As last week's meeting wound down, the Supervisors delivered their typically terse, minimally-informative “supervisors reports.”
Pinches sits on the Mendocino Transit Authority Board, but he’s on record that he thinks the MTA is wasting millions of dollars on a completely unnecessary new bus barn with fancy offices for their staff.
“The MTA is going out this month to bid for a $6.25 million bus shed and partial solar panels,” grumbled a clearly frustrated Pinches. “That’s moving forward. That’s all I’m going to say on that at this time.”
McCowen joked, “You got them to scale it back from $22 million.”
Pinches decided he did have more to say: “It’s really ironic, because here we are cutting routes and whatnot because we can’t afford to hire bus drivers or pay for gas or diesel, but yet we’re building an over-$6-million building — actually it will be more when it’s completed — to park the buses under. That’s not the direction I want to see MTA go, but that’s what the majority of the Board does. I think I’m bringing some checks and balances to the situation.”
McCowen: What’s going on with MTA is what’s going on with a lot of other things, and when we’ve lost control over how funding is allocated that’s the result — you wind up with operations being starved and yet there’s a big chunk of money for capital. And the argument is, well, we have to take it because otherwise someone else will, so [throws up his hands]… A return to local control would be welcome where we could make these decisions based on priorities locally.”
Earlier in the meeting Supervisor Pinches had grumbled several times that it seemed to him that the government is spending more money on fish habitat restoration than on children and seniors. (It didn’t help any when, toward the end of the meeting, Supervisor Hamburg described a large, expensive habitat restoration project in the Hopland area.)
Then Supervisor Carre Brown really rubbed it in: “Supervisor Pinches, will you please show everybody what I got you?”
Hamburg: “Oh yeah! What’s that, Johnny?”
Pinches reached for a paper bag near his Supervisor’s podium and reached in, saying, “She got me this cup and she said she’d provide me with the quart of vodka later.” Then Pinches pulled out a hand-made cup from a pottery shop in Ukiah that had some kind of design painted on it.
Hamburg: “It’s a Hoyman-Browe!”
Brown: “Show ‘em what’s on it, John.”
Pinches tried unsuccessfully to laugh: “It’s a fish.”
Everybody but Pinches laughed.
Brown: “It’s very timely!”
Pinches quickly figured out a way to appreciate his gift: “You know what? It’s a good fish — it’s dead.”
Pinches, seemingly unamused, set the cup at arm’s length away from the rest of his papers.