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Mendocino County Today: April 8, 2013

THE PD PUBLISHED a puffaroo Sunday about how to attend Giants games without taking out a mortgage to fund a day at the ballpark. Probably the best thing you can do is ingratiate yourself with someone who has season's tickets and negotiate for the games that person can't attend. My nephew — all blessings upon him — lays a certain number of day-game Giants tickets on me every season. I pass on night games tickets because I'm strictly a day-game guy. Of course I take my own food. Ballpark prices are beyond extortionate and the food isn't all that good. To get to the ballpark, I either ride my bike down through the Presidio, Crissy Field, Aquatic Park, Fisherman's Wharf, and along the waterfront, or take Muni. I buy a $5 sandwich at Acme Bread in the Ferry Building or I pack in some Clement Street dim sum. When I don't have a free ticket, I attend when the Giants are playing someone like the Astros, when the scalper guy I know is receptive to any and all cash offers. Or, with the Giants “market pricing” policy, I can get a ticket at the window up in View for under twenty bucks. (“Market pricing” means for the big games with the Dodgers, say, the Giants run the ticket price up double, even triple. I operate on the theory that major league baseball is major league baseball, that no matter who's playing you'll see guys making plays no one else in the world can make. And I prefer the seats way up top on the rim of the stadium where, between pitches, you have that panoramic view of the Bay.) Coming in to The City from the north, be sure to take the regular ferry from Larkspur; if you're a geeze or a wheeze, tickets are only five bucks on the regular ferry. The special ballpark ferry is expensive, and you're squeezed in with the most repellant drunks in all the Bay Area — Marin County drunks. If you're driving in from the north, you can park free in the Marina and take the 30 Stockton to within a block of the ballpark. That bus becomes a geriatric Asian mosh pit as it passes through Chinatown, so be prepared to be bullrushed and generally pummeled by tiny old ladies in big bill sun hats. Only take a kid with you if the child has been properly trained. If you take a “I wanna, I wanna” kind of kid you'll have to borrow money to get back home. I have no idea how to get to the ballpark from the south; I haven't been farther south than the airport for 50 years. From the East it's easy access by BART and a short ride on Muni. Play ball!

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HORSEWHIPPING WOULD BE TOO GOOD. We are outraged, as are most of the community and people across the nation who have heard about it, at the story of the two-year old child who was brought to our local hospital with alcohol and methamphetamines in the child’s bloodstream. We are already preparing ourselves for the disgust when our justice system allows the mother of this child to get away with it in return for some promises of rehab and parenting classes. “There is no longer any danger to the child, and she [the mother] does not have a criminal record,” said the mother’s pubic defender in court recently. How can he say that with a straight face? The mother may not have a criminal record — well, she does now — but there is certainly a clear and present danger to this child. That any parent would be so dependent on alcohol and drugs that she would sit partying with a friend and leave enough substances around that her two-year old could ingest any of it, never mind enough to be hospitalized, makes us wonder how our society can continue to put up with this kind of parenting. We know that social workers will tell us that their studies show that children are generally better off with parents, even imperfect ones. But to allow any parent to continue to have custody of a child who has been abused seems like just more punishment for that child. Our foster care system seems not much better. We’d like to hear your ideas about this case, about parenting, about how to keep young drug addled people from having children, about what consequences should arise for the young idiots who can’t take care of and end up abusing their own children? What are we doing wrong? What could we be doing right? Give us your thoughts by writing to udj@ukiahdj.com or go to our Ukiah Daily Journal Facebook page and add your comments to this discussion. — K.C. Meadows, Editorial, Ukiah Daily Journal, April 7, 2013.

THE ROUSING EDITORIAL above by Ukiah Daily Journal editor KC Meadows nicely states the frustration we all feel at the combination of lethally derelict parenting that now seems epidemic in the county and the country and the judicial-social services nexus that takes bad and makes it worse. This particular atrocity occurred in the Anderson Valley. I know a lot about it, and wish I knew nothing about it. Grandma could be trusted to care properly for this child. The way mom lives, and the men mom lives with, translates as Not Good for the child, any child. So, what does Mendocino County do? Puts the kid back with Mom.

BUT THE WAY the system works, and it seems even more callous, less responsible in Mendocino County than other jurisdictions, some dingbat social worker, aided and abetted by one or another of the slackjawed crackpots functioning as public defenders, with another sign-off by the lions of the DA's office, has convinced an irresponsible judge that the kid can go home to mom. In other words, the local legal apparatus has placed the child right back in the situation that nearly killed him, and has already killed a Fort Bragg infant this year and is poised to dial down another could-easily-have-been-fatal Anderson Valley child endangerment case to a misdemeanor. By the way, and not that anybody seems to have asked them, none of the Boonville cops would have returned the kid to Mom. And they know the situation better than anyone.

THE FOSTER SYSTEM, locally, has been privatized to a couple of non-profits. These “non-profits” pay the people who run them nice money to sub-lease the dependent kid to foster parents selected by the non-profit. In other words, one court-dependent child of the sub-workingclass, supports a whole apparatus of people in a system that couldn't be better designed to harm that child, a mere funding unit, all things considered.

FACTOR IN the County's child abuse stats — proportionately higher than most counties in the state — add those to the fact that the County's two primary enterprises are alcohol and dope, and one comes away surprised that the incidence of pathological behavior isn't higher than it is.

ON THE SUBJECT of child abuse, we know of an episode when an inland cop spotted an obviously underage girl cuddling in a pickup with a man the cop knew to be an all-round lowlife. The man told the cop he was the girl's guardian, her foster father. The cop called Social Services to ask what the hell? Social Services told the cop to mind his own business, that the girl was in good hands. She was certainly in hands but the adjective seems to have been the wrong one.

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MOVING ALONG, and curious about the recent allegations that Budweiser is watering its beer, I downed a tall Bud the other day on my way home from the Ballpark, plopping down on a bench beside a street guy near Pier 27, now an horrific eyesore given over by progressive San Francisco to one billionaire so he and two other billionaires can race their boats on the Bay this summer. “Wouldn't want to give me a hit of that, would you partner?” the street guy asked. But he said it, “Woodja wanna gimme a hit o that, woodja pardner?” No, my good man I'm sorry, but I'm conducting a taste test here, I said.

SO? Put me down with the people who claim there's water in the Bud. Something's different, for sure. We get ripped off so many ways anymore, and now the corporations are watering down the beer. That tears it! I'm writing to my Congressman!

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FOR YEARS, in many failed attempts to ingratiate myself with my Sig Other, I've bought her, among other floral delights, bunches of tulips. Which promptly keel over within hours. A friend recently suggested to her that one copper penny dropped in a vase of tulips will keep them standing at full Spring attention for at least a week, and darned if the penny hasn't done it! We're in Day 7 and those yellow beauties are as fresh and as upright as the day I bought them.

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OBAMACARE LANDS ON MENDO

(Based on materials in the Board of Supervisors agenda for the April 8, 2013 meeting.)

The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) will go into effect in January, 2014.

It's a hopelessly confusing mess of non-reform foisted off on America by the health insurance combines, for whom corporate Democrats like Obama sign off on mass ripoffs like this one.

“Key issues include: Nearly all US citizens and legal residents will be required to have qualifying health insurance coverage or pay a tax penalty; Health Insurance Exchanges will be run by states, the federal government, or through a federal-state partnership; US Supreme Court decision effectively allows states to decide whether or not to expand Medicaid.

"In California, Governor Brown convened an Extraordinary Session of the Legislature to prepare for implementation of the ACA including the optional Medicaid (Medi-Cal) expansion. Health Care Reform, when implemented, will impact health benefits provided to our employees and dependents. It will also impact services to clients of the Health and Human Services Agency and Child Support Services, as well as State and Federal funding streams. When PPACA takes full effect, it is estimated that approximately one million more people will be eligible for Medi-Cal by expanding coverage to adults of up to 138% of the federal poverty level. The Governor’s proposals for Medi-Cal expansion will have significant implications for the manner in which County health programs are administered and for Mendocino County as a whole.”

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“The internal County Health Care Reform Working Group has identified potential areas for heightened risk exposure, including Impacts to the County-run health plan; Managing utilization of extra-help employees with regard to employee benefits; Administration of health programs for new eligibles; New training and legal requirements for Medi-Cal eligibility workers in HHSA; Expanded county behavioral health responsibilities; and Impacts to Child Support Services clients.

OVERVIEW. Obamacare: “Requires most US citizens and legal residents to have health insurance; creates state-based Health Benefit Exchanges for the sale of individual and small business health coverage; provides premium and cost-sharing credits to individuals/families with income between 133-400% FPL (Federal Poverty Level); requires employers to pay a penalty when their employees receive tax credits for health insurance through an Exchange (exceptions for small employers); imposes new regulations on health plans in the Exchanges and in the individual and small group markets; expands Medicaid eligibility to cover single adults under age 65 up to 138% of FPL.”

THERE’S ALSO A FLOOD OF ATTACHED background materials. Here are some typical excerpts:

• “There are numerous potential challenges and ‘known unknowns’ that could arise for Mendocino County during the implementation process over the next nine months.”

• “In late February of 2013, the California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) produced an extensive report, Examining the State and County roles in the Medi-Cal Expansion, analyzing Governor Brown’s proposals to expand Medi-Cal. The LAO also reviewed the two proposals put forth by the Governor to achieve the legally required, and successful, implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The following is an excerpt from the 1-page Executive Summary in the LAO Report: ‘We also find that the state is in a better position than the counties to effectively organize and coordinate the delivery of health services to the newly eligible population – potentially resulting in improved health outcomes and administrative efficiencies. As a practical matter, we also believe the state is better positioned than the counties to successfully implement an expansion by January 1, 2014. We recommend the Legislature adopt a state-based expansion, shifting the fiscal and programmatic responsibility of providing health care to the expansion population from counties to the state. Given this shift of responsibility, we further find that implementation of a state-based approach results in the need for a reexamination of state-county funding arrangements for indigent health care. Accordingly, we recommend the Legislature redirect a portion of funding currently allocated to counties under 1991 realignment for indigent health’.”

THIS LAST RECOMMENDATION from the state Legislative Analyst’s office is not being implemented. Counties, many of them understaffed, and what staff there is is inexperienced in the intricacies of the ever-more complicated health insurance industry, are having reams of new rules and requirements dumped on them, which, in turn, will be implemented in 58 different ways (in California alone), making certain aspects of insurance coverage and eligibility vary from county to county.

THIS IN TURN MEANS that on top of all the burdensome new requirements there will be differences in coverage if you move from one county (or state) to another or if your income goes up or down.

MENDO currently has 21,000 Medi-Cal “clients,” plus 1,700 enrolled in the soon to be defunct Healthy Families program, and 3,000 in equally nearly-defunct CMSP program, totaling about 25,700. All of them will have to be re-evaluated to see which crack they fall through, er, which program they will be shifted to.

AMONG THE DOZENS OF NEW REQUIREMENTS is one which requires the County to “provide health benefits to all employees working an average of 30 hours per week.” According to the County review, the “status” of this requirement is: “Health benefits are currently offered to all part-time employees working 16 hours/week. Human Resources has established 12 month “look back” period for defining part-time/extra help average work hours for purpose of qualifying for health benefits. County policy to restrict extra help and seasonal employees hours to 1,508 hours per Calendar Year beginning Jan 1, 2013. HR analysis on extra-help workforce for FY2011/FY2012 completed and distributed to Dept Heads Sept 2012. Dept Heads responsible for monitoring its extra help hours with HR oversight. Penalty not triggered if coverage offered to at least 95% FTEs (aver 30+ hrs/wk). Annual penalty [for employer non-compliance] significant — estimate $2,218,000 ($2,000 x 1,109 workforce as of 1/19/13).

AND DON’T FORGET “County responsibility for delivery of behavioral health services to the expansion population” which “will occur as a result of 1991 and 2011 Realignment statutes, which transfer these responsibilities to counties. Behavioral health service demands are expected to increase and put pressure on county systems resulting from the following:

-Needs of the low income adult expansion population

-Needs of jail inmates and those paroled/released

-Federal parity requirements for mental health and substance use disorder services

-Essential benefits package requirements

-Lack of provider capacity.”

TRANSLATION: The County must now go to a huge amount of extra work to bring inmates, parolees and probationers, adult and juvenile, into the bureaucratic mess that is Obamacare. This “client population” presents unfathomable difficulties, which will necessitate hours of burdensome and difficult administrative time to unravel.

SUMMARY: Obamacare is an unmitigated bureaucratic nightmare of categories, incentives, requirements, penalties, tax loopholes and new terminology which takes the existing healthcare mess and makes it messier while turning over billions of dollars to the insurance industry. And much of the implementation work is being pushed down to counties where the difficulties will be compounded. To rub the mess in everyone’s face, especially for small counties like Mendo, expecting them to become insurance experts in a matter of months, Obamacare sarcastically mandates that states and counties “Adopt standards for financial and administrative transactions to promote administrative simplification.”

SINGLE-PAYER health care, i.e., Medicare without the 65-year minimum, would have not only eliminated all the insurance monopoly’s folderol, coverage limits, and expense, but would not require any of these preposterous new layers of government bureaucracy. But Obama and the Democratic Party took Single-Payer “off the table” before the discussion even began.

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A READER WRITES: “I agree that Martin Katz, the shit flinger, probably torpedoed any chance for Save Little Lake Valley (SLLV) to keep building the anti-bypass momentum and has probably cost a chunk of the support they already had. A majority of the visible anti-bypass people already tended to be self-marginalizing. Now it will likely be even more so. SLLV appears to be completely lacking in strategic leadership. The day Warbler went up into the tree 90% of their focus shifted to supporting and advertising the tree sit. And now that the tree sits are down, SLLV has no focus and no direction. They also lacked the experience to know that SLLV needed to publicly maintain a reasonably clear line between SLLV and the people doing direct action, in no small part to insulate themselves from the anti-social antics of morons like Martin Katz and the ultra moronic dope grower/videographer who calls himself “Emerald Triangle.” During the Headwaters Forest campaign EPIC [Garberveille-based Environmetnal Protection and Information Center] and the Trees Foundation were very supportive of the on the ground direct action of Earth First! and did tons of legal and political work that supported the objectives of Earth First! There was also huge cross-pollination between EPIC, Trees and Earth First! Despite sharing the same objectives as Earth First!, and being run by an interchangeable pool of activists, EPIC and Trees always tried to distance themselves publicly, at times to the point of banning Earth First! activists from even walking into their offices. The facts about the bypass are compelling enough, but SLLV seems to be largely emotion driven, so facts don't matter. Which is why SLLV can say things like ‘The bypass will destroy the last remaining wetlands in Little Lake Valley.’ SLLV is not totally clueless (just almost) since someone must have told them that the former name which referred to Save Our Little Lake Valley sounded to precious and inbred. So they dropped ‘our.’ And they went from ‘Stop the Willits Bypass’ to ‘Stop the CalTrans Willits Bypass’ in an obvious effort to pick up any generic anti-CalTrans sentiment that might be floating around. But the value of these minor rhetorical adjustments has been swept away by the undisciplined antics of the protesters and the apparent lack of a big picture vision of where they want to go and how they want to get there.”

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JENNIFER POOLE WRITES: A more complete video of Tuesday's removal of tree-sitter Martin Reign Katz, posted Friday by Nomad Films, shows clearly that Katz grabbed one CHP officer's arm — with a pretty good grip as shown by the CHP officer's slight lurch forward — three seconds before the first bean bag projectiles were shot. Nomad Film's video, see link below, also shows Katz thrusting a bucket forward to launch what apparently are feces toward CHP officers in a crane bucket (at 1:35 into the video and again starting at 1:53). The “arm grabbing” moment described above occurs at 11:48 as officers are trying to attach a line to a harness they'd just succeeded in wrapping around Katz. The first shots occur at 11:51. The video documents many moments showing Katz resisting arrest in a combative manner. At 9:11 Katz reaches up from below to try to grab the leg of a CHP officer who is out of the crane bucket (but harnessed). More combative resistance is shown around 10:09. At 2:05, the video, looked at carefully, shows Katz empty and dump the bucket down the far side of the tree where the lower crane bucket with CHP officers is located. It's impossible to see whether any of the CHP climbers were climbing up the tree outside of the crane bucket at that moment. At 7:56 another object that looks like a bucket drops, but that comes from below the CHP crane buckets and the CHP climber, and appears to be dislodged by the movement of the crane bucket with the officers. Willits Weekly called Sara Grusky of Save Little Lake Valley this morning to ask about this “serious breach of the nonviolence code,” that tree-sitters and protesters expecting to be arrested have been trained to follow. Grusky agreed it was a breach of the code, which not only calls for peaceful nonviolent resistance, but also for a “friendly open attitude” to law enforcement and Caltrans workers. “Yesterday at the Rally for the Valley,” Grusky said, “[City Councilwoman] Madge Strong made a statement regarding this breach of the non-violence code, and I've also said on KMUD radio, and will say it to you now: Part of the process we're going through and will continue to go through is to be more organized and more vigilant in the training of everyone who's involved, in terms of having the experience and the commitment to maintaining that nonviolence code, which calls for peaceful nonviolence, no property destruction and a commitment to friendly and open attitude toward Caltrans, CHP and all agencies and public officials. That is our commitment, that was our commitment in the past," Grusky said. “Going forward, we've had a reaffirmation to that commitment and a recognition that there was a breach there.” Grusky said Katz's tree-sitter name is “Celsius,” not “Caspian,” despite identification of the tree-sitter who combatively resisted arrest as “Caspian” in several reports, including screen text in the Nomad Films video. Note also that the Nomad Films video has been edited for profanity as per this note from Nomad's Facebook page link: “A camera click audio noise has been used to eliminate all foul language, we hope we got all of it!” Thank you to Nomad Films for posting the video so Willits Weekly could see it. — Jennifer Poole

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GLEN SQUIRE of Rancho Navarro sends along two photos of the mouth of the Navarro he took in the last few days. The first one was taken April 5th when the River mouth was closed by a sand bar that went all the way across.

MouthOfNavarro4-5-2013Two days later, April 7th (after a little bit of rain) the sand bar had been breached and flow returned to the ocean. The depth of the sand bar opening is not clear from the photos, but given the rest of the bar it’s probably not too deep. However, salmon are one of the most persistent fish species and one hopes they’d be able to make it upstream with openings like this.

MouthofNavarro4-7-13========================================================

DISPATCH FROM DENVER

By Jeff Costello

Met up with old friend Tom Woods yesterday for lunch, the only old Sausalito waterfronter in Colorado I know of since Jack the Fluke died. Tom came to with a bad hangover in Denver while trying to hitchhike to Louisiana, quit drinking here and stayed. That was 30 years ago. Another survivor of all the worst habits, with a penchant for getting in bar brawls tossed in. We swapped lots of waterfront stories.

Still looking for a Who, a cultural identity, in this place. My impression of Denver so far is that there's a lot of industrial activity, judging from the preponderance of related businesses and vast industrial areas. There are pawn shops all over. I didn't fly with a guitar but found one in a pawn shop for $75 that is decent for the price, a serviceable beach/campfire guitar that would have fetched at least twice the money in San Rafael. In the shop there were two cops in plain clothes but wearing their guns. Very serious faces. Possibly looking for stolen items. Guns, guitars and electronic doodads were the main inventory. The indistinct cultural unevolved-ness of the place makes for a lower cost of living, and I suspect Colorado would be a gold mine for antique hunters. Too many stores, indicating a surplus, for it not to be.

Recovering from last night's “First Friday” art walk. Went with the neighbors across the street and stayed too long, saw too much, burned out while they were still rarin' to go. I'm not much of a consumer of entertainment, exhibits and such. A while back I went with my daughter and family to some museums in LA, I did see a Van Gogh one time, at least that was good. Then we went to a display of Stanley Kubrick stuff, lots of props from the movies, special lenses, scripts, etc. Ho Hum, can we go now… The one thing I liked was the typewriter from The Shining. Then we watched the movie and I saw it wasn't really the typewriter they used. Not even the same color.

Huge crowd wandering about the art district, probably seven or eight blocks. Getting a clue about the Denver cultural Who. There is a refreshing lack of observable political correctness, no in-your-face self-righteous liberals of the Northern California type in sight. Not unusual to see women in skirts and cowboy boots. Dark side of that, this is a “red” state, lots of gun culture and shops. There isn't much evidence of “hippie” in any sense. I did see a couple of interesting crazy people in one of the galleries. I'll always maintain that there's no nut case like a California nut case, but there are plenty enough oddballs and characters around Denver. And some sadly mediocre artists sitting by their stuff, eagerly hoping for attention of some kind.

People here can seem a bit testy. A guy came by on a bicycle, on the sidewalk, while we stood outside the restaurant with Tom, who commented, “That's a fine, that's a fine…" The guy's bicycle was his form of transportation, not a status item or recreational device. He even had baskets on it and wore normal clothes. He stopped, turned around, and start haranguing back, about all the people with thousand-dollar bikes and the correct costumes, worked himself up pretty good and rode off with a hearty “…and Fuck You.” All in all, kind of amusing.

This is not California.

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MENDOCINO FURNITURE MAKERS HOSTS ITS 15TH ANNUAL FINE WOODWORKING SHOW

Mendocino, CA, April 15, 2013.

Mendocino Coast Furnituremakers proudly present their 15th Annual Fine Woodworking Show. This exhibition shall be held at the Oddfellows Hall on the corner of Kasten and Ukiah Streets in Mendocino CA. Running from July 3rd to 28th, 10Am to 5 PM. Northern California is home to one of the most vibrant artisan traditions in the country. Craftspeople are drawn to the beauty of the region, and the artistic tradition that abounds. Woodworkers in particular come from all over the world to attend the Fine Woodworking Program at the College of the Redwoods in Fort Bragg, just north of Mendocino. The school introduces its students to traditional handwork and that focuses on designs that emphasizes the natural qualities of wood. Many of the craftspeople in this show have trained in other professions and then turned their hands to woodwork for the joy and satisfaction of the craft. They bring their love of wood and a passion for fine design to everything that they do. Showing will be singular objects of precision and personality, pieces that are a joy to live with each day. A member of the group will be on hand to discuss the work each day. Artists are available by appointment to discuss commissioned work. Mendocino Coast Furnituremakers 15th annual Fine Woodworking Show Odd Fellows Hall Corner of Kasten and Ukiah Street Mendocino, California 95460 707 937-2486 Dates: July 3 to July 28, 2013 10am-5pm Opening Reception: Saturday, July 13th 5- 8 pm MCF is a professional group formed in 1998 to promote the work of fine woodworkers on the Mendocino coast. This annual show features a wide range of woodworking and will feature studio furniture, decorative carving, and sculpture. For more information about MCF, see us on the WEB at www.mendocinofurniture.com

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ANOTHER MTA TRIUMPH! Bigger, better buses for fewer and fewer passengers!

MTA Improves Passenger Service With five New Gillig Buses

The Mendocino Transit Authority (MTA) has taken delivery of five new 40-foot, clean diesel, low-floor buses from Gillig of Hayward, Ca. No matter what time of day, there is probably a Gillig bus working somewhere. Certainly for MTA, Gillig heavy-duty buses have been the transit coach of choice since the agency first moved from smaller transit vehicles to enhance passenger capacity to 35 or 40 riders.

According to MTA’s Maintenance Manager, Bob Butler, “The new buses are powered by the cleanest and most efficient diesel engines. The catalytic system has dropped exhaust emission upwards to 90%, running cleaner than most automobiles.” He also explains that the new buses are much more fuel efficient and early data indicates upwards to 20% to 25% savings in miles per gallon.

Aside from the fuel efficiency, the new buses offer many other passenger improvements and one of the biggest is the low-floor function. When coming to a stop to load passengers with only the ease of pushing a switch, the driver can lower the bus to the curb level and deploy the ramp. No more stairs to climb or wheelchairs to push up the incline of the old lifts into the bus. Butler stresses that this feature “offers our senior and mobility impaired riders a vastly improved transit experience.”

Seasoned MTA driver, David Ryan, recalls that when he started with MTA 15 years ago the agency had just received the first two of nine Gillig buses.“ I thought they were the greatest thing I had ever driven. Now, with the low-floor, lower emissions and 15 years of improved technology, those older buses seem like antiques.”

Veteran driver, Jim Nunn, loves the kneel down capability of the new buses. “It is so much easier for seniors, kids, people carrying groceries and moms with strollers to get on and off the bus. Passengers tell me they feel much safer not being up in the air.”

Both drivers site as a vast improvement the power assisted steering that makes turning and steering the 40’ bus so effortless. Another feature that makes their jobs so much easier is the all automatic, hands free public address system. “It is the best intercom system we have ever had,” states driver Nunn.

“Just by stepping on a button, I can call out the stops and everyone can hear.”

Both drivers report that the passengers are as excited about the new buses as they are.

Other advances include electric windshield wipers instead of air operated ones that tended to stick, electronic destination signs that are much brighter and easier to read and indicate what direction the bus is traveling, an automatic fire suppression system, new sleek front window design, raised rear floor so that the back of the bus is higher than the front for enhanced visibility, and the accessibility to the engine department is vastly improved. “The mechanics can touch everything without standing on their heads,” laughs Butler.

The five Gillig buses were funded by State of California Public Transportation Modernization (PTM) monies, the amount allocated for the five Gilligs is $2,467,016. MTA is also scheduled to receive three more 40’, clean diesel, low floor Gillig buses in approximately December, 2013 and January 2014. These three vehicles are funded by California State Transit Improvement Program totaling $1,371,952.

Maintenance Manager Butler states this is kind of like de-ja vu. “When we replaced our very old Gilligs with nine new Gilligs starting in 1996, MTA went from having the oldest fleet in California to the newest. When we replace our old Gillig coaches with the eight new low-floor, clean diesel coaches, we will once again have one of the newest heavy-duty bus fleets in California,” he concludes. — Glenna Blake, MTA Marketing/Planning manager

4 Comments

  1. Bill Pilgrim April 8, 2013

    Jeff Costello is one of the most cynical poseurs to ever appear in the AVA – a pseudo-literate, part time, fake down’n outer who plagiarizes Hunter S. Thompson badly in almost every paragraph; a Bukowskian wannabe who fancies his quasi-prosaic put-downs to be illuminating missives about how phony everyone else is. Even Bukowski managed to project – through an alcoholic haze – an undertone of compassion.
    Costello is no troubadour of American true grit. He’s just mean.

  2. subscriber@theava.com April 8, 2013

    Since when were beers like Budweiser, Coors, Olympia, Old Milwaukee and other such cheap swill assumed to be NOT watered down? Profit uber alles, after all.

  3. James Marmon April 7, 2013

    A major problem with Mendocino County Child Welfare Services is their staffing. Mendocino County historically has had a difficult time meeting state requirements regarding educated social workers. Each year they have to request a waiver from the state regarding their staffing, they also have to present a plan to the state on how they will rectify the problem. Mendocino County is only one of two counties in the state who have a Social Worker V classification. They developed the classification in order to recruit and retain master level social workers; they have a hard time doing either. Master level social workers don’t last long in Mendocino County, and many who have been offered employment do not accept the less than generous pay schedule and lack of benefits that new employees now face.

    What you end up with, is what the Agency is proud to call “home grown'” social workers. These home grown social workers are usually people they recruit from other departments within social services. As long as they have the minimum college credits they are classified Social Workers I’s and are immediately handed a caseload comparative to more seasoned and trained social workers. They work at that position for a year and then they become a Social Worker II. Another year, they are a social worker III.

    Because of the lack of educated social workers the Agency made a paradigm shift several years ago from the “social worker recommends” to that of the “agency recommends” Social workers are no longer responsible for making decisions regarding their cases, instead management makes all decisions and recommendation to the Court. As a result of the Agency making the decisions, they are usually based on politics or funding, not on the facts of the case and good social work.

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