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Letters (Feb 24, 2016)

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I went to the Hospitality House Sept. 3 2013 and received a bed and was told to check in at the Hospitality Center on Franklin St. in the alley to sign up for “services” with in five days and to go to the clinic for a TB test (which I did).

I went to the Hospitality Center to sign up for “services.”

As they were just opening and I believe people need assistance sometimes (you too are eligible) I started ‘being of assistance’ as in supporting their programs, sharing Green and Sober Inc. morning check in, I ran the emergency winter shelter December 2013 to April 2014, volunteered for various “public service” activities.

I moved out of the house February 2014 to re-start Green and Sober Inc.

Having a lot of troubles I still needed services and have been denied housing because I will not lie about Cannabis use as my only medication, I still tried to turn to the Hospitality Center for assistance and to complain about the fact they where allowing other people to lie and cheat making what I am doing look wrong when in fact they are the ones who are wrong.

A few of us who openly use Cannabis as a medication started having Green and Sober meetings (peer to peer support) at Dragonfly wellness center.

At our first meeting a client of the Hospitality Center thought it would be funny to go to Dragonfly Wellness Center to get his Cannabis and wait for the meeting to end to rub my nose in the fact that he is allowed to use Cannabis and he is housed, “How's that honesty working for you”?

As this became an on going pattern, I reported this behavior to the Hospitality Center staff including Anna Shaw and asked them to tell their client not to stalk and harass me at the Cannabis club.

They told me they can't tell their clients what to do, as a matter of fact they leave what they believe clients can do up to the clients.

As what I see as a slap in the face, this client that I have been making formal complaints about was used as a hospitality center success story on the front page of the Advocate News, (July 24 2014).

Finally after talking with a local police officer about what was going on, the harassment stopped.

I started re-filing formal complaints with patients rights which at first seemed to be disregarded.

When my formal complaints where finally responded to I was blown away at their response which stated:

“Dear Mr. Mack,

“This letter is to follow-up on the grievance you submitted on June15, and 17, 2015, regarding your report that you were denied services and your concerns about your medication. Mendocino County Mental Health Improvement did investigate your grievance.

“Per conversations with the Patients Rights Advocate and Connie Drago, compliance manager from Ortner Management Group (OMG), who spoke with your case manager at MCHC as well as yourself, we learned more about your concerns. Your case manager corroborated your statements, and you won't compromise your ethics. You are not being denied services. Your case manager, ***** ******, will continue to work with you on overcoming your housing barriers. OMG and Mendocino County will also continue to support you in your efforts.”

This letter was dated June 25th 2015 and I still have the things to deal with that I have been asking for help on for over 2 years.

I even put in an application for employment on 2 occasions which must get buried also.

So I just want to let the people and agencies that refuse to help me know that since I can not get help to get housing from Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center, Patients Rights, Disability Rights, ACLU, local Board of Supervisors, Fort Bragg, Ca. City council, various attorneys and the ones I do not want to mention due to fear of retaliation.

It seems I am being forced to lie & cheat (as many do), quit Cannabis (risk seizures) or get back on prescription medication to get housing.

All of this is completely wrong!, Cannabis is my ONLY medication.

This is what I have been sending and saying to the various agencies.

I am missing part of my frontal lobe and was on many prescription drugs (2 being anti-seizure).

I have been able to successfully replace ALL of the prescription drugs with Cannabis (no seizures).

Using Cannabis and not prescription medication has kept me locked out of many mental health services such as housing (MendocinoCoastHospitalityCenter).

In order to receive the most important component of homeless services, housing, I would have to lie & cheat, quit Cannabis (risk seizures) or get back on prescription medications, (seems wrong to me).

This is a blatant violation of my civil rights!

All of this is completely hypocritical considering the Department of Health and Human Services holds the patent on Cannabinoids (6630507).

I am really disturbed by all of this.

The mental health system on the coast has given me more mental health issues then I have ever had.

Thank you

Richard E. Mack

Fort Bragg

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To the Editor:

A letter to the HHSA Standing Committee John McCowen and Tom Woodhouse.

I attended the meeting and want to take the time to express my disappointment with the process. You heard from many county citizens yesterday and the overwhelming majority pointed out the shortcomings of the shelter as it is today and how it is not serving the county’s homeless pet population. The discussion afterwards between all of you was fascinating and frustrating to listen to. How all four of you and Ms.Cryer’s sidekick pushed that political shelter football around the room, successfully avoiding to hold anybody to task for letting the Petaluma shelter proposal languish for over six month with no action. To avoid making a decision, taking a stand or making a concrete follow up plan was truly sickening. Listening to what was not said, I walked away with the impression that the Petaluma proposal is already dead, because Petaluma cannot offer their services for less then what the county spends on the shelter to date. Even the possibility to have the shelter future on the next BOS meeting agenda seemed at best tentative. If my sources are correct the interim shelter manager is going to be Mary Jane Montana, the former Executive Director of the SPCA Lake County shelter, a failed shelter that since has been closed. Is this really the best we can do for our animals?

Monika Fuchs


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To The Editor,

I've been a Mendocino County resident since 2000.

I began working as a volunteer with animals in 2002.

I am writing as an animal advocate.

The present state of Ukiah Animal Services in Mendocino County has been an ongoing issue since this time.

I do not begin to know how to "officially" write a letter to an editor. I will not pretend to. I will come from my heart and speak the truth.

I attended a meeting Monday morning February 8, 2016 regarding the Ukiah Animal Services and the present proposal from Petaluma Animal Services. The public was very eloquent, honest and forthright in their concerns regarding the present living conditions and future of our homeless animals. The meeting felt staged to me. I was bewildered and infuriated to witness the indifference of the Supervisors regarding this issue.

What was even more disturbing was to learn that the Body of Supervisors had not even seen the proposal. My questions still go unanswered as to how a decision is made and the RFP process is closed when the Board of Supervisors had not yet reviewed the proposal? One of the Supervisors spoke of Petaluma Animal Services not having made a response to the questions from Ukiah Animal Services. Â

Six months should be adequate time for any questions to be answered .

Why did this process take so long?

Was the proposal within the budget proposed in the RFP? I am insulted not only at the blatant disregard for the welfare of those without a voice but the lack of respect for those of us who came to show our concern and support for our community’s homeless animals.

Have any of the supervisors visited the Ukiah Animal Shelter recently? Was an unannounced visit to both Petaluma Animal Services and Mendocino County Animal Services made? I want to know, How can an informed decision be made? The Ukiah Animal Services here in Mendocino County has been an ongoing sense of unease and disgust among the community. We all know that so much more can be done for our community's homeless animals. The present state of living conditions for our animals is outdated and I believe illegal. There are a large number of cats that are made to live in tiny cubicles. Dogs spend long periods of time in kennels without proper exercise.

With an animal "specific" agency in charge these as well as other numerous infractions would not be allowed.

The present Animal Care Services is an embarrassment and speaks loudly of the integrity (or lack thereof) of our County's governing parties. Mendocino County has done the best that they can with antiquated attitudes and models. Our homeless animals deserve the lifeline this RFP is extending. I would like to understand why it is being turned away? We as a community are not being given a valid reason. Animals’ lives and quality of lives are at stake. I (for one) would like to know where the taxpayer dollars are going?

It is a matter of public record. I strongly feel an unbiased outside audit should take place before this decision is final. I want to be proud to be a Mendocino county resident. Right now, I regret to say, I feel a deep sense of embarrassment and profound sadness.


Sharesa Motta


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To the Editor:

If a business generated revenues of $20 million and in the same year the business had $32 million in expenditures, the manager would have good reason to be concerned. Any business that saw its debt increase from $20 million in 2008 to $182 million in 2015 would probably be actively looking for ways to stop the bleeding. Not so if you’re Mendocino County.

On Jan. 19 the Mendocino County Employees Retirement Association (MCERA) met in conjunction with the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors to discuss the status of the pension system. The Board of Supervisors learned that in 2015 the retirement system had spent $12 million more than they took in and their debt went up $160 million over the last 7 years. The actuary admitted that the assumptions being used were wrong, but there was no movement to change any of them. All but one person at the table sat silently nodding their heads in agreement thinking that things were all right and nothing needs to be done. Ted Stephens, as one of the independent members of the MCERA board, was one of the only people willing to shed light on this financial disaster.

Our county is very fortunate to have a person like Ted Stephens on the MCERA board. With his financial background, Stephens is not only qualified, but he is prepared to tell both the taxpayers and the retirees the truth. Although it seems like no one wants to listen, it is appreciated that someone is willing to present both sides of the story. The truth may be hard to swallow, but it is better than just kicking the can down the road.

Frost Pauli, President,

Mendocino County Farm Bureau


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I strongly suspect that Alex Cockburn would get a column (or several) out of Donald Trump going farther than Bernie Sanders in challenging major political myths:

The official “unemployment rate” is a lie. It’s more like 22, 25 percent. Somebody told me it was 41 percent…

George Bush did not “keep us safe.” He ignored warnings and the World Trade Center was demolished on his watch. I was there, I lost friends. To say “he kept us safe” is like you give up 19 runs in the first inning and say “after that he pitched a pretty good game.”

Socialized medicine works well in Scotland and Europe.

Deposing Saddam Hussein was a huge mistake that destabilized the Mideast and led to endless disasters.

Putin isn’t so bad. An interviewer, aghast, said, “But Putin has his opponents killed!” Trump shrugged. We kill plenty of people, too.

In phantom pain,

Fred Gardner


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Set in Silicone Valley where caricature is the order of the day. The inane strained attempts by all these undiscriminating fools who equate quantity for substance, and icons for truth. Silicone Valley is a place full of pretentious over paid narcissist who undoubtably are all patting themselves on the back while in gridlock on the way to the next very important deal. But hay who cares, right, the Super Bowl Was here! I saw the Blue Angles fly over and it was so awesome!

How sad it is when a people can't even see when their own delusions are running the facile show. And that it is furthermore amply substantiated by clueless apparatchiks who just happen to be major brand name "artist" with dreary histories of being over paid and idolized by droves of hoodwinked morons.

In terms of civil society and what is relevant for the education of youth, Super Bowl pretty much states that there is no future worth considering. Welcome to the banging of pots and pans as the over extended empire, which is of course the state of all empires, rattles on in the full light of day financed and supported by all the dimwitted little Eichmanns in high and low places.

No recording artist who is actually an "artist" would be any- thing but insulted at being invited to participate in the obvious debauchery of The Super Bowl of shit. What a sad state of affairs. Remember when artist's were free thinkers. Remember when every molecule of life wasn't co-opted by venal greedy assholes. Imagine Lenny Bruce or the Dali Llama or Malcom X showing up to lend credence to this blatantly perverse display of cultural degeneracy. The end times for sure.

If Stupor Bowl Dumb Day is any gauge of what America is, and of what we as a nation want to broadcast to the world, then we may as well draw huge red targets on our Yankee Doodle Dandy. Because we are toast from the depth of our folly all the way to our over produced belligerent cultural supremacy. Total junk yard dogs rabid with royal court credibility at every turn!

Since when is being an overpaid pawn in the rich white mans brain scrambling meat grinder a sign of Black Power. More like powerlessness in a conscription army of fools. Black Lives Matter but black brains don't. When an artist uses their talent in service of the public relations propaganda complex, they are no longer fit to be called an artist. To bloody hell with all these small minded performers on the field and on the stage, and with the massive structures that promote and give all this bogus culture the finesse of any number of industrial disasters. The glamour of the slow motion train wreck. Enough is enough already!

Best of luck in this false Spring, and thank the Air Force for the cooling effect of the tanker plane cloud cover without which your ass would be toast!

Marvin Blake


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The Supervisors' Meeting on the Kemper Report was disheartening when Supervisor Hamburg and Supervisor McCowen threw adult mental health patients and their families under the Ortner bus for the next many months. They want staff to write what amounts to a beginner’s instruction manual (new contract, Memos of Understanding language) for Ortner on how to carry out State Mandated Services that were listed in their original contract. In addition, Ortner wants instructions on HIPPA laws they do not understand. We’ve given them almost three years to perform contractual obligations and they can’t, because they never understood how to provide County Mental Health Services.

We have a local group with a successful track record of providing Mental Health Services. A wise solution would be to give them the Mental Health Patient money to expand services to adult patients. They have offices throughout the County and already do Crisis Services, Medical Outpatient, Residential, Day Programs and much more for people under 25. They hire excellent, qualified, competent staff, and licensed professionals when needed. Management has an Open Door Policy so when something goes wrong, the system can be fixed for everyone. Let Redwood Community Services replicate the relevant mental health services for adults and immediately begin to create the continuum of Crisis Care we desperately need.

Why engage in months of writing Kemper’s proposed documents, and wait months more to see if Ortner can finally perform what we know they can’t? This just prolongs the misery for mental health patients and their families. It’s also a waste of patient money that could be used by Redwood to create local residential facilities, Crisis Residential Treatment Centers, a psychiatric hospital and more, along with good jobs for local people.

Sonya Nesch


Author, Advocating for Someone with a Mental Illness

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Another bit of clarification regarding the facts brought to the Board on Tuesday, Feb. 16, by several speakers in regard to the Animal Shelter.

All dogs were walked and exercised on Saturday, Feb 13 and Feb 16.

The overall tone and general feeling at the shelter has improved greatly since privileges have revoked for the volunteers in question. Those volunteers who do not want to get involved with the ongoing circus, and definitely all staff, feel less threatened, and the moral of all us who have been personally slandered on facebook is much better as we feel we can do our jobs without the very disruptive shenanigans hanging over our heads.

If things are not getting done at the shelter, it’s because staff has had to accommodate daily record and information requests from the "public" — Ii leave that to your imaginations — forcing hands-on staff into clerical work leaving them unable to perform their jobs.

I am confused if this is actually a subject the Board has control over, as the shelter staff's union is involved with the ongoing problem of staff intimidation.

I can say that as a community member having recently been targeted by the outsourcing group, I, personally, feel much safer and calmer going to the shelter knowing I will not be running into people who have delighted in ripping me apart in their facebook world. I finally understand how staff have felt the past three months, and I have gotten away easy from the tirades.

My husband takes professional photos of the shelter dogs two or three times a week, then spends the remainder of his week refining the photos to be the best images possible. These files are uploaded to two sites and are available to anyone who needs photos of dogs. There is not a dearth of photos as has been presented to you. In fact, another rumor had been started that we were not allowing photos to be used by a group of volunteeres, something which is completely false, and a sign of the level of silliness and vindictiveness that continues to morph and grow at the shelter.

We are all expendable. The loss of a volunteer does not break the shelter. For several years, Nancy Commons and I were the only consistent volunteers at the shelter, and still, the number of monthly dog adoptions averaged in the mid-40s. Of course it’s nicer to have more volunteers, but only if they can find their place amongst many other volunteers and staff, and are willing to play well with others. When Nancy and I were the only volunteers, the shelter ran smoothly because we plus the staff all worked together, we always tried to maintain a respectful attitude, and no one was under the delusion that they could take control of the shelter's workings.

What I fear is more of the same at the shelter, more lawyers becoming involved, no strong direction from a crippled staff, and the further demoralization of the shelter's employees. I hope things can be figured out. I certainly hope the volunteers with revoked privileges will be told why their activities at the shelter have changed, and can understand that certain behaviors are unacceptable in any environment, working or social, that involves groups of people. I have always viewed my being able to volunteer at the shelter as a privilege, not an entitlement that means I have the right to take control, and turn every perceived problem and injustice into a negative campaign. I believe the social media environment is very responsible for a lot of the current problems at the shelter, as cliques of people cluster and any respectful dialogue disappears, replaced by juvenile verbal interaction with a bullying tone. I hope the people who continue to undermine the shelter on a daily basis will be given direction that will tell them its time to stop. And I hope we will be able to put together, with all stakeholders, a viable concept for improving the lives of our county's homeless pets during their stay with the shelter, without the necessity of tossing it off to an out of area vendor.

Kathy Shearn


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To the Editor:

The Mendocino County Library Advisory Board wishes to publicly thank the Board of Supervisors for their work in bettering the Library District. Last week the Board of Supervisors hired a new director, Karen Horner. Ms. Horner was quickly appointed as Interim Director after Wally Clark resigned in December. She also served as the Fort Bragg branch manager. The Board of Supervisors prompt and instinctive action has helped maintain library staff morale, dedication and function. Last week the Board of Supervisors announced that the County will credit the Library District approximately $100,000 for the improper assessment of A-87 user fees. This is very welcome news and the LAB applauds the work of Supervisors McCowen and Gjerde in their investigation and resolution of this matter. Now, more than ever, the Board of Supervisors and the Library Advisory Board are working in concert for the betterment of our libraries.

Marc Komer, Chair

Mendocino County Library Advisory Board


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To your esteemed AVA readers,

As of the date of this letter, Bernie Sanders has been reported to have overtaken Hillary Clinton, for the first time, in a major national poll. Does this mean he stands a good chance of securing the Democratic nomination when their national convention rolls around? Unfortunately, it probably does not. Combine the well-honed tactics of machine party organization with the super-delegate factor, and Clinton is still the likely candidate, regardless of popular vote. What it does mean, however, is that the integrity projected by Sanders, along with the ideas and policies he's been proposing and defending on the primary campaign trail, have carried a strong appeal to enough voters to create and command a useful populist mandate. If Sanders continues to generate his current numbers throughout the remainder of the primaries and caucuses, yet fails to secure the party nomination, we will find out if he possesses the integrity he projects and is fully committed to the ideas and policies he's promoting. If he does and is, he will plead with his supporters to cast their ballots for the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein. Sanders does not line up perfectly with the goals and platform of the Greens, but they share enough of a political/social vision for the direction our nation needs to pursue, that his supporters could easily, and in good conscience, bridge the gap and vote Green. Doing so, they would be utilizing the advantages of an already established and well-organized party structure. An independant run, on his part, lacking these advantages would be hobbled from the start. Better to cede his voters to a slightly less quixotic effort to carry forward his goals for our future. The Greens, of course, cannot actually win the presidency in 2016, which will result in suffering through four years of a Cruz or Trump administration. As much as I dread that prospect, I can't help but believe that it would be a small price to pay for the opportunity to significantly disrupt the collusive fraternity of regular Republicans and Democrats whose shared dominance has rendered our elections irrelevant and our political process shackled for longer than most of us have been alive. Maybe a strong showing for the Green Party, say twenty percent or more, would bring some more of us to a clearer understanding that we are not obligated to accept the entrenched, cynical, and constricted two party political structure which has served so many so poorly for so long. Maybe even enough more to make a real difference in another election cycle just down the road. And by the way, if you've been supporting Bernie Sanders, and he does fail to get the nomination, you don't actually have to wait for Bernie to tell you that when you're in the booth and reading down the names on the ballot, it's okay to vote for whichever candidate is really advocating for your interests. Eexercise your right to making a choice. Choose to have a choice, for change. One thing is certain. The people who have been calling all the shots will be happy to stay on the job for you, if you tell them that's what you want. If you like the way things are and want more of the same, just vote for someone in the club. Either one, doesn't matter.

Michael DeLang

Coal Creek Canyon, Colorado

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