KRISTINA RAGOSTA of Arlington, Virginia writes: “Thank you for covering the very important issue of untreated mental illness and Laura’s Law. Unfortunately, the article posted (https://www.theava.com/archives/16456/comment-page-1#comment-62689) distorts some important aspects of Laura’s Law (AB 1421) and how it could help save lives — and dollars in Mendocino County. While Laura’s Law is not a panacea — it has proven to be an effective tool for those who have embraced it — both for the individuals who benefit and for the counties who implement it. It is a proven (cost effective) mechanism to get help to people who don’t know they are sick before they end up in a crisis situation. Under Laura’s Law, medication can be included in the treatment plan, but there is a separate law and hearing for forced medication if it is needed. Although the law does not allow for medication over objection, it has not proved to be a hindrance its effectiveness at drastically reducing encounters with law enforcement, hospitalization, emergency room visits, victimization, violent episodes, etc. Mendocino County, like every other county in the state of California, has the ability to use MHSA funds to pay for the services required under Laura’s Law. Failure to implement this law is a disservice to those individuals it could help — not to mention to Mendocino tax-payers. Sincerely, Kristina Ragosta, Esq. Senior Legislative & Policy Counsel Treatment Advocacy Center 200 North Glebe Road, Suite 730 Arlington, VA 22203
ATTENTION FORT BRAGG ADVOCATE: The Advocate's comment line, like all media comment lines, needs editing to stop remarks like this one by “Jason Hayter” from going public: Hayter (sic) claims to be writing from the California Culinary Academy. He writes of the number of Asian names in the Advocate's court report, “More Gooks with Ab's over the limits when will all you faithfull rednecks just start shooting them before they get in the water.” Unless comment lines are continually babysat, these fools take over.
TERRI GROSS has been appointed interim county counsel by the Supervisors.
SHE REPLACES Chief Deputy County Counsel Doug Losak who was named acting head of the department after former County Counsel Jeanine Nadel was elevated to the Mendocino County Superior Court.
LOSAK resigned as interim County Counsel after he was stopped at about 2am, July 3 by Sheriff's Department deputy Massey for speeding and having a faulty license plate light. The deputy smelled marijuana and searched the vehicle. Losak volunteered that he had an unloaded pistol in a locked firearm box under the driver's seat, ammunition in a magazine in the glove compartment and three to four grams of marijuana, about enough for two joints. Losak subsequently stated that he was in the process of applying for a concealed weapons permit because he'd been threatened by a former County employee. He said the gun was in his car when he was stopped because he didn't want to leave it at his house with his two small children present.
LOSAK has issued a public statement apologizing for the incident. In his July 9 resignation letter to the Board of Supervisors, Losak said he wants “an opportunity to show you that I am more than capable of performing the job and of rising above this situation.” And, “I very much believe in serving the public good and have always taken pride in my work.” He remains a staff attorney and says he will apply to become permanent County Counsel.
MS. GROSS, a resident of Elk, hasn't said yet if she will apply to permanently occupy the top job.
SEVEN PEOPLE were arrested Tuesday morning (July 10th) in the Blue Rock Road area west of Bell Springs Road near Laytonville where more than 4,000 marijuana plants were seized along with three guns and more than $8,000 in cash.
SHERIFF'S deputies with the County of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team (COMMET), along with Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force agents and Bureau of Land Management officers, served a search warrant at 8:25am on five parcels in the area. They found 4,086 marijuana plants growing in a storage container, in greenhouses and in outdoor gardens. Victor Sanchez Padilla, 24, a Santa Rosa transient who was at the site, was allegedly found in possession of a loaded .45-caliber pistol and a .22-caliber rifle. Also present and arrested was Jose Javalera-Navarrette, 32, of Santa Rosa.
THE RAID TEAM found a third firearm in the home on one of the parcels and another estimated $3,500 in cash, according to the MCSO.
WITH POLICE SWARMING the area, Rafael Moreno, 58, of Santa Rosa, Victor Siqueiros, 36, a transient, and Jose Ramirez-Lopez, 32 (no photo available as of Friday), of Willits, drove onto the property and into the waiting embrace of the raid team whose agents found $1,400 cash on Ramirez-Lopez. These three new arrivals were found to have ties to the Blue Rock pot op.
AS THE RAID TEAM departed, they discovered Efren Guzman, 34, of Rodeo, and Febronio Sanchez-Perez, 28 (no photo available as of Friday), of Santa Rosa, in a stalled vehicle on Bell Springs Road. Inside the vehicle were 312 marijuana plants in grow trays. Guzman and Sanchez-Perez were also found to be involved in the Blue Rock Road grow.
ADDITIONALLY, Guzman was found in possession of a small amount of methamphetamine and $3,375 cash.
ALERTED BY THE RAID TEAM that the Bell Springs pot farmers were linked to a Santa Rosa home in the 1000 block of Temple Avenue, the Santa Rosa police raided the Temple Avenue address where they found 64 marijuana plants, about two ounces of methamphetamine and $3,600 cash.
THE SEVEN MEN arrested were charged with cultivating marijuana, possessing marijuana for sale, being armed in the commission of a felony, conspiracy, and possessing a controlled substance. They are being held in the Mendocino County Jail.
MEMO OF THE WEEK
To: All members of the Mendocino County Employees’ Retirement Association
From: Meredith Ford, Auditor Controller
Subject: Retirement Contribution Correction Project
As you may recall, the Retirement Association’s former actuary was found to have made errors in the calculation of some of the employee/employer contributions to Retirement. The contribution rates have been corrected, and we are now addressing the period of time when the incorrect rates were applied. The Auditor’s office is sending this status letter out to update our members on the retirement contribution correction project. Retirement has recently completed a spreadsheet that lists all members’ correction amounts and we are in the process of entering the information into MUNIS. Some members have “under” contributed and will receive a county invoice; while other members have “over” contributed and will receive a county check. Some of the member’s contributions were correct and no adjustment is necessary. We should have everything distributed within the next few weeks, barring any unforeseen problems. Thank you.
DEPARTMENT of Unintentional Humor (from a Friday report about Petaluma’s attempts to license and regulate “illicit” massage parlors which are apparently proliferating in Sonoma County): “Petaluma Police Lieutenant Tim Lyons pointed out that in February a man in an illicit massage parlor in Santa Rosa strangled his massage therapist and proceeded to kill himself by running out into traffic. ‘That's the kind of crime we are trying to prevent here,’ he added.”
MEMO OF THE WEEK II
(A County employee introduces the letter with, “Just lay back and relax. I'm a designated disaster relief specialist and I'm here to help. If you can't trust a county employee, after all, who can you trust? Just close your eyes. This won't take long.)
From: "Mendocino County Employee Notification System" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: July 13, 2012 1:55:19 PM PDT Subject: Disaster Service Worker Required Training
All CountyEmployees, This Notice is to remind staff that all County employees are Disaster Service Workers (DSW) under State Law. (Government Code §§3100-3103.) At any time during a declared emergency you are required to report to work and you may be assigned to disaster service work. Public employees may be assigned to perform activities which promote the protection of public health and safety or the preservation of lives and property. DSW duties will not involve the performance of law enforcement, fire, or emergency medical service duties. All DSW employees must complete the follow Incident Command System (ICS) training courses: ICS 100.b, 200.b, 700.a, and 800.b. If you have already completed the required courses listed please provide your supervisors with your certification of completion by September 7, 2012. If you have not taken the minimum training, please coordinate with your supervisor completing the basic classes no later than September 7, 2012. The courses are offered free of charge on line at the FEMA Emergency Management Institute Independent Study Program. You will be able move back and forth through the course at your leisure opening the training material as many times as you want. The on-line test, however, will time out so once it's started you will need to be complete it fully. After completion the site will ask a series of identification type questions and then email a certificate to the email address entered. If you do not have a computer available to utilize, please work with your supervisor to obtain access and make sure that you have an email address that you can use to receive your certificate. Employees are encouraged to keep these certificates on file in their personnel file or somewhere they can produce them if needed in the future. If you have any questions please contact Sgt. Shannon Barney, Coordinator of the Office of Emergency Services at email@example.com or (707)463-5667. Supervisors, if you have employees who do not have access to a county computer – please print and distribute.
THE MILL FIRE continues to rage in the Mendocino National Forest as more than 4,400 more acres burned overnight Thursday night. The blaze has consumed more than 23,400 acres since it started July 7th northeast of Letts Lake. It is now announced as 45% contained by Cal Fire.
THE SITES COMPLEX fire, a 4,185-acres blaze that started Sunday afternoon west of Maxwell, on the opposite side of the East Park Reservoir from the Mill Complex fire, was fully contained Thursday night.