGNORED.

    Mendocino County Mental Health System Review (Feb. 5, 2016)

    “In Mendocino County, we believe the opportunity exists to focus on greater linkage and integration within BHRS, and with community health centers (FQHC, RHC and Tribal Health Programs) for residents with SUD conditions, residents who suffer mild to moderate mental health problems, and residents that are served by the two ASOs. In particular, we believe coming opportunities for expanded SUDT under the State’s Drug Medi-Cal Waiver provide an opportunity for the County to work toward this type of linkage and system integration.

    RECOMMENDED ACTION

    We recommend the County Executive direct BHRS to take the following actions:

    • Develop and execute an MOU between the between the Mental Health and SUDT Branches and the ASOs that defines and describes service linkages and responsibilities between SUDT services and mental health services.

    • Convene key stakeholders, including representatives of the two BHRS branches, the ASOs, and community health care providers, to begin discussions about opportunities under the State’s Drug Medi-Cal Waiver to achieve:

    1. Expanded SUDT services for Mendocino County residents.
    2. Expanded SUDT services for dually diagnosed residents, including those with serious mental illness and those with “mild to moderate” mental health conditions.”

    https://www.mendocinocounty.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=1378

    Four year’s later, this still has not happened.

    James Marmon MSW

    • James Marmon October 25, 2019

      Behavioral Health System Gap Analysis & Recommendations (Lee Kemper
      August 21, 2018)

      “With respect to the SUDT services continuum, as we discussed in this report, Mendocino County’s current array of SUDT services is limited to a small set of services. The near-term expansion of these services hinges primarily on the County’s determination of how it will proceed with the Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System (ODS). If the County does not implement the new ODS, either through county administration or through Partnership Health Plan (PHC), then the expanded continuum of services will not be available to residents of the County. As of this writing, we do not know what the real viability of the PHC plan is, so we are not in the position to make a recommendation about this approach. However, we do know that county administration of the ODS would set a very high bar for the County because the County would be required to directly administer services under a managed care model that is similar in approach to that required for the County’s Mental Health Plan, which the County has contracted out to a third party administrator.

      In the near term, we believe it makes sense for policy makers to assess where Measure B funds can be allocated to expand access to SUDT services in the County, either through current service contracts or through new contracts with providers, so that more people can be served. As reported by BHRS, only 707 persons received SUDT services in FY 2016-17 from all funding sources. We believe this small number is far out-paced by the level of need, and an allocation of Measure B funds for an expansion of SUDT services is not only appropriate, but also essential. In addition, we believe some of these resources should be dedicated to dual treatment of SUDT and mental health conditions.”

      https://www.mendocinocounty.org/home/showdocument?id=2361

      Over one year later, this still has not happened.

      James Marmon MSW

  7. Malcolm Macdonald October 25, 2019

    An addendum to the possibility of the MCDH affiliation ballot being pushed back: There is no regularly scheduled June election, so the taxpayers of the Mendocino Coast Healthcare District would bear the cost of calling a special one.

  8. Craig Stehr October 25, 2019

    Just as the Sun collects all its rays at sunset and merges in the horizon, collect all the scattered rays of your mind and merge into the Lotus Feet of the Almighty Lord.

    – Swami Sivananda

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