Measure B Committee Approves the $3.3 Mil

Used to be that applicants for professional positions did a little homework on the organization they were submitting their resume to. These job seekers sometimes even read up about the project(s) that their desired organization had going and offered their opinion on how hiring them might help the outfit to succeed.

For example, an applicant to oversee Mendo’s Measure B mental health facilities project might have been expected to have read the Kemper reports, the text of Measure B, the minutes of the Measure B committee meetings… Why, they might even stoop to reading some of the AVA’s detailed coverage.

But newly hired Measure B Project Manager Isabel Gonzalez introduced herself at last Wednesday’s Measure B Committee meeting as: “100% Mendocino illiterate.”

Thank the goddess we've found you Ms. Gonzalez. You're a natch for official Mendo!

We've learned that Mr. Kemper has told CEO Carmel Angelo that he wants nothing more to do with Mendocino County. CEO Angelo said that Kemper’s stated reason was that he was “powering down” (an unfortunate metaphor in light of last fall’s PG&E fiasco). We were expecting CEO Angelo to also add that Kemper “wanted to spend more time with his family.” However, we suspect Kemper’s reasons for declining any more Mendo work have more to do with Mendo than him.

Measure B Committee Chair Dr. Ace Barash (who works for Adventist-owned Howard Hospital in Willits) read the letter the County has received from the Adventists’ Mendo Honcho Jason Wells, which basically said that with their anticipated operating agreement with Coast Hospital next year, the Adventists expect they could provide the equivalent of Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF/“Puff”) services at their old, recently vacated emergency room in Ukiah and at Coast Hospital: Ten beds on the Coast and six beds in Ukiah (eight if they did more extensive remodeling) for a total of that magic number of 16 beds — which has something to do with optimal reimbursement, of course. (Christ may have given the money changers the heave-ho, but they seemed to have landed comfortably at modern altars.)

There was some question about whether the County could use Measure B tax funds to finance construction/remodeling at a privately owned facility like the Adventists. County Counsel Christian Curtis said he’d look into it and get back to the Committee and Board of Supes. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Wells has been asked to go ahead and submit a formal proposal in 60 days, spelling out what the Adventists would do for a few million Measure B dollars.

Board member Jan McGourty noted that she was happy to hear that the Adventists were willing to accept Mendolanders with the most severe mental problems. Coincidentally, severe mental illness is the only category of Mental Illness that the County and state reimburse for! Treatment of lesser categories of mental illness — moderate to mild, not to pension drug or alcohol related mental problems — are the responsibility of the County with its limited funds (perhaps supplemented by Measure B money, but nobody knows by how much).

Gotta hand it to those Adventists. Their apparent delayed realization that there’s millions to be made by skimming off the most lucratively reimbursable mental patients may seem a bit late, but then given the snail’s pace of Measure B activities, maybe not.

The committee also predictably rubberstamped the expenditure of (up to) $3.3 million for a feasibility study and architectural design services with the toney Sacramento-based Nacht & Lewis Architectural Services,  the same firm that Sheriff Allman has been happy with for their work on the jail expansion project now underway to house another subset of mentally ill people: those with criminal charges. (The Supes voted 3-2 to approve this waste of money earlier this month, but nobody on the Measure B Committee expressed any interested about why Supervisors Williams and Gjerde had objected to the Nacht & Lewis contract. So the Committee’s “approval” vote was basically mandatory.)

There was a teensy bit of skepticism from Committee member Ross Liberty who noted that using what he thought was a standard multiplier of 10% for architectural work would translate to a $33 million dollar facility which is more than Measure B can afford.

But Sheriff Allman pointed out that the $3.3 million was a “not to exceed” amount — and, like Mendo’s other projects and programs, will be oh-so carefully stewarded by the County and the Measure B Committee so that not one penny more than is necessary will be spent, and that any attempts by the pricey Sacramento design and project pros to plump up their hourly billings toward the $3.3 million target over the next few years will be stoutly resisted by the County so that as much money as possible can go to services if Mendo ever builds anything…

Well, the Sheriff didn’t actually say anything like the words in the prior paragraph after the word “amount,” but we’re pretty sure that’s what he meant.

The Committee, including the vaguely skeptical Mr. Liberty, then voted unanimously to approve the spending of (“up to”) $3.3 million that the Supes had expected them to approve.

So maybe next year we’ll find out how feasible all of this is.

2 Responses to "Measure B Committee Approves the $3.3 Mil"

  1. James Marmon   December 26, 2019 at 7:33 am

    Kemper was treated badly in Mental-cino County, as soon as he delivered his last report, Allman shit canned his recommendations stating “I think we here know more about what Mendocino County needs than someone from outside of the County.” Even though I believe Kemper’s report was skewed towards the Orchard property by misinformation he was given when it was presented to him as a “shovel ready project” I believe it was quite informative and on the spot. He recommended using Measure B money immediately for services that would mitigate the need for restricted inpatient care, services such as SUDT, Day Treatment, Housing, and Employment Services, but was completely ignored. Now here we are 16 months later and none of those services have been addressed. The Committee has even refused to create a prudent reserve account, another recommendation. I think Kemper is justified in not wanting anything more to do with Mental-cino, can you blame him?

    James Marmon MSW

    Reply
  2. Lazarus   December 26, 2019 at 8:21 am

    I posted this 12/22/19

    James Marmon could tell us more, but I do not know of anything Lee Kemper ever suggested in his analysis of anything “Mental Mendo” that the County actually used. Yet the County just kept giving him money?

    For new clients, and if I’m accurate, he certainly couldn’t hang his hat on Mendocino County as a “look what I did for them” incentive.

    It’s kind of like the new Project Manager hire, the first ones offered the gig turned it down? They likely saw a diminishing return… for them.

    Regardless, I wish the new Project Manager person good luck, and hopefully, she’ll become a Mendo literate quickly.
    As always,
    Laz

    Reply

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