- CalTrans Desecration
- Bypass Suspended
- Goodbye Roanne Withers
- Exciting Fire
- Elk Inn Purchased
- Catch of the Day
- The Riots
- AV Health Center Board Meeting
- Burn Permits Suspended
- Mendocino Theatre Company
ARCHEOLOGICAL SITE KNOWN TO CALTRANS DAMAGED AGAIN
by Will Parrish
In the latest bad news for Indigenous people whose cultural resources have been horribly impacted by CalTrans’ Willits Bypass, Big Orange’s construction crews have damaged another known archeological site.
The incident took place on June 12th. CalTrans Associate Environmental Planner Timothy Keefe, who is based in the agency’s Eureka office, revealed the incident in a phone call to Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians Historic Preservation Officer Eddie Knight, whose tribe has been closely involved in monitoring construction activities.
The damaged archeological deposit occurs in an area roughly 20 meters in diameter, on a parcel where CalTrans is carrying out “environmental mitigation” for the stated purpose of offsetting the freeway’s environmental destruction. CalTrans’ construction crews ran a ditchwitch across the site, so as to install a waterline (exact purpose unknown).
Even after Keefe and the construction crews realized they had just run machinery through a site they had previously identified as archeologically significant, but had not yet studied in any consequential fashion, they determined that work in the area should continue. In other words, rather than stop work and evaluate the damage, gather information from the archeological deposit that had been fractured by the fresh ground-disturbing, or even notify tribes to get their input on the situation, the construction team plunged ahead with installing a waterline in the trench.
Then, they backfilled it.
Keefe, the principal CalTrans archeologist on the project, gave the decision to fill in the site after running through it with a ditchwitch his blessing.
Tribal monitors were not present at the time, although the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians has been adamantly requesting that CalTrans hire two more such monitors to keep up with the huge scope of work taking place on both the Bypass construction route and, as in this case, on the Bypass mitigation lands.
The way this incident played out once again speaks volumes for CalTrans’ attitude toward working with Indigenous people, as with the agency’s desecration last year of a site called “CA-MEN-3571,” which has been nominated for the National Register of Historic Places.
In that case, CalTrans’ surveyors identified the site during field work in 2011. At the time, CalTrans recognized that the site, which is likely associated with the historic Little Lake Pomo village of Yami, was smack-dab in the middle of the Bypass destruction swath.
By the time Bypass construction finally kicked off in March 2013, someone employed by Big Orange had decided that CA-MEN-3571 was not located in the Bypass route after all. CalTrans partially excavated the area, then installed roughly 1,500 wick drains and piled on three feet worth of fill soil there.
Representatives of the Sherwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians and Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, and perhaps others, persistently questioned CalTrans representatives about this clerical decision. They wanted to make sure CA-MEN-3571 really was located outside the Bypass bootprint.
Lo and behold, CalTrans revealed in a blasé e-mail to Sherwood Valley Tribal Chairman Mike Fitzgerral in September 2013, CA-MEN-3571 was located in the Bypass bootprint all along. Only after creating a map of archeological sites impacted by the project, they claim, did they realize they were in error.
Yet, in accordance with the National Historic Preservation Act, CalTrans was supposed to have completed the map of archeological sites prior to beginning construction. In fact, CalTrans failed to mention the overwhelming majority of Native archeological sites in its environmental impact review (EIR) documents. CalTrans’ 2006 EIR only mentions one Pomo archeological deposit.
In the case of the more recent incident, CalTrans contractor crews were not working not on the freeway route, but instead were carrying out so-called “mitigation construction” activities on some of the 2,100 acres CalTrans had purchased to “mitigate” for the damage to wetlands, oak trees, fisheries, and other legally protected natural resources. The particular unit of Big Orange’s Willits-area land empire where the damage took place is located near the intersection of Reynolds Highway and Heast Rd, on land Big Orange’s real estate arm purchased several years ago from the Frost family (Little Lake Valley ranchers).
According to the most recent information I’ve seen, this parcel is one of the areas where CalTrans plans to “create” wetlands by excavating soil from already-functioning wetlands – a so-called “Group 2” wetlands creation site.
The incident highlights the manifold problems with CalTrans’ mitigation plan, which relies on excavation of 266,000 cubic yards of soil for the purpose of “creating wetlands.” All of this soil excavation, which takes place across an area of land much larger and more far-flung than the Bypass, will invariably further harm to Indigenous people’s ancestral remains.
In April, the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians passed a resolution calling on CalTrans to eliminate soil excavation as part of the Bypass mitigation, to eliminate the project’s arbitrarily massive northern interchange, and to provide compensation for damage already done.
I will have more information on this story, as well as other developments with the Willits Bypass, in the print edition of the AVA that comes out on Wednesday, June 25th.
Contact Will Parrish at wparrish[at]riseup[dot]net.
THE U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS has suspended the construction permit for the Willits Bypass project. Army Corps staff visited the site earlier this week and Friday issued a letter saying the permit for the Willits Bypass is “conditionally suspended.” The letter says Caltrans has “failed to complete mitigation site preparation actions in a timely manner.” The Corps says no additional construction work is allowed in the wetlands area until Caltrans complies with its permit conditions. The Corps letter says Caltrans may continue to work on required environmental improvements as long they are “approved by the Corps in writing.”
CALTRANS issued the following statement: “Caltrans is working closely with The Army Corps of Engineers to resolve any issues regarding the Mitigation project at the Willits Bypass. We will be meeting with the Corps next week with the intent to be able to resume construction soon. We are committed to environmental protection of the Willits bypass project.”
ROANNE WITHERS HAS DIED at age 61. A long-time environmental activist based for years in Fort Bragg, she died in her sleep at her Ukiah home sometime Friday night. She is survived by her son, Leiben. Roanne first settled in Elk in the early 1970s where she tended bar. Elk was not then the open air retirement home it has since become, and Roanne cut a wide swathe in a place and time when wide swathes were still being cut. As she became more settled, Roanne moved north to Fort Bragg where she met and married the late Ron Guenther, the well-known environmentalist, perhaps best known for filing the first successful challenge to a Mendocino County timber harvest plan. As a couple, Roanne and Ron formed the Coast chapter of the Sierra Club; they were also frequent contributors to the Anderson Valley Advertiser. Roanne was the primary organizer of the 1990 Redwood Summer demonstration in Fort Bragg. Ten years ago, Roanne sold her home on Harrison Street in Fort Bragg and moved to Ukiah where she worked for the County's Department of Mental Health. At the time of her death, she was employed as an in-home care worker for the elderly.
EXCITEMENT THIS MORNING on the Ukiah side of Orr Springs Road:
“VEHICLE/FIELD ON FIRE - AMMO POPPING OFF NEAR DIESEL TANK. There's a bizarre incident unfolding at 19500 Orr Springs Road (6 miles in from North State St, Ukiah) @ 7:26 am as a vehicle is on fire — which torched off an adjacent field that contains a diesel tank. Scanner traffic indicates ammunition in the vehicle is "popping off" and a subject described as "5150 (crazy) with dark hair, black shorts, running around through people's yards and eventually running into the words." Scanner reports the fire hasn't "spread significantly" — yet. Fire departments "are rolling from both sides" to the incident."
8:00 AM UPDATE—Helicopter cancelled, fire contained to pick up truck. They are applying foam. One Calfire "con crew" assigned, others cancelled. CHP on scene.
NEWS FROM ELK: a group of Native Americans from Sacramento have purchased the Greenwood Pier Inn. We hear the purchase price was three million, which seems awfully high even by Mendo Coast standards. All the current employees have been let go. Does a casino loom? Native Americans are exempt from the provisions of the Coastal Act, which has often been waived over the recent past for ocean view McMansions that now line the bluffs from Gualala to Westport.
CATCH OF THE DAY, June 21, 2014
WILLIAM BARRY, Ukiah. Public intoxication.
SAUL HERNANDEZ-GUERRERO, Ukiah. Bail set at $150,000 for marijuana cultivation and sales; receiving stolen property; possession of an assault rifle.
JAI KAMKE, Los Angeles. Public intoxication.
BRICE KNIGHT, Ukiah. Public intoxication.
SALVADOR ORTIZ JR., Ukiah. Public intoxication.
EUGENE PETERSON, Redwood Valley. Arrested in Fort Bragg for being under the influence of a controlled substance, revocation of probation.
LENOX REYES, Covelo. Driving on a suspended license, violation of probation.
TORY TASSLER, Ukiah. Second arrest in as many weeks for under the influence of a controlled substance.
KIM WILLIAMS, Clearlake. Under the influence of a controlled substance, undoubtedly methamphetamine, the most available of controlled substances.
EUGENE WRIGHT, Sierra Vista, Az. Public intoxication.
I've watched this city burn twice
in my lifetime
and the most notable thing
was the arrival of the
politicians in the
proclaiming the wrongs of
and demanding new
policies toward and for the poor.
nothing was corrected last time
nothing will be corrected this time.
the poor will remain poor.
the unemployed will remain so.
the homeless will remain homeless
and the politicians,
fat upon the land,
will live very well.
— Charles Bukowski
HEADS UP! AV HEALTH CENTER BOARD IS MEETING THIS COMING MONDAY, June 23rd.
Attached are the May 19th minutes, and an update after 6/11 meeting with Ric Bonner.
Your Concerns: At our meeting with Ric we requested that the topics covered and questions asked be on the agenda for the June meeting. There is no specific item to address these issues on this agenda. If you can come to the meeting Monday, please plan to raise your specific concerns under Item 4, Concerns of Directors and Public.
How You Can Help: About this coming meeting -- many of you including former directors, and founders, and long-time donors have said you are interested in helping the HC. The present board uses a limited committee structure to do its work. Please volunteer your skills in fund raising, financial management, clinic administration, personnel administration, community liaison, legal matters, building and grounds maintenance, or any other experience or expertise which might be helpful. Send a written, brief resume of past pertinent work, and what you are offering by way of assistance to Ric Bonner, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some of the questions which we have raised and would like discussed:
Where are the Timely Financial Reports?
So far we have not seen financial reports since April. Hard to get any grasp on what the situation is; this month should see a review and approval of the FY 2014/2015 budget with the confirmed figures for the newly received federal grant. That is not on the agenda. Hard for the Board to discuss what they plan and what they will spend for it if they don’t have current figures. There should be a projected end of fiscal year report for them/public review. We requested May financials after the May meeting to no avail.
What plans do directors have to pay off the USDA loan for the HC building?
Dispensary Problems: What is the date of re-opening of Dispensary? What range of medications will be offered? This is a concern to patients; we request an open discussion of this issue. Will this satisfy the HRSA performance issues?
Personnel Issues: Staffing issues which should be discussed are: Are the new appointments for executive officer and operating officer permanent or interim? If permanent what hiring are you doing to fill behind Shannon and Favi?
Who will do the work of the Financial Officer? What recruiting are you doing for the existing and now exacerbated shortages in clinical staff (MD; RN; FNP; PA; MA)? Where/how are you recruiting? Did you get the required approval of HRSA for the new chief executive officer? Are there any new program obligations which come with the new grants? What are any staffing requirements involved? What are the staffing obligations involved in the shared management model now, after the resignation of the former exec, ops, and financial managers?
Did we hire a new MD? How have you addressed the concerns of Cindy Arbanovella and Dr. Phan That raised at the April Board meeting? Who on the Board regularly reviews personnel policy manuals, staffing requirements, credentialing requirements, position descriptions, work flow requirements to insure that clinic goals actually can be met with staff on board?
Continuation of Our Community Founded Health Center:
Do you intend to merge AVHC with another health center or centers? If so, which, and when? How do you see this structure working? Who would select the Board? Who would own the HC building? Will you discuss frankly what you see as your options going into your “Strategy” meetings next month? Will you make public your HRSA grant reviews so that the community can understand what you are up against? Please plan to attend this meeting Monday, June 23rd, 5:30 to 7:30 at the AVHC Conference Room.
* * *
From: Ric and Alice Bonner
Sent: Friday, June 20, 2014 6:43 PM
To: Eric Labowitz ; Gaile Wakeman ; J R Collins ; Lynne Sawyer ; Lynne Sawyer ; Maxence Weyrich ; Mayte Guerrero ; Ric and Alice Bonner ; Sandra Parker ; Sandra Parker ; Sue and Wally Hopkins ; Yadira Mendoza
Subject: June AVHC Board Meeting
We will be meeting on Monday, June 23, at 5 p.m. at the Health Center conference room. Attached are the draft minutes and the proposed agenda for the meeting.
See you there,
* * *
AVHC BOARD MINUTES
Call to order and introductions 5.30 pm
The meeting was called to order by Chairman, Ric Bonner at 5.30 pm.
Review and Approval of Agenda
Agenda reviewed and approved
Motion: Walter Hopkins Second: Gaile Wakeman
Vote: All ayes
Review & Approval of Minutes of April 28, 2014 Minutes
Minutes reviewed and spelling correction noted
Minutes of the April 28, 2014 meeting approved.
Motion: JR Collins Second: Eric Labowitz
Vote: All ayes
Executive Directors Report
Diane Agee presented a written report which described AVHC’s background and the requirements from HRSA. Copy is attached.
Concerns of the Directors and Public
Meeting opened for comments and questions from community members. [No details]
Successful working interview with Logan McGhan. New dispensary management software now installed. Re-opened evening clinic. Still in need for more support staff. Annual Performance Reports done for Mid-Level providers. Mark presented a letter of dispensary support from a patient.
Financial Reports — No report. Finance committee will meet on May 23, 2014.
Fund Raising Committee — Ric Bonner presented a preliminary report for Pinot Fest fundraising of approximately $25,000.00
Board Development Committee — Sandy Parker will contact Yadira for further contact suggestions
Building and Grounds Committee — Walter Hopkins reported that he fixed a broken toilet.
Public Relations Committee — Sandy Parker stressed the importance of other Board members sending articles to the AVA
Community Needs Assessment — Assessment form is complete and will be mailed out and put on AVHC website as soon as formatting is completed. Assessment will be performed via Survey Monkey as well. Diane Agee has sent this to be formatted for distribution. Assessment should be available beginning of June.
Board Calendar — The Board calendar was reviewed. Any changes/additions to be sent to Fabi Cornejo
Strategic Planning — Ric Bonner reported on the retreat being held on July 9, 2014.
Note taker: Fabiola Cornejo Next Meeting: June 23, 2014
* * *
June 12, 2014,
AVHC News, Problems, and Questions
On the health center web site http://www.avhc.org/ you will see that the AVHC directors (see email contacts above) have appointed Shannon Spiller to replace Diane Agee as executive officer and Fabiola Perez to take over the administrative duties of Lucresha Renteria. There is no word about replacement of Dave Turner, Finance director, who also resigned last week. The three may continue in consulting roles but are no longer employees. Reason given for the resignation was fear of liability for non-compliance with federal regulations.
Fred Martin, Rob Guiliani and I spoke with Ric Bonner yesterday. We hoped to get information on a variety of questions regarding the future of the HC, from the Board's perspective. Our agenda, presented by Fred, is below:
We have formulated a series of questions regarding the future of the HC and have attempted to pose them in the form of an agenda. From my perspective and mostly those of the others the key to the future of the HC resides with the Board. So that we can obtain a feeling about the Board’s actions in dealing with the turmoil in the administration of the HC I propose the following discussion:
1) Policies: Articulation of the policies the Board has for the Center. What services will the HC provide for the community? How does it plan to convey these policies to the Public? Is there an emphasis on the class of patients the HC will serve?
2) Budgets: The Board must closely track revenues and expenditures to keep the budget in balance. Does the Federal Grant need special consideration? How will the budget be posted for public review on a monthly basis? Will the Board have a budget committee?
3) Oversight and Communication: How will the Board conduct its oversight of the HC’s activities and employee relations? How will it address any deficiencies in its service?
4) Administrative/business manager: Clearly the HC needs a good manager who can handle the administration and develop a business plan for the HC. How does the Board see itself seeking this person? Can we obtain someone from the AV area or do we need to go outside AV to find such a person? What can the HC afford to pay for the chief?
5) New Medical Director: I don’t mean to imply that Dr. Apfel is inadequate but he is 65 and as evidenced by his recent accident relying on one doctor limits the services that can be supplied. What steps is the Board taking to seek a second physician that could eventually take over the job of medical director? One reads about newly minted doctors getting excused from their school loans if they will work in a rural clinic, is this a possibility?
6) Rainmaking: Although the HC has obtained a generous grant from the Federal Government it still must rely on community support to maintain its viability. One of the primary tasks of any board is to raise money from the community. What is this Board doing along those lines? Does it have any plans for a near term fundraising? Do members of this Board have any experience with fundraising?
This brings me to a short discussion of the Board. I am wondering if members of the Board are sufficiently active and motivated to deal with this crisis. There are eight members on this Board and one or two members of the Board should be assigned to each of the above categories and obliged to work on the task and report back regularly to the Board as a whole and the public on their progress in resolving the task. The Board should meet publicly biweekly and present their progress in the AVA biweekly until all tasks have been resolved.
If you could address each of these tasks and give us some feel for how the Board is going to deal with them it would go along way towards easing the mind and anxieties of the community.
We request that this memo be presented to the members of the Board and placed on the agenda for next meeting.
Fred's transmittal memo also stated: "We feel that a meeting, maybe more than one, is necessary as we all need to keep the clinic open and functioning efficaciously. However, we find that previous attempts to inform the public have been vague, alarming, and managed only to raise more questions than were answered. We want to concentrate on what the Board intends to do as we move forward. Having said that, we would like the current status of the dispensary for pharmaceuticals and what has caused the suspension and when can we expect to see it back in operation. In addition, there is talk of a “merger” with whom and for what purpose? Perhaps you can fill us in on that."
About the dispensary, Ric stated that there had been serious performance compliance issues of long standing, that the staff and board were making an intensive effort to correct them, with hopes that they could re-open dispensing of non-scheduled medications within the next three weeks, but that it would take longer to get back to dispensing some scheduled drugs.
In discussing "merger" Ric said the initial 2011 HRSA (Health Resources and Services Administration) grant condition stipulated a shared service management model "with an eye" toward eventual merger (I.e. with another HC--but not stated which or how many). Ric regards that as "a condition and not a contract." He emphasized that he felt is very difficult to operate as a small, stand alone clinic in today's changing health care climate. He also pointed out that the Board had been "dinged" in the government review of compliance with grant conditions for failure to develop a strategic plan to alleviate the continuing precarious financial situation. The Board will be conducting several planning sessions to develop future plans for the clinic in the next two months. To that end, the Board has developed and is circulating a Community Health Needs Survey to help in assessment of community wishes and will be using the results in upcoming strategic goals planning sessions which will take place toward the end of this month, and in the middle of July in Board sessions.
[It is vital that you all obtain, complete and return this health needs survey. Those of you who are on this list because of your interest in "aging in place" be sure to note "Geriatric Care" is the only place you can express that interest. There is also no place to indicate an interest in alternative and holistic medicine practices other than line 12. Please make sure that you complete the form, make any comments even if there appears no space, and help get it widely circulated among people you know. Call the Health Center -- 895-3477 -- or email your directors -- listed above -- for information on how to obtain the needs assessment form or to give your opinion on needs and problems, and spread the word to others.]
I felt our discussion yesterday was inconclusive. Ric mentioned he was looking for ways for better community input and communication, but we did not get the opportunity to discuss an improved committee structure, augmented by community members with pertinent experience, which might help achieve that. Nor did we fully discuss the need for open meetings. Often said is that the AVHC is a corporation, a private non-profit corporation, and thus not subject to Open Meeting laws. There are two questions to ask: When a corporation receives large public money grants, what is the requirement from the grantor for transparency in operations? And: What possible harm can come from being absolutely open about operations of the AVHC with the public that founded and supports it?
The next Board meeting is Monday, June 23 at 5:00. The next Finance Committee meeting (approval of May and June financials) should be by June 30 before the Board meeting. Board Bylaws are now available on line at http://www.avhc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/FinalApprovedAmendedBylawsofTheAVHC4-28-14.pdf
If you are concerned for the continued successful operation of our community founded and supported health center, please plan to dedicate a little time to finding out what's going on, and where you can help. Many of you have worked on the Board in the past, or as volunteers, or as employees, and have said you would be willing to do so again. Unless we all do, we lose this resource!
LIFE'S SHUFFLE; DEATH'S DANCE, a review
by Marylyn Motherbear Scott
The Oldest Profession by Paula Vogel, directed by Betty Abramson at Mendocino Theatre Company: July 5 - 13, 2014
* * *
What's in a name? The play title has two words in it; words that, in our society, are provocative —
Oldest. The subject has antiquity; in this case, not just the profession, but the characters themselves. It hits a sensitive nerve. Aging.
Profession. A paid occupation, especially one that involves prolonged training. Also sensitive. In our society, not everyone agrees on what is “a profession,” nor who is “a professional.”
Produced in 1981, playwright, Paula Vogel, has created a smart script. It lays down the newly defined economic world, now known as “Reaganomics,” onto the fabric of the oldest and the most defamed of professions, prostitution. Conversely — perhaps perversely — Vogel also places prostitution, the most common of denominators, onto the metaphoric fabric of America's economic and social spectrum just as if it was as respected and established a profession as being a doctor, a minister or merchant.
Casually called “the Life” by those who work it, we are able to view the individual personalities, squabbles and affections of the women as a family, not unlike our own. Ostensibly, the Oldest Profession is aboutLife. Truly, it is aboutDeath. Individually and collectively. The death of people we care about, both colleagues and clients, not unlike ourselves. The clients are bankers and politicians. Dare we say, the 1%? As well, our soldiers and husbands-in-need. Dare we say the 99%? Losses counted, we experience reality as it trickles down into the lives of these professionals. A reflection of the larger society. Will they strike? Unionize? Vera says, We'll make a list of demands. Everybody's doing it.
It happens to us all. We lose close friends, associates, colleagues, family, ourselves. Overarching the loss of those who are close to us, this play is about the death of a free society. Despite earlier hard times in our history, the American Dream was once the right of all. This play addresses the death of that dream. It addresses, as well, the prostitution of American democracy. No disrespect intended to the hardworking girls and women of Mae's Stable. We are created equal. In pursuit of the American dream, we are promised life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I guess we can call it, in this day and age, success and pleasure.
But, where does it getcha? If you're lucky, into the 1% or the diminishing middle class. If not so lucky, you creep closer into the streets where the wretched refuge, the bag ladies and shopping cart drivers, refuse can divers, dig into the garbage for a few bites of food, the homeless, tempest-tossed, doing the two-step, waiting to be free or at least to earn a modicum of something precious in life. A bit of grace. Food on the table. Friends. Love. Life.
The overlay of political metaphor is what makes this play a challenging and somewhat scholarly piece, but make no mistake; the underscoring of the personal makes this play not a metaphor at all, but rather, a piercing and poignant commentary on all of our lives. Don't worry. You will laugh despite its message. It uses good humor and great music throughout to tell its story.
It is through the brilliant setting of five, shop-like windows set into a brick wall, that we see the characters as symbols of Every Woman. The personal tour and telling of the individual stories by Rowan Rusert, Stage Manager, brought in a greater dimension. Altars, each one a testament to one of the characters, to the actor, and to the diverse aspects of the One Woman —
Innocence — Always lost so early on, a refinement of our fairytale vision and love of the arts represented in Lillian played by Mary Clare Ditton.
Motherhood and Home — she leaves us alone, always sooner than we think, to grow on our own, represented in Mae, the Madam, played by Ruby Bell Sherpa (weeks 1, 2, 3) and Nancy Fereira (weeks 4, 5, 6).
Dominatrix — she must control every move we and the other makes, offering us the gift of surrender, represented in Ursula, played by Lorry Lepaule.
Lover — she takes joy in life and in those to whom she offers pleasure, be it sister-colleague or needy client represented in Edna played by Maureen Martin.
Purity, the Spiritual Lover — she offers us a sweetness and delight beyond and as a part of pleasure, represented in Vera, played by Janice Culliford.
These priestessly channels of love, sweet love, are actually your neighbors and friends, actors of the Mendocino Theatre Company, all of an age, doing the dance of life, beckoning you to come, see, enjoy. Yes. It will cost you a few bucks. It's a profession. And, it is a dance you will not get to see at another time, on another stage.
Call (707) 937-4477 for tickets. Facebook: Mendocino Theatre Company.