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Mendocino County Today: Monday, Aug 31, 2015

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HOW TO WASTE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS MEANT TO HELP PEOPLE ON UNNECESSARY SOFTWARE

Board of Supervisors, August 18, 2015.

Agenda Title: Approval of Agreement with Exemplar Human Services, LLC (Reno, NV) to Provide Customized Automated Performance Management Monitoring Reports and Services for the Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA), Employment and Family Assistance Services in the Amount of $210,000 per Year, for Three Years for a Total of $630,000

Translation: Our helping professionals are what? Too untrustworthy, too lazy, too deficient in basic math skills to do their own accounting so the taxpayers of Mendocino County are paying $630,000 to an out-of-the-area firm to tote up the numbers, not even an in-county bean counter?

Summary Of Request: This request is to approve an agreement for a customized automated performance report and monitoring service with Exemplar Human Services, LLC (Exemplar). Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA), Employment and Family Assistance Services (EFAS) is responsible for administering the CalWORKs, Welfare to Work (WtW), CalFresh and Medi-Cal programs for our community. In an effort to meet mandated performance standards, HHSA must have a reliable system to effectively monitor mandated program requirements, including timely processing of status reports, redetermination of eligibility, and various other caseload activities related to administration of the programs.

This single source data will also assist in shortening processing time and assist with the ability to be in compliance. The use of Exemplar's reports and services will provide EFAS [Employment and Family Assistance] staff with the necessary tools to effectively monitor performance and outcomes as well as better serve our community while assisting in meeting the current State and Federal standards.

Services:

Contractor shall provide the following services:

  1. Subscription service enabling Mendocino County to access and utilize key performance management outcome data related to operations at all levels of Mendocino County Health and Human Services (HHSA), Employment and Family Services (EFAS).
  2. Alert dashboards for line staff and supervisors that consolidates reports into one dashboard detailing key priorities that need to be address for a given caseload or workload.
  3. Operational Alerts & Triggers™ Analytic Subscription Service to EFAS for the Eligibility and Welfare to Work (WtW) functionality.
  4. A suite of analytic tools that help agency managers target key challenge and opportunity areas for enhancing overall performance.
  5. Daily operational alert and/or trigger reports used by other C-IV counties.
  6. An intensive half-day session (Customized Academy) in which managers and front-line staff can learn about key performance management tools to:
  7. Manage and enhance operations
  8. Enhance service delivery, and achieve key outcomes
  9. Enable all participants to take the Gallup Strengths Finder to identify the top five (5) strengths for each individual

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Supervisor Tom Woodhouse, the only supervisor who seems interested in what's actually involved: “My concern is that I'm not familiar with what this concerns and that we are outsourcing a large amount of money to another state. I wonder if we've explored every option as far as doing anything at least within California or building up our own staff and using this money. I think the public wants us to do as much as we can ourselves and not just collect money as a government and outsource everything to everybody else. So if we have a fully staffed executive office that's very effective, I'm just wondering if we have evaluated every other option and if that is something we could discuss, prioritizing more, perhaps even increasing our amount or the percentage that we weigh things for local participation. I think as money gets tighter we are going to need every dollar in this county. And I want to have a discussion on this and I wonder if my fellow board members have a comment.”

Assistant HHSA Director Bryan Lowry: “We believe that this is very much a benefit to our employees.”

Becky Williams, Deputy Director for Employment and Family Assistance Services with the Health and Human Services Agency, handed out hard copies of a Powerpoint presentation about Exemplar.

Ms. Williams explained that “staffing continues to be a challenge. We have 33 eligibility workers which includes five trainees that are not yet processing cases, and four supervisors in three offices and we have 33 vacant eligibility staff in the same types of positions which includes three vacant supervisor positions. So we have as many vacancies as we have filled eligibility worker positions.” She said that training eligibility workers takes three months. The EFAS workload includes implementation of Obamacare. Ms. Williams said that EFAS oversees 17,535 current cases in Mendocino County serving 31,974 of our community members (including children). 33 eligibility staff process these cases. Discounting the trainees and the supervisors, the average caseload is about 730 continuing cases per staff person and about 45 intake applications per month per staff person. “This is not possible,” insisted Ms. Williams. “These cases are complex and each one is different from the next. They have different verification requirements and time frames. … Our staff has to know the nuances of all these programs and the time frames to ensure that we are compliant with federal and state guidelines.”

Ms. Williams also described the CalWorks program and employment assistance. There are currently 1025 participants in CalWorks in Mendocino County all of which are monitored by federal and state agencies. “We have 24 months to engage in these work related activities before they face a reduction in their CalWorks benefits.” (Thanks to Clinton and his Welfare Reform Act.)

Ms. Williams said they’ve made changes in recruitment and training to address this problem such as putting up flyers on the coast producing more applications for coastal eligibility positions. They have improved training so that classes can overlap. They are using some overtime.

“Yet we still have a backlog of 885 cases with temporary state approval that we need to review and change to permanent cases. And the 17,535 cases require updating and recertifying annually for things like income changes, address changes, new babies and annual reporting. [These particular “updates” are the easiest part of an eligibility worker’s job and hardly a reason to spend $630k for a software subscription service.] This is in addition to the 1078 annual new applications. Staff is very competent and works very hard and cannot do any more. This [Examplar] is a tool to make their efforts successful. It will not replace any staff that we need and it won't reduce the work that our staff has to do. But it will help them save time in the work they do through a single report that is prioritized within state and federal guidelines so they can focus on the most productive work. For example, fewer people would be discontinued and have to reapply. It would also reducing over-issuance and overpayments to our community.” (Oh the horror of accidentally authorizing more money to poor families than they are allowed to have and then having to find them and get it back.)

Ms. Williams assured Supervisors that the $630k will be covered by state and federal welfare money and no county general funds are involved. “Exemplar would be up and running within 30-45 days so we can keep up with state and federal guideline changes. They provide customized reports to each staff person based on their position and caseload which helps them focus on cases that need action. The contract would include training on how to enhance delivery of service.”

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Woodhouse: “I pulled this item because I didn't want to just put it on the consent calendar and pass it over. I am a strong supporter of you [the HHSA reps] and the work you are doing. This is definitely a huge step forward. I want the board and the public to see what was going on and reiterating the need for more staff. Even with this we are still falling behind and we have to do a lot better.”

Lowry: "We do get people coming in as eligibility workers but they soon find that there are opportunities for advancement because they are smart, hard-working people. You asked what we are doing about these staffing shortages. We have been working with human resources to get all the positions filled but we have not been successful. We need these tools for our staff to be able to do work efficiently.”

Woodhouse: "We have to put our emphasis on the people who make less than the supervisors make, not paying people more who already make a good living wage. I'm not trying to insult the higher up people, but we need to work this out. It's not working at this point.”

Board Chair Carre Brown forgot to ask for public comment on the item, so local gadfly John Sakowicz took the podium after the Board voted 5-0 to hand the $630k over to Exemplar in Reno. “I think that any contract over $50,000 which of course is the cut off for contracts that have to be under review has to be and should be reviewed by the Board of Supervisors. This is a three-year contract for $630,000 which is a significant amount of money so I want to compliment Supervisor Woodhouse for pulling the item. In fact I spoke to a retired supervisor on exactly this item in the last week or two. He had some questions as well. My questions are: Has this contract been put out for an RFP? Was it subject to competitive bidding? Does it have any provision for opting out? I know the retirement board contracted with a medical reviewer and it does have an opt-out provision. In putting a contract out for competitive bidding, there would be an opportunity for a conflict of interest to be disclosed and I think that generally for a contract of this size that would be a good thing. As we saw with Ortner, there was a conflict of interest between a member of the Human Services staff and the review process and Ortner. So that was an issue for many members of the public. So putting these contracts out for competitive bidding is a good idea.”

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Again, Supervisor Woodhouse’s general instincts about “putting our emphasis on the people who make less than the supervisors make,” only hint at the underlying problem. Apart from whatever marginal merit these fancy automated staff performance reports may have, the underlying problem is — and has been for years as my late brother told HHSA management and me over and over and as everyone who works in HHSA knows — the salary structure in EFAS pays even experienced eligibility workers less than many admin jobs in other County departments. Even though, as Lowry and Williams noted, these workers have to deal with some grotesquely overcomplicated requirements for a lot of cases, they don’t last long after training because once they are past their probationary period, they realize how underpaid they are and begin to apply for other, better paying slots in HHSA. If they want to fix the staffing problem in EFAS, they have to fix the badly skewed salary structure before they go out and buy expensive software or spend money on recruiting to fill positions that should not be empty in the first place. (PS. The “customized” reports generated by Examplar’s fancy after-market software would not be needed if the millions a few counties spent on C-IV welfare software had included such basic reporting features in the first place.)

— Mark Scaramella

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"IF SAN FRANCISCO MAYOR ED LEE is serious about getting the chronic inebriates and such off the streets, he is going to have to cross the line and call for the imposition of prolonged stays at residential programs until the homeless who are so out of it they can't take care of themselves can get a grip on their lives. He will be criticized by the do-gooders and do-wells, and he will have to come up with a program that can survive the court challenges that killed such efforts in the past. But if he can prevail, he will receive the eternal gratitude of 600,000 or 700,000 residents of this city, as well as a million visitors who come to work and play." — Willie Brown, SF Chron, Sunday, August 30th

YUP, THERE'S THE RUB. The instant you mention compulsion, not only does the homeless-industrial complex set up a funereal howl at the prospect of losing their thousands of sinecures, the naive begin their keening, as if people “so out of it they can't take care of themselves” can somehow be talked inside and into treatment.

THE DOUBLE-RUB is that there isn't room in existing programs, and there certainly isn't the political will to build facilities for all the out-of-it people now living on the streets of every town of any size in California. Here in Mendocino County, the hard-unto-hopeless cases are simply ignored by everyone except the police, who simply book them into the County Jail for brief stays.

THE SHERIFF, backed by the Supervisors, has the green light to expand the County Jail to house an ever-increasing number of damaged people, but every day it is more and more obvious that it will take a federal investment in revived hospital programs to even begin rehab strategies, here, there or anywhere. Have you heard any of the candidates even mention a national effort to roll back homelessness? Have we done anything locally except enrich a private individual based in Yuba City who cherry picks his patients? Do we have as many people employed allegedly helping the homeless as we do actual street people?

Owings
Owings

CASE IN POINT: The street death last week of Janice Owings, 67, of, I guess, Fort Bragg. Janice drank herself into premature eternity, and did it publicly. A familiar staggering spectacle on Fort Bragg streets, the old girl died at a phone booth at the Boatyard Shopping Center. Maybe Janice was trying to call for help, maybe she wasn't. We're trying to track down her backstory, but whatever that story turns out to be, it's shameful that this woman ended the way she did. She belonged in a hospital, a place where she was locked away from the booze until or if she ever regained herself. Ditto for almost everyone out there, and there are millions of them.

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ANDERSON VALLEY SUNSET

Sunset
(courtesy MendocinoSportsPlus)

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GREGORY MURREY, 60, of Alpharetta, Georgia, plummeted over a balcony during the seventh inning of the game between the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees. Witnesses said Murrey fell onto the concrete at field level near where the player's wives sit. People seated near the deceased said he was drunk, and had jumped out of his seat into the aisle to yell at Alex Rodriguez who had just been announced as the next hitter for the Yankees. Umpires did not stop the game. Years ago, a Giants fan at Candlestick Park had similarly met his end, drunk and raining abuse down at the Giants for their poor performance when, leaning over railing, fell some sixty feet to his death.

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FALL CLASSES start this month at the Studio SoBo, behind All That Good Stuff. Continuing yoga classes with Kristen and Forest, and Qigong and Tai Chi with Linda. Jeannie Eliades starts a new yoga class on Tuesday mornings for persons wanting to start yoga and for those looking for a gentle, calm class. Madeline Hurst will be subbing for Cyd's Sunday classes, active yoga and yoga for teens. Forest will be subbing for Kira's Thursday class in September and October.

Check out the schedule in this paper. We will be publishing the schedule monthly in the first issue. More information is available at thestudiosobo.com. (—Anne Bennett)

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JOHN FREMONT WRITES: The subject for 2nd Tuesday (9/8) is local history. Come hear award-winning historian, author and teacher, Sylvia Erickson Bartley discuss the settling  of Fort Bragg (and the unsettling of the indigenous people). Then voice your opinion on whether the town's name should be changed. Town Hall (Main and Laurel) at 6 p.m. Then, put  9/21 on your calendar, It's International Peace Day, and we'll celebrate the life of Howard Ennes at a Peace garden outside the Bea Erickson Senior Center in Fort Bragg. (Sylvia Erickson Bartley is Bea's daughter.)  More on this event later.

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Raiders

(Courtesy, MendocinoSportsPlus)

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NUDE TASTINGS?

Dear AVA,

When I was on vacation this summer I heard a story on NPR about a winery in your area that is having nude tastings, winery tours and gourmet dining. I didn’t get the name at the time and I wonder if you or any of your readers knows which one it is?

Sincerely,

Tiffany Wright, Los Gatos

ED NOTE: Sounds like something the French imperialists would do. Call their winery in Philo to verify. Roederer International is at 707/895-2288.

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WilliamKingFREQUENT FLYER BIRTHDAY WISHES go out to William Keven King, born September 1, 1953.

Fort Bragg Bill has been on a tear lately, racking up arrests for "public intoxication of alcohol" on July 22 and August 6, 11, 13, 21, 25, and 29.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, August 30, 2015

Ammerman, Arnel, Brown
Ammerman, Arnel, Brown

MORGAN AMMERMAN, Fort Bragg. Under influence of controlled substance, probation revocation.

PAULINE ARNEL, Mendocino. Criminal threats of death or great bodily injury.

JEFFREY BROWN, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

Calvo, Ceja, Cronin
Calvo, Ceja, Cronin

DAVID CALVO, Ukiah. Receiving stolen property, probation revocation.

RODOLFO CEJA, Ukiah. Possession of controlled substance, false ID, probation revocation.

KATIE CRONIN, Fort Bragg. Domestic assault.

Cupples, Dickinson, Jackson
Cupples, Dickinson, Jackson

ENOCH CUPPLES, Ukiah. Unauthorized entry into dwelling, probation revocation.

RYAN DICKINSON, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

ERREON JACKSON, Ukiah. Honey oil sale, transport, furnish; possession of controlled substance.

Lansang, Lawson, Lundy
Lansang, Lawson, Lundy

TIMOTHY LANSANG, Whitethorn. DUI-alcohol and drugs.

KENNETH LAWSON, Willits. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

JADEN LUNDY, Fort Bragg. Domestic assault, false imprisonment, sexual battery on adult, robbery.

Nevarez, Pecce, Ramos
Nevarez, Pecce, Ramos

ALLEN NEVAREZ JR., Redwood Valley. DUI.

FRANK PECCE, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public.

MARTIN RAMOS JR., Clearlake/Ukiah. Petty theft, resisting.

Silva, Simpson, Soler, VanZant
Silva, Simpson, Soler, VanZant

RONALD SILVA, Willits. Domestic battery, probation revocation.

TY SIMPSON, Ukiah. Stalking, criminal threats of death or great bodily injury, court order violation.

WILLIAM SOLER, Ukiah. Drunk in public, loitering, resisting.

ELIJAH VAN ZANT, Willits. Possession of over an ounce of pot.

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FIVE MYTHS ABOUT WILDFIRES

Putting this season of smoke, flames and destruction into perspective

by Kyle Dickman

Northern California is burning. Oregon is ablaze. Three firefighters died in Washington recently while trying to keep flames from razing the entire town of Twisp.

 With weeks of fire season still to go, the federal government has already spent more than $800 million trying to extinguish blazes that promise to rival history’s worst in terms of size, destructiveness and cost. In other words: same sad stories, new year. This weekend, while the American West glows that weird and terrifying orange of the fire season, consider that it may only look like the apocalypse. And maybe we’re just thinking about wildfires in the wrong ways.

  1. Technology has changed the way we fight fires.



Air tankers dropping 11,000-gallon payloads of blood-red fire retardant on flames look great on the nightly news. So do drones mapping a fire’s active edges with infrared cameras. But the boots-on-theground work of stopping fires has changed little since 1910, when America started its grand experiment to remove wildfires from forests. That year, a blaze called the Big Burn scorched 3 million acres of prime timber across Idaho’s panhandle and into Montana, infuriating the U.S. Forest Service, whose income relied on leasing public lands to timber barons who wanted only green trees. In the wake of the Big Burn, the agency dedicated itself to dousing every spark in the forest. It cobbled together troops of young men and handed out shovels, axes and orders to clear flammable material around the perimeter of wildfires. Without fuel to burn, the fires stopped.

Over the next century, the agency modernized firefighting with surplus World War II equipment, including jeeps, helicopters and parachutes for smokejumpers. But the most effective weapon in the increasingly sophisticated arsenal remains the many thousands of young men and women who, each year, spend their summers removing flammable materials around wildfires with chainsaws and hand-held tools. So far, no technology has been able to replace human judgment and dexterity when it comes to culling potential kindling. “The fact of the matter remains you still have to engage the fire, and that means going in and building lines, often by hand,” says fire researcher Jim Cook.

  1. Fires are bigger now than at any point in history.



It’s true that between 4 million and 10 million acres of forest burn each year, 40% more acreage than just 40 years ago. But today’s fire seasons — and even 
 individual fires — are actually smaller than the historic norm. Before the 20th century, almost 30 million acres burned every year. The single biggest U.S. wildfire of the past 50 years, Arizona’s 2011 Wallow Fire, burned a whopping 500,000 acres, but there were at least five fires in the 19th century that blackened twice that many acres. Three of those were larger by a factor of five.

What’s different about today’s fires is the intensity with which they’re burning. One reason is that fire suppression has changed Western forests. Take the ponderosa stands of the Southwest: Historically, low-intensity blazes, ignited by lightning or indigenous peoples, burned every five to 10 years, thinning the forest of young saplings and brush and leaving just 150 large trees per acre. Today, in the absence of flames, those stands are choked with as many as 1,200 trees per acre — too thick to walk through without risking a branch in your eye.

Another reason is the warming climate. The average annual temperature is 1.7 degrees higher than the 20th-century average, and by the end of this century that number is forecast to climb an additional four to six degrees. The extra heat wicks water away from plants, drying them out and priming the forests for fire.

Scientists call the resulting breed of blaze “megafires,” which burn so intensely that firefighters have little hope of containing them. A few examples include Colorado’s 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire, which burned about 350 homes in Colorado Springs; the 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire, which torched 130 homes and killed 19 firefighters outside a small Arizona town; and New Mexico’s 2011 Las Conchas Fire, which burned about an acre of mature pines every second for 14 hours straight.

  1. More firefighters and more air tankers can control wildfires

Last year, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a larger firefighting fleet and an increased budget ($2.2 billion, up from $2.1 billion the year prior) for the Forest Service. California Gov. Jerry Brown has called for thousands of additional firefighters. Colorado has invested significant resources in a new aerial fleet, with a stated intent to suppress all blazes of a particular size.

The truth is that at a certain point, firefighters have as much ability to control a wildfire as the National Guard does to stop a hurricane. Recognizing when a fire has reached that point seems to be the trouble. Just 2% of the 50,000 to 90,000 fires that burn every year account for 98% of the combined $4.7 billion that fire agencies — federal, state, county and municipal — are estimated to spend fighting fires each summer. These cost-gobbling blazes almost always flare up near towns, as Washington’s Carlton Complex did last year when it blackened 256,000 acres near Pateros and Malott. Despite the best efforts of 3,000 firefighters and more than $23 million spent, it was the largest fire in Washington history and scorched almost 300 homes in just two unpredictable days. Sometimes, the safest thing firefighters and citizens can do is get out of the way, even if that means watching homes burn.

  1. More wildfires mean more homes burned.



There are 70,000 communities, 1.1 million homes and almost $269 billion worth of property at very high risk of wildfire damage in the United States. By one estimate, less than 2% of those communities have done anything to prepare for the flames. Under current practices, more wildfires will menace these homes.

 But certain strategies can mitigate the risk. From a planning perspective, communities can treat fires like floods by looking at fire-frequency maps to determine the places where homes are most likely to burn, a policy followed in Australia. Homeowners can create defensible space around their houses by using chainsaws and chippers to thin the forest near their property. The National Fire Protection Association found that homes with a fire-resistant roof and 30 feet of defensible space have an 80% chance of surviving a wildfire. During the tragic Yarnell Hill Fire, ranches built with fire-resistant materials and surrounded by defensible space survived 30-foot walls of flames while the homes around them burned.

  1. Fires must be put out.



For the past 50 years, wildland firefighters have extinguished 98% of blazes within 24 hours of ignition. It has been a tough transition for the woods. In one way or another, most Western forests and the wildlife that lives within them evolved beside wildfires. Some extraordinary species of beetles breed only in the heat of fires, and hooved creatures graze on the grass that eventually grows in the wake of flames. The impossibly huge Sequoia redwoods of Yosemite National Park require extreme heat to germinate. Flames cause the trees’ cones to bloom like flowers, freeing the otherwise locked-away seeds to root in the fertile soil left behind by the burn.

 Americans must learn to live with fires. It will take preparing homes and communities for the worst blazes, letting flames do the good work of thinning trees and intentionally igniting more fires when the time is appropriate. It took a century to remove fire from the landscape. It’ll take at least that long to teach people that the flames are not just something to fear.

(Courtesy, the Washington Post)

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ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

The ascension of an arrogant prick like Donald Trump really highlights not just the mentality of the political right, but also the political apathy and ignorance of the American public.

People sense that something is wrong, that their standard of living, their neighborhood, their city, state, and country is not the same as it was a mere 10 years ago, and they are right.

Like being on a slow, sinking ship the fear starts to kick in. People in a state of fear resort to thinking and behaving on a primitive level. Along comes Donald Trump, a despicable spoiled brat who is also sensing that his little empire is ending, and is showing signs of losing his mind.

People that still have jobs trot off to their menial tasks, where employers and macho managers thrive on the job scarcity to threaten, harass, and intimidate people into working harder and harder for less and less. Ulcers, insomnia, hernias, stroke level blood pressures, anxiety are some of the pleasantries that more and more are experiencing by the new slave driver mentality of the would-be Donald Trumps. Pricks that get paid a little extra to make people work harder and harder with no raise, no mercy, no gratitude, no respect.

These people who are being worked to a premature death see other people that get public assistance get housing for free while they struggle to pay their mortgage (those who haven’t lost their homes already), they see them get medical are for free while many of them either go without care because they cannot afford the out of pocket expenses or if they do seek care, the healthcare criminals want them to pay out the ass to make up for those who get care for free either voluntarily with out of pocket expenses or involuntarily, by being sued and going bankrupt when they do not have enough money left over after paying that mortgage to pay that 100,000 dollar out of pocket medical bill because they had the audacity to get sick or injured. And there seems to be no shortage of bottom feeding, scum sucking parasites called lawyers who have no shame and are willing to make their living suing for the banks, creditors, healthcare criminals. These are some of the people that the decimated middle class should be focusing their anger at. Lawyers. Creditors. Banks. Managers. Politicians. Illegal immigrants did not run up an actual debt of 220 trillion dollars, outsource our manufacturing base and good paying jobs, deplete the resources needed for endless growth, create massive trade imbalances, bring on the collapse of the US dollar, or as we are soon to find out, the wholesale collapse of the US economy and the end of industrialization of America.

Instead of focusing anger at the real cause of their demise and the swine that facilitated it, along comes this human turd Trump to champion their misdirected anger. A guy who boasts about dropping out of college and becoming this great, self made man. He doesn’t mention that his father left him some 340 million dollars, so we have a dickhead spoiled brat that was placed on third base but claims to have hit a triple. Those illegal immigrants (who according to Trump, speak Mexican) did not result in the economic disaster and the energy cataclysm that will follow, but by focusing his shallow pea brain on a scape goat, he can get the flag waving morons that think somehow he can “make America great” again along with those who lost their jobs or are struggling and are soon to lose their jobs to rally behind him because he channels his hatred against these brown people whom the wounded and dying middle class perceive as getting hand outs.

Now we are getting a lesson in the utter ignorance of the self described right wingers in this declining shit hole of a nation and what the real motives have been behind the Republican base of support. Supposedly, at the end of a Trump rally in Alabama, the 20,000 that attended (FOX news claimed 40,000) they broke into a chant “white power”. Even if the Trump types get their real wishes (and make no mistake about it, it is to kill those illegal immigrants that Trump says Mexico is sending over…..like as if they aren’t coming on their own accord) those other problems that should be addressed, the debt, resource depletion and the end of growth, peak oil and the collapse of industrialized society, or the collapse of the US in general will still remain and are not simply just going to go away.

But rest assured, more and more FOX news types and right wing politicians are testing the waters of public tolerance by talking about gutting medicare and social security. Some say this is because the neocons already stole people’s social security to fund their illegal wars, and are trying to soft pedal this crime by talk about “privatizing” it. Rand Paul made no secret about his plans to cut funds for it. So their racial issues aside, we now see that after minorities are put in their place, the next group they have their eyes set on are the poor, elderly, and disabled. According to Dr Paul Craig Roberts, the “father of Reaganomics”, both the Democrats and Republicans have every intention of going after people’s pensions when there is nothing left to steal. Dmitry Orlov noted that the US is behaving like the former USSR did just before it collapsed by setting out to steal anything and everything they could from anyone and everyone they could. We see that in the US with the cops on steroids with all the scale backs in services and bankruptcies and they try to force people to use up their retirement savings. The retirement system is doomed to fail in the US, but the vile, despicable maggots have no shame and are making it increasingly clear that they plan to steal it as well as cut food assistance programs (over half the people that receive them are children).

So illegal immigrants, the poor, the disabled, the elderly, and children. These are the people that the Donald Trumps of the word and their submoronic, hopelessly ignorant, vile, hate filled supporters want to blame for problems that they themselves created.

I don’t place much faith in politics, but we who see the larger picture should start to mobilize and get any and all unregistered voters who are going to be scapegoated by these Nazi-like pricks to get out and clobber this SOB should he win the repug nomination. The question on people’s minds should not be illegal immigrants but who would be most likely to show compassion and keep life support systems open for all, because the US is going to collapse on his or her watch. The last thing we need is Trump, Bush, or the standard issue neocons. I don’t care for Clinton, and it has nothing to do with Benghazi or e-mails and everything to do with being a cheerleader for US foreign policy as well as a puppet of other countries and Monsanto, but keep this motto in mind and spread the word far and wide. Anybody but Trump (or Bush) in 2016.

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DemoNcracy

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WE ALMOST HAD THREE MASS SHOOTINGS LAST WEEK

by Justin Miller

For every Roanoke there is a near miss and for every near miss, there are dozens of murders with guns.

Roanoke wasn’t just a singular tragedy. It was supposed to be the third mass shooting in America this week.

At 7 a.m. Wednesday, Vester Flanagan opened fire on two journalists on live television in Virginia. Eighteen hours earlier in neighboring West Virginia, a boy walked into his high-school and pointed a pistol at his teacher’s head. Forty-five hours before that, Boston police announced they stopped two men from massacring a Pokemon convention.

The only thing that prevented America from being knee-deep in blood last week were two brave, anonymous people without weapons. It sure as hell wasn’t our gun laws, their lax enforcement, or the imaginary John Waynes who would save everyone if not for “gun-free zones.”

Thirty-three thousand people were killed by guns in America in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control, a rate that’s higher than any other developed country on the planet.

But you knew that already.

What you may not have known is that this is just the visible edge of a larger gun violence epidemic.

According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting, there were 142,324 incidents of aggravated assault with a firearm in 2013—and another 21,175 firearm suicides.

And for every Roanoke shooting, it seems, there’s a near miss: someone calls 911, a gun jams, a cop collars a perp with a pistol.

Take this week. First, a boy took a pistol to Philip Barbour High School in Philippi, West Virginia. The boy used that pistol to hold hostage a history teacher and 27 students on Tuesday. Disproving the claim that “only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun,” an anonymous teacher talked the boy down.

“The teacher did a miraculous job, calming the student, maintaining order in the class,” the superintendent said.

A hostage negotiator and the boy’s pastor talked him down further.

“You’re not going to end your life on my watch,” said Pastor Howard Swick through the glass window in the closed classroom door. “You’re going to lay the gun down, and we’re going to walk out, arm in arm.”

The boy was evaluated at a hospital and arrested for making terrorist threats.

Several days earlier, James Stumbo made his own threats online.

“MY AR-15 says you lose,” Stumbo allegedly wrote in a private Facebook group for Pokemon players. Police said he referenced the Columbine school shooting, Boston marathon bombing, and specifically threatened several players going to the Pokemon World Championship in Boston.

Stumbo drove 25 hours from Iowa to Boston with Kevin Norton, 250 rounds of ammunition, an AR-15 assault rifle, and a shotgun.

Stumbo and Norton both tried to enter the Hynes Convention Center, where they were invited to play in the Pokemon tournament. They were stopped by guards.

The Facebook moderator had called security.

Stumbo and Norton were arrested for not having permits for the guns and ammo, and police said they prevented a “potential tragedy.”

Tragedies by the dozens were not prevented this week, however.

On the day Alison Parker and Adam Wade were murdered on live television, 27 other people were murdered with guns, according to the Gun Violence Archive. In 24 hours following all of their deaths, another 15 people were killed.

Forty-five people killed by guns immediately before and after Flanagan’s attack. That just so happens to be the combined total of victims from Virginia Tech and Columbine.

Americans did what Flanagan only wished he could do: kill 45 people.

“I was influenced by Seung—Hui Cho,” Flanagan wrote in a suicide note faxed to ABC News on Wednesday. “That’s my boy right there. He got NEARLY double the amount that Eric Harris and Dylann Klebold got…just sayin.’”

Evidence collected from Flanagan’s car indicates he was not done killing.

The murderer changed vehicles and then drove for several hours, getting as close as 60 miles from Washington, D.C., before he killed himself. Police said Flanagan had a “to do” list, six ammunition clips, three license plates, and several disguises like wigs.

Police also said evidence from his apartment indicated he “closely identified” with the 9/11 hijackers.

If not for a quick-witted state trooper, Flanagan might have reached his final destination in Washington, even driving by the Pentagon where one of his idols slammed a plane into its side.

There would have been a fourth mass murder this week.

(Courtesy, the Daily Beast)

12 Comments

  1. BB Grace September 1, 2015

    The difficulty is specifying abuses in that Mendocino County is not publically clear, transparent in the information, which could be a complaint on it’s own.

    I’ve been working on connecting the dots, which should be easy, on the web page, very clear to understand. In six months I have learned alot, but I can not navigate where to place specifics.

    In the Componates Plan and Culture Plan there are gaps that I think, well maybe they didn’t publish this part for the public and there’s another copy they gave to the state?

    And when I write emails and ask questions, I don’t get replies.

    My experience with bureaucracy is, if you write and don’t have all the information, or present incorrect information, your effort is fruitless, and I think this is a tactic being used, that the bet is under Jerry Brown state government is not accountable so why should a county be? Maybe this goes true for Obama’s administration as well?

    At the last Mental Health Board meeting, the first speaker began explaining that they were educated and yet had a hard time understanding the schedules/programs/network of the County. I appreciated what that person said because it actually represents how myself and other members of the public feel concerning HHSA, BH and MH. “We are educated and don’t appreciate being mislead, given excuses, or responses that are not answers.”

    And really, it seems to me that today it takes a “viral Youtube” to get action on anything.

  2. Sonya Nesch September 1, 2015

    Regarding the misuse of government funds by Mendocino County Health & Human Services, it is important to write to the California Department of Health Care Services with specific abuses. Our best hope is that they will come in and demand compliance. Writing the California Attorney General may also be helpful.

  3. Jim Updegraff August 31, 2015

    I would suggest an alternative to those who oppose Mayor Lee’s plan for imposition of prolonged stays at residential programs. These do-gooders provide a bedroom at their home , 3 meals a day, and assistance in bathing with the understanding they can go and come as they like.

  4. mendoblather August 31, 2015

    “Exemplar would be up and running within 30-45 days so we can keep up with state and federal guideline changes.”

    and pigs will fly….

  5. james marmon August 31, 2015

    Regarding EFAS employees.

    “Even though, as Lowry and Williams noted, these workers have to deal with some grotesquely overcomplicated requirements for a lot of cases, they don’t last long after training because once they are past their probationary period, they realize how underpaid they are and begin to apply for other, better paying slots in HHSA.”

    As soon as they pass their probationary period they apply to be social worker Is in Family and Children Services. Lowery basically robs Peter to pay Paul. Lowery needs to stop this practice. He under fills vital social worker IV positions with these inexperienced EFAS workers to save money, but it bites him in the end, because it leaves a void at EFAS. Just pay those EFAS workers a living wage and it would solve EFAS staffing problems.

    • james marmon August 31, 2015

      Isn’t about time that the Feds get involved here, millions of dollars being squandered by the Director of Social Services’ Bryan Lowery and his cronies. The feds came in once before after the Jim Jones debacle. It’s time we report all this stuff to our congressman.

      https://huffman.house.gov/about

  6. Rick Weddle August 31, 2015

    re: the ascension of arrogant pricks…

    I don’t mean to be unkind, but…welcome to the club, Americans of the formerly immune persuasion. This is a very old story for folks of the First Nations, persons of darker skin tones, people who live most everywhere besides the good ol’ U.S….most everybody. Nearly anyone else on the planet is familiar with the ascension of arrogant yankee pricks. So much so that there are more or less reasonable folks, in lots of those places, who are sick of putting up with it. Did you ever wonder where all these goddamned ‘terrorists’ are coming from? If you haven’t wondered, why haven’t you?

    Let’s thank The World’s Most Expensive Comb-over for this: He’s shown a few of us white folks what it means for a completely unHumanized person to take up all the national stage…and actually get considerable approval from the ‘public.’

    Let’s try this: Turn off the tv or other ‘news media’ funneling crap into your brain. Take a real good look at it in the ‘off’ position. It’s the business end of one of the most colossal artifacts ever. Let’s call it what is: The Great Wall of Feces. The Shit Curtain. You can’t see it from the moon, like China’s magnificent masonry model, or even up close most of the time…but it’s even harder to see THROUGH it. The edifice of pure BS that passes for ‘news’ and ‘politics’ in the United States is goddamned astonishing. Because of its ubiquitous influence, it’s being discussed whether a true wall (concrete, rebar, razor-wire) should be used to seal off the US border on our South. Such a new version of an Iron Curtain would be puny, silly in comparison with the BS Barrier recently surrounding events in our country and elsewhere. For instance: Why are there refugees flooding across Mexico’s border into the good ol’ US in the first place? Because of the failed and failing ‘drug war,’ that’s why. So, why is there a failed and failing ‘drug war?’ Because it suits the bottom line of large pharmaceutical corporations; because it’s quite agreeable for the likes of law enforcement and corrections lobbies, meaning job-security and promising investment opportunities; because jive-ass politicians ride the wave of any such witch-hunt that comes along. So why doesn’t somebody…some bright candidate, or even (gasp) some member of the Public… suggest building a wall around the goddamned corpirations? Around special interest lobbies who wield inordinate power OPPOSITE TO the interests of real, live People?
    This is not a rhetorical question…I expect, and we desperately need, some positive answers, and promptly; there are a bunch of other equally urgent crises waiting to be addressed toward positive solution, for a change.

    • Harvey Reading August 31, 2015

      Also because of “free trade” agreements, which benefit only the wealthy, that put many Mexican farmers out of business.

  7. james marmon August 31, 2015

    Regarding unnecessary software.

    Sorry Mark, but it’s Becky Emerey (check spelling) not Becky Williams. She is one of Bryan Lowery’s cronies that he brought over from Family and Children’s Services. I’m not surprised that he gave her the deputy director position, they were pretty chummy. There were plenty of more qualified employees that should have filled that position, but Lowery has strategically put his cronies in as many high level positions possible. Nepotism at its finest.

    • james marmon August 31, 2015

      her name is spelled “Emery”

  8. BB Grace August 31, 2015

    Exemplar Human Services LLC is a Texas Limited-Liability Company filed on April 17, 2006. The company’s filing status is listed as Not In Good Standing and its File Number is 0800642405.

    The Registered Agent on file for this company is Andrew Scott Bush and is located at 3801 Manchaca #40, Austin, TX 78704. The company’s principal address is 13308 Country Trails Ln, Austin, TX 78732-2081.

    The company has 2 principals on record. The principals are Exemplar Corp from Reno NV and Exemplar International LLC from Reno NV.

    EXEMPLAR CORP
    Governing
    6100 Neil Road #500
    Reno, NV 89511

    http://www.exemplaranalytics.net/about-us

    San Bernadino’s Exemplar contract http://sbcsentinel.com/2014/03/county-to-shell-out-3-million-to-measure-its-performance-on-social-service-programs/

    Santa Cruz http://sccounty01.co.santa-cruz.ca.us/bds/Govstream/BDSvData/non_legacy/agendas/2008/20081118/PDF/039.pdf

    Alamenda http://www.acgov.org/board/bos_calendar/documents/DocsAgendaReg_05_13_08/PUBLIC%20ASSISTANCE/Regular%20Calendar/SSA_Exemplar%20Human%20Services%20LLC.pdf

    Some dots to connect http://www.globalissues.org/article/25/non-governmental-organizations-on-development-issues

    Study on Exemplar http://www.healthit.gov/sites/default/files/iwg_hie_exemplar_report_04042014_final.pdf

    My 2c:

    Mendocino County would do better paying each resident $2K a year over the next three years, or $29,500.00 to the 18K+ who are being tracked and processed in the name of government accountability.

    “Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
    Is the immediate jewel of their souls.
    Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;
    ‘Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
    But he that filches from me my good name
    Robs me of that which not enriches him,
    And makes me poor indeed.

    Othello Act 3, scene 3, 155–161”

  9. Judy Valadao August 31, 2015

    There are many Janice Owings on the streets in Fort Bragg. Sadly those are the ones who won’t be getting help from the group at the Old Coast Hotel. Don’t forget “If you have drugs or alcohol on board and are declared 51/50 you are no longer a mental issue, you are instead a law enforcement problem.” Those words were from an OMG employee. So, the Mayor is proud of all his work for the homeless and mentally ill? Think about it. What has the city really done in the way of help? Approve a grant and sign the check so they can collect their share, that’s what. All this caring is nothing more than a quick fix for financial problems for the city and a few more bucks in the pockets of those claiming to help. A human is dead. I wonder if she had qualified for help if she would be alive today? This group can pat themselves on the back all they want the truth is those who really need the help are not getting it.

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