- FBUSD Unrest
- Fire Taxes
- Homeless Living
- Debt Peonage
- PD Mayo
- Hastings Law
- First 5
- Yesterday's Catch
- Covelo Courtship
- Pot Dogs
- Quakes Overdue
- Equal Pay
- Monster Time
- HumCo Bust
- Oak Death
- Incessant Wasteland
- Trump Pivots
- Authoritarian Appeal
- Cruz Cabinet
- GOP Dead
- Taxpayer Tunnels
FORT BRAGG SCHOOL people are so unhappy with Superintendent Chuck Bush that they will hold an early morning demo at the district office Friday morning beginning about 7:30am. To emphasize parent and staff unhappiness, lots of parents will keep their children at home Friday, which will cost the district a big slug of ada (average daily attendance) money. Few staff will be demonstrating as they fear retaliation from Superintendent Chuck Bush, but they say they will be with the parents in spirit, if not the flesh.
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Open Letter to Fort Bragg Unified School District Board of Trustees; Gerald Matson, Jennifer Owen and Sidney Smith Tallman
I am a community member of Fort Bragg with 3 family members working and attending the Fort Bragg Unified School District. I want to believe that all children will be provided with a nurturing, rigorous and positive educational environment overseen by an elected school board, dedicated to carrying out its critical and entrusted duties. Unfortunately, you have not demonstrated such.
You are incompetent.
I write to you and the community of Fort Bragg for three reasons:
1) To express my outrage at your lack of leadership, vision and accountability
2) To hold you accountable for the district’s mismanagement including neglecting the fundamental safety of its students
3) To demand your immediate resignation
Your decisions have resulted in significant and measurable failings. Over the last two years, you have drastically undermined the fundamental processes, direction and management of FBUSD. Moreover, under your leadership, you have made little or no attempt for community or parent input to address any such matters. As a result, the community of Fort Bragg has brought to your attention numerous concerns that you have blatantly and recklessly ignored and as your Superintendent predicted nearly one year ago, FBUSD is now “out of control”.
Under your leadership, and nearly two–thirds through his contract, Superintendent Charles Bush has spent the last two years initiating reforms with significant consequences. The children of this community are now bearing the burden of your judgment. Without ever vetting his very limited experience, the Fort Bragg Unified School District will end up paying out nearly a half-million dollars in compensation for Bush’s three-year contract. But that’s only his contract. Many members of the community would agree that it is going to cost nearly double his salary to account for the loss of professional leadership and quality, evidence-based educational practices that our students deserve. Paying for a Superintendent who has derailed the progress of the district is deficit spending. Lack of vision and accountability comes at a high price. Great teachers have resigned or moved on because of your failed judgment. Moreover, those with an ear to the district know that his repeated patterns of unfavorable conduct and favoritism vs. professionalism appear to be nothing short of cronyism. Is it true that positions have been created as favors for friends or allies of the Superintendent? Can you speak to the unfair labor practices repeatedly occurring? Instead of creating a cohesive and positive community of students and teachers, it appears that he has instead fomented a culture of fear. As a parent and taxpayer, these allegations are deeply disturbing. This has a cost on professionals who want to remain professionals and ultimately on student achievement.
The turnover rate and dissatisfaction with Mr. Bush is a testament to his conduct and leadership. Or is it a testament to your conduct and leadership? Keep in mind; his actions and vision are the commitments and responsibilities of the FBUSD School Board. Surprisingly, on May 28th, 2015, Superintendent Bush reported to the Fort Bragg Advocate; “When people don’t know what is going on, they worry a great deal and pretty soon things start to spin out of control.” Apparently you never followed up on Mr. Bush’s self-fulfilling prophecy. What specifically have you done as representatives of our children and community to address these obvious and predictable outcomes?
Although the reported disarray has been going on for well over a year, the accumulating community dissent recently caught the attention of School Board Member Sidney Smith-Tallman. She went on to actually voice her opposition to the opinions of parents and staff regarding their opinions of Mr. Bush; “Their words were their opinions, all sense of common decency and compassion not to mention actual facts left the room”. Let me remind you Ms. Smith-Tallman that you have repeatedly and effectively shut out all views of parents, students and employees. In the process of disqualifying all voices of dissent or general concern and reducing them to “words” or “opinions”, you have forgotten the fundamental principle that you are accountable to the community of Fort Bragg. Let me also remind you that under your leadership the district is in survival mode. Where is your leadership “decency” and appointed diligence to fix it?
Isn’t it obvious that the fundamental expectation for any student environment is safety? Yet, your repeated misjudgment, lack of effective and efficient structures, minimal accountability and lack of vision has undermined the ability for teachers to teach and students to effectively and safely learn. Furthermore, it is a foregone conclusion that when you delegitimize the voices of students, parents and the employees who come to our schools to learn and work, or attend board meetings to raise concerns, you create conditions for hazardous and unpredictable environments for learning and teaching. Basic routines and safety protocols are lost under shortsighted and wanton leadership. Orders and methodologies are compromised because without a master vision you lack priorities and transparency. It is inevitable and I would like to believe you know this. Apparently, you do and so much more, because on March 27th Jennifer Owen stated to a group of frustrated community members that the School Board knows more about what is going on in the district than anyone else.
Mrs. Owen; can you speak to district safety protocol? Because while the three of you were conducting the board meeting on April 7th complaining about disgruntled and concerned parents, you neglected to mention a very serious issue concerning a middle school student threatening to kill or cause harm to 98 other students posted on social media earlier that week. The social media post was up long enough for several users to view and long enough to be made aware that you did not follow basic safety/death threat protocol. Why? A threat is a threat and protocol is a responsibility. Mrs. Owen; Can you explain why the protocol was not thoroughly followed? Mrs. Owen; Why didn’t you use the April 7th board meeting to review safety protocol and evaluate your mistake? Mistakes and poor judgment occur under uncontrollable conditions. Was your complaining about concerned parents more important than student safety? Moreover, was it because in the words of School Board President; Gerald Matson shared the same week as the threat that you didn’t need, “a lot of drama at the middle school”? How are any of you an advocate for children?
How many upset parents, disgruntled employees, and bullied and scared students does it take to recognize that major aspects of this district are imploding? Are you prepared to address parents unwilling to send their students to certain sites due to your lack of leadership or safety issues? How can you possibly defend your inactions and require students to remain in the conditions you have failed to control? I would recommend that you post on the district website the district protocol for transferring students to Mendocino Unified or online education options.
Your inaction and repeated unwillingness to listen to the voices of parents, community members, students and employees exemplifies your leadership and it has compromised the safety of its students. There are major issues facing this district and you are not assertively addressing them. I want you to know that anyone who views your board meetings and who also takes the time to inform themselves about district issues understands your eye-rolling inaction as arrogant and negligent. You are also accountable to a community that knows how to speak truth to power.
To make matters worse, without any community input, you had the audacity to discreetly ask Mendocino County Board of Supervisors to delay your elections for an additional year. For the purpose of community validation and support, why wouldn’t you want an election sooner or within its cycle? Do you not believe in yourselves? The financial cost of poor educational leadership is far greater than an election. Our children deserve a majority voice. As legal as it is, it is harmful and unjust for our children.
I call for your resignation because you are unfit to do your job. You are unfit to lead the Fort Bragg Unified School district and to ensure the safety of its students. In fact: you are the primary threat to the education and safety of students in the Fort Bragg Unified School District. As such, I call upon you to resign immediately.
John Penez, Fort Bragg
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From: "Ray Duff"
Date: Thu, May 5, 2016 8:35 pm
To: "John Penez" and <BoardofTrustees@fbusd.us>
John, and all who care about the cost of education on the Coast of Mendocino:
This seems a perfect example of why it seems no longer necessary to have two separate school districts in 2016 on the Coast of Mendocino. How big are we? Why do we need in this time to have separate school districts? Can we on the Coast explore a way to find a school district that manages students and education in a rural area with a smaller population like than that of Ukiah Unified?
Ray Duff, Fort Bragg
MRC’S TAX REFUND DEMAND
by Malcolm Macdonald
A close inspection of the May 3rd agenda for Mendocino County's Board of Supervisors shows this item in the Consent Calendar: “Denial of Claim from Mendocino Redwood Company, LLC for a Refund of Property Taxes.”
In only the way minutes of a public meeting can do, one might think, by reading literally, that Mendocino Redwood Company, LLC (MRC) was asking for a refund of its entire property tax. What MRC wants refunded is the tax charged to them under Albion-Little River Fire Protection District's Measure M. The Measure M tax was passed by an overwhelming majority of the voters in the Albion-Little River Fire Protection District (ALRFPD) in 2014. The 2015-2016 tax year is the first in which the monies from Measure M are being collected as a part of property tax bills. MRC's portion of the Measure M tax is $19,668.36. MRC's letter to the Board of Supervisors asks for a refund of $9,334.18 for their first half of the yearly fire district tax.
As daily readers of the AVA online already know, despite odd protestations by MRC's legal representative, the Board of Supervisors denied MRC's claim, without prejudice.
According to county tax records MRC owns 8,269 acres within the Albion-Little River Fire Protection District. For comparison, yours truly is the trustee of a Non-Industrial Timber Management Plan (NTMP) property of 180 acres alongside the Albion River. I paid a little over $200 of my county property tax bill to ALRFPD.
So why is MRC objecting to the payment to the Albion-Little River Fire Protection District? Keep in mind this is a volunteer fire department. Therein lies one of the potential problems for MRC. It owns about 220,000 acres of timberland throughout Mendocino County, much of it within the boundaries of volunteer fire districts/departments. If MRC acquiesces to the ALRFPD tax, then an entity like the Comptche Volunteer Fire Department (CVFD) might be next to propose, and pass, a similar ballot measure. The CVFD covers acreage at least twice the size of the ALRFPD.
MRC's straightforward answer to why it opposes ALRFPD's Measure M comes in the supporting documents submitted to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors. In those documents one of MRC's attorneys, Stephen Johnson (of the firm Mannon, King, & Johnson) cites California Health and Safety Code 13811 as the primary objection to Measure M. This code states, “Territory which has been classified as a state responsibility area may be included in a [fire] district, except for commercial forest lands which are timbered lands declared to be in a state responsibility area [SRA]. The executive officer of the local agency formation commission shall give mailed notice of the commission's hearing on any proposal to include a state responsibility area in a district, whether by annexation or formation, to the Director of Forestry and Fire Protection. The commission may approve the proposal. Upon inclusion of a state responsibility area in a district, whether by formation or annexation, the state shall retain its responsibility for fire suppression and prevention on timbered, brush, and grass-covered lands. The district shall be responsible for fire suppression and prevention for structures in the area and may provide the same services in the state responsibility area as it provides in other areas of the district.”
Johnson's letter to the Board of Supervisors italicizes the phrase, “except for commercial forest lands which are timbered lands declared to be in a state responsibility area.”
Mendocino Redwood Company may have a valid legal point there. However, readers may want to recall that under the state responsibility areas (SRA), supposedly governed and protected by CalFire, MRC pays a grand total of $120 for Cal Fire's protection of its 220,000 acres of commercial timberland in Mendocino County. The Macdonald Ranch pays the same amount for Cal Fire protection of 180 acres, which is predominantly timberland as well. The catch is that SRA fees — note that the state doesn't want to call much of anything a tax — are based on dwellings. Therefore, the 180 acre Macdonald Ranch, with one house, pays the same amount in SRA fees as MRC's 220,000 acres of commercial timberland because there is only one habitable dwelling on MRC's property.
MRC is paying $120 annually for SRA protection of its massive acreage, but wants to be free of any taxation or fees charged by volunteer fire departments/districts because Health and Safety Code 13811 says those volunteer fire districts lie within SRAs, thus exempting commercial timberlands.
Joseph Heller may be dead, but Catch-22 lives on.
Attorney Johnson's letter to the Board of Supervisors was dated December 8, 2015, a full month before the ALRFPD held its own tax assessment appeals hearings. At that meeting, John Andersen, the heir apparent to Mike Jani in the forestry division of MRC, briefly cited the “commercial timberlands are within SRA, not local fire districts” claim. The ALRFPD board, with little discussion, voted to deny MRC's appeal by a unanimous vote.
The county denial is just another step in the process. It allows MRC to state in court that it has exhausted all avenues within the local political system. It is also apparent that MRC will likely spend more on legal fees than the $19,668 yearly fire tax imposed by the Albion Little River Fire Protection District.
As stated before, MRC may be looking long term here. If other volunteer fire departments like Comptche (it is safe to say that members of the Comptche fire board are at least considering a similar measure) start taxing MRC by the acre, it could add up to a sizable amount in the long run; an amount MRC might want to nip in the bud via lawsuit.
Of course, there's another reason for MRC to deny money to our local volunteer fire departments. Mendocino Redwood Company and its companion corporation, Humboldt Redwood Co., are owned by members of the Fisher family. Along with owning the Gap Inc., purveyors of cheaply made clothing through brands like Old Navy and Banana Republic, members of the Fisher family also possess a controlling interest in the Oakland Athletics baseball club.
The Oakland Athletics routinely rank in the bottom five of major league baseball payrolls. This year they rank 27th out of 30 teams in total payroll. If you look at median salary the A's are dead last. That median line is important because the A's routinely trade away higher salaried players in mid-season for inexpensive minor league prospects. If an Oakland Athletic player is showing signs of true stardom for a season or two, boom, they're gone. In 2013 and 2014 A's third baseman Josh Donaldson finished in the top ten in voting for the American League's Most Valuable Player Award. Donaldson was headed for a big salary payday. See ya, traded to the Toronto Blue Jays, where Donaldson proceeded to win the MVP award last season. Oakland's general manager, Billy Beane, has gained renown for his so-called “Moneyball” method of running the team, but part of Beane's wheeler dealer role has been forced on him by the consistent cheapskate mentality of ownership. Star players have been traded or let go to free agency from the time of Jason Giambi, Tim Hudson, and Barry Zito on to Gio Gonzalez (presently among the National League leaders in earned run average [ERA]) and Donaldson.
In short, the Fisher family is loathe to spend big bucks long term. They'd rather shovel a healthy sum to their legal team now than pay their share in volunteer fire department taxes for years to come.
(Malcolm Macdonald's novel, Outlaw Ford, can be found, reasonably priced, at his website: malcolmmacdonaldoutlawford.com.)
LAST WEEK there was a brush fire at the neo-hobo camp south and a jog east of Fort Bragg's Noyo Bridge. It's a beautiful spot overlooking the picturesque Noyo Harbor. If the city established a sanctioned campground at the site the city would never lack for paying customers. As is, well, the "homeless" have open air rooms with million dollar views.
"HOMELESS" is how Mendocino County (and America) defines the free range drunks, drug addicts, petty criminals, and untreated mentally ill who live outside. None of the boys and the occasional girl enjoying the Noyo overlook, for instance, one or more of whom undoubtedly started last week's fire, is homeless out of misfortune stemming from the ruthlessness of free enterprise. They are homeless because their behavior is beyond even the loosest standard of social acceptability.
THE CLINICALLY insane among the homeless should be hospitalized and treated. The drunks and drug addicted should also be sequestered in hospital settings that might wean them from the substances that have destroyed them. Instead, we have an array of non-profits run by highly paid "helping professionals" that provide just enough sustenance to ensure that the ever increasing numbers of people unable or unwilling to help themselves are allowed to destroy the public commons.
THE LEAST mercenary charities like Ukiah's Plowshares and Fort Bragg's Hospitality House could do for the communities they are presently helping only to diminish would be to require that the "homeless" earn their freebies by working as public clean-up crews a half-day or so, at the end of which they get a free meal chit. A requirement like that would send the most shameless deadbeats on the road outtahere. In lieu of mandated treatment for craziness, drug addiction and alcoholism, which we are unlikely to ever see again in this country, small towns like Fort Bragg and Ukiah ought to get at least a little something in return for the conversion of their towns to open air outpatient clinics. No work, no food.
WHEN THE 9 MENDO judges pushing the new County Courthouse nobody but them needs or wants, they suggest that it won't cost anything, like the hundred mil the thing will cost — we predict it will cost more like $2 mil by the time their majesties are ensconced in it — falls from the sky. Most of the money in fact is indeed public money derived from court fees, traffic fines and fines imposed by the courts for this or that infraction.
THESE FINES and fees have become exorbitant, and a lot of them are obtained by jailing people (holding for ransom, essentially) while they scramble to pay them. Or simply remain in jail until the debt is written off.
EVERY DAY there are several people booked into the Mendo County Jail for "probation violation" or “failure to appear” or “failure to pay.” Which means they haven't paid a ticket or fine. Shouldn't happen.
A MARCH 16, 2016, “Dear Colleague” letter from the Office for Access to Justice of the US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, addressed to state and local courts lays it out: “Recent years have seen increased attention on the illegal enforcement of fines and fees in certain jurisdictions around the country — often with respect to individuals accused of misdemeanors, quasi-criminal ordinance violations, or civil infractions. Typically, courts do not sentence defendants to incarceration in these cases; monetary fines are the norm. Yet the harm caused by unlawful practices in these jurisdictions can be profound. Individuals may confront escalating debt; face repeated, unnecessary incarceration for nonpayment despite posing no danger to the community; lose their jobs; and become trapped in cycles of poverty that can be nearly impossible to escape. Furthermore, in addition to being unlawful, to the extent that these practices are geared not toward addressing public safety, but rather toward raising revenue, they can cast doubt on the impartiality of the tribunal and erode trust between local governments and their constituents.”
THIS LETTER cites a Supreme Court ruling that the due process and equal protection principles of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibit “punishing a person for his poverty” and further insists that “the use of arrest warrants as a means of debt collection, rather than in response to public safety needs, creates unnecessary risk that individuals’ constitutional rights will be violated. Warrants must not be issued for failure to pay without providing adequate notice to a defendant, a hearing where the defendant’s ability to pay is assessed, and other basic procedural protections. … When people are arrested and detained on these warrants, the result is an unconstitutional deprivation of liberty.”
CINCO DE MAYO is the kind of ethnic celebration the Santa Rosa Press Democrat can really get behind...
Headline: “Where to find the best margaritas just in time for Cinco de Mayo”
RECOMMENDED READING, kind of. Although most of us know generally what happened to the California Indians, few of us have gotten the grisly specifics as scrupulously documented by Benjamin Madley in "An American Genocide — the United States and the California Indian Catastrophe."
HERE IN MENDO COUNTY, site of the state’s most appalling and systematic slaughters, the prevailing impression is probably the Grace Hudson Museum in Ukiah, repository of the happy papoose painting brilliantly rendered by the eponymous Grace herself. The net impression is, "Once upon a time, long ago and way before State Street and the Ukiah City Council, a race of smiling brown people lived here. They were very good at making baskets. And then, like, they, like, kinda disappeared."
THE UNTOLD part of the unhappy first interface between ol' Whitey and Mendocino County's Native Americans that frosts me every time I read it is Hastings School of Law, origins of. Every day we read about campus demos demanding the removal of statues memorializing men who did bad things to black people and Indians. Why Serranus C. Hastings is still honored as, of all things, a law school, ignores his true legacy as mass murderer. Would the University of California call its hospital the Joe Goebbels School of Medicine?
FROM the chapter of An American Genocide titled Perfecting the Killing Machine: "…Serranus C. Hastings gave Governor Weller a petition drawn up by Round Valley colonists. It requested militia support against local Yuki Indians… Major Johnson reported to Weller that 'the Yukas have not been, for the last two years, nor are they now, at open war with the whites; but the whites have waged a relentless war of extermination against the Yukas’."
"AS WELLER pondered his options, stockman Walter S. Jarboe organized 'the Eel River Rangers.' Jarboe engaged men to hunt Indians, promising them payment from the state, or if Sacramento failed to pay, from the operation's extremely wealthy mastermind, Judge Hastings, who owned an Eden Valley ranch and may have wanted to eliminate the Yuki in order to protect his stock…" [Jarboe lived on to become Ukiah's first cop.]
THE ABOVE IS A SANITIZED version of Hastings’ role in Jarboe's year-long campaign to ethnically cleanse the Eel River drainage. In living fact, Hastings, California's first state Supreme Court judge, had appropriated all of Eden Valley (south and a little west of Covelo) where he raised fine horses, having disappeared the native people who had made the valley their home for aeons prior to Hastings' catastrophic arrival.
HASTINGS EMPLOYED a 6'7" psychopath called Texan Boy Hall as his ranch foreman at Eden Valley. Hall had promised a group of Indian men that if they carried Hastings' household goods from Mendocino to Eden Valley the Indians would get the rough cloth shirts they coveted. Humping the judge's stuff over the old Indian trails from the Coast through what is now Laytonville and on over to Round Valley and then Eden Valley would not have been an easy gig. But when the Indians had completed the move and Hastings had his ranch house nicely furnished, Texan Boy Hall told the Indians, "Thanks, fellas, but no shirts. Beat it."
IN RETALIATION, the Indians killed Hastings' brood stallion. Hastings quickly got his pal, Governor Weller, to hire Jarboe and his "rangers" to kill every Indian they could find from Covelo to Humboldt County.
UPON HASTINGS DEATH in 1900, the old killer donated a million dollars to the University of California. The university then named its law school after him.
REMEMBER THIS RECENT PRESS RELEASE?
Appointment Of Tammy Moss Chandler As Director, And Anne C. Molgaard As Chief Operating Officer For The Mendocino County Health And Human Services Agency: Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Carmel J. Angelo, has announced the appointment of Tammy Moss Chandler as the County’s new Health and Human Services Agency Director. Ms. Chandler has most recently served as Assistant Director of the Placer County Health and Human Services Agency, Assistant Director of Health Services in Sonoma County, and Public Health Director in Merced County. Ms. Chandler has a Masters of Public Health and Health Education degree from San Jose State University, and a Masters of Business Administration and Accounting Degree from Regis University in Denver, Colorado. … Local resident and well known children’s advocate Anne C. Molgaard has also been appointed as the County’s Health and Human Services Agency Chief Operations Officer. Ms. Molgaard is currently the Executive Director for FIRST 5 Mendocino and has served in that position for over 15 years [where no actual “help” was provided to any actual “children” because the staffers at First 5 take annual $1 million plus of cigarette taxes to pay themselves their generous salaries before any of it reaches any actual “children” — the model of “help” which permeates Mendocino County helping organizations.] Prior to FIRST 5, she was the Executive Director of E Center in Mendocino County [whatever the E Center was]. Ms. Molgaard has a Doctorate of Law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of Law in San Francisco [the same law school mentioned above named after the famous Indian killer], and a Bachelor’s degree in History, Political Science and Spanish from UC Santa Barbara. “There is no more important work than caring for each other. Becoming part of the Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency team will require smarts, lots of listening, and a positive attitude. I look forward to this challenge,” stated Ms. Molgaard.
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Agenda Item 4(i) from Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting:
“In order to establish an organizational structure appropriate for the Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA), Human Resources is recommending the addition of a Chief Operations Officer that will report directly to the HHSA Director, and oversee the day-to-day operations of the Agency. The corresponding job description has been attached for reference. As a result of this addition, it is recommended that Assistant HHSA Director, Position No. 3522, be deleted.”
Recommended Action: Adopt Resolution authorizing the adoption of Chief Operations Officer within the Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA), and amending the Position Allocation Table as follows: HHSA, Budget Unit 5020 – add one (1) Chief Operations Officer; delete one (1) Assistant HHSA Director; and authorize Chair to sign same.
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The Attached COO Job Description for Chief Operations Officer – HHSA (Ms. Molgaard)
General Description: Under administrative direction, to serve as principal assistant to the Director, Health and Human Services Agency, to assist in the overall management of activities of the Agency. The Chief Operations Officer assists with planning, organizing, and oversight of the department-wide operations and services of the Health and Human Services Agency including comprehensive and integrated health, mental health, drug and alcohol, public assistance, and social services programs and related administrative services; coordinates assigned activities with other departments and outside agencies; provides highly responsible and complex administrative support to the Director of Health & Human Services Agency. Oversees the development and implementation of policies and procedures for Agency programs in accordance with state and federal regulations. Provides direct supervision of Assistant HHSA Directors and other positions as assigned. Acts for the Agency Director in his/her absence.
* * *
The job description goes on like this for three single-spaced pages.
But we could not find a single reference to “reporting” to the HHSA Director, the CEO or the Board of Supervisors.
However, among the requirements for this demanding position we see that “The employee frequently is required to walk; sit for extended periods, and use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools, or controls. The employee is occasionally required to stand and reach with hands and arms.”
* * *
On Tuesday, Supervisor John McCowen wanted to make sure he understood the proposal:
“Item 4(i) is a resolution authorizing the adoption of the Chief Operations Officer within HHSA and amending the position allocation table to delete one HHSA director and add the COO position. So I had a series of e-mails with staff to clarify. I see that Human Resources Director Dunn is here. So I will state what my understanding of what this action is. So we are the deleting the current Assistant HHSA director because the job title no longer covers the duties of the individuals who currently hold that title. We currently have two individuals who are Assistant Directors but they are not in the succession of command for the department. The Chief Operations Officer will be the second in command of the Department. The intention going forward is to create three new Assistant Director positions. But they will have a different description document — well, excuse me, I believe it is the intention to create three Branch Directors, so we see that the expert is coming forward. I was doing alright until then, right?”
Human Resources Director Heidi Dunn: “Well, we are not actually deleting the Assistant Directors, we are deleting the positions in the position allocation table. The Assistant Directors have been moved to another position number and the one that we are deleting is to add the COO position. We are not removing any of the Assistant Directors and the plan is to continue to work on the position allocation table of the agency which needs some work and to correct the reporting structure, we will be looking at the job descriptions of the assistant directors and they will be replacing the Branch Directors. That's the big picture.”
McCowen: “So, again, to recap, we had one Assistant Director position. At one point recently we had three assistant directors.”
McCowen: “So we are going to delete the Assistant Director and we're going to create three new Assistant Directors positions.”
Dunn: “Positions, yes.”
McCowen: That will replace the Branch Directors positions.”
McCowen: “And they will presumably have responsibility for mental health, social services, public health?”
Dunn: “I believe that is the plan. We're waiting for the new director to come on so that she can work on this with us, but yes, that is the plan to have the three directors for the three branches.”
McCowen: “And the fact that we have three Assistant Directors filling one Assistant Director position underscores the need for the Chief Operations Officer?”
McCowen: “Thank you.”
* * *
According to Transparent California, Ms. Chandler’s predecessor, Ms. Stacey Cryer, was paid just over $125,000 per year with benefits bringing her total draw to $195k per year in 2013. Of course, Ms. Chandler will be paid more than that which we estimate at around $140k per year with a total draw of well over $200k per year. As HHSA COO, Ms. Molgaard will get a bit less than $140k per year and also a total draw of over $200k per year. Then the three “Branch Directors” will get about what Ms. Cryer got at about $125k per year each with total draws of upwards of $200k each with benefits. And all of them will accrue the County’s very generous pensions on top of all of that. So that’s well over $1 million just for the top five people in Mendo’s incompetently managed and essentially unaccountable Health and Human Services Agency.
* * *
And there you see again Mendo’s Top 5 Helpers Helping Themselves First — better known as: the real “First 5.”
* * *
PS. At the last Behavioral Health Advisory Board meeting as reported in the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill’s (Mendo Branch) newsletter: “According to 2nd District Supervisor John McCowen, the county spent $25,000 to hire the firm Alliance to conduct a national recruitment [for a new mental health director]. Jenine Miller, who had been deputy director of behavioral health services for the county, was found to be the most qualified of the prospective candidates [to replace Tom Pinizzotto as Mental Health Director], McCowen said.”
THERE WENT another $25k for nothing.
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 5, 2016
RENE ADSERO, Clearlake/Ukiah. Controlled substance, receiving stolen property, conspiracy.
LUIS ALVAREZ, Ukiah. Pot cultivation, sale.
ADRIAN BRUMLEY, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
CLORISSA DENNISON, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
KEITH DRIVER, Ukiah. Petty theft, failure to appear, probation revocation.
JESUS HERRERA, Ukiah. Drunk in public, parole revocation.
SEAN HOLT, Ukiah. Pot cultivation, sale, stun gun, probation revocation.
JEFFREY MCDINE, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public.
JAMES MORRIS, Willits. Under influence, parole violation.
CHERRI ROBERTS, Ukiah. Under influence, trespassing.
ANTHONY ROGERS, Sacramento/Ukiah. Drug possession for sale, proceeds from drug transactions.
LOGAN SCHULZE, Willits. Honey oil extraction, controlled substance, probation revocation.
JOSHUA THOMAS, Covelo. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, false imprisonment, obtaining/using someone else’s ID, controlled substance, criminal threats, conspiracy.
SPRING TIME IN COVELO
On May 2, 2016, at about 8:25 PM, Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to the 76000 block of Henderson Lane in Covelo regarding an assault with a knife. Upon arrival Deputies determined that Oscar Lopez, 36, of Covelo and Joshua Thomas, 32, of Covelo had forcibly entered a female victim’s bedroom at the residence and started to choke her. The female victim was able to break free of the male suspects at which time she ran towards the front door of the residence. However, her escape route was blocked by both Lopez and Thomas. The female victim started to scream for help, at which time Thomas came up from behind her with a knife threatening to cut her throat if she continued to scream. The female victim then grabbed the knife, pushing it away from her throat; causing a cut to a finger on her left hand. The female victim was able to escape by running out the back door of the residence. It should be noted that the female victim in this matter refused medical attention. Lopez was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment and conspiracy to commit a criminal act. Lopez was booked into the Mendocino County jail where he is currently being held on $30,000 bail. Thomas was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment, conspiracy to commit a criminal act and an outstanding arrest warrant for fraud. He was booked into the Mendocino County jail where he is currently being held on $55,000 bail.
(Sheriff’s Press Release)
Like a good cup of coffee....
Mocha is a favorite of shelter staff and volunteers. She has one of the sweetest souls you will ever meet. While she is a strong dog who looks fierce, she is mellow, gentle and easy to walk on a leash. Although she loves to get out for adventures, especially her daily walks, she is also content to settle at your feet or curl up next to you on the couch. She is cautious when meeting other dogs, so a meet and greet with any new canines in her new home is recommended. This lovely is ready and eager to be your best friend! Mocha is 66 pounds, and 2 years old. Check out all the dogs and cats at the Ukiah Shelter at www.mendoanimalshelter.com.
A READER WRITES: Am I the only person who has noticed that all the dogs the Ukiah animal shelter has posted on your website for adoption are pit bulls or what look like pit bulls? And they’re all posed in very active, not to say aggressive, poses? I’m as friendly and supportive of animals and their adoption as anyone else I know, but there’s no way I or anyone I know would ever adopt one of these dogs-in-a-poke. They look like abandoned pot dogs (or, to be generous, perhaps the offspring of abandoned pot dogs). I do not support my property taxes going to subsidize the irresponsibility of pot growers who abandon their dogs after a couple of harvests. And I’m sorry, but the “no kill” policy should not apply to these unadoptable beasts, even if they do seem nice to their caretakers and would probably be nice to anyone brave enough to adopt them, maybe even the next pot grower who will then re-abandon them. Then they’ll (re)join their fellow wild pit bulls terrorizing the neighbors and anyone else who gets too close to their owner’s pot garden. How about advertising some tamer, more adoptable breeds? Or cats! I like cats! Fair play for cats!
THE SAN ANDREAS FAULT is 'locked, loaded and ready to go': Experts warn California to brace itself for a deadly earthquake
Californians are being told to brace for 'the big one' - a massive earthquake that typically occurs every 400 to 600 years and could leave thousands dead or homeless.
An earthquake scientist has added to claims the dreaded event is overdue, warning the San Andreas fault is 'locked, loaded and ready to roll'.
The fault is the longest in California and one of the state's most dangerous.
Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Centre, said the fault has been 'too quiet' since 1857.
This is when the last big quake to strike a southern section rippled from Monterey County to the San Gabriel Mountains near Los Angeles with a magnitude of 7.9 on the Richter scale.
Speaking at the National Earthquake Conference in Long Beach, Mr Jordan said: 'The springs on the San Andreas system have been wound very, very tight and the southern San Andreas fault, in particular, looks like it's locked, loaded and ready to go.'
He also said other sections of the 810 mile-long (1,304km) fault are overdue for a quake too, the Los Angeles Times reported.
In San Bernardino County, the fault hasn't moved much since an earthquake in 1812, with a southeast section near Salton Sea has been quiet since around 1690.
While scientists say the Pacific plate moving northwest of the North American plate should move 16ft (4.8 metres) every 100 years to relieve stress, this hasn't happened at San Andreas so stress has been building at points along the fault for more than a century.
He said it is important the state prepares to be rocked by a quake as strong as 8 on the Richter scale and praised Los Angeles' plans to reinforce older concrete buildings and the city's aqueduct and telecommunications networks.
While the fault doesn't run under the city, a mega quake is expected to rock it, according to simulations.
A report by the US Geological Survey in 2008 warned a magnitude 7.8 earthquake could result in 1,800 deaths, 50,000 injuries and $200 billion (£138 billion) of damage.
Such devastation could be brought about by a strong quake in just two minutes, striking in the Coachella Valley, for example, which could also shake areas where sediments trap waves, such as east Los Angeles.
The damage caused by a similar strength quake was last seen in 1857, when an earthquake originating in Parkfield in Monterey County travelled south along the fault for 185 miles (300km), and then east from LA.
It was so powerful, lasting between one and three minutes, that it liquefied soil, as well as destroying buildings.
Experts at the Southern California Earthquake Centre used a supercomputer in 2010 to simulate a magnitude 8 quake also starting in Monterey County.
It matched reports of devastation more than a century ago, heading to the Mexican border.
It predicted such a large quake would hit LA and the San Fernando Valley hard because of soft soil in these valleys trapping waves.
In March, a geophysicist warned the long-overdue earthquake set to hit southern California could be far worse than expected.
Julian Lozos, an assistant geophysics professor at California State University, claimed there is a strong chance this quake will coincide with one along the adjacent San Jacinto fault line, which runs through more heavily-populated cities.
If true, it would mean authorities have dramatically underestimated how many people will be affected by the natural disaster.
Evidence uncovered by the expert suggests the terrifying scenario occurred in 1812, devastating the region between San Diego and San Buenvaventura.
If that happened once, Dr Lozos said, there is a strong chance it can happen again.
'Looking at old earthquakes in general is really a good way to figure out what faults are capable of doing,' Dr Lozos wrote in his paper published on Saturday in the journal Science Advances.
Previously, geologists thought a quake shook San Jacinto shortly before the devastating San Andreas quake on 8 December, 1812.
However, Dr Lozos concluded the rupture along the San Jacinto fault line was in fact the starting point.
He analysed historical data on the 1812 San Andreas rupture, testing four different scenarios of where it could have started.
He believes it started in Mystic Lake, ripping north up the San Jacinto fault line until it jumped up into the dry creek that runs parallel.
Though the findings cannot be proved definitively, it presents a new element for scientists to acknowledge as they attempt to advise the West Coast on how to brace for the quake.
Indeed, University of California professor Lisa Grant Ludwig said the region is not prepared for such a situation.
'In southern California, much of our infrastructure was built to withstand a rupture of either the San Andreas or San Jacinto faults, but not both at the same time,' she explained.
What Is The 'Big One'?
The 'Big One' is a hypothetical earthquake of magnitude 8 or greater that is expected to happen along the San Andreas fault.
Such a quake is expected to produce devastation to human civilization within about 50-100 miles of the quake zone, especially in urban areas like Palm Springs, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I’m flummoxed by friends who exclusively feed their children organic food but suddenly are agnostic on GMOs and which pesticide companies give to which candidates. Previously, I might have elided over these unholy corporate ties, too, as being unavoidable. That maybe as a woman, Hillary has to play rough and get the money where she can in order to stay in the game. But I don’t feel that way any more, because Senator Sanders has shown he can actually run a campaign without taking corporate money or having mainstream media attention. What about equal pay? Looking at the numbers, Hillary plays her female staff less than the men, according to this report while Bernie Sanders pays his female staff more than men – a distinctive data point the media seemed to have missed completely.”
"THE CRISIS consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear. The old world is dying away, and the new world struggles to come forth: Now is the time of monsters."
— Antonio Gramsci
These words, penned down by Antonio Gramsci in 1930 in one of Mussolini's fascist prison cells, have an eerie resonance today.
CHUCKLE FOR A RAINY DAY
HUMBOLDT COUNTY DRUG TASK FORCE PRESS RELEASE:
On May 5, 2016 the Humboldt County Drug Task Force with assistance from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, Siskyou County Unified Major Investigations Team, Mendocino County Major Crimes Task Force, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, California Highway Patrol Warrant Service Team and the Drug Enforcement Administration served seven Humboldt County Superior Court search warrants.
The search warrants were related to an ongoing investigation into a narcotics trafficking and distribution operation being conducted in the Scotia, Rio Dell and Fortuna areas. As a result of the warrants approximately three pounds of methamphetamine and one pound of heroin were seized. Along with this was evidence of sales including scales, packaging material and prepackaged narcotics. Additionally, Agents seized over $155,000 in U.S. currency as proceeds of narcotics sales and a .38 caliber semi-automatic pistol.
Four individuals were arrested in connection with this investigation:
33 year old Jose Miguel Cabrera Miranda was arrested and booked for possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance for sale and maintaining a residence for the purposes of distributing controlled substances.
39 year old Adriana Rodriguez Sanchez was arrested and booked for criminal conspiracy, possession of a controlled substance for sale and possession of a narcotic for sale.
30 year old Juan Carlos Cabrera was arrested and booked for criminal conspiracy, possession of a controlled substance for sale and possession of a narcotic for sale.
21 year old David Miranda Cruz was arrested and booked for possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance for sale, criminal conspiracy and maintaining a residence for the purposes of distributing a controlled substance.
While Agents were conducting their investigation at a residence in the 300 block of Dixie Street in Rio Dell another subject approached the residence on foot. He was identified as 33 year old Luis Alberto Rodriguez Sanchez and the Agents learned he had a felony warrant for his arrest. He was arrested and booked for his warrant.
This investigation is ongoing and future arrest are anticipated. Anyone with information related to this investigation or other narcotics related crimes are encouraged to call the Humboldt County Drug Task Force at 707-444-8095 or the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Tip Line at 707-268-2539.
SUDDEN OAK DEATH has killed a million trees in California, and scientists say it’s basically unstoppable
by Jeff Costello
Don’t try to get religion out of politics. Politics IS religion. Hillary believers, bah humbug. They’re having fun putting Bernie on the rack. I have a facebook “friend” – well, son of a friend really – who kneels at the altar of Trump. Does this crap never end? “You’re nobody in America if you’re not on TV.” So said the female character in the movie “To Die For.” She wanted to be a Hillary or a Trump. At the end she winds up dead floating under the ice in a frozen pond.
In 1961 Newton Minow, chairman of the FCC, called television a "vast wasteland." It's way worse now, could he have imagined Fox News, or Trump with his "You're fired" routine?
A facebook post points out: "Have you noticed that all the people who said God told them to run for president have now quit?" Atheists are quite active on social media. An old friend from the 60's is part of this.
He's also, while preferring Bernie, on the Hillary-as-lesser-evil train.
This guy made good in the 80's and now lives in Beverly Hills. In Hillary's case, lesser evil translates to "will do more to protect my wealth." In a way I can't blame him. He's living the good life. And so the atheist believes in HRC. I've declined to mention this seeming contradiction to him, it wouldn't help. He's one of a few "harmless" rich people I know. Another one collects guitars and hires people to grow pot, which he smokes all day every day.
But the real phony-baloneys like Huckabee or Cruz with their "God told me" — and guns, bibles-over-constitution and flags - are dangerously full of shit. Even when God fails to make them president, they never give it up.
They apparently live by "There's one born every minute" and "Never give a sucker an even break," but haven't noticed that mega-church attendees aren't the only voters out there.
Thanks to smart-phone video and ubiquitous big-brother surveillance cameras, it's now more difficult to not be on TV than on. All the nobodies are now little tiny somebodies, getting their Andy Warhol 15 minutes. And then, dead under the ice. It takes incessant coverage on TV to be a real "somebody." This is how we got Hillary and Trump. Do you believe it?
TRUMP'S BASIC ARGUMENT is the same one every successful authoritarian movement in recent Western history has made: that the regular guy has been screwed by a conspiracy of incestuous elites. The Bushes are half that conspiratorial picture, fronts for a Republican Party establishment and whose sum total of accomplishments, dating back nearly 30 years, are two failed presidencies, the sweeping loss of manufacturing jobs, and a pair of pitiable Middle Eastern military adventures — the second one achieving nothing but dead American kids and Junior's re-election.
— Matt Taibbi
OFF HAND COMMENT by Mr. Cruz to Carly Fiorina before Indiana primary: “As soon as I lose Indiana I will announce my cabinet members.”
U.S. TAXPAYERS ARE PAYING LION'S SHARE FOR BROWN'S DELTA TUNNELS
by Dan Bacher
How would you like to pay for a massive government public works project that will drive Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta smelt and other fish species to extinction but won't create one single drop of new water?
In fact, you and every other taxpayer in this country are already being billed for this giant boondoggle, Governor Jerry Brown's Delta Tunnels, whether you like or not.
Federal taxpayers, not the federal water contractors, are paying the lion’s hare for Governor Jerry Brown’s Delta Tunnels, a coalition of environmental and fishing groups revealed on April 28. The water will be exported for use for corporate agribusiness interests, Southern California water agencies and oil companies conducting fracking and extreme oil extraction methods.
In response to a January 25, 2016 letter sent by conservation groups, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Regional Director David G. Murillo has confirmed that over $86.9 million of the costs for the Delta Tunnels have been billed to federal taxpayers to date!
The alarming data was revealed in a news release, including a copy of the letter, issued by Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta; Carolee Krieger, California Water Impact Network; Conner Everts, Southern CA Watershed Alliance & Environmental Water Caucus (EWC); and Tim Sloane, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation letter affirmed the tunnels project is not authorized by Congress and they have no plans to conduct the required feasibility study or pay the construction costs which will more than double the current State Water Project debt to be paid by ratepayers and property taxpayers if permitted, according to the groups.
In the letter, Murillo wrote:
"Due to the State separating the BDCP into two programs and due to the fact that Reclamation does not have construction authority for the new conveyance facilities, Reclamation does not anticipate formally submitting a feasibility report to Congress.
Currently, there are no plans for Reclamation to fund the construction of California WaterFix, nor provide financial assistance agreements to provide funding for construction.”
Murillo also divulged that the federal contractors paid zero money of the $73,733,099 of federal dollars granted to the Department of Water Resources (DWR) for the Delta Tunnels Plan through FAA #1 and #2.
"The federal CVP contractors contributed $0. The funding source was Federal appropriations," said Murillo.
In addition, he said, "Westlands Water District paid $0. The funding source was Federal appropriations."
The Environmental Water Caucus, along with several of its member groups who sought answers regarding this gouging of the federal taxpayers, called on the State Auditor to investigate why state laws requiring federal contractors such as Westlands Water District are “shirking their responsibilities to pay for the water export tunnels environmental review .”
“In response to our questions, it is clear Congress and the American people are being misled," stated Tim Sloane, PCFFA Executive Director. "While our salmon heritage hangs on the brink of extinction and toxic algae blooms build, funds to protect fish and wildlife and restore the Delta Estuary have been diverted to fund water tunnel export plans to take even more essential fresh water from this critical estuary.”
"As federal investigators probe the California Department of Water Resources overcharges, double billings and $300+ per hour charges to the federal government for the water export tunnels, the Bureau of Reclamation's admission that federal contractors such as Westlands, have not paid their required 50% share of the tunnels in accordance with state law, needs to be investigated," asserted Conner Everts, Executive Director of the Southern California Watershed Alliance and the Environmental Water Caucus.
"How have the federal contractors been shirking their duties under state law to pay for the CA WaterFix environmental analysis, while the state contractors (ratepayers) are pouring money into the effort (over $60 million from MWD alone, to date)?" he asked.
“The largest irrigation district in the nation which receives 100’s of millions in taxpayer subsidies, Westlands Water District wants the nation to not only give them a permanent water contract for free with virtually no strings as to how they will contain their toxic groundwater pollution, now we find out they have been gaming their responsibility to pay for these expensive tunnels to export even more water to these toxic lands,” explained Carolee Krieger, Executive Director of California Water Impact Network. “Continuing to send more water to irrigate these toxic soils at taxpayer expense makes no sense.”
“State ratepayers and taxpayers are footing the bills along with folks in New Jersey, while Westlands, the largest irrigation district in the nation, funds phony advertising campaigns hiding behind their hard working farm workers, to solicit even more taxpayer dollars to fund this expensive risky tunneling project,” stated Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla of Restore the Delta. “We are calling on the State Auditor to investigate.”
The Department of Interior’s Inspector General in April opened an investigation into the possible illegal use of millions of dollars by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) in preparing the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Delta Tunnels Plan. (http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/12/feds-to-probe-misuse-of-state-funds-for-jerry-browns-delta-tunnels/)
“These funds have been spent on the environmental studies –NEPA review—and hired contractors paid by DWR with Federal Grants," the groups stated. "These federal grants are under investigation for a variety of reasons—double billing, failing to follow federal procedures such as competitive bidding and questions about “reasonable and prudent” charges among others."
The investigation resulted from a complaint the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed on the behalf of a Bureau of Reclamation employee on February 19, 2016.
Yes, we have a real "win-win" scenario here, don't we. Salmon, steelhead and Delta smelt will be exterminated, not one drop of new water will be created, and the taxpayers will be hosed! And it's all to create a "legacy project" for Jerry Brown, one of the worst governors for fish, water and the environment in recent California history, at the same time that a federal investigation of illegal use of funds for the Delta Tunnels by the Brown administration moves forward!
Questions the State Auditor Should Ask
The Reclamation response to the NGO letter raises additional questions, especially for the State Auditor Elaine Howle, according to the groups. For example:
- How have the federal contractors been shirking their duties under state law to pay for the WaterFix environmental analysis, while the state contractors are pouring money into the effort (over $60 million from MWD alone, to date)?
- Are Federal CVP Contractors Paying Their 50% for the Tunnels Planning and Environmental Review? The letter confirms federal taxpayers have been billed more than $86.9M for the Delta water export tunnels.
- It appears State Law, California Water Code Section 85089 is being circumvented by Westlands and other federal contractors, Why?
- Recall Water Code Section 85089 requires….Construction of a new Delta conveyance facility shall not be initiated until the persons or entities that contract to receive water from the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project or a joint powers authority representing those entities have made arrangements or entered into contracts to pay for both of the following: (a) The costs of the environmental review, planning, design,…
Background: Tunnels Plan Just One of Brown's Terrible Environmental Policies
While the Delta Tunnels plan poses a huge threat to the ecosystems of the Sacramento, San Joaquin, Klamath and Trinity river systems, it’s not the only environmentally devastating policy promoted by Governor Jerry Brown. Brown is promoting the expansion of fracking and extreme oil extraction methods in California and is overseeing water policies that are driving winter run-Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt and other species closer and closer to extinction.
Jerry Brown also oversaw the "completion" of so-called “marine protected areas” under the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, overseen by a Big Oil lobbyist and other corporate interests, in December 2012. These faux “Yosemites of the Sea” fail to protect the ocean from oil drilling, fracking, pollution, corporate aquaculture and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and gathering.
As if those examples of Brown’s tainted environmental legacy weren’t enough, Brown has promoted carbon trading and REDD policies that pose an enormous threat to Indigenous Peoples around the globe; has done nothing to stop clearcutting of forests by Sierra-Pacific and other timber companies; presided over record water exports from the Delta in 2011; and oversaw massive fish kills of Sacramento splittail and other species in 2011.
While Brown spouts "green" rhetoric when he flies off to climate conference and and issues proclamations about John Muir Dayand Earth Day, his actions and policies regarding fish, water and the environment are among the worst of any Governor in recent California history.
For more information about the real environmental record of Governor JerryBrown, go to: www.dailykos.com/...