- Michel Salgues
- Little Dog
- Appeal Limbo
- Hospitality House Challenged
- National Anthem
- Omar Hour
- Yesterday's Catch
- Cain Farewell
- No Change
- Empty Rhetoric
- SNWMF 2018
- No Quiz
- Kittel Band
- Domestic Violence
- Fish & Game Grants
- County Vacancies
- New Behavioral Health Director
MICHEL SALGUES has died. A former resident of the Anderson Valley where he managed the Roederer Winery for many years, 'Michel,' as he was most commonly known and addressed, is survived by his wife Sylvie, children Anne, Matt, and Emma. His death comes as a shock to us here at the ava. We were close to the Salgues family with whom we shared many happy occasions. Michel was a brilliant man who, after he retired from Roederer, made a second career as a consultant to wineries in many parts of the world. We're hardly alone in mourning his loss, but Michel's death has left us terribly saddened. His is a death in the family.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “I got some serious negative incoming today. I asked why everyone was so glum. They said a friend of theirs had died, a French guy, and I said, ‘Well, at least he wasn't an American.’ Everyone jumped my bones. ‘Jeez, you motherless little mutt, he was our friend. Doesn't matter where he was from.’ I can tell you the 'motherless' crack really hurt. I know exactly who my mom was, which puts me one whole mom over most of the dogs in this neighborhood.”
HOSTILITY HOUSE APPEAL SENT TO LIMBO
Tuesday Special Council Meeting
by Rex Gressett
The special meeting of the Fort Bragg City Council to address the deal between the city and Hostility House went nowhere and cost a great deal. For one thing it cost a thousand dollars. Hard earned personal money. The special meeting of the council was to consider an appeal to the decision of the Planning Commission that approved a deal that kept Hostility House alive, kicking and unreformed.
The citizen activists that appealed a viscerally insulting white-washing of the nuisance violations at the shelter on Franklin Street got to participate in the democratic process. The city charged them a thousand bucks for the exercise of this democratic right. That was an insult, but it was the least of the cost. To make this appeal that challenged the cowardly evasion of a vital decision cost regular people enormous quantities of time, care, precision and judgment. The paperwork and the complex evaluation of issues at law comprised many nights hard work and cost many dollars.
The special meeting was packed but not as packed as you might have thought it would be as the culmination of three years of community outrage, fired City Councils and progressively intensifying agitation by the traditionally quiescent business community. The crowd was notable for the absence of the regular supporters of the HH. Neither Simon Smith nor Meg Courtney, not even George Reinhardt, felt the need to show their support.
The shelter was only being harassed it was not being seriously threatened and they knew it. Instead the crowd was packed with those who as it turned out worked for the helping industry. The county homeless workers were represented. Redwood Children’s services (the big kahuna) and a selection of social workers and applicants to be social workers, together fairly balanced the activists that backed the appeal.
I think no one in the city at large expected much. Foolishly, I did. My confidence in the autonomy, independence, judgment and courage of the current city council was in this instance misplaced. I had a bet with Paul McCarthy that the City Council would uphold the appeal.
Out and about in town outside of my personal halo of optimism there was a dreary intuitive understanding that the City Council would have to act decisively and courageously and they were showing no signs of it. When the meeting went down the council was polite and sat solemnly for what was after all a one thousand dollar appeal process. They took care to observe the formalities to a nicety. The Epstein, the Marin County temp lawyer that they had originally purchased to circumvent and diffuse community anger, was subdued. He had won already. He only took a moment to declare in nasal tones that he had not (as some had said) negotiated the cooked up deal between the city and HH. City Attorney Sam Zutler did all that he bespoke. Technically. But the Epstein could at least take credit for bluffing his own clients into first deferring their decision while HH got their legal ducks lined up, and then into signing a deal that the poor Planning Commissioners got only hours before the meeting. Orchestration without taking responsibility is still the Epstein's responsibility, but he has never had a high regard for our intelligence.
The Mayor worried out loud about the Council’s failure to address the railroading of the Planning Commission saying that he had avoided watching the Planning Commission meeting so it would not put ideas in his head. It sure might have done that.
The compromise that has permitted Hostility House to continue on a business as usual basis, includes no penalties, no remedies for the nuisance behaviors people complained of, and plenty of penalties for things no one is concerned about. Mostly it hits them if they have too many inmates. Drunken drug-addicted desperation was explicitly declared not to be HH’s responsibility.
The Fort Bragg City Council hired Robert Epstein. And Epstein kept the city out of court and the drug pushers, thieves and human exploiters in business. No doubt the City Council did so on the sage advice of other city managers, operators, brother mayors and insiders in general in government. The presumption likely conveyed was that Fort Bragg was not that much different than anyplace else and like everywhere else local people hated shelters but federal and state law said bluntly that the municipalities had to tolerate them if they have them. Banging one’s civic head into the concrete of civil rights grounded litigation was a pill the humble Fort Bragg City Council was not prepared to remotely contemplate swallowing. Their breezy unengaged attention to the appellants that were looking for real action was thin camouflage for their visceral understanding that the Epstein-negotiated deal with HH, as pointless, toothless, and inane as it was, was about all they were going to get.
The 70 business owners and the hundreds of petition signers and volunteers and activist advocates were asking the impossible. But unfortunately they were asking it in intelligible legal terms, loudly and with emphasis. The social services supporting majority under City Manager Linda Ruffing were nowhere to be seen. The removal from power of the City Manager has empowered dialogue and the GO crowd depends on limiting it to themselves. In a Fort Bragg unencumbered from agenda politics there was no opposition to what used to be the opposition. It was too much for the Mayor and the City Council. They don’t mind being courageous in theory, but in practice they thought that booting the whole business up to the realm of conjecture and supposition would just feel so good. And telling the women who ran an appeal down the legal channel on their own dime, with intelligence, diligence and huge support from the electorate: Sorry girls, we are afraid of getting sued, wasn’t that palatable either.
Out of the City Council tool bag came the ad hoc committee. A committee it is said is a group of people who individually can do nothing but as a group decide that nothing can be done. It was admirably suited to the present contingency.
The hostility house appeal will be discussed, presumably to death, by an ad hoc committee of the City Council.
HOSPITALITY HOUSE CHALLENGED
Results were an ad hoc committee was formed consisting of Bernie Norvell and Will Lee. And the $1,000.00 appeal fee was returned. Attached is statement by Anne Marie and the spread sheets showing the numbers...
My name is Anne Marie Cesario, I live in Fort Bragg and I am a spokesperson for the appellants and an advocate for the homeless.
My expertise in this matter is grounded in 30 years of work experience as a human services and behavioral health professional. I have held positions as a faculty member at universities, director, community organizer, grant writer, case manager, counselor, program manager and social worker in both urban and rural communities. I have served in this community for the last 20 years, I am familiar with the clients, the professionals, the agencies and the folks who live here. I was motivated to volunteer to do this because I am tired of seeing the needs of the homeless be unmet and tired of watching the community be bullied. I believe we can do better.
The Appellants (30 neighbors and 19 business owners) are here because we were not included in the negotiations for modification before the planning commission. We believe we have an important contribution to make.
Thank you for hearing us. We are hoping for more than a "thank you for sharing " response.
I would be happy to answer any questions you have but I ask you to wait until I am finished because I have a lot of information to present.
The City Staff has proven that the Hospitality House has been operating in violation of their land use agreement. These violations are indisputable. The Hospitality House has violated 4 of the "findings" outlined in the code that are required to revoke or modify use, only one is necessary for action to be taken. (Chapter18.98.070 F. Review Authority Acton)
The Appellants come to support compliance with the city codes, adequate services for the homeless and safety for the whole community.
My understanding is that it is your job to figure out if it's lawful to allow a change in land use at the Hospitality House even though they have violated the city laws and expanded services at this address without your approval.
These are the questions I think we are here to find answers to:
Can we find a land use modification agreement that complies with the Inland Use and Development Code (18.98.070)?
Does the land use privilege need to be revoked in order for the use of the Hospitality House to become compliant with the city law/code?
Can we find a land use modification that follows the basic premise of the law as outlined in the ILUDC:
Do the modifications insure "the public health, safety, comfort, convenience, prosperity, and general welfare of residents and businesses in the Inland Area of the City?"
This is a complicated and difficult decision and I hope that the information I present to you this evening is helpful to you.
The residents and businesses are here because we do not think the modifications approved by the Planning Commission serve the purpose as stated in the ILUDC. We have suggested changes that we believe support compliance with the code.
We think it is very important to remember that it is a fact that the location of this shelter is inconsistent with the City's General Plan for Community Development (ILUDC 18.22030) It is the law that the Emergency Shelters in the CBD are not in the best interests of the community. The city has decided that Emergency Shelters are not an allowed use in the scenic corridor but are allowed in the Commercial General District of the City.
If the permit were revoked MCHC would need to relocate to expand services and they could move to the neighborhood where Emergency Shelters are allowed and they could expand services legally.
The evidence shows that they have the resources to do this, they have over three million dollars in assets and a million dollar annual budget. We don't understand why they fighting to provide services in a location that is causing a nuisance and is too small to meet the shelter needs of the homeless? And why don't they have private security in this facility?
The homeless housed in the shelter, neighbors, business owners and residents of Fort Bragg have rights--- civil rights that entitle them to safety in their homes, their businesses and on the streets. There are laws that also protect these rights.
The Appellants rights, especially those of the Latino business owners and Latino neighbors of the Hospitality House, must also be taken into consideration in this matter.
We are here to make peace, to set aside special interests and ask you to do what works for greater good of the community according the law.
We ask the MCHC Board of Directors and the people here who believe we are the enemy to set their agenda aside, open up their hearts and minds and work with their Fort Bragg neighbors.
We are not against homeless services. We don't want to go to war with attorneys fighting a battle that is expensive and divisive. We want to help. We are looking for a win/win scenario that is reasonable and lawful.
The Appellants present you with three choices:
- revoke the non conforming use permit and give the facility one year to relocate to a neighborhood zoned for Emergency Homeless Shelters so that the placement of the shelter becomes a use that conforms with the City's General Plan so they can expand or:
- order that the changes in the use permit we present in the Appeal packet be included in the modified conditions of the non conforming, expanded use of the Hospitality House or:
- order that the negotiating team suggested by the Appellants be created and allow the homeless, the neighborhood residents and business owners and city representatives to negotiate with the Board of Directors of MCHC to reach an agreement in regard to the modifications
I reviewed the City of Fort Bragg records provided regarding planning commission decisions and CDBG grants, the County of Mendocino Service Contracts and reports, the Contracts with Redwood Quality Management Corporation, and the MCHC 2011-2016 990 financial reports submitted to the State of California Attorney General's Office Department of Charitable Trusts. All of the documents are in this agenda packet and I have made hard copies of four of the pages for you to refer to tonight.
The evidence shows that:
- The Nuisance in the Central Business District has gotten worse in the past two years
- Business Owners, Neighbors (many single are women and children), and tourists live with daily nuisance violations that negatively impact their businesses, property values, quality of life and vacation experience
- The Homeless people living in the shelter are not safe (police calls and fire code violations)
- There is no Day Shelter program at MCHC and the Homeless have no place to go except the streets Fort Bragg during the day
- MCHC does not have enough emergency beds to house all the people who are homeless in Fort Bragg and they are not using the increase in funds to increase shelter and often Transitional House beds are left empty
- The accuracy of the numbers MCHC staff reports to Mendocino County are questionable since they reported that they had no guests at the Hospitality House from July through October 2016 and in May, July and August of 2017
- The community, the city and the county has been more than generous with MCHC
- MCHC has spent close to 7 million dollars ( $6,903,468) in public money in the past 5 years (990 and $2,304,417 CDBG grants)
- The land use at the Hospitality House has changed since 2003
- MCHC is violating the conditions of their grant from the county which requires them to provide a safe environment for their clients and increase shelter services (build capacity)
- MCHC has the resources to relocate and expand shelter services and become compliant with contracts and zoning and chooses not to
- MCHC has the resources to hire private security and chooses not to
- MCHC has the resources to provide a Day Shelter (funding for this is available through the Emergency Solutions Grant) and chooses not to
- MCHC can change the composition of its Board and chooses not to
- Although shelter is the mission of MCHC and what they promise when they raise money it is not what is happening and is no longer the priority of their Board of Directors.
The land use at the Hospitality House and the organizations finances and staff size have changed dramatically since 2003:
- MCHC assets have increased from $80, 628 in 2003 (planning commission record) to $3,203,446
- MCHC budget has increased from thousands to over a million dollars in the past 3 years
- MCHC total revenue In 2003 was $73,767,( 2 employees)
- MCHC total revenue from 2011 to 2016 was $4,599,051 (990s)
- MCHC from 2011-2016 spent $2,787,739 (990s) on salaries
- MCHC from 2011-2016 spent $1,111,048 on other expenses (990s)
- MCHC 2011 salary expense was $121,537 (18 employees) (50 volunteers)
- MCHC 2016 salary expense increased to $803,461 (36 employees) (0 volunteers)
The focus of MCHC services has changed since 2003 and this has impacted the land use:
- MCHC currently spends the majority of their funding on staff for case management, mental health, administration, and job training programs according to the contracts reviewed and 990 reports
- MCHC spent 7 million dollars and did not add one emergency shelter bed to their program, they still have only 24 emergency shelter beds, NO Day Shelter and NO security at the facility
- No evidence of a day shelter in 2016 was found, although funding for Day Shelters is available
- In 2003 Day Shelter services were next door to the Hospitality House and provided by Coast Community Center,
- In 2016 the increase in revenue did not result in an increase in Shelter services. In fact meals, bed nights and showers decreased from 2011. The spread sheet shows that this has been the trend for the past 5 years, while revenue has increased dramatically shelter services have not.
- However according to the 990's filed with the state MCHC spends almost all of the money on the Hospitality House (P. 2 Part III 4.a of 990 2016) $668,688 , and this number is inconsistent with the a report given to the city where they report their expenditures for the house total $54,290.
- MCHC chose to spend 1.2 million dollars on property and there are no emergency beds, no day shelter and no beds for the disabled at 101N. Franklin Street.
- MCHC reported to the county that they have written a grant to house offenders at 101 N. Franklin Street (see invoice report to the county)
- MCHC (Hospitality House) is a very different organization today than it was in 1986 when it was started, even the mission statement used on the website is different than the mission statement found in the 2003 city records
The statistical evidence that impacted the land use change in the record show:
- The numbers of meals provided at the Hospitality House have increased from 11,979 in 2003 to over 27,000 in 2011 and then decreased in 2016 to 23,167
- That numbers of services provided at the Hospitality House have increased significantly from 2003; however, when their budget increased in 2011 Hospitality House services did not, some decreased (990's and contract invoice reports to the county)
- Hospitality House beds have only increased from 18 to 24 in the last 14 years (2003 city record); more than 30 beds were found in the facility
- The code violations show that we need more emergency beds and a day shelter and the Hospitality House has no room to expand on McPherson Street
Other changes since 2003 in the program and Board that affect land use:
- The Hospitality House was a clean and sober environment in 2003, today it is not
- MCHC Board of Directors composition and expertise has changed significantly since 2003 and there is no longer a homeless representation on their board, most of the Board members are not service professionals and do not live in Fort Bragg
- In fact, Federal Law(24 CFR 576.405) requires that a homeless person be on the board to be eligible for the Emergency Solutions grant they are receiving but according to the 2016 990 they do not have homeless client representation on the Board of Directors
- MCHC shows lack of concern for the safety of HH residents and neighbors when they deny responsibility for nuisance
- MCHC staff are not good neighbors, records and testimony show they are unresponsive to requests for help from businesses and clients, they do not keep their promises, what they say verbally and in writing and what they do are very different. There is ample evidence of this in this packet (see the grant proposals, 990 reports, testimony at meetings)
The land use and the organization is very different today than it was in 2003. This is not the same use or the same mission. I am not sure any modifications will be able to recreate what was happening on this property in 2003 as the code requires you to do. (Chapter18.98.070) (D. Modifications. ..... determined to be reasonable and necessary to ensure that the permit is operated in a manner consistent with the original findings for approval.)
After reviewing the evidence expansion of services at that location seems risky. The Hospitality House and MCHC have a long history of coming to the city and asking for rules to be suspended or modified to suit their special needs. In 2003 the records show that they asked that the parking requirements be waived when they rebuilt the house in the back with the CDBG grant from the city, promising that the clients didn't have cars. Today the neighbors state that guests do have cars and there are often parking issues in the neighborhood. I ask you to consider all the information that you have and your personal experience before you decide on this matter.
Are modifications really going to solve the problem? That is what you are here to decide. Please incorporate this information I presented you with tonight and our suggestions for the modifications.
The majority of the business owners have asked that you revoke the permit in testimony and in letters. We believe that revoking the permit is within the guidelines of the law given the land use changes. Revoking the permit would in fact support the expansion of services to the Homeless because the Shelter could then be relocated to a zone that allows them to do more than they will ever be able to do on McPherson Street.
The evidence shows that we have this problem because the MCHC Board of Directors has made some choices that are not in the best interests of the clients, their mission or the community. It is our opinion that the expertise of homeless clients, service professionals and the neighbors of MCHC is needed on the board. If you decide on modifications Please require that the MCHC Board of Directors have representation from the homeless clients, service professionals, residents and business owners of Fort Bragg.
The choices that the MCHC Board is making in regard to refusing to: maintain a clean and sober shelter, provide private security, a day shelter, dump the emergency weather shelter clients, provide adequate access to restrooms and adequate fire code compliance are irresponsible and negligent. There are laws in regard to negligence that we ask City Council to talk to their lawyer about. The Appellants believe that this negligence is directly related to the code Violations.
The Appellants ask that City Council take this negligence into consideration and address it in the decision that they make in regard to the matter before them this evening. The problems that exist in the neighborhood are directly related to the choices MCHC is making in regard to the services it provides and does not provide to the homeless. It is time for MCHC to take responsibility for the impact their choices are having on the Central Business District and the City of Fort Bragg.
We believe that new choices can be made to benefit the homeless they serve as well as the greater good of the community. Putting up signs, putting out a couple of 50 gallon trash cans, banning people, and threatening to put people out on the streets if they refuse to wear vests and occasionally walk around downtown picking up trash is not enough. We ask that you require that all statements that are made at this hearing be substantiated with adequate written documentation.
People need homes to live in, safe emergency shelter, a place to be during the day and a safe place to store their belongings so they don't have to drag them around town. People need food, clothing and shelter first. This is the mission that MCHC says it has, they have clearly lost sight of this mission and we are here to support them in finding their way back to it.
The City of Fort Bragg is a small city of only 7,000, we depend on tourism and we have a long history of being a safe place for families and children (those with homes and without them). Please make a decision that supports tourism and the safety of our children. I think a good lawyer should be able to make a case for that.
And by the way, could you please order that the thousand dollar fee we had to pay to be included in this process be refunded. Thank you.
The shock jock national anthem protest movement is spreading across the nation, presenting a looming threat to national security.
What next? From a simple, humble genuflection the movement could devolve into a chaotic, sordid spectacle of mass moonings during the national anthem by athletes and their supporters, including cheerleaders.
In Mendopia, we're already being assaulted by bare breasts used as political weapons.
America should defuse the movement by adopting "America the Beautiful" as our national anthem - the Ray Charles version, an emotional tearjerker.
Don Morris, Ghostown Willits
From Catholic school, I recall the genuflection as a sign of servile obedience, respect, or worship.
Confused about what the state cannabis cultivation and business regs will be in 2018? Join the crowd, and me, and attorney Omar Figueroa, Thursday, at 9 a.m. on the special Pledge Drive edition of The Cannabis Hour on KZYX. Omar will help make sense of what's to come in 2018 and give away three copies of his book, "Cannabis Codes of California." You can call the show live with your questions at 9:40 a.m., at 707 895-2448. That's Thursday, Oct. 5 on KZYX. See you on the radio!
CATCH OF THE DAY, October 4, 2017
THOMAS GALINDO, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent Flyer)
AARON KOSKI SR., Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)
ASHLEY LOLMAUGH, Willits. DUI.
EDWARD STEELE, Ukiah. Felon with stun-gun, county parole violation. (Frequent Flyer)
MICHAEL WERNER, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, camping in Ukiah.
JAMES WHEELER, Laytonville. Domestic battery, protective order violation.
FOREVER A GIANT
by Matt Cain
When I was about six or seven, back in Alabama, this kid from the local high school came over one day to help my dad out with some work around the house. He played on the baseball team — and somewhere in between the work, I guess, he and my dad got to talking.
He was a pitcher, a pretty good one if I remember. And my dad, he’s one of these guys where, you know, nothing feels like small talk. Just a very thoughtful individual, and a great listener. Loves to learn new things about other people. So when he found out this kid was a pitcher, he started asking him a thing or two about it. What do you like about pitching? and How do y’all make the ball move like that? and that sort of thing. And of course the kid had a ball handy — Rule No. 1 about baseball: someone always has a ball handy — and before you know it, he starts showing my dad some of the different grips that pitchers use.
Showed him two, in particular: the four-seam, and the two-seam.
“Well isn’t that wild,” I imagine my dad saying, before filing it away.
And then it was later that very same night, I think, that my dad came around and said he had something to show me. Something pretty cool he’d learned, just earlier, from that kid from the high school who’d been helping him out.
“Want to know how those pitchers get the ball to do all that?”
And then he showed me the two grips: the four-seam, and the two-seam.
Did you ever get shown a magic trick as a kid — maybe the nickel pulled out from behind your ear, something like that? And it’s like: If you’re just young enough, and the trick’s done just right … it’s about the greatest thing you’ve ever seen? You see that trick once, and your mind is racing. And your head is spinning. And now all you can think about is wanting to see it done again, and again, and again? Well that’s really how it was for me with those grips on that ball. As soon as I saw it once, man … I was hooked. My mind went racing. My head started spinning. And I just wanted to see it done — wanted to do it — again, and again, and again.
You grip the baseball, just like that … and you throw.
I thought it was about the greatest thing I’d ever seen in my life.
I thought it was magic.
* * *
As of today, I am officially retired from the game of baseball.
I’m not one for big spectacles, or for putting any sort of spotlight on myself, or really for talking about myself much at all. But I still wanted to take a moment over the weekend and write this — just as a thank you. I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way in my career, and who has made an impact on me throughout my life as a ballplayer.
And when we’re talking about my life as a ballplayer — I guess I’ve been lucky enough so that, you know, it means we’re pretty much just talking about one thing.
The San Francisco Giants.
A lot of people have asked me why it meant so much to me — to play for one team, and one team only. And the truth is, while it was happening, I never really had a good answer. I knew it’s what I wanted … I’m just not exactly sure I knew why. But as these last few days have come and gone — with making the decision, and making the announcement about my last start, and pitching for the last time, and suiting up for the last time, all of that — I think everything has come a little more into focus.
I think I’ve realized that, what I’ve been able to build for myself here in San Francisco … it’s just so much bigger than baseball. It’s bigger than the innings I’ve pitched, or the games I’ve won — or even the championships we’ve brought home. It’s something that you can’t measure by looking at my stats, and you can’t understand by looking at my scouting reports.
I think I’ve realized that what I gave you guys is 15 years of baseball.
And that what you gave me back is an entire life.
I got to build an entire life here in San Francisco. I got to grow into a man, and a husband, and a father. I got to become someone, and something, that looking back — and now, in another way, looking forward — I can truly be proud of.
I got to become Matt Cain, Pitcher, San Francisco Giants.
And I’ll always be in your debt for that.
* * *
When I think about what being a Giant has meant to me, there are so many moments that stand out.
There’s June 4, 2002: draft day.
I was a late bloomer, and it was only when I was a senior in high school that I’d started to get much attention. So me and my parents, you know — we weren’t really equipped for what was about to happen, I don’t think, in a lot of ways. I remember, for the draft, it was this really small group of six of us — just me, my mom, my dad, his mom, my uncle, and our Yorkie-poo dog — huddled up around this desktop computer at my parents’ house in Somerville, Tennessee. And we’re all sitting there together, just trying to get the dang dial-up internet to work so we could watch it online. And we couldn’t at the start — the internet was too slow, and it just wouldn’t connect — so I think we ended up missing the first 10 or so picks.
And I just remember my mom in her chair, writing down all the picks by hand as they came in. And then it got to the 25th pick, and they announced my name, and my mom started to write it — and then all of a sudden, it was like, wait a minute.
That’s my name.
I just got picked, in the first round, by the San Francisco Giants.
I’m a Giant.
* * *
There’s August 26, 2005: The day that I got called up.
I was winding down my season in Fresno, hanging out with a buddy, Kevin Frandsen, and we were actually heading down to drop off my truck — taking it in to get it lifted with some big tires, have some suspension put on it. Not even thinking about baseball at all, at that point. It was more like, alright, it’s fall — time to take this truck out on a road trip, go do some duck hunting or whatever we can get ourselves into, and just, you know … have ourselves an offseason.
But as we’re taking the truck in, I get a call from this phone number I don’t recognize. Random 415 number. Pick it up. “Yep, this is Matt.”
“Hey, how’s it going? Bobby Evans here, with the Giants. Just wanted to congratulate you. You’re getting the call-up to the big leagues.”
And I didn’t even know how to process that. Just … wasn’t expecting it at all. And I’m such a kid at the time, I’m still just 20, that my first thought is about how I’ve got all these plans I’ve made for these next few weeks, trucking and duck hunting and all of that — and now that’s all up in smoke. But fortunately I at least knew enough to stop myself before I blurted any of that out loud. And instead I was just, like, “Thanks — thank — thank you!”
Then I canceled my plans, and I packed a bag.
* * *
There’s May 6, 2007: The day that Timmy got called up.
I guess that might seem strange to include here, in a letter about my career, but to me that day really meant something — and looking back, really has come to represent a lot. Because I think that was the day this era of Giants baseball went from being about a team in transition, that was losing a lot … to a team in transition, that was building something special.
It was such a cool mix on those teams: We had me and Timmy, these two pitchers both young enough to basically still be in college … and then we also had this great group of veterans, who really helped to show us the way. And that’s no accident, you know? That’s the Giants culture, that’s what they do. They welcome guys in, and — whether you’re a rookie or a vet or anywhere in between — they set you up to succeed.
I just think about all of the special guys who I crossed paths with during those first few years in San Francisco. Jason Schmidt, just talking to him, a pitcher with his résumé who also happens to be this great person — that was huge for me when I got called up. Randy Winn, Rich Aurilia, Mike Matheny, Matt Morris … man, all these guys. They took a liking to me, and a genuine interest in me, even when they didn’t have to.
And speaking of people who didn’t have to: I’ll tell you who was one of the best, nicest guys to me, during those first few years, straight up — it was Barry. He’d sit me right by him on the plane, and man … he would just talk the game to you, so caringly, through his eyes. And of course he’s on this next level, so even when he’s trying to explain things to you, it’s a little, like, O.K., well, that’s why you’re the best ever, and I’m just a kid — but even in those moments, honestly, he was as understanding as could be. And he protected me. Whether it was from other teams, and giving me advice on how to deal with certain situations, or it was from guys on our own team who he felt were coming down too hard on me … truly very few people were there for me, at the beginning of my career, like Barry.
And I’ve got to thank him for that — I’ve got to thank all of those veterans for that.
And I know Timmy would say the same.
* * *
There’s the day I met Chelsea.
To say that I wouldn’t have been able to do this without Chelsea is the understatement to end all understatements. A baseball player’s life is a weird one, and Chelsea’s been so much more than my wife over these last eight years. She’s been my rock. She’s been so strong, and so supportive: From the highest highs of pitching lights out in the World Series, to the lowest lows of getting left off the playoff roster … Chelsea’s been there for me. And more important than that, she’s been there for our family — especially in those moments when my schedule wouldn’t allow me to be. I’m so grateful.
Chelsea has also been instrumental in helping me to understand what my relationship with this city could be. And by that I mean — Chelsea made me realize what it is that makes a city feel like a home: a community.
From the opportunity we’ve had to support senior citizens and the critically ill with Project Open Hand and the Giant Race, to our involvement with the NOH8 Campaign opposing Proposition 8, to our work with the Giants Community Fund and Junior Giants, Until There’s a Cure, Sunrise Horse Rescue, PAWS, Strikeouts for Troops, Project Night Night and all the special kids and families we’ve met through Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area….
What Chelsea and I have been able to accomplish in the community, and with the community, over these last several years — it’s meant as much to me as any world championship.
* * *
There’s June 13, 2012: the perfect game.
Not going to call anyone from S.F. a liar, but I’ll just say this: There were about 42,000 people in attendance that day.
And in the last five years, I think I’ve met all 100,000 of them.
* * *
And finally: There’s November 1, 2010, and October 28, 2012, and October 29, 2014. If you’re reading this letter, then I’m guessing you already know what those dates stand for. But if you don’t, then honestly, even better — look ’em up. I won’t spoil it for you, except to say that our Giants teams.…
We did a little bit of winning this decade.
So, you know — thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to the best organization and the best fans in all of sports. You are what makes this franchise great.
And you are what made my life in baseball possible.
* * *
It hit me on Saturday when I woke up.
Tapped the alarm clock, got out of bed, hopped in the shower….
I think it’s the routine that gets you. All those years of routine, all those years of waking up on my start day and going through the same set of pregame habits. There’s a real comfort in routine — I think that’s probably why we do it. But when it comes time for that last time … man, there’s nothing “routine” about it.
This is my last alarm clock on a start day. This is my last shower on a start day. This is my last drive to the ballpark — last time heading over that bridge, last time pulling into that parking lot — on a start day.
This is my last start day.
It hit me, and it kept hitting me, throughout that morning.
I got out of my car, and walked into the ballpark. Me and that park … we’ve been through a lot together. But I told myself that I wasn’t going to treat this start, this day, like anything out of the ordinary. I promised myself that I wasn’t going to give in to the nostalgia.
Then I went and broke that promise pretty much instantly. I got to the clubhouse, and the TVs — I mean, you can’t make this stuff up: They were all playing this packaged loop of my “greatest moments.” You know — all of my career highlights, sequenced from start to finish, running on every TV in the room.
And of course the guys are loving it.
Some of the younger guys are coming up to me, during the older clips, like, “Matt, Matt — why’re you wearing number 43, what’s the deal?” And so I told them a story involving me and this guy named Moises Alou — a great, great player from before they were born. (Just kidding, Moises.) They’re all letting me hear it when the TV flashes to my old leg-kick I used to do, or shows me going up against some hitter “from the ’90s.” And of course (of course) there’s Gardy, giving me the hardest time of everyone, for how much harder I used to throw back in the day. And he’s just loving it: Every second, it’s, “Matt, wow, bringing the cheese, I’m into it.” Or, “I didn’t know you used to hand out three fastballs an at-bat.” It’s a lot of fun. But even in that moment, watching those clips, I don’t think it quite hit me that this was the end.
It wasn’t until Rags came up to me, I think, that it really started to sink in.
Dave, I’m lucky enough to say, has been my pitching coach for my entire career. And I owe so much of my success to him — more than I could ever fit into a letter like this. Rags has just been a special, special presence in my life. And so when he came up to me, you know, at first I thought he was going to want to talk about the elephant in the room — that this would be our last ever meeting as pitcher and pitching coach — and maybe get a little emotional. And I think, just sort of anticipating that, I started to get a little emotional myself.
But then, in perfect Rags fashion, he pivoted — and just started going on about the Padres lineup for that day. You know — like it was any other day, and any other start. And so the two of us … we’re just sitting there, by my locker, talking shop, going through some approaches. But I think that entire time, it’s almost, like — we’re speaking two languages at once. It’s like we’re saying one thing, but then meaning another. Like Rags is talking me through this player’s or that player’s tendencies … but what he’s really saying is, you know, “I’m proud of you, kid.” And I’m just taking in every word, and saying back what I’d usually say, and nodding … but what I’m really saying, I think, is, “Thank you, for everything. I don’t know where I’d be without you.” So it’s like this moment that was totally ordinary — but then also, just under the surface, incredibly special.
We finished talking, and Rags got up to leave.
And then at the last second, he turned around. Looked back at me, and cracked a smile.
“Hey. Enjoy it if you can.”
From there, I’ll be honest — it was tough. Putting on my jersey … putting on my pants, my cleats … just in those last few things that I had to do to get ready … there were probably 5-to-10 times where I had to hold myself back from crying. One thought I kept having was back to all of the times in my career, especially over the last few years, when that stuff — prepping for a start, meeting with coaches, putting on my gear — had felt like a grind. And how much I wish now that I could kind of go back, I guess, and knock that younger guy on the head, and just sort of tell him, you know, “There’s going to be a morning in October, a few years from now, when you’re going to realize how much you miss this grind.”
I walked through the tunnel.
Climbed up the stairs.
Made my way to the bullpen.
Took in the crowd — this awesome sight of the only fans I’ve ever known….
And you know what: I think that was the moment.
That was the moment, I think, when I finally answered the question — of why it meant so much to me to play my entire career as a Giant. It wasn’t the first World Series, or the second, or the third, or the LCS against the Cardinals, or the LDS against the Reds, or one of the hundreds of Dodgers games, or the perfect game … or any other moment in between. It was the reaction that I got from those fans, on that afternoon, on my last day as a starter.
It was a reaction that said, Hey — we know what you’re going through. And guess what: We’re going through the exact same thing. It was a reaction that said, You’re going to miss this? Well, guess what: We’re going to miss this — we’re going to miss you — just the same.
It was a reaction that said, When you’re in this ballpark, you’re not just “Matt Cain, Pitcher.” You’re “Matt Cain, Pitcher, San Francisco Giants” — and you’re not on your own. We’re right here, with you, and we’re going to do this together.
And that’s what happened. I walked out of the bullpen, and I took the mound — and I didn’t feel alone the entire time. It was kind of wild to think about: 25 years after my dad had showed me this trick he’d learned in the backyard from some kid … there I was, gripping that ball, for the last, first time.
I waited for Buster, and then went into my windup.
You grip the baseball, just like that … and you throw.
It’s still about the greatest trick I’ve ever seen. It’s still never gotten old. And on my last day ever as a pitcher, it’s the craziest thing … but it still worked.
That’s the thing about magic.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Newtown was illustrative of everything to me. If the slaughter of little kids in a country does not change anything, nothing will.
Same with this deal. Everybody gonna say “what can we do?” Nothing will change. Nothing.
No way to prevent this says the only nation where it happens.
Another mass shooting massacre. After Sandy Hook, I really believed something would be done regarding gun laws. Every time I hear a member of Congress say “my thoughts and prayers are with the families,” I feel like screaming. Actions speak louder than words.
QUIZ NEXT WEEK
As we are on a Quiz schedule of 2nd and 4th Thursdays, there will not be a General Knowledge and Trivia Quiz this week, Thursday 5th, at Lauren's Restaurant. We shall return next week on Thursday, October 12th, so you have plenty of time to study.
Hope to see you there, Steve Sparks, Quiz Master
THE JEREMY KITTEL BAND presented by Ukiah Community Concert Association
A Fiery blend of jazz, Celtic fiddling, and sultry world grooves
At Mendocino College, Center Theater
“Outstanding Celtic-jazz-bluegrass fiddle whiz…” – The Boston Globe
Ukiah, Calif. - October 4, 2017. The Jeremy Kittel Band will perform at Mendocino College, Center Theater on Saturday November 4, at 7:30pm. Jeremy Kittel is one of those rare talents that crosses over the great divide of classical violin and traditional fiddling. With impeccable tone as well as incredible rhythmic sense, drive, swing and groove he can easily go between a Bach violin Partita and a Scottish reel. He is simply a virtuoso says Joel Cohen who has heard him live on several occasions.
Kittel is a passionate clinician and educator. He has taught at Berklee College of Music, Belmont University, Mark O’Connor Strings Camps and Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School. He has a master’s degree in jazz performance from the Manhattan School of Music and received the 2010 Emerging Artist Award from his alma mater, the University of Michigan. He has received numerous awards including the US National Scottish Fiddle Championship, six Detroit Music Awards and two Alternative Style awards. His sense of composition integrates the worlds of jazz and classical as well as folk into something larger with the help of the fiery musicianship of his band. What a Band! Featuring groundbreaking hammered dulcimer player Simon Chrisman, mandolin prodigy Joshua Pinkham and transcendent cellist Nathaniel Smith.
No matter what your favorite style of music is, this concert has something for you. Based on brilliant reviews from presenters everywhere this group has “a charisma and joy that is completely infectious, and the technical prowess of Jeremy and his Bandmates is second to none” -Musical Instrument Museum, Scottsdale, AZ.
The Ukiah Concert Association has been presenting nationally acclaimed talent since 1947. This all-volunteer nonprofit’s mission is to build and maintain a permanent concert audience and cultivate an interest in fine music among the citizens of the community and surrounding area. It is also their goal to encourage music appreciation in the schools of the community.
Advanced tickets are available at Mendocino Book Company in Ukiah and our website www.ukiahconcerts.org. Adult Single Tickets are $30 and Youth (under 18) $10. Free tickets are available in advance for Mendocino College Students. For more information call 707-463-2738.
NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH, STRATEGIES FOR PREVENTION
By Lia Holbrook
Ukiah, CA – October 2017 Press Release
(Click to download the five-page press release; too long to post here)
FISH AND GAME PROJECT GRANTS AVAILABLE
Fish And Game 2017/2018 Grant Cycle
The Mendocino County Fish and Game Commission solicits grant applications that comply with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife guidelines and codes and benefit fish and/or game in Mendocino County. The Commission will submit recommendations to the Board of Supervisors for the awarding of grants. In Fiscal Year 2017/18, the available amount for the total Grant Allocations is approximately twenty five thousand dollars ($25,000.) Per the County Supervisor’s request, projects leading to wildlife and habitat restoration and rehabilitation will be prioritized.
Commission website with grant forms:
The deadline for receiving proposals is 5:00pm, December 22, 2017.
Proposals must be submitted by email as a PDF, .DOC, .DOCX, .TXT, or ZIP file to the Commission at: email@example.com. Applicants without personal computers or internet access to the Commission website can request assistance from County branch libraries in Ukiah, Ft. Bragg, Willits, Coast Community (Pt. Arena), and Round Valley (Covelo) to download and print the application materials. Note: County library personnel can also assist with scanning and emailing completed proposals.
Applicants must also mail or hand-deliver eight double-sided copies to the Commission c/o County Planning & Building Services, 860 North Bush Street, Ukiah, CA 95482.
Grant applicants are encouraged to attend the Tuesday, January 9, 2017 meeting of the Commission, location to be announced, beginning 6:00pm, to make a brief (5 minute) presentation regarding their proposal.
For additional information, please call Fish and Game Commission at (707) 234-6094, or email the Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BOARDS & COMMISSIONS VACANCIES
Supervisors, Community Partners, and Interested Parties: The list of vacancies, due to term expirations and/or resignations, for County boards and commissions has been updated with new vacancies. A list of all new and existing vacancies is available on the County website: https://www.mendocinocounty.org/government/board-of-supervisors/boards-and-commissions.
The attached document contains a list of the vacancies that are new. Please contact the Executive Office at (707) 463-4441 if you have any questions regarding this message.
Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and Executive Office
* * *
There are vacancies on the following Board(s) and/or Commission(s):
Airport Land Use Commission (1) -- City Select (aviation expertise) --
Behavioral Health Advisory Board. (1) -- 3rd District Consumer Representative --
MCHC HEALTH CENTERS ANNOUNCES NEW BEHAVIORAL HEALTH DIRECTOR: BEN ANDERSON, LCSW
Ukiah, CA – MCHC Health Centers is pleased to announce the promotion of Ben Anderson, LCSW, to the position of Behavioral Health Director.
“I’m so excited about the direction we’re going at MCHC, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to continue our integrated approach to care,” he said. Anderson explained that providers from all departments—Medical, Dental, Behavioral Health, Care for Her, and the specialty clinics—collaborate to help patients be as healthy as possible.
“We recognize that health issues don’t occur in a bubble, so we work together to provide whole-person care. We know, for example, that people with chronic conditions are under a lot of physical and emotional stress. For some, that can contribute to symptoms of depression or anxiety. One of the advantages of integrated care is that a primary care medical provider can call a behavioral health clinician to consult or to provide direct support to the patient. Another example would be if a new mother suffered from post-partum depression and needed extra support. Then, our Care for Her team and our Behavioral Health team would collaborate to help the patient,” he said.
As the Behavioral Health director, Anderson will serve as part of MCHC’s executive team, responsible for overseeing counseling and psychotherapy services. Anderson is an experienced leader who has worked with children, adults and older adults. He came to Mendocino County from Fresno in 2003 to serve as the social worker for a children’s group home managed by Turning Point of Central California. In 2004, he began working for Tapestry Family Services, taking on positions of increasing responsibility until, in 2011, he became the organization’s executive director.
In 2014, he left Tapestry to become a full-time social worker for MCHC Health Centers, where he provided therapy, and supervised clinical services at MCHC’s Lakeview Health Center in Lakeport.
In his new role, he intends to continue to build on the integrated model of care and ensure that the employees who report to him are prepared to meet the challenges ahead while embracing MCHC’s mission of care.
“We have great leadership and a great team of employees here. In Behavioral Health, I want to do everything I can to foster a work environment that people are drawn to, where people can grow professionally and where they feel supported and appreciated. I think a lot of us are drawn to MCHC because we like being able to help patients regardless of their ability to pay,” he said. He noted that MCHC Health Centers accepts patients with insurance and without, and provides some transportation assistance, including door-to-door transportation in Lake County where many patients are geographically isolated.
“We are always on the lookout for talented and caring people to join our team. We have current openings for Licensed Clinical Social Workers and Clinical Psychologists. If you’re interested in joining our amazing team, I’d love to hear from you.” he said.
MCHC Health Centers is a local non-profit organization providing access to comprehensive healthcare for people in Ukiah, Willits and Lakeport. All MCHC health centers accept Medi-Cal, Medicare, Covered California insurance and other insurance. Learn more at www.mchcinc.org.