FOR THE SECOND TIME, roughly two dozen unmasked people, including children, invaded the Ukiah Co-Op on Saturday, allegedly in protest of the store's mandated mask policy. The protesters denounced CoOp employees as fascists while encouraging their children to help themselves to whatever food they desired as their parents loaded shopping carts with food items they left in carts. The response by the Ukiah police was [suspiciously] slow. No one was cited although the store sustained minor damage and staff had to spend several hours cleaning up deliberately spilled goods and re-shelving items the demonstrators left in loaded shopping carts.
THE REBUTTAL came from a phone call late afternoon Monday. The caller would not identify herself. She said the AVA's paragraph on Saturday's demonstration by the unmasked at the Ukiah Coop was fake news. She said her group entered the store with the intention to buy “but they wouldn't check us out.” She said her group of “22-23” people has a video of “what really happened.” She said nobody spilled anything on purpose. “One man was there with his children. He offered to pay for the chips his child ate but the clerks wouldn't take his money.” She said the clerks were rude and laughing at the demonstrators. “I am a Coop member and I have not been allowed in the store even though I have a medical exemption they refuse to honor,” the caller said. “We went to Black Oak Coffee but Black Oak closed early when we got there.” I made the mistake of arguing and off she went into blanket challenges of immunization, a totally uninformed riff on Jews in Nazi Germany, challenges to the efficacy of vaccination — the usual anti-vaxxer catechism.
HARD ON THE HEELS of screwball numero uno's call, screwball dos called. He wouldn't give his full name either “because you don't need that.” Screwball Dos later said his name was “John.” John said he was an eyewitness, not a participant, to what happened in the Coop and my paragraph on the event was a “complete misrepresentation” of what happened and “our community will not tolerate these deliberate blah blahs” before he said, “Keep it up and we'll (plural give away) get our lawyers and blah blah blah…”
HMMM. Check the logic here, nevermind the science. Resorting to fascism to vandalize a market to protest that market’s “fascist” mandate that shoppers wear masks. Perfectly clear, as was the excellent parenting also on full display by the Coop invaders. Ironic that the store invaders cite Nazi Germany as they falsely equate mask mandates with Hitler’s Brownshirts, who also invaded and trashed stores belonging to Jews in the run-up to Hitler’s takeover.
CALLED the Ukiah PD to get their response to the accusation they were slow to respond to the Coop invasion. No call back as we went to press.
THE ANTI-MASKERS are, of course, anti-vaxxers, covid being a government hoax and the work of the same people who robbed the Orange Whale of re-election, and Big Pharma is murdering its customers and Fauci wants men dressed as women to read fairy tales to kindergartners and teach poor little white kids that grandpa killed all the Indians and then made black people slaves and the vaxx people want to take guns away from all us patriotic draft dodgers and give our Lay-Z Boys to homeless communists. Darn right I won’t wear a mask. I’m a free American!
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“THEY DON’T THINK about who we go home to.” Anti-masking mob storms Ukiah Natural Food Co-op
KZYX Reporter Stacey Sheldon’s Eyewitness Account
(Ed note: Stacey Sheldon is a retired Ukiah High English Teacher.)
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TOMMY WAYNE'S COLUMN this week talks about how stuff goes missing from his house, all our houses probably. Somehow, some way, three jackets of mine have recently disappeared, mystifying me and the Missus no end, although she does arbitrarily toss clothing she has decided needs to go. “I threw it out,” she'll say. “I didn't want you to go out in public wearing that anymore.” But she hadn't thrown away the missing jackets, of which only one would be the kind of useful garment some needy someone might steal. It was a gift so winter warm I used it as a blanket on ultra-chill nights. I loved that coat! The other two I'd bought for a few bucks at Goodwill where I've shopped for years for everything but underwear and socks. Anyhoo, I wanted to tell Tommy about another homestead adventure, one that I experienced last August. Deeply asleep in the coma-like slumber of the elderly, I suddenly smelled cigarette smoke apparently coming from someone standing outside my open window — Ben Franklin recommended fresh air during sleep, and who am I to argue with a Founding Father — so I rolled over, picked up my gat, chambered a round, assumed a certified Marine Corps standing shooting stance, and shouted after a retreating form, “No smoking on this property!”
SCARY HED from the Daily Mail: “Brazen crime, open drug use, a spike in homelessness and trashed streets drives very tolerant San Francisco residents to say ENOUGH!”
AS THE POET said back when the world was still fairly orderly, the center is not holding, and the great beast is wide awake and stomping our way. But Frisco, once you get out of the downtown area, is as calm and orderly as ever because, although they'll never admit it, when the wealthy neighborhoods call 911 for even the slightest intrusion into their over-sized mausoleums the police appear pronto, hence no homeless tents or walking wounded anywhere but downtown. And you seldom see a homeless person or an unattended crazy person even walking through the Presidio because the federal cops are even faster to respond to unseemly behavior in that sprawling federal set aside. But downtown? Anything goes.
SF's homeless takeover of public space in the central city is a larger phenomenon of the same thing we see in Ukiah with the homeless — civic paralysis. As soon as someone says, “Well, this has to stop. These people have to be removed from the streets,” here comes the entire multi-million dollar helping professional apparatus to scream (from the safety of their homes in safe neighborhoods), “These people have rights, too,” never mentioning that these armies of helping pros live off human misery, and that in a rational, just society all people unable or unwilling to care for themselves would be in hospitals. Which is where they used to be before America lost its way.
COUNTY COUNSEL’S GOTTA GO
Former Supervisor Questions Competency And Ethics Of County Counsel - Objects To Proposed Pay Increase
The Board of Supervisors is poised to approve a huge pay increase for County Counsel, fixing his base salary at $192,436. With benefits the annual cost to the County will be $327,141. This huge increase is not justified by performance or by adherence to minimal ethical standards.
The primary duty of County Counsel is to avoid legal liability for the County, not create it. But County Counsel Christian Curtis routinely creates liability for the County, resulting in needless legal action and expense. Case in point is the dispute with the Sheriff's Office which is a direct result of County Counsel failing to accurately and ethically advise the Board of Supervisors on the law. County Counsel set the Board on a collision course with the Sheriff when he advised them they could bill the Sheriff for budget overruns. The State Constitution and case law makes it clear that this is not accurate. Especially when the Sheriff's budget is underfunded to begin with.
County Counsel Curtis, having first created the conflict, next objected to the Sheriff hiring his choice for legal representation, in part because he claimed the Sheriff's proposed attorney would be too expensive. But this dispute has generated dozens of case filings and numerous hearings solely because of County Counsel's objection to the Sheriff's choice of counsel. In the course of these hearings, County Counsel has managed to ignite the ire of the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court, who is expected to shortly issue a ruling in the case. At a minimum, the BOS should wait until the Court's opinion is issued before granting the proposed raise.
County Counsel also worked behind the scenes to conceal the involvement of the CEO in the illegal diversion of $464,008 out of the Community Corrections Partnership (CCP) budget and into the County General Fund. The CCP is funded by the State with dedicated funding that is not part of the County budget but is allocated according to a budget recommended by the CCP and approved by the BOS. Removing funds from the CCP approved budget, if done legally, would require a recommendation from the CCP and approval by the BOS. In fact, the CCP had no knowledge of the illegal diversion until after the fact when it resulted in a deficit in their approved budget, largely as a result of the illegal transfer of funds.
Some of you may know that at some point in my last year on the BOS I became persona non grata with the CEO. That point coincided exactly with my refusal to sweep the illegal diversion of CCP funds under the rug. From that point forward the CEO refused to communicate with me, prevented me from having access to my files (in fact had my files randomly boxed up, removing them from their file folders and file headings) and conspired with County Counsel to make false allegations against me, going so far as to pay outside legal counsel to conduct a sham investigation. (Yes, it got ugly.) I have not previously gone public with this level of detail out of loyalty to the County but I cannot sit quietly by while the BOS approves a huge pay raise for the ethically compromised and incompetent County Counsel.
In addition to conspiring in furtherance of false charges and a phony investigation against me, County Counsel also succeeded in short circuiting the Grand Jury investigation of the CCP funds. I have direct knowledge that the Grand Jury was actively investigating the illegal transfer but at some point the investigation was abruptly dropped. I was later informed by a reliable source with direct knowledge that the investigation was dropped “because it conflicted with the dispute with the Sheriff.” In fact, the two disputes are completely separate. The real conflict of interest is that County Counsel (who created the conflict with the Sheriff and who conspired to smear me and cover up the illegal diversion of CCP funds) is also legal counsel for the Grand Jury.
Of lesser importance, but still relevant is that County Counsel falls seriously short in routine job performance. The apparent inability of County Counsel to litigate anything beyond the simplest of cases results in the County paying out huge amounts for outside counsel. The bill in one case alone is $600,000 and counting. Keeping the BOS in Brown Act compliance is another responsibility of County Counsel but whether it's out of a misguided willingness to please the board members or a lack of competence, County Counsel frequently falls short in the performance of this duty. While I was in office a common complaint from department heads on down was that the office of County Counsel was a choke point that seriously hampered their ability to serve the public. Routine items that required County Counsel review would sit for many weeks or months with no action taken. These are just a few examples of lapses in performance. But my main issue is County Counsel's apparent lack of any ethical standards.
Instead of rewarding corruption and incompetence by granting a huge pay raise, the Board of Supervisors should issue County Counsel Curtis his walking papers.
CONCERNED ABOUT THE NUMBER OF VACATION RENTALS? So is HAT. See how many we have and help us figure out how many are not licensed. https://www.hatmendocoast.org/
(Note: This image is just a picture to give you an idea of how many there are. Click on the link to see the interactive map)
NO ON CONSOLIDATION: NOT NOW, NOT LIKE THIS AND NOT WITH WHAT IS GOING ON
The fact that this proposal to consolidate the Auditor and Treasurer offices is rushed in a time when major software systems are being undertaken, that will take multiple years to implement, and both departments are understaffed is unwise.
As expressed by the office holders, combining these two offices with different functions will not result in gained efficiency. Having two, tenured, fiscal leads is a benefit to the County. We have two, independent, qualified leaders to opine on and make important decisions, such as not rushing this proposal now. We are lucky to have the fiscal team in place we do today and these dedicated County employees and hard-working, independent, elected (and recklessly unappointed) officials are being ignored as they make a strong case for why a sudden unplanned dismantling of our current fiscal structure could result in major instability.
It seems Supervisors are betting that the well qualified, highly employable individuals will chose to stay with the County, out of duty to the County they love. Are you betting that the thinly stretched staff managing the current, titanic operation of implementing the new software will now shoulder the operation of combining offices with untold resources that may be available? Is this incautious move sabotage to justify the next step, making a single appointed fiscal department? Is implementing the new software a plan and priority or not? All this with little to no plan to carry the consolidation proposal forward, minimal discussion, zero analysis or implementation strategy presented, such as providing additional resources.
I pray this Board will not be arrogant and ignore the real concerns brought to this Board by the Acting Auditor Controller and Treasurer Tax Collector; two women who bring continuity and wisdom to this process.
This proposal is a mismanagement of priorities. Please focus on assisting with the new software implementation and making improvements that will solve the staffing shortages in these departments.
A No vote will not be regretted. If a majority of this Board wishes to work, over the next four-year term, to implement a strategy for such a consolidation, then make that the logical plan forward. Not now, not like this, and not with what is going on.
Estelle Clifton, Registered Professional Forester
COUNTY COUNSEL'S FEEBLE ATTEMPT AT JUSTIFYING CONSOLIDATION
IN RESPONSE to criticism from the AVA and others that the Supervisors are moving forward with consolidation of the Treasurer-Tax Collector and Auditor-Controller's offices without any data or analysis, County Counsel belatedly posted a memo to the Board on Monday. But the memo merely recites generic state code sections describing the duties and qualifications of the offices. Missing from the memo is a single sentence describing current conditions, the perceived benefits or the potential drawbacks of consolidation, and the costs, impacts and implications of making such a large organizational change.
IN ADDITION, County Counsel provided sketchy notes about the few counties (9 at most, out of 58) where some form of consolidation has been implemented. Missing is a single word about why those counties chose to consolidate, how they went about it or what the results have been. Excluding the impenetrable state code boilerplate, what follows is the complete original “analysis” contained in County Counsel's memo.
“On November 15, 2021, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors considered a possible ordinance consolidating the offices of the Auditor-Controller and the Treasurer Tax Collector. Although the Board decided that it was going to introduce the ordinance at this time, it was undecided as to whether it wanted to proceed with consolidation of the offices and decided to defer that decision to the second meeting in December. In particular, the Board indicated that it felt it needed more information before making a final decision. For that reason, County Counsel is providing some additional background information on the relevant legal structures.
Prevalence of Consolidation - Previously, the Board had questions as to how common the consolidation model is. The current form of consolidation that the Board is considering is authorized by Government Code section 24304.2 for the Counties of Lake, Mendocino, Santa Cruz, Sonoma, Trinity, and Tulare. Of those, Santa Cruz, Sonoma, and Tulare appear to have adopted a consolidated model, while Lake, Mendocino, and Trinity have not. Additionally, although Counsel has not performed an exhaustive search, it appears that the Counties of Fresno and Yolo have consolidated these positions via other legal mechanism (such as charter), and the Counties of Glenn, Kings, Sacramento, and Santa Clara have adopted a Director of Finance Model, which inherently consolidates the functions of Auditor, Controller, Treasurer, and Tax Collector into a single office.
Duties and Qualifications - Attached for the Board’s consideration in a non-exhaustive list of the statutory duties of the Auditor, Controller, Treasurer, and Tax Collector. Additionally, Counsel has attached a list of the statutory qualifications for the relevant positions.”
RESIDENTS CLOSE DEAL ON THE WOODS
The deal is done!
The 55+ year old residents of Little River’s “The Woods” have closed the deal for the land their homes sit on and will now determine what rents will be and how their park will be run. The sale price is not being released at this time due to a non-disclosure agreement. The purchase will mean rent increases for the residents, who had been paying under $1000 per month for the space rents to the $1200 per month range. A $500,000 fund was set up as part of the purchase to help subsidize residents who can’t afford the increase. About 20 residents are paying the full price of $1222 per month, to help free up money to help others pay the increased rents.
“The Woods Cooperative Association members are ecstatic and grateful to now be the courageous owners of The Woods,” said Sheila Klopper, Secretary of the Woods Cooperative Association.
When the non-profit that owns The Woods in LIttle River announced in March that the park would be sold, the situation looked dire.
In a red hot real estate market, mobile home parks have become the target of speculators, who usually buy the land, then raise space rents, often dramatically.
Residents of the Woods, ranging in age from 55 to 101, who own their individual homes, formed The Woods Cooperative Association to put in a bid to compete with the hedge funds and large equity firms to buy the 43 acres their homes sit on and the amenities. For example, a master tank provides propane for heating which is piped underground to each home and individually metered.
The Woods was particularly attractive to investors because the homes are upscale modular structures that are designed to be permanent. An owner who hiked rents could have ended up owning the homes too if residents couldn’t afford to pay.
The Woods includes 109 manufactured homes in a park-like setting with towering fir, pine and redwood trees that make it seem like living in a forest. It has a number of amenities, including a clubhouse, indoor pool and spa, and The Lodge, a former assisted living residence. Plans are in the works to turn what was The Lodge into senior living apartments. Currently 98 of the homeowners are part of The Woods Cooperative Association. Residents who don’t join the Association simply pay rent, as they have been doing all along.
Numerous offers came in and residents were worried.
Then came the good news.
On May 24, 2021, Sara McVey, President and CEO of Sequoia Living, announced that the offer submitted by the Woods Cooperative Association had been accepted with specified conditions. Sequoia Living reportedly took the residents' offer over higher offers from private buyers, so that residents could remain in their homes. All conditions from the seller and lender have been met. The sale closed on December 1, 2021.
The Woods was designed and developed in the 1970’s by renowned California architect, the late Paul Tay and his wife, Ruth Tay. In 1993, operations were turned over to Northern California Presbyterian Homes, a non-profit organization that provides senior housing and services primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area.
On March 11, 2021, Sequoia Living, formerly known as Northern California Presbyterian Homes & Services, announced that The Woods would be sold. The Woods resident homeowners decided to take control of their destiny and established The Woods Cooperative Association, Inc. This was accomplished with the assistance of Resident Owned Communities USA(ROC USA) and its California affiliate, California Center for Cooperative Development (CCCD). Both will continue offering ongoing technical management assistance for 10 years. ROC USA has led a nationwide movement to allow mobile home park residents to fend off speculators and buy their own parks. The successful effort in Little River gives ROC USA, which is renowned for its work in New England, a stronger foothold in California.
There was a residents’ council in existence at The Woods when the need for a formal board of directors to run the new co-op came to light. Architect James Kachik and other members of that council, including Harvey Chess, Sheila Klopper, Barbara Cohen and Cynthia Johnson became part of the Interim Board of Directors the Co-op, which quickly created a nonprofit legal structure to participate as a cooperative in the bidding process for the entire facility.
There are more than 175 resident-owned mobile home parks in California, a cooperative movement that has been growing since the 1970s. There are an estimated 4500 mobile home parks in California.
Across from The Woods is the Coast’s airport. The community of Little River is isolated in the great forest and perhaps lesser known outside the Coast than communities like Westport and Albion. But Little River is also home to a golf course, historic cemetery, restaurants, grocery store and the Little River Inn, which dates back to 1853.
For additional information contact:
Sheila Klopper, Secretary, Woods Cooperative Association, Inc.
43300 Little River Airport Road
Little River, CA, 95456
EUREKA PRODUCTIONS LATEST VIDEO MAGAZINE
CLASSIC FILM SERIES AT COAST CINEMAS
2022 Schedule for MFF's Classic Film Series at Coast Cinemas.
Tickets $15 on the Festival's website or Coast Cinemas' website or app or at the door.
Singin' in the Rain - Jan. 5 at 7pm
Groundhog Day - Feb 2 at 7pm
Bonnie & Clyde - March 2 at 7pm
The Philadelphia Story - April 6 at 7pm
Mendocino Film Festival
FIVE DAYS IN COTTONWOOD
by Anne Fashauer
We headed out on Monday of last week to visit my in-laws in Cottonwood. We took our RV, nicknamed Cookie, and left Boonville about noon. We arrived just after 5:00 PM; it’s about a four hour drive in a car, with the RV it takes a little longer. We arrived to rain and it rained most of the evening, but we spent most of it inside watching the Warriors play.
Every time we stay in the RV we find something we need - either to add to it or for it or changes to it. We spent part of Tuesday in Walmart and Costco picking up odds and ends: a new dog bed, phone chargers that could stay in Cookie, hooks for coats and hats (the kind that don’t mark the wall when you remove them), glue and a toilet seat bolt. We also picked up some nice prime steaks and some lobster tails for dinner that evening. My mother-in-law has trouble eating and we try to make the tastiest things we can for her.
Our biggest project of the week started small. The RV has three (yes, three!) TV’s. None of them are smart, which means you can only watch TV with the antenna or cable. We’ve learned already in bringing her home that while many RV resorts offer cable TV, in fact it doesn’t work or only works in parts of the parks. With streaming we need smart TV’s so we can watch using WiFi or hot spots. The plan was just to change one of the TV’s out this trip, the one in the main living space. But then we decided it would be more fun, and warmer, to watch TV in the bedroom under the covers. That meant one more TV. Over the next few days we ended up purchasing three TV’s - the last one being for the exterior for outdoor watching. It wasn’t simple either - each mount was different. And it turned out that even when we bought the same TV they were different - different sized screws in one case. I was beginning to think that the stores were going to stop selling TV’s to us but we eventually got them all replaced.
We had a few lunches out and I had one dinner out with just my sister-in-law; we rarely find anytime just to ourselves, so it was fun to get together away from everyone else and catch up. We had sushi one time, which was quite good, and I had Mexican with my SIL. We also had a nice breakfast at what was the auction yard; the restaurant has a new name but the food is good. I indulged and had eggs, bacon and biscuits and gravy.
Overall, we spent a lot of time visiting which was the whole purpose of the trip. My in-laws are both in the 80’s and we know time with them is precious. It was good to be able to relax, enjoy meals and watch a few basketball games with them. This week are going to spend a couple of days visiting with our granddaughter in Oakland before they leave for San Diego and family there for the holidays. And before we know it, Christmas will be here.
NO ON POND & GRADING FEE INCREASES
Chair Gjerde and Supervisors,
I would like to comment on the proposed fee increases by Planning & Building Services for grading and ponds.
This last summer was exceptionally dry, more so than anytime in the 81 years my family has owned property in Anderson Valley, resulting in for the first time ever my having to have water for livestock hauled in for their subsistence. One truckload (3,500 gallons) every other day from mid August to October 19th.
The scarcity of water for all uses was profound and now to read that Planning & Building Services is seeking to raise fees on ponds and grading is outrageous. The county should be promoting more off stream water storage not making it more expensive. Ponds are used for multiple purposes, not only to sustain livestock and wildlife but also for fire prevention.
Climate change dictates that we should strive to responsibly store water for times when it is needed. Increasing fees for those who want to build ponds for the uses stated above and the multiple other uses not mentioned is denying property owners that opportunity.
After this last summer I have been planning on building several ponds so I don't have to deal with the stress and expense of having to rely on water from out of the area. Please don't make it harder or costlier to responsibly store water for times when it is needed.
COUNTY EMPLOYEES UNHAPPY WITH COUNTY MANAGEMENT & STRATEGIC PLAN
by Mark Scaramella
A few (selected) items from Tuesday’s Strategic Plan presesntation and the Employee Survey the consultants conducted… Ironically, one of the suggestions from the employee survey was that Mendo Management use employees to do work that is farmed out to consultants. For example, they could start by asking their own Personnel Department to do employee surveys and exit interviews, instead of asking an expensive Sonoma County consultant to do it.
Aside: On the Bay Area News last week, they did an unusual story about an item City of Oakland is dealing with: Cops leaving the the Oakland Police department in record high numbers. Besides the obvious problem, the presentation made clear that Oakland management does a much better job of tracking trends in their departments than Mendo does. (In fact most local jurisdictions do a better job than Mendo, as we’ve pointed out time and again.) And the cop staffing statistics, along with many other interesting statistics, were assembled and reported on by Oakland’s police review committee — a committee that could be a good model for Mendo if they ever get theirs going. (Unlikely.)
It turned out that based on exit interviews, cops were leaving, not because of anti-cop public opinions, or covid mandates or being asked to do too many non-cop duties. No, the primary reason given was that they didn’t like the new Chief’s discipline policy. The TV news segment didn’t dig into the point, but viewers were left with the impression that (some) Oakland cops don’t like being held to their rules in the same way that they expect the public to be held to.
Anyway, back to the Mendo employee survey…
According to the consultants, they got a pretty good response rate of 36% from County Employees. Most of the feedback was critical to one degree or another, so the responses may be skewed toward those who had complaints. But our experience with County employees is that a sizable fraction of them follow county affairs fairly closely, and the remainder either don’t care or don’t feel like their complaints matter or will be heard. Upshot: the responses are probably fairly representative of County employee opinions.
Like us, “Many employees believe that a strategic plan is a ‘waste of time’ because goal setting efforts have failed in the past due to leadership failing to honor those goals.” And, “Staff is concerned that the County does not have enough employees to implement the objectives presented in this proposed plan.”
That second comment is fairly nebulous since the “objectives” are the usual vague hopes for better this and more that, so there’s no way anybody could determine how much staff is needed to “implement” them.
Not surprisingly, Employees were “Critical of County leadership receiving salary increases when employee wages remain stagnant.”
They also said that “Public Health needs more funding, more staffing, and experienced leadership.” They expressed a “Desire for increased mental health services, including facilities specifically for homeless, general adult population, and youth,” and later in the survey added that “Many are discouraged regarding Measure B (mental health
sales tax). Not seeing the positive impact on the population in need.”
The employees expressed “Concern about cannabis and water use, with some even suggesting that cannabis permitting be stopped due to water use concerns.” We understand the sentiment, but the county’s permitted users represent only a very small percentage of pot growers in the County and they don’t represent much of the pot-water usage.
”Stopping permitting wouldn’t save much water.
Some employees say they are bothered by the County’s move toward an all-electric vehicle fleet saying that “Resources that could be wasted as employees wait to charge EVs.” (Is that a problem?) And that “Some vehicles might not ‘get the job done’ for all work.”
(That could be true for some heavy-duty or very rural driving and tasks.)
Under the general topic of water, employees were worried about the ongoing drought, but, oddly, the consultants added that the “Ag community feels misunderstood about its use of water and energy / resources.”
The “Ag community” is a euphemism for grape growers, of course. And what that comment has to do with County employees escapes us. Those poor grape growing babies are constantly feeling put upon when anybody complains about their water consumption for irrigiation and frost protection for their more than 17,000 ACRES of grapes in Mendocino Country. If only people would try harder to understand how important their grapes are, all those gripes would magically suddenly “dry up.”
Some employees said that the County “Needs to understand the [housing] situation from the developer’s perspective.” This one actually has some validity. The few projects that developers have proposed in recent years have met with county obstacle after county obstacle, permits sit in limbo for years. They can’t even get their permits processed, much less approved. And, although some officials like to act as if Mendo’s historical anti-development attitude is the problem, it’s much more a problem of local and state rules and endless delays. Even a bad project at least deserves to have their applications processed in a timely manner.
To read the consultant’s full report of their employee survey go to the County’s agenda webpage and look up the agenda item for the Strategic Plan.
SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS PEPPERS JAIL MEDICAL PROVIDER WITH QUESTIONS
Supervisor WIliams has posted a series of questions for NaphCare, the County’s sole-source medical provider for the County Jail. They contract renewal is on the Board agenda for the third time for approval of an amendment extending their services for another year). But no matter what the answers to the questions are the Supervisors really have no alternative but to approve the contract which begins in January. If Williams wanted to jettison NaphCare, or consider alternatives, the Board would have needed to direct issuance of an RFP at least six months ago. Naphcare replaced the highly criticized CFMG (California Forensic Medical Group) a few years ago when complaints about their costs and services mounted around the state.
Williams belated skepticism about the pyschiatric services in the jail is indicative of the reactionary nature of the Supervisors who seldom give much thought to the long range implications of the issues that come before them. These questions might be more appropriate in the context of the Strategic Plan process the Board is engaged in. The employees have correctly identified that the Supervisors will not hire the people necessary to implement the plan once it's adopted. Williams might also pose a similar list of questions to the Schraeders and Redwood Community Services (RCS), but, again, no matter what the answers are there will never be any follow through or accountability. The last time the Schraeders’ contract was up for renewal, Williams suggested that the contract be broken down into smaller biddable pieces so that other outfits could bid on parts of it if they chose to. But neither Williams nor the rest of the Board followed up on that decent idea.
After seeking outcome data from RCS for a couple of years and not getting it Williams finally announced last year that he had “capitulated.” Now he wants info from NaphCare. But with no accountability, no options, whether he gets it or not will not make any difference.
PS. Mendo can’t even staff the fully funded crisis van (mobile crisis unit), with the minimum of three psych techs that are approved, funded and have been for a year now. Insiders say the the staffing problem stems primarily from the fact that the Schraeders have hired most of the qualfied candidates and the pool of potential applicants has mostly dried up. Add that to the other hiring difficulties of housing, difficult work, and a disinterested management team and Mendo has very little expectation of dealing with the crisis van crisis, much less the crisis van services.
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Mendocino Supervisors Meeting - Tuesday, Dec 14, 2021 – Agenda Item 5g:
“Discussion and Possible Action Including Approval of Fifth Amendment to BOS Agreement 17-131 with NaphCare Inc. in the Amount of $3,484,847.76 for a New Agreement Total of $19,105,009.38 for Medical Health Services for the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) Jail with a New Term End Date of December 31, 2022 (Sponsor: Sheriff-Coroner)”
Accompanying Comments from Supervisor Williams:
Intake assessment: The current assessment process is inadequate. The nurse just asks the written list of questions and puts down the arrestee's answers, which are often inaccurate. Arrestees will often claim incorrectly that they have no mental health or substance use history or problems and will deny any suicidal thoughts, so they are screened as having no issues. Often with psychotics and addicts, they can ‘feign good’ in superficial assessments but begin to decompensate in more in-depth assessments. Also, a second assessment should be conducted a few days later once the person has cleared of substances to evaluate their "clean" mental status and their adjustment to the jail. Also, the clinician should seek and review documents and input from collateral sources before clearing the inmate instead of waiting for the inmate to break out in severe symptoms. $150k/yr for such a clinician seems pretty high.
Service evaluation: To do a complete quality assurance performance improvement and medication management review, Jenine Miller estimated a workload of approximately 40 hours. This requires meeting with the jail and Naphcare to review the system and process, document and data review, chart reviews, and medication prescribing review. An independent evaluator should also be assessing the quantity and quality of NaphCare services. A medical professional would be appropriate to evaluate NaphCare's medical services.
Personnel costs: NaphCare indicated that the $570k mental health staff cost in the budget is for JBCT (competency) staff. Those staffs are supposed to be paid from the JBCT contract with the Dept of State Hospitals.
Mentally ill in isolation: We need data on how many mentally ill are put in isolation cells, for how long, and what treatment they are getting while in there. Recidivism rates are high among this population, especially the impoverished and homeless mentally ill.
Counseling: I didn't hear a word spoken about counseling services for mentally ill inmates, or for that matter, any other treatment than medication offerings. Depression is understandably a common response to incarceration, and the research on antidepressant medications shows them to be largely ineffective, have adverse side effects, and be inferior to counseling. This is definitely not the best practice. Psychotic delusions are also often best treated with counseling than antipsychotics (which in turn more effectively handle hallucinations).
Psychiatric: I understand mentally ill inmates in the JBCT program get weekly psychiatric visits while trial-competent mentally ill inmates mostly only get a psychiatric visit every 2-3 months. I would like an explanation as to why this is our practice by design.
Delay in getting involuntary medication orders (IMOs) for trial-incompetent inmates: Judges should routinely order IMO evaluations (which need to be done by a psychiatrist) at the same time that they order the competency evaluations (which are typically done by a psychologist). Some judges currently do this some of the time. What can the county do to work with judges to minimize the suffering of inmates caused by delays? What are the action items, and who will follow through? Can we see the raw data and associated charts of delays, including detail on whether the delay is the county, state, or courts?
Local employees: In the JBCT, they replaced local professionals with out-of-county subcontractors. Can we see data to prove this change has provided an equal or better level of outcomes? Does the new trainer have experience with competency issues in a jail setting or with inmates?
LPS conservatorships: There needs to be a discussion of this for the homeless mentally ill to lower the crime/illness/recidivism rate for these folks. Who will draft the next steps?
Has the California State Supreme Court decided the placement of 1368s in county jails to be cruel and unusual punishments? What actions should the county take to conform to modern expectations?
GREENWOOD CIVIC CLUB CHRISTMAS SING ALONG
Join us at the beautiful, historic Blessed Sacrament Church in Elk for the traditional Elk Christmas Sing-Along on Tuesday, December 21 @ 7:00PM.*
It has been 3 years since we have held this uplifting event so this evening will be particularly special. You will have the opportunity to raise your voices in Christmas song to the live music of Martha Bouquin, Matthew Tyson, Francisco, and others.
(There's a rumor that Santa will be flying in so bring the youngsters.)
CANNABIS ASSOCIATION DENOUNCES PROPOSED LARGE FEE INCREASES
Mendocino County Board of Supervisors December 6, 2021 501 Low Gap Road
Ukiah, CA 95482
Re: Agenda Item 5c) on 12-07-2021: Noticed Public Hearing - Discussion and Possible Action Including Adoption of Resolution Amending the Exhibit X - Master Fee Schedule Effective January 6, 2022 for Cultural Services Agency (Sponsor: Executive Office)
Honorable Board of Supervisors,
This is a time of incomparable uncertainty for the entire Mendocino community, as well as our local licensed cannabis operators. With the unknowns we face for our local and State economy, the outcome of the Covid pandemic, impacts to local tourism, the current state of the cannabis market, and cargo shipping delays across the Country that have led to supply and manufacturing problems and shortages, it may be necessary to suspend the goal of full cost recovery across all departments at this time.
MCA appreciates the hard choices that the Board must make in order to achieve a balanced budget. However, increasing fees in County Departments to reach the goal of full cost recovery during a time of so much uncertainty may result in unintended negative consequences throughout the County. It may be more beneficial at this moment to pause in the implementation of cost recovery until there is more relative certainty in the health and stability of the economy. Another solution could be to take a phased approach over a period of the next 3-5 years, with periodic evaluations of variables that develop during that time.
Below, we offer questions for consideration and specific suggestions on how some of the proposed items might be addressed.
Under the “Liquid Waste Fees” on pages 5 and 6, the chart indicates that all fees under this category will be increasing by 45% but we believe this is a typo. For instance a Site Evaluation Report Review - Groundwater Drain is increasing from $ 68.00 to $379.00, which is a 457.353% increase not 45%. We recommend that clarity be provided on the intent of this item.
In reviewing the Staff Memo regarding fee increases for the Planning and Building Department, we question why there is a need for our fees to be in line with neighboring counties such as Humboldt, Lake and Sonoma County when dealing with cost recovery.
Each County has a different tax base, cost of living, resources, services, demographic and geography. When analyzing cost recovery for the services our County provides to the public, it’s important that the fees are structured solely on those internal Mendocino County costs and not influenced by other external fee schedules.
— The grading fees have been identified as being higher than Humboldt and Lake County but in line with Sonoma County and we are curious what is causing Mendocino County fees to be higher?
— For health and safety, what specific additional protections is the County providing by increasing inspections, and would this already be covered by State Agencies such as the Water Board and CDFW that are involved in permitting ponds? Sloping and engineering concerns are covered in grading permits.
There are many ponds that date back to the logging era. If the goal is to get ponds permitted, ensure public health and safety, and encourage water storage, incentivizing applicants to come forward by lowering costs as much as possible and consolidating workload with other agencies that are also involved in the permitting process will be of benefit to the County and the applicant in reaching that goal.
If an applicant has already provided a State agency such as the State Water Board or CDFW with sufficient pond plans to begin construction, it seems unnecessary to require more inspections by the county and should not be required.
We recommend that a mechanism be set in place for an applicant to be able to demonstrate that if requirements have already been satisfied by outside State agencies, the County need not impose duplicative requirements that increase workload for Staff and incur unnecessary additional fees to the applicant.
— Not all Ag-exempt structures require engineering. Hoop houses in particular are restricted to 1000 sq ft in size. Based on the Ag-exempt application requirement #14 states:
”Ag Exempt structures over 1,000 square feet in area that do not meet the
conventional construction requirement of the California Building Code must be designed by a CA licensed Architect or Engineer.”
Most structures commonly designated under an Ag-Exempt classification are simple and do not require engineering, for example a cargo container. Ag-Exempt structures are also limited to electrical installations of 100 amp service and plumbing is limited to exterior hose bibs. As such mechanical installations are prohibited.
We recommend that the proposed Ag-Exempt fee increase of 50% only pertain to structures that require engineering as identified in #14 of the Ag-Exempt building permit application form.
Since the County is taking on a new responsibility for the review of these types of applications from other agencies, we recommend that the County seek reimbursement for taking on these reviews from said agencies and not pass the fees onto the applicant.
If a permit is reinstated, that doesn’t necessarily mean the applicant is ready to initiate an inspection, as they may have let their permit expire for a number of reasons, including due to financial hardship that caused a halt on construction, or lack of knowledge about how and when to request an extension. While it makes sense to charge a fee for an expired permit that needs to be reinstated, we do not feel that increasing the fee by 40% of the cost of the permit is the right approach if the goal is to incentivize applicants to remain in the permitting process. If the goal as stated is truly cost recovery then there should be no increase. If the goal is to incentivize compliance, then this fee should be no more than 10% of the cost of the Permit.
MCA recognizes that the County must balance the budget and maintain cost recovery, but if fees are dramatically increased all at once at this particular moment, it could lead to unintended negative consequences for our entire community. Striking the right balance is important to enable Mendocino residents to remain in compliance, which will ultimately lead to more revenue for the County from a growing tax base. We encourage the Board to consider our recommendation of pausing these fee increases, or at a minimum utilizing a phased approach over the next several years by slowly increasing fees.
Thank you for your time and consideration of our recommendations and concerns.
Mendocino Cannabis Alliance
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 13, 2021
KYL AYERS, Willits. Protective order violation.
TRINIDAD MAGADALENO-PULIDO, Ukiah. Domestic battery, probation revocation.
GABRIEL PATTERSON, Covelo. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.
CHRISTOPHER WHITE, Ukiah. Criminal threats.
ONE BY ONE they were all becoming shades. Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.
— James Joyce, ‘The Dead’
by Paul Modic
Everything I write is meant to allay this great loneliness but it rarely if ever works. Maybe that's why people have dogs or cats, they're a distraction from the loneliness, ie, when you add up the moments, minutes, when animal people are thinking about, interacting with, taking care of, and petting their animal this is a distraction from experiencing a solitary environment.
Everything I write is meant to touch someone in hopes that they will touch me, be near me, with me, and/or communicate with me in some way. This has rarely worked, maybe once or twice, and more likely works in the opposite direction.
These are the thoughts I have as I rattle around my big house—could it be because I neither saw nor talked to anyone yesterday and didn't get out to take a hike that these dreary thoughts rush in?
Dancing in the town square the other day was like my living breathing personal add and gave me a moment to realize my vitality is still there but the fact of the matter is my youth is gone and the attractiveness of even last decade's fifty-something person is gone. The really sad part is I'm only getting older, less attractive, less vital, and more isolated.
Well, maybe that's not really true, maybe I've been isolated my whole life, ultimately not willing to share my space? Retirement five years ago took a huge amount of human interaction out of my life, mostly the trimmers who came for a few months every year.
It was a choice, whether conscious or not, to live like this: no dogs or people, just me and this cuppa coffee with a lump in my throat.
THE YEAR IN SPORTS: Athletes Face Backlash But Refuse to Back Down
by Dave Zirin
You can’t wrap your head around the year of 2021 in sports without understanding 2020. During that year of pandemic and protest, athletes found their voices like at no time since the 1970s, if not ever. After the police murder of George Floyd, athletes at every level of sport spoke out, led demonstrations, and took on the weight of being the spokespeople of the deliberately unheard. In addition to seeing the emergence of outspoken players throughout leagues that depend upon Black talent, world class athletes like tennis star Naomi Osaka, NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, and Formula One’s budding legend Lewis Hamilton took the struggle into predominantly white spaces sending an electric current through the complacency of their respective landscapes. But it wasn’t just the issue of racial justice that animated 2020. The Tokyo Olympics were not staged in 2020 not only due to the pandemic but also because of the large number of athletes who declared that they wouldn’t go. The struggle of young transgender kids to have a place on high school sports teams continued in the face of a coordinated and well-funded attack to keep them off the field and out of the locker room. The coup de grace of course was the WNBA effectively swinging the US Senate by opposing the GOP run by then league franchise owner Kelly Loeffler and throwing their support behind Rev. Raphael Warnock.
It’s important to do this cursory run through 2020, because 2021, just like in the broader society, has felt the bitter sting of reaction and backlash. Fighting racism is no longer in commercial vogue beyond an end zone slogan. Instead, the executive class of the sports world has made clear to the players that their frolicking in the fields of the First Amendment are done. There is a reassertion of hierarchy on display as the message has been sent in multiple ways that athletes are to be seen and not heard, or at least only heard in acceptable, highly staged media scrums. There’s also a painful irony in remembering how many people rightly trashed Laura Ingraham for saying in 2018 that LeBron James and others should just “shut up and dribble.” Her revanchist presence may still cause most to recoil, but her politics are now leading sports world into clampdown mode.
In 2021, we’ve seen the aforementioned Osaka threatened with being banned from Grand Slam tournaments, because she didn’t want to deal with the media. (The second ranked player has taken a mental health break in the aftermath.)
We saw fans at NBA arenas act like they had the right to throw objects at players, particularly ones not afraid to make a political stink.
We saw the International Olympic Committee hold up its infamous Rule 50 over the heads of athletes in Tokyo to threaten them from speaking out.
We’ve seen the reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers become a voice not “for the voiceless,” but for right-wing twitter trolls by opining about vaccines, woke mobs, and why medical professionals and scientists the world over pale in their knowledge to podcaster Joe Rogan.
We’ve seen the elevation on Fox News of NBA player Enes Kanter Freedom who went on Tucker Carlson’s white-power hour to say of his colleagues, ”I feel like they should just keep their mouth shut and stop criticizing the greatest nation in the world and they should focus on their freedoms and their human rights and democracy.”
We’ve seen in baseball, the Atlanta Braves basically hold a Trump rally during the World Series by first hosting prominent smooth-faced anti-vaxxer Travis Tritt to sing the anthem and then rolling out the welcome mat for Donald Trump so he could do the racist tomahawk chop on national television with 50,000 people in Georgia, a state whose voting laws are so drenched in Jim Crow that baseball felt the need to pull the All-Star Game earlier in the season. Then on the labor front, the billionaire owners of Major League Baseball locked out the players in an effort to increase corporate profits.
Few stories have spelled out this atmosphere of backlash and reassertion of right-wing corporate hierarchy in 2021 quite like the one lived by Simone Biles. The Olympic gymnast is one of the greatest athletes this country has ever produced. She testified heroically along with her teammates to Congress about rampant sexual assault and abuse in USA gymnastics. Then, after wowing in the world championships and traveling to Tokyo for her gold medal coronation, she decided that her mental health meant more than gold and withdrew from the team competition. One might think that the response would have been at minimum charitable. Instead right-wing sewer dwellers tried to tear her down for putting her mental health and physical safety first. Voices of solidarity certainly did exist. Colin Kaepernick told Time magazine that Biles “has used her remarkable position as the world’s greatest gymnast ever to inspire a long overdue global conversation on mental health,” and that “her influence extends far beyond the realm of sports and shows us that another world—a better world—is possible when we speak our truths with integrity and authenticity.” But the idea that someone like Biles would even need solidarity speaks to a broader politics where the terms of the debate are being set down by the seething right wing.
The landscape right now is grim, but we need to remember that movements never flow forward on an endless tide of progress. There are fits and starts. There are drives to achieve positive change and then backlash that can swamp those efforts. My belief is that the wine is out of the bottle on the question of athletes speaking out and that no matter the backlash, there will be more of it to come. There are still young athletes taking a knee during the anthem. There are still pro athletes daring to act. And we are going to need those voices as we enter a period of coups and right-wing, unelected Supremes attempting to enforce minority rule, backed by the ever present threat of violence. Sports will either be a great distraction over the next 10 years or be a center of resistance. That will be up to the athletes at every level to decide. The job of the rest of us is to build social movements of significance whether athletes are a part of it or not. As 1968 Olympian Dr. John Carlos says, “You always move forward, even if the world isn’t moving with you.”
FLOOD-TIDE OF DARKNESS
by James Kunstler
The frenzy around the Christmas holiday conceals deeper currents running through advanced techno-industrial societies like froth on the surface of a raging river that surges with dangerous, hidden flotsam. We’re informed that the next James Bond might be a transsexual. But, you see, it’s not just that Hollywood is running out of gimmicks for its floundering “franchises,” but rather that there has been no place for men these days in the struggle to prevent civilization from drowning. The lifeguards are cancelled. All that’s left in the commotion of the flood is the shrieking of women.
Thus, the hysteria over Trumpism. America actually needed a rescue operation and, defective as he was personality-wise, Mr. Trump rose above the surge and called for exactly that, and was pulled under for the effrontery of saying so. It was a bad time to be a man standing out among men. The torrent is in charge now, not the people bobbing and flailing in it. Ride it out, if you can. By and by, the flood will subside and the survivors will be cast back on shore. The shrieking women will also subside, because the men will tell them to cut it out. And then the men and women will go forth reconstructing the human project here in North America.
The landscape will not look the same and we will not act like we did before, when we were just carried along helplessly in the flood. There will be fewer of us. All the giant things, too large to save themselves — the corporations, the institutions, the agencies — will be swept away, but we’ll be back on dry land, with a lot debris to sort through, some of it useful for rebuilding a way of life. We’ll be too busy for any more shrieking and hand-wringing, and crybabies will get whapped upside their heads.
That is what you can expect in the decade ahead. For the moment everything is just froth and noise, and most everybody is in too much of a panic to make sense. Humans don’t do well without sense-making. What makes sense is having a roof over your head, something to eat, some purposeful activities to provide those things, some other people to exist with and care for, and some ceremonies to honor our efforts and declare our gratitude for being here in the first place.
Christmas, most of us understand, is as much about the world descending into cyclical darkness as it is about the birth of a religious figure who signifies our recognition of the very light that makes darkness visible. You also understand, of course, that demons and monsters dwell in the darkness, that they spawn in it. This year, the darkness seems darker than any darkness we remember, and so we may be astonished when the light returns to our world. Eventually, we’ll memorialize the monsters and they will frighten children for generations to come.
I know it’s hard to even imagine generations to come at this moment in history. There is even some question whether human beings will be able to reproduce after the dastardly things we’ve done to our own chemistry. But this isn’t the end of us, not yet anyway. Let’s act as if it’s not, at least. We don’t know for sure where our story goes from here, but we have some say in it depending on what we do. Just knowing that there is a difference between story-telling and story-making is a good start in rediscovering what men are for.
One thing men are responsible for is bringing order to the world. They don’t always succeed, but it must be their duty to make the effort, and it’s not wise to distract them with histrionics when they attempt to do that, or shame them for trying. You are not excused from your duty in any case, American men. It’s not okay to pretend to be women to escape your duty. The women must not allow the men to hide among them and pretend to be them. They must insist that you be men.
One of your duties as men is to oppose false realities to preserve meaning, and you do that first by insisting on being upright yourself and speaking of things as they really are so that you can do with them what you must do. And this is the meaning of authority, which has been submerged in the flood we’re riding on, this flood of false realities drowning the meaning of everything.
I know this makes for a harsh Christmas. It is where we happen to be: the flood-tide of darkness. Do what you can with it, knowing that it marks some kind of turning. I promise you, the light is coming.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page: